Sunday, June 6, 2010

Review Ragout Two: Part 2, The Mysteries

--Money Shot by Christa Faust (Hard Case Crime, -- This is a tightly written noir novel set in the Southern California world of XXX movies and strip clubs, and told from the point-of-view of a retired female porn star who now manages other adult actresses. It's a compelling read, and was nominated for a 2008 Edgar award. If you want to pick it up, be aware that the "Eeeuwww" factor is pretty high around some of the more depraved behaviors on display.

And, of course, as with nearly all Hard Case Crime books, its cover features a great pulp painting with a smokin' hot babe.

--Double Shot by Agatha Christie -- I think we're all grateful that this book does not feature a semi-nude Miss Marple on the cover. It's a good little collection of Marple and Poirot short stories, and a fun read. This is a pretty old paperback that I picked up at the used-book charity sale at work, and I don't see an equivalent title anywhere on the web. I'm sure the same stories have long since been re-shuffled in other collections.

--The Last Coincidence by Robert Goldsborough ( -- Goldsborough wrote eight Nero Wolfe revival books from 1986-1994. In this one, Archie acts impetuously and becomes enmeshed in a murder, while Wolfe eats a lot and tends orchids before solving the case with a stroke of genius.

I've read a few of the Goldsborough books now, and while it's kind of fun to see the characters back out and about, it's also a bit jarring when it feels as if they step out of character on occasion or when Goldsborough's prose isn't up to the standards of Stout's best.

But if not being as good as Rex Stout at his best is a sin, pretty much every mystery writer this side of Dashiell Hammett is guilty. If you're interested in reading some Nero Wolfe, I'd recommend all of the Stout originals over the Goldsborough revivals. But if you've read the originals, would like to read a new Nero Wolfe mystery, and can accept the fact that these aren't written by Rex Stout, these can be a pretty fun read.


  1. The
    Girl with the Dragon Tatoo, and the two that follow -- The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked Over a Hornet's Nest are all excellent. (I did have a couple of quibbles with the last one, but all in all it did the job of closing out the series and answering a lot of questions.) The bad part is that Stieg Larsson died so there won't be any more.

  2. Brigitte has the first volume, I sent it for her birthday a couple years back. They're very compelling books while you're reading them but the impression some three years later is one of slight nausea... The Swedes did a film version of the first volume which the French film critic crowd booed as too Hollywood! Amazing how they could see Hollywood in that!? It was SO European! SO restrained! I enjoyed seeing some swedish actors and scenery.