Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Minette Walters, Patricia Cornwell . . .
After a busy week finishing off my essay followed by my weekend's Half Marathon run, I'm now nursing something sinusitis-bronchitis-y, and one of the best methods for doing that, besides sleep, is reading, right? (Well, curling up on the couch with old Buffy DVDs helps as well).
I picked up Patricia Cornwell's Port Mortuary. Despite complaining about the quality of her recent Scarpetta books, I keep picking them up hoping they'll get better again. So far, this is not bad, although there's some very flabby repetitive writing that a bold editor might have taken out. And I'm surprised at the distribution of words on a page which makes a lovely thick-looking book to sink into out of what will actually turn out to be much slighter than suggested. . . .
A much better deal was the paperback edition of Minette Walters' The Devil's Feather, that I finished a few weeks ago. Walters never disappoints, except in refusing to write faster -- but that's probably part of her secret to success. That and the fact that she doesn't try to return to the same characters, although there have been several along the way I would have been happy to see more of. Some find her politics too strident, but perhaps because those politics are closely aligned with my own, I never find they get in the way of plot, character, or setting, and the relationship between the two female central characters here was intriguing and satisfying.
An interesting link in both novels was the reference to the Middle East and the military implication of Western governments (Britain and US) in Iraq, Afghanistan, and beyond -- the ways that that history is coming back to roost in the colonizing powers. More and more, I'm finding mystery novels used very convincingly to educate a reading public about aspects of our
engagement that we might not bother to read in other media (or that other media don't bother to cover). Lee Child has done this as has James Lee Burke. Have you noticed others? And do you find it worthwhile, interesting, distracting, what? Comments, please. . .