March 22, 2012
Too Much Book, Not Enough Blog, or Review of "Whose Body?"
Have you ever found yourself so engrossed in books that it was difficult for you to take a break from READING them long enough to BLOG about them? That's the state of distraction I've been in the past few weeks. I've just been DEVOURING books like a starving man who has stumbled upon a smorgasbord. Huge, non-fiction tomes, tiny little novels, all have been gobbled up lately into the swirling vortex that is my new-found reading appetite. I'm already over 30% finished with my Goodreads goal for the year, despite the fact that it's only March, and my Goodreads "currently reading" shelf is displaying four books at the moment. Don't ask me what happened; I've always been an avid reader, but suddenly, I simply cannot get enough of the written word.
ANYWAY, the fact that I've been reading a non-fiction trilogy lately, the last two volumes of which are each over 900 pages long, has slowed me down enough that I can breathe for a minute and continue chipping away at my reviewing backlog. Thus, on with a review, what, what?
I really enjoyed this mystery novel, the first in the "Lord Peter Wimsey" series, though the jury was out for most of it on whether I liked Lord Peter himself (and therefore the whole book) or not. He's one of the first of what became a very familiar pattern--the rich young English nobleman who makes a hobby of investigating crime and gets away with it because of who he is and how powerful his family is. His mother gets into the act as often as possible to keep her life from getting dull, and his older brother, the responsible one who inherited the family titles and estate, thoroughly disapproves of the whole business, to no avail whatsoever.
In this first novel, the case in hand quickly blossoms into two cases, one a missing business magnate and the other the random appearance of a naked corpse in someone's bathtub. As usual, the police officer assigned to the corpse case is a complete imbecile, but unlike in all the Sherlock Holmes books, the cop's idiocy gets exposed before the end. Meanwhile, another police officer, a friend of Lord Peter's, actually has a brain, and Lord Peter uses him as his side-kick/lackey/Watson.
Wimsey himself is very aptly named, if his conversation is anything to go by. He's so full of random quotations that he's barely intelligible at times, speaks with a rather annoying drawl, and really did not make a favorable impression on me at all until he started demonstrating post-World War I "shell shock" (PTSD). That factor humanized him in a very dramatic and effective way. It didn't occur until about 2/3 of the way through the book, and it wasn't until then that I was truly hooked. Fortunately, I got invested in the next in the series much more quickly (as future reviews will demonstrate).