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Tuesday, 11 March 2008


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OK, A.Furst is on the list.

You're the man to ask for recommendations: I've nothing to read! What I like: Ngaio Marsh (except late novels), Donald Westlake, Dame Christi (naturally). Spy lit - not really.

Any thoughts?

Yes, Tatyana, start with Furst, I think you will enjoy his books. Very atmospheric, a bit like watching one of those old black and white European movies from before the war.

You have good, but rather dated, taste in crime writers - not counting WEstlake who is super. I say that because 'Dame Christie' was probably the first grown-up books I read as a boy in the early '50s. I'm a man and it's difficult to recommend a modern thriller-writer to a lady. Perhaps:


Remember, these are not serious novelists, just very expert story-tellers with the ability to put more twists and turns into a plot-line than your corkscrew! But don't forget Joseph Kanon, his "Los ALamos" has a very grown-up love story in it as well as the central mystery. Please let me know what you think if get round to reading them.

But isn't reading a book that imitates black&white before-the War movie could be classified as taste in "outdated"?

I myself will call them "timeless", like the vaudevilles of your favorite playwright, Billy Shakespeare. And it's not particularly the "love line" in the plot that interests me, although I wouldn't stop reading if came across one.
But Los Alamos plot will definitely put me to sleep.

I'll give a try to Connelly, thanks.

What I meant was that the writers were a bit dated, where-as Furst and Kanon are modern but writing retro style stories.

Connelly, has a police hero, Harry Bosch, for many of his stories but if you like a good legal thriller with a delicious moral dilemma at the heart of it, try his "Lincoln Lawyer" - another absolute 'corker' (= a term of high praise in certain antiquated English circles!!) Let m eknow what you think.

My wife likes 'tec stories e.g. P D James, but not Ruth Rendell. She likes Ian Rankin's Rebus stories and Sandy McCall Smith's gentle wee Botswana yarns. For pre-war stuff, Dorothy L Sayers can be fun: it's not often you see a writer fall in love with a character she's created.

DM: Sayers is always fun, she's one of my favorites; although the pseudo-idyllic landlord/villagers stories get too much sacharine content.
Ruth Rendell grates on my nerves with the fake psychologizing.
I'll try the the rest, tx.

DD: I prefer the real deal to imitation, i.e. Christie's Poirot novels (written during Deco and right after the War) to the "in the style of" phonies, like someone else's finishing her Black Coffee. Awful, simply awful.

Speaking of retro - another preference, Dashiel Hammett. Adorable, in his Deco bl/wh worldviews; no gradation in human character - either you're a villain, or a good guy(girl). And the set of criteria rather different from contemporary. Love him.

Correction to previous: speaking of Hammet, "Deco" is inapplicable in his case. Rather something crew-cut, Korean War veteran about him...someone who'd be a veteran while still in his 30's.

Sorry for multiple postings (too much coffee at lunch)

On the subject of peculiar British expressions: someone paid me a compliment once by saying that I'm an absolute dog bollocks (or somehting that sounded like that). Naturally, I was mortified. It was explained further that "it's a good thing", opposed to mention of the same object but w/o reference to a canine.
Is that true, or my leg has been pulled?

Tatyana, you had me in fits of giggles! Yes, 'the dog's bollocks' is indeed a compliment only exceeded by 'the dog's bollocks painted red', that is a superlative. On the other hand, to describe something as 'bollocks', or 'a load of bollocks' is to dismiss it as rubbish.

Go and have some more coffee and make me laugh again! By the way, where are you? Obviously you 'sound' Russian but I sense that you're possibly based in America. Just curious, that's all.

Brooklyn, Vampire State, USofA. A proud citizen of 16 years' standing.

God bless America - and all who sail in her!

Agree, even if I doubt the existence of deities.

On that subject, to doubt is to be wise, to be certain is to be foolish!

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