Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Tentative Start

Starting out in the big wide world of blogging, I plan to make this primarily a reading journal. We'll see how that goes. At the moment, I'm reading a set of four books written by Phoebe Atwood Taylor under the name of Alice Tilton. Better known for her "Codfish Sherlock," Asey Mayo, these books feature Leonidas Witherall, a former instructor at Meredith Academy. Among other things, Witherall is known for his resemblance to Shakespeare and spends most of his time being referred to as "Bill."

I have to admit a certain weakness for academic mysteries--whether academic in location/setting, by detective, or by primary victim. And I tend to collect the most unlikely-looking specimens based only on the mention of a professor or university or school or academic what-have-you in the blurb on the back. This always ensures a surprise--although the amount of pleasure involved seems to vary.

I have finished the first book (pictured here) and have started the second. So far, these are very fun books, definitely fitting into the madcap mystery genre. Ms. Taylor reveals in letters quoted in notes at the back of the first book, that she felt that it would be highly suitable for the silver screen. I can certainly imagine the first book having been filmed in the tradition of Thin Man series starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. It remains to be seen whether the charm will fade if the formula is repeated in every book (central character going from one impossible situation to the next and getting out of all of them through the most incredible combination of coincidence and good luck). But for the moment I'm enjoying the ride.

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