4th Estate, £10 stg

"One of you is about to commit a heinous crime." That was the only message in the letter to be opened in the presence of the members of Toots Books' (aka James Imbusch) Coffee Table. One by one they all shook their heads and vehemently denied having sent it. After much discussion Walter, the former taxi-driver detective, decided they should all keep an eye on each other.

Toots thinks that he's cracked it when he hears reports that his eccentric friend Droney is seen acting nefariously. However, as Toots' tragic life unfolds through the book it becomes clear that he is the subject of the letter. Toots' marriage broke down and his wife retreated into a convent shortly after the death of their only child. The death weighed heavily on his mind – the child drowned as Toots left him alone to place a bet on a horse (the horse didn't even win).

'Sing!' is a very odd book. Not immediately likeable, Michael Curtin's latest novel grows on you. The book takes its title from Droney who has the word tattooed on his bum – his greatest wish is for the world to sing! Full of quirky, eccentric characters, many with tragic backgrounds, 'Sing!' is wonderfully written and not without a touch of dark humour.

Joanne Ahern