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Guy Noir: Radio Private Eye    by Garrison Keillor order for
Guy Noir
by Garrison Keillor
Order:  USA  Can
Highbridge Audio, 2005 (2005)
Audio, CD
* *   Reviewed by Lance Victor Eaton

In the tradition of great sleuths such as Sherlock Holmes, Hercules Poirot, and Spenser, comes Guy Noir, private eye. Yes, Sherlock can determine who killed your mother from a mere piece of cloth, Poirot knows just why the butler didn't do it, and Spenser will certainly deliver justice on your behalf, but Guy Noir cracks the extremely tough cases. He can find that kidnapped fish or figure out who to talk to in order to get public bathrooms installed in New York City. He's the man to turn to when a bad batch of grits is causing South Carolinians to be depressed, or when you're confused about how to operate that brand new coffeemaker.

This collection of Guy Noir tales was originally broadcast over radio by the great master of Minnesota mockery, Garrison Keillor. Performing on radio since the 1970s, Keillor reminds us why we like him so much in this collection. Keillor isn't just delivering one-liners; he builds up his humorous stories to make them both entertaining and funny. His jokes have more strategic positioning than any military could ever hope for, and he still provides fresh material for listeners. Keillor's humor comes from his mastery of circumstance and deployment of character sketches that become funnier when the listener fills in the blanks. These stories are no different. Though each piece is less than ten minutes, when we are introduced to characters, Keillor needs only say a few words and listeners fill in a life history with great ease. But Keillor's jokes manage to be funny and inoffensive, even when he is harpooning people with varying affiliations.

Keillor himself narrates and plays the part of Guy Noir, while other characters are often played by his partners. With sound effects and canned laughter, this production has all the markings of classic old time radio, but without static, commercials, or long musical interludes. The crystal clear sound brings listeners right into the production studio. In recent years, Highbridge Audio has released some great radio compilations from Garrison Keillor, National Public Radio, and others. Akin to Best of ... video and DVD compilations, Guy Noir will reinforce the fandom of an age-old listener and entice neophytes into the world of Garrison Keillor, one of the great humorists in this era.

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