P.D. James, New Adventures, and a Likable Thief
August 12, 2009
Adam Dagliesh (P.D. James) is my favorite male protagonist, even surpassing my beloved Hercule Poirot, Hamish MacBeth, and Albert Campion. When I settle in with these characters, I feel safe and comfortable. I know without a doubt it will be an enjoyable read, and high on my life experiences scale.
But an author I’ve never read, a protagonist I’ve never heard from, now that’s an adventure! Every new book I open is with the expectation I’m about to experience a great discovery. Sometimes, I’m disappointed. Sometimes, it’s a wonderful ride.
J. Michael Orenduff’s “The Pot Thief” was a wonderful ride.
Let me first confess my initial biases. Having met the most likable Mike and his wife Lai at the latest PSWA Conference, I was expecting a protagonist I would like. Also, I’m fond of New Mexico and Albuquerque, pottery and potters (I dabble myself), and tales with a strong sense of place.
Mike had some big expectations to surmount. And he didn’t disappoint.
First off, I loved our hero’s name from the start—Hubert “Hubie” Schuze! But there’s more to Hubie than a not-to-be-forgotten name. Mike gives us a protagonist who’s witty, marches to his own conscience, is a good thief (you’ll have to read the book to figure that out), and is a kind person without being a sap.
Then there’s the snappy and intelligent repartee between Hubie and his friends—Susannah in particular. What I found most refreshing was Mike’s ability to use vocabulary a-cut-above, and still weave a nicely paced story with twists and turns.
Indeed, what I love about P.D. James is that she never writes-down. While reading “The Pot Thief” I enjoyed the refreshing note of not being written-down-to—yet no reader stops were required to pull out the dictionary. It was wonderful reading a good story, with a hero I dearly liked, written with intelligence and skill.
And then there’s the fact New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson recommended “The Pot Thief.” Who am I to disagree with a Governor for goodness sake?! (I know, I know… Never use a question mark and apostrophe together. Or sneak in ellipses.)