Saturday, 4 July 2015

Resorting to Murder [books]

I am not a cheery Mim today, as yesterday I had some pretty heavy-duty dental work done. Short version: after 17 years of problems relating to two root canal fillings, I paid a private endodontist - root canal specialist - to redrill and clean out both those root canals. It's complicated by an operation that's left some amalagam filling in my jawbone. I shouldn't grumble too hard as most dentists would've wanted to pull both teeth, whereas my endodontist has definitely saved one, and we're going to see how the one with the bone filling below it does. He did a really good job. Anyhow, today it's all a bit sore (I can't even cope with soup with chunks in) so I'm cheering myself up with a bit of reading.

Resorting to Murder is another in the British Library Crime Classics series. I enjoy short stories, so thought this collection could be a real winner, but something about it left me flat. There are fourteen stories in the book, including some by some very famous writers, but many of them didn't really grip me. None of them were bad, but none of them were really exciting. ('The Adventure of the Devil's Foot' is not Sherlock Holmes' finest moment.) I have some collections of pulp stories from magazines like Black Mask, and they're great, so I reckon the problem with these stories is that they're very British, and that polite dance of manners and personalities that's so enjoyable in Golden Age British crime fiction needs more space than a short story allows. When you lose those subtle interactions and layered hints at possible motives, you're left with something fairly bland.



'The Hazel Ice' by HC Bailey was my favourite story, and pretty good. In it, an English surgeon on holiday in Switzerland takes an interest in the case of a scientist killed in a rock fall. It's got all the classic Golden Age elements - rich people, a pretty girl, a couple of possible suspects - in a tidy package, feeling in essence like a cut-down Agatha Christie. I'm afraid GK Chesterton's 'The Finger of Stone' was my least favourite because of its truly dreadful science!
And I leave you with Boycie helping herself to Mr Robot's ham sandwich. It's got English mustard on, which I would have though was far too spicy for cats, but she ate it bread, ham, mustard and all. Crazy little animal!

8 comments :

  1. Love a good murder mystery. If nothing else that one has a lovely cover. I think that Boycie looks like a relative of our adopted cat, Mittens who will also eat pretty much anything except cheap cat food and any cat treats. Xx

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  2. I have the dentist tomorrow and I'm dreading it. My dentist of over 30 years retired in January and so I have to see a new one and I know I need work done too. I know it is ridiculous to be scared but I am :(

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  3. Oh, dear God!! shudder, you poor thing, I hope that heals up soon and you feel a lot better. We had the most awful dentist when I was a child, he was ex army, as was his wife, and they were ruddy ghastly. They were so rough and too many things done like fillings which didn't need doing because they got paid for doing them. Talk about scarred for life!
    Lots of rest and warmth and fluids. Beautiful cat, I had one who was potty about Brazil nuts, could smell them when they were being eaten and came to mooch.

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  4. Oh not you too. I'm sorry to hear you're going through the fixing bad root canal stuff as well. Be as grumpy as you like-you've earned it.

    When I was a child we had a cat that would eat the dog's food. We tried everything until finally giving up, pouring dog food in his bowl...and then he wouldn't eat it. I wonder if cats just enjoy knowing they're getting away with something.
    Take care, and hope you're better soon.

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  5. Aha!
    I think this is the first time I've spotted Mr. Robot here - give him my best, dear. He has got to be a good person, when he shares his lunch with a beloved cat.. no cat-person is a bad person :)

    Now, now..
    This piece of literature, it's rith about my kind of thing. I love short stories and novelas - -well, to tell the truth it's now more of a "no time for anything larger" thing. :)
    The stories sound interesting.

    Marija

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  6. I really feel for you with all that dental work, I had one tiny filling a few weeks ago and burst into tears in the waiting room!! I'm not good with dentists. I hope it's not sore now?

    I love the covers of that book series, they deserve to be framed and put on the wall! They're like all those '30s travel posters aren't they?

    Cheeky cat, he wouldn't have got my ham sandwich!
    xx

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  7. Ouch! Dental work is never fun. I hope you're feeling better soon.

    I love mystery stories as well, and I think you're quite right about classic British mysteries needing room to develop. I've tried reading some short stories and felt the same about most them. Not bad, but sort of "meh".

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  8. I hope you are recovers from the dentist experience. I tend to struggle with all short stories, I think I just find them unsatisfying as you start to get into them and then they are over.

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