the variable fictionalization device (custardpringle) wrote,
the variable fictionalization device

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books books books

Currently reading:

Asians in Britain
Rex Stout, The Father Hunt
George Bellairs, The Case of the Demented Spiv

So ironically, when I get really busy, I also have a lot more reading time, because buses are for reading on and reading for school (of which I have very little) doesn't count. So I alternate one light fiction book with one chapter, section, something substantial of nonfiction; it works pretty well. And again, there is good news and bad news.

The bad news is, I am quite fond of Rizzoli and Isles but it is not that great, so I decided to try out a Rizzoli novel to see if I liked it better; it has been a really long time since I read anything by Tess Gerritsen, or I might have thought better of this plan. As it is: Jane's family is vastly less functional in the books than on the show, and apparently I am really invested in the Rizzolis being functional, because my overwhelming reaction was OH MY GOD YOU RUINED FRANKIE >>>>>>>>:( even though the books came first. Plus the plot itself was just relentlessly, excessively gory and rapey and grimdark and Rizzoli was constantly on the verge of breakdown and oh my god, I actually love the show better now for not being the books.

Really I just like my reading to be intelligent but still lighthearted and with a nice happy ending. This probably makes me a terrible mystery fan. I don't know.

Luckily for saps like me, James Anderson exists.

James Anderson wrote a bunch of thrillers in the 1970s or thereabouts; I don't know, I haven't gotten around to trying them yet. What I really love are his Inspector Wilkens books, of which there are tragically only three. They are set in 193mumble, and are about the Earl of Bufurd and his wife, whose houseguests are unusually prone to getting murdered, and their daughter Geraldine, who fancies herself an amateur detective. And Inspector Wilkens, of course, who is not sanguine-- not sanguine at all-- about being able to solve the case, and really would rather be directing traffic, and isn't even going to interview the witnesses because what's the use, and then ends up solving the case anyway. The plots are just so insanely overcomplicated that it has to be deliberate, the writing is hilarious, and in general the books are mild affectionate spoofs of 30s cosy mysteries and I love them absolutely to death. (Also, it is suggested once or twice that they are set in the same universe as Lord Peter, which is a thing I am always ready to believe.)

And lastly in the reading news: I am really fond of John Bellairs. (This is not news; he's been one of my favorite authors since I was six, and still never disappoints on rereading.) So I went looking for The Face in the Frost today, which is his only grownup-targeted book and makes for lovely comfort reading-- it is about two cranky old homebody wizards going on a Dangerous Quest and I recommend it highly, and also all his YA books. Now there was a man who knew how to temper his smart creepy plotting with humor and character.

My point is not about John Bellairs, though! Despite all appearances. My point is that The Face In The Frost, sadly, was checked out today; but I did discover a Golden Age mystery author exists, or existed, named George Bellairs. And the first book I grabbed by him was-- as you see above-- called The Case of the Demented Spiv, so really, how bad can it be? Wikipedia has very little on him-- and the library only has like half a dozen of his books, though apparently he wrote about 50-- so I am curious! Any of you read his books? Are they good?
Tags: books, books: mysteries

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