this is the 152nd in my series of forgotten or seldom read books
Rocket to the Morgue
Anthony Boucher – first published as by H.H. Holmes, Dell – 1942 – paperback mystery novel (newer edition shown)
“Leona Marshall stretched her long legs out on the bed and clasped her hands comfortably behind her red head. “Isn’t it nice I couldn’t nurse her?” she murmured. “Think how awkward it would be for you to take over a feeding.”
With a book that’s been written about and discussed as significant in the genre, a classic, or similar accolades, it’s often hard for me to define the point at which expectation leaves off and the novel carries it’s own weight. It’s certain, however, that point is further into the book than the point where a simple jacket blurb or short review would place it. When I open a book that has established it’s place in the literature of the genre I always wonder, perhaps fear is a better word, how long I should stay with it should it turn out that the thing is unreadable.
I was at a collectable paperback show, and talking to Art Scott. I told him I had found lots of good stuff, spent my money, but was unable to locate a copy of Rocket to the Morgue. He steered me to a copy, (thanks again, Art!) and promptly I read it.
There was no problem with readability with Rocket to the Morgue. I fell in step with Boucher’s light patter right away, and stayed with him to the end. I’ll tell you right out that I saw the solution when I was barely halfway through. Whether this is due to my keen insight or Boucher’s lack of effort in fooling me I’m not sure, but I suspect the latter. I read Boucher’s The Case of the Baker Street Irregulars not too many months before this one and though I figured that one out too, it was much later in the book than this one.
I’ve read it and I’m glad I did. I enjoyed it, but my socks are still on, if you catch my meaning. Boucher writes light, airy, entertaining stories. I recommend them but only for what they are. Significant? Maybe. Groundbreaking? I don’t think so. Entertaining? Definitely.
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More Friday Forgotten Book posts
can be found at Patti Abbott’s fine blog Pattinase