Here is prose that I have read over the last two weeks:

Patricia Highsmith, The Price of Salt
Patricia Highsmith, The Talented Mr. Ripley
Patricia Highsmith, Ripley Under Ground
Daniel Alarcon, War by Candlelight
Lyn Hamilton, The Moche Warrior

I am more of a mocha latte warrior myself, but with the upcoming trip to Peru, I felt a perverse impulse to pick up one of several Incan-related mysteries that are out there in the pulp marketplace. Some others that I might get to before the trip include Clive Cussler's Incan Gold, Michael Marcotte's Gold in the Shadow, and the much older David Dodge's Plunder of the Sun. Dodge, incidentally, is better known as the author of To Catch a Thief. I am sure there are more books in this genre because North American (or at least U.S. and Canadian) readers can't seem to get enough of lost cities, shrunken heads, poison darts, burial chambers, and so forth. In the case of the Lyn Hamilton book (called an "archeological mystery"), she has created a kind of female rebuttal to the Indiana Jones archetype. The main character Lara operates an antiques store in Toronto, and each adventure stems from her discovery of a mystery (typically violence and bloodshed) hiding behind one of the non-Western artifacts. The Moche Warrior is about Lara's attempt to return one of these artifacts that was illegally taken from Peru. It is like she is trying to turn back the clock on history, reversing as it were the plundering by conquistadores both old and new. The Moche, by the way, are described as a "pre-Incan civilization," so she is turning the clock back on both European and indigenous empires. Does it work? Not really, but she does get to kick some serious butt along the way. If I were an antiques trader on the black market, I would definately find some other place to operate than Toronto.

I am also delving back into Vallejo. And I will try to say more on the Highsmith later.

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