Friday, January 12, 2024

3. Cold Steal by Alice Tilton

I think I must have found this in a Montreal free box, because it has a stamp inside that says "JM Albot, Robertsonville, Que, Canada" and I usually don't buy mapbacks unless it is an author I know, despite the temptation.  It is really beautiful.  It has three pages of guiding info at the beginning, which I did not read until after I had finished the book:  a "Persons this mystery is about-", a "What this mystery is about-" section and a "Wouldn't you like to know-".  I'm glad I didn't because I probably would not have wanted to read the book.

I did some reading on the author before I wrote this.  I usually do it after to be neutral, but this book was so different than anything I read or expected.  I guess it's supposed to be super funny, kind of a slapstick, Nick and Nora style mystery with aspirational elements.  I found it very difficult to read and not funny at all.  There is tons of dialogue where the main thread keeps getting interrupted by silly double entendres of others characters not letting the speaker finish their sentence and thus misunderstanding them.  I guess audiences of the time find it funny, but it fell very flat for me.

The plots, such as it is, starts out on a train.  Our protagonist, Leonidas Witherall, is returning to his newly built home that he has not yet seen.  He oversees a woman surreptitiously putting a package into a garbage can and then a whole lot of wackiness ensues, almost all of it taking place in his new home.  It centers around a mean wealthy woman who opposed the building of the home being found dead in the car of its new garage.  I'm so exhausted from forcing myself to get through this book and the plot is so convoluted and unresolved that it's not even worth making any more effort to write about.

I hope others in our modern times can enjoy these as I appreciate a prolific female author (she wrote a lot to survive the depression), but these are just not for me.  Well now I know.

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