Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Bamboo Blonde: Mini-Review

...he was never afraid, not even when he should be.  That was why he got involved in things; not scrapes that you could laugh at later, but serious trouble where death whispered, and which you tried never to remember after. (p. 17)

If I hadn't been determined that Dorothy B. Hughes's The Bamboo Blonde was going to be my last read of 2013 (and the last book needed for my final challenge of 2013), I would have given up on it. It is a fairly unsatisfying, semi-hard-boiled mystery involving fifth columnists and self-centered murderers.  The whole story is told from the viewpoint of Griselda Satterlee who has just remarried her beloved Con.  She's been promised a proper second honeymoon--joyous and romantic.  What she gets is a visit to the Navy town of Long Beach and the fist thing Con does is pick up a drunken blonde at the Bamboo bar (thus the title).  The blonde winds up dead.  Con winds up suspect number one.  There are several more deaths, a mysterious major, ties to the navy, secrets about radio transmissions, and a great deal of rather boring descriptions to go along with it.   And I don't care for the way Con treats his wife.  Yes, the book was written in the '40s.  But we've got Dare Crandall portrayed as an intelligent, strong woman...why in the world does Griselda have to be portrayed as such a ditzy blonde with thoughts like "Con would die never knowing that her love for him was great enough to permit without question ever again  his vagaries. He would never know that Dare's doorkey wasn't important if she herself might only have a small share of him." Please. Spare me.  And the mystery behind all this isn't enough to make up for Con's ditzy wife who just wants "a small share of him."  It didn't take long at all to spot the murderer.  

The best I can say of the book is...it allowed me to Outdo Myself and...more importantly it allowed me to finish the last category for my Vintage Mystery Challenge--Blondes in Danger.  Yep.  I finished all 37.  Now to get ready for Vintage Mystery Bingo in 2014!  Two stars.

No comments: