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review 2018-11-12 13:30
24 Festive Tasks: Doors 2 and 5 - Books for Guy Fawkes Night and Veterans' / Armistice Day
Behold, Here's Poison - Georgette Heyer
Behold, Here's Poison - Georgette Heyer
The Riddle of the Third Mile - Colin Dexter,Samuel West
The Riddle of the Third Mile - Colin Dexter


Georgette Heyer: Behold, Here's Poison
(Narrator: Ulli Birvé)

The first Georgette Heyer mysteries I read were her Inspector Hemingway books, which in a way meant I was starting from the wrong end, as Hemingway progressed to the rank of inspector from having been the lead investigator's sergeant in the earlier Superintendent Hannasyde books.  That doesn't impede my enjoyment of Hannasyde's cases in the least, however, now that I'm getting around to these, even though I found the first one (Death in the Stocks) seriously underwhelming.  But Heyer redeems herself in a big way with Behold, Here's Poison: Though a fair share of her mysteries have a sizeable contingent of 1920s-30s stock-in-trade bright young things and generally "nice chaps" (which got on my nerves enough at one point to make me decide I'd had enough of Heyer), when she did set her mind to it, nobody, not even Agatha Christie, did maliciously bickering families like her.  And the family taking center stage here must be one of the meanest she's ever come up with, only (just) surpassed by the Penhallows.  I'm not overwhelmed with the story's romantic dénouement (there always is one in Heyer's books), and while I guessed the mystery's essential "who" and had a basic idea of the "why" at about the 3/4 - 4/5 mark (the actual "why" was a bit of a deus ex machina), by and large this has to count among my favorite Heyer mysteries so far ... though not quite reaching the level of my overall favorite, Envious Casca.

 

Ulli Birvé isn't and won't ever become my favorite narrator, and she seriously got on my nerves here, too.  Since all of the recent re-recordings of Heyer's mysteries are narrated by her, though, I've decided I won't hold her mannerisms against the author, and I've read enough print versions of Heyer books at this point to have a fairly good idea of what a given character would sound like in my head if I'd read instead of listened to the book in question.

 

 


Colin Dexter: The Riddle of the Third Mile
(Narrator: Samuel West)

For Veterans' / Armistice Day I'm claiming the very first book I revisited after the beginning of the 24 Festive Tasks game: Colin Dexter's The Riddle of the Third Mile had long been one of my favorite entries in the Inspector Morse series, but Samuel West's wonderful reading not only confirmed that status but actually moved it up yet another few notches.  (Samuel West is fast becoming one of my favorite audiobook narrators anyway.) The fact that due to the progress of medical research a key element of the mystery would have been much easier to solve these days does not impede my enjoyment in the least ... changing social mores aside, half the Golden Age crime literature, including many of the great classics by Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and even, on occasion, Arthur Conan Doyle would be deprived of substantial riddles if they were set today. -- The book qualifies for this particular "24 Festive Tasks" square, because some of the characters' and their siblings' encounter as British soldiers at the battle of El Alamein (1942) forms the prologue to the book and an important motive for their actions in the world of Oxford academia and Soho strip clubs, some 40 years later.

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text 2018-11-10 20:23
Reading progress update: I've listened to 30 out of 636 minutes.
Behold, Here's Poison - Georgette Heyer

I'm listening to this for the "Guy Fawkes Night" book task (a book set in the UK).

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text 2018-11-05 00:15
Reading progress update: I've read 25%.
Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories - Agatha Christie,Joan Hickson,Isla Blair,Anna Massey
Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories - Agatha Christie

Revisiting, this time courtesy of the audio version narrated in turns by Joan Hickson, Isla Blair and Anna Massey, as my 24 Festsive Tasks / Día de los Muertos book.

 

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text 2018-10-17 14:24
Reading progress update: I've read 75%.
The Waiting Sands - Susan Howatch

Well, that was unexpected.  (Not.)

 

 

Two of the main characters have just died

 

(spoiler show)

 

... and all I can think is, cool, we finally should be able to wrap things up now.

 

Seriously, this book has not aged well.

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text 2018-10-16 14:32
Reading progress update: I've read 33%.
The Waiting Sands - Susan Howatch

Not the edition I'm reading, but by far the most atmospheric cover of all the editions on BL.

 

I don't like either of the men -- if I'm not supposed to, job well done, Ms. Howatch.  If I am supposed to like one or all of them (or even find them intriguing) ... I guess it's a good thing we've moved on since the 1970s.  That said, as a teenager I'd probably have fallen for Daniel.

 

Kyle of Lochalsh. 
Got some photos of my own, too -- will have to look for them later.

And I'm pretty sure Roshven is inspired by Eilean Donan Castle ... which, after all, also figures in everything from James Bond to the Highlander movie (and which in reality isn't half as ancient as it is conveniently made to look).

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