Author Archives: Cavershamragu

SHROUD FOR A NIGHTINGALE (1971) by PD James

Easier to admire than to like, this was the fourth of PD James’ series featuring her detective, Adam Dalgliesh. It is set in a nursing school and, at considerable length and in great detail, anatomises the lives of the female … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, England, PD James | 42 Comments

Circus of Fear (1966) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Christopher Lee and Klaus Kinski co-star in this Anglo-German whodunit marketed as a sensational Edgar Wallace thriller. Some sources claim the story of bank robbers hiding out with a travelling circus was based on Wallace’s The Three Just Men, while others credit … Continue reading

Posted in Edgar Wallace, England, Harry Alan Towers, London, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , | 28 Comments

THE TAMARIND SEED (1971) by Evelyn Anthony

Evelyn Anthony (pen-name of Evelyn Ward-Thomas) turned 86 this month. She began writing historical romances in the Coronation year of 1953 but by the late 1960s had switched to topical suspense mixed with romance. The Tamarind Seed is a perfect example … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Barbados, Blake Edwards, Cold War, Espionage, Evelyn Anthony, London, Paris, Spy movies | 38 Comments

Book to Movie Challenge – quarterly update

This year I am co-hosting the Book to Movie Challenge run by Katie over at Doing Dewey. The premise is simple – review both a book and the movie or TV adaptation made from it – there are 5 levels: Movie Fan … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge | 14 Comments

Going walkabout

Fedora will be going ‘dark’ for the next few weeks while I attend to other pressing (non mysterious) business here and overseas. Hope to see you all again in mid July.

Posted in Australia | 34 Comments

My Favourite Mystery Books

Spurred on by Roger Sobin of Poisoned Pen Press I have been revisiting my list of Top 100 Mystery Books, which for far too long only got as far as my top 84! I am now much nearer to the … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists | 30 Comments

THE BIRTHDAY MURDER (1945) by Lange Lewis

Greatly admired by Barzun and Taylor, this sharply observed and elegantly phrased whodunit is set in the Hollywood movie colony at the height of its Golden Age. Its protagonist is Victoria, a successful screenwriter and novelist (and soon-to-be playwright) whose … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Friday's Forgotten Book, Hollywood, Lange Lewis | 41 Comments

Top 20 Amnesia Mystery Movies

Whether it’s the intrigue of Jason Bourne adventures or the farcical escapades of the Hangover films, memory loss remains a popular narrative device in fiction in general and at the cinema in particular. Here is a guide to my top 20 favourite … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists, Alfred Hitchcock, Amnesia, Billy Wilder, Boileau-Narcejac, Charlie Chan, England, Eric Ambler, France, Greece, Hammer Studios, James Hilton, Jimmy Sangster, John Frankenheimer, Len Deighton, London, Los Angeles, LP Davies, New York, Orson Welles, San Francisco, Spain, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged | 78 Comments

THE SAINT IN EUROPE (1953) by Leslie Charteris

I can’t quite believe it but this may in fact be the first Saint book I have read in about 35 years! I do remember picking up some of the tie-ins reprinted when Return of the Saint premiered on TV in 1978 … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Austria, Friday's Forgotten Book, Germany, Leslie Charteris, Mike Ripley, Paris, Rome, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands | Tagged | 58 Comments

Suture (1993) – Tuesday’s Forgotten Film

This complex mystery is in a literal, thematic and metaphorical sense, a true piece of black and white cinema. An experimental indie movie that riffs smartly on the Film Noir genre, this is a cleverly plotted murder mystery about amnesia and identity … Continue reading

Posted in Film Noir, Los Angeles, Noir on Tuesday, Scene of the crime, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged | 33 Comments

THE THIRD MAN (1950) by Graham Greene

Published after the release of the popular film of the same name, this book by Graham Greene is slightly unusual – it is not a screenplay (and indeed it varies from the finished film in many ways) and it is … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Film Noir, Five Star review, Graham Greene, Orson Welles, Vienna | 51 Comments

The Whole Truth (1958) – Tuesday’s Forgotten Film

Stewart Granger is the Hollywood producer accused of a murder he didn’t commit in this neat little thriller set on the Riviera. Shot with typical energy and flair by tyro director John Guillermin (The Blue Max, Death on the Nile, The Towering … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, John Guillermin, Jonathan Latimer, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 46 Comments

MR CAMPION’S FAREWELL by Mike Ripley

I first got hooked on the world of Margery Allingham and her crime-solving adventurer Albert Campion by proxy, through the scripts written by Alan Plater for the criminally underrated Campion TV series starring Peter Davison. I mention this because what we … Continue reading

Posted in Albert Campion, England, Margery Allingham, Mike Ripley | 28 Comments

DEADFALL (1965) by Desmond Cory

Desmond Cory wrote a series of novels featuring secret agent ‘Johnny Fedora’ but today I’m not reviewing one of those. Instead we have one of his standalone efforts, a caper set in Spain involving split-second timing, complex gymnastics and a … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Bryan Forbes, Desmond Cory, John Barry, Spain, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged | 28 Comments

NUDE ON THIN ICE (1960) by Gil Brewer

This thriller comes in s new volume comprising two previously hard-to-find titles by paperback maestro Gil Brewer from those very nice people at Stark House Press, the imprint specialising in new and classic crime fiction. Originally entitled ‘Naked on Ice,’ … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Gil Brewer, Noir, Stark House Press | 43 Comments

Conduct Unbecoming (1975) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

This highly unusual military drama is set in 1880s India and stars Stacy Keach, Richard Attenborough and Christopher Plummer with Susannah York as the widow of a regimental hero who accuses an unpopular new recruit of assault. Michael York is the … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Bryan Forbes, Courtroom, India, Scene of the crime, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , , , , | 32 Comments

EXPO 58 by Jonathan Coe

Jonathan Coe is one of my favourite authors, a witty and wise chronicler of British mores, foibles and eccentricities who, in terms of book sales, is apparently appreciated even more on the Continent than he is at home – but … Continue reading

Posted in Alfred Hitchcock, Brussels, Cold War, Espionage, Jonathan Coe | 18 Comments

SO LONG AS YOU BOTH SHALL LIVE (1976) by Ed McBain

The 87th Precinct series, after the intimate highlight of Blood Relatives, reaches back to its past for a much more expansive story centered around the wedding of Bert Kling, whose bad luck when it comes to love sadly continues. This novel … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, 87th Precinct, Columbo, Ed McBain, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Police procedural | 43 Comments

FEAR (1940) by L. Ron Hubbard

Well, I didn’t think I’d ever review a book by L. Ron Hubbard here at Fedora! But this early tale of suspense and horror was written well before the author made his fortune by creating sci-fi religions, and has had some … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Amnesia, L. Ron Hubbard | 39 Comments

Ten Little Indians (1965) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

With the news that the BBC are to adapt Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, I thought this might be a good opportunity to look at the original novel and earlier screen incarnations, especially the 1965 cinema version released … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Agatha Christie, Harry Alan Towers, Philip MacDonald, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 68 Comments

THE TODD DOSSIER (1969) by Robert Bloch

This medical thriller was the first novel by Robert Bloch that I ever read, though I didn’t know it at the time. The reason I picked it up was because it was credited to Collier Young, the creator of Ironside … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Friday's Forgotten Book, Novelisation, Robert Bloch | 55 Comments

NO ORCHIDS FOR MISS BLANDISH (1939) by James Hadley Chase

What can you say about this infamous crime story – that as a book and again as a film it was once the most notorious title in the UK? That it was critically lambasted by George Orwell? That it sold … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Film Noir, James Hadley Chase, Kansas City, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 39 Comments

THE VENGEFUL VIRGIN (1958) by Gil Brewer

This is a ripe piece of pulp noir, from its alliterative, catchpenny title to the de rigeur cover art featuring piles of cash, a disrobed woman and a gun. One of the many  paperback originals written by Gil Brewer in … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Florida, Friday's Forgotten Book, Gil Brewer, Hard Case Crime, James M. Cain, Noir | 31 Comments

Mr Arkadin (1955) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

In considering this quirky and delirious movie and book by Orson Welles, I am reminded of Winston’s Churchill’s quote about pre-war Russia: “It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key.” Arkadin tells … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Amnesia, France, Italy, Mexico, New York, Novelisation, Orson Welles, Spain, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 27 Comments

BLOOD RELATIVES (1975) by Ed McBain

We really like Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct books here at Fedora and for the last couple of years have been re-reading them in chronological order (links to all the reviews can be found here). All are lively and engrossing, with … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, 87th Precinct, Claude Chabrol, Ed McBain, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Police procedural | 36 Comments

BREAD (1974) by Ed McBain

After much too long a break, Cotton Hawes is brought back centre-stage for this story involving drugs, porn, insurance scams, pyromania and a few murders. It also gives a pungent, heartfelt depiction of the degradation of the slums of the city … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, 87th Precinct, Ed McBain, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Police procedural | 26 Comments

HAIL TO THE CHIEF (1973) by Ed McBain

This story of rival gangs plays some interesting narrative tricks and demonstrates an unusually strong satirical and political edge but is usually seen as one of the weaker entries in  the 87th Precinct series. How does is stand up today? “Why? What do … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, 87th Precinct, Ed McBain, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Police procedural | 33 Comments

NOTHING IN HER WAY (1953) by Charles Williams

“Charles Williams remains the best kept secret in noir fiction” – Max Allan Collins Charles Williams (1909-1975), one of the masters of the 1950s paperback original, has gone through a long period of neglect, probably more read in translation on … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Charles Williams, Friday's Forgotten Book, Noir, Stark House Press | Tagged , | 29 Comments

Women of Twilight (1953) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Nothing to do with Stephenie Meyer, this stark social drama (aka Twilight Women) was based on Sylvia Rayman’s groundbreaking all-female play. The up-and-coming Lois Maxwell and Laurence Harvey co-star, though the film is dominated by René Ray as unlikely heroine Viviane and Freda Jackson … Continue reading

Posted in Film Noir, Hammer Studios, London, Noir on Tuesday, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 24 Comments

Fedora’s 400,000 visits

Well, we pause briefly for a minor celebration here at Fedora … Late yesterday this blog sailed past its 400,000th visit, which seems incredible to me – and that’s not including the 113,000 plus visits from spammers (a curse on their … Continue reading

Posted in 'In praise of ...' | 69 Comments