Tag Archives: Peter Wimsey

Dr. Mabuse and Peter Wimsey: Movies and TV

THE TERROR OF DR. MABUSE (1962) was a remake of Testament of Dr. Mabuse and known under that title as well as Terror of the Mad Doctor; under all the names it’s a pale shadow of the original. Wolfgang Preiss returns as Mabuse #3, now frantically dictating a new Testament of his own. Could he possibly be behind the crime wave sweeping the city? His shrink (Walter Rilla) says no, but in the world of Mabuse, you know how little statements like are worth. A good example of why this is an inferior film is the sequence where a rebellious hood confronts Mabuse in his lair. Instead of facing drowning as in the original, we get a silly sequence involving a hall of mirrors (pretty to look at, but not much of a threat) and then Mabuse spares him for plot reasons. Not without its moments — Mabuse’s wry second-in-command is a hoot (“Here’s money for bus fair.”) — but a poor wannabe compared to Lang. Gert Frobe adds his usual talent in his last role in this series. “This is not a philanthropic institution — corpses are part of our business.”

DR. MABUSE VS. SCOTLAND YARD (1963) is even weaker and not even terribly continuous (the references to Mabuse burning down his lab to destroy his Testament don’t fit the end of Terror) as the devil doctor (Walter Rilla again) now resorts to mind-control rays to accomplish what the original Mabuse did with sheer personal force. Peter van Eyck returns as a rather bland secret agent, aided and abetted by his dotty mother. “It means the control of mankind — a power more effective than any atom bomb.”

When Ian Carmichael first appeared as LORD PETER WIMSEY on TV I found him way too flighty and silly-ass. Rewatching now, I realize he’s a dead-on portrayal of Wimsey in the earliest books, though I’m not sure how well he’d have worked romancing Harriet Vane (this series never got to those books, though a later BBC production did). For the first season they adapted Clouds of Witness, in which Peter tries to clear his brother of murdering their sister’s disgraced lover. It’s a poor choice for an opener as it’s a very stiff mystery, with way too much time spent on Who Was Where When; having actors deliver the lines rather than reading them on the printed page helps, but not enough. I must admit though, Carmichael and the rest of the cast are good and the visuals (like the climactic trial in the House of Lords) are nice. “I did not travel 3,000 miles to pass moral judgment on someone as charming as you.”

#SFWApro. All rights to image remain with current holder.

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Peter Wimsey, Astro City, Robin: Books Read (#SFWApro)

So after several years of irregular rereading, I’m finally finished with Dorothy Sayers’ Peter Wimsey stories.  LORD PETER collects all the short fiction in the series, though I’d read more than half of them in Lord Peter Views the Body. While I’m not a fan of her shorts as much as her novels, the last two in the collection stand out as they take place after Peter and Harriet marry in Busman’s Honeymoon.  In The Haunted Policeman, the bobby of the title stumbles in on the Wimseys just after the birth of their first child; in Talboys we see them several years later living comfortably in the eponymous country home, coping with children and cracking the mystery of who stole a neighbor’s peach crop. Despite the stock mockery of child psychologists (not that different from current parodies from the 1960s and 70s), it’s a really nice farewell to Lord Peter. As an added farewell, Doris Egan has a beautiful tribute to the series on her blog, which almost tempts me to read the non-Sayers continuation starting with Thrones, Dominions. It’s also a great example in how to be nostalgic for an earlier time without forgetting the drawbacks.

Don’t let this talk of sunlit boating parties deceive you; I very much doubt anybody wants to return to the 1920s or 30s. What we have here is a bit of a fairy tale; in which those in power happen to be noble in character and don’t abuse those under their thumb, and hardly anybody resents the class system, and people of color are almost entirely absent. (And when they do appear in British fiction of this era, they seem regarded as an entirely different species.)


ASTRO CITY: LOVERS QUARREL by Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson (cover by Alex Ross, all rights to current holder) is set in Busiek’s Astro City (duuuh), the 25241757-1equivalent of New York in the Marvel Universe as where all the cool heroes hang out. As usual, Busiek’s stories take a look at familiar comics tropes — in the main story here, we get to know the super-hero Quarrel (who’s been around a while) who along with her lover Crackerjack has to figure out what to do when a non-superpowered hero hits fifty and the acrobatics don’t come as easy as they used to. This was a good story, up until the end — it settles for a romantic finish that doesn’t resolve any of the questions it raised about their future. That was hugely disappointing. But the follow-up two-parter, about a talking gorilla who wants to be a rock drummer, is utterly delightful.

BATMAN AND ROBIN: Robin Rises by Peter Tomasi and various artists starts off with a storyline in which Batman sneaks into Apokalips to save his son Damian, and winds up punching Darkseid in the face. From that point on, I had trouble taking this seriously (oh, for the days, when Batman confronting and defeating a being of godlike power was amazing instead of routine).  What follows is an adequate but uninteresting story involving Damian and his dad coping with the powers he gained during the trip. I could have skipped this without any loss to be well-being.

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I kept my nose in some books this week (#SFWApro)

6937985DOUBLE PHOENIX (cover by Gervasio Gallardo, all rights with current holder) contains two allegorical novellas linked together by the common use as a symbol. In Edmund Cooper’s “The Firebird,” a young boy spends his life chasing after the phoenix, despite everyone he meets insisting he’s either a heretic or a madman and the Firebird doesn’t exist anyway—in short, the wimpy Lovecraftian theme that The World Hates Dreamers. It’s trite but well-written, which cannot be said of Roger Lancelyn Green’s “From the World’s End,” in which a couple must resist seduction by avatars of Shallow Philosophy, Passionless Academia and Gross Physical Desire before the phoenix rewards them at the end. Editor Lin Carter admits in the intro that allegory is tricky to do right, but optimistically thinks these two qualify; I strongly disagree.

NEW WORLDS FOR OLD was a collection Carter edited for Ballantine’s Adult Fantasy line, mostly focusing on pulp fantasy but with some more contemporary stuff. There’s a section of William Beckford’s Vathek, stories by Robert E. Howard, Lovecraft and C.L. Moore, Gary Myers (a very good take on Lovecraft’s Dreamlands stories), “Duar the Accursed” by Clifford Ball (some mystical stuff which works, bogged down by a stiff, Conan-knockoff hero) and a blatant knockoff of Lord Dunsany’s “The Sword of Welleran” by Carter himself (apparently he considered that a perk of editing anthologies). Overall this is good, though I’ve never been able to finish the two fantasy poems included here.

WHEN VOIHA WAKES by Joy Chant is set in the same world as her Red Moon and Black Mountain
but in a different, matriarchal culture. The story has the heir to the local clan leadership bedding a young craftsman (crafts like pottery, sculpture and carpentry are Men’s Work) only to discover his dream is to be a musician, a much lower-class career. Chant does a good job on love not conquering all, and I really liked the culture: unlike Island of the Mighty or Weighing Shadows it doesn’t present the matriarchy as an idealized society, just a different one, and equally mess in its own way.

BUSMAN’S HONEYMOON is the Peter Wimsey novel author Dorothy Sayers describes as a love story with detective intrusions (which as she notes is probably how most couples in mystery stories see events). Following Harriet Vane saying yes to Peter in Gaudy Night, we open with their wedding (including lots of cameos from various characters from the series), after which they face the challenge of figuring out just what marriage means to them; while this gets a little heavy on theoretical relationship talk, it’s anchored enough in the characters it worked for me. However we also have the plot of them moving into a rural village (Harriet’s roots are there) and buying a broken-down old home, which feels interchangeable with The Egg and I or A Year in Provence (only not as entertaining). And finally there’s the mystery, when it turns out the shady dealer who sold them the house has been nobbled with a fatal blow to the head. Efforts to crack it are, like Five Red Herrings, more mechanical than brilliant: Lord Peter asserts at one point that he doesn’t have to know anyone’s character or motive, just figuring out how the crime was committed will prove the culprit (which is doubly odd as he solves several earlier books by knowing the motive). And as Raymond Chandler pointed out, a plot that hinges on the victim triggering a trap by standing in exactly the right position is a bad scheme (six inches to the left and he’d have been fine). This was the last Wimsey novel but I have a second book of short stories to read yet.


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Recent reading (#SFWApro)

1434019Several weeks worth, actually … OUT OF SPACE AND TIME is the first half of a reprinted Best Of Clark Ashton Smith collection that Smith picked himself back in the 1940s. This half includes several Averoigne tales, plus Poseidonis, Zothique and several modern set (though frequently sliding into other realms). A good collection, with “A Night in Malneant” particularly effective—I don’t know if Smith intended it as a metaphor for losing one’s wife, but now that I have one to lose, it sure feels like i. A shame I don’t have Vol. 2 (all rights to cover image with current holder)

THE MERMAN’S CHILDREN by Poul Anderson reminds me a lot of The Broken Sword in it’s bleak, Scandinavian, doom-laden tone: the protagonists are half-human, half-merfolk, scattered from their home as Christianity grinds away at the world of faerie, setting them hunting for a place to call home in a world increasingly unfriendly to magic. Surprisingly, the ending is upbeat for everyone, and not implausibly so—I guess Anderson meant it when he said he couldn’t have written Broken Sword as an older writer.

It’s been a while since I read Peter Wimsey, but I’m back on track—GAUDY NIGHT by Dorothy Sayers actually focuses on Peter’s dream girl Harriet Vane, as her college asks Harriet to discreetly investigate who’s been sending poison-pen letters to the staff and targeting them with other cruel pranks (as a writer I must say that destroying someone’s corrected proofs is particularly nasty). Inevitably, she has to call in Lord Peter, which requires dealing with their complicated, awkward relationship. Unfortunately much like Nine Tailors, Sayers isn’t as interested in the mystery as the college (she’s an Oxford grad herself) so get lots of long, tedious discussions about academic life, whatever-became-of-, friendship, and an educated woman’s place in the world . It’s not as bad as Pamela Dean’s Tam Lin but it is a low point for the series.

UNBOUND: Book Three of Magic Ex Libris by Jim Hines is another disappointment (I liked both Libriomancer and Codex Born). It start of well with Isaac shell-shocked and depressed due to the outcome of Book Two, plus a spectacular heist sequence (robbing a vampire blood-bank in orbit!), but before long it’s just drawing-room fantasy—people sitting around, talking about what to do, talking about how to stop the bad guy, talking, talking, talking … and while Isaac is powerless here, when he has two top-flight sorcerers covering his butt, the tension is actually less. However I will give Hines top marks for not crapping out on the release of magic in the world at the end of Codex Born and following up on that here—the SF con discussing what this means for fantasy fiction was a hoot.

THE PAST IS A FOREIGN COUNTRY by David Lowenthal looks at the various ways we relate to the past (as a guide to our present-day lives; as a source of rules for How Things Should Be; as a barbaric era we’ve risen above), how those have changed over time or been debated within a given time (is Great Classic Art a millstone around our necks or a shining beacon of inspiration?), how we preserve relics of the past and ultimately what we’re to make of it (“As we see different historical eras as distinctive, we also lose the sense of a grand sweep of history leading to the present.”). I picked this up mostly for a discussion of time travel and different reasons to visit the past (change history, gain wisdom, exploit your future knowledge etc.); in its own right, good and interesting but very dry.


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Books and TPBS (#SFWApro)

The next Peter Wimsey mystery, MURDER MUST ADVERTISE, has advertising copywriter “Death Bredon” (“Most people stuck with the name pronounce it to rhyme with ‘teeth.’”) taking a suspicious interest in the way his predecessor at the agency broke his neck falling down a staircase, not to mention his curiosity about the man’s self-indulgent, wealthy girlfriend and her drug-addicted circle. This felt so different from the usual Wimsey novel (taking on a ring of drug-dealers rather than the usual lone murderer) I wondered if Sayers had decided to write a social satire. Her biography, however (I found this on Wikipedia, but the article quotes the bio at length), says she ran into trouble getting the technical details she needed for The Nine Tailors so she used her own experience (she was an advertising copywriter for years), added drugs to be topical and got a Wimsey novel in by deadline (Nine Tailor is next in the series). The rush may explain the pulpish details like Wimsey convincing a drug dealer Death Bredon is his evil twin; fun overall, and interesting how some things don’t change—the Bright Young Things don’t seem very different from the world of Less Than Zero. I do suspect some of the advertising jokes would have had more punch for people reading advertising back then.

ICHIRO by Ryan Inzana is two good graphic novels that don’t quite fit together. In Part One, American teenager Ichiro stays with his Japanese grandfather and gets a crash course in history, then in Part Two Ichiro gets tangled into a war in the world of Japanese mythology. The shift from reality to fantasy is really awkward, but the pieces work well.

GIRL GENIUS: Agatha Heterodyne and the Siege of Mechanicsburg by Phil and Kaja Folio has Baron Wulfenbach revealing his master plan to move against Agatha while she and her allies struggle to get Castle Heterodyne up and running in time to stop him. Full of humor and energy, as always.

SAGA, Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples has Marco and Alana hiding with the author of the romance novel that brought them together, while The Will and Marco’s ex Gwendolyn contemplate their own relationship and two reporters learn this cross-world romance is something nobody among Alana’s people wants discussed. Good, though the reporter plotline doesn’t really work for me (I think maybe because I don’t see why it’s so controversial to discuss them). This appears to mark the end of the first arc, as the closing pages show Hazel transitioning from babe in arms to one year old. Still a winner.

And now, we catch up on the BPRD—Killing Ground (cover by Guy Davis, rights with current holder) by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi and Guy Davis has the BPRD locking up a wendigo in its headquarters. Unfortunately, Daimio’s been hiding a lot of secrets and soon the wendigo isn’t the only man-monster the team has to deal with. Daimio departs with this issue, and I miss him (the normals they’ve introduced since lack his hardened military presence), but a good, action-packed story.
BPRD: The Warning by the same team happens one week later (I’ve discussed some issues with the chronology) as the team breaks off the hunt for Daimio to identify the mystery man in Liz’s head. When they go to confront him, however, he’s ready for them—and as if that wasn’t bad enough, the subterranean creatures from The Hollow Earth are joining the demon frogs in attacking humanity. Another good one.

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Books (#SFWApro)

HAVE HIS CARCASE by Dorothy Sayers (I presume the spelling was good English back then, but I’ve never seen it that way) opens with mystery writer Harriet Vane (of Strong Poison) stumbling across a freshly bleeding corpse on an empty beach. It’s obviously suicide … but before long she and Peter Wimsey discover they have a perfect murder victim and a perfect plan for murder but there’s no way to tie them together. The character bits are a lot of fun (Harriet shamelessly uses the murder to promote her own writing) as is Peter and Harriet’s constant banter and awkward relationship (the fact she’s so grateful to him for saving her life in the previous book makes her perversely resent saying yes to his proposal). However the murder scheme is so absurdly elaborate, it’s close to idiot plot. Seriously, clonking the victim on the head would have made so much more sense. Overall a win, though, and the fact the relationship is spread out over several books (it’ll be three volumes before Harriet returns) makes it feel a lot more real to me.
DERYNI RISING was the first book in Katherine Kurtz’s long-running Deryni series, set in an alt.Wales where the Deryni are a human race endowed with innate magical power (and, of course, persecuted). When Prince Kelson’s father is murdered by a Deryni monarch, Kelson and his trusted aide Morgan have to negotiate anti-Deryni political factions and find some way to develop Kelson’s latent magical abilities. Rereading for the first time in years, the level of info-dumping is really appalling and the villain bland in her evil. However the political struggles are still interesting and I do like that some Deryni have positions of power rather than just hiding in fear. That may be why this doesn’t trigger my usual gag reflex at stories of Persecuted Mutants (or whatever)—though later books in the series which played up the persecution certainly did.
DREADNOUGHT by Cherie Priest is an entertaining steampunk set in an alt.19th century where the Civil War has lasted into the 1880s with both sides fighting with mecha and other advanced tech. A Confederate nurse trying to reach her father on the West Coast has to cross the country despite battles between North and South and a plague of zombies. The result is closer to a straight alternative history (it wouldn’t be that hard to remove most of the tech and turn the zombies into outlaws); a fun one, though not so much fun I feel the need to read more any time soon.
HEDY’S FOLLY: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World by Richard Rhodes chronicles the life of screen star Lamarr and compser George Antheil who met in Hollywood and found a common interest in inventing. While Lamarr had a number of flop inventions (a bouillon cube for creating instant soft drinks for instance), the Nazi sinking of a boatload of refugee children pushed her and Antheil to develop and patent a radio-controlled torpedo with randomized frequencies that couldn’t be jammed by the enemy. This unfortunately sank into bureaucratic obscurity, apparently because the Navy’s torpedo program was floundering so badly that testing a new and improved torpedo seemed like too much to take on. However Rhodes’ research shows that while many later inventors used similar principles, Lamarr got there first. A neat little book.


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Books (#SFWApro)

I only skimmed ENGLISH COSTUME From the Second Century BC to 1967 by Doreen Yarwood to confirm that it’s as good a reference as I thought. It is indeed, though like many reference books, pretty dry. I’ve used it for stuff set in the late 18th century but it’s just as good running from England’s early Beaker People through the “mod” era, as fashions rise and fall (it’s always a little startling to realize the concept of being fashionable preceded by generation by centuries) and wimples, mantles, surcoats, doublets, hose and bowler hats all have their day. I anticipate this being very useful.
HERO WANTED by Dan McGirt has a young turnip farmer discover he’s somehow become infamous as the greatest villain in all known kingdoms, leaving him on the run from bounty hunters as he tries to figure out who’s playing games with his destiny. While I like the concept, I’d have preferred it relatively straight (with a little tweaking, it could easily be noir … hmmm …); McGirt, however, is writing a comedy and the humor fell flat for me (in fairness most fantasy parodies fall flat for me).
Dorothy Sayers’ THE FIVE RED HERRINGS is the worst so far of her Peter Wimsey novels, being concerned less with character or a baffling puzzle as logistics. The mystery comes down to which of the six suspects was in the right position to brain the victim while he was out at night, given their various travels by car and train—two chapters actually go over timetables in detail. A complete flop, much as I remember it.


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Books (not so Christmassy) (#SFWApro)

THE WHITE DEATH: A History of Tuberculosis by Thomas Dormandy admits that tracking the story of the disease is challenging since it comes in so many forms (way more than I realized) and so has been misdiagnosed as various other plagues (and conversely been identified when the illness was probably something else) or covered up to spare families the shameful taint of what was once seen as a hereditary weakness. Equally frustrating, nobody at the time of writing (1999) has a good explanation for questions such as why a stay in country air actually does seem to have helped some people while others do no better (apparently a mix of luck and individual strength is behind it). Dormandy focuses primarily at the efforts to diagnose “phthisis” and to treat it, various tactics being bleeding and radical surgery (though knowing from Emperor of Maladies what breast cancer treatments were like in the early 20th century, I think it would help to put the tubercular surgeries in context), sanitarium stays, trips overseas and eventually drugs, though antibiotic resistance may be bringing that era to an end. Informative but scattershot—information about the bacillus itself is doled out off and on throughout the book, rather than giving us the basics in one section, for instance.
Continuing to work through Dorothy Sayers’ Peter Wimsey novels, STRONG POISON was a game-changer in which Peter takes a sudden interest in the case of an accused poisoner, Harriet Vane and sets out to prove her innocent, not to mention offering to marry her (she informs him that’s her 47th proposal since the accusation). The mystery is good (and doesn’t feel trite even though it’s the third Wimsey mystery in a row to hinge on a suspicious will), but this has several slow spots (though some good ones, such as Sayers’ deft sketch of the jury members) and the chemistry between Peter and Harriet is uneven (but picks up as it goes along). I did, however, like Peter’s comment that if he fails and she hangs, happiness will no longer be something he can take for granted—happy times will be more like valuable equipment and food salvaged off a sinking ship, a triumph in the face of adversity. And I am curious what readers of the time made of Harriet’s past—she’d been living with the murder victim in sin—even given the emphasis she’d preferred to hold out for marriage. The pursuit figures in several more books in the series.
JACK KIRBY’S THE LOSERS collects Kirby’s 12-issue run on this DC WW II-set series in which several characters formerly with their own series (Johnny Cloud, Capt. Storm, Gunner and Sarge) became part of a special joint-forces strike team. As shown here this doesn’t make a lot of sense (even when they’re working for the Navy, Capt. Storm is on dry land) and isn’t much more memorable than Kirby’s other 1970s work. However there are moments things really come to life, such as the SS gunning down Jews in one of the stories, that make it much better than, say, OMAC. Possibly the fact Kirby had to stick with realistic weapons and abilities rather than pulling a super-scientific deus ex machina did the trick.
I was disappointed to learn that while it wraps up the series, JACK STAFF: Rocky Realities doesn’t wrap up any arcs, in fact complicating them (at the end of the story, Jack’s now on the run from Detective Mavryk). Entertaining, as a vampire hunter turns vampire, the Claw finds himself in increasingly difficult situations and a chimp called Rocky Realities tries to sit things right (“Well, his ID is in order.”). Still, I’m glad Image’s new Weird World of Jack Staff has picked up the plot threads.
(Cover art by Kirby, rights with current holder)

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Allow me to introduce Lord Peter Death Bredon Wimsey

As I’m working my way through Dorothy Sayers’ Peter Wimsey books (to date from the first book, Whose Body?, through Lord Peter Views the Body), I thought I’d take a moment to give some background on him. Because they don’t make detectives like Wimsey any more.
The Golden Age of detective stories (generally considered the time between the two World Wars) was an age when British writers dominated and so did amateur detectives (Sherlock Holmes is often identified as the founder of the school, even though he was a professional PI). Cops were considered rather tacky and blue-collar and “amateur” in those days referred to doing something for love, not money—and was therefore assumed to be on a higher plane (EW Hornung’s 19th-century master thief, Raffles, is always referred to as an amateur even though he’s stealing to support himself). Murders frequently took place among the upper classes, often at country-house weekend parties (which I satirized in The Wodehouse Murder Case).
Many of these works vanished into obscurity; when Agatha Christie wrote about her Partners in Crime parody stories, she could barely remember some of the originals she’d been mocking. Wimsey survived.
As we learn over the course of the series, Lord Peter’s family are the Dukes of Denver, one of England’s wealthiest aristocratic families (at the time, a lot of aristocrats were going into commerce to make ends meet but the stereotype remained) though it’s his brother who has the title. A World War I veteran with some degree of shell-shock, he’d adopted his rather inane manner as a coping mechanism in the wake of the war. According to a biographical sketch by Sayers, his saving grace was when he wound up solving his first criminal case: Suddenly he had a focus for his first-rate mind and a way to make a difference in the world. He’s assisted in his work by Bunter, his aide (or “batman”) during the war and now his valet. Bunter has a keen mind of his own, a good deal of charm and a skill with photography which comes in handy (this is back when cameras and chemical film developing were a lot more demanding than they are now).
Surprisingly, Sayers isn’t terribly snobby about Peter’s aristocratic lineage (although as an Englishman of 55, I may just not register the snobbery), but she does present him in a very elitist way. Peter’s taste is superb: He collects rare books, wears the best tailored suits, and enjoys the best food—all of which he has the taste and discernment to appreciate. In one of the short stories, Peter’s triumph hinges on the fact his palate can identify any wine. A later novel compares his refined appreciation for music with the boors who only fake it. In The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, Peter speaks disparagingly of someone who was turned down for the club because he smoked a strong cigar before sampling a superb port (thereby making it impossible to taste the wine properly).
The Golden Age had many flaws. As Raymond Chandler grumbled in his essay “The Simple Art of Murder,” the elaborately constructed plots often required people to act in batshit ways. And the aristocratic settings were light-years removed from reality or from the brutality and pain that murder brings. Nevertheless, Chandler’s hardboiled school of writing didn’t consign the Golden Age style to the trash heap. The best stories survived, and they have amateur detectives following in their wake today in countless stories.
Peter Wimsey isn’t for everyone. But then, he doesn’t try to be.


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Peter Wimsey investigates THE UNPLEASANTNESS AT THE BELLONA CLUB when an old soldier turns up dead in his regular chair—which wouldn’t be so unpleasant except that he’s been lying there for possibly hours and the timing of his death determines who in his family inherits half a million pounds. Not as tightly plotted as Unnatural Death or as memorable a villain but a good story nonetheless.
I love Richard Condon’s work on Manchurian Candidate and Winter Kills and no question the premise of MILE HIGH fits his kind of black humor: In the early 20th century, a corrupt, powerful lawyer single-handedly revitalizes the temperance movement to bring about Prohibition, with an eye to the inevitable gains from bootlegging. Unfortunately, this is written more in the manner of a biography, more an account of the protagonist’s life than an actual story; while Candidate had some of that, it was a strong enough story to make it work, but this one ain’t.
CONAN AND THE TEETH OF GWAILHUR is P. Craig Russell’s adaptation of a Conan story in which the Cimmerian is embroiled on both political intrigue and the quest for a chest of priceless gems. It’s a minor Howard story and while attractive, Russell doesn’t give the Hyborian Age the energy that Barry Windsor-Smith and John Buscema did at Marvel.


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