The Last Mystery

So, fine, I finally caved and got that Kindle, and I’ve been waitingwaitingwaiting for it so patiently. Did I say patiently? I meant impatiently. The mixed feelings I originally reserved for that piece of plastic have turned into rabid anticipation.

A few days ago, at B&N, I decided to pick up a mystery, one last one for a while, since I plan on buying most of my new genre stuff online. I mean, that’s why I splurged on this toy! But the thing won’t ship until the 27th, and I thought I’d be done with the book long before that.

Wrong! I just cannot get into this book. I can’t figure out why. It has everything you would think I would be looking for in a mystery. It has a mystery author (Yay!) as its protagonist-sleuth, a dash of romance in the form of a police detective (Woot!), and of course a metric ton of red herrings and suspects. And bodies.

Plus, and this should really have been the nail in the coffin, but a good kind of mystery coffin– it takes place in the English countryside between WWI and WWII! I mean, hello. That is right up my proverbial alley.

Josephine Tey is a real mystery author, who is also the fictional protagonist of this book I am *trying* to read.

There’s no florid prose, no endless pictures just for their own sake, and the characters’ thinking is interesting and natural enough. So, why the hell can’t I get into this thing?

I should mention, in all fairness, that I’ve been supersleepy all week. I am not used to this whole getting up at 5:30 in the morning thing yet. To make matters worse, last night was the first night in at least a week where I’d slept straight through. And my dad visited during the weekend– and he is a wonderful houseguest, and the easiest houseguest ever, but the thing is, I was too excited to sleep, knowing that my dad was downstairs!

What I am trying to say is that it is entirely possible that the novel’s unreadability is my own fault.

But then I noticed that I have absolutely no idea what these characters look like. I flipped back to the beginning of the book (I am about halfway through) and found no descriptions of the two main characters. The supporting cast is rather thinly described as well, but they actually get more description than the main characters! I couldn’t even tell how old they were, and I still don’t really know, and I’m guessing close to forty.

This novel is the second in a series, and I can understand the author not wanting to waste too much time describing somebody who’s been described before, but this is a bit much. I’m quite an imaginative person. I cannot read something without thinking who I’d cast in the movie version of a book, or sometimes I even replace a character with my own self– even if the character looks nothing like me (and of course, they often don’t).

And to top it all off, I figured out The Big Secret within the first few chapters.

What the heck? Color me cranky. As soon as I finish this thing, I’m going to give it to a student. I couldn’t get into Philip Pullman’s Dark Trilogy, either, and gave The Golden Compass to a student in my summer class. They actually got competitive over it! Or maybe I will try selling it to that cranky German lady at the used bookstore in Tower, so I could use some of it to buy Isabel Allende’s House of the Spirits. I’m supposed to be reading that for a book club. Hm.


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