So I was quite excited about this new discovery. Although Loretta is not actually a P. I read one of her non-fiction feminist books Misogynies: Reflections on Myths and Malice and draw my conclusion from that. And it gives me hope that Loretta Lawson follows a similar path. The book takes place somewhere between and It opens with Loretta going to a feminist conference to give a speech.
She arrives in Paris from London two hours late and hungry due to train delays and misinformation about a dining car. She has two additional adventures that evening. First, she goes to a restaurant to have a late dinner and instead of dinner she has a verbal altercation with a boorish man who is determined to join her. Then, once she finds the borrowed apartment where she is staying, she discovers an unknown person sleeping in the second bedroom.
What to do? After some mental weighing the options, she goes to sleep in the second bedroom not disturbing the other person. After that intense first evening in Paris, she gets up in the morning and goes to her conference without any contact with the other person. When she returns that evening to the apartment that person is no longer there but the bedding is quite bloody. Reviewing her options, she decides to go back to London and not call the police. After all, what else would any lecturer in English do?
That seems like plenty of excitement for the first chapter. Loretta seems to make one inexplicably bad decision after another once she gets to the borrowed flat. She hardly seems to be a likely character to solve an apparent murder. She finds an advance copy of an obscure book in the apartment: The Resurrection of Little Nell: A Challenge to the Authority of Charles Dickens about deconstruction and post-structuralism.
Believe me! And for those of you who are wondering, GR search never heard of this book. Through some private eyeing she finds there were only nine advance copies and wants to track down who got those copies to possibly find a link to the mysterious person in the bedroom. On a scale of one to ten with one being not at all likely and ten being very likely, what is the likelihood that anything like the events of the book could happen?
There are too many unlikely occurrences. I am not an experienced mystery reader so maybe this is the level of fiction that you must accept in mysteries. But, for me, an inexperienced mystery reader, there is too much suspension of disbelief required here at the very beginning of the book. This is irrelevant if you seek more entertainment than believability. I am reading this for entertainment and to see how a feminist author portrays a feminist character. It is obvious that author Joan Smith wants us to understand that Loretta is a feminist. Her trip to Paris had already involved her in an unsolved crime, very possibly murder, not to mention withholding evidence from the police.
Was it really wise to risk adding burglary to the list? Is it wise?
But then what kind of a mystery would this be? She really is required, even as a feminist, to keep wading waist deep in the big muddy. Sorry, Pete Seeger. This would have been happening during the time of the book, the early to mid s. A woman in the book mentions she had been arrested there for blocking a road. Joan smith was in her late 20s when Greenham Common started. Just to be clear about what I mean when I say radical feminism: Radical feminism is a perspective within feminism. Radical feminism aims to challenge and overthrow patriarchy by opposing standard gender roles and oppression of women and calls for a radical reordering of society.
Radical feminists locate the root cause of women's oppression in patriarchal gender relations, as opposed to legal systems as in liberal feminism or class conflict as in socialist feminism and Marxist feminism. However, early in the book pains are taken to let us know that Loretta is not a lesbian. There are significant references to gay men in the closet. However, there are significant examples of friction between men and womyn in the story. I am not sure what Joan Smith or Loretta Lawson would thing of that definition.
There is plenty of evidence in the book about disharmony between men and women. After the first third of the book, it settles down into a real mystery. And the end really does surprise me! They way our protagonist lecturer managed to get herself into being a murder investigator is explained, not too satisfactorily as I have mentioned about one unlikely event after another. And why had she set out to find the murderer? She had never r;eally examined her motives. She supposed it had almost come about by accident. Then the evidence had disappeared. By the time the body was discovered, she had been too afraid for her own skin to go to the police.
Especially if there are four more books in the series with Loretta Lawson being an accidental murder investigator. I already have the second book so I guess I will find out some day. It was interesting to read a book with a feminist protagonist but I was not impressed with how it was done. Most of the things that focused on feminism were early in the book. Most of the time it was just a woman who had some moxie to handle things her way and participated in a feminist magazine collective.
Remembering that this book was published over 25 years ago, it seems likely that the threshold to be labeled feminist would have been much lower then. In this aspect of the book likely seemed much braver. Seemed a little tepid for Unless you go out of your way to find it, you will not stumble upon this book in a library or even a used book store. I found it because I looked online for books by this author. It is a short book that was worth 99 cents.
Three stars. Jan 19, Karla Huebner added it Shelves: fiction , mystery. I enjoyed this quite a bit the first time I read it, which would have been years ago. It is still not a bad read, but hasn't aged as well as it might have. Part of the fun of it the first time around was that it featured a feminist professor of literature as the inadvertent sleuth, and while back then I knew nothing of structuralism or deconstruction, I knew a reasonable amount about feminist theory. In , it has some charm as a period piece and perhaps will acquire more in future deca I enjoyed this quite a bit the first time I read it, which would have been years ago.
In , it has some charm as a period piece and perhaps will acquire more in future decades , but Loretta's reactions to things often strike me as immature--that in her dealings with her estranged but friendly husband, for instance, she continually feels he's self-centered when in fact he's simply interested in his job and enjoys being a reporter. Furthermore, the male characters' distaste for feminism, whether they are actively misogynist or in most respects fair-minded, makes the novel feel as though it must have been written at least ten years perhaps more before it was published.
Men I knew in the late s were not necessarily deeply interested in feminism, but in general they were not visibly alarmed by it and I think they believed it was something normal for women to care about. Was the San Francisco area simply ahead of Oxford and London? Dr Loretta Lawson is a successful academic, teaching English literature at one of the colleges making up the University of London in the late s.
She is also a founding member of Fem Sap, an academic European journal that had been set up to espouse radical feminism. In this latter capacity, as the book opens she is travelling to Paris in late summer to attend what she anticipates might be a tense meeting of the Fem Sap board, at which some of the more extreme members are expected to push the Dr Loretta Lawson is a successful academic, teaching English literature at one of the colleges making up the University of London in the late s.
In this latter capacity, as the book opens she is travelling to Paris in late summer to attend what she anticipates might be a tense meeting of the Fem Sap board, at which some of the more extreme members are expected to push the magazine in an increasingly radical and antagonistic direction. Loretta has arranged to pass the weekend staying in the vacant apartment jointly owned by one of her friends.
Arriving at the flat far later than planned, after a traumatic journey, she is surprised to find that the larger bedroom is occupied, with a man apparently sleeping in it. She stays in the other room, and departs for the board meeting early the next morning, without seeing any further signs of the other occupant. When she returns to the flat after the board meeting, which had been as long and contentious as she had feared, Loretta finds the flat empty.
However, when she looks into the larger bedroom, she is shocked to see that the bedding and carpet are very heavily bloodstained. There are no other signs that anyone has been in the flat, apart from an early review copy of a new book of structuralist literary criticism, that seems completely out of place, and which Loretta absent-mindedly takes with her. She also meets up with her close friend, and fellow academic, Bridget Bennett, who is a fellow of one of the Oxford colleges. Meanwhile, it appears that Hugh Puddephat, a prominent literary scholar and fellow of another Oxford college has failed to turn up for the start of a new academic year.
Having had a colourful past, and having selfdom been reluctant to air his views on prevailing public issues, his disappearance attracts more media attention that would normally have been expended on a missing academic.
See a Problem?
As well as developing an enticing mystery, Joan Smith deftly captures the venom and disdain which adherents of the different schools of literary criticism show towards those who dare to disagree with them. She also manages to show up the ridiculousness of some of the more extreme manifestations of structuralism and deconstruction as avenues of literary criticism. Feb 27, Ivonne Rovira rated it it was amazing. Lawson uses the Paris flat of a fellow London University professor while she's in the city for a feminist conference.
While there, Dr.
Series: Loretta Lawson mysteries
Lawson comes to believe that an unknown man has been murdered in that very flat. I don't want to give to much away by explaining why, but Dr. Lawson cannot go to the French police with her rather wispy suspicions. Instead, aided by her estranged husband, a journalist, and her best friend, a female professor at Oxford University, Dr. Lawson begins to investigate who the unknown man might have been and whether he has, indeed, become the victim of foul play. The mystery won't be resolved until the last dozen pages -- and I never had the tiniest inkling of the perpetrator. Smith's clever handling of the mystery and her creation of the eminently sensible and likeable Loretta Lawson led me to immediately order Why Aren't They Screaming?
Loretta Lawson. My only gripe is that Smith only wrote five Lawson mysteries. As the last Lawson novel was released in and Smith now devotes so much of her time to PEN International, I doubt she will oblige her fans by penning any more. Ah, c'est la vie! We must take the bitter with the sweet, and, with A Masculine Ending , Smith has introduced an amateur sleuth who delivers a very sweet read indeed. Sep 14, Cyd rated it liked it Shelves: fiction , mystery-suspense.
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Brain candy mystery and a quick read. The heroine is a little reminiscent of Amanda Cross's Kate Fansler--only younger, British, and less literary. I figured out whodunit a tad too early, although I didn't guess whydunit details. I like the view spoiler [ambiguous hide spoiler ] ending. Dec 18, Joshua Ian rated it liked it. The blurb on the back of this book says it is "a charming combination of sophistication, wit and unpretentious learning. I really wanted to like this book. I like the idea of the lead character, the setting is cool and I loved the idea of the strong feminist slant.
She was an academic and compared to many other academic sleuths, she was modern and, I suppose, unpretentious. At least in outward presentation. But some of the critiques of li The blurb on the back of this book says it is "a charming combination of sophistication, wit and unpretentious learning. But some of the critiques of literature constantly inserted, as well as things like having her love the french film but having her less "evolved" husband dislike it, having her name drop foreign cuisine constantly, her love of opera but oh look! Maybe it was a new mode of being at the time, but she just feels like the cliche "cool" "disaffected" academic now.
And Loretta, the protag, was, frankly, a bitch. Not in any way funny, acidic or root-for-her but in a simply annoying way. She constantly bemoans the fact the her ex and her best friend are so selfish because they are more interested in their own work than being her sidekick.
Then she bitches out her best friend for an innocent matchmaking. She decides she's gonna send her a postcard to say sorry but never does. I know it's the 80s so before email and everything, but a postcard? Come on, girl. The wit was absent for me generally, and when I did detect it it felt like what would be described as wit amongst a bunch of Classic professors who were chortling over a misplaced Latin prefix or something. Condescending and, well, back to pretentious. One moment struck me particularly. Throughout the book she constantly teases out people's unsaid or unconscious sexism.
That was fine if a little belabored at times. Then she goes to a party and surveys the room, and amongst all the other students - whom she refers to as "young men" or "young women" - there is a student, revealed to be the same age as the rest, whom she refers to as "a black boy. And since she took a disdainful outlook on deconstructionism, I feel I can make that parallel without worry.
A Masculine Ending - Wikipedia
I can deal with a flawed or unlikeable narrator if they own it, but we're clearly supposed to feel a deep sympathy for Loretta, and I simply didn't. The setting was vivid and the writing strong, but there was just no spark.
- 09/11/01 FORETOLD.
- A Masculine Ending.
- A Masculine Ending?
More than once I felt like saying, Just get it solved and done. The ending was ethically ambiguous and I really appreciated that a lot. See all 2 new other listings. Buy It Now. Add to cart. Be the first to write a review About this product. New other : lowest price. About this product Product Identifiers Publisher. Additional Product Features Dewey Edition. Show More Show Less. Pre-owned Pre-owned. No ratings or reviews yet. Be the first to write a review.
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