Thursday, April 26, 2018

Murder Up My Sleeve by Erle Stanley Gardner

I really should mow my back yard.  I'm not going to before Saturday, but I really should.  Last Saturday when I was sitting on my swing, I picked up a bunch of leaves to put next to me.  Hercule loves to chew up leaves.  Cheapest parrot toy ever.  

Except this time I picked up more than just leaves.  

Yes you saw that right.  Hanging from the leaves was:

I do not know my snakes so I texted a photo to everyone I knew.  The answer was that it was a Garter Snake.  What a relief.  And what a cutie!

Of course I let him go after his photo shoot.  I hope he's not around when I mow this Saturday.

Here's some fun music from Bizet's opera Carmen. Itzhack Perlman is the violinist.

Murder Up My SleeveMurder Up My Sleeve by Erle Stanley Gardner

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The storyline was pretty straightforward and common: a black mailer is murdered. But who did it? The most likely suspects are the people he blackmailed. That includes quite a host of characters. Terry Claine, freshly back from China, is the first suspect because he owns a bamboo sleeve gun, which he brought back with him from Asia. Our murder victim just happened to be killed with a bamgoo sleeve gun. In fact Claine's is missing. It turns out that Claine's is the murder weapon, but does that mean he did it?

Claine claims innocence and begins his own investigation because some of the other suspects are personal friends of his. In particular a couple of gorgeous women. One is in love with him. Does he return her affection? The other one is not in love with him, but the reader soon finds out she's a lot more interesting.

The writing is quite dated and the way the Chinese characters are described can be cringe worthy at times and annoying at other times. They are either shuffling about speaking painfully pidgin English or they are mysterious and enigmatic, as if they were aliens from another planet.

Nevertheless it's a fun pulpy weekend read to go along with that bag of potato chips you really shouldn't be eating, either.

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So far I have not found Gardner's stories that do not include Mason or Cool and Lamb to be as successful.  Are there any authors out there that you find have mastered one genre or character type but not any other?


  1. good question... Isaac Asimov comes to mind, but his mysteries are quite readable, just not as good as his sci fi... i'm a bit hesitant to say, but Agatha Christie; her stand-alones, while also good, don't measure up to Poirot, imo, even tho they're very digestible...
    SNAKE!!! my gosh, you should be careful, there in Texas, where poisonous ones abound and teem and there's lots of them! GLOVES! and HIGH BOOTS!
    Carmen is fun; all opera is great; well, except modern ones, like Woccek and Lulu.... did you know Karlheinz Stockhausen wrote an opera? Just called Light Operas, so far as i could see...

    1. Isn't that funny. I also agree about Agatha Christie. I've never read any of Asimov's mysteries.

      We do have some lethal snakes around here. I should write of the time my son, mother and I were floating down a river in Florida and a snake (a large snake judging by the head) just popped up in front of us and swam ahead of us for a while. That was exciting.

      I love Carmen a lot. The last time I saw it was with Domingo. The vocal professor at the school where I work did a series of the solos during a recital. She did a lovely job.

      I have not seen the modern productions. Are they weird? Why do modern works always go for weirdness? Stockhausen rings a bell. I must look him up.

    2. i've just seen parts of the ones i mentioned and didn't like them too much. it must have been a thrill seeing placido... what a guy: talent miles above others and longevity as well...

    3. He will always be my favorite.

  2. Hmmmm. Better you than me with the slithering scoundrel. Which reminds me: I hope to revisit Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra soon. Oh, that damned asp!

    1. Do you attend the Shakespeare festival in Montgomery? When I lived on the Gulf Coast I went there. I thought they performed some of the best plays I ever saw.

  3. Nice snake!

    Pearlman is such a talented musician.

    Gardner, despite some downsides sounds like a very entertaining and fun writer. I love the potato chip comparison:)

    1. Hi Brian. My favorite Gardner is Cool and Lamb, with Mason coming in a close second. I have read only two of his books that did not include those characters and so far I just don't care for them.

  4. Oh, my, what a cute, but slithery little find. At least you have something that needs mowing. We are STILL waiting for spring to really show up here.

    1. Hi Marcia. Yes, I am ashamed to admit that the grass was quite high and it took me all afternoon yesterday to mow it. It was like clearing a jungle.

      Up north it seems when you do have spring it is a nice, long one with lots of flowers. Our spring lasts about two weeks and then it is very, very hot.


I welcome comments from anyone with a mutual interest in the subjects I written about.