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Murder and Mondayness

Cross-posted to Dreamwidth

What I've Finished Reading

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky! Raskolnikov, who used to be a law student in Saint Petersburg but now just lies around on his couch all day not drinking tea and wondering if he should kill this old pawnbroker he knows, finally decides to take decisive action! I don't think it's too much of a spoiler to say it doesn't go as well as he'd hoped.

What I'm Reading Now

"I know, dear," said Miss Marple, "that your books are very clever. But do you think that people are really so unpleasant as you make them out to be?"

"My dear aunt," said Raymond gently, "keep your beliefs. Heaven forbid that I should in any way shatter them."

"I mean," said Miss Marple, puckering her brow a little as she counted the stitches in her knitting, "that so many people seem to me not to be either bad or good, but simply, you know, very silly."

If I'd known that The Thirteen Problems was the same book as The Tuesday Club Murders I might have saved myself some trouble, but no worries! Raymond West starts a club for figuring out unsolved mysteries, but it's no fun because Miss Marple just guesses them all right away.

Sometimes there are jarring moments. I am sorry that Miss Marple feels the need to make digs at "that class" when she knows perfectly well that no class is immune from remembering things as more significant and exciting than they are once an officer shows up to ask questions about them. And it contradicts her running theme that people aren't really different from each other in the ways they think. But that just shows that I've internalized an ideal of Miss Marple that is a little freer from prejudice than the on-page Miss Marple; the same thing happened with Inspector Alleyn.

And at least one of the solutions is a little too Encyclopedia Brown-ish for me: she knows the man can't really have been a gardener, because gardeners never work on Monday! Well, maybe. But overall this is an excellent showcase for Miss Marple's uncanny talent for picking out the murderer in any room.

I finally started The Gentle Axe! It's pretty good. A tall man and a dwarf have been found murdered in a park, but nothing about the scene is exactly as it seems. Porfiry Petrovich, Crime and Punishment's investigating magistrate, annoys everyone by insisting on autopsies and following suspects around, smoking and blinking at them. Stylistically, it's not trying to do a one-to-one pastiche of Dostoevsky, which would almost certainly have been a disaster, but R. N. Morris has a good ear. Porfiry Petrovich and all of the characters are a little quieter and less grotesque than they are in Dostoevsky, which is probably advisable. Some of the Crime and Punishment callbacks feel a little too on the nose right now, even if my suspicion is correct and the nervous starving student turns out to be a red herring, but it's not hurting anything yet.

What I Plan to Read Next

The Hound of Death, another short story collection by Agatha Christie - which I couldn't find at first because I'd either written it down as "The Hand of Death" or wrote it down too sloppily to read again. Also hanging out in the waiting room (my floor): Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett and The Apple in the Dark by Clarice Lispector.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
liadtbunny
Apr. 25th, 2017 02:14 pm (UTC)
Oops, you've copy and pasted your reviews twice.

Any mystery club with Miss Marple as a member is going to have to change its title soon yes:D
evelyn_b
Apr. 25th, 2017 03:48 pm (UTC)
Aw, no. :( That's the second time this week! I wonder if it's a technical problem or if I'm just tired? probably the latter. Sorry about that!

Eventually they'll have to start a secret Everyone But Miss Marple mystery club if they want to get any real practice solving mysteries.
liadtbunny
Apr. 26th, 2017 01:58 pm (UTC)
Yes!! Except Miss Marple would work out it was going one and find out where they met, curses;p
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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