Sunday, August 30, 2009

_Up in Honey's Room_ by Elmore Leonard

Set near the end of WWII, this is a meandering tale about some wannabe Nazi spies and federal marshal tracking down an escaped German POW. This was fun all the way, and the plot is subtle. I like what Leonard did here, this could have beeen a pretty standard plot and it isn't. Instead, this focuses on the characters, with the standouts being Honey Deal herself and the federal marshal Carlos Webster. Here's Honey talking about her ex-husband:

"I honestly thought I could turn him around, but the man still acts like a Nazi. I couldn't budge him."
"You walked out," Muriel said, "just like that?"
"I valked out," Honey said. "I'm free as a bird. You know what else? I won't have to do my roots every two weeks. Dumb me, I spent a whole year wanting him to think I'm a natural blonde."
"He couldn't tell other ways you aren't?"
"Anytime Walter wanted some, he'd turn off the light before taking off his pajamas."

I like the way the characters can be funny and crude and still show a little class. It places them tightly in their own time.

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