The Great British Bump-Off
The Great British Bump-Off is an ideal high concept, and one right up my alley: a murder mystery set during a baking show. And it’s by John Allison, whose Giant Days I loved, and illustrated by his collaborator on that series, Max Sarin.
I was trying to read it issue by issue, earlier this year, but there’s so much going on that I couldn’t keep track of the characters, so this collected edition is a much better approach for me.
Shauna is thrilled to have been invited onto the show “UK Bakery Tent”, but her other skills are in more demand once one of the contestants is poisoned. (The character was formerly a child detective, in Allison’s Bad Machinery webcomic, but that’s not necessary to know. I only looked it up because I was curious to know more, a feeling I love to have after reading a comic.)
There’s plenty of humour and hijinks here, from the co-host, a cat named Primrose, to the variety of competitors. It’s a joy to read, from the cartooning to the insight — this is the kind of thing that requires a lot of knowledge to parody so insightfully. (Read more about Allison’s inspirations in this interview.) The various cast members are all beautifully delineated in just a scene each.
The mystery is legitimate, and I was thrilled to follow through the twists and turns. A fun, entertaining read, particularly if you enjoy watching The Great British Bake-Off.