Reviews: Terry Pratchett, Tom Holt, Damon Runyon, William Boyd, Robert Barnard
Book reviews from 1997
The first thing that strikes me is that I find the plot similar to "Flying Dutch", but while I continue to read this comic viking-tale, I change opinion. In Caithness, an old grave is uncovered, and the vikings are awaken. Their main concern when first awaken, is whose responsible it was to pack the food, and who have had the nerve to move their ladder so they couldn't get out of the ship. After they sorted these important things out they start the plans for their quest; how to assassin the sorcerer-king. To their help they have the archeologist Hildy Fredriksen, who had the pleasure(?) to bump into them. The adventure starts and consists of several amusing incidents; Hildy's more or less fortunate attempts to keep the vikings from attacking the natives, Chthonic sprits getting drunk on high-voltage electricity, and more... I like this book a lot, the vikings fighting spirit never cease to exist, they are always happy when there is an opportunity to get involved in a battlement (beware SAS!). The book isn't that 'complicated' that I found 'Ye Gods!', it can be the fact that I don't know to much about mythology (which is very much involved in 'Ye Gods!') that make me prefer 'Who's Afraid of Beowulf'. If you found 'Flying Dutch' amusing, then I promise you that you will like this one as well, if you haven't read Flying Dutch, I would recommend that you read this one first (that one is still one of my favourites).
In the long old tradition of stabkilling royalties that happens to turn their back to the wrong persons at the wrong time, his majesty Verence suddenly finds himself being very, very, dead. Well, what to do about that? The answer is of course: haunt the castle. The people misses the old king simply because the new King and his evil first lady are not at all friendly, in other words, they can't even burn down the cottages in the right way, people don't like that, they expect to get their cottages burned by someone who really mean it, and their new royalties doesn't put their soul in burning old farmers houses. This book is the N:th book in the series about the discworld, the book is mainly about the witches and a travelling theatre. I'm not a big TP-fan, although I enjoy his books very much, I don't feel anything special about this book, but it sure gives you a amusing time. The best books in the Discworld's series is still in my opinion "Mort" and "The Light fantastic".
Well, to put it in other words: Not an amazing, awesome, pumping powerhouse of a book, but it will certainly give you a few good laughs.
(First published 1954) - One of my favourite authors is P.G. Wodehouse and when Tom Holt told me that he thought I therefore might like Damon Runyon I was very keen to get a hold on his books.
"Runyon from first to last" is a collection of stories that range from the first stories he ever wrote to the very last he wrote laying sick in bed.
This omnibus is divided into four parts: 'The First Stories', 'Stories a la Carte', 'The Last Stories' and 'Written in Sickness'.
The best stories are in my opinion those in 'Stories a la Carte' and 'The Last Stories', where the scenario is Broadway sometime in the '30-'40's.
One person that often figures in these stories is a news scribe by the name of Ambrose Hammer and a typical story begins with that Mr. Hammer enters the restaurant called Mindy's, takes a seat at the same table as the books teller and share a recent episode out of a news scribes life.
These episodes vary from parrots that escapes from their cages, to beautiful young girls trying to kill their husbands. One of the amusing stories is about how a young wife gets involved in a bridge-game where the winner receive a small bottle of cyanide to serve her husband.
Another favourite is the tale of Dark Dolores, that manage to get three bigwigs from the underworld to participate in a rather unusual swimming-competition.
The book is full of gamblers, turf advisers, coppers, dolls and other
suspicious creatures of the night. Judging by this book is seems likes
gambling was the major income supply during the second world war in the US.
It is all very humorous pictured and almost makes you wish you lived in that
(First Published 1983) - I don't read mysterys of this genre that often, so it was nice to get into one for a change. An old lady inherits some old documents from a cousin, when she is looking through them she finds what seems to be a missing script by one of the Brontë sisters, but the script isn't in her possesing that long, someone breaks into her house and steals the script and beats her up. This is the prologe to 'The Missing Brontë'. I have never read anything by Mr. Robert Barnard before, but I find the book very easily read, one drawback is that one is assumend to know about the Bronte sisters. I guess that's common knowledge in United Kingdom who they are, but personally I've never headrd of them, so it's pity he didn't describe more about them in the first chapters of this book. I wouldn't say that this is an ordinary detective-story; it's much more fun to read than that, but the plot isn't that complicated and the superintendent which is the main charachter, bumps into clues more by accident than by skillful work, it could have been more complicated than that. For lightly reading this is what I recommend.
Some murdered soldiers, a solicitor that gets ripped of by her partner, a missing father and the first flying vehicle. These are the ingredients in this book by William Boyd. The stories are very beautifully told and one gets involved and keen to find out the answers to these mysteries, so it's not without reason that I get a little bit disappointed when some mysteries remains unsolved when the last page is turned. The set is partly in the USA in 1930-something and partly in the Phillipines in the beginning of the 20th century. There is much love in this tale, and the language used is quite enjoyable. If you can bear with the fact that some things will remain unsolved, I really recommend this book, somehow i come to think of John Berendt's 'Midnight of the garden of good and evil', perhaps it is the sense for details that both this authors have.
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