Thursday, February 24, 2011

Unnatural Causes

So... P. D. James is like, the best.  Ever.  I don't think she's a human being.  If you haven't read her books, do so immediately.  Starting with Cover Her Face.

P. D. James, aka Not a Human Being, aka Holier Than Thou, aka Better Writer than Cayla Can Ever Hope To Be.
I just finished up book three in the Adam Dalgliesh mystery series, Unnatural Causes.  This is one of those books where if I tell you anything about it, I'm going to be giving something away, so I can't really do my own synopsis.  But basically, a writer gets his hands chopped off and is floated off to sea in a dinghy, and it goes from there.  If that doesn't interest you, I don't know what will.
So here's what I LOVED about this book especially.  P. D. James is making fun of writers the entire time.  All of the dead man's friends (and therefore all of the suspects) are writers of various genres, and their bickering is priceless.  Each of them thinks they are fabulous, with this undertone of insecurity that's revealed in the way they're always attacking each other's work.  Unnatural Causes is a grisly mystery that doesn't let up... and it's hilarious.  P. D. James, FTW.

Now this is what I don't get.  Why does detective fiction have such a bad name?  Particularly with literary snobs (although trusting their opinions is a risky move no matter what genre you're praising or razing), it's like if you mention the word "detective" they jump down your throat.  Admittedly, I'm not an intensely experienced reader of detective fiction.  Maybe the books I read don't even technically fall into the genre so much as they do into literature -- P.D., Conan Doyle, and Agatha Christie are the only detective puppeteers I'm personally familiar with.

So what's the deal?  Is most detective fiction really bad?  And who do you read in the genre?

Besides P. D. James, whose books I know you're going to buy as soon as possible. ;)

Peace out, girl/boy scout,



Anonymous said...

The only 'detective' series I've ever read was Sherlock Holmes, Nacy Drew, and Sue Grafton. I weird list, I know. I think your right, they kind of have a bad rap.

Ori said...

i'm reading "kidnapped" and i'm going to start "unnatural causes".. i love that kind of books.. well i really love reading!!! :)

Ori! said...

hi cayla, i've finished "unnatural causes" and it didn't really like me..

Cayla Kluver said...

Hi Ori,

I love that about books - one person can love something that doesn't work for the next person over!