It had been over week between posts until I got that short note up about the blueberry pie. (Mmmm…pie.)
Done a fair bit of reading since then, though it has all been light stuff; almost entirely Marsh and Christie mysteries.
The Nursing Home Murder and Death and the Dancing Footman by Ngaio Marsh, The Land of Narnia by Brian Sibley and The Secret of Chimneys, Passenger to Frankfurt, The Golden Ball and Other Stories, The Body in the Library and At Bertram’s Hotel by Agatha Christie.
The two books by Marsh were decent, not great. The first, I imagine, had given the author the problem of not being able to provide enough clues to be definitive without giving the whole show away, and so she had to do the wheeze where the detective doesn’t get the evidence until the last minute. So you can’t really piece it together ahead of time because not all the pieces are there. The second was simply too obvious. Even if one didn’t fathom exactly how the murderer had pulled it off, it was quite clear who it was. The field of opportunity was so obviously narrow that it practically leapt off the page.
The book on Narnia was enjoyable, if rather simple. My library had not classed it as a “Juvenile” book, so I was expecting something rather more in depth, but it wasn’t a bad book. It would make an excellent introduction to Lewis for a child who had read the Narnia Chronicles and wanted to know more about their author.
The Secret of Chimneys, Passenger to Frankfurt, and At Bertram’s Hotel were all mysteries that were not Christie’s best. She was, I think, a little too over-enamoured with the idea of international conspiracies and huge, powerful criminal gangs with ingenious masterminds. All three of those books feature one or both of those and Passenger to Frankfurt was the worst. It seems to have been written in the 70’s and I can only assume that Christie was in her dotage. (Strange as it seems, that is the most charitable construction I can put upon it.) At Bertram’s Hotel was enjoyable to me simply for the description of an hotel in the Edwardian style. (That such a thing pleases me comes as no surprise to anyone who is familiar with my fondness for Wodehouse.)
The Body in the Library was a more conventional mystery story and I didn’t tumble to the solution at all. I don’t think Christie was too unfair with her clues, either. Quite a good book, though I am not quite as fond of Miss Marple as a detective as I am Christie’s other investigators. But since I’m planning to get through all of Christie’s books eventually, I went ahead. The last, The Golden Ball, was not at all what I was anticipating. There were a few conventional mystery short stories, but several others were simply odd. The best description I’ve been able to come up with is to say that it reminded me of nothing so much as the stories of Ray Bradbury. Go figure.
I had a bunch of books come in from on hold at once, so I have a stack of about 15 books sitting in my bedroom that I have probably about a month to get through. They are almost entirely Ngaio Marsh mysteries, so my literary-minded posts will probably be about those almost exclusively for the next couple weeks.