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Murder for Miles Monday

What I've Finished Reading

Murder at the ABA is a very minor treat, if you don't mind Isaac Asimov's Twentieth Century Horndog persona, and an irritating waste of time if you do. I'm somewhere in the middle, I think. It should be noted, if you're planning to read this book, that the 20thC.HD is essential to the narrative and cannot be overlooked for the sake of a good time. Honestly, even if you're horndog-neutral I think your patience might be tested. Every single female character will be assessed for fuckability by Darius Just, the smug and genial narrator; those who come up short on the Darius Just Scale of Would I Tap That are given the consolation prize of an off-the-cuff psychoanalysis explaining how their low score has shaped their personality and outlook.

Did I like it, though? Maybe "like" is too strong a word. I enjoyed reading it. The mystery is neither great nor insultingly weak, though dedicated mystery fans will probably think the red herrings look a little pale. Darius Just gets his friend Isaac Asimov to help him solve a mystery in exchange for a ready-made plot (i.e., the plot of this book). Just seems to be a stand-in for Asimov's friend Harlan Ellison (all my evidence for this is internal, but it looks likely) and the book is really an excuse for the two of them to mock-bicker self-deprecatingly, make a long paper-chain of inside jokes, and chortle about their inverse preferences in re: the female form. The inordinate amount of time spent on the murder victim's embarrassing sexual proclivity is probably also an inside joke. There are lots and lots of shallow digs at "libbers" (if these so-called women want equality so much, why don't they check their own coats? SHEESH), because it's 1976, and every seventy-five pages or so Asimov will remind you that Several Attractive Black Women Also Exist in This Book, Albeit Without Any Lines. Because it's 1976! Murder at the ABA is peak "of its time."

What I'm Reading Now

The Brass Rainbow by Michael Collins:

You can't really feel better by hitting a man weaker than you. At least, I never could. Maybe that's why I never made my mark in the world.

That's one of the first things Dan Fortune says, which pretty much guarantees that I'm going to like Dan Fortune, unless and until he starts shooting people left and right. Dan's a private detective who lost one of his arms in a vaguely defined juvenile delinquency incident during his misspent youth. He's well versed in the oblique figurative language and confusion that make up most of the private-detection skill set. Right now, he's trying to keep the cops off his hotheaded friend's back, and not having much luck. I originally bought this book for its cheesy pulp cover (three women undressing in the same room, while an affronted-looking man bursts in through a tiny door in the background) but it stands a good chance of being better than I expected.

What I Plan to Read Next

Three Act Murder, which isn't called Three Act Tragedy at all. Either orderofbooks.com has some inaccuracies, or it got a new name in America.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
liadtbunny
Aug. 1st, 2017 05:59 pm (UTC)
I like the cut of Fortune's jib based on a sentence too. I can't help imagining Adam Adamant being the upset man bursting in on the ladies. Ladies should be fully covered at all times!

Think I'll give Murder at the ABA a miss, I don't think Asimov would mind.
evelyn_b
Aug. 7th, 2017 12:08 pm (UTC)
He is a stand-up guy in a falling-down world!

I've never seen Adam Adamant, but I feel sure it's only a matter of time.
liadtbunny
Aug. 7th, 2017 03:12 pm (UTC)
With at least two f-listers AAL resistance is futile!;p
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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