Thursday, May 19, 2011

Whose Body?

"Words are such uncertain things, they so often sound well but mean the opposite of what one thinks they do"
"The Clergyman's Daughter"

Ok, 'guaranteeing' I wouldn't update today was mostly because I assumed I wouldn't finish a book on time. Because I would need a subject to write about. Which usually means I need to read a book. Or watch a movie or something. And I was pretty sure I wouldn't finish anything yesterday.Yet somehow, I managed to finish two books between yesterday and now. Things never go as planned.

Kelley Roos' The Frightened Stiff starts with Jeff and Haila Troy moving into their new garden level apartment. The first day in their new home doesn't turn out too well, as a) they overhear a telephone call in a nearby restaurant that mentions their new address, b) they get home after dinner and discover that someone must have entered their appartment while they were gone and c) a naked dead body is found in their garden the following morning. As if moving isn't troublesome enough.

And I can't be the only one that expected the frightened stiff to turn up in the bathtub when he saw the cover. A skeleton. In a bathtub. It sorta suggest something. And no, I hardly ever read the text on the back of a book. Or else I would have known, I confess.

Major suspects of the murder: the Troys. Well, you can't really blame the police for looking at them with suspicious eyes, as it was their garden where the body was lying. The stiff was also drowned in their bathtub. The Troys suspect that  one of the other tenants in their building must be the killer though and in good old fashion, all of these tenants have something to hide from the Troys and the police. Add in some attempts on the Troys' lives and the mystery of how an apartment room could have been cleared completely from its contents without anyone noticing, and you have a fun little adventure for our pair of wedded amateur detectives.

Have I mentioned already that I love Christie's crime-solving couple Tommy & Tuppence Beresford? The Tommy & Tuppence stories are a delight to read because of the dynamic between the loving couple and it's this fun dynamic that I would like to see more often in detectives. I said as I looked wearily at Meitantei Conan (seriously, the only couple that is kinda normal there is Takagi/Satou there, and that took like 40 volumes?). I don't think the Troys are as fun as the Beresfords, but they are really not bad either (ok, they're quite fun actually). The story itself is really amusing, with a nice little impossible situation that is clued very deviously throughout the story, interesting characters lurking around in the appartment and nice banter between the Troys.

I think the best about this book is how easy it is to just pick up and read. Just start with it, and before you know it you're all caught up in the Troys' adventures and you'll probably won't lay the book down until you're at the last page. It's a very entertaining, well structured and plotted story. I can't really add more to this.


  1. I'm glad you enjoyed the book, and I will pretend that your comment regarding the Beresfords being more fun than the Troys was merely a slip of the keys. :) I grand you that Partners in Crime has some of the funniest detective stories involving a mystery solving couple, but an overall comparison has the Troys coming out on top of all their rivals.

    I sometimes wonder if I'm becoming more a fan of Kelley Roos than John Dickson Carr... nah... impossible!

    Hey, now I can start pestering you into reading Sailor, Take Warning! ;D

  2. Out of all the Roo novels I have read I think this was my favourite, in terms of characters, humour and plotting. I got a bit more irked with some of the other novels I read as Haila ends up doing very little if any detective work and is merely there to be the damsel in distress.

    1. The Frightened Stiff is still the only Roos I've read >_> Hadn't realized so much time had already passed...