Wednesday, October 21, 2015

About last night's post

Er, there wasn't one. It was to be about knitting, and there wasn't any of that, so, no blog post.

Kind of low karma around here this week.

Came back later to add:

But I did finish a book last night: A Study in Terror, by Ellery Queen. Now, I'm a fairly uncritical reader. I *will* quit a book if it hasn't caught me by page 50 or so, and if something truly egregious is foisted upon me, the reader at any point, I'll toss it. But otherwise, particularly with my favorites, I'll overlook any number of faults.

I love the Ellery Queen books. For the most part. If you want to learn more about Ellery Queen,  go here -  there are tons of reviews and discussions about Queen all over the Golden Age mystery blogs, but that link is a good place to dip your toe in first.

As I was saying, I am prejudiced in favor of Queen. (I suppose I should mention that the books are set up rather oddly; "Ellery Queen" the author of the books was actually a partnership of two cousins, one who made up the plots and the other who wrote the books. The books were about a mystery author and genius at detecting, named Ellery Queen. When I say "Queen," I'll be talking about the fictional detective. If I say "Ellery Queen," I'll be talking about the two guys who wrote the books.)  Granted, I have read a couple that were disappointing.

This isn't one of them, exactly. What it is, is Queen getting dragged into the eternal question of "who was Jack the Ripper?" via an old manuscript written by Dr. John Watson. Yes, in this book, Holmes and Watson were actual people, and the manuscript was actually written by Watson.

The situation about this book is that one of the two Ellery Queen authors (I can't remember which) had died, leaving his partner kind of flailing. I believe the publishers brought in a third writer to write Watson's manuscript parts, which make up I'd say at least 3/4ths of the novel. The other 1/4th is Queen dithering between reading the ms. and finishing a novel of his own under a looming deadline - and manipulating a persistent, effete "friend" to stay away and let him keep working.

It's enjoyable enough - I finished it, anyway. The parts with Queen are pure Queen, so I liked those. The Watson manuscript, to my eyes, read enough like Conan Doyle's writing to "pass."

But you know when your favorite TV series star goes off on holiday and they have to fill in the episode without her? Oftentimes they'll use clips from past shows to pad out the episode? That's kind of how I felt about this book. I wanted more Queen!

So I'll put this book in the Donate bag. The cover is one of those cheesy 1970s things, too, the publisher couldn't be bothered to have a real artist do it so they used some stock photo of a model looking fake-terrified. In modern eye makeup and nail polish. Nothing to do with The Ripper.

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