‘Publish and Perish,’ by Sally S. Wright

Publish and Perish

What was it Richard had said in his next-to-last volume? “Logic is the fruit of reason; meaning is the child of imagination.”

Ben had never felt a conflict between the two and he doubted that Richard had either. Any more than either one of them had seen a conflict between reason and revelation.

I linked to an article about Sally Wright a couple days ago, and said I was reading one of her novels. I am delighted to report that author Wright has sailed past my critical misogyny to make me an immediate fan. She writes a pretty good male hero, in the tradition, I would say, of Dorothy Sayer’s Lord Peter Wimsey (though Ben Reese is a very different kind of character).

In Publish and Perish, first novel in a series, Ben Reese, World War II intelligence veteran, is an archivist at a private college in Ohio. The year is 1960. He is in England doing research when he gets news that his dearest friend has died of a sudden heart attack. Ben (who is his friend’s executor) rushes home to deal with the aftermath. He is disturbed by certain puzzling circumstances surrounding the death, and the local police chief agrees with him. Ben starts asking questions, and someone else dies, and then Ben himself becomes the target of a murder attempt.

We often complain about the poor quality of Christian literature. Sally Wright’s work is a shining example of the sort of thing we’ve been pleading for. The writing is superior, the characterizations and dialogue polished and entertaining, the mystery satisfying. And the tone of the thing is appropriate both to Christianity and to the time period – there is no, or very little, obscenity. The Christian characters talk like human beings, not tracts, and the values are unashamedly old-fashioned.

I enjoyed Publish and Perish immensely, and look forward to reading the rest of the series.

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