Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Book 23: The Lighthouse
something else i LOVE...english mysteries. i grew up reading agatha christie and then watching the adaptations on public television on sunday nights. edward gorey's funny cartoon introduction was always my favorite part. so pd james writes about commander adam dagliesh. i've seen a tv movie of one of her books; this is the first one i've read. fairly good, i'll say. it was similar to most english mysteries that i enjoy reading, not least in the fact that i couldn't guess who the killer was. i never do. wouldn't have made a very good detective. anyhoo, the fictional island of combe is a sanctuary for the wealthy and stressed. when they need solitude they come here to rest. kind of like when movie stars check themselves into hospitals for exhaustion. the completely odious nathan oliver, world famous novelist, ends up dead hanging by his neck from the lighthouse. and so the case begins.
james writes very, how shall i put it, ornately. sometimes i think she attempted to be a bit more artistic than was warranted or realistic. there was lots of detail on the personal life of dagliesh and his detective inspector, kate, and i must say i just didn't care about that crap. only want to know about the case. all in all, an enjoyable book. i might read some more of hers.
what this book did do was challenge my thinking on how "good" people really are. are we generally good? i rejoiced in the death of nathan oliver; he was a cruel man. did that mean he deserved to die, to be murdered? it's easy to read these stories and distance myself from the situations...i've never killed anyone. but am i so much better than someone who has? most people probably don't think they will do such a thing. not that i'm worried i will strike out in rage and do someone in, that's not the point of this post. but as i read these stories and then examine the thoughts and emotions deep in my own heart, i believe the theological doctrine of total depravity. we aren't generally good, naturally. there is no part of us that hasn't been affected by sin, by the sheer horror of sin. by god's grace we aren't as bad as we could be, but sin has bled into every area of our lives and we can't escape it. so that's my thought on this book. oh, gave this a squiggle. okay book.
Oh my goodness, I haven't thought about Mystery! in years! I was totally addicted to watching Sunday night PBS renditions of Agatha Christie novels too.
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