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Currently reading

Maigret Travels
Georges Simenon
Progress: 2/169 pages
Toward the Radical Center: A Karel Capek Reader
Arthur Miller, Peter Kussi, Peter Kussi
Progress: 246/416 pages
The Dark Descent
Clive Barker, Stephen King, Shirley Jackson, Ray Bradbury, David G. Hartwell, John Collier, Joyce Carol Oates
Progress: 166/1011 pages

Reading progress update: I've read 2 out of 169 pages.

Maigret Travels - Georges Simenon

okay, it’s like this, folks (he explained sheepishly): my gimmicky new reading plan is to read a pair of books that can be linked in some way - let’s say two books set in Paris, or two books with the same word in the title, or two books with something similar in their plot synopses. whatever. so, with this in mind, I was going to go to The Cask, and have an author’s-first-novel double-bill, launched with Sayers’ Whose Body?.

 

but how can I not change my mind...and do - are you ready for this? - two books in a row with a bathtub on the cover! if I had picked a different Maigret novel out at the bookstore over the weekend, this wouldn’t be happening (and goodness knows, I changed my mind fifty times). I didn’t mean to suddenly have two ‘bathtub covers’ handy, but I think it would be rash not to have a much sillier double-bill than something boringly logical, like “two first novels”.

 

I do reserve the right to read one random book in between each book forming a double-bill...but it just seems wrong to put something between the two bathtubs. so I reserve the right to do a random read, not part of a pairing, in between pairings (following all this? silly enough for you? does not the bathtub double-bill make it so?).

 

I’ve got two Mystery novels lined up in which paintings figure into the plot, so that may be my next double-bill (neither book has a toilet on the cover, so even if I accidentally acquire a book with a toilet on the cover, it will not cause any rashly necessary substitutions similar to what we are enduring now). logic should prevail, every now and then...we’ll see.

Reading progress update: I've read 126 out of 197 pages.

Whose Body? - Dorothy L. Sayers

enjoyable, but a bit dated in specific ways - this is a 1923 British Mystery novel featuring a Jewish financier who has gone missing, and may have been murdered...so some characters talk like they are in London, in 1923. I haven’t cringed or become outraged - but, yeah, uh, the times, the times, thank goodness things are not as overtly tolerated; you can’t just...say shit and everyone nods.

 

okay, I like the Mystery. I have a theory - and I have read that this is not that tough a Mystery to figure out, which means there is that much more of a chance I’m right, than usual.

 

Wimsey was instantly appealing, if a bit over-Wimsey ( isn’t he always, though?).

"People...Without seeing them behave and listening to what they had to say, a study of language and history was academic. Admirable and enjoyable, of course. But what about language as it was used, what about history as it was being made? What about distortions that could end as apparent facts, be accepted as established truth? There had always been that danger: the victors wrote the history books. But today—with the far reach of television and radio, of instant news—future victors wouldn’t even need to win a war before they wrote the history books. They’d manipulate minds and emotions, outsmart an unwitting world."

Ride A Pale Horse, by Helen MacInnes (copyright 1984; quote is from pages 183-184 of the Titan Books trade paperback edition, July 2013).

Reading progress update: I've read 2 out of 197 pages.

Whose Body? - Dorothy L. Sayers

I’m skipping The Widow for now (poor Widow...sorry), and going to Sayers. this does not feel completely wrong, or misguided.

Reading progress update: I've read 313 out of 429 pages.

Ride a Pale Horse - Helen MacInnes

if this is an example of one of MacInnes’ bad books...I guess I’m safe approaching any of them, because I continue to have a fun time with Ride A Pale Horse.

Reading progress update: I've read 158 out of 429 pages.

Ride a Pale Horse - Helen MacInnes

an unsettling episode at the airport in Rome leads to even stranger developments in Karen's life, including a secret rendezvous at the Church of the Capuchin Monks.

 

continues to be a more engaging read than I was expecting, based on reviews. not spectacular, but thank goodness it does not drag at all.

Reading progress update: I've read 114 out of 429 pages.

Ride a Pale Horse - Helen MacInnes

this isn’t so bad - I was expecting a lot worse (though there is still plenty of time to turn into the rumoured confusing mess). it’s more Torn Curtain than North By Northwest...but I prefer Notorious over both of those, anyway! and this sure ain’t Notorious.

 

my first thought is that this is probably going to run longer than it should; and yet, all the scenes seem to have moved the plot forward at a decent pace, and have been necessary scenes. if this all goes wrong, it  will happen in noticeable fashion - I’ll suddenly be bored, and know it in my guts- and I’ll pass the word along. as of now, things have been going okay. globetrotting: Prague, Vienna, the US, Rome looming - so I like that. I always do, in a Spy novel.

Reading progress update: I've read 38 out of 429 pages.

Ride a Pale Horse - Helen MacInnes

I'm enjoying it - but I am hearkening back to the reviews that said "don't be fooled by the enticing beginning, the book becomes a muddle of frenzied activity without much sense", and variations on that sort of assessment. but I like it so far. I think I have a basic fondness for even weak Spy books, if they have at least some tension to them. still, Agent In Place was fabulous, so it'll be a pity if this follow-up for me is truly terrible - and I'll have to pick an earlier book by the author next time, like Above Suspicion or The Venetian Affair.

TBR Next

Reading progress update: I've read 8 out of 429 pages.

Ride a Pale Horse - Helen MacInnes

getting this over with. (not supposed to be that great; hm, maybe I’ll be surprised.)

Reading progress update: I've read 246 out of 416 pages.

Toward the Radical Center: A Karel Capek Reader - Arthur Miller, Peter Kussi, Peter Kussi

‘In Praise of Clumsy People’ was very funny. enjoying these short, strange writings from Capek.

Reading progress update: I've read 108 out of 152 pages.

The Carter of 'La Providence' - Georges Simenon, David Coward

it’s a good one...but I won’t need locks and canals in a story for a while after this.

Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 152 pages.

The Carter of 'La Providence' - Georges Simenon, David Coward

this Maigret novel, and then for sure that Helen MacInnes novel I keep avoiding. no, really - it’s for sure, this time.

Reading progress update: I've read 222 out of 329 pages.

Follow The Leader (A DS Allie Shenton Novel) - Mel Sherratt

sooooo...this one is turning out to be trickier than it was acting, earlier on. good!

Reading progress update: I've read 156 out of 329 pages.

Follow The Leader (A DS Allie Shenton Novel) - Mel Sherratt

the police look into Frank Dwyer's troubled past, and surmise they may be looking for someone named "Eve". the case has gotten strange, from their point of view. I think there may be another murder, another letter of the alphabet left at the scene, and I think E-V-E will become E-V-E-N. as in getting even. but of course I don't know.

Reading progress update: I've read 140 out of 329 pages.

Follow The Leader (A DS Allie Shenton Novel) - Mel Sherratt

this murderer is working fast.

 

that’s it for tonight.