On John Gardner

The novelist John Gardner, author of the James Bond novels of the ’80s and ’90s and two novels about Professor Moriarty, passed away about a week ago, on August 3rd. He was 80.

Apparently, he had been in ill-health for about a year, suffering a mild stroke earlier in the year.

I wouldn’t call Gardner a great author, but I read some of his work. And I enjoyed what I read. He lived in Charlottesville for a time; I always thought that was neat.

I’ve read about half of Gardner’s Bond novels. Great literature? No. But then, neither were Ian Fleming’s novels great literature. But Gardner had a better grasp of plot than Fleming — Fleming’s strength was in the characterization and the minutiae and detail he put into his work — and I’d say that I enjoyed most of the Gardner Bond novels that I read.

Gardner’s two Moriarty novels are somewhat difficult to come by, but I’d managed that trick in the mid 90s. I enjoyed them more than Michael Kurland’s similar series about the Napoleon of Crime.

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