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Better Late than Murder Monday

What I've Finished Reading

"He books it into that little playground there. I mean the guy is zooming like the Road Runner, skidding through the gravel and the slush and everything. I'm yelling, 'Police, police! Stop, motherfucker!'"

"You do not yell, 'Stop, motherfucker.'"

"I do. Because you know, Palace, this is it. This is the last chance I get to run after a perp yelling, 'Stop, motherfucker.'"

I really enjoyed The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters, about a tenacious detective at the end of the world. I think this is my first official example of [Spoiler (click to open)]that "detective's new girlfriend is murdered for extra angst" plot I've been hearing about. I didn't mind it here, though I would probably start to mind it if it happened in every book. Hank Palace is a guy who likes to get his work done. He makes some mistakes and almost drops the case entirely, but eventually he keeps on because it's his job. Every now and then he meets other people who like to get their work done, even in the shadow of the end of everything.

There is a sequel, Countdown City, which I'll probably read. But I feel a little anxious about it -- I don't know if I want to get to October when the asteroid lands. I would rather leave Hank Palace where he is, faithfully getting his work done because he's alive right now and that's what you do when you're alive.

What I Didn't Read

I made a game attempt to listen to a previously unread Agatha Christie book, Cat Among the Pigeons - I thought Christie's writing style might be clear enough to allow me to follow along - but no luck. I immediately became attached to the classic Christie hypercompetent PA character at the beginning, but then she vanished and suddenly some plummy dudes were talking about the plot and I was completely at sea. With the L. K. Hamilton book, I didn't care what was going on and could just enjoy the free-floating goofiness and all the Mary Sue monologues about bra holsters and expensive dinners and the annoying burden of responsibility. But trying and failing to listen to a new-to-me book by an author I like was too frustrating; I had to bail after the first thirty minutes.

I should note that the very entertaining narrator of Burnt Offerings was Kimberly Alexis. The narrator for Cat Among the Pigeons was Hugh Fraser, who plays Hastings in the Poirot TV show and is delightful. Here he's a little too aggressively squeaky on the female voices, but generally ok, I think (I was too sad about not being able to follow the story to judge).

What I'm Reading Now

In A Clutch of Constables (1968!), Troy attempts to relax after her latest gallery show by taking a peaceful riverboat vacation all by herself. Surely murder won't tread on the innocent heels of this harmless artist whose only mistake was to marry a detective! Surely! Luckily, Troy is Troy and can take just about anything in stride. So far, Troy has been quizzed about her full name by one of Marsh's hysterical spinsters, and there has been an awkward flurry of interest when "a coloured man" joins the party. The narration wants me to join Troy in wishing her far away, but I like the spinster for this book -- a nice mix of vintage and late-sixties cliches.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 31st, 2016 02:25 am (UTC)
May. 31st, 2016 01:12 pm (UTC)
OH TROY. I bet she wishes sometimes that Alleyn had warned her before they married that becoming a detective's wife meant that mysteries would swarm to her like moths to a flame. Especially when all she wants is a nice relaxing holiday.
Jun. 1st, 2016 12:33 pm (UTC)
"never marry a detective" was one of the very first lessons I learned from detective fiction. The problem is that no one ever believes they're a fictional character in a genre with fairly rigid rules, until it's too late. But you can't blame Alleyn; he does the best he can. And to be fair, out of the 30+ murders in the series, Troy is personally inconvenienced by only a few. That is still more murders than one might like, but she went in with her eyes open.

Still, it's too bad that she can't go on a relaxing riverboat cruise all by herself without an INTERNATIONAL CRIME RING descending. What is an international crime ring even doing on a tourist boat? Spoiling Troy's vacation, that's what. :(
Jun. 1st, 2016 12:52 pm (UTC)
Someday all the detectives should go on a riverboat cruise together. Maybe the combined weight of their detectiveness would discombobulate the fates and they would for once manage to have a whole vacation without a murder.
Jun. 5th, 2016 11:57 pm (UTC)
That would be a good day. They could compare cases and argue about methodology and get into strident disagreements and maybe glare at each other a little but then decide to relax and play cards or listen to the sounds of the river instead, until the boat operator was found dead the sun set and the stars came out. Probably they will have to figure out how to run the boat themselves, to minimize the number of potential victims, but they are a smart bunch more or less; it shouldn't be a problem.
May. 31st, 2016 03:50 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed the quote at the top:) If it's nearly the end of the world you might as well, hee.
Jun. 1st, 2016 12:38 pm (UTC)
You might as well do a lot of things!

One thing I really liked about The Last Policeman was that it was a pretty even-handed picture of the end of the world. People react in all kinds of ways (including by using the movie-cop lines they thought they wouldn't get to us in real life).
May. 31st, 2016 04:40 pm (UTC)
Surely murder won't tread on the innocent heels of this harmless artist whose only mistake was to marry a detective!

Well, by that time she was already stumbling into murders anyway & might as well at least have the advantage of marrying Alleyn while she was at it, I suppose. :-)

(I said it was the Troy book; I didn't lie, now, did I? :-D)

ETA: I enjoy audio full-cast dramas some times, but I can never do audiobooks either.

Edited at 2016-05-31 04:41 pm (UTC)
Jun. 1st, 2016 12:44 pm (UTC)
You did not lie! This book is very Troy.

Well, by that time she was already stumbling into murders anyway & might as well at least have the advantage of marrying Alleyn while she was at it, I suppose. :-)

True! Maybe Troy would have kept on stumbling into murders with or without the Alleyn connection. At least this way she has a direct line to the CID when corpses inevitably strew themselves across her path. Who can say?

I'm sorry that audiobooks aren't going to work for me. It would be nice to have something to listen to while I do tedious work. Oh, well!
Jun. 1st, 2016 07:22 am (UTC)
The thing about Cat Among The Pigeons is that Poirot doesn't turn up till about 2/3way through. Of course, they couldn't do that in the TV series! :-) One of the girls in the telemovie was those who played Cho Chang in Harry Potter.
Jun. 1st, 2016 12:50 pm (UTC)
I keep meaning to watch more of the Poirot series! The casting was always good. One day! (but I will probably get this book from the library and read it first, since it will bother me that I have no idea what happens).
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )


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