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Catching up

December 17, 2015

I’ve been reading a fair amount, I think. Some of it’s been re-reading–the usual suspects: The Amazing Interlude, Pam Decides, etc.–but I’ve also read a few new things, and I don’t think I can remember what all of them are.

Anyway, here’s a roundup of the things I can remember, so I can get caught up and back to writing actual reviews.

The Loudwater Mystery, by Edgar Jepson. 1920.
From my Edgar Jepson phase. This is sort of the most English of English mystery novels, but not in a particularly interesting way. I didn’t like any of the characters very much. I would prefer to have Jepson stick to books about precocious children. Still, I always enjoy it when he describes his characters in extremely specific art historical references.

Jan and Her Job, by L. Allen Harker. 1917.

I enjoyed this story of a young woman going to India to take care of her sister’s children and eventually returning home with them, but I sort of wished Jan’s job had been more, you know, job-like. The nephew and the love interest are both very appealing, and I enjoyed the villain’s unrelenting awfulness.

Tenant for Death, by Cyril Hare. 1937.

I think I really liked this, sort of, maybe. It took a while to grow on me. It’s a very technical, measured mystery novel, sort of in the tradition of R. Austin Freeman. If you like the drier kind of golden age detective fiction, you will probably like this.

The Obsession of Victoria Gracen, by Grace Livingston Hill. 1915.

I think I get Grace Livingston Hill now? She can get caught up in stuff you don’t want–like, this is obviously an author who doesn’t know what’s appealing about her own work–but there are things she does really well: materialism, hitting villains when they’re down, finding people their proper places in the world. And when those things are mixed together in the right proportions, she’s pretty great. This one was a little heavy on religion and inexplicably light on Victoria Gracen’s nephew in comparison to the other boys, but it’s very enjoyable.

 

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5 comments

  1. All amazing stories.


  2. Thanks for these. Blessings of the Season to you and everyone here.
    If you’d like a fun Christmas read try Slyvia’s Experiment by Margaret Piper Chalmers.
    There are 2 sequels, too.
    https://books.google.com/books?id=vVAhAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false


    • I read this too close to Christmas to get a review out in time, but I liked it so much. Thanks for the recommendation!


  3. I definitely am a fan of dry, methodical Golden Age novels like Freeman’s, so I just read Tenant for Death. So glad you mentioned it! I thought it was a pretty good puzzle. Not a locked room mystery, which is my favourite kind, but plenty of red herrings to keep it interesting. I liked how Hare introduces a whole whack of different characters but then ties it all neatly together by the end. I’m going to keep an eye out for his name in used bookstores.


    • Yeah, it’s the ‘start with chaos, gradually reduce it to order’ kind of mystery novel, which I think makes it a little difficult to get into, but ultimately really satisfying. There are a bunch more of Hare’s books on PG Canada, too.



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