Tales from 30 years on the beat

Ted Fox reviews Straight From The Pig's Mouth, by Al Lester. Published by Penguin Random House.

Straight From The Pig’s Mouth is a dry, humorous account of the life and crimes of a New Zealand detective. An introductory acronym early puts the twist in this pig’s tale: Pride, Intelligence, Guts.

The book summarises the author’s years in the police force. He writes of the need for black humour, learning on the job, sex crimes, and a wafer-thin blue line.

At his father’s insistence, Lester found himself a "seat-warming" job in a bank initially, until one day he found himself playing golf with a police sergeant. After some discussion with the officer, the die was cast. Lester applied for and was accepted into the police force.

The book follows his career, from Timaru to Christchurch with a brief stint in the Solomon Islands. The author reveals how he was exposed along the way to the worst aspects of human behaviour. Lester voices his opinion that all drugs should be decriminalised, and the millions of dollars currently devoted to enforcement channelled instead to control and education. He reckons crime rates would plummet  as a result.

He left the force on April Fools’ Day, after 31 years of employment. At his farewell, he confirmed his leaving was not a hoax, that he was in fact buggering off and would not be in on Monday.

The book is a delight, and has clear typography, sharp chapter headings and quirky illustrations.

- Ted Fox is an online marketing and social media consultant.

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