Tuesday, August 6, 2019

The Last Manly Man (#20booksofsummer)

"For weeks after my reported death, I made light of it with friends, asking them, 'Where were you when you heard I died?'"
Well, it is a Book of Summer
Robin Hudson is a reporter and unit leader for ANN, a cable news agency. She's doing a series on the Man of the Future, in which she talks to an anthropologist, the founder of a multi-level marketing company, a specialist in great apes, and a feminist predicting the demise of men. Except she gets distracted into a murder investigation. The subjects of her story are also the suspects in her murder investigation. Such are the rules of mystery novels...

Since that's the opening sentence of the novel I give above, we know she's reported dead for a while, but isn't. By the end of the novel, the murderer is revealed, although this is less by her Holmesian cleverness than by her reportorial persistence.

The story involves bonobo chimps, atavistic males, and Manhattan, as the cover kind of gives away.

This is the fourth of Sparkle Hayter's comic mystery novels starring reporter Robin Hudson, and it came out in 1998. I read the first three more or less when they came out, but then somehow lost track of them. There was only one more written (which I haven't read) but when I saw this at a charity sale last year I reminded myself of the series. It won't change your life (at least I think I hope it won't...) but it is fun.

One thing that did surprise me was how much of a period piece it now feels. ANN is a stand-in for CNN where Hayter worked, and its business was growing at the time; now not so much. In the novel everybody uses beepers. Pheromones, the attitude toward AIDS, the distinction between separatist and sex-positive feminists. All these things haven't gone away, but they just don't seem as much in the news. I've reached an age where twenty years doesn't seem like it should be that long a time, but I guess the world has changed...

This is the eleventh book from my list for #20booksofsummer, though I've read another six not on that list. I knew I wasn't going to be very good at keeping to a list!

7 comments:

  1. 11 out of 20 isn't bad! And you still have more days of summer left. The book sounds like fun.

    Yeah, 20 years doesn't seem that long for me either. It puts things into perspective for sure when I think back on my own adolescence and young adult years and what I thought was "history".

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    1. But I do think I'm going to have to settle for 20 books of summer not entirely from the list..

      I've got a couple of things I'd like to read WIT month, too, which I hadn't thought to put on the list. Jean (at Howling Frog) planned ahead & put some Women In Translation month books on her 20 books of summer list. I ask you: planning ahead, is that fair?!

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    2. LOL. Jean is a smart reader! I am not that organized either typically. :D

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  2. I have a hard time sticking to a list, too. :D
    But this series does sound like a fun one.

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    1. This is the one I knew to put on the list!

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  3. I read some of this series when it first came out too, but kind of forgot about it. Thanks for the reminder.

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    1. The whole Canadian Book Challenge thing helped to bring it back to mind as well. A fun motivator!

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