04 November 2010

I've gotta stop reading like this

The last time I was at the Northfield library, I picked up a Lindsey Davis [right] mystery, Scandal Takes a Holiday. Over the past few years, I've read several of Davis' mysteries set in the ancient Roman empire and starring Marcus Didius Falco, "private investigator." I've enjoyed them.

Like Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs mysteries, Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael mysteries, Tony Hillerman's mysteries, and... Well, like lots of mysteries, the setting in Davis' stories is an important as the characters and the plot. The settings are often one of my motives for reading a book.

Unlike the Maisie Dobbs mystery I read recently, I wasn't drawn into ancient Rome the way I was drawn into 1930's London. Davis does an incredible job of describing the place -- even down to its aromas. Maybe I was tired of reading about the buildings, meals, and smells of ancient Rome. This book seemed to be filled with too many of them.

There were lots of interactions among a large cast of characters, but they didn't hold my attention either. Not even the gangs of evil doers kept me interested. I was curious enough to read nearly every paragraph, but it wasn't easy to do.

When I read The Mapping of Love and Death a month or so ago, I could hardly wait to find time to read more. While reading Scandal Takes a Holiday, I kept looking for excuses to do something other than read. I even watched Castle.

I really liked some of the other Marcus Didius Falco stories. The one set in Londinium and another set on the German frontier were memorable. This one, not so much. I've often discovered that my reactions have more to do with me than with the book. Your results may vary.

So, if you've read Scandal Takes a Holiday or another of Lindsey Davis' books, tell us how you reacted.

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