Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Critique of Criminal Reason, by Michael Gregorio

In 1803, Hanno Stiffeniis, a rural procurator, is ordered to the city of Konigsberg, Prussia, to solve a series of mysterious murders. It turns out that his summons has come about at the behest of Stiffeniis' former mentor, Immanuel Kant.

I read enough historical mysteries involving real-life personages to know the formula (introduce the real historical figure with far more fanfare than makes sense in context; give said historical figure a mystery that will inspire all his or her writings / actions / philosophy from that moment forth, as if there would have been no writings but for this; and if there's a young attractive sister-brother pair we're looking at an 80% chance of incest), and this adhered to it. But it also kept me genuinely interested in the solution to the mystery, which many of them don't, and the protagonist was realistically flawed without being unsympathetic. I felt that the ending piffled out, and I'm not interested in reading the sequel, but there was nothing wrong with spending a few days on this.

I also re-read two Craig Johnson mysteries this week. Hell is Empty disappointed greatly, so I wanted to remember what was good about his other books. Now I want to pack up and move to some tiny town on the Plains, at least until I consider that the combination of a giant dog who looks exactly like a wolf and a heavily armed rancher populace is not one with good potential.


Every February, I do (on my friends-only blog) what I call the Gratitude Project. I didn't come up with this idea, but I find it excellent: every day, post five things for which you are grateful. I do it in February because that is traditionally the hardest month for me on an emotional level, and it is good to remind myself of what is important. Last year, when the marriage was initially crumbling, my posts were very minimalist, like so:

1. Dogs
2. Tea
3. Books
4. Sobriety
5. Baths

I have more to say this year, although the same concepts show up over and over. The dogs, of course, always. Books, naturally (a few weeks ago at work I attended a meeting the topic of which was self-care for managers, and we were asked to rate our quality of life in several different areas. I gave myself a 10 in hobbies, because there are always going to be more books to read, and I have seventy-some unread books just in my house, and: in conclusion: books!). Tea and baths are always excellent, and sobriety is a massive one. But I don't feel - at least not as often - that I'm hanging onto my blessings by my fingernails, which I did this time last year. More that I'm settling cozily into them on a cold night.

Next up: Letters from Yellowstone, by Diane Smith.

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