Why I read this book: I saw that the corresponding TV episode was coming up on my Netflix queue soon. Also, the cover is quite striking ;-).
This book...moreWhy I read this book: I saw that the corresponding TV episode was coming up on my Netflix queue soon. Also, the cover is quite striking ;-).
This book was quite different from the last few Perry Masons I've read; it's got more legwork for Mason, and the numerous twists and turns kept me guessing. A couple interesting touches: Mason isn't sure who client is--the retainer is delivered anonymously--and there's a short but intense scene near the beginning that doesn't seem to tie in with the rest. I was waiting for its relevance to be revealed dramatically.
I was expecting to give this book my highest rating--but it didn't work out, for two reasons. First, it's too complicated. Even after I read the explanations at the end, I was still confused (and I'm not entirely sure I understand it even now).
The other reason is that the book is a little dated. What seems like an insignificant matter was turned into a motive to commit crimes because of a pervasive racist attitude in American society of the time. I think that if the matter were mentioned nowadays, the response would probably be, "So what?" (or possibly, "Cool."). Because my attitudes are closer to the modern ones, I certainly didn't pick up on it as a clue.
Why I read this book: I finally finished The Mysterious Island after weeks of slogging. While I enjoyed that, I was in the mood for something much qui...moreWhy I read this book: I finally finished The Mysterious Island after weeks of slogging. While I enjoyed that, I was in the mood for something much quicker.
This is another enjoyable and professionally-written (some might say slick) novel by Erle Stanley Gardner. The plotting is ingenious, as always, and the characterization is minimal--but that's a good thing for this sort of story, since spending time on character would detract from the speed and puzzle aspects. It struck me that Mason is a trickster almost like coyote--he does something pretty outrageous to muddy the waters, only to find that a murder may have been committed. On page 173 of my copy he says, "Of course, if I'd known a murder had been committed and the car had been involved, then my actions would have been criminal. After all, it's a question of intent."
So in the end it all comes down to this. It's unfair to say "I really liked it," but I did like it a little more than average. Probably 6/10.
I liked i...moreSo in the end it all comes down to this. It's unfair to say "I really liked it," but I did like it a little more than average. Probably 6/10.
I liked it because it was fun spending some more time with these characters. I liked it because there was a short section about a party that blew me away: It wasn't critical to the plot, but it was deftly written and planted some seeds ... in a very small number of pages. If Czerneda's work was always at that level, I'd count her as one of the best. Unfortunately, as with the previous books, there's a lot of irrelevant setup and slogging. In particular (minor spoiler) we spend a lot of time setting up the expedition to Myriam ... and the author seems to have completely forgotten that expedition by the end. (Either that, or I did.)
Would I read more by Czerneda? Perhaps, but probably not. There are other authors whom I like better, other authors who can tell a solid story in a lot fewer pages.(less)