bouteillebleu: (Neko Arc)
[personal profile] bouteillebleu
Read The Act of Roger Murgatroyd by Gilbert Adair while in the pub today (about 50 pages while waiting for people, and the remaining 200-ish while eating and chatting).

Link above goes to the Guardian review at the time, which sums up my thoughts. (And contains spoilers.) The dialogue is clearly a weird blend of modern slang and attempts at sounding 1930s-ish, and while this might fool someone who's never *read* any Christie novels, to me it sounds like bad fanfiction both in terms of language and what topics are seen as acceptable to discuss (and euphemisms that get used instead). The fourth wall breaking is clunky, the repeated references to John Dickson Carr do not impress me as they are evidently intended to (and actually, no, the chapter about locked rooms in The Hollow Man wasn't delivered by the author, it was delivered by the detective and did manage to make sense in character).

The reveal of the murderer made me go "oh for fuck's sake" but I can at least respect what the author did - to the point that I was considering going back and rereading the last 240 pages to see if he'd done what I thought he had - and then one of the characters broke the fourth wall again to explain it.

On the other hand, I did think the armchair idea was quite neat.

I'd recommend The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie instead. The characters are more entertaining and consistent, the dialogue isn't straining to be "period" (it is instead appropriate for its setting), and there's no crappy fourth-wall breaking.

Also, the anime series Hyouka, featuring someone who's actually quite good at solving mysteries but is also resolved not to actually expend any effort on school. Of course he ends up solving mysteries anyway. :)


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