Wheatley's darkest work

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Alan
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Wheatley's darkest work

Post by Alan » Mon 1 Oct, 2007 13:23:11

Extrapolating from Nick's point in the last post (If DW were alive today) a further thread occurs to me... What is DW's DARKEST book. I don't mean in the sense of facing nasty Satanic creatures or evil Nazis or Communists, or other "thriller" style evil - I mean his book where the nasty side of reality intrudes the most. Well, my vote - a work that actually left a nasty taste in my psyche, whereas most DW works left me with a cozy feeling of evil defeated in time for dinner - "Three Inquisitive People".

For a start, one gets the impression DW was experimenting with a more sophisticated writing style. The dialogue, the depth of character (in Simon in particular), the walk-on characters (including a truly revolting portrait of a gay, and some nasty homophobia), and the general atmosphere suggest more decadent Noel Coward than the normal upbeat adventure-story writings typical of Wheatley. The final "last straw" was Rex's marriage, to a paralyzed bride, with the two of them being allowed a few precious hours in bed together by the others, all of whom (including the girl herself) knowing that she's living out her final hours. Truly heavy stuff!

When I first read it, at a very young age, I assumed that it was the first written in the "Musketeers" series, and that as he later gained more affection for his characters he changed his style. Later I learned that though chronologically predating it, it was actually written AFTER "Forbidden territory", a much more typical DW work, hence my statement about experimenting with style.

DW is, of course, to be praised for trying to add another dimension to his writing, but I don't feel he quite pulls it off. In fact it's the only one of his works I haven't been able to bring myself to re-read.

Toohey
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Post by Toohey » Mon 1 Oct, 2007 14:33:51

I often wondered if the Duc himself was gay. Given the way his characters treat their women sometimes you think, were/are they just repressed homosexauls :-D

Hoyo de Monterrey
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Post by Hoyo de Monterrey » Mon 1 Oct, 2007 22:52:34

Toohey wrote:I often wondered if the Duc himself was gay. Given the way his characters treat their women sometimes you think, were/are they just repressed homosexauls :-D
You're just trying to wind us up, aren't you?
"Here's to crime"

Hoyo de Monterrey
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Re: Wheatley's darkest work

Post by Hoyo de Monterrey » Mon 1 Oct, 2007 23:00:43

Alan wrote:When I first read it, at a very young age, I assumed that it was the first written in the "Musketeers" series, and that as he later gained more affection for his characters he changed his style. Later I learned that though chronologically predating it, it was actually written AFTER "Forbidden territory", a much more typical DW work, hence my statement about experimenting with style.
I may be wrong, but I was always under the impression that 'Three Inquisitive People' was written before 'The Forbidden Territory' - and indeed was DW's first stab at writing - but was only published after DW had made his name. Perhaps some one can correct me on this.
"Here's to crime"

Jim
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Post by Jim » Tue 2 Oct, 2007 04:34:14

<< I may be wrong, but I was always under the impression that 'Three Inquisitive People' was written before 'The Forbidden Territory' - but was only published after DW had made his name. >>

I believe that's right. I'm not sure if Hutchinson had seen both books before deciding to begin with FORBIDDEN TERRITORY, but THREE was originally first published in the omnibus THOSE MODERN MUSKETEERS, and didn't come out separately until even later. The deRichleau series is the most confused between chronological order and sequential order: the Sallusts and Brooks basically take place as they were published (except for BLACK AUGUST, but that's a whole 'nother thread...).

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Post by Toohey » Tue 2 Oct, 2007 07:26:44

Hoyo de Monterrey wrote:
Toohey wrote:I often wondered if the Duc himself was gay. Given the way his characters treat their women sometimes you think, were/are they just repressed homosexauls :-D
You're just trying to wind us up, aren't you?
So he was just a man's man then?

Wind you up, rumbled again... :cry:

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Post by Alan » Tue 2 Oct, 2007 10:13:49

Sometimes I have my suspicions about Julian Day, though...

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Post by Toohey » Tue 2 Oct, 2007 11:26:19

Why?

I've only read the Quest for Julian Day and can't remember much about it.

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Post by Steve Whatley » Wed 3 Oct, 2007 21:45:15

To return to Alan's original post: I'd forgotten all that dark stuff in Three Inquisitive People. I just remember a not-too-thrilling crime novel (though the 'solution', which some critics said was obvious from the very beginning, eluded me until the end). However - thrilling or not - because it was Wheatley, I still enjoyed it. Maybe I'll read it again to find all this dark stuff. It's probably the only de Richleau that I haven't re-read, so that explains why I can't remember much (well, that and having a useless memory).

As to the darkest DW book, my vote would maybe go to Sixty Days To Live, because that ends in disaster on a truly global scale. Hopefully in this day and age though, we'd be able to destroy or divert a comet before it did us any damage.

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Post by Alan » Thu 4 Oct, 2007 10:38:28

Toohey wrote:Why?

I've only read the Quest for Julian Day and can't remember much about it.
Well, the thing about the Julian Day stories that I remember (haven't re-read them in a while) are that unlike Sallust he was a much "nicer" character, less cynical, etc, and on at least one occasion seems a little ineffectual. The good thing about the books in the series are that unlike the Musketeers or Gregory, Julian seems to lose in the end, making him a much more three-dimensional and tragic figure than the others, and giving the stories more of an adult feel.

My remark about his being gay was firmly tongue in cheek, in the sense that compared to the hard cases in DW's other books he seems a bit of a weakling. By the standards of real life, though, he's pretty much a man's man...

Alan
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Post by Alan » Thu 4 Oct, 2007 10:40:31

Jim wrote:<< I may be wrong, but I was always under the impression that 'Three Inquisitive People' was written before 'The Forbidden Territory' - but was only published after DW had made his name. >>

I believe that's right. I'm not sure if Hutchinson had seen both books before deciding to begin with FORBIDDEN TERRITORY, but THREE was originally first published in the omnibus THOSE MODERN MUSKETEERS, and didn't come out separately until even later. The deRichleau series is the most confused between chronological order and sequential order: the Sallusts and Brooks basically take place as they were published (except for BLACK AUGUST, but that's a whole 'nother thread...).
Sorry guys - I stand corrected. This is indeed the case. My main point - that "3IP" was written in a totally different style than the other "Musketeer" books holds, though.

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Post by Garry Holmes » Sat 6 Oct, 2007 20:34:06

I've actually read it a few times, and always enjoyed it. It really is a very different book to all of his others. Whereas the other books in the series drop the characters into dangerous situations and leave them to get out of it, this one is really more about the characters more than the action. They are all in some way changed by what has happened to them. The dreaded info dump is also completely absent, which is nice. It's a fairly decent detective novel, and you have to wonder what would have happened if this had taken off instead of THE FORBIDDEN TERRITORY. Would he have turned into a mystery novelist rather than a thrille writer?

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Post by Alan » Sun 7 Oct, 2007 12:32:09

I don't really think it would have done. It's a much more "literary" work than his thriller stuff, and such is a lot harder to sell really well. If he hadn't written "Territory" I don't think he would ever have become such a famous writer. btw the dreaded "info dump" seems to have been pretty much absent in "Territory" too, as I recall... been a while since I read it.


>you have to wonder what would have happened if this had taken off instead of THE FORBIDDEN TERRITORY. Would he have turned into a mystery novelist rather than a thrille writer?

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