Category Archives: Reviews

Thicker Than Water: Things the plot of this book aren’t.

Thicker than Water is the third Kit O’Malley mystery novel.  They’re written by a woman named Lindy Cameron, set in Melbourne, Australia and are not good.  I know, because I’ve read all three.  I was introduced to them by…I don’t remember, either Afterellen or NoveList.  The books usually take forever to arrive in Canada, I don’t know if this is because Bywater sucks at releasing books or the library sucks at getting them, but damn.

The heroine, Kit, is a Melbourne based P.I. who stumbles upon murders all the time and then solves them.  While doing so she also deals with her quirky!mom, zany!sidekicks and struggles to start a relationship with Alex Cazenove, a smokin’ attorney or some such nonsense.  Oh, p.s. this book is leftover from GLBT February and Kit is a lesbian.  Which doesn’t excuse the ridiculous plot, character piled on top of character and incredibly annoying habit Kit has of relating everything to Xena: Warrior Princess.  Also having really involved conversations with herself.

The central mystery of the story involves the discovery of the body of a Melbourne gangster at Angie’s bar.  Angie is a friend of Kit, the body is, as I mentioned, a high-ranking member of an Melbourne crime family run by (no kidding) Queenie Riley.  Who’s a lady.  An old lady.  Which, maybe I don’t know anything about crime, criminals or Australia but OLD LADY CRIME LORDS seem pretty unlikely.  Naturally she is quirky!  There are also cops of differing degrees of cordiality, more criminals, eccentric pals, problems with a sham marriage and immigration agents and god, a serial killer who has a key role in the denouement.

This is the second P.I. based mystery novel I have read in a month.  As much as I didn’t like The Maltese Falcon I kept wishing this bad boy (or girl as the case may be) would take a page from old D.H. and shut the hell up for five seconds.  O’Malley rambles to herself, to friends, to strangers, to her cat.  It’s almost impossible to convey how annoying it is.  These sidebars rip you from the story, confuse you about what the hell is taking place and drives the suspense down from somewhere about “history exam” to “The Brave Little Toaster.”   Every other character in the story is either quirky, stupid or on the make.  Except Alex, who’s barely a character at all, just  set of clichés.  I’m not sure what Lindy Cameron does with herself besides write these books, but I’m willing to bet what she wants to do is P.I. all over Melbourne with a beautiful dame at her side.

Two shrimps on the barbie!


The Maltese Falcon

So there’s a crazy bit of snow happening today for the first time all winter.  It seems every time OLA Superconference happens there’s a blizzard, which, I don’t know what that says about librarians.  So instead of going out and attending to the various things that need attending, groceries, the library, whatnot I stayed in and finished reading The Maltese Falcon.  And…I don’t know, maybe it’s because almost 80 years later it’s innovations have mostly become cliché, maybe it’s because Sam Spade get being describe as various shades of yellow and all I could picture was Humphrey Bogart, but this didn’t do it for me at all.

Do I even need to recap the plot?  Briefly, a private detective is engaged by a dame who is CLEARLY UP TO NO GOOD; there’s a MacGuffin they have to find; the cops are on his case; and the crooks!  Events ensue as events are wont to do, then there is a tidy resolution where everyone gets what’s coming to him and poor Sam Spade gets nothin’.  Poor Sam.

I’m reluctant to take on a classic and call it junk, because it wasn’t.  All of the problems I had with it are because it’s a classic.  It was so heavy with adjectives and adverbs I’m surprised I could hold it up.  And of course you could see the ending of it coming a mile away, it’s been stolen a hundred times since then.  It’s just not a story that moves me in any way at all.  I might spend the rest of this blizzard watching the movie though.

Four dames outta ten, cause even if you don’t like it, a classic’s a classic.