Sunday, October 19, 2003

Holiday reading

THE FALL OF HITLER by Hugh Trevor Rope
Fascinating and strangely depressing account. The Nazis were just as dumb as any bureaucracy. Hitler was accidentally being poisoned by his incompetent doctor, and Himmler was a lovely man to work for - a gentle old madman who didn't seem to be aware that he was committing unimaginable horror. It's somehow so much worse to discover that the nastiest events in history were carried out by such lacklustre dodderers.

THE SINGING SANDS by Josephine Tey.

Another of her rivetting not-quite-mystery stories. Is it just me or is this book massively homoerotic? Inspector Grant spends paragraphs musing on the beauty of the young male corpse, and keeps on inviting the victim's flatmate Ted to stay over.
At the end of the book, Grant is glad to have escape marriage, and Ted laments "our bungalow will never be the same again."

GREENMANTLE by John Buchan

First World War ripping yarn spy thriller from the author of The 39 Steps. Gripping and also daft. And (sigh) similarly homoerotic. Our hero, Dick Hannay, thanks himself that he's never fallen under the spell of women, is often complimenting men on having "the face of a pretty girl".
The Germans, meanwhile, are corrupt buggers. Witness the foul living room of Colonel Stumm: "It was the room of a man who had a perverted taste for soft, delicate things. I began to see the queer other side to my host, that evil side which gossip had spoken of as not unknown in the german army." Shudder.

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