Friday, November 29, 2013

Forgotten Books: Skylar -- Gregory Mcdonald

A couple of weeks ago my FFB was Skylar, and I mentioned that I'd picked up an unread paperback of that one and today's book at a thrift store.  Having read Skylar, I figured I might as well go the whole hog and read the sequel.

In Skylar, it's Skylar's cousin Jonathan who's the fish out of water as he visits in Tennessee.  In this book the situation is reversed as Skylar goes to Boston to attend college.  He spends his first few days there with Jonathan's family.  

Sure enough, Skylar doesn't fit in.  He's still irresistible to women (which proves to be a big problem for him).  He doesn't like the city, and nobody understands him, and by that I mean his personality or his accent.  Sure enough, there's a crime.  His aunt's valuable jewelry disappears, and of course Skylar is the main suspect.  Then there's a murder, and this is where the novel takes the really dark turn that I mentioned that I recall as being characteristic of nearly all the books I've read by Macdonald.  There are several dark turns in this one, in fact.

The mystery elements of the plot are very much not the main concern in the book, however.  This is a novel of manners as much as anything, and it has its amusing moments.  Everything is tied up at the end, and maybe there would've been more had Mcdonald lived to write them.  I don't think it's any great loss that he didn't.  For me his best work remains the first two books in the Fletch series, with a couple of the Flynn books coming close.  What the Skylar books do have, however, is the crisp prose smart dialogue that Mcdonald did so well, and for that reason alone I enjoyed them.

1 comment:

Richard said...

As I may have said for the previous review of the previous book in a previous comment previously, this is the McDonald that I don't much care for, though I tried a couple of the Fletch books to come to that conclusion.