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Thoroughly Modern Murder Monday

What I've Finished Reading

Love Lies Bleeding turned out to be pretty good! Fen remarks at one point that he's calmed down a lot in the past ten years, which is accurate. More accurately: it's just much better constructed than The Moving Toyshop, so we don't end up stuck in a lot of cul-de-sacs with Fen doing half-formed stand-up routines, there's a complete and complicated plot instead of two-fifths of a plot and some chase sequences, and more of the humor holds up, in large part because it's less random and more plot-directed, but maybe also because it was better to begin with.

It had an unusual problem (in my experience) for murder mysteries: I wasn't convinced by the motive for murder. It wasn't an unusually petty motive as these things go, so I'm not sure what the problem is there. And given the light-n-breezy tone of the Fenverse, it probably doesn't matter much. As in The Moving Toyshop, there is a madcap car chase and [Non-central spoilers for Love Lies Bleeding]the dog dies, though the car chase is better written and the dog's death better justified. But I was very pleased with the way the Missing Wayward Teen plot worked out, after some misgivings early on. The offhand reference to "Crispin's readers" really is odd -- it comes out of nowhere and escapes into thin air. There's no harm in it, but nothing else, either. I was hoping for a little more -- robust? -- metafiction, I guess. Well, I might have to read some more Crispin to see if it ever materializes, but it probably won't be soon. Love Lies Bleeding was fun, though, and Fen's not the worst detective after all.

By far the best part of The Thin Man was the relationship between Nick and Nora Charles: unmistakably adult without being conventional or even particularly responsible. Nick is a retired detective whom events have temporarily un-retired; Nora is his independently wealthy wife. They go to parties, drink incessantly, take their dog for walks, and poke around at the underworld. I like their casual, comfortable trust in one another, and the complete absence (as far as I could tell) of an undercurrent of despair in their entertainments. The rest of The Thin Man is also pretty good: energetic and convoluted, a little sordid in the corners, but not so that it hurts. Hammett has abandoned the distracting tendency he had in The Maltese Falcon to call attention to every character's unnaturally bright eye color and eye-movements, possibly because Nick is the narrator and it would be out-of-character for Nick to keep harping on people's cobalt blue eyes like a teenage romantic.

What I'm Reading Now

Third Girl by Agatha Christie is a later Christie, in which Poirot Meets the Sixties. I have had some warning against late Christies, but I liked the creepiness of Halloween Party quite a lot, and Third Girl is off to a great start. An untidy young woman shows up at Poirot's office with an intriguing problem: how can she find out whether she's committed a murder? Poirot indulges in some judgmental thoughts about her generation and the falling standard of grooming, and before he can say anything out loud, she concludes, apologetically, that she's made a mistake; he can't possibly help her; he's too old. Poirot is hurt. He hates to be too old, even though his patent-leather shoes pinch his feet and by this point he would be over a hundred if not for Detective Stasis. He goes to see his old friend Ariadne Oliver -- there's a great bit where she yanks out one of her hair extensions in her excitement and Poirot discreetly picks it up and sets it on the table -- and they decide to investigate the problem anyway.


What I Plan to Read Next

More Cormoran Strike Adventures! I'm going to get The Silkworm out from the library, and then I'm going to read it! I really hope there will be an awkward conversation with Robin about The Leg Incident.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
liadtbunny
Jan. 18th, 2016 03:38 pm (UTC)
'The Thin Man' sounds pretty much like the film:) I'm glad the eyeballs have stopped attacking you. Were there any character with dull eye colours and eyes that didn't move?
evelyn_b
Jan. 18th, 2016 05:35 pm (UTC)
Your icon is perfect for The Maltese Falcon's eyeball problem! There were some characters who had relatively normal-colored eyes, but no one was immune from the sudden zoom-in eye closeups.

I've heard good things about the Thin Man movie!
lost_spook
Jan. 18th, 2016 08:28 pm (UTC)
Perhaps it was actually written as a report for Grant? Thus eye-colour was vital?

He hates to be too old, even though his patent-leather shoes pinch his feet and by this point he would be over a hundred if not for Detective Stasis.

:lol: Detective Stasis is a truly amazing thing!
evelyn_b
Jan. 18th, 2016 08:43 pm (UTC)
OF COURSE. Grant must have specifically requested that all eye-related details must be recorded, for the benefit of Science.

Unfortunately, Miss O'Shaughnessy's eyes are not quite dark enough to predict lying nymphomania with any accuracy, but even Nature nods.

Poirot's greatness is such that time itself has chosen to preserve him long past his natural lifespan, against the excessively complicated crimes of the future. A world without Poirot will be, if nothing else, a terrible mess. :(

Edited at 2016-01-18 08:43 pm (UTC)
liadtbunny
Jan. 19th, 2016 04:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks:) It's a Saint's eyeballs.

So good they made sequels: cute dogs and drinking it's what the people want;p
osprey_archer
Jan. 18th, 2016 09:15 pm (UTC)
Oh, poor Poirot. Dismissed as too old! I daresay he'll solve the case and dazzle the poorly-groomed girl, who will be so blown over by his example that she will doubtless comb her hair properly in the future.

Poor Poirot, though. The sixties were probably a terrible blow to his tidy mind. All those bushy unkempt mustaches and unshined shoes!
evelyn_b
Jan. 18th, 2016 09:18 pm (UTC)
I know! I can understand where the poor girl is coming from, but I was surprised by how defensive of Poirot I felt at that moment. POIROT IS ETERNAL, WHIPPERSNAPPER.
scripsi
Jan. 19th, 2016 11:05 am (UTC)
I quite like Third Girl. It's not on par to her Golden Age novels, but it's vastly better than most of her late stuff. I also suspect Poirot's views on today's grubby youth are Christie's own. :)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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