Monday, October 08, 2007

Murder and intrigue

The other day we got a circular in the mail from a leading Christian retailer. The front page asked the question, "Fiction: What's your style?" to which I muttered, "The good kind."

Call me shallow or frivolous, but I am a fan of fiction, redemptive fiction especially, but the good kind, no matter the genre. Historical, fantasy, contemporary, chick lit, I like it all if it is well written, cleverly constructed, and smart. I've read lots of Christian fiction, some good, some really good, and some not-so-good. I'll admit to you that my standards are pretty high. I have little enjoyment for the rather predictable pattern of beautiful, well dressed, perfect heroines with good looking, perfect love interests. Sure, they face some kind of difficulty, but usually they pray about it or offer some other trite platitude and off they go to enjoy the happily ever after of their perfectly beautiful life together.

Or something like that.

Well, a while back I scored a copy of Paul Robertson's novel The Heir. I read it, more like devoured it, and loved it. It is an allegory (or is it metaphor?) of Jesus' ominous words in Luke 9:25, "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose his soul?" Robertson's protagonist Jason essentially gains the whole world, everything he could ever want and more, yet discovers the cost may be higher than he anticipated.

The Heir is no comedy, but a story of murder and politics and wealth. Yet Robertson writes with a dry, wry wit that is thoroughly enjoyable and at times very humorous. It's my favorite kind of book: witty, engaging, and smart. You can read an excerpt here.

Speaking of murder, I just finished (last night) Dorothy Sayers' murder mystery The Nine Tailors. I had seen Sayers' name popping up on some Spring Reading Thing lists, namely Lana G!'s and Ellen B's. I had forgotten all about her until I saw some of her work on their fall lists as well. Last time I was at the library I randomly picked one of her titles, and as I said, finished it last night.

While the descriptions of the science of bell ringing grow a little tiresome, I thoroughly enjoyed this book as well. I had forgotten how much I love an English murder mystery and Lord Peter Wimsey did not disappoint.

If you like fiction as well, more of my favorite fiction titles can be found here.

4 comments:

  1. Lisa wrote,

    "Call me shallow or frivolous, but I am a fan of fiction, redemptive fiction especially, but the good kind, no matter the genre. Historical, fantasy, contemporary, chick lit, I like it all if it is well written, cleverly constructed, and smart."

    Can I just give you a huge amen on that one?!

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  2. i love a good mystery. its so rare to find another christian woman who admits to liking fiction other than the chick lit that's out there. thanks for speaking up for all of us closet mystery lovers out there.

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  3. Thanks for the recommendations. I'm not very good at choosing good fiction.

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  4. I love fiction, too! I like a good romance once in a while, but so often much of it is corny. I do love Liz Curtis Higgs' series based in Scotland, though. You might check out:
    Thorn in My Heart
    Fair is the Rose
    Whence Came a Prince
    Grace in Thine Eyes

    VERY well written, in my opinion.

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