There's a guy named David Carkeet . . .
--Fran Lebowitz, on The Charlie Rose Show (Charlie Rose and Calvin Trillin learn to spell Carkeet!)
Double Negative is a thoroughly enjoyable piece of work. It is a murder mystery told with a very personal kind of light-hearted charm.
--Newgate Callendar, New York Times Book Review
Intelligent, unpredictable, memorably funny. A fresh, unusual book, written with a sure instinct for what brings pleasure.
--San Francisco Chronicle
A real treat . . . Carkeet displays wit, invention, and a good sense of narrative shape and pace.
--Reginald Hill, Times Literary Supplement
The dialogue is crisp and witty . . . and the plot as unusual and engaging as any from the Golden Age of the classic detective story.
--St. Louis Post-Dispatch
A first-rate thriller.
A very intricate, entertaining puzzle.
Certain books elicit a smile of fond recognition whenever they are mentioned—you feel as though you belong to an elite club composed solely of people who have read them. Double Negative is one of those rarities.
--Susan Sandler, former Mystery Guild Editor
Carkeet writes with a wry humor . . . Double Negative is a fine comic mystery in the Donald Westlake tradition, engaging and entertaining.
Unusual, witty, and thought-provoking.
--The Baltimore Evening Sun
An intellectual delight.
--Los Angeles Times
At times hilarious and always conspicuously clever.
--Jon L. Breen, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
An adroitly done detective story . . . Carkeet has created a rare and entertaining novel.
Book Jacket Summary
Jeremy Cook is the resident genius at the Wabash Institute, a southern Indiana linguistics think tank attached to a daycare center. Cook seeks knowledge on many fronts: he wants to know how toddlers learn to talk, how he can endear himself to the beautiful new research assistant, and why one of his colleagues has suddenly turned up dead in Cook's own office. The rustic local law in the form of the unpredictable Lieutenant Leaf bears down on the suspects: the staff of linguists, who, far from the amiable, gentle souls one associates with the study of children, are a cantankerous bunch who can barely stand one another. Tempers flare and accusations fly, and when a second body turns up, Cook must rely on his linguistic wits to save himself.
Double Negative was nominated for an Edgar Award when first published in 1980. A popular classic of the genre, it has seen five issues by American publishers (Dial, Penguin, Washington Square, Felony & Mayhem, and Mystery Guild) and four overseas editions. Overlook is pleased to offer this new issue, lightly edited by the author.
Classic Mysteries (Les Blatt)
Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind (Sarah Weinman)
Also published in a dual edition with From Away, titled Double Carkeet, by the Mystery Guild. French edition published in 2013 by Monsieur Toussaint Louverture; title: Le linguiste était presque parfait. French reviews here.