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More Fun Than a Barrel of Murders Monday

What I've Finished Reading

The stories in The Listerdale Mystery are nearly all in the "silly fun" category of Christie shorts - lots of perky young women testing their men for manliness, and downtrodden young men getting a new lease on life through some staged or accidental adventure. When you line them all up together, Christie's faux-adventure rom-com romps get a little samey, but they're all right in isolation - though nothing has yet come up to the gold/cheese standard of The Man in the Brown Suit, with its high-quality hand-wringing and island-pacing action. There's one genuinely chilling murder story in "Philomel Cottage" and a black-comic one, with a predictably wicked twist, in "Accident" - the latter featuring an intrepid investigator who strides manfully forth to bite off more than he can chew.

What I'm Reading Now

Murder at the ABA is a tale of murder! At a meeting of the American Booksellers' Association! What could be better? It's important to note, as the book itself does at the outset, that it is both written by Isaac Asimov and includes a character called Isaac Asimov who is a "prolific writer and self-esteemed wit." Is this a good idea, the best idea, a bad idea, or the WORST idea? Or is it, as sometimes happens, a four-car pileup incorporating all of the above? All I can tell you is that it introduces a straw feminist character on the first page, and on the second, burdens the s.f. with the minor (but hilarious!) humiliation of a nip-slip.

(NB: not actually all that hilarious).

What I Plan to Read Next

Three Act Tragedy by Agatha Christie and Unfinished Portrait by Mary Westmacott (aka Agatha Christie).


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 26th, 2017 02:58 pm (UTC)
I guess it cuts out the stampede of reviewers rushing to be the one who shouts 'self insert' first!
Jul. 26th, 2017 03:10 pm (UTC)
Pre-emptive measure! Asimov is in the "cast of characters" list on the first page, so no one's even surprised when he shows up a few pages in. And the back-cover material is just Asimov and the narrator discussing the "real" murder in relation to the murder mystery "Asimov" is contracted to write. So everyone who reads this book knows what they're getting into, self-insertwise.

I think the "narrator" character is a friend-insert, meant to be a friendly caricature of Harlan Ellison - though that's just a guess based on the dedication and jokes. It's a really self-indulgent book, not necessarily in a bad way.
Jul. 27th, 2017 05:27 pm (UTC)
I'm glad the book isn't too bad, because it sounds a hair's breathe of tipping down into to a pit of awful self-indulgence.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


blase ev

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