Showing posts with label Cordelia Gray. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cordelia Gray. Show all posts

Friday, April 16, 2021

#FridayReads: Cordelia Gray Has Risen...

Okay. Okay. I told myself to take a minute or two out of Friday to write an updated post–or a #FridayReads deal thing. So, while I sit here at a blank page trying to put an essay down on paper, let me catch readers up on what I have next in mind to read.

Oh, I plan on doing some duel reading (more on the other book later). 50 pages a day. Something like that. Not my usual gig, but I don't want to lose steam with my second offering…

Therefore, first up is…

The Skull Beneath the Skin by P. D. James. This is the second and final entry in James's Cordelia Gray detective agency series.

Shamefully, I started this book ten years ago, after reading the wonderfulness of the first book in the series, An Unsuitable Job for a Woman. So why am I just now picking up Gray's second and final mystery?

You want to know the truth? I had a dream about it and, in that dream, I was Cordelia Gray. Blame it on the Benadryl, but I tell you no lies. I laid my ass down one night and dreamt about reading this book, as I, in the dream, was Cordelia Gray solving a mystery involving crows. Maybe that was guilt for not completing this book working through my subconscious.  Yet, needless to say, I took the hint.  Dreaming about unread books has happened to me before.

But just in case, I have to list what made me stop the book ten years ago about a quarter ways through:

1.    As I've stated over the years, I can't stand mysteries involving theatres, movie lots, television sound-stages, scripts, and curtains—basically, entertainment business stuff. Don't ask me why because I don't even know why these set-ups annoy me. Nevertheless, in the case of The Skull Beneath the Skin, an actress is receiving poison-pen letters. Heading toward a performance on an island somewhere in Britain, said actress's husband employed Gray to go undercover as her secretary-companion. Gray's job is to stealthy find the culprit of these letters before he or she exacts their desired threats upon the actress. Naturally, a pile of bodies will help Gray toward the truth.

2.    I bailed as the chapters moved further away from Gray's perspective and into others. I'm used to this now from James.  Her mysteries have strength and resonance because of her ability to brighten her characters with personalities, nuance, secrets, and motives (not to dismiss her incredible literary writing qualities applied to her mysteries).  When she hops perspectives, you get first-hand observation to play inference with her mystery-writing game.  But as I've always said about James, you MUST read between the lines of her dialogue.  That's where she can really trip you up.

I GUESS I'M CONSIDERED ACTIVATED NOW
At the time of my initial attempt at the book, I was new to James. I had yet to even start her Adam Dalgliesh series. Which, thankfully, I stand at a six-out-of-fourteen down as of writing this. So I found Skull to be tepid and laborious than my experience with the first Gray mystery.  An Unsuitable Job for a Woman was shorter, and darn-right airtight with its clever mystery and pacing.  Nevertheless, reading the wonderfulness of Dalgliesh has grounded away those regards for James's work.

And so, ladies and gentleman, that's why I'm here. It's finally time to give Cordelia Gray her proper due.  I don't know why Storm from X-Men came to mind, other than I feel all powerful and activated and ready to handle my business by giving this series a proper closing.  I'm over 50 pages in already and ready to GO!  Only then can I knock on the doors of the eight books I have left in the Dalgliesh series.

(Forgive all spelling and grammatical errors.  I seriously have an essay to write, so I'm making this one quick.)

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