Most Sci-Fi leaves me cold today, as I am of the age when Sci-Fi writers knew something about actual science, so this was a novel which I found fascinating. It might be too slow for those who want six legged Martians, or failed chemistry, but for the rest of us, this was a joy to read. A story of survival by an astronaut who was erroneous left for dead on Mars during an emergency which caused the scrubbing of a landing, the plot is heavily weighted in good science and excellent problem solving, without magic. Good for Andy Weir for fulfilling the needs of those of us who harken back to Asimov.
Patricia Wentworth is my guilty secret in mysteries. Among contemporary murder mysteries with body parts all over the place and vampires and zombies, one is not amused or even entertained. These quiet little old family murders and the horror over scandal after the dirty deed are so much fun, that they are only exceeded by the pleasure in dialogue. Loved this one, because, perhaps she believed in Karma.
The publisher, who is the protagonist, in this story, would have been the end of the mammalian species had he lived in the Jurassic. One wonders why the author did not get tired of him early on and just killed him off, since he apparently has no self-awareness, or a sense of self-preservation. He talks on and off, during the the novel, about having children in the future - one hopes that doesn't happen, because he probably would leave them at the zoo in the polar bear enclosure. And, who is so hot for a girlfriend that he is constantly thinking about her, but communicates only through faxes? This guy is so strange that obvious attempts to kill him are not communicated to the police, because he natters on constantly as to whether he has enough proof to make them believe him - I would have loved to kill him off for his author.
It's difficult to believe that an MIT graduate who can build a Time Machine has only one friend in his entire life - a mean spirited moron who can barely tie his own shoes, but can build an atomic bomb in 4545 when no one knows how to do anything - who cares what happened to any of them.
I had difficulty reading Cloud Atlas - tried three times and gave up, so thought I would try the embryonic effort. The writing is excellent, the characters, with some exception, are not developed enough to care about, and some are so shallow, one does not want to care about them - I thought I would try to give this book a fair read. As with many male authors, the female characters are victims or pathetic or unlikeable or unfathomable - while the story has some historical accuracy, in some instances, the knee jerk pace of the story telling makes it a struggle to even remained interested. The Irish/US vignette is ridiculous. The one character with a conscience is a spirit, the rest seem to wander around as monsters of their Id, with few exceptions.
A contemporary indictment of the British tabloid mentality in the press and the paparazzi, is the backdrop to a larger theme of self indulgence, extreme and sudden wealth, and a plethora of characters who live in the moment in catering to the insatiable demands of a society which lives vicariously. This is a setting for a death of a famous model, a damaged detective who is greater than the sum of his parts, and his skills in finding the truth, in dogged investigation of the discounted and overlooked.
Much like a skillful deposition, this novel, carefully moves from the basic, "Who are you," and "Where do you live," opening questions of a very good interrogator, into seeming innocuous questions of apparent little import, until the pieces begin to fit together and a true picture of actual events and participants begins to reveal the facts.
The author has proven that the ability to develop a plot which demands the reader continue, and characters who are well drawn, was not limited to one genre, and one is eager to follow their development for good or evil.
Well written and well plotted, most of the characters in this book have little conscience or redeeming qualities.. Perhaps, I've met too many like-minded individuals in my professional career, as those in this novel, and as such, I found them as distasteful as characters in a book as clients in a legal field, and I am not be able to recommend the book as entertaining, unless of course, one tends to enjoy saying, "Oh, there you are again, I thought I was done with you and your ilk."
I am often easily bored with novels, but this one was not only well written, but it's plot was so intriguing that I found myself neglecting everything I needed to do, to keep listening to try to find out, if I would be able to dismiss this, with a "Oh, I know where this is going," and put it down, so I could go about my business.
Fascinating characters which are well drawn.
I would highly recommend this book to those who are jaundiced with formulae plots, and want to be kept guessing.
Characters were silly, story was silly and I really thought the detective should have taken up another career.
Unlike many of the other reviewers, in my opinion David Thorpe makes the characters live. His ability to create both male and female roles, who one recognizes without having to refer back to their names, is indeed an art. I often think that Americans have great difficulty with accents other than a broad American accent and actually cannot understand some narrators, especially if the narrator is familiar with regional accents in his own country.
It continues to be interesting to pick out Allingham's personal opinions put into the mouths of her characters. Such as the one in which she describes a fog settling on London for days, sufficiently unpleasant enough to make contemporary Londoners wonder why their ancestors insisted own building a city in a swamp - which may make Americans, who live and visit Washington, D.C., also wonder if there was a DNA requirement for the Colonists to want to build their capital in a swamp
Sometimes Allinghams characters are so foolish as to make me to lose patience with them, such as the Vicar, but, then, he may very well represent many of the foolish we also meet today, so one just has to take a deep breath and hope he doesn't do any more harm than he does.
This is not one of her best plots but it is still entertaining and I continue to be hooked on Campion and his friends and relatives.
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