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Showing posts from July, 2008

Bibliophile reviews On a Hoof and a Prayer: Around Argentina at a Gallop by Polly Evans

Year published: 2006
Genre: Non-fiction, travel
Setting & time: Argentina, 21st century

Polly Evans seems to have settled into a career as a travel writer, seeking out one adventure after the other. I don’t know what her journey in China was like, or her bike ride around New Zealand, but I know that her trip to Argentina was a typical whirlwind tour of tourist travel destinations. That she managed to squeeze out of it a semi-interesting travelogue is mostly due to 2 things:
1. She dug up some fascinating snippets of Argentinian history that she used to spice up the narrative.
2. She included horses and her efforts to learn to ride them.

Without the historical tidbits and the descriptions of her riding lessons and her subsequent rides and relationships with horses and her increasing confidence as a rider, I don’t see how On a Hoof and a Prayer could possibly have been stretched to book length, or even been made interesting enough to get published.

Much as I enjoyed her first book, It’…

Bibliophile reviews Seminar for Murder by B.M. Gill

Series detective: Detective Chief Inspector Tom Maybridge
No. in series: 2
Year of publication: 1985
Type of mystery: Murder
Type of investigator: Police
Setting & time: London, England; 1980s

Story:
D.C. Maybridge is asked to hold a lecture on ballistics at a seminar for mystery writers. When the man in charge of the seminar is found dead, his body mutilated after death, with a taunting note to Maybridge pinned to the headboard above his body, there are a number of possible suspects, and Maybridge and company have to unravel a tangled web of alibis and find the truth.

SPOILER WARNING
From here onwards there may be spoilers, hopefully not serious ones, but you never know.


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I did warn you…

Review:
Not giving the readers a chance to test themselves against the detective is one of the few infractions agains the principle rules of mystery writing that I can not abide by in a straight (i.e. not supernatural or sci-fi) mystery. A deus ex machina solution is another. Some authors have got away…