Tuesday, March 15, 2016

6. The Body on Mont-Royal by David Montrose

This is the third and last David Montrose book published by Vehicule Press.  I enjoyed it more than the other two.  Things actually happened, characters interacted and a rough mystery and crime narrative unfolded more or less amidst all the drinking.  It's also really violent, exaggerated to the point of being unrealistic at times (especially the beating the protagonist takes).  Still, it wasn't particularly enjoyable, beyond seeing 50s anglo Montreal in the noir detective context.  Even the portrayal of Montreal is lacking in how insanely un-French it is.  It's like Montrose lived in Toronto, had never met a francophone Quebecois and was writing about some fantasy Montreal.  The only french character is the police detective, who is shown as sympathetic, but not super bright (a Lestrade character basically) but with the goofiest accent. I mean it's fine to do a francophone speaking accented english, but if that is the way they spoke english in the 50s, shit has changed a lot.  This sounded to me more like Pepe le Pew.  I guess that probably does reflect the anglo reality before the Quiet Revolution, but you'd think at least detective fiction would try to portray the underclasses and oppressed a bit more realistically.

Also, I find the cover deeply uninspiring.  They couldn't have paid an illustrator to do a real pulpy cover or just copy the original Harlequin, which is actually quite nice?  I mean compare and contrast: