The phenomenal popularity of Terry Pratchett’s work has transcended his initial pigeonholing as a fantasy writer and seen him enter the world of mainstream literature. His Discworld series, increasingly a vehicle for scalpel-sharp social and political satire, has garnered comparisons to Wodehouse and Waugh, although Pratchett’s true antecedent in imagination, wit and moral outrage is surely Dickens.
The Discworld universe is so firmly established by now that each successive book can only offer variations on previous themes. Certainly Snuff’s plot is formulaic, focused on Sam Vimes’ involvement in a murder mystery that leads him down a well-trodden path of simmering class tensions, battles with inner darkness and action balancing high drama with absurdity.
Familiarity with previous work can make Snuff seem insubstantial at times, but the book rapidly warms up and remains studded with flights of inventiveness, wordplay and comic payoffs which recall Pratchett’s writing at its best, making it, ultimately, a satisfying read.