August is my summer holiday, and I’m contributing to the slow death of the planet by taking a few breaks here and there, so might not be as hot in the comments as usual. But the nature of what we mean when we say “GAD” has been on my mind for a while, so here goes nothing.
A recent post by Noah on the topic of book-scouting came hard upon the back of an experience of mine that really brought home the frequent futility of buying second-hand books. And, since the timing was rather too apt to ignore, I thought I’d share my frustrations. But I’m not ranting; be sure to note at the simplicity of the ensuing vocabulary, indicative as it is of me in a reflective (rather than bad) mood.
I’ll warn you now: even for me, this is niche. Following a reorganisation of books at Invisible Event Towers I stumbled across my copy Harlan Coben’s Tell No One (2001), which I read while at university, and got thinking about it in light of my more recent adoption of GAD an impossible crimes. And the above question struck me, but discussing it will require you, dear reader, to have done some rather specific reading…
In light of my recent favourable experience with Ellery Queen’s The Chinese Orange Mystery (1934), my thoughts turn to the benefits and pitfalls of reading GAD authors’ novels in chronological order. The old joke is that they had to write them in that order, but is there any real benefit or detriment in reading them so arrayed?
Discussing a book we’ve both read in preparation for another episode of The Men Who Explain Miracles, Dan made reference to some key event in the narrative that I simply did not remember…and this got me thinking: how much of a novel do you have to recall in order to be able to have an opinion on it? And in a plot-heavy undertaking like GAD, should you be expected to remember more, or less?
You are no doubt aware that in recent years the month of November has been co-opted into a fundraising event known as Movember, in which men grow facial hair to raise money for a variety of causes, including mental health charities. For reasons that will be made plain if you click to read more, this is something I’d like to discuss today; if that doesn’t sound like your kind of thing, feel free to pass this post over and I’ll see you on Tuesday for more of the usual.
Having recently read The Arabian Nights Murder (1936) by John Dickson Carr, the time seems ripe to rank the first ten of Carr’s novels featuring the gargantuan Dr. Gideon Fell. Why the first 10? Well, we’re a decimal-obsessed society, and I’ve not read the eleventh, so this seems a natural jumping-off point. It’s not technically a top ten, right? It’s a little more interesting than that…right?