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What I Bought on My Trip

I am very excited about this item:

[Every day is a mystery]the true mystery

For those of you unable to view images, or in case I am bad at taking pictures, this is a bundle of books in brown paper, with the label "Six Mystery Paperback Novels, No Duplicates, $2.00" I couldn't resist the opportunity to be surprised, for only two dollars; it's a major victory of willpower that I only bought one of these.

Here's the beautiful first book in the stack:


I love this cover! Who is this gigantic man walking away from the corpse chair? I hope it's our detective. So far, no one has died; we've just had a bitter Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf-esque conversation between a young prematurely estranged married couple at one of those deceptively bucolic little colleges with rotten swarming hearts. Well, academia will do that to you, if it doesn't just stab you in the neck straight off. Stay safe!

What I Didn't Buy But Am Reading Anyway

I can't exactly say that I like The Keeper of Lost Causes, but I'm still reading it, so make of that what you will. The grisly details of the fictional politician's bizarre torture and captivity are not really my favorite form of entertainment, and Carl Mørck, Allegedly Great Detective, is never going to get on my good side if he can't be bothered to read the report of the case he's supposed to be working on. I'm terribly sad that you have PTSD and your wife is a bitch, Mørck! My eyes are brimming with tears of sympathy! But if you aren't going to do your job, you should probably find a different one, maybe something low-key with no murders and no kidnapped women who are depending on your task force to get them un-kidnapped somehow.

The translation, or possibly the original prose, continues to be clumsy, but the chapters are short and go by quickly, and there's enough suspense to keep me turning pages. Probably that means it's at least ok? I won't know until I've finished it. I am enjoying all the Danish place names, which are obviously being made to carry a lot of meaning and imagery in the text but for which I have no context at all.

Also: FEET OF CLAY by Terry Pratchett.

Is it possible for me to love Watch Commander "Sir" Samuel Vimes any more? Probably the answer is always, because I have thought the same thing in every book in which he appears, and yet the bar keeps on getting raised. In today's episode: Vimes hates toffs, but circumstances have conspired to weight each of his victories generously with embarrassment, and now for some reason he is one. That is, he's exactly the same as he always was, but people keep trying to shave him, or assassinate him, and his life is pitted all over with awkward parties and moral nausea. Will he ever be able to play cards in peace again? (Has he ever been able to do anything in peace?)

This book has golems! I love golems! I hope they don't get mixed up in one of Ankh-Morpork's perennial attempts to restore the monarchy, but the back cover strongly suggests that they will. Carrot is still writing letters home, and his partnership with Angua has gotten even more adorable. In keeping with plans to establish a department of Looking at Clues and Things (official name pending), they've hired a dwarf alchemist named Cheery Littlebottom - I like Vimes' attempts to be culturally sensitive (or maybe just to throw Cheery off by not laughing at his name) and Littlebottom's feat of Sherlockian cigar detection:

"I want someone who can look at an ashtray and tell me what kind of cigars I smoke."

"Pantweed's Slim Panatellas," said Littlebottom automatically.

"Good gods!"

"You've left the packet on the table, sir."

Also, will Sybil ever be as magnificent again as she was in Guards! Guards!, or has she been permanently demoted to occasional plot device? I guess I'll find out!

What I Plan to Read Next

I don't know what's next in my mystery bundle, but I know I'm going to read it! Plus the next Ngaio Marsh, whatever we're up to now.


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 22nd, 2016 04:38 pm (UTC)

I have a sneaking suspicion that the books may not be as amazing as the mysterious bundle of mysteries itself, but at that price it really doesn't matter. If even one of them is decent it's a bargain!
Aug. 22nd, 2016 04:46 pm (UTC)
It's the best thing! Can the books live up? Possibly not! But it would be very hard for the bundle to disappoint me on the whole, without being e.g., just six John Grisham novels or something, and that obviously hasn't happened! The Dead Man's Knock is good so far, if a little too anxious to justify its title. But even if it were bad and ALL the other books were bad, it would be worth $2 just to have the fun of being surprised.
Aug. 23rd, 2016 07:59 am (UTC)
Aw, the mystery bundle of myseteries is a lovely idea! (And a great way of disposing of the books that wouldn't sell, of course.)

Someone else on my flist was reading John Dickson Carr (as Carter Dickson) and that sounded v entertaining. Hopefully this one lives up to the garish cover! (Or do we hope it actually doesn't??)

I'm terribly sad that you have PTSD and your wife is a bitch, Mørck! My eyes are brimming with tears of sympathy! But if you aren't going to do your job, you should probably find a different one, maybe something low-key with no murders and no kidnapped women who are depending on your task force to get them un-kidnapped somehow.

I laughed a lot at this. This could apply to far too many modern angsty detectives. Alleyn would totally agree with your judgement. He'd be sympathetic of course, but you have to get on and do your job, don't you?

And a general yay for Feet of Clay! I hope you will continue to enjoy it to the end. As I said, it's my favourite, probably because I'm much more familiar with the detective genre that's being played with than the noir genre of Guard! Guards! (Much as I love G!G! too).

Sybil does get a bit more to do in some of the others, I think mainly The Fifth Elephant, but I forget. I used to keep re-reading my way through the series, sometimes skipping the (mostly early) ones I didn't like, as they were being written, so the middle ones I'm really, really familiar with in a way that I'm not quite with the later ones (or the earlier ones I didn't like so much).

You must be nearly through Ngaio Marsh by now, I should think? What's left - Photo Finish, LIght THickens? Anything else?
Aug. 23rd, 2016 05:14 pm (UTC)
According to the invaluable orderofbooks.com, I have four Marsh books left: Last Ditch, A Grave Mistake, Photo Finish, and Light Thickens. I'll be sad to finish, even though I don't necessarily feel like I need there to be more.

I feel for the angsty detectives, I really do! Who wants to think about murder all the time? But they need to treat that angst by getting down to work, otherwise why am I reading this book? Luckily, Carl Mørk has decided that he can read reports after all.

Feet of Clay is so good! <3
Aug. 23rd, 2016 11:18 am (UTC)
Oh, Feet Of Clay! Gorgeous! I could tell you... But then you'd have to kill me for issuing spoilers. I do promise, though, that Sybil NEVER becomes just an occasional plot device. She has some very important roles to play in the rest of the series. The Fifth Elephant, yes, and Thud especially.
Aug. 23rd, 2016 05:17 pm (UTC)
I'm glad to hear it! I love Sybil and was v. pleased by news of the Vimes-Ramkin marriage, but she hasn't been around much lately.

My love for Feet of Clay just keeps on growing. <3
Aug. 23rd, 2016 12:07 pm (UTC)
That cover is amazing. AMAZING. You've already got your $2 worth!! (imo...)

Concurring with the general sentiments about Feet of Clay. It is a delight!
Aug. 23rd, 2016 05:20 pm (UTC)
It's so pulpy and menacing! <3 <3 <3 And I am happy to report that the gigantic man on the cover is in fact Dr. Gideon Fell, a towering figure among amateur detectives and also among people who are not as large as he is.

I couldn't be happier about Feet of Clay. It's everything I could have asked for and more.
Aug. 23rd, 2016 03:14 pm (UTC)
Can't believe they had trouble selling a book with a cover like that, esp at tiny prices:)

I'm glad you're still enjoying TP. And to echo everyone else there's more Sybil in 'The Fifth Elephant'.

Aug. 23rd, 2016 05:31 pm (UTC)
It's not in 100% saleable condition - at least, I wouldn't consider it in good enough condition for my store; used bookstores with more room tend to keep things that are closer to disintegration. The pages are just beginning to come out, and the spine isn't long for this world. But it is a beautiful cover!

I'm glad for all the assurances about Sybil! Is The Fifth Elephant the next book in the Watch series? I had a handy reading guide, but I seem to have lost it -- this time, I will write it down!
Aug. 24th, 2016 02:54 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you have standards. I bought some books off Amazon marketplace recently and was shocked to find they weren't totally disgusting and in need of fumigating!

According to Wikipedia it's 'Jingo' next, then 'The Fifth Elephant' as I have no brain today. I thiiiiiink you could skip 'Jingo' if you wanted. You might want to consult the more alert fan first.
Aug. 24th, 2016 09:55 pm (UTC)
Hah, you should see some of the things people drop off at the store! I can't get mad about a couple of busted spines or dead spiders tucked into books; dead spiders just happen. But moldy books! Books that have been sitting in the garage for twenty years and have been chewed into bedding by mice! Books that cats have peed on! Books that have fallen into bodies of water and then dried shut, so that you can't open them without ripping the pages apart! THANK YOU FOR THINKING OF US, BOOK DONORS.

I might as well read all the Watch books, I think!
Aug. 24th, 2016 07:36 pm (UTC)
*Drive by Squishes*

Aug. 24th, 2016 09:57 pm (UTC)
There is never any end to the mysteries! :D
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )


blase ev

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