Wednesday, January 21, 2004

I thought that I’d celebrate finishing reading Ulysses by reading some relaxing stuff. What’s more relaxing than a crime novel or four? Mer had two on her shelves, and kindly agreed to loan me the middle two on the list below. HPL was kind enough to loan me the other two. Ahh, public libraries make me happy.

Kathy Reichs
  • Deja Dead
  • Death du Jour
  • Fatal Voyage
  • Grave Secrets

    So. Yes, clearly good enough for me to read all four. I think that the nice generic "you" that is anyone who might read this website would enjoy them, too. Let’s remember that as I state my only problem with them.

    A writer of mysteries, of stories about crime, naturally has to withhold certain information as she relays her stories. What should be withheld? Well, whodunit, most of the time. How. Why. These are things for which—even if we, reading the story, figure them out—we read. But not details. Not what the characters see, hear, smell. And, in first person narrations, not what the character concludes. If a character figures something out, ending the chapter and telling us in the next, while cheesy, is fine in my book. It’s a commercial-break cliffhanger, to use televisionic terms. But if a character figures something out, and doesn’t share it with us till the end of the book? Or substantially later in it? No. That’s overly manipulative, on the part of the writer. It’s an ineffective and annoying way of attempting to create suspense.

    The really annoying part is that Reichs proves that she doesn’t need to resort to such tactics. But she does, anyway. Maybe she’ll outgrow it?
    Well, I’ll still read her books over Cornwell’s.

    So. I doubt I’ll read these books again. The only mysteries that I’ll continue to return to are those solved by Mr. Holmes. Some things are worth rereading.