?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Everything's Coming Up Murder Monday

Finished: The Man in the Queue. The best part was how wrong Grant was about everything, from beginning to end. Oh, yeah, he can totally tell that the killer wasn't English based on the dagger and how sneaky the killing was! NOPE. WRONG. He fails so thoroughly on so many levels and it's beautiful. There is absolutely no way he would have closed this case at all if not for the benevolence of the author, who provides a confession ex machina so that Grant can sit helplessly in his office and contemplate his wrongness from all angles.

There is a weird moment at the end where we're asked to consider whether a certain minor character is ACTUALLY responsible for the murder in some way, and it's like Tey is jabbing us in the ribs going, "Right? RIGHT?" but actually the only evidence we have for that character's culpabiliy is Grant's face detection and WILD speculation earlier in the book, which we have already seen is an unreliable method at best.

It was good, though. It dragged a little toward the end, but I love Tey's will to make the detective a complete failure by all accepted standards of good detection, and how much his failings endeared him to me at the same time that they convinced me he should be fired immediately before he does any more damage.

Also finished: An Old Betrayal, the next-to-last book in the Most Comfortable Man in London series, turned out beautifully. Of course [SPOILER]McConnell wasn't having an affair! He's a major minor character in The Coziest Series Ever, what do you think? He was secretly working at a children's hospital!. The rival detective agency subplot was resolved in the most ridiculously delightful way possible, Lenox's vocational angst has been temporarily quelled, and everything is sunshine and roses, except for the murderer :(

Began: Overture to Death, by Ngaio Marsh. The true mystery of this book is: Is there anything Ngaio Marsh loves better than to stage a murder in the middle of a public performance? (probably not). The other true mystery: Is Agatha Troy going to show up? It's a hundred pages in and she hasn't been mentioned, but it's also been mostly pre-murder setup and we're just now getting Scotland Yard on the phone. The long lead-in is all about contentious small-town amateur theatricals and a pushy High Church contingent insisting on confessions so that they can gossip about each other clandestinely. Marsh's description of the ways in which each performer has their own unique way of not learning their lines is very funny and apt. At the same time, it feels like she's pushing us a little too hard and too early to dislike all these characters, and I find myself resenting it a little? I think I'd rather wait until the post-mortem to get my faceful of ugly secrets.

Here Marsh uses internal monologue to get inside the heads of most of the amateur players, and all the monologues are so petty, vicious and calculating that they either come back around to being pitiful or create the impression that the author is protesting too much. Either way I just end up feeling bad for everyone. There's a lot of oddly earnest-seeming armchair psychology about sex-starved spinsters and I'm not sure where it's going -- I hope it's straight to Feminist Satire Junction, but it remains to be seen at this point. Hey, maybe we'll get some kind of parallel with Troy's anxiety about sex! I don't think I actually want Troy's anxiety about sex to be a major plot point, but I will happily accept it if it means more Troy in the frame.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
lost_spook
May. 25th, 2015 08:02 am (UTC)
The other true mystery: Is Agatha Troy going to show up? It's a hundred pages in and she hasn't been mentioned

I think when Troy is in a book, she's in it fairly quickly usually, if she's going to be a pov character? Also, do your editions not have the list of characters at the front? All mine do. So you can see, and then not waste your time waiting for her if she isn't going to appear, which she often doesn't, because Alleyn just goes to work like a regular person and doesn't always drag his wife and family into everything all the time. Just sometimes Troy goes to paint someone/something/on a canal boat and people die all over her again.
evelyn_b
May. 25th, 2015 01:45 pm (UTC)
The library has a bunch of different editions; some of them have the cast of characters in the front, some do not. This one I think does not. The next one, Death at the Bar, does have the list.

So you can see, and then not waste your time waiting for her if she isn't going to appear, which she often doesn't, Alleyn just goes to work like a regular person and doesn't always drag his wife and family into everything all the time.

Aw. But I like wondering. Alleyn's work-life separation is admirable as always, but Troy always brightens the room (with awkwardness).
lost_spook
May. 25th, 2015 04:04 pm (UTC)
Ah - well, all the UK editions have the Dramatis Personae at the front, or at least all the ones I've ever seen, which was why I was puzzled as to why you wouldn't know when Troy was in the book or not! How could someone take that away from a Ngaio Marsh?? Why would they do that? (I do think, though, that if she's there, she's usually there much earlier than that, I'm afraid!)

Troy will be back, I promise, but it might be a few books yet! ;-)

ETA: I really don't remember Overture to Death. I wonder why? Maybe the spinster thing was bad and I didn't like it? Hmm...

Edited at 2015-05-25 04:41 pm (UTC)
evelyn_b
May. 25th, 2015 05:25 pm (UTC)
I am reserving judgment on the spinster thing, but it does seem. . . a little more overheated than I would expect from Ngaio Marsh, I guess? Well, I'll wait till I've finished the book before I try to figure out what's going on.

Troy should probably steer clear of this ambiguously misogynist hothouse, anyway, and do some portrait commissions for American millionaires or something. It's all for the best!

lost_spook
May. 26th, 2015 07:01 am (UTC)
I am having a memory of some book I really hated for that reason, but it does seem odd that it would be Ngaio Marsh, but it could be. I hope not! I hope it was some other old thing I read; there were plenty of them!

Troy should probably steer clear of this ambiguously misogynist hothouse, anyway, and do some portrait commissions for American millionaires or something. It's all for the best!

I'm sure that's exactly what's she's doing. She and Alleyn do mostly just get on with their jobs (and no doubt are being awkward with each other when we're not looking). :-)
osprey_archer
May. 25th, 2015 06:42 pm (UTC)
I had to sit on my hands when you were fretting about McConnell's possible infidelity to Toto. It was too good a reveal to spoil!
evelyn_b
May. 25th, 2015 07:14 pm (UTC)
I WAS SO WORRIED. I kept thinking, "Oh, no, really? No! Finch-Lenox is NOT going to go there. . . is he??"

And then he didn't! COMFORT RESTORED.

Edited at 2015-05-25 07:15 pm (UTC)
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

Profile

blase ev
evelyn_b
evelyn_b

Latest Month

August 2017
S M T W T F S
  12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Tags

Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Lilia Ahner