What I Read in July ‘13

Three straight book posts? Well that’s what I’ve got ready to go. July basically confirmed that I am not making my usual 50 books read this year. I again came up short of the pace, having only read three books. None of which were particularly long. Still, three books is three books.

Clouds of Witness

Dorothy Sayers

The second Peter Wimsey book has a much more personal case than the first one. This time it is Peter’s brother who is suspected of murder. Suspected for the murder of their sister’s fiancé. All Lord Peter knows is that everyone involved is lying, including his siblings. There are holes in his brother story of taking a midnight walk and holes in his sister’s relationship with the victim. Our intrepid detective eventually uncovers everything, even though he has to make a daring transatlantic flight to do so in time.

I have one real problem with this book. It has to do with the ending, so if you don’t want the mystery spoiled don’t read the rest of this. My problem is there is no murder. It is a suicide. They set up a house party and everyone is a suspect, but they are all red herrings. There is still a mystery for Lord Peter to solve, but it is the immediately suspected and dismissed option. Still, it sis a fun read.

Strong Poison

Dorothy Sayers

The cheap Sayers mysteries skipped to the introduction of Wimsey’s eventual love interest Harriet Vane. She is suspected of murdering her lover. She is also something of an author stand in, being a mystery writer herself. Lord Peter immediately falls in love with her and vows to clear her name.

It’s hard to talk about these mysteries without spoiling them. This is another good one. Harriet is better character than she might seem at first. Seeing Lord Peter go gaga over her is entertaining. It is kind of odd that Lord Peter is not the one doing a lot of the heavy lifting with the investigation, at least not the part than ends up mattering.

Llana of Gathol

Edgar Rice Burroughs

This is the last Barsoom book that Burroughs finished and it reads like a capstone for the series. While there is clearly some self-parodying going on here, it also features nods to just about every previous book in the series. Most of the primary characters reappear, as do all the various races of Martians. Still, it gets repetitive to see John Carter repeatedly captured, only to get forced to fight an arena and beating all comers. Carter and his granddaughter, the titular Llana, at one point get caught by Martians that can make themselves invisible, but not just to the enemies but to each other as well. The whole thing is more ridiculous than even the usual Barsoom book.

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