Sunday, 16 February 2014

The Maltese Manuscript by Joanne Dobson

The door to my office opened, and a dame walked in, bringing Trouble with her.

I admit I was a little too quick to judge this sentence. On the surface it reads like the epitome of the noir cliche - everything we've come to love and hate about the genre. My initial thought was that this was either the lamest way to begin a noir book à la rip-off, or it was a parody. Either way I didn't like it. Then the second sentence enters the scene and slaps me in the face:

The dame was Sunnye Hardcastle, celebrated crime novelist, and Trouble was her dog, a big Rottweiler with teeth like boning knives.

D'oh. I should have noticed Trouble was uppercase. I like how the first sentence implies cliche but in fact should be taken literally and differently, all the while alluding to the genre's characteristics and poking fun at them.

As I like this genre and the title suggests a book mystery, I think I am what the shrinks call seriously hooked.

First thing said:

"Sunnye Hardcastle?"

Verdict: Pass

Theodore Moracht

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