gorman's 'stranglehold' and dunn's 'the winter garden mystery' + poe-etic notes
i have been engaged in a correspondence with ted c. of somewhere in the east (this perhaps imaginary location is based solely on the fact that he said he was going to use brown u's library). ted is interested in the article i wrote in 1991 about edgar allan poe's poem 'romance.' the article, "A Birder's Re-reading of Poe's 'Romance' can be found in Studies in English, volume nine. i will be interested to see what ted finds. obviously i can't reveal the subject of his scholarship here as (anything is possible) someone might jump the gun and publish before he does! maybe i can publish something about his research later in this blog.
a coincidence is that in my newest whodunit in the 'eloquent series,' professor mary beth goldberg assigns that very same article to her class in poe studies.
two detective stories that i want to discuss now are hard to think of as being of the same whodunit genre unless we divide by masculine and feminine, which i've never done and am not going to start to do. the books are stranglehold, a mystery by ed gorman and the winter garden mystery, a daisy dalrymple mystery by carola dunn.
stranglehold is the second mystery staring that hard-hitting chicago political consultant dev conrad. i was quite excited about this book because in one of my previous incarnations i did some political work in chicago. this was back in the days of adlai stevenson and bob merriman, who didn't have the kind of secrets susan cooper has. her secrets (pretty obvious to the reader) get in the way of her re-election as congresswoman from aldyne illinois. murder and blackmail follow in a fairly good plot. plus gorman is more than a fairly good writer. i wish i had thought up his first sentence, 'all roads lead to motels.' however i couldn't warm up to detective dev conrad for most of the book, which is a problem.
on the other hand, i was immediately delighted with daisy dalrymple in thewinter garden mystery, a cozy set in 1923 england. i wish dunn had chosen anyone but the one guy no one liked to be her villain. in spite of the poor ending, the book is much fun and a very quick read. daisy is involved from the beginning by the find of a body in the winter garden of an estate she is writing up for town and country magazine. she calls on her friend detective fletcher to help. their romance, if you can call it that, is again that of a woman of family and money (daisy, even if she does work) and a policeman (but fletcher is college educated!).
stranglehold is published by minotaur books and is 211 pages. the winter garden mystery is published by kensington books and is 240 pages.