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Britten and Brülightly Paperback – March 17, 2009


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Paperback, March 17, 2009
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Metropolitan Books; 1St Edition edition (March 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805089276
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805089271
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 6.6 x 11.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,472,850 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Berry's impressive graphic novel debut—published to much praise last year in Great Britain—mixes classic noir, a timeless story of love and loss and a shot of black humor with gloomy 1940s London as the perfect backdrop. PI Fernández Britten is known as the Heartbreaker: he's the one who follows cheating spouses and delivers news that ruins marriages. When glamorous Charlotte Maughton, the daughter of children's publishing magnate Maurice Maughton, hires him to look into the alleged suicide of her fiancé, Berni Kudos, Britten glumly takes the case. With his trusty sidekick, Stewart Brülightly—who just happens to be a teabag—Britten begins sniffing around Kudos's job at Maughton Publishing, keeping in mind Charlotte's suspicion that her fiancé's death could be tied to a blackmailing scheme aimed at her powerful father. The deeper Britten digs, the more mired he becomes in a pit of long-festering family secrets. For a man who's made his living telling the truth, Britten begins to realize that there are some instances when it's best to stay quiet. Gorgeously illustrated with a cartoony but expressive style, with a richly detailed story and empathetically conflicted hero, Berry's debut should be a hit. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Grade 10 Up–After years of being hired by jealous or vengeful lovers, Private Investigator Fernandez Britten (aka &The Heartbreaker&) is burnt out and feeling culpable for the broken lives his &research& has left behind. When Charlotte Maughan, convinced that her fiancé&'s apparent suicide was actually murder, contacts Britten to investigate, he grudgingly takes on the case, with the assistance of his very-out-of-the-ordinary partner. What follows is a complex murder mystery brilliantly executed as the events and circumstances leading up to the man&'s death are revealed. Berry has deftly set the time, place, and mood for this novel with her skillful combination of text and image. Well-crafted dialogue and first-person narrative are balanced, and the character development of Britten masterfully done. Although the story is serious in nature, humor is infused throughout, resulting in some laugh-out-loud moments. Berry&'s artwork is perfect for the story. The muted colors used in the gorgeous illustrations enhance the tone, helping to set a film noir mood. This is a remarkable debut graphic novel that continues to surprise right to the end.–Lara McAllister, Halifax Public Libraries, Nova Scotia
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 21, 2009
Format: Paperback
Truth transcends the darkest of human deceits in Berry's graphic noir, Britten and Brulightly. Illustrated with dark washes of sepia, blue and grey, PI Fernandez Britten slogs through the storm-washed streets of London in pursuit of answers. Shadowed by an acerbic, wise-cracking Brulightly (a presence noted by a tea bag: indeed, Brulightly is a tea bag), Britten has grown weary of exposing the tawdry infidelities of his clients. Taking to his bed under a cloud of disillusion, Britten refuses to consider any but the most extreme case: "I don't get out of bed for less than a murder. I don't get out of bed much." But when a grief-stricken client, Charlotte Maughton, daughter of a wealthy London publisher, enlists his help regarding her fiancé's suicide, Britten hopes to turn the table on despair and deliver a more positive resolution to the death of Berni Kudos.

In the noir tradition, handwritten dialog reveals the questionable facts of Berni's suicide, a convoluted series of events that expose years of betrayal, blackmail and finally murder. Along the way, Britten- in constant conversation with Brulightly- plods through the lies and purposeful diversions of those involved, including a proselytizing fundamentalist, a pornographic publishing network and years of family lies. It's not a pretty picture, Britten doggedly following where the trail leads, awash in the end with no less than the usual detritus of human deception. Hiding in a sodden forest from his kidnappers, waking up in the hospital with a bump on his head and minus his little finger, and intervening too late to save a misguided woman, Britten faces once more the brutal reality of his business, even the witty Brulightly unable to lift his spirits.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gypsi Phillips Bates VINE VOICE on January 29, 2011
Format: Paperback
Britten and Brülightly is a well written, fantastically illustrated noir mystery. Britten is a private detective who, for years, has specialized so in the tawdry love triangle cases that he has been publicly nicknamed "the Heartbreaker". Despite the encouraging words of his much more upbeat partner, Brülightly, Britten has become tired of both his job and his life. "I don't get out of bed for less than a murder," he said, and it potential murder that persuaded him to crawl out of bed into the public again.

Britten has been contacted by Charlotte Maughan after the apparent suicide of her fiance. To her, the pieces don't fit; she feels it must be a murder made to look like a suicide and hires him to investigate.

Britten and Brülightly is film noir in a graphic novel; it is by far the best written noir I have encountered. It contains the clasic elements of great noir : a fractured and down main character; a beautiful lady needing assistance; a complex mystery; realistic (leaning toward the unhappy) ending and leaves the reader or viewer sitting silent in amazement.

Berry's amazing art fits and adds to the story and to the noir feel perfectly. The predominant rain and gray days, the angles and corners, and the nearly monochrome color scheme enhance the feel of the story tremendously. The composition and "film angle", if you will, of the panels is that of a well done movie. They are not the common waist up, front on panels that are so predominant in the average graphic novel. From above, from below, half faces, close-ups: all are used to make an enormous contribution to both plot and ambiance. Berry's particular attention to hands is fantastic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. Silverstone VINE VOICE on February 10, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Hard-boiled detective Fernández Britten is hired to investigate a suicide in this brilliantly illustrated and written graphic novel. Author/illustrator Hannah Berry has captured the dark mood of a 1940s pulp with her arresting scenery and twisting story. Britten works matrimony cases with his partner Brulightly, who is actually a tea bag but this actually works in a surreal way that could only be captured in a graphic novel. He finally is hired for a suicide/murder investigation that is anything but what it seems. Throw in adultery, blackmail, threats questionable business practices, deceit, lies and more, then you get a period pulp with modern sensibilities. Once you start reading, you are sucked into Britten's world and you can't put it down until you finish. At which point, you are not quite sure where you are, it has been an amazing journey.
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By Leslie Gardner on January 31, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
i won't give it away, but this brilliant detective story has an unusual duo seeking out the answers - the drawings are allusive and intriguing, and i hope this duo go on to other adventures ...
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By Buddha Baby on June 8, 2013
Format: Paperback
Graphic books are relatively new to me and I am still sampling them from different genres within the genre.  This one is billed as a mystery graphic novel and mysteries are some of my favorite books, so I grabbed it.  It has also been praised as a great first book by this author, who is based in Brighton.  The story takes place in London, the home base of the main character, who is a private detective.  I haven't read many British mysteries so probably missed a lot, but certainly enjoyed it.  The famous British understatement is found here and makes for lots of smiling in the middle of a murder.  Hmmmm.....is that a good thing?  Not sure about the talking teabag, but I intend to check out Berry's other books.  3 stars
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