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A Very Meager Murder Monday

What I've Finished Reading

The Chinese characters in this book are fictitious, but the background is not. Such inaccuracies as exist are due to my own inability to concentrate upon that which has been shown me, and, in turn, to depict what I have seen. [. . .] Lest some of the things in this book seem exaggerated, may I observe that the most scholarly talk on concentration I have ever listened to was by a Chinese; that the one man I have met who seemed to have a perfect command of the English language, summoning with effortless ease the words by which he expressed the most subtle nuances of meaning, was Chinese; that the most satisfactory friendships I have ever enjoyed were with Chinese. [. . .] I am not a novelist. I wish that I were But lest the reader consider the Chinese atmosphere in this book overdrawn, I assure him that I have known the exact counterpart of the characters described. I have had Chinese friends unhesitatingly risk their lives in my behalf. I am indebted to them for a most fascinating system of mental discipline, and I herewith make public acknowledgement of that indebtedness.

I was a little surprised to find this postscript at the end of Murder Up My Sleeve, a decidedly pulpy story in which Chinese concentration techniques are the source of Terry Clane's preternatural detective powers (and possibly also the reason why every female character is in love with Terry Clane), and where characters regularly monologue at one another about the nature of their respective races, with eyes that are flashing or inscrutable as nature dictates. The attempt at a multicultural cityscape is interesting, even if Gardner's convoluted plots and Hollywood dialogue are a little outside my taste.

What I'm Reading Now

I've been packing up the remaining inventory for our (now defunct) used bookstore, and taking home a lot of the books I was planning to read eventually. One of them is The Seven Per Cent Solution by Nicholas Meyer, one of the most famous Holmes pastiches and a Most Frequently Donated book. It's not bad at all so far! There's the obligatory manuscript history complete with obligatory reference to the long history of Watson forgeries. Watson, in spite of his warning to readers that "my style may appear dissimilar to that of my earlier writing because this adventure of Sherlock Holmes is totally unlike any that I have ever recorded," is familiar and recognizable, at least so far. Holmes has been raving about someone called Moriarty, but in the morning he doesn't remember anything about him. Is it too much cocaine, or something more sinister? I guess we'll find out.

What I Plan to Read Next

There's one more library I have to check for The Seven Dials Mystery. Maybe I'll be able to get out there tomorrow. Maybe.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
lost_spook
Jan. 30th, 2017 06:34 pm (UTC)
Is it too much cocaine, or something more sinister? I guess we'll find out.

Or probably part of Holmes's plan, which he will explain to Watson presently and Watson will forgive him.

(I might be re-erading some actual Holmes now. ;-D)

(Also, btw, in a charity shop I picked up a 1920s-set murder mystery called Death of an Avid Reader. How could any bookworm resist? I felt you would have done the same in my position.)
evelyn_b
Jan. 31st, 2017 12:02 am (UTC)
I felt you would have done the same in my position.

You know I would! :D

This book will probably nudge me back to Actual Holmes for a bit. I'm reminded of how much I like Watson as a narrator. <3
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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