Another Whodunit

Over the past week I came across another instance where fame and movie adaptations overshadowed the quality of someone’s writing.

Without looking it up, can you say who wrote this?

At last [he] stood up, slipped the gloves over his aching fingers, picked up the lance-like sticks, and pushed himself off the faint ridge that showed the outlines of yesterday’s well-trodden path. It felt alright! He pulled the goggles down over eyes and now the vast snow-scape was a silvery green as if he was swimming under sunny water. The skis hissed smoothly through the powdery snow. [He] tried to get up more speed down the gentle slope by langlaufing, the sliding, forward stride of the first Norwegian skiers. But it didn’t work. The heels of his boots felt nailed to his skis. He punted himself forward as fast as he could with his sticks. God, what a trail he must be leaving – like a tram-line! As soon as they got the front door open, they would be after him. Their fastest guide would certainly catch him easily unless he got a good start! Every minute, every second was a bonus. …

[His] speed was now frightening. But the deep cushion of cold, light powder snow gave him the confidence to try a parallel swing. … Danger was momentarily forgotten in the joy of speed, technique, and mastery of the snow. [He] straightened up and almost dived into his next turn, this time to the left, leaving a broad S on the virgin mountain behind him. Now he could afford to schuss the rest… .

…But then, high up above him, from somewhere near the first flags on the shoulder, came more rapid fire, from two points, and the snow kicked up daintily around him. …

Now the wild schuss was coming to an end. The trees were rushing towards him. Was there a break in the bloody black line of them? Yes! But more to the left. … [His] right ski snarled a root or a sapling and he felt himself flying through space. He landed with a crash and lay gasping, all the wind knocked out of him. Now he was done for!


At this point, it should be noted, he’s fleeing an avalanche as well as gunmen.

Nice writing there – one thing right after another, not to mention onomatopoeia earlier with the line about the hissing skis.

This writer, while not at Conan Doyle’s high level, could certainly use words to fire a reader’s imagination.

Categories: Thursday Lit

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