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(slightly belated) week in books: 9/25/11

September 26, 2011

Let’s see. I started the week with Samuel Hopkins Adams’ The Clarion, of which I have have a review written out in the kind of messy handwriting that results from trying to write on a moving train. Then I continued with Adams and read The Unspeakable Perk, which was pretty awesome.

That brings me to Friday. On my train into the city I reread Josephine Tey’s To Love and Be Wise, which I hadn’t read in enought years that I’d forgotten most of what happened in it–except, unfortunately, the soluion of the mystery. So that was enjoyable. Saturday I reread Roast Beef, Medium. It’s funny to think how recently I read it for the first time, because I’ve already lost count of how many times I’ve gone back to it. The same goes for the Torchy books. After that, I read a Nero Wolfe mystery, The Final Deduction, and followed it up with In the Best Families, which I had read once before but had not allowed myself to read again until now. It’s sort of one of the most emotionally engaging mystery novels I know, although I also think I’m being kind of crazy when I say that.

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6 comments

  1. Have you read “Brat Farrar”? For me that is her most enthralling, in particular the character of Simon. For plot, I’d go for “The Franchise Affair”, and even the history/detective one “The Daughter of Time” is a clever conceit well carried off. Rather an under-rated writer, I think……


    • Brat Farrar, The Daughter of Time, and The Franchise Affair are generally supposed to be her best, and I’ve reread them all more times than I can count. I also have a huge soft spot for The Singing Sands. There are things about Josephine Tey that weird me out a little, but she’s definitely one of my favorite writers.


  2. Sounds like you liked “The Unspeakable Perk” more than I did. I didn’t hate it or anything, but I said when I first read it, it had too many of those moments where you just want to punch a character for their inconsistency, or for their inconstancy. But it was still engaging and threaded through with a bit of mystery, even though I’d consider it mainly a romance. I ended up thinking it was slightly up the scale from “okay”. And I loved the opening scenes.


    • I sort of agree with you. It wasn’t particularly consistent, and out of the SHA books I’ve read, it’s the least good, but it was also incredibly charming, and mostly lots of fun.


  3. I’ve heard some very good things about Tey’s books, but haven’t had a chance to read one yet.


    • She’s so good, except for the xenophobia, and the classism, and the judging people by their looks, etc. I don’t know that I like Tey’s worldview very much, but her writing and her characters are great. I think the first one of her books that I read was The Daughter of Time, which is about Tey’s detective, Alan Grant, investigating a historical mystery from his hospital bed. I think either that or Brat Farrar — the story of an extremely sympathetic impostor trying to defraud an equally sympathetic family — is the best one to start with.



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