Victoria University Press, $30.00,
The Man Who Would Not See
Penguin Random House, $38.00,
Money in the Morgue
Ngaio Marsh and Stella Duffy
“I hear you like a good thriller, David,” said New Zealand Books’s courteous email. “Is that right?”
I responded with the dignified aloofness that marks all my exchanges with editors and publishers. “Oh yes. Absolutely. Thank you. Thank you so much.”
Actually, the resident thriller expert is my wife. Beth has shelves solid with crime classics: Christie, James (P D, not Henry), Rex Stout, Margery Allingham, Dorothy Sayers, Anthony Price. She’s numbered their spines according to publication dates. She can discourse about Allingham’s aristocratic scion Albert Campion developing as books pass, whereas Price’s MI6 agent and middle-class fellow David Audley doesn’t. She and her friend since high school, Elizabeth Smither (name-dropper? moi?), talk about how Poirot’s patent-leather shoes mean he has to operate cerebrally rather than physically; how traumatic it was to see Nero Wolfe shedding weight to elude an assassin; how Agatha Christie’s other narrators, Tommy and Tuppence, need a good smack.
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