I have two unrelated things to write about today. I’m sure I’ve said this before, and it’s a banal thought anyway, but still, we just never know what’s going to happen to us, do we? Hobgoblin and I set out on a ride on Saturday with two other friends, and 30 miles into a 50-mile loop, about a half mile from the cupcake shop where we were going to rest and eat, Hobgoblin and another rider collided into each other and ended up on the road. One person thought the route was one way and the other thought it was the other way, and they didn’t have time to sort it out before their bikes hit. Hobgoblin is doing just fine, but we did spend the afternoon in the emergency room and he has a fractured rib and some serious road rash. It was a frustrating crash, because both riders involved are really good, really experienced cyclists, and neither one was riding recklessly or taking risks, and the crash happened anyway. It’s a lesson in how little control we have over anything, I suppose.
So poor Hobgoblin will be hobbling around for a little while until that rib heals.
There’s one more thing I wanted to write about here, before any more time passes. My book group that read Laurie King’s The Beekeeper’s Apprentice met last Friday to discuss the book, and we all agreed that while the book was fairly entertaining in moments, it wasn’t all that great. I felt that the first half was way too rushed and choppy, and it seemed clear that King was having a little trouble getting the series underway, trying to tell too much in too short a space. After Litlove’s post about episodic fiction, I realized that the book has an episodic structure, which is interesting and odd, because as Litlove points out mysteries and crime fiction are quintessential examples of plot-driven novels and are not typically episodic. What this means is that the real tension in the novel, the real plot, is the relationship between Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, and the detecting and mystery solving are there solely to further this relationship. All this leads to an odd hybrid of a novel that I don’t think ever comes together.
I did think the interaction between Russell and Holmes was interesting, and I’ve taken to heart all the comments telling me that the series gets better, so I may possibly continue with it just to see how the characters develop.
This book also leads me to wonder why it is that so often the first book in a mystery series isn’t very good. I haven’t read enough to have a reliable sample, so tell me if you think I’m wrong, but it does often seem to happen that a mystery author takes a couple books to really get things going. Why is it hard to get a mystery series going when authors of stand-alone books have to get their own books going without the luxury (in most cases) of having more books in a series to get things right?