Whimsey Collective Mini Mini-Review
Just read them.
I read them.* I loved
himthem. I refused to read the sacrilegious last “book.”
*I still have a few I need to order through interlibrary loan, but I think those might be mostly collections.
Agatha Christie Hercule Poirot Collective Review
Hello from Princess Procrastinator. Here is my Poirot collection “review” written who knows when after reading who knows when. If you want a shorter version it is this: I am not a fan.
These are pretty silly and melodramatic although apparently some such as The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and Murder on the Orient Express are supposed to be considered “good” mysteries, and they may stand a little above Christies other works in plot, but the quality of composition and characterization is still considerably lower than Doyle’s and Sayer’s work (particularly the latter’s). And often the plots of Christie’s works are so fantastic that they are absurd. Cheap and attention-catching but flimsy.
Oh . . . and the little issue of Holmes-baiting (but, since of course he cannot be baited, it is only an attempt at baiting). Um, DO NOT YOU DARE touch him. You are not worthy to touch the ground he walks on. A few pokes must be allowed in order that Holmes worshipers not be thought pompous but this goes too far.
I have some notes from reading The Big Four (notice the title mock) for example, but I think that they are on my dead computer. I will just have to edit this disgustingly late post even more obscenely later. Everyone will live. Adieu,
The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club Mini-Review
The tone of this book was better than Unnatural Death plus for Wimsey, more personal (although much less than in Clouds of Witness). Less ghastly and only one murder. One love match. More mystery.
Actually, towards the end the detectives make discoveries so fast and reveal so little that I was bewildered and thought that I had skipped something. On further thought, I decided I liked this twist in the style.
And of course Wimsey is hilarious, and I garnered more quotes for my quote book. Parker and Wimsey’s habit of irritating each other—marvelously soothing!
Unnatural Death Mini-Review
The murderer in Unnatural Death, I think, was more of the Julian Freke style of murderer. Callous and brutal. I can remember three murders and at least 3 victims of attempted murder—including Lord Peter himself. Plus other disgusting/disturbing/wrong elements. This book, like Whose Body, was more of a detective story (i.e. we all—reader and characters—know who did it, but the characters need clues to prove it) rather than mystery. The main story I did not like, however, Wimsey provided several quotes.
Clouds of Witness Review
Ah, yet again I could have published somewhat closer to when I read this novel, but as you can see from past published reviews I am working on this.
Well, I do like variety. This mystery was quite different from the first one. The story felt more human and personal . . . as it certainly had to be for Lord Peter, and later Parker, given the nature of the story. I feel like the first novel is the formal introduction while the second novel pitches you headlong into friendship with Lord Peter. I like that mimicry of life in style, but I think that the acquaintance should have been slower especially since it is British.
Anyway, the mystery was greater in this novel than the mystery in the first. And the explanation less intellectually satisfying to the same degree. Instead of the “how” as in the first book, the focus is on the “who,” “why,” and etc. More the traditional mystery story approach.
I strongly dislike the false honor and delicacy stance (as ascertained from literature, oh what trustworthy source, this is the traditional British honor code). The duke committed adultery and it is not honor to hide the other person, it is deceit. (He who covers his sin will not prosper . . . Proverbs 28:13). If he really wanted to protect her honor, he would not have had the affair in the first place. Duh. This ugly immorality and false morality darkened the whole story, and the final scene of drunkenness which could have been humorous (cringe-worthy humor to some, but still humor) merely dragged everything down more with that behavior and flippancy.
I realize drunkenness is a sin, but I do not consider it harmful here and although in real life it is disgusting at best and murder at worse, it is rather funny in fiction. Judge me, and do not laugh at Otis :/
P.S. Despite the sanctimonious tone of my review, I did enjoy the novel. Um, it is Lord Peter we are talking about people!
Whose Body Review
Despite writing notes during/soon after reading Whose Body and typing them up weeks ago, I am just now editing and publishing them. I need to publish current reviews and procrastinated reviews (if that is not an adjective yet it should be) at the same time. I will improve, I will, I will! (Said like “I do believe in fairies!” of course!)
Lord Peter is the Sir Percy of mysteries and Bunter is his Jeeves. I am guessing Lord Peter was in WWI with Parker (who is more of the Sherlock Lestrade than the original Lestrade is; Sugg is like or worse than the original Lestrade), whom Lord Peter calls by his first name after his (Lord Peter’s) relapse, thus revealing that they are good friends and not just friendly business associates (I love that artistic detail and what it reveals). What a spoiled boy Lord Peter is (kind of like Shawn in Psych).
I suspected Freke but still found the story interesting. I do not like that Lord Peter gave Freke the chance to kill himself. (This is the most sickening murder imaginable and you warn the criminal, because of your own ego? “I found you out.”? “He is a great man so warn him”? “I feel bad so warn him”? And all of Lord Peter’s qualms about suspecting Milligan . . . rules rather than morals, I suppose). I am in love with Lord Peter although this received quite a chill thanks to the above. This was such a cold-blooded, long premeditated murder. And the confession plus details (dissection especially) made it quite freaky.
The switch to 2nd person was intriguing, especially because of the depth and different outlooks these switches added:
~The poor young man and his blunders; most authors do not allow inferior people feelings or such a sense of their own blunders.
~Lord Peter and the freaky scene, reverting back to WWI, AWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The name switch is in this scene too which intensifies the sense of Lord Peter’s fear.
The mystery is not outrageously convoluted and unbelievable. The method and manner of the crime are what provided the shock to the senses. The absolute callous depravity of the sociopathic and psychopathic murderer–he intended to have his “work” published (!). Unlike a Christie novel, the characters in this novel are developed, each is a person and not primarily a tool in a mystery plot.
I hope there is more mystery (I have since discovered that there is) in other novels of the series, but I think that constant drama (especially of the overwrought Christie variety) is too much, and I find it refreshing that a more realistic murder story can be presented. This story rested more on finding evidence and learning how the murderer committed the crime than on finding the murderer.
Collective Sherlock Holmes Mini-Review
I should have lumped all of the Sherlock Holmes stories into one section on my Classics Club list. I read them a year ago, and I should have wrote better (more general) notes. I loved the works collectively although the famous A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of Four did not top my favorite list. And The Hound of the Baskervilles hardly had Holmes in it! Of course neither did The Valley of Fear which I loved, but that had another absolutely brilliant detective instead of Watson as in The Hound of the Baskervilles. I am not a fan of Watson as he is so dull and so obviously nothing more than the biographer and foil of Holmes. I adore Holmes which may or may not be the result of Sherlock although that title character does not precisely match Holmes who is more of a full, well-rounded character and less um, harsh in the eccentricity and humaneness department, enough said. Anyway, I immediately embarked on a mystery reading craze and the quality of the mysteries deteriorated to Agatha Christie and then I left off reading mysteries. I have since started the Lord Peter Whimsy mysteries and thus improved my mystery reading quality after the Christie slump.
The Father Brown Mysteries Review
I read The Father Brown Omnibus after the Sherlock Holmes collection around a year ago, so again, this will be quite short as my notes are not very helpful.
These mysteries show more of the principal players in and viewers of the mysteries than do Holmes’ stories. Chesterton portrayed the mysteries with a less scientific/logical point of view and with more humanity/sympathy/empathy. Because of this the stories include more moralizing and consideration of motives.
Sherlock Holmes is scientific/logical; in his stories he almost always explains all of the mystery in its entirety, and the mysteries themselves are puzzles, enigmas. The Father Brown mysteries are more of true mystery with religion, romance, philosophy, touches of the supernatural, and they have lingering mystery in the end.
Father Brown is annoying in his “helplessness” and “bewilderment” (i.e. it makes him seem falsely humble). I know that he is right regarding other people misinterpreting his simple words, but he has been enough around people to know the common interpretations (since some things are so common that they are assumed) and misinterpretations.
I enjoyed these mysteries but less than the Sherlock Holmes. Father Brown is not as interesting and original (and brilliant and awesome) as Sherlock Holmes, and the quality of writing did not equal that of the Holmes novels.
The Sign of Four Review
This was my least favorite of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries; I actually didn’t really like it. The story was dark and creepy, I hated the savage character for many reasons, and the ending was unsatisfactory. The only slight gleam of light was Watson’s darling little romance and Holmes’ slightly mischievous attitude about it…he just doesn’t miss a thing even when he doesn’t say much about it. That is a big difference between the original stories and Sherlock. Sherlock loves to point out everything he notices (such as the fact that he knew Donovan and Anderson were having an office affair) to show off or hit back, and yes, lots of these people…Donovan, I hate her…are cruel to him, but the real Holmes was above all that; he was MUCH more noble period than his flatter, less developed modern reincarnation. I digress.
Much of what was in the story was more gross and chilling than I could handle (and I just read something truly horrifying in the news–something that to me was the most horrific thing I have ever read–so I was extra sensitive at the time of reading). The tide of the mystery still carried me on, but I felt that the suspense was not fulfilled or justified by the ending.
I did not feel any empathy whatsoever for this criminal and his back story did not seem overly intricate. He was a cold-blooded murderer, so his disgust at his savage and the unnecessary death didn’t ring quite true. The only thing of pulling interest in the main part of the plot was the fact that the jewels were at the bottom of the Thames. How infuriating but above the commonplace.
After I read The Valley of Fear, I noticed that someone pointed out that most of the story was not focused on Holmes. In that particular story I was fine with that because the mystery of that back story was ah-mazing! I have to wonder though, if I would have liked The Sign of Four better if Holmes was shown to the best advantage.
A Study in Scarlet ReviewI read the Sherlock Holmes stories a while ago, so I cannot really elaborate more than this. I need to remember to take notes as I read and then thoughtfully write out a review right after I finish the books before I forget both my impressions and the details of the story. Mysteries are hard to review anyway, I think.I will admit to being a cheater and watching all the currently available episodes of BBC’s Sherlock long before I picked up the marvelous original stories. However, since I am now an ardent fan of the books (how can I not be?!), I think I am redeemed.There are significant differences besides the time period—and some of the stories are so much quicker to read than I expected from the television series. I love how the T.V. series takes parts from the books and mixes them up—it is brilliant.I love having the plot unfold and every detail explained; in the T.V. series it is hard to follow everything while in the stories the explanations of Holmes’ reasoning process is much more realistic.A Study in ScarletThe two part sequence surprised me, but I liked it, it lent so much more interest to the plot. I love backstories and long, complicated motivations (these seem to be lacking in the T.V. series). After reading the backstory, I wasn’t sorry for the victims—well I wasn’t sorry for the first, but the 2nd death was too horrific. I was sorry for the vigilante (I don’t wish to say murderer—I know he oughtn’t have turned vigilante—but I completely sympathized with him and believe that he wasn’t as evil as a cold blooded murderer [to put that more Biblically, I believe he had considerably more common grace than a cold-blooded murderer]).Oh, the scene when he finds out they are gone! The horror is well built up in the story. I love the understated emotion. It is always soo much more effective than blatant description and tons of blood and gore—it is chilling and realistic and mysterious. All the hints and whispers lend a greater edge than statements of description. I love that (maybe because I am not that way?).