i apologize to my blog-friends. i haven't written in a little over a week because i've been in hospital. it's obvious why the hospital is such a good setting for so many mysteries. while i lay on my back morphined into submissiveness, anything could have happened. some of the many detective novels that have exploited that scene just waiting to be exploited are: memory book: a benny cooperman detective novel, the singing detective (a philip marlo novel), and the sunset lady (a lithuanian detective novel).
during my non-writing period, we all, as readers, lost john updike. the wall street journal calls him 'literary high priest of sex and suburbia.' i can add nothing to this or to the thousands of other tributes paid him, but i would like readers of this blog to know that updike's earliest reading was the mystery novel.
updike speaks of his earliest reading being the big books (the combination of comic book and story)
Then, he says, ' I graduated to mystery novels, some science fiction, the New Yorker humor.
John Updike: I loved Agatha Christie, of course. And also, an American team called Ellery Queen. I read a lot of Ellery Queen. Erle Stanley Gardner. I must have read 40 books by Erle Stanley Gardner before I was 15 or so. So, I got the reading habit, and I slightly branched out, you know'
it seems to me that updike could have learned in this early reading to accept the flawed character that figures so prominently in detective fiction and in all of, for example, updike's rabbit books. but what is really important is that he lucked upon a genre that he enjoyed, encouraging his love of reading and keeping him involved in reading. one can't write without reading.
at last writing, i had started stieg larsson's the girl with the dragon tattoo. i think i was raving about what a wonderful writer larsson is. well, he is a wonderful writer, but the more i got into this 465 page novel, the more i came to realize that this is a novel that only a man could have written. mikael blomkvist, one of our heroes in the novel, has three women who like nothing better than dropping everything they're involved with in order to get into bed with him. most of what they are doing has to do with him anyway. also, just about every woman even mentioned has been raped in some horrible way--not that there is a good way to be raped, but i suggest that someone must have enjoyed thinking of so many different barbaric situations.
it is true that lisbeth salander, the young girl who is the girl with the dragon tattoo (and many others) is co-hero. she can hack into computers and does at will, which eventually solves crimes, power struggles, and curiosity. she also falls into (unrequited) loved with blomkvist. if she were the true hero of the novel, it would have been the other way around.
i have now started rhys bowens' a royal pain. lady georgiana earns extra money by being a maid , allowing bowens to gently satirize all classes. i'm sure my opinion of this novel will not change as my reading of it progresses. fluff, of course, but such fun, my dears.