Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rendezvous in Black, by Cornell Woolrich

I initially had this book on a list of books by Woolrich that I had read, but when I re-read the description I realized I had not, it was nother in the black series I had read.  The opening of this book (very opening) describing the love between the the to-be-married couple was great, Woolrich really had a way with words and feelings.  But the dead of the bride-to-be is hillariously stupid.  Still it sets up the revenge plot that is great fun for the rest of the book.

The finale is a little lame (as was the opening death mentioned above) but 90% of this book is great, one of the best noir mysteries I'd read in a while.
Off topic (sort of), but "rendezvous" is a great word.  I'm not sure I was ever conscous of the spelling until I sat down to read this book.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Valley of Fear, by Arthur Conan Doyle

Anyone tired of my constant praise of Leslie Klinger's works can rest secure in the knowledge that I've polished off everything he has to offer.  Today's update is the last story in the Holmes anthology, so I have nothing else to read & review.  The Valley of Fear was a holmes story I'd never read, nor did I have any knowledge of/background with the Molly Maguires (whom the second half of the story surrounds).  This wasn't my favorite Holmes story, and of the story this one had the least annotations.  But it was still enjoyable and I certainly wish I had more of these to consume.

Barney's Version, by Mordecai Richler

I disovered this book via The Thrilling Detective Blog which is updated infrequently, but often when it is I find a new book to read or author to check out.  I don't always like the suggestions, but when I do I often really like this.
That's the case this time with Barney's Version.  A book (and author) I'd never heard of, which turned out to be a really enjoyable read.  There is an underlying mystery in the book, but it is really secondary to just seeing the story of Barney's life unfold (at least his version) through ups and downs, wives and friends, successes and failures.  It's hard to describe, but I really enjoyed it and did not want to put it down at night.  Don't let the two weeks it took me to read the book fool you, it is merely a reflection of my taking my time with this one, and only reading a few pages at at time before bed.  I had probably only read half of the book over the first 13 days before polishing it off with an all-day reading session on the beach.
I'm embarrassed to admit I didn't see where the underlying mystery was going.  I feel like I'm generally pretty good at catching these things and in hindsight (of course) it seems obvious.  But I missed it, which made the ending that much better/funnier/more of a surprise.