Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Jolted out

Peter Robinson is one of my favorite writers. His detective novels transcend the genre to become studies of humanity. In A Dry Season is a masterpiece.

I've just begun his latest, Before the Poison. I'm in Chapter 2, and this morning on the bus I was twice jolted out of the story - to be fair, the second one was less than a page after the first and I might not have noticed his narrator complaining about people in "cinemas" "texting on their mobiles". But the narrator has lived in the US for 35 years and while there are probably people who call movie theaters "cinemas" over here, I really think anybody who'd been living in the US since 1975 without once leaving (as I've read on I see he has visited London and Paris - but only visited so I think the point stands) would say "cell phone" instead of "mobile". After all, cell phones weren't even invented till the early '70s.

The other was his description of a dream in which his (late) wife was playing Monopoly with her brother and "laughing over who was buying Madison Avenue". There is no Madison Avenue in Monopoly (unless they were playing some customized version, and if so it better pay off ... Chekov's board game!). I know this may seem trivial, but you always notice things you know are wrong. And enough of them, even tiny ones, can lead to a general failure of an otherwise excellent book (not that I know this is excellent, but I still do trust Robinson).

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At 12:10 PM, February 21, 2012 Blogger Barry Leiba had this to say...

I say both "cinema" and "mobile", but, then, I'm an oddity. Yes, that's a decidedly British way to say it. (The Germans call it a "Handy", which I rather like. Maybe I'll switch to that.)


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