Books 2010

Books 2009

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Monday, 12 January 2009


Thank you for the reviews. I find some "dated" mysteries just exquisite and others--just old. I think it has to do with the literary qualities of the prose and the inventiveness of the mystery. I'm always looking for new recommendations and I'm glad that you reminded me of Michael Gilbert. Thank you!

Haha! Seredipity gone mad - I was looking for a completely different author, very near in the alphabet to Underwood, but failing to find the book I wanted, so was looking closely. I saw the Underwood, "Crooked wood", which reminded me of a favourite phrase of Kant's: "Aus so krummem Holze, als woraus der Mensch gemacht ist, kann nichts ganz Gerades gezimmert werden", from which it is indeed a quotation. I picked it up, and saw that it was a murder mystery, so thought I might as well give it a try. (And since you're asking - "out of the crooked timber of humanity is no completely straight thing made"). Well, you did ask!

I'm curious to know what drew you to choose the Underwood book.

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  • Nothing is of greater consolation to the author of a novel than the disovery of readings he had not conceived but which are then prompted by his readers. (Umberto Eco, Reflections on The Name of the Rose)
  • ... relatively few persons in London ... can afford the luxury of one or more servants. No fewer than 3,700,000 have no servants at all, and of the half million that have servants 227,000 have only one. (The Times, 6 June 1895)
  • Standing among savage scenery, the hotel offers stupendous revelations. There is a French widow in every bedroom, affording delightful prospects. (Tyrolean inn brochure, according to Gerard Hoffnung)
  • (A doctor is at an elderly relative's deathbed) "The old sawbones, eh?" he bellowed ... "Just in the nick, perhaps. Haul the old girl back by the short hairs, if you ask me. Devilish smart at his work ... Always take a fence with more confidence when I know he's out with us."
  • Too often, when a man of Monty Godkin's mental powers is plunged in thought, nothing happens at all. The machinery just whirs for a while, and that is the end of it. (P G Wodehouse, Heavy Weather)
  • ...the breed that take their pleasures as Saint Laurence took his grid (Kipling, The Five nations)

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