Monday, April 11, 2011

Less Thrilling Mysteries

For whatever reason, my latest two mysteries were much less thrilling and interesting than past ones. I guess I shouldn't compare everyone to Chandler but these two at least didn't seem to stand alone as good writing but merely fit the bill as a "good read" in the mystery category.

The Case of the Gilded Fly was almost a three star but it was enjoyable and a quick read so I won't go that low. Too many literary allusions--like Lord Peter Wimsey on a really bad day. Especially since the book ends on a quote that's only alluded to and not spelled out at all. I tried hunting for the reference in the novel and also online but to no avail. Oh well, not that interested to know anyway, unfortunately. Other than that, I enjoyed the story. Kind of a locked room mystery. Not told from the perspective of the "detective", an Oxford literary scholar, but mostly from that of one of his former students who was one of the few with a solid alibi. I kind of liked it that detective was rather annoying to most people and had some personality flaws. It made him more amusing and took away from the excessive allusions.

The Cape Cod Mystery, however, I did call a three star. This is the first in the Asey Mayo series that I think all take place in Cape Cod. Asey Mayo is a handyman and is billed as a typical Cape Cod local, complete with odd speech patterns and incredible insight into human beings. That being said, I found it kind of boring. Too much conversation and not enough character development to help me keep track of who the various characters were. You know it's a bad sign when you have to remind yourself to take special note of who is speaking and stretch to remember if she's the young, pretty one or the older, overweight one. Mayo employed Miss Marple's technique of people reminding her of people she knew and their actions not straying from their type. This did make me wonder whether Agatha Christie stole this idea from Taylor but the characterization issues made this a little hard to buy. One point of interest was the historical details--the vacation house had electricity which was novel and a major point of the plot hinged on the bathing house and its key.

1. Sweet Danger by Margery Allingham
2. Busman's Honeymoon by Dorothy Sayers
3. The Chinese Parrot by Earl Derr Biggers
4. Detection Unlimited by Georgette Heyer
5. The Case of the Gilded Fly by Edmund Crispin
6. something by Ellery Queen
7. Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler
8. Singing in the Shrouds by Ngaio Marsh
9. Black Orchids by Rex Stout
10. The Silent Speaker by Rex Stout
11. The Cape Cod Mystery by Phoebe Atwood Taylor
12. The Big Clock by Kenneth Fearing
13. The Old Man in the Corner by Baroness Orczy
14. The High Window by Raymond Chandler
15. The Lady in the Lake by Chandler
16. The Little Sister by Chandler
17. The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler

1 comment:

Bev Hankins said...

I'm sorry you weren't as taken with these two as your previous reads for the challenge. I love Edmund Crispin, but then I have a thing for academic mysteries. I find the Phoebe Atwood Taylor books to be something I have to be in the mood for. When I am, I like them very much. But when I'm not....