Thursday, July 5, 2012

Book Beginnings: Paradise Postponed

Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name.

Leave a link to your post. If you don't have a blog, but want to participate, please leave a comment with your Book Beginning.


"I had a disagreeable dream," the old man said.

-- Paradise Postponed by John Mortimer.  

That is a troublesome opening sentence for me because, as a rule, I dislike the recounting of dreams in fiction.  A personal dislike.  But it works here -- the full opening scene is very good.

I've gathered many of John Mortimer's books on my TBR shelf, including several of his Rumpole books,  but this is the first I've read. I am enjoying it and have the sequel, Titmuss Regained, to look forward to.

Review: The Hapless Valet

Len Stevens brings sparkle and snap and a little old-fashioned Hollywood glamor to his debut mystery novel, The Hapless Valet. In what will hopefully be the first of a series, the dashing hero Draper Burns – a “gentleman’s gentleman” fresh from duty in the French Foreign Legion, with a penchant for Shirley Temples, a way with the ladies, and an eye for fancy men’s watches – is sent to evaluate his employer’s investment in a movie being filmed in Portland.

After a suspicious “suicide” on the movie set, Draper starts seeing connections between the film’s stars, a retro jazz club, an animal rights protest turned ugly, local thugs, a right-wing tabloid, and a Mexican drug lord. There are times when the sheer number of characters and sub-plots verge on overwhelming the story, but Stevens manages to keep it all moving forward and eventually ties up every loose string – even the thing about the watches.

As a cross between James Bond and Bertie Wooster, Draper Burns makes an appealing hero. And Stevens make an appealing new author, with an ear for dialog and an eye for comic detail. The Hapless Valet is a fun, off-beat mystery that is sure to entertain.


If you would like your review of this book listed here, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it.


See my interview of Len Stevens, here.

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