Thursday, November 10, 2005

38. Death in a Canadian Military Hospital by Victor Dyer

I picked this one up on the library, looking for a book by a different Dyer. It had Canadian in the title and a cool red cover with a skull on it. It was published in 1961, I guess as a mystery and perhaps the only book by this author. It's about a woman who gets murdered on a park bench that is somehow connected with a terrible veteran's hospital, where they patients are treated like crap by the doctors and orderlies.

The portrayal of the hospital is heartfelt and disturbing. I get the feeling that the author had very personal reasons for portraying the hospital in such a bad light. The mystery itself is complex and kind of compelling. But it seems as if it was written by a computer or a really organized 8th grader. Every single person talks in this direct and mannered way, just like the narrator, with no contractions, just like a robot. And the town, though in Canada, is in some bizarre, unnamed province that bears no resemblance to any Canada I've ever heard of.

Really a strange book, and I'm surprised it got published at all. But it was earnest and has a cool title.

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