Tuesday 18 January 2011

Meh; better than meh

Two short and unsatisfactory reviews for you, about two shorts books, one of which was almost entirely unsatisfactory and the other of which was only so at the conclusion.

1) Japanese Tales of Mystery & Imagination by Edogawa Rampo.

Go ahead. Say this author's name out loud and then guess who his favourite writer in the whole world was. I'm all for homage, but the stories in this collection mostly sucked, to be blunt. Mind, I haven't read the American hero's stories of mystery and imaginating, with a few exceptions, and so don't know if they don't also suck. It could be a case of suckiness all around.

One story, "The Caterpiller", was pretty good. It told the story of a young wife dealing with the armless, legless, bitter (understandably, I might add), mangled lump her husband returns home from the war as. I still prefer the Metallica video though.

Of course, I also suck for not intuitively knowing that this collection would probably suck and therefore avoiding it.

2) Grave Mistake by Ngaio Marsh.

I enjoyed approximately the first 5/6 of this book very much. It's a classical whodunnit and it's very well written, so incredibly enjoyable on two fronts.

But. The guilty party? And what motivated the guilty party? I guessed both these details very early on but dismissed them because they were too obvious and cliched. The disappointment was pretty intense when my first lame, non-mystery reading assumptions turned out to be correct. Le sigh.

This isn't to say that I won't read pretty much everything Marsh wrote; I will. The pleasure of genre fiction really well-written (see also, Sayers, D.) is still new and exciting. Also, I like my characters more British than a Corry St./Elizabeth II sammich slathered with double Devon cream - and Marsh, in spite of being a Kiwi, obliges.

(These are books 4 and 5 for the Awesome Author Challenge!)


andrew said...

I'm not afraid to admit that I actually owned a 45 single of One, purchased in 1988 or '89...when I had enough hair to thrash.

BTW: love the poll idea and The City & the City = awesome.

Bookphilia said...

andrew: That's awesome. I too have thrashed to the Metallica. I miss my big hair and my resilient neck.