Books 4/17/06

The mystery phase continues. I went by the library and checked out the entire Groucho Marx mystery series by Ron Goulart, and they’re entertaining me. A while ago I wrote about the 2 categories of mysteries- those that the reader has a chance of solving, and those that you just have to wait until the end. These fall solidly into the second category- the reader is just along for the ride as the mystery gets solved. There’s no way to predict the ending, as the characters that are important to the crime don’t even get introduced until a ways through the book. Despite the fact that I prefer the other kind of mystery, these have been fun and entertaining. I’ve finished the first two, Groucho Marx, Master Detective, and Groucho Marx, Private Eye. The books touch tangentally on a couple issues I’d wondered about previously- going briefly into the effect that Groucho’s personality had on his marriages and also looking at his relationships with his brothers. But those take second string to the murders at the center of the books, as they should.

The series is firmly grounded in Hollywood of the late 1930s, so the murders are of actors or others somehow connected to the movies, meaning that the investigations lead the detectives through a maze of agents, producers,corrupt police officers and the mafia. There are fun cameos by actors and writers of the day, which adds to the entertainment value, and the wittiness of Groucho is always amusing. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of them, to see how the main characters develop, but also to see if Goulart uses the word avuncular in each book, as he’s used it in each of the 3 I’ve already read.

Current total: 29
Just Finished: Groucho Marx, Private Eye by Ron Goulart
Next Up: Elementary, My Dear Groucho by Ron Goulart

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