post on Poul Anderson's contemporary fantasy novel, The Devil's Game (New York, 1980):
quotes "...Masterman York...is known with certainty to be descended from a mermaid" (p. 57);
links this reference to Anderson's historical fantasy novel, The Merman's Children;
also links the merfolk theme to the Devil's Game contestant, Larry Rance, because Lance's challenge, to swim two miles through sea containing sharks and barracuda, and his ambition, to use the million dollar prize money to build a schooner and cruise the world, are maritime in nature.
Well, blow me down if Anderson doesn't go on to make this second link later in the novel:
"Larry wouldn't settle down with us away from the sea. He's obsessed. Hear the mermaids singing to him, but they have shark teeth." (p. 241)
This may be only a small point but maybe also I am getting in tune with Anderson's texts if I can anticipate a connection before it becomes explicit.
Meanwhile, in the novel that I am currently reading, in this case for the first time, Perish By The Sword (New York, 1959), I recognize a moment on which I have commented in several of Anderson's problem stories. Yamamura is speaking but breaks off in mid-sentence:
"Yamamura's argument was cut off as if by an ax. Pereira saw him, not stiffen, but relax totally, so that dark slitted eyes filmed over and the long body almost slid from the chair." (p. 133)
Asked "What is it?," he does not reply but sits unmoving for an entire minute, then for longer. This is the moment of realization. The hero has solved the problem. The detective has identified the murderer. But he will not tell anyone yet. He will check the facts, confirm his suspicion, act accordingly and we will be told what we need to know in due course.
There is something odd and obviously significant about the surnames of two characters but I am no wiser about solving the mystery. Are detective novels like crossword puzzles? Do some readers guess the ending in advance? And get it right?