A second Google Alert also pointed me to Blogs about: Mysteries and Thrillers which is also Janice's and where a reference to me also features. It's the same blog posting actually, but then I explored further and found her posting The five Essential Crime Novels published since 2000 where Janice discusses a book by Richard Shephard and Nick Rennison called 100 Must-Read Crime Novels (A&C Black, 2006), a Bloomsbury Good Reading Guide. They list just 5 21st century novels, which you'll find listed in Janice's blog posting. I had read 3 of them, and not heard of the other 2.
Are you still with me? Good. Well, at the bottom of that posting Janice pointed to this: Not sure you’d like any of those books? Bill Peschel has an archive of reviews of other mysteries at Reader’s Almanac www.planetpeschel.com/index?/reviews/index/C5/.
So off I trotted, like I hope you will do, over to Bill's place. On the left hand side of the page I honed in on the list of Mysteries & Thrillers that Bill has reviewed. There I noticed that some of them have little numbers by them. What are they I thought?
Here are some examples: not all the books listed have them:
- By The Time You Read This (85), Blunt, Giles
- Christine Falls (92), Black, Benjamin (aka John Banville)
- Lighthouse, The (73), James, P.D.
- Murder on the Ballarat Train (70), Greenwood, Kerry
Here is Kerry Greenwood's "score card" according to Bill.
Genre: 11 Not much of a mystery, and a major plot flaw in the end.
Realism: 13 The use of slang and period details was realistic enough that I had to check the copyright date to see if this was vintage.
Character: 13 I liked the sexually active Phryne, and her assorted henchmen and servants.
Setting: 12 I'm not an expert on Australia in the late 1920s, but I didn't hear a false note in the book..
Theme: 7 Not much of one.
Style: 12 Straightforward.
Bonus: 2 Only 150 pages long.
If you'd like to investigate Bill's score system, he has a Review FAQ site where he explains, but basically he scores each category out of 15 and then bonus points can add another 10. In these weeks where the Olympics will dominate our lives, it is reminiscent of how the diving and the gymnastics will be judged. Interesting system but not for me, especially when it can result in a PD James scoring lower than about 90. I suspect that underneath it all, it is not nearly as objective as it strives to be. My gradings from 0 to 5 are probably just as vaild.
Anyway, hope you have enjoyed this cyber trail.
BTW I'm still publishing under some duress here.
Despite telling me that it no longer thinks I am some sort of spammer, a mistake made by their robot, Blogger is still insisting that I need to do one of those captcha word verification thingys for both saving a draft and posting. The images presented vary from the readable to the downright dodgy.
I'm still trying to find an actual human being to address my problem to. That's one of our problems these days isn't? I work in a place that provides cyber-world services too, but we have an actual person at the other end of the problem line, contactable, and responsive, and we are proud of that service.
So far what I've found here is buttons to click, a forum to lay my problem on but with an alarming number of similar postings (all without answer or comment) on it, and assurances that things are OK when they are not (from my point of view.
One of the things that has happened with the imposition of word verification is that the autosave feature has disappeared. I am a regular "saver", but having to do the captcha penance reduces my inclination to do that. So my heart is in my mouth as I save and I have to remember to alt-a alt-c so I have a copy of my post in case the process fails, as it has done frequently over the last few days. Timing out seems to be happening more often too, but that could just be my current connection. While writing this post I have saved 6 times, got the captcha wrong six times and right 6 times. Now I'm off to do the 7th (save the draft) & 8th (publish).
Blogger though is looking less recommendable by the day, despite the fact that I had over 250 trouble free days. My memory is getting shorter.