THE RIPPER OF STORYVILLE (1997) by Edward D. Hoch

Hoch_Storyville_crippenlandruThis volume from Crippen & Landru brings together the first 14 stories featuring Ben Snow, a 19th century adventurer often mistaken for Billy the Kid. What is particularly noteworthy about the collection is that includes both the initial stories Hoch wrote about the character in the 1960s, in the early days of his career, and the first batch published two decades later, when the series was revived by an author now at the peak of his success. All offer enticing mysteries and some of them are absolutely corkers!

I offer this review as part of Bev’s 2014 Vintage Silver Age Mystery Challenge

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Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, New York | 20 Comments

DEATH AT HALF-TERM (1939) by Josephine Bell

Medical doctor and sometime sleuth David Wintringham is attending a production of Twelfth Night at Denbury, the prep school where his brother-in-law is headmaster and where his adoring nephew Alistair is studying. When the actor playing Sir Toby Belch is coshed on the head at the end of the performance, Wintringham offers medical assistance. However he is soon investigating a murder and uncovers a case of kleptomania among the unruly cast of actors. Will he solve the case before Inspector Mitchell?

I submit this review for Bev’s Golden Age Vintage Mystery Challenge and Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme, hosted today by Evan at Davy Crockett’s Almanack

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Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, England, Friday's Forgotten Book | 50 Comments

Farewell, My Lovely (1975) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Robert Mitchum plFarewell-My-Lovely-poster-frenchays Raymond Chandler’s immortal private eye Philip Marlowe in this beguiling valentine to the classic 1940s detective yarn. Charlotte Rampling is the beautifully coiffed leading lady who is more than she seems, David Shire supplies the lustrous musical score while noir legend Jim Thompson and a young Sylvester Stallone provide acting cameos  …

The following review is offered for Bev’s Golden Age Vintage Mystery Challenge; Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme over at Todd Mason’s Sweet Freedom blog; and Katie’s Book to Movie Challenge at Doing Dewey (for links, click here);

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Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Film Noir, London, Noir on Tuesday, Philip Marlowe, Private Eye, Raymond Chandler, Scene of the crime, Tuesday's Overlooked Film, Uncategorized | 56 Comments

THE ACT OF ROGER MURGATROYD (2006) by Gilbert Adair

Adair_Murgatroyd_faber

The late Gilbert Adair (1944-2011) would have been 70 this year. He wrote essays, screenplays, film reviews, novels and much more besides. His books are usually about other books, and this clever whodunit was inspired by an acknowledged Agatha Christie classic. Is Murgatroyd the controversial attack on the Golden Age mystery in general, and Christie in particular, that some claim it to be? Or an affectionate pastiche? It could be a bit of both actually because this reader, on reflection, still found its cunning and humour equally beguiling, not least for concocting an outrageous but not completely implausible locked room murder method …

“Never known a locked-room murder to happen in real life,” he muttered to himself. “Might be worth writing to The Times.”

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Posted in Agatha Christie, Evadne Mount, Gilbert Adair, Postmodern | 56 Comments

THE KEY TO NICHOLAS STREET (1952) by Stanley Ellin

Ellin_Nicholas-Street_boardmanfacsimileWay before Peyton Place and the like, with this novel Stanley Ellin once again demonstrated his ability to stay ahead of the literary curve, using the investigation into a domestic death to explore the petty (and not so petty) jealousies and betrayals lying behind the facade of suburban respectability.

I offer this review as part of Rich’s celebration of 1952 mysteries over at Past Offences; Bev’s Vintage Golden Age Mystery Challenge; Katie’s Book to Movie Challenge at Doing Dewey (for reviews, click here); and Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme, today hosted by BV Lawson at In Reference to Murder
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Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Claude Chabrol, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Scene of the crime, Stanley Ellin | 43 Comments

The Outfit (1973) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Stark_The-Outfit_coronet Despite being the third in the Parker series, this is a very good jumping on point for newbies as it summarises all that came before and brings to a close the initial arc, paving the way for a the next 26 neo-noir crime capers published between 1963 and 2008. Despite undergoing plastic surgery, Parker is still being pursued by the mob and decides to take the fight to them. 10 years later it was filmed with Robert Duvall in blistering form as the relentless protagonist.

The following is offered for Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme over at Todd Mason’s Sweet Freedom blog; Katie’s 2014 Book to Movie Challenge at Doing Dewey (for links, click here); and Bev’s 2014 Silver Age Vintage Mystery Challenge.

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Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Donald Westlake, Film Noir, Parker, Richard Stark | 32 Comments

PRISONER’S BASE (1952) by Rex Stout

Stout_Prisoners-Base_bantamThe late William L. De Andrea in his introduction to the Bantam edition (on the right) singles out this particular case for Nero Wolfe and his legman Archie Goodwin for having one of Rex Stout’s best plots. It also made for great television when adapted for the show starring Timothy Hutton and Maury Chaykin. It all begins when a stranger arrives at Wolfe’s brownstone looking for a place to stay …

I offer this review as part of Rich’s celebration of 1952 books over at Past Offences; Bev’s 2014 Vintage Golden Age Mystery Challenge; Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme over at her fab Pattinase blog; Katie’s Book to Movie Challenge at Doing Dewey (for reviews, click here).

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Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Friday's Forgotten Book, Nero Wolfe, New York, Rex Stout | Tagged | 40 Comments