Thursday, April 13, 2006

Staying off the Internet for Good Friday, therefore in an Update Panic, and how long can the title be? Pretty long, it seems.

That's the plan. So then of course I get really antsy and feel that OMG, I need to blog now, don't I? But I feel so restless and can't focus on giving my books and posts the TLC they deserve. Although, some books don't deserve TLC. I have recently started on two books that I just abandoned due to crapness. This is a skill (?) I have picked up in my old age. In my, like, youth I could not not finish a book, but hitting 30 and starting to sport a fetching moustache has made me realise that life is, indeed, much to short. So the books I ditched are The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern by Lilian Jackson Brown, and The Poisoned Chalice by Paul Doherty. The first one just didn't grip me, but I'll keep it around, just in case war breaks out and I become really desperate for something to read. The second is, according to the cover, the "best of its kind since the death of Ellis Peters". My arse it is. God, I was bored stiff with the narrator cum hero ten pages in. Argh. Could not cope. If you think frolic is a good word to use in a sexual context you might like this.

But this leads me on to Ellis Peters, whom I have read. Again. Yay! An Excellent Mystery is the latest find. I may have read all her Cadfael novels now, but I'm not completely sure. I am especially not sure if I view this as a good thing (job well done, closure) or with a sense of loss... Her other books are much harder to get a hold of, and they are a little less captivating. Her style works so brilliantly in a mediaeval (ha! spelt right on first attempt!) context.

In AEM the abbey recieves two brothers who are refugees from the war. Their home abbey has been burned to the ground and their brethren scattered. One is a former Crusade hero, the other his devoted mute helper. One day a soldier who used to serve under Crusade Hero's command turns up, to ask his blessing as he goes to court the hero's former betrothed. However, it turns out that the woman, who was supposed to have become a nun, has disappeared. And the hunt is on for clues, and meanwhile things are tense in Shrewsbury Abbey...

This book has a "gay" theme, much more explicitly than I expected. One of the brothers of the abbey is tormented by memories of the woman who scorned him and drove him to take vows. He is now tempted by two of the younger and better-looking brothers, and tries to find ways to get physical with them. Since this is Ellis Peters it doesn't get ugly, of course. No rape on her watch. But it's interesting that she isn't afraid to breach the issue. Well, and Brother Sex-Mad isn't gay even, he's just desperate. Which is also nice, that he isn't gay and therefore crazy. He's straight and crazy. Or temporarily so. In general there is theme of scandal in this book - brothers who can't stay away from tempations of the flesh, women in the monastery... I recommend it. It might not be a novel to bring to the Pride Parade... but it's enjoyable and thought-provoking.

After that I read an Agatha Christie I had nicked from Daddy's (who we helped move to a new flat last weekend - a great source of stress and anguish and another reason for not blogging). Murder on the Links, featuring Hercule Poirot. I'm not a mad Christie fan, and this isn't one of her strongest novels, IMO. I can't be arsed to go into detail, suffice it to say that the victim is found in a grave dug in a golf course. In France. It's set in France. However, it gets bonus points for Poirot being a little less of a caricature than usual. Well, not that I've read many Poirot mysteries or anything, but I remember him as a caricature, and I've never been that keen.

I also had borrowed a Margery Allingham novel, The Crime at Black Dudley, but I think I've read it. It starts with a dagger hunt in a dark house - pretty distinctive, and I know I've read that before... but for the life of me the rest is a blank. I can't have enjoyed it that much then, so I probably shouldn't bother re-reading, right?

Anyway, a Happy Easter to all of you who happen to read this! May you all find time for some påskekrim, regardless of where you are!

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