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text 2017-08-22 15:09
Reading progress update: I've read 126 out of 471 pages.
Chameleon People (K2 and Patricia series) - Hans Olav Lahlum

a huge, startling event at page 92, a turning point in the story that affects the whole mood of the book, and will have repercussions later on. did not see that coming! and then after that, the discover of the 104-year-old woman with the lucid brain, sharp eyes, and secret knowledge. the book was good before, but it is in overdrive now. I am like the, how you say, hooked fish. it's funny too--the fact that the 1972 Mystery content reminds me a bit of a Ross Macdonald scenario--see The Chill--and the book is Dedicated to that old hard-boiled author, but the whodunit that dates back to 1932 has more of an Agatha Christie vibe, with the tight-knit group of partners who swapped romantic partners and brood over the unsolved portion of their past...and author Lahlum is apparently an Agatha Christie fan. he seems adept at following two sets of big footsteps!

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text 2017-08-21 22:17
Reading progress update: I've read 67 out of 471 pages.
Chameleon People (K2 and Patricia series) - Hans Olav Lahlum

I'm well past feeling intimidated if I test out a new Scandinavian Crime novel--those names (people names, street names), quick History Lessons if required, political climates. cold climates!--but there's always a slight chance something Scandinavian will finally disappoint. Hans Olav Lahlum, so far, does not seem like the one who will let me down; this book is very cool...and more Agatha Christie than Nesbo, Ohlsson, Kallentoft, Lackberg, or anyone else I've encountered. oh, there's a Police Procedural slant, but the murder case (1932) hiding behind the initial murder case introduced (1972, when the book is set) has an old-school flavor, as does the Detective's (K2's) first-person narration. an intriguing tease is the hint that this woman Patricia, actually solves the cases instead of K2! that's weird! first Aurelio Zen...and now the star of a series who maybe doesn't do most of the work in solving crimes, but gets the kudos. still, not all of the details regarding this matter have been explained as yet, and this Patricia genius isn't in the book yet.

 

other than that, the boy on the red bicycle is a very interesting murder suspect if ever there was one. the wealthy family tied to murders (?) both past and present has been wonderfully depicted, and all in all I'm very glad this doesn't feel quite like another Nesbo, another Kallentoft, another Ohlsson. a slightly different sinister and savage land...

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text 2017-08-21 15:48
Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 471 pages.
Chameleon People (K2 and Patricia series) - Hans Olav Lahlum

Crime time, again. the covers on this author's books have always been eye-catching, in a unique way. and I love the Ross Macdonald Dedication that fronts this novel...bodes well for what I'm going to get from these pages, if Ross Macdonald was a great influence on this Hans Olav Lahlum chap.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-08-20 19:02
The Pathologically Insecure Mr. Ripley
The Talented Mr. Ripley - Patricia Highsmith

This was both my first introduction to Tom Ripley, and my first introduction to Patricia Highsmith. I was somewhat aware of the story before I started the book, although I'd neither seen the movie nor read any of the Ripley novels. I knew going in that Tom Ripley was a sociopath and a murderer.

 

What I didn't realize was that this book was a "retelling" (of sorts) of The Ambassadors by Henry James. Highsmith reveals this early, with overt references to the James novel. Mr. Greenleaf, father of Dickie Greenleaf, makes the fatal error of commissioning Tom Ripley to go to Italy and retrieve his son from the dissipated life of an American ex pat. Sadly for both Dickie and his father, Dickie is a man of independent means, so he cannot be forced him by turning off the money spigot. 

 

Italy in the 1950's was, apparently, a relatively inexpensive place for a young man of some means and no ambition to while away his days as a dabbler. Dickie Greenleaf has a talent for leisure, if no talent for painting.

 

 

Image result for italy in the 1950's

 

Italy in the 1950's.

 


Image result for italy in the 1950's

 

Como, 1954

 

Tom Ripley, on the other hand, had a talent for mimicry, and little else. I had expected him to be charismatic, but, as it turns out, he was just a nonentity. Whatever personality he possessed came only from an alcohol-induced haze. Because of this, he was pathologically insecure. 

 

One of the things that struck me about Highsmith's writing is how visceral her description of the act of murder was. With the exception of murder by firearm, murder is a taxing physical act. Highsmith doesn't just "tell" the reader about the murder. She shows the reader the heat, the blood, the exhaustion, and the terror that is experienced by her characters. It is brutal and revolting.

 

From there, things really just disintegrate. Tom Ripley seems to operate on a knife's edge between merely disturbed and completely unhinged. His internal dialogue is often incredibly creepy.

 

Alone again, Tom returned to his private reveries. He ought to open a bank account for Tom Ripley, he thought, and from time to time put a hundred dollars or so into it. Dickie Greenleaf had two banks, one in Naples and one in New York, with about five thousand dollars in each account. He might open the Ripley account with a couple of thousand, and put into it the hundred and fifty thousand lire from the Mongibello furniture. After all, he had two people to take care of.

 

 

 

His psyche seems to be fragile.

 

He definitely wanted to see Greece. He wanted to see Greece as Dickie Greenleaf with Dickie’s money, Dickie’s clothes, Dickie’s way of behaving with strangers. But would it happen that he couldn’t see Greece as Dickie Greenleaf? Would one thing after another come up to thwart him—murder, suspicion, people? He hadn’t wanted to murder, it had been a necessity. The idea of going to Greece, trudging over the Acropolis as Tom Ripley, American tourist, held no charm for him at all. He would as soon not go.

 

Like Broken Tune, I'm of two minds about Ripley's great escape. On the one hand, I certainly don't sympathize with Tom Ripley and I wasn't rooting for him. On the other hand, it was interesting to watch his mind work, and I can see how he could have fooled the Italian authorities in 1955.

 

Based on this book, I slot Highsmith into the category of Shirley Jackson - incredibly talented woman who writes disturbed characters disturbingly well. I am wondering if anyone has read Ripley Underground, or any of the other Ripley follow-ups. I'm considering it for Halloween Bingo! 

 

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text 2017-08-20 03:16
Reading progress update: I've read 217 out of 285 pages.
The Talented Mr. Ripley - Patricia Highsmith

It was senseless to be despondent, anyway, even as Tom Ripley. Tom Ripley had never really been despondent, though he had often looked it. Hadn’t he learned something from these last months? If you wanted to be cheerful, or melancholic, or wistful, or thoughtful, or courteous, you simply had to act those things with every gesture.

 

Tom Ripley is a deeply disturbed individual. I keep flashing to various eps of Criminal Minds/CSI while I'm reading.

 
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