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The Deadly Isles Jack Vance

The Deadly Isles

Jack Vance

Mass Market Paperback
158 pages
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 About the Book 

reviews.metaphorosis.com3.5 starsI bought my very expensive Compact Vance Integral Edition (CVIE) primarily because of the mysteries that Jack Vance had written as Jonathan Holbrook Vance. Id read and enjoyed almost all of Vances SFF novels, but, aside from two equally expensive print-on-demand books (The Dark Ocean and Bad Ronald), the mysteries were hard to come by.Im still quite pleased with my CVIE, and Ive been taking my time to read through it over the last few years. But one of the things Ive learned is that SFF is really where Vances strengths were. Without the weird settings and social constructs that SFF affords, his distant, often asocial characters dont fit as well.The Deadly Isles is a story about the inheritance of a valuable San Francisco estate, as played out during a cruise between Tahiti and Hawaii. Luke Royce, targeted by a black-eyed stranger, tries to figure out whats happening to him and why.The story starts awkwardly, with two newspaper notices - one an engagement, one a homicide. The homicide doesnt tie into the story substantially for quite long time, yet we know its important, which undercuts the suspense Vance tries to generate. Even without that aspect, the story takes quite sometime to get going, and its not until chapter three that it really settles in.As a mystery, its satisfying but not exceptional. The prose is smooth, the setting appealing, the mystery sufficient. The story as a whole, though, doesnt demonstrate the magic Vance so often achieved with his speculative writing.All in all, recommended for completist Vance fans, and not a bad read, but nothing to go out of your way for.CVIE VI