Saturday, February 13, 2010

Arrow Pointing Nowhere by Elizabeth Daly (Felony and Mayhem Part 2)

Arrow Pointing Nowhere by Elizabeth Daly (Felony & Mayhem, May 2009)

Shop Indie Bookstores


As I mentioned in the previous post, a large part of the charm of the "Vintage" mysteries published by Felony & Mayhem is the immersion in the past. For a sense of the Agatha-Christie-only-more-so appeal, I can't say it better than F&M's modern back cover copy from Arrow Pointing Nowhere, part of the Henry Gamadge series:

"Take one grand house, stuff it with staff, and make it home to several generations. If they send their sons to Oxford and occasionally knock each other off, you've got a country-house murder mystery, that classic of English crime fiction. But if the boys are at Yale, odds are that you're reading a New York mansion mystery -- a genre largely invented and perfected by Elizabeth Daly."

Yep, only the boys go to college, and all kinds of extended family share the mansion with the servants -- it's a whole different world.

But with Elizabeth Daly's books, the exoticism off the time period is only part of the goods: the other part is Henry Gamadge. If Humphrey Bogart's Sam Spade were a bit more bookish and a little less alienated, he might resemble Gamadge (except he's got a happy marriage more like Nick and Nora Charles). He's ostensibly a professional expert in rare books, with a love for solving puzzles. More importantly, he's the kind of guy you want on your side in a pinch. Gracious, diplomatic, perspicacious, infinitely resourceful, quick on the uptake and on the trigger if necessary, Gamadge is your go-to guy if you're in a spot. I love his relationship with his wife Clara (a romance which actually comes about during one of the books in the series and sticks for the rest of them, which is a rarity) and with his assistant/co-conspirator Harold, who in this volume is back from the War on leave. Their mutual trust and profoundly functional relationships are always in contrast to the web of conspiracies, suspicion, and murderous intent found in the (typically rich) families they're called in to investigate.

In Arrow, Gamadge doesn't even know which member of the family he's working for. He's received a mysterious message and knows that someone in the Fenway mansion is in mortal danger -- but is it the generous but naive Pater Familias? The invalid former beauty who married in? The grim-looking paid companion? The amiable ne'er-do-well uncle? The strong-willed spinster? The mentally deficient grandson? (I love how you can tell he's "off" by the fact that he doesn't stand when someone comes into the drawing room.)

Gamadge will solve it, of course, though there's no guarantee anyone will survive to the end, and Gamadge and his crew end up having to do a lot more physical labor in the course of cracking the case than say, Hercule Poirot. I highly recommend curling up with this or any other book in the Gamadge series, just to see how it all comes out, and to enjoy the setting and the personalities that make this series so original and yet somehow inevitable.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

It was rather interesting for me to read that post. Thanks the author for it. I like such topics and anything that is connected to them. I would like to read more soon.

Best wishes

乳酪蛋糕 said...

Dear blog moderator: Hello!
Dear friends: Hello!
I am a friend from Taiwan is very pleased to find your blog, I also very much like your site content and articles, in addition I have added to my favorites, is there the honor and opportunity to your blog Friendly exchange of times?
If you have already joined, please send a letter to my mailbox, I offer my site name and URL, but also want to browse and exchange information regularly ︿ ︿ Oh, thank you!
Site Name: 網路行銷
Website: http://www.pageone.cc

dinoibo said...

Sesli SohbetgelSesli Chatgor
SesliSohbetsendeSesliChatbize
Sesli Sohbet sitelerikatilSesli Chat sitelerihadi
SeslibeklemeChatyoksa
Sohbetpismankamerali Chatolursun
kamerali SohbetamaSesli siteleris isten
Sohbet sitelerigecmisChat siteleriolacak thanks.
Sesli SohbetgelSesli Chatgor
SesliSohbetsendeSesliChatbize
Sesli Sohbet sitelerikatilSesli Chat sitelerihadi
SeslibeklemeChatyoksa
Sohbetpismankamerali Chatolursun
kamerali SohbetamaSesli siteleris isten
Sohbet sitelerigecmisChat siteleriolacak thanks.
Sesli SohbetgelSesli Chatgor
SesliSohbetsendeSesliChatbize
Sesli Sohbet sitelerikatilSesli Chat sitelerihadi
SeslibeklemeChatyoksa
Sohbetpismankamerali Chatolursun
kamerali SohbetamaSesli siteleris isten
Sohbet sitelerigecmisChat siteleriolacak thanks.

dinoibo said...

Sesli SohbetgelSesli Chatgor
SesliSohbetsendeSesliChatbize
Sesli Sohbet sitelerikatilSesli Chat sitelerihadi
SeslibeklemeChatyoksa
Sohbetpismankamerali Chatolursun
kamerali SohbetamaSesli sitelergecikme
Sohbet sitelerigecmisChat siteleriolmaz
Sohbet merkezi chat merkezi
Sesli merkezi sesli Sohbet merkezi
Sesli chat merkezi Sohbetmerkezi
Sesli SohbetgelSesli Chatgor
SesliSohbetsendeSesliChatbize
Sesli Sohbet sitelerikatilSesli Chat sitelerihadi
SeslibeklemeChatyoksa
Sohbetpismankamerali Chatolursun
kamerali SohbetamaSesli siteleris isten
Sohbet sitelerigecmisChat siteleriolacak thanks.
Seslimuhabbet sesli muhabbet
alim satim alis veris
alim satim alis veristhanks