SHOOTING STAR (1958) by Robert Bloch

Bloch_Shooting-Star_aceReprinted by Hard Case Crime a few years back, this was Robert Bloch’s one and only private eye novel – so of course, given his inclination towards the tongue-in-cheek, he made it a book about an investigator with only one eye! It’s set in Hollywood and it seems that the author did not hold it in very high regard. So how does this story of the scandalous murder of a cowboy movie star actually hold up?

I offer this review as part of Bev’s Vintage Golden Age Mystery Challenge; Rich Westwood’s celebration of all things 1958 over at his Past Offences blog; and Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme over at her fab Pattinase blog.

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Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Friday's Forgotten Book, Hollywood, Robert Bloch | 70 Comments

Tommy & Tuppence are back on TV

So, here is the first official look at the new Tommy and Tuppence from the upcoming six-part BBC series Partners in Crime, starring David Walliams and Jessica Raine.

PinC

(Left to Right : Jessica Raine as Tuppence and David Walliams as Tommy. Photo: Laurence Cendrowicz / Copyright: Endor Productions )

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Posted in Agatha Christie, Tommy & Tuppence | 48 Comments

Try This One for Size (1989) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

try-this-one-for-size-movie-poster-1989-1020542015This amusing comedy-thriller was the first of a quartet of films starring Michael Brandon derived from the work of euro noir legend, James Hadley Chase. Set in the double-dealing world of smugglers and dodgy art dealers, this one brought Paradise City detective Tom Lepski to the fore and then sent him packing off to Europe with his wife.

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

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Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Florida, France, James Hadley Chase, Noir, Switzerland | 24 Comments

A SCENT OF NEW-MOWN HAY (1958) by John Blackburn

Blackburn_Hay_msmilljpgI’ve been looking to sample this author’s weird fiction for years after hearing him compared with LP Davies, one of my favourite British pulp authors of the 1960s. So I have decided, in my usual fashion, to start at the beginning with his debut, a Cold War tale of biological weaponry with its roots in Nazi experiments that combines espionage and horror with a dash of SF – or as the blurb has it:

“A novel of action, horror and emotion”

I offer this review as part of Bev’s Vintage Golden Age Mystery Challenge; and Rich Westwood’s celebration of all things 1958 over at his Past Offences blog. Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, England, Germany, John Blackburn, LP Davies | 28 Comments

SLEEP WITH SLANDER (1960) by Dolores Hitchens

Hitchens_Sleep-with-Slander_ssThis was the second, and last, of the novels featuring private detective Jim Sader published under her ‘Dolores Hitchens’ byline by Julia Clara Catharine Dolores Birk Olsen Hitchens (1907–1973), who also wrote as D. B. Olsen, Dolan Birkley and Noel Burke. Nearly 30 years ago Bill Pronzini famously called Sleep with Slander, “the best hard-boiled private-eye novel written by a woman – and one of the best written by anybody.” How does it stand up today, especially given its difficult subject – violence against children?

I offer this review for Bev’s Vintage Silver Age Mystery Challenge; and Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme over at her fab Pattinase blog.

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Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Bill Pronzini, Los Angeles, Private Eye, Ross Macdonald | Tagged | 24 Comments

The Anderson Tapes (1971) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Sanders_Anderson-Tapes_dellGiven how surveillance culture has jumped to the very top of the political agenda, I thought it might be intriguing, and possibly even salutary, to look at a novel and film that got there very early, even before the Watergate scandal made bugging the stuff of everyday meetings. Lawrence Sanders made his Edgar-winning debut with this satirical caper story, told entirely through transcripts of one kind or another with just the occasional contextual intro from the author.

I offer this review for Katie’s Book to Movie Challenge over at her Doing Dewey blog (for links, click here); Bev’s Vintage Silver Age Mystery Challenge; and Todd’s Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme over at his Sweet Freedom blog.

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Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Donald Westlake, Lawrence Sanders, New York, Sidney Lumet | Tagged , | 38 Comments

FALSE SCENT (1960) by Ngaio Marsh

Marsh_False-Scent_fontanaI’ve been meaning to give Ngaio Marsh ‘another try’ for ages as I keep being told that my rather negative impressions, formed many moons ago, should be re-assessed. So here goes, with this comparatively late entry in her series of Roderick Alleyn mysteries. This sees her on familiar ground in the theatrical world as he investigates the murder of celebrated stage actress Mary Bellamy, an at times charming woman with a truly vile temper. After a titanic tantrum on her 50th birthday, she is found dead after being sprayed with insecticide and everybody at the party is a suspect.

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, London | 53 Comments