Byrd struggles a bit to succinctly sum up the charm of Irish novelist Ridgway’s foray into detective fiction, but a certain indefinability appears to be part of its charm. Byrd calls it “a detective novel that reminds us of the special affinity between the literary mystery and the work of philosophy.” It’s tough to tell, from the lukewarm reaction, just how well this risky premise works. It’s enough for me to get the free sample, though. (Also, how silly is this cover? I wonder if this is the American version. I don’t think Americans can handle that weirdness.)
This is another unfortunate example of why authors shouldn’t review books, especially not books in their own genre. Stashower goes about analyzing this account of the famous Lululemon murders with all the showmanship and panache of a quality control inspector quietly inspecting yet another sprocket for defects. Stashower finds that Morse capably relates the story of a police department uncovering a murderer, but that’s about all. There’s nothing here about why this crazy girl murdered her coworker, the famous account of the Apple Store employees next door, who listened to somebody getting stabbed to death for 45 minutes without doing anything, or basically any kind of human interest angle that a civilian might perk up at. Instead we get a dull plot summary and a craftsman’s opinion of the functionality of this piece of journalism. Yawn. (Ps, the cover of this book is every bit as bad as its title.)
As a kid, I loved the Discworld novels, and it’s heartening to see them still going strong. This is Pratchett’s 40th (!) novel in the series, and it features the advent of steam power into the Disworld’s previously medieval atmos. Aaronovitch’s review does a nice job of introducing the series, and of making me feel like reading this installment after a 20-year hiatus.