Alongside the names of James Hadley Chase and Erle Stanley Gardner we must now add that of John Hartley Williams - though Mystery in Spiderville is no run-of-the-mill hard-boiled thriller. The decor is by Dali, the plot is a mixture of Breton and Burroughs, and the main character - the protean and unkillable Spider Rembrandt - has six toes, sleeps in a grave and dreams of congress with the pert and playful Reedy Buttons. Sucked into the vortex of Spider's philandering mind is a narrator - sometimes Spider's adversary, sometimes his victim - who lies upon a bed brooding on the absence of a nameless, brown-haired woman. He, too, is protean: full of passionate longings and homicidal tendencies. A surrealist film-noir that blends the forensic with the erotic, the seedy penny-dreadful and the lyric prose-poem, Mystery in Spiderville is one of the strangest, strongest and most arresting fictional debuts in years.