Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Lost Gallows

Unfortunately, my book-binge vacation is drawing to a close. In way too few hours I'll be back to work. But before the binge ends...I've added one more to the tally (that makes 31 books grabbed up this week)--and read another two.

Just finished The Lost Gallows by John Dickson Carr. Carr was a true master of the detective novel. Locked rooms are his specialty, but he shines in other mysterious realms as well. This one features Bencolin, his French detective. These books are always full of a bit more atmosphere than his other two series. In this one the shadow of Jack Ketch (an early, sadistic British executioner--as well as a by-word for the devil himself) hangs over every page. "Jack Ketch" is stalking his victims and it's up to Bencolin to discover his identity and foil his plans. Just when I was sure (for the fourth or fifth time--I lost count) who Jack was, Carr pulled out another twist and proved me wrong. Absolute pleasure for the mystery fan! Three and a half stars out of five.

Just before this I squeezed in The Truth Machine--a children's Star Trek book from the '70s. It was a very cute story. The best part was the graphics--the crew are especially well done...if you disregard Spock's expression on the last page. (I did cringe a bit at the purple skinned ape/mugato type creatures dressed in loincloths with belts and black leather boots that look suspiciously like regulation starfleet boots. In case you don't know, the mugato is a creature encountered on one of the Star Trek episodes. Mugato body shape with ape-like face.) Naturally, Spock saves the day by telling the truth....but not ALL of the truth.

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