Some very brief reviews based on this summer's reading:
Tricky Business (Dave Barry)
This is Barry's second work of fiction (the first was Big Trouble, which I have not read). Dr. T and I are big fans of his non-fiction, as our bathroom library attests. Tricky Business was good, and felt very much like a Barry book - but the violence was often gratuitous and occasionally way too graphic.
The Devil Wears Prada (Lauren Weisberger)
This was the first of two paperbacks that I preordered, then waited for ages to finally get my hands on. This one was not worth the wait - while it definitely struck a chord in terms of working for an unreasonable, self-absorbed crazy woman, the writing is not as good as one would expect. The repetitious dialogue, in which the author conveys nervousness by starting every sentence with "um," was particularly annoying.
The Murder Room (P.D. James)
The second pre-order - this one was worth the wait. James still manages to create a golden age detective story while convincingly incorporating modern elements - the cell phone in the trunk is particularly eerie - and she manages to trick the reader. It's not who you think it is... and that's all I'll reveal. As for Dalgliesh, James does address the issue of his personal life, but it does not overwhelm the plot of the mystery.
England, England (Julian Barnes)
Barnes has a vicious sense of humour and a good sense of history, as I originally discovered in his History of the World in Ten and a Half Chapters. This time he tackles the sceptered isle and its historical, literary, mythological import, and the result is funny, although it tends to focus more on the interoffice politics than on the satirical observation of the nation as a whole.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Agatha Christie)
Inspired by the course I taught this spring in Detective Fiction, I picked this up second-hand, and I'm glad I did. Christie is a great mystery writer, and while this book features neither Poirot nor Miss Marple, the narrator is likeable, the plot well laid out, and the solution twisted.