The Daily Bongo

March 2015

Sunday, March 22, 2015 -- Evening

cover of Sphinx by Robert Cook
Sphinx by Robin Cook
I have only read one Robin Cook book, and that was his most recent Cell. He's has written a plethora of books, and I thought I should give some of them a chance. His earliest stuff was supposed to be really good, so I thought I would start there. I just finished reading Sphinx, which was written in 1979, and it was made into a movie starring Lesley Anne Down and Frank Langella. The plot covers the trouble that Erica Barton gets herself into when she decides to travel to Egypt on her own. Erica is an Egyptologist by training, and she wants to escape from a boyfriend who wants to marry her. Erica is a big foolish, and she finds herself in a precarious situation because she does really dumb things, like going off on her own to look for Egyptian artifacts and trusting good looking men.

The book is a product of its time, with Erica acting like many women in the 1970s who wanted to break free from male bonds that kept the women in demeaning roles. There were some action scenes and thrills, however, compared to the fast-paced thrillers of today, Sphinx seems a bit on the tame and lame side. I kept on waiting for something really exciting to happen, and I had to wait until the last 30 pages of the book. Even then the tension was quickly resolved. Cook did some research on Egyptology, but overall, I found the book to be unsatisfying. I think that's why it took me so long to drag through the book.

Sunday, March 1, 2015 -- Evening

cover of The Religious Body by Catherine Aird
The Religious Body by Catherine Aird
I am not very familiar with Catherine Aird, but I heard about some of her mysteries, especially The Stately Home Murder. It's supposed to be a must-read in the mystery genre. Since I never read any Aird, I thought I would start with the first book in the Detective Sloan series, The Religious Body. Inspector Sloan is called in to check on the death of a nun. The local doctor who was called in to check the body realized that the nun did not die from an accidental fall down the cellar steps; she was bashed in the head with a heavy object. Inspector Sloan starts his investigation, and he finds out that the nun's cousin is in the local area. The nun's death is to the benefit of the cousin who's chemical company can now go public to great financial benefit to the cousin. Things are looking dire for the cousin, and when a guy is burned at the local farmer's institute in the habit of a nun, with the dead Sister Anne's glasses, the case becomes muddier. How did the students get the habit and the glasses? Then one of the students, the one who got the habit from the convent. What did the student see that resulted in his murder?

Although the book is not long, Aird provides a fairly complex mystery. It wasn't clear at all who the murder was. In fact, I was quite shocked at the end when all was revealed. I already got the two of the next three books in the series. The third Henriette Who is not available from my library. However, the fourth Inspector Sloan book is the classic The Stately Home Murder, and I am really looking forward to reading it.