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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Book Round-Up

The Celtic Riddle and The Etruscan Chimera by Lyn Hamilton:  These are two volumes in Hamilton's Archeological Mysteries series, which I am reading out of order because my library does not have them all.  Hamilton's writing is not great -- there are so many clauses, phrases, asides, and tangents in each sentence, I need a road map to get to the period at the end. Moreover, The Celtic Riddle, despite its reliance on a rich vein of Irish mythology, was fairly boring; the "key" to the riddles was figured out early in the book, leaving some not-very-compelling murders for the remaining mystery.  The Tuscan Chimera, on the other hand, was a fun and fast-paced caper.  The plot twists came so quickly and enjoyably, it didn't matter plausible they were (answer: not at all).

The Moving Toyshop by Edmund Crispin: This is a well-known example of the "locked-room mystery" subgenre.  As is often the case in this type of story, there is only a pretense at realism; instead the focus is on the ingenious solution, something Crispin's certainly is.  He also has fun with the Oxford characters, and even tosses in a few meta-references to the genre in general.

Young Romance: the Best of Simon and Kirby's Romance Comics: Time was, romance stories were a huge segment of the comics industry.  This volumes collects just a few of the ones created by Jack Kirby (better known for his work in the superhero genre) and Joe Simon, from 1947 to 1959.  The volume includes an introduction and historical overview of the genre, both of which try just a bit too hard to explain how romance comics really weren't sexist.  On the other hand, the comics really are not as sexist or offensive as a modern reader would expect.  They are, however, deeply conventional in their treatment of romantic relationships.  They are also a hoot to read. 

While I'm at it, I also recommend Truer than True Romance: Classic Love Comics Retold, where Jeanne Martinet replaces all of the original dialogue and narration in the comics with her own, leading to absurd and hysterical stories ("Too Dumb for Love!" "I Hate My Hair!" "Loving Gay Men!").

Hot Button by Kylie Logan: The second in the Button Box Mystery series wasn't quite as engaging as the first, but it was still a fun read, and now I want to go to a button convention.


  1. Like the sound of the Edmund Crispin one- will have to read that one!

  2. It's fun, plus I like seeing how little of academic life has changed over the last 80 years. :>