Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Crime Fiction Alphabet: Letter N
Kerrie over at Mysteries in Paradise sponsors The Aphabet in Crime Fiction community meme. your post MUST be related to the first letter of the book's title, the first letter of the author's first name or the first letter of the author's surname. You can write a book review or a bio of an author so long as it fits the rules somehow.
This week is all about the letter N. And my choice for N is Simon Nash. I stumbled across Simon Nash in one of my many used bookstore rambles. I'd never heard of him before. But when I read the synopsis of the book I held in my hand that day, I was immediately hooked--for I had found another academic mystery series to hunt down. Nash wrote five books featuring scholar Adam Ludlow and his frequent brushes with mysterious circumstances. And that's just about all I've been able to find out about Nash. It appears from various links in Google that Nash was a pseudonym for Raymond Chapman who also wrote religious works and works on literature. But I couldn't dig up much more under that name either.
However, I can give you a synopsis of Killed by Scandal, the delightful academic mystery that I read a few too many moons ago to give you a real review--although I do remember it as a very witty and smartly written book. I'll also share a few of the choice quotes that I snatched and added to my collection. First, the synopsis:
The scholar Adam Ludlow is asked to deliver a lecture on Sheridan to an aspiring group of amateur actors who are about to present the play The School for Scandal. It becomes overly dramatic perhaps when, at a rehearsal with Ludlow present, the famous revelation scene in Act IV discloses a state of affairs more shocking than that intended by the playwright. Killed by Scandal thereby becomes a doubly evocative title. Ludlow's keen observation provides good clues and permits him to demolish a clever alibi when he joins Inspector Montero of the C.I.D. in an adroit and witty investigation.
And now for the quotes (nearly all are Ludlow speaking):
"It isn't my best period," Ludlow said, taking refuge in the academic's finest excuse for not doing something." (p. 10)
Ludlow talked about sentiment and conventional morality and the two traditions in the early novel, until no one knew who was right about anything. (p. 18)
I've often thought that sheer boredom is at the root of a lot of queer things. (p. 22)
Nobody seemed to like him, and I'm not surprised....He was a most ill-mannered fellow and also stupid. He didn't attend to my lecture properly. (p. 55)
A wide reading of English literature leaves one without the capacity for being shocked. I can still be surprised, or I wouldn't be human. (p. 120)
One of the distinguishing marks of the academic mind is the ability to keep strictly to the point. (p. 175)