Tuesday, April 3, 2012

All These Condemned (1954)

An unusual book for JDM because it's essentially a classic whodunit in which a rich perfume magnate invites a group of friends and enemies for a drunken weekend at her lake house. She winds up dead and the story unfolds as each character narrates their own chapter. JDM once said that he didn't like whodunits and it shows in this book, one of the few of his I've read where I didn't really care about any of the characters.

One of the oddities of this book is that the final chapter is narrated not by one of the weekend guests but by a police officer who had been on the scene. It's the shortest chapter and also, by far, the best. In a few short paragraphs MacDonald puts you in the mindset of an average man in a situation beyond him, and then kind of breaks your heart.

The rest of the book: substandard at best.

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