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Reading Slothfully

I was told in elementary school that I only could read at half the speed for success in college. Oh well, one benefit of slow reading is you get to live with the characters a longer period of time. I read in a vain attempt to better understand people. At my other homes, I'm known as a spouse, pop, guy in the choir, physical chemist, computer/web dilettante and child-care provider. In theory, I'm a published author, if you consider stuff like Quenching Cross Sections for Electronic Energy Transfer Reactions Between Metastable Argon Atoms and Noble Gases and Small Molecules to count as publications. I've strewn dozens of such fascinating things to the winds.

Currently reading

A Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens
The Way Some People Die
Ross Macdonald
Envy of Angels
Matt Wallace
The Fellowship of the Frog
Edgar Wallace
Code of Conduct (The Jani Kilian Chronicles Book 1)
Kristine Smith
A Good Death
Christopher R. Cox
The Black Cargo
John P. Marquand
A Highland Christmas
M.C. Beaton
Tales from Moominvalley
Tove Jansson, Thomas Warburton
Moominland Midwinter
Tove Jansson, Thomas Warburton

No Orchids for Miss Blandish

No Orchids for Miss Blandish - James Hadley Chase I'm not sure why I picked this one up. I'd read another book my Chase a while back, and thought it was pretty awful. Not so this one. It was actually fairly good, given the genre. It's not Raymond Chandler, or even Dashiell Hammett, but still decent hard-boiled, noir detective fiction. I had no problems staying engaged. I'd give it 3*s +, were that allowed.

So, we have a gang of second-rate punks who decide to lift the diamond necklace of one Miss Blandish. Somehow they get stuck with Miss Blandish as well. But not for long. A higher-class gang of thugs disposes of the second-raters and snag Miss Blandish for themselves. After all, the diamond necklace is small potatoes, Miss Blandish should be worth a cool million in ransom.

The cops are all befuddled. They think Miss Blandish has been kidnapped by the second-rate punks, Riley and his gang, so go looking in all the wrong places. Riley and cohorts are actually well hidden in shallow graves.

But a former crime reporter, turned private eye, Dave Fenner, starts looking into things and begins to piece the strings together. Of course, there is lots of shooting and bodies pile up and so forth. It's also extraordinarily dark in that the not-quite-all-there Slim Grisson, son of Ma Grisson, the head of the higher-class gang, takes a fancy to Miss Blandish. They keep her drugged so he can spend time with her...or something.

One weird thing is that Slim Grisson liked watching TV. He had a 21-inch TV. Well, this book was written in 1939. There was barely any commercial TV until after World War II, i.e. a decade later. I don't believe that 21-inch TVs became common until the 1960s. I certainly don't remember such huge TVs in the early-to-mid 1950s, and I don't believe I got a TV that large until the mid 80s (also my first color TV). So, I have no idea how this makes sense. It's like the story was a 1930s period piece written in the 1980s by someone who had a lapse in his background research. It didn't spoil the story in any way, but it did seem rather weird to me.