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「疑り屋のトマス」を読む

過去三年間にわたしが負けなかったのは五回か六回、きょうはそうしたツキに恵まれた一日だった。(疑り屋のトマス/ロバート・リーヴズ著・堀内静子訳。1985年。)
という部分に、思わず、俺の事だ、なんて、思っちゃっりして。

主人公は、競馬と妖しげな酒場を愛するボストンの名門大学の助教授。学生に講義の代りにテストをする時、教壇の上で、『レーシング・フォーム』を広げているような人物である。そんな自堕落な主人公が、競馬場のトイレで酔い潰れてる老人の戯言をヒントに大穴をせしめ、お礼を言いに戻ってみたら、老人は、そのまま、便器に突っ伏して謎の死を遂げていた、というショッキングな出だし。その死の原因を探るべく、図らずも、主人公が、事件に巻き込まれて謎を追うというミステリー。なかなか、楽しかった。

ミステリーだから、筋立てが、意外性に富んでいるのは、当然なんだけど、それぞれの場面の状況描写が結構、洒落てる。主人公の性格のように、回りくどくて理屈っぽく感じる部分もあるが、思わず、にやりとさせられたりした。冒頭に引用したのもそうだけれど、他にも、例えば、これも競馬場のシーン。


日の高いあいだ、一般席は熱狂の渦につつまれていたが、最後のレースともなるとあたりには一か八かといった雰囲気がただよっていた。頭のいい客はふつうメインレースが終わると競馬場を去る。(中略)。あとの残るギャンブラーは二種類に分かれる。まず、負けがこみ、したたかに酔い、損した分を取り戻そうとやみくもに賭ける連中。そして、わたしのように勝っていて、したたかに酔い、勝った分をやみくもに賭ける連中である。(疑り屋のトマス/ロバート・リーヴズ著・堀内静子訳。1985年。)

つい、やみくもに賭けがちな私が想像しやすい風景である。(最近は、大分、自制心が付いてきた)。

この本が面白いと教えてくれたのは、かなりのミステリー通の人物なのたけれど、その人に言わせると、それぞれのキャラクターが魅力的で、特に、ギャングが最高だと言う。博学で文学好きのギャングなのですが、こんなの他に観た事がない、そうです。

成程、確かに、ギャングもそうだし、他にも面白い登場人物だと思うけれど、やっぱり、私は、主人公が抜群。競馬ミステリーの第一人者ディック・フランシスの作品に登場する主人公は、最初、色々、屈折したりしてるのだけれど、困難に立ち向かう過程で雄々しく成長していくというパターンが多いけれど、この主人公は、終始一貫、自堕落なインテリ馬券おやじ(?)のまま。共感を覚えてしまうのでした。

あー、私も大穴、当てた~い!。
と、そういう事ではなく。


疑り屋のトマスハヤカワ ポケット ミステリ
ロバート・リーヴズ/著
堀内静子/訳


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