Tuesday, March 19, 2019

22. Frankincense and Murder by Baynard Kendrick

I now cannot remember from whom I received the recommendation to read Baynard Kendrick.  His name has been on my hunt list for years.  I finally found two hardcovers at Dark Carnival which I normally wouldn't buy but the threat of that gem going out of business has me buying anything of interest they may have (which is a lot) so I picked them both up.

I would not say that I was disappointed with Frankincense and Murder (nice little title btw), just a bit non-plussed.  It's a good mystery but felt very workaday, something that is part of a series that might have been a decent TV or radio show back in the day.  It's very New York City mad-men period, which I am starting to find less and less interesting (partly because I am trendily anti-trendy but also because the inherent sexism and erasure of anybody who is not white honestly starts to get me down; like seriously dudes were just straight up marrying their secretaries). 

Despite these concerns, it is a well-written mystery and the detective being blind really makes the detection cool and interesting.  There was also some very specific and detailed look into the perfume manufacturing industry that I quite enjoyed.  The financial forensics were less interesting (though wow tax rates and assumptions about them have changed vastly!) and despite two people and a dog getting murdered, it never felt like the stakes were all that high.  That lightness is what made it feel like a decent TV or radio show.  I can imagine that Kendrick was a favourite for a lot of people and his latest book was picked up as soon as it came out.  I am curious to see how I like the other one on my shelf.

This is from 1961.  91% tax rate!  If this is MAGA, I'll take it.

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