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Not Much of a Murder Monday

What I've Finished Reading

I've just finished Murder on the Links for the second time, and it's just as bafflingly dull as it was the first time. I'm not at all sure why: it's got plenty of twists; there's an unofficial Detective Competition, Poirot is Poirot and Hastings is an idiot. There's no shortage of alarming discrepancies, dark secrets, and layer after layer of people shielding one another from justice. But I lost more time dozing off in the middle of chapters than actually reading.

No such complaint about The Mysterious Affair at Styles – it's just as energetic and suspenseful as Links is inexplicably boring.

Is it the pacing? Is it France? I don't know what happened with Links. Hastings acquires a girlfriend and she's pretty likable, though what she sees in Hastings is never made clear (he is a decent chap who enjoys a good breakfast and has Opinions About Women).

What I'm Reading Now

The Man in the Brown Suit begins unpromisingly with spies, but continues DELIGHTFULLY with a young first-person narrator, Anne “Anne the Adventuress” Beddingfeld, whose late father was “one of England's greatest living authorities on Primitive Man” and who finds herself, shortly after his death, alone in the world save for information pertaining to a suspicious subway accident and just enough money for a passage to South Africa. Some sort of shenanigans are building aboard the ship, but what? I hope it's not spies.

David Liss' A Conspiracy of Paper is narrated by its main character, Benjamin Weaver, a Jewish ex-boxer and persuader-of-all-trades in eighteenth-century London. So far it's mostly a research delivery system, but not a bad one. Weaver does a lot of rough things in this rough city, and his matter-of-fact narration (with occasional supplementary digression on why he prefers not to hit women) can be both awkward and disconcerting, but he has my attention.

What I Plan to Read Next

Poirot Investigates and Watson's Choice, followed by some books I bought at the Friends of the Library book sale.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 10th, 2016 07:16 pm (UTC)
though what she sees in Hastings is never made clear (he is a decent chap who enjoys a good breakfast and has Opinions About Women).

Probably a case of she could and has done worse?

Oct. 10th, 2016 10:50 pm (UTC)
No doubt! Hastings is basically a good egg, and who wants to be weighed down by a lot of brains all the time anyway? But does he really need to be having internal Mr. Darcy monologues every five minutes about how she's Really Not His Sort of People? my hypothesis is no.

But it sorts itself out in the end, and the parts where "Cinderella" appears are the least boring parts of the book, so I can't complain too much.
Oct. 10th, 2016 07:46 pm (UTC)
Perhaps Hastings' girlfriend is also a breakfast aficionado? "We can travel the world and eat delightful breakfasts together," she thinks, visions of pancakes and black pudding dancing through her head and utterly distracting her from Hastings' exposition of his Opinions About Women.

I will have to put The Man in the Brown Suit on my super-long "someday I should get around to this" reading list! I've been meaning to give Christie another try and it sounds delightful.
Oct. 10th, 2016 10:55 pm (UTC)
Actually, I'm not sure that breakfast ever comes up in this book! I know about Hasting's breakfast appreciation from elsewhere. But a shared love of breakfast is as good a bond as any and better than some.

I wouldn't be surprised if Hastings has Opinions on Women only because he has acquired the impression that he ought to; they don't seem to actually affect him very much except that every now and then he is required (by the statutes of his club or whatever) to say, "Of course, I'm old-fashioned like that; I think women ought to be womanly." I don't know if he has to mean anything by it.
Oct. 10th, 2016 08:43 pm (UTC)
Oct. 11th, 2016 02:56 pm (UTC)
This condemned dog needs a hug!
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 11th, 2016 02:58 pm (UTC)
A spam comment! Does this mean I've arrived? Unfortunately, I think it just means that LJ is full of spambots.

Godspeed, gentle spammer. Good luck in your spamdeavors.
Oct. 11th, 2016 07:02 pm (UTC)
I agree, Links is terribly boring. I've always enjoyed The Man in the Brown Suit, though, despite its silliness. :)
Oct. 12th, 2016 01:41 pm (UTC)
But how? I mean, I don't understand why I was so bored both times. I like Poirot and Hastings and plucky acrobats and detective rivalries! I might be able to figure it out with some close reading, but I know that would just mean more involuntary naps. Oh, well.

The Man in the Brown Suit is a delight, and very silly. <3
Oct. 13th, 2016 09:07 am (UTC)
I quite like Murder On The Links. Of course, Styles is exciting. It's the novel in which we get to meet Poirot for the first time. But if Hastings is Poirot's Watson, then it makes sense to let him have his own Mary. And she is a lot more interesting than the girl who wins Watson's love in The Sign Of The Four. It's Hastings's story, beginning and ending with him and his "Cinderella".
Oct. 13th, 2016 02:26 pm (UTC)
I'm glad to hear a good word for Murder on the Links! I agree with you about Hastings, and I liked Cinderella - I'm just not sure why I kept falling asleep both times.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )


blase ev

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