Posts Tagged ‘bad writing good plot’
Almost at the halfway point through the year, when I look back at my reading log for 2009 thus far, I can see that I’ve definitely been delving more into the mystery genre than I have in years past. Sometimes I worry that my reading is becoming too firmly ensconced in the detective fiction realm, but then again, I think we all have our own little reading jags that we go on, and sometimes you just need to binge for a while to get it out of your system. Another side effect of said binging is that you start to get a tad more discerning, with certain writers rising to the top and others not so much. It’s kind of like when I first started to drink wine – to my unrefined palate, all wines tasted alike (namely, like “wine”), but after 7 years of drinking the stuff (in moderation, mind you! Most of the time…), I finally have some definite preferences. Similarly, every book I read helps me hone my concept of who I am as a reader, and each mystery novel I read also gives me a more specific knowledge regarding that genre.
On the surface, Publish & Perish is a mystery novel I should have liked. Dr. Ben Reese is on sabbatical at Oxford when he is awoken by a call at 2 in the morning from his good friend and colleague Richard West. He says he has uncovered an injustice that has long been hidden, and only the two of them can bring the culprit to justice. However, before Richard can go into further detail, the call is cut short and when Ben next hears from Richard, it is actually in the form of a telegram telling him that Richard died of a heart attack that night. Ben flies home to attend the funeral, and whilst there begins to poke around… although there’s no direct evidence that a crime was committed, something doesn’t sit right with Ben and he soon finds himself investigating the murder of his friend.
For most of my adult life I’ve had a working knowledge of what (or perhaps, more accurately, who) the Scarlet Pimpernel is and how the whole story kind of goes. A dashing, secret, English aristocrat who saves French aristocrats from death at the hands of the over-eager, long oppressed French commoners. All you need to know, right? Actually, yes, it kind of is. But, in a flash of impulsiveness I purchased this volume from that crack-house called McKay’s Used Books. It looked short enough, I had always been a little curious about the actual plot of the story and the book was only $1.50. Win, win, win. It turns out that this particular edition was published at Dalmatian Press which is just down the road from Nashville and the cover was designed by someone I used to work with. Useless trivia over.