Wednesday, February 17, 2021
WWW. WEDNESDAY asks three questions to prompt you to speak bookishly. To participate, and to see how other book lovers responded, click here.
1. What are you currently reading? The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie. A young woman, who has led a sheltered and rather sad life, finds herself the witness to a sudden death in the London Underground. A man backed away from Anne and fell onto the track and was electrocuted. A doctor in a brown business suit checks the body, quickly pronounces the victim dead, and then disappears into the crowd. After a brief inquest -- where Anne testifies but the mysterious doctor (if he was indeed a doctor!) is nowhere to be found -- the death is declared an accident. Anne's boredom with her own life and her vibrant imagination convince her that she has not seen a horror but instead an opportunity. She sets off to solve the mystery of "The Man in the Brown Suit" herself.
It turns out that Anne was right: the death was indeed nefarious and oh, so complicated by that Man in the Brown Suit. Soon she's involved in international diamond smuggling on board an ocean liner.
It starts slower than Christie's more familiar books. But stay with it! Once it finally takes off, you'll be hooked.
2. What did you recently finish reading? The Good Son: JFK Jr. and the Mother He Loved by Christopher Andersen. This is really a 365-page People magazine article. Which is fine, if that's what you're looking for.
Andersen quotes intimate two-party conversations that he can't possibly verify. He concentrates on the first 34 years of John's life -- when the mother he loved was the central influence of his life -- but the last five years are wound up quickly. The results are unsatisfying, because it's during these last five years he begins his business life (George) and meets and marries Carolyn Bessette. Was he happy with his wife and his life? Was he really ready to enter politics or was he committed to George? Is it true that Carolyn was unfaithful? If it was, did John know or suspect? Was she a soulmate who struggled in the public eye? Or was she a moody manipulator? This book shares salacious stories but draws no conclusions.
So this book is readable because Andersen is a good writer, and it's compelling because John's story is downright Shakespearean. But it's not really a good biography. It's just an entertaining read.
BTW, there is no credible evidence -- NONE WHATSOEVER -- that John ever gave Donald Trump serious thought. Not as a fellow New Yorker, not as a friend, and certainly not as a potential President. He never wrote about him in George, as has circulated on Facebook. No one has ever been able to produce a magazine tearsheet to confirm it because it doesn't exist. The most that can be said if that they happened to sit side-by-side at a basketball game. Once. By chance.
JFK, Jr. was however fond of Bill Clinton and corresponded with him via fax (remember those?) during impeachment. He was reportedly less fond of Hillary, because she was interfering with New York politics when he was considering a dabble. They did not murder him.
I only mention this because of the way Trumpsters and the Q-Anon cult have co-opted JFK, Jr. It's silly, of course. But I guess every American conspiracy theory somehow must tie back to the Kennedys.
3. What will read next? I don't know ...