June 30th, 2007

Books

Two More Notches on the Bookshelves...

Way back when, I watched the miniseries version of Dashiell Hammett's The Dain Curse. It was a long time ago, and I only remember two things about it. One is the opening scene of the detective approaching the Leggett house. The other is that it starred James Coburn, who looks less like Hammett's description of the Continental Op than any actor I can think of. Okay, I exaggerate, but still. I'd never read the book before, and it's pretty good. Owing to it roots as a serial, it's actually three interconnected mysteries about a pretty young thing who thinks she's cursed somehow. The body count isn't quite as high as Red Harvest, but it's still a pretty good sized pile by the end. I was pretty sure I knew who the guiding force behind all the carnage must be, based more on meta reasons than any brilliant deductions on my part, but then Hammett threw me a big curve that knocked me off the scent. Worth a look.

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I've had my hardcover copy of C.M. Kornbluth's The Syndic since paying 50 cents for it in a used book store back when I was in college. I thought I'd read it back then, but now I'm pretty sure I was confusing it with Kornbluth and Frederik Pohl's, The Space Merchants. Not a single word of The Syndic struck any familiar chords in me at all. Just as well, because it's pretty awful.

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