Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Skulduggery by Carolyn Hart

Skulduggery by Carolyn Hart was okay, but not as much fun as the other vintage Harts.
I didn't realize that Carolyn Hart wrote books before her Death on Demand series. Boy, was I wrong! One of my favorite books when I was a preteen was Dangerous Summer, which I reread last February 26. I've been reading some of the other vintage Harts and enjoying them. When I saw Skulduggery, the description really attracted me. The story was written in the 1980s, and the main protagonist is Ellen Christie. She is an anthropologist who has gotten some notoriety for identifying bones. One evening, Jimmy Lee shows up at her door with a strange request. He wants her to identify some bones. Ellen decides to be adventurous and goes with Jimmy into San Francisco's Chinatown to check out the bones. Jimmy shows her a skull, which Ellen thinks may be the missing Peking Man (an ancient Chinese skeleton that vanished during World War II). While Ellen is examining the skull, Jimmy's brother, Dan, shows up, shortly followed by some gangsters, probably hoping to grab Peking Man. Jimmy escapes, and Dan and Ellen are left behind to figure out what is going on--and how to find Jimmy and Peking Man.

Doesn't that sound like a fun story? The book wasn't very long, but after the attack where Jimmy vanishes, the book began to drag for me. I started to skim the book because Hart just went on and on about the awful life that Chinese immigrants had in the US. They were poor and lived in squalor. Families fought for a chance to educate their children, to make life better for the children. Old people died alone and destitute. This dialog didn't really move the story any further, and I started to skim the pages to get to the action. Eventually, there is some more at the end, and Ellen and Dan find romance. However, I found the book to be a more tiresome read, and I did not enjoy it as much as I have the other vintage Harts that I've read. If you read it, I hope that your experience is different.

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