The World’s Most Irritating Detective with freckles

Posted: December 6, 2011 in Denmark, dinosaurs

During my current reading saga something very strange has happened, but nothing about reading The Dinosaur Feather by Sissel-Jo Gazan would really surprise me. 

This surprise concerns my satirical post Back story blues…. in which I tried to parody the style of The Dinosaur Feather. This was a difficult task because The Dinosaur Feather is itself a pastiche of Nordic crime fiction, and I wonder if it was meant to be taken seriously. I am ploughing on with reading it out of sheer stubbornness, and because the way that some of the common features of Scandinavian crime have been blended together is extremely funny and quite clever.

But I digress, something that happens quite a lot in The Dinosaur Feather. I had read only a couple of hundred pages [it seemed more] when I wrote Back story blues and used the phrase “pert pretty freckled nose” a mere six times. Imagine my surprise when I came upon this passage on page 306:

But now, while still on duty, he was playing at being a social Robin Hood, watching her, poor struggling Anna, with his dark brown eyes and his healthy freckles; he might have had the decency to leave his freckles in his locker when he arrived for work in the morning: his farm-boy freckles were an insult to criminals everywhere and Anna in particular. How she hated him!

How did I know that freckles would feature later on in this book, because I assure you I did not reach page 306 until late last night?  Well either I am a clairvoyant, or I had read something similar in another book. Or more likely in trying to parody the author’s distinctive narrative style I predicted the use of freckles, but on the wrong character!

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    Norman – Oh, that is funny! Thanks for sharing. Perhaps you are clairvoyant…

  2. Maxine says:

    😉 An “Anne of Green Gables” moment. Glad you are having so much fun with the book, Norman 😉

  3. Norman says:

    Thanks Margot and Maxine. I can’t follow the science in this tome, as it lost me when the reader was told the eye tooth was a premolar [bicuspid to Americans].
    I know that when I did my college comparative dental anatomy course that dinosaurs were actually walking the earth, but the eye teeth have always been the canines, and this might have been lost in translation.

    Maxine it is great fun, and only another 210 pages to go!

  4. Norman, as you said
    “This was a difficult task because The Dinosaur Feather is itself a pastiche of Nordic crime fiction, and I wonder if it was meant to be taken seriously.”
    and as I am not familiar with this book, I looked it up, along with the author. I wondered if it might be a pen name for Prof Barry F you see. My suspicions were proved wrong when I found this:
    It’s an award winning novel and no mention of pastiche!
    Pleased to read it’s giving you fun though.
    And here’s a question: how many freckle-faced fictional criminals do we know of? I can’t think of any…

  5. Norman says:

    Thanks Rhian. It was only my amused and bemused opinion that it could be regarded as a pastiche. I will hopefully finish TDF today and find out how many of the back stories, and sub plots that were suddenly started on page 325 are relevant. I have found all the main characters rather difficult to like; well actually impossible to like.
    I keep forgetting the main plot as we frequently go off at a complete tangent and are given a slab of information about goths and the fetish scene.
    I have seen a funny side to it all, but perhaps it is meant to be taken seriously. I have learned to disregard all awards unless RD or KM are on the judging panel. 😉

  6. kathy d. says:

    To quote Rex Stout in the words of Nero Wolfe, “I have a ‘feel for phenomena.'” That must be you, Norman, sensing those freckles were going to pop up in the story. Must be a bit of crime reader’s ESP. Either that or you’ve read so many mysteries, you know what is coming.

  7. Norman says:

    Kathy that must be it, reading so many mysteries I can now predict the plot development even before the author has thought of them. 🙂
    There was one book by Denise Mina, Sanctum I think, when I picked up what was going, a neat twist, on about page 20. It sometimes spoils my enjoyment of the book. But The Dinosaur Feather given 2 stars by a very kind Maxine, was such a glaring example of some of the negative features of Scandinavian crime fiction that it actually became quite enjoyable in a strange masochistic fashion. 😉

  8. kathy d. says:

    That is funny. Sanctum is the only Denise Mina book I really disliked, couldn’t get past page 20, returned it to the library. A reader-friend had the same experience.

    Maybe I’ll skip The Dinosaur Feather after all. The freckles don’t turn me off, though. It sounds somewhat boring and tedious.

  9. kathy d. says:

    I’m reading Jassy McKenzie’s book Random Violence, and someone is described as having “freckles.” Just happened right after I read this post. Must be poltergeists in the water or something.

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