Sunday, May 22, 2005

Loving Peter Lovesey

I first read Peter Lovesey last year -- one of the Inspector Diamond novels which I loved quite a lot. There was a problem with that one -- a bullet that went through someone's skull and came out intact on the other side. Doesn't quite seem realistic to me. Still, that was the only hitch and I have a couple more books by Lovesey on my TBR pile (a pile that currently holds about 1,000 titles. No joke.).

More recently, I read a Lovesey short story that appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. A magazine I hope to get into one day. Perhaps if I am very, very good.

The story was called "The Man Who Jumped for England." It was good, but slight. That is, it, like many, many other crime short stories, turns on a twist ending. The shorter the story, the more its merits will rest on that final twist. I think this distorts the genre in a way that doesn't happen at the novel length. It is difficult, in little space, to make the outcome seem natural. Of course, often in a novel length work the ending is not natural, but there is the space to make it SEEM natural. For instance, red herrings can be cleverly concealed in a novel. In a short story, this is much more difficult. Kind of like playing hide and go seek in a room with no furniture.

ANyway, this was supposed to be about Peter Lovesey - great writer. "The Man Who Jumped for England"? A good short story. Probably an even better long story.


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