I still don't believe in the gumshoe. He's a pulp character in a book that otherwise takes its characters from real life. But he's less macho than he first appears- and engagingly hapless. You could remove him from the narrative and- with a little spatch-cocking- it would still work fine. He pootles about, missing chances, getting duffed up- and isn't even the most interesting of the three or four characters whose progress we follow. That, btw, would be Tracy the police superintendent and child abductor. The best thing about him is his relationship with his dog.
Otherwise, Atkinson is an antidote to Scandi-noir. She deals with ghastly stuff- dead prozzies, the Yorkshire Ripper, police corruption, child abuse, Alzheimers, Disneyland Paris- and- without trivializing- makes us laugh out loud.