HE WON’T NEED IT NOW (1939) and THE DEAD STAY DUMB (1939) by James Hadley Chase

Chase_Need-It-Now_Dead-Stay-Dumb_starkhouseThis pair of ultra-hardboiled thrillers were the first two books published by James Hadley Chase following the huge success of his controversial gangster story No Orchids for Miss Blandish (which I recently reviewed right here). Well, actually, He Won’t Need it Now originally appeared under the one-off pseudonym, ‘James L. Doherty’ before being reprinted as by Chase in 1943. These are now re-presented in a single volume by those very, very nice people at Stark House Press.

I submit this review for Bev’s 2016 Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt; and Friday’s Forgotten Books meme hosted today by Todd Mason at his fab Sweet Freedom blog.

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Posted in 2016 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, James Hadley Chase, Kansas City, New York, Stark House Press | 14 Comments

POLICE AT THE FUNERAL (1931) by Margery Allingham

Allingham_Police-at-the-Funeral_penguin-BBCThis is the book that many see as being the breakthrough for Margery Allingham in her series featuring Albert Campion, who after three comparatively ‘light’ adventures finally appeared in a darker, more substantial work that showed something like the true potential of its young author. Does this view of it stand up after 85 years? Well, two of my blogging buddies, Neeru and Santosh, both felt let down, bemoaning a conclusion that showed unacceptable evidence of racial bias that pretty much wrecked their enjoyment of the story. So I thought I’d give it another look …

I submit this review for Bev’s Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt; and Todd Mason’s Tuesday’s Overlooked Movie meme at his fab Sweet Freedom blog.

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Posted in 2016 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, Albert Campion, Cambridge, England, Margery Allingham, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 38 Comments

THE MADMAN’S ROOM (1990) by Paul Halter

Halter_Pazzo_mondadoriFor 30 years French author Paul Halter has published dozens of celebrations-cum-recreations of the impossible mysteries of John Dickson Carr. Thanks to Pietro De Palma, multi-lingual blogger at Death Can Read and La morte sa leggere, I have been reading some of them in Italian translation. I started with the The Bloody Match and Madman also features Dr Allan Twist and Inspector Archibald Hurst. It’s a variation on the ‘killer room’ gambit used by Carr and such varied authors as Wilkie Collins and Cornell Woolrich.

I offer the following review as part of JJ’s celebrations for Halter 60th birthday today over at The Invisible Event – joyeux anniversaire!

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Posted in England, John Dickson Carr, Locked Room Mystery, Paul Halter | 27 Comments


Collins_War-of-the-Worlds_berkeleyIf, like me, you are a devoted fan of the amazing writer-director-producer-actor-showman Orson Welles, a sucker for magic tracks, love listening to Old Time Radio, and enjoy the pulp adventures of The Shadow, then this book is most definitely for you! Oh, and there’s also a murder mystery to solve too. The time is 1938, the place New York, and all is chaos as Welles, the perpetual enfant terrible, juggles a variety of projects and gets involved in a murder investigation on the night on which he will broadcast his most famous radio show …

I submit this review for Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme over at her fab Pattinase blog.

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Posted in Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Orson Welles, The Shadow, Walter B Gibson | 31 Comments

THE CLUE OF THE SILVER KEY (1930) by Edgar Wallace

Wallace_Silver-Key_hodderWhy should someone go to the trouble of assassinating petty thief Horace Tom Tickler and leaving his body inside a taxi with £100 in his pocket? This is the problem that Surefoot Smith of Scotland Yard has to clear up, but before long he has an even bigger case to solve when rich but miserly money lender Hervey Lyne is also murdered, and both men had a connection with the mysterious businessman, Mr Washington Wirth.

The following review is offered as part of the Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme hosted by Todd Mason over at his fab Sweet Freedom blog; and Bev’s Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt.

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Posted in 2016 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, Edgar Wallace, London | 20 Comments


Day_Delgado_coronetI really enjoyed this Australian private eye mystery from the 1990s, especially for its gender-bending sensibility, though it remains otherwise comparatively conservative in terms of  its genre boundaries. What it did do though was make me ponder on the kind of detectives we admire and the ones we actually like and would want to be friends with. I would love to be pals with Archie Goodwin and Tuppence Beresford, but I suspect Philip Marlowe would be a bit of a drag and Miss Marple could prove a slight knitting bore. So how about Claudia Valentine, the protagonist of Delgado?

I offer the following review for Friday’s Forgotten Books meme run by Patti Abbott at her fab Pattinase blog.

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Posted in Australia, Friday's Forgotten Book, Private Eye, Sydney | 34 Comments

Blind Terror (1971) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Blind-Terror_spanish-smallNews of a possible remake (see here) made me to look again at this suspenser in which Mia Farrow plays the resourceful heroine on the run from a killer. Released in the US as See No Evil, this underrated thriller benefits from a taut script by Brian Clemens and well-calibrated direction from Richard Fleischer and has a great leading lady in Farrow, who brings resilience and vulnerability to her playing of Sarah Rexton, who after being blinded in an accident returns home to recover but becomes the target of a psychopath.

I offer this review for Todd Mason’s Tuesday’s Overlooked Movie meme at his fab Sweet Freedom blog.

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Posted in Brian Clemens, Richard Fleischer, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged | 38 Comments