Saturday, November 18, 2006

This week's "back at work"

There's not much to do at work now for various reasons, so I sit and read.

Deborah Crombie: In A Dark House
Another Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James mystery. Not bad. I does still annoy me that she quite obviously writes for foreigners, i.e. the US market. A few too many cups of tea, but there are less in this book. This one is about an arsonist, and a women's shelter, and a kidnapped child (she's in the dark house). It's an okay read.

Ben Elton: Dead Famous
I never though Ben Elton wrote anything resembling crime fic, but my friend E said he did. So I picked this one up for a try. I really enjoyed it - it's slightly exaggerated, but still fun. A murder takes place in front of the cameras in the Big Brother house (except Elton calls it House Arrest). The book pokes fun at the reality tv craze - always enjoyable - and it also quite a clever whodunnit. It's even for half the book a whodiedthen, since we don't know who the victim is from the start. Definitely possible TV-script novel.

Lindsey Davis: Shadows In Bronze
The second book in the Falco series, but I hadn't read it before. I liked it more than some of the later ones, since the tentative romance between Helena Justina and Marcus Didius is well described and very moving and effectively counteracts the crime noir thing. Later in the series, when the romance is more certain, Davis tends to lose some of that emotional impact between the cynical one-liners.

Her writing style still tends to annoy me. I wish her editor would tell her to lose the ... she's so fond of at the end of sentences. It breaks the reading flow. And some of the exclamation marks too, please.

This is the one where Falco has to tidy up lose ends from the lead/silver conspiracy in the first book (The Silver Pigs). Helena Justina becomes involved since her ex-husband was.

Peter Dickinson: The Seals
Dickinson is always enjoyable to read. He assumes a lot of intelligence from his readers, and we try to make him proud, don't we? The first few pages are always difficult to follow, since he throws you straight into the story, and then gradually gives you clues to work out the background. I wonder if he's ever been filmed - I'd guess not, since you'd have to tidy up the timeline so much that much of the charm would be lost, not to mention the inner thought processes.

This one is about a religious sect whose obsession is building a stone city on a small island off the Scottish coast. A famous Nobel Prize winner has taken refuge with them - but is he protected or imprisoned? Dickinson's police hero Pibble, is summoned in secret by the old man, which sets events into motion.

Laurie R. King: The Beekeeper's Apprentice
Oh, I'd already read this, in Swedish since the library didn't have it in English. But suddenly they did, so I had to re-read it, didn't I? I love the Holmes/Russell novels. *sigh* And in contrast to many other contemporary writers setting their stories in the 20s or 30s, King doesn't make her two heroes too perfect - per definition, Holmes can never be perfect, can he? He may be a great detective, but he is often flawed as a man. And since Russell is his match, she too is not overly sickly sweet.

This first novel is almost the perfect introduction to the two partners. My only problem would be that... oh this has to be written in spoilervision I think! Highlight below to read.

Since we don't become deeply familiar with Russell's and Donleavy's relationship, her betrayal becomes less of a shock to us as readers, and Russell's emotional response a little hard to grasp in full. Thus there is a risk of Russell seeming almost a bit hysterical at the end.

It doesn't really mar the book for me though. I recommend Laurie R. King to everyone, shamelessly!


HB said...

I recommend Laurie R. King to everyone, shamelessly!
And so do I!:-) Have you read the latest one, "Locked Rooms"? I have, but I won't say anything unless you haven't read it. I'm going to buy "The Art of Dettection" as an early Christmas present for myself I think...

bani said...

I have indeed! Did I not blog about it? It might have been before I started the blog. The library has TAOD now so I'm aiming for that next. :D

Anonymous said...

Haha! You can thank me for 'The Beekeeper's Apprentice' as I was the one that ordered it (I think I told you about that).

I have a Ben Elton crime-book called 'Past Mortem': it's alright; a bit too graphic for my taste in some places, and a bit uneven in the writing, but readable. I'll try the one you read...

HB said...

You blogged about it! Before I started reading your blog, but I've read it now:-) I loved it too, but there were places where I wanted it to be a little "tighter", if that makes sense. I love that King uses lots of words (er ordrik), but a few times it felt a little slow. Still, I loved reading about San Francisco!

bani said...

The car chase at the end was the downer for me. :P

bani said...

Hey, so it was, Littlest sister of mine! I had forgotten! You rule. Rewl, even.