Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunday Salon - January 27

The Sunday

Organize Your Corpses (Death is never tidy) by Mary Jane Maffini sounded amusing. The cover announces "Organizing tips included!". The author is described as "a lapsed librarian, a former mystery bookseller, and a previous president of Crime Writers of Canada. In addition to creating the Charlotte Adams series, she is the author of the Camilla MacPhee Mysteries, the Fiona Silk series, and nearly two dozen mystery short stories. She has won two Arthur Ellis awards for short fiction, and "The Dead Don't Get Out Much", her latest Camilla MacPhee Mystery, was nominated for a Barry Award in 2006." So it should be good, right? Maybe it is. I just don't like it myself. Obviously the failure is mine. I'm part-way through chapter five and I'll tell you where I have problems with this book.

Have you seen the old television program "Gilmore Girls"? I found that program incredibly annoying for it's too rapid-fire, too smart-alecky dialogue. Organize Your Corpses echoes the style. Now, my daughter loved Gilmore Girls and she's no fool, so maybe it's the generation gap - perhaps I'm just too old, stodgy and witless.

I find the book over-written and under-edited. The author seems to be unduly hasty in revealing her characters and they're a well-worn cast of cliches. They all need killing. (Just like the Gilmore Girls). After about one chapter it felt like I was laboring over a tough steak, ruminating on an excess of adjectives and adverbs. Mary Jane Maffini's phones 'scream' and 'trill'. Her characters 'squeal' and 'shriek'. The situation is 'craptacular.'

But wait a minute! I just scanned the pages quickly to remind myself of those little gems. It's not so bad if you read it fast enough!

Don't write this book off based on my comments. That wouldn't be fair to the author. Perhaps I should put it aside for another day.

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At 11:34 AM, Anonymous Debra Hamel said...

Interesting. You know, I hardly ever watch TV anymore. There's just not enough time to do everything, and that's the first to go. So, I had only seen tiny clips of The Gilmore Girls over the years. Half sentences, at best. I thought I'd like it. I figured I'd watch the whole series through on DVD. So I got the first disk, and I figured I was in for this treat I'd been missing for so many years--an intelligent show with clever dialogue and a warm mother-daughter relationship. I start watching the first episode and...I couldn't stand it. Who has time for this! So, that plan died.

At 11:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never think it is down to the reader if a book isn't good. Some authors just aren't to one's taste, true, but if one isn't enjoying a book that one is honestly trying to read, I have always taken the view that the "fault", if there could be said to be one, is at the author's door for failing to engage the reader, rather than the other way round.

At 1:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are days when I know it's my fault that a book and I aren't getting on, normally because I'm not giving it the time and attention it deserves. But, from what you've said about this book, I really don't think you should be blaming yourself.


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