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Allusion is not Illusion

You'll pry my books off my cold, dead body. By the time you shift them all I'll be flat and dessicated.

Currently reading

Winter's Tales
Karen Blixen, Isak Dinesen
Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (Penguin Classics)
Rebecca West, Christopher Hitchens
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Susanna Clarke
Already Dead
Charlie Huston
The Rings of Saturn
W.G. Sebald, Michael Hulse
Lady Audley's Secret
Mary Elizabeth Braddon, David Skilton
Unequal Protection: How Corporations Became "People" - And How You Can Fight Back
Thom Hartmann
The City, Not Long After
Pat Murphy
You Can Sketch: A Step-by-Step Guide for Absolute Beginners
Jackie Simmonds
Lonely Werewolf Girl
Martin Millar
Sweet Danger - Margery Allingham
Ms. Allingham, you can't just slap some Ruritanian Romance into your mystery. It does not work, just like the Holy Grail stand-in, tower-of-mystery trappings in [b:Look to the Lady|383189|Look to the Lady (Albert Campion Mystery #3)|Margery Allingham|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348706971s/383189.jpg|74143] didn't work. And while I'm being blunt, the gritty crime action? You're not so hot at that, either. Stick to the standard parlor-mystery with clues 'n' stuff -- you do that so much better. There's not much mystery in this mystery: the good guys (representing the British government) race to get the Ruritarian McGuffins before the the bad guys. There are a couple of cute barely-legal lasses and some fist-fights.

The brightest note in this installment was the introduction of Amanda Fitton, one of the few Allingham characters I find pretty consistently likable. It is slightly interesting, if it's not a coincidence, that the two novels with the most Romantic trappings are the two that also have the only vestiges for romance. For Campion, I mean; most of her books have the standard innocent-you-love-interests of mysteries of this period. I found the hint-of-interest-but-we're-not-acting-on-it here more convincing than the asserted romantic disappointment in [b:Look to the Lady|383189|Look to the Lady (Albert Campion Mystery #3)|Margery Allingham|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348706971s/383189.jpg|74143], because in that case he'd known the woman in question for years and had been ignoring her obvious attraction to him; he didn't display any interest in her until she fell for someone else. I feel like Allingham just put that in the book to make it clear that Campion isn't gay or completely asexual.

Also, there was a scene that pissed me off where Amanda's brother Hal physically manhandles her, twisting her arms and dragging her to lock her in a shed. Not for any practical reason, even, just because he's angry at her and wants to punish her. Totally superfluous to the plot. A lot of the book felt kind of haphazard. Reasonably entertaining, but not terribly successful. I'd recommend it more to series completists than mystery lovers.