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One Corpse Too Many Monday

I finally finished One Corpse Too Many! I'm not 100% sure what I think of it. I liked it and admired it, but it was always a little at arm's length. It took me longer to get into than the first Agatha Christie book, and it still never completely fell into place for me.

I think I had certain genre expectations for it that it couldn't reasonably have met. The quick and sparkling snark-fountain prose style that I'm used to from the Golden Agers wouldn't suit the medieval setting, for example, while Ellis Peters' writing does, but I kept sort of subconsciously expecting it to move more like my idea of a murder mystery. What it's actually doing is interesting and balanced and thoughtful, but I kept finding that one part of my mind was admiring it while the other was getting bogged down.

Still, I liked it well enough that I'll probably pick up the next book sooner rather than later. Like I said earlier, Ellis Peters obviously loves and respects her medieval setting, and it's really fun to see the fusion of murder-mystery tropes with a decent simulacrum of medieval attitudes and practices (There is a trial by combat! It's suspenseful!) Plus, it has surprising and appealing side characters, a likable detective (who manages to be delightfully genre-typical despite being a twelfth-century monk), a pulpy plot and some fairly judicious infodumping, and it's genuinely well-written despite whatever was causing my weird attention-deficit problem.

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
lost_spook
Jul. 20th, 2015 08:24 pm (UTC)
Aw, well done on finishing it anyway! I hope Monk's Hood does work better for you - from my memory, it is easier going than OCTM, but I haven't re-read any in a while. I must sometimes. The world is always better for a little of Cadfael and his sense of compassion. (And Hugh! I can say that Hugh and his friendship with Cadfael is one of the strengths of it now that you've made it this far. \o/)
evelyn_b
Jul. 21st, 2015 12:29 am (UTC)
Awww, Hugh. Well, we'll see! Hopefully they'll have it at the library.

I keep forgetting they don't have any Margery Allingham novels (because why wouldn't they?), and looking for them and then getting discouraged and forgetting what else I came in for. But next time I go, I will remember to pick up Monk's Hood
lost_spook
Jul. 21st, 2015 07:16 am (UTC)
Considering all the books they do have, a lack of Allingham is a bit strange!
evelyn_b
Jul. 21st, 2015 01:00 pm (UTC)
The public library (where I was yesterday getting more Doctor Who to watch) has almost nothing. They don't even have individual Jane Austen novels; I thought I could pick up Sense & Sensibility while I was there, but they only had a massive five-novel omnibus that I didn't feel like carrying.

The university library has most things and almost certainly will have Allingham, but I haven't been over there in the past week because it's been so hot
wordsofastory
Jul. 20th, 2015 11:41 pm (UTC)
Oh, I really like the idea of a 12th century murder mystery. I'll have to add this to my to-read list.
evelyn_b
Jul. 21st, 2015 12:30 am (UTC)
It's totally interesting and pretty well done! And Br. Cadfael is, like I said, super likable.
wordsofastory
Jul. 21st, 2015 12:33 am (UTC)
I'd heard of Cadfael before, but had somehow cultural-osmosis'd the idea that he was a modern-day priest. Finding out the truth makes me much more interested!
evelyn_b
Jul. 21st, 2015 12:35 am (UTC)
So much better! He's a former Crusader whose heart has turned against violence. <3
osprey_archer
Jul. 21st, 2015 03:19 am (UTC)
I don't remember which Cadfael book I read, but I had a similar experience of feeling rather at arms length from it. I'm not sure why I felt distanced like that, but I did and it was rather frustrating.
evelyn_b
Jul. 21st, 2015 03:58 am (UTC)
I'm not totally sure, either! It was full of things that I liked, and yet. . . (?)
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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