Friday, April 4, 2008

Giving an Author Multiple Tries

Over the years, I've tried to read and like the mystery novels of Michael Innes, but I could never get past a chapter or so in any of them. The other day someone on LibraryThing recommended two books by him, Lament for a Maker and From London Far. I read the former and liked it all right, even though I tend to dislike mystery novels with multiple narrators. It's an extremely intricate and whimsical book, set in Scotland. Now I'm reading From London Far, and I love it. A scholar of 18th century British poetry gets pulled accidentally into intrigue. The book reminds me a bit of Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday, but it's not quite as manic and idiosyncratic. There's a bit of Edmund Crispin in Innes's books, too, but Innes exhibits more gravitas; the book lies more toward Graham Greene's The Ministry of Fear on the spectrum.

Anyway, I am most pleased that--what? my fourth or fifth attempt to read Innes--resulted in a successful meeting of author's books and reader's mind. I had to be willing not to write off (or is it read off?) Innes forever. It was a matter of patience more than persistence, of flexibility more than patience, and probably of serendipity more than flexibility, for I probably wouldn't have tried again if it weren't for the recommendation on LT, where bibliophiles party down with their bad selves.
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