I remember quite enjoying one of Berkeley’s other books, but in this one he got the weirdest bee in his bonnet about a particular young female character needing to be spanked, because she tried to act cool and sophisticated in front of a somewhat-famous author. I’m talking a girl old enough to be socialising with grown women and giving them an introduction, so probably an adult or almost an adult… and Berkeley has her older, married male cousin give her a spanking once, and empower his author-friend to give her a second spanking as well.
I was mildly interested in the mystery, and there’s some witty chat between various characters that sometimes reminded me a bit of Lord Peter, but it just isn’t worth the sheer weirdness of the male characters continually being ready to spank a female character. It’s just… weird. So yeah, DNF.
Anyyyy day now I’ll get round to scheduling more of my backlogged reviews, but for now, here’s the WWW Wednesday post!
What are you currently reading?
About eight books at once, last I checked! So I’ll just pick a couple to talk about: first on my mind is After the Dragons, by Cynthia Zhang. It involves dragons, biology, and a prickly love interest with whom things will (presumably) get figured out. I hadn’t realised it was queer, actually, somehow — or hadn’t remembered it, anyway. I am promised there will be cuddles soon, and I wonder quite how they’re going to get there.
I’m also reading Ancestors: The Prehistory of Britain in Seven Burials, which would be more accurately but less catchily titled “Ancestors: The Prehistory of Britain, with seven key burials discussed to varying degrees, and mostly lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of description of non-British archaeology”. Which is cool, but I actually wanted a closer focus on particular burials — that’s what I was interested in.
Finally, I’m now reading Anthony Berkeley’s The Wychford Poisoning Case, which is fun: the detective character is very glib and smooth-talking, in a way familiar to those who love Lord Peter. Mind you, Lord Peter never tried to turn his grown-up female cousin over his knee to spank her, so there are definitely bits that ring very oddly to a contemporary reader.
What have you recently finished reading?
I am really bad at keeping track of that recently, so the thing that mostly jumps to mind is that I finished Seashaken Houses, by Tom Nancollas. He made the cardinal sin (to me) of getting something wrong about Arthurian myth — the very briefest of references, but infuriating. That said, it definitely scratched the curious itch I had when looking at it on the shelf, so it worked out.
Oh, and I finished What It Means When A Man Falls From the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah, which has a lot of clever stories in it, and which I’m still mulling over.
What will you be reading next?
No idea at all. Chances are high that I’ll be picking up Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer, since it’s a book club read for this month. Black Water Sister by Zen Cho is also coming up soon, so that might be a choice. But really, who knows?