Since I was a bit behind in my Murder, She Wrote episode summaries, I decided to focus on catching up on that rather than reading more books in May. However, I still managed to read three books last month, which I think is a respectable number.
The Complete Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy
Dick Tracy is the hero of a series of daily comic strips created by Chester Gould in 1931. I had no exposure to the character prior to starting to read Volume One of the complete collection published in 2009 — the book was recommended to me by one of Toronto Public Library’s librarians, who suggested this could fulfill the category of “non-prose book” for their 2019 Reading Challenge.
For those who don’t know, Dick Tracy is a police detective who chases down gangsters and other bad guys; additional drama is provided courtesy of his fiancee Tess and the general workplace environment.
I found the comic a bit hard to get into, and I’ll admit I didn’t finish reading the volume. It is perhaps an artifact of it originally being a daily comic strip that makes it really hard to read much of it in one sitting. However, I did read five months’ worth of comic strips.
Nonetheless, if you’re already a fan of Dick Tracy comics (or have seen and enjoyed the 1990 movie starring Warren Beatty), I do recommend this volume. It includes an introduction by Max Allan Collins, who took over the writing of Dick Tracy comics after Chester Gould retired. And it also includes a transcript of an exclusive interview with Chester Gould. This all provided an interesting perspective prior to reading the comics.
The Kalahari Typing School for Men
The Kalahari Typing School for Men is the fourth book in Alexander McCall Smith’s popular No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series. I really enjoy the series since I started reading it from the beginning, and I have previously written about the 3rd book in the series here.
The books star Precious Ramotswe, who runs the only detective agency in Gaborone, Botswana. In this fourth installment, Mma Ramotswe is faced with competition from a new rival detective agency, is tasked with helping a man set things rights with people he had wronged in the past, as well as dealing with several other problems in her own personal life.
While there is never one single mystery to solve in these novels, the strengths of these books lie in Precious’s simple understanding of life and human nature. It’s a comfort to read these books as they always manage to put life’s little problems in perspective.
The third book I read in May was the fifth installment in Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. I reread the book as part of my mission to document the series trivia; you can see a full post dedicated to the book here.