SHADOW GAMES (1993) by Ed Gorman

gorman_shadow-games_pbI think this is a terrific book and so offer this review by way of a small tribute to prolific author and blogger Edward Joseph Gorman, who died last Friday just a few weeks shy of his 75th birthday. This powerful suspense story had a special significance for its author, who not only had to struggle greatly to get it published but who was inspired by the career and tragic later life of his cousin, Bobby Driscoll, who in the late 40s and early 50s was a huge Disney film star. The protagonist is Cobey Daniels, loved by all for his role in a family sitcom but who has some very serious ‘issues’ …

Don’t forget to check out Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme hosted today by Todd Mason as Sweet Freedom

Continue reading

Posted in Chicago, Ed Gorman, Friday's Forgotten Book, Hollywood, Robert Bloch, Stephen King, William Goldman | 18 Comments

THE POWER OF THE DOG (1967) by Thomas Savage

Savage_Power-of-the-Dog_vintageNot to be confused with Don Winslow’s book of the same name, this powerful study of revenge and repressed emotion is too little-known and unlikely to turn up on anybody’s list of classic crime fiction. But don’t be fooled – there is a chilling murder mystery at its heart, one that needs solving, though you have to wait until the very last line to discover exactly who was murdered, how and why.  Set in 1920s Montana, it tells the story of two brothers, Phil and George Burbank, and examines what happens when one of them suddenly and unexpectedly gets married.

I submit this review for Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme over at her fab Patinase blog and Bev’s 2016 Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt.

Continue reading

Posted in 'In praise of ...', Montana | 40 Comments


Dangerous DaviesToday I thought I would post something on the lighter side of the mystery genre, a potentially grim story of a cold case told with bawdy humour and plenty of vim and vigour. Leslie Thomas (1931–2014) came to prominence in 1966 with his fictionalised memoir, The Virgin Soldiers, and followed it up with a series of increasingly ribald tales. But he also created an unusual detective in “Dangerous” Davies, a low-achieving but honest London copper who solves cases with ‘Mod,’ his only friend.

I submit this film/book review for Bev’s 2016 Vintage Scavenger Hunt and Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme over at Todd Mason’s fab Sweet Freedom blog.

Continue reading

Posted in 2016 Silver Vintage Scavenger Hunt, London, Tuesday's Overlooked Film, Val Guest | Tagged | 18 Comments

CAKES AND ALE (1930) by W. Somerset Maugham

Maugham-Cakes_and-Ale-penguinLate in life, Somerset Maugham claimed that this was the favourite among his novels and it is easy to see why, with its wit and provocative themes handled with consummate skill. It is certainly among his most autobiographical, resurrecting the author’s occasional alter-ego William Ashenden for this tale of social mores, notions of respectability and literary one-upmanship. Subtitled The Skeleton in the Closet, this is not a crime or mystery novel, so I’ll keep this post nice and short but wanted to draw attention to one of the best books I’ve ever read (or re-read).

I offer the following review for Friday’s Forgotten Books meme, hosted today by Todd Mason at Sweet Freedom.

Continue reading

Posted in Five Star review, Kent, London, Somerset Maugham | 40 Comments

Jonathan Creek back on our screens

creekWell, today’s my birthday and so I wanted to share some good news: the BBC have announced that Alan Davies will be back to investigate an improbable crime in a new 90-minute special of Jonathan Creek, one of my favourite TV detective shows. Entitled Daemons’ Roost, the episode is as always written by the show’s creator, David Renwick. The most recent series tried for a different approach seeing Creek married off and investigating smaller, more domestic, less complex cases, which did not always meet the approval of longtime fans of the show. What will the next one be like though? Well, Sarah Alexander is back as Polly, Jonathan’s wife, but the setting sounds decidedly spooky. Read on for the official synopsis:

Continue reading

Posted in John Dickson Carr, Jonathan Creek, Locked Room Mystery | 20 Comments

THE MANY by Wyl Menmuir

menmuir-the_manyThis compact debut novel came to my attention after it made it on to the longlist for this year’s Man Booker Prize. It tells the brooding and mysterious story of what happens when the pressures of water pollution and diminishing fish stocks take their toll on the men of a small fishing village. The story is told through the eyes of Ethan, one of the last remaining fishermen, and Timothy, and outsider who has bought the long-abandoned house that belonged to a man who died ten years before in unexplained circumstances. And who is unnamed woman checking up on them?

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

Continue reading

Posted in 'In praise of ...' | 22 Comments

The romance of Brian De Palma

bdp1The following revisit of a favourite film and director is offered for the Brian De Palma Blogathon being hosted by Ratnakar Sadasyula at his site, Seetimaar – Diary of a Movie Lover from 11 to 21 September to celebrate the great filmmaker’s birthday

It is also offered as part of the Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme hosted by Todd Mason over at his Sweet Freedom blog, in the hope that it might just turn him on to this super-smart and supremely quirky writer-director, who just turned 75.

Continue reading

Posted in 'In praise of ...', Brian de Palma, Chicago, Cuba, Florida, France, Germany, Hollywood, Italy, London, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Tuesday's Overlooked Film, Vietnam, Washington DC | 37 Comments