Monday, February 6, 2012

I apologize for this post in advance

It's odd when you think you've gone into something with no expectations, only to find that your expectations were basically correct. I feel like that sentence doesn't make any sense, but let's just keep moving. I've got a backlog of posts to write, and if I don't keep going I'll just get overwhelmed.

For once Google fails to turn up my edition, but this is close
I bought this on a whim at a charity shop for 75p (if only all my whims were 75p): a well-worn paperback that's clearly been sold at least two or three times before. "PD James," I thought. "She's a famous lady." That PD James is a woman is the only thing I knew about her. If you had pressed me to articulate some of the other associations I had I would say murder mysteries and high church Christianity. Both of which are in evidence here.

The story has to do with an adopted girl, Philippa, who finds out her birth parents committed a horrific crime, and a man who is seeking revenge for that crime. I thought the story was compact and compelling; and the writing was just right for the story. Philippa's coldness and heartlessness was an interesting character choice for a protagonist. The various secrets are revealed in good time, and there is an epilogue to give you an idea of what the characters do after the main story has played out. The biographical note highlight's James' career in various bureaucratic roles, and her understanding of (and opinions on) the law and British social services really added a lot. I was also pleasantly surprised to find the story playing out in some familiar parts of London. Overall, it was a really satisfying, good book.

Mostly what I learned here was the difference between a "crime" novel and a "mystery" novel. Unsurprisingly, the crime novel deals with a crime as it is planned and carried out (I surmise), whereas the mystery novel deals with a mystery being investigated and unraveled. Shocking, I know; I guess I'd never really thought about there being a difference.

This post feels really leaden, so here's the first picture that came up when I searched for Innocent Blood:
Whatever this is, it didn't happen in this book.
I liked this book, I really did, and if I were in a used bookstore looking for something interesting to read I would totally buy another PD James book. And yet somehow this book was so exactly as good as I thought it would be, and so many of her books sound exactly like the kind of thing I'd like, that I feel somehow less compelled to go out and read them. It's like, eHarmony would totally match us up, but I'm not feeling the chemistry right now. It's not the books, it's me. I just have some things to work through right now, I guess, and even though I really thought I was ready for this, and we've had such a good time, and you're so great, seriously, I just don't feel like I have the energy to put into this right now. I'm so sorry. Maybe someday, like in a couple of months, if we're both still available...?

Can you tell it's late here? I think it's going to be a late start for me tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. A-ha! You DO seem like the person who would enjoy PD James! And I say that never having read her stuff but knowing that my mom really likes her. By which I mean I knew she wasn't a crappy detective novelist, but wrote rather well. Yes.

    I hope you guys can work out your issues and be happy someday.