Y is for Yawny Yarn (Yancy)

What I read: The Highly Effective Detective by Richard Yancey.

As stated in an earlier post, the books on this list are not (always) books I have finished. This is one I didn't finish even though I got it out of the library twice plus it is reasonably well-written with clever dialog, clearly established characters, and humorous situations. I would probably try to keep going if it wasn't due Monday.

I'm just as happy to send it back; it bores me. After some thought, I've decided that this is because it is detective rather than mystery fiction.

I enjoy mysteries, and I enjoy cop/lawyer shows, but I have never cared for American P.I. fiction. This is not because I consider P.I. fiction to be too hard-hitting. Granted, I am partial to the "cozy," but I also like Law & Order (specifically Seasons 1-4 when it still felt gritty).

Still, despite my high opinion of both Humphrey Bogart and Patrick Stewart, I've never cared much for Bogart's Raymond Chandler-type movies or for Star Trek NG's Dixon Hill episodes. I think my lack of interest is that P.I. plots are almost always gangster-oriented, and gang stories (with the exception of The Freshmen with Matthew Boderick and Marlon Brando) really bore me. The moment I see the word "gang" or "Mafia" in a book or film summary, my brain goes to sleep. I've never seen The Godfather and can't imagine a circumstance where I would--voluntarily at least. (I even skip Law & Order gang-related episodes.)

As for why gangs don't interest me, I think it is because the collective doesn't interest me. Gang stuff always seems to be about the individual P.I. or gang member versus THE GROUP or SOCIETY: environment to the max. Even with Star Trek, my interest in the Borg has always been in the ex-Borg, not the Borg itself. Collective history doesn't interest me either. I need an individual to latch onto. Even if we are all products of collective DNA or collective social pressures . . . who cares?

Which isn't to say that The Highly Effective Detective is about gangs. It doesn't appear to be at all. But there is that "P.I. investigating the world" aspect. I need an individual body--and if it is in a manor house or library, all the better!

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