When anyone says the words “Elmore Leonard,” I get a dreamy look in my eye. I adore that guy.
with a TV show based on a book series, before having read the books themselves.
So when I finally read a Sherlock Holmes novel, I was
seeing Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Holmes and Watson. Normally,
I’d be writhing in pain at the thought of doing this backwards—watching before
reading—but in this case, I’m just rolling with it and feeling pretty darn content.
more sign that society’s gone to heck in a handbasket: a natural-born reader is
TV-addicted when it comes to Sherlock.
But there’s kind of
a happy ending here… When I read A Study
in Scarlet, I adored it. It made me happier than I ever could’ve imagined. And
part of it is because I was envisioning my two friends from the telly in the
lead roles. But also because I was discovering what aspects of the story were
used in the TV series, and I know: it’s wrong to watch before reading.
I feel like I
should apologize, but I shall not.
Instead, there’s a
very real danger that I may become a minor little non-serious, merely adoring Sherlockian.
(Dang! Should’ve kept that hardbound Sherlock Holmes set I bought as a new
librarian, convinced I’d read and love them. Finally, after more than a decade
of not reading them, I hauled them off to the library book sale. Some lucky got
a deal on uncracked bindings.)
The only thing that
mystified me—and my friend, too—was the Mormon interlude in the middle of the
book. Too long, too rambling, too weird. Other than that, this was one darn
happy reading experience.
And to think I
|(photo credit: Library of Congress)|
solemn vow I’d made to myself.
horrid little Christmas-season books—usually novellas—that are published by
bestselling authors of series?
combination of grotesque commercialism and sentimental tripe, and I can’t
swearing I’d never read one, guess what?
one of those things.
And I read it.
because of Craig Johnson. This is not going to become a habit, this reading of
the Christmas-themed mini-books.
acknowledge that even though nearly this entire book took place on a B-25
Mitchell, I still found the plot a bit thin. It was basically an adventure
story. Now I have no quarrel with that, but it didn’t result in quite the usual
Craig Johnson bliss attack I usually experience.
that when Walt Longmire was a brand new sheriff, he needed to get a little girl
flown to the hospital in Denver
after a car accident. And the weather was ghastly and the only plane that
possibly could make the flight was this old warbird. And Lucian Connally, the
crusty old feller who was sheriff before him, had been a Doolittle Raider, so
the dude could handle that kind of aircraft. And off they go.
stuff to like there: Walt, Lucian, an airplane. And a female pilot in the right
seat. A happy (of course—it’s a Christmas book, for the love of Mike) ending. And
I liked it just fine.
to do the thing Joyce Saricks suggests: apply 3 terms to describe a book.
Craig Johnson, the terms I’m choosing are:
stellar series particularly feels like a Western to me, and that’s a huge
compliment. I’ve got me a weakness for the Westerns. But it’s clearly still a
full-fledged mystery, too.
weakness for Walt Longmire. And for his friend Henry Standing Bear, too. These
fellas are the manly sort of men: they don’t say much, but when they do, it’s
pretty darn good.
undersheriff (and love interest) is pretty entertaining, too.
between Walt and Vic:
chair. ‘Can I talk now?’
talk until you show some semblance of being able to behave like a rational,
reasonable law-enforcement professional.’
not going to be able to talk for the rest of my life?’” (p. 200)
book has a plot and everything. Some Mormon fundamentalists are moving into
Walt’s county, which he discovers via a boy who’s been cast out from the group.
interesting. There are guns and shootouts and explosions and all kinds of good
crap like that. And things aren’t what
races right along (there was one point where I was turning the pages fast with my eyes wide), the thing I
continue to love about this series is its people. I like Walt’s narrative voice
and dry sense of humor, I like Henry’s use of plain language, I like Vic’s
cursing, and I like the strong sense of teamwork that infuses these stories.
by Laurie R. King
Mary Russell with amnesia. And, as even the characters in the book remark,
that’s something that usually happens only in books that need it as a plot
King has returned to fine form.
series, but that’s the situation.
returns) get involved in the labyrinthine politics of 1924 Morocco, and
people are getting kidnapped and shot at and run down by cars, and it’s all
reappear here, which adds a blast-from-the-past aspect to an otherwise
thing that’ll stick with me about this book is the way Mary recognized Holmes
as belonging to her tribe even before she was able to remember who he was. That
was rather lovely.
Rose by Jack Fredrickson
his mystery series, and it’s as good as the 1st.
continues to spar with the city officials who claim the property for themselves.
it’s time to move on, dude.)
wonderfully weird friend Leo is still hanging around being odd and
latest case: he’s asked to investigate the death of a clown (Scary! Clowns are
hella scary!) who plunged to his death off a roof while performing a stunt.
Yup, probably it was murder.
know at first who actually hired him. So that’s the second mystery to solve.
Grave by Dana Stabenow
series I wish Stabenow’d return to.
more than one series—she goes and has the detectives meet. Love.It!
that’s pretty interesting. I sorta kinda like it when a detective leaves her
home base and treks out on her own, without her their usual posse accompanying
her. It’s almost like a character study in a way.
pilot, because his wife Wy, also a pilot, had had words with the guy right before his death. So the townspeople are
a-talkin’. So Kate and Mutt are on the case, and mayhem ensues.
some of the ins and outs of this plot didn’t really stick with me (actually, I didn’t really stick with them) because my attention was all
wandering all over creation while I was trying to read.
does all the stuff mysteries are supposed to do, and plus it’s got two
remarkable detectives in it. What’s not to like?
Talking about Detective Fiction by
(Actually, I wasn’t precisely reading them both at the very same time, because there is a limit to my multi-tasking
abilities. But I was reading them during the same timeframe.)
maybe… (and I actually think this is the reason)… maybe I just got too darn
good an education during library school.
about the Golden Age mystery writers: Yeah, I learned that in library school.
And that, too! So this (audio)book was kinda boring, a little bit.
somewhere around disc 4 (of 4). That’s where James started talking about her
own writing, and that was darn interesting. For example, she learned from
Agatha Christie’s experience (of getting annoyed with Hercule Poirot’s
oddities) not to make her main character too quirky. And she writes about the
inspiration for the settings of some of her books, and that’s good stuff, too.
|some of my Agathas
(just don’t look too close: dust bunnies!
…because reading’s way more fun than dusting)
some people are. Sure, Christie’s characters were cardboard cut-outs, but
guys—that lady could write one heck of a plot! During junior high and high
school, I read every darn Agatha Christie mystery I could get my hands on, and
I’ve still got a boatload of them on my shelves today. I’ve a fondness for
those old things.
acknowledging her weaknesses… and rather forgiving them, it seems.
If you’re a huge P.D. James fan and just can’t get enough of her viewpoint, or if you’re interested in learning the basics of the 19th- and early 20th-century roots of the mystery novel, this book might hold your attention better than it did mine. I just felt like I was watching a re-run of a documentary I’d already seen.
Pemberley by P.D. James
justice, it’s P.D. James. And I think she does.
feel like a dreadful ingrate, because the book’s darn good and decently
captures the feeling of both P & P and
a decent historical mystery.
feel like it’s somewhat bogus when anyone (even Baroness James herself) deigns
to write a sequel to a classic. There’s something in me that just kind of looks
askance on such a thing, even when I know it’s been done by an expert.
ends up dead in the Pemberley woods. And that’s decidedly not OK, because Pemberley is meant to be all that is good and calm
and decent. And it appears that the horrid Wickham has murdered his friend
(heck, he even confesses).
where I actually had the feeling I was reading an Anne Perry novel (during the
trial at the Old Bailey). This isn’t a bad thing, just odd.
always a fine thing in a mystery, and it all made sense and rang true and did all the things a sequel is meant to do.
really find Paretsky’s (or is it Warshawski’s?) tone annoyingly self-righteous.
I really have a hard time getting over that.
this series, but this one… this one I decided to finish.*
reading this series: Paretsky can craft a mighty fine mystery. I like her plots
the rich people are always evil and the poor people are always noble. And
Warshawski will defend—to the death, if
necessary!—those poor people from those rich ones.
all the more. I’m serious.