It’s a Mystery

I’ve been putting myself to sleep listening to Phoebe Reads a Mystery ever since the pandemic forced us all indoors back in March. This is no coincidence. Phoebe Judge has been reading a chapter a day from classic mystery novels since the day that she had to shelve/modify her plans for the next season of her two podcasts Criminal and This is Love.

I wondered at where her knowledge of classic mystery novels came from until this morning when I listened to this episode of Criminal while trying to make my sinuses clear so I could put the CPAP mask on and finally be able to sleep.

StitcherCriminal – Episode 75: The Gatekeeper – 9.22.2017

My fingers just itch when I see something that says ‘murder.’

Marilyn Stasio

In that episode of the show featuring the writer of the Crime column that still can be found in various daily newspapers (including the NY Times) Phoebe mentions two or three of the novels that she has been reading over the course of the last three four months.

I cut my eyeteeth on trashy mystery novels. I read through every copy of the Hardy Boys mystery series that was on hand at the Leoti library. I then went on to read a good portion of Nancy Drew. From there I read nearly all of the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I never read Agatha Christie. I think I grew tired of the mystery novel when the sheer number of mystery novels seemed to blur together after a while. Pulp fiction is like that. Instead I moved on to Tom Swift and then to non-serialized fiction, finally settling on a fondness for what would probably be called hard Science Fiction.

I still love a good mystery when I can find one, which isn’t often. I liked the Da Vinci Code as I have mentioned previously on the blog. The problem with Dan Brown (like the pulp authors of yore) is that he only knows one kind of mystery story to tell, and so he retells it over and over again in each novel that he writes. I’ve sworn off reading anything else he writes because of previous experiences with his work.

I started in on reading the Millenium series by Stieg Larsson. I had gone so far as to buy hardback copies of his first three books after watching the first movie adaptation, but like so many of my later book purchases they have gone unread for years. I’ve only recently discovered that I have a hard time reading other people’s words on the printed page. I’m not sure why this is but I’m going to blame Meniere’s for it until I can find a better explanation.

The Wife had a subscription to the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine right up until the last few years when we let most of our remaining subscriptions to periodicals lapse. She reads on her Kindle now. I have listened to all of my books since discovering my reading problem. I wish I could still find pleasure in reading, but can’t.

Now that I’m listening to someone else read the story, I’m less inclined to judge a story harshly (see Bucky Dent) I judge more on the quality of the voice than I do the overall content of the story. As long as I can get the story to make sense in my head I will probably stick with the reader to the end. Phoebe Judge has that quality of voice. Much like Maria Hinojosa, I will listen to Phoebe Judge read just about anything.

Having said that, I’m finding I like Agatha Christie’s works as read by Phoebe. I hope that Agatha Christie Limited (as Phoebe discusses in this episode of the Mystery show) doesn’t get in the way of her reading more of Agatha Christie’s work to us in the podcast. I’d hate to have to find someone else to read it to me, and I doubt that I would be as happy with their voices as I am with Phoebe Judge. Would saying please help?

People should be interested in books, not their authors

Agatha Christie

Time Wasters

Disease, death and various other inconvenient things, like house work and child rearing, get in the way of regular blogging and the pursuit of meaningless trivia.

My apologies for the long gap in entries (I’ll probably fill it in with stuff I was musing on during my automobile confinement last week, so it may not be apparent for much longer…) life just gets in the way sometimes.

Like this morning. I added “The Da Vinci Code Quest” to my Google homepage, and very quickly discovered that I really didn’t waste enough time obsessing over the facts (or lack of facts) in the book; or even the trivia relating to it. I couldn’t answer the first question on the two different versions of the webquests that I ran across (here and here; answers here) much less remember the names of different symbols from the book just to complete the first days puzzle at Google. Thank goodness the trivia game includes the answers if you look hard enough.

I need to “Get less life” (the inverse of Shatner’s ‘get a life’ comment to Star Trek fans) I guess, so I can spend time on what’s really important; trivia games and heated arguments, relating to fictional novels that are transitory at best.

…I am looking forward to the movie, though.

Beyond the Da Vinci Code

I read the Da Vinci Code; I thought it was a good bit of fiction, a gripping who-done-it with a clever twist at the end, as good as any of the mystery writers that I’ve enjoyed over the years, with just that bit of ‘what if’ that stirs the mental soup even when you’ve finished reading it.

I’d like to stress the word fiction again, just for those jumpy christian types who keep thinking that it is possible to disprove something that is published as fiction.

Seriously, three hours, and counting, of material on the History Channel (which gets confounded sometimes as to whether it’s actually supposed to be the PTL or the militarism channel) attempting to prove that a work of fiction is in fact, fiction.

“Yeah, it’s says it right on the spine of the book, thanks for caring, though.”

Not that they didn’t have some interesting sources during the course of the three hours. Sources that lent more credence to the thought that the story was a bit more than fiction, than to the blatant attempt to discredit the book as, once again, fiction.

So, just for grins, here are the sources:

Dr. Deirdre Good – General Theological Seminary
Dr. Karen RallsThe Templars and the Grail
Richard Leigh – Holy Blood, Holy Grail
Timothy FrekeThe Jesus Mysteries
Margaret StarbirdThe Woman with the Alabaster Jar

A heartfelt encouragement of good reading I give to you all. May you find it as intriguing as I found the History channel programs frustrating, with the exception of the insights from the sources listed above.

People should question their most firmly held beliefs. Every day. If your beliefs cannot withstand your own questioning, then are they really your beliefs?