various books: mysteries

Things I read that I never got around to writing up:

After renting the Miss Marple adaptations and rereading the relevant books, I also read (reread, mostly) a ton of Agatha Christie novels, but didn’t keep track of which ones. I had reread The Seven Dials Mystery in the somewhat recent past, and had rented an adaptation (extremely close to the book, and the actors didn’t look like my impressions of the characters; didn’t watch it all), but hadn’t thought about reading her in years. I think I like Miss Marple best, and the earlier novels better than the later ones. I only read a few of Poirot novels and did not like them much, especially the ones with Hastings; Hastings seems too stupid to live and Poirot is cryptic for the sake of being cryptic. The two that I read were two of the earliest, though; it’s possible the later ones were less annoying. I also read the Tommy and Tuppence novels; I liked the first two, but spent most of Postern of Fate trying to figure out when it was supposed to be set, how old they were, and when the events of the past happened. It also reminded me of Sleeping Murder and a couple of others that dealt with past crimes.

I also read a couple of Perry Mason (Erle Stanley Gardner) mysteries that I picked up at a book sale and had not read before: The Case of the Ice Cold Hands and The Case of the Queenly Contestant (I wanted the client to be the murderer, but of course she wasn’t). These are extremely formulaic: the client is almost always an attractive woman (sometimes young, sometimes not); she doesn’t tell Mason everything and often ignores his advice; a murder is committed (sometimes is the client’s reason for seeking out Mason, sometimes happens afterwards); the client or whoever she was trying to protect ends up in jail; Mason annoys the police; there is a preliminary hearing with courtroom antics; and the murderer is revealed (often by fleeing the courtroom). If I were the police or the DA, I would be tempted to let Mason to the dirty work and then take all the credit instead of trying to prove him wrong and looking stupid while doing so.

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