For the eighteenth book in the challenge, I read The Hollow Needle (L’aiguille Creuse) by Maurice Leblanc, supposedly the third(ish?) book in the Arsene Lupin series. (But we’ve been over the numbering system before.) I gave this one a solid four out of five stars.
There was a lot of French myth and legend and geography in this one, which I am really not very familiar with. While I didn’t mind, exactly, I think I would have enjoyed (and understood) what was going on a lot better if I’d had a more solid frame of reference. I also got the feeling that the story was complicated and full of twists…for the sake of being complicated and full of twists. I guess I was more interested in the characters, and while complications, misdirection, disguises and forgeries are Lupin’s modus operandi, toward the end I really just wanted somebody to say in plain speech what the hell was going on. Perhaps that’s my Lazy American showing.
I always enjoy Lupin’s antics when we do finally get to see him as himself, not impersonating someone else. Talk about manic! But cheerful, nearly always cheerful.
Beautrelet – poor Beautrelet! Where Ganimard is obsessed and Shears is an egomaniac, Beautrelet is just some young bloke with a sharp mind who enjoys the puzzle and wants the truth. He is much harder for Lupin to manipulate, which makes him a better opponent.