Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Stealing from myself

A thoughtful posting at Yahoo's Oz Mystery Readers group on humor as a characteristic of modern crime fiction got me thinking about the rich variety of humor in Bill James' Harpur & Iles series. I'd always recognized the humor in these dark, violent, morally ambivalent novels, but I'd never stopped to enumerate the sheer variety in that humor.

So now Australian members of that group know about the manic antics of Iles, the incredible saucy humor of Harpur's daughters, the dialogue in which each character sometimes more to be delivering a soliloquy than engaging in conversation, the social satire of upwardly aspiring working-class villains, the weird, contrasting, funny takes on family life, to mention just a few that come to mind. You should know about them, too.

I'll repeat what I've said before: The middle books of this 23-novel series, say, from Astride a Grave to Eton Crop, are as rich and rewarding a body of crime fiction as any ever written in English.

© Peter Rozovsky 2007

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