HOUSE OF EVIL (1954) by Clayre and Michael Lipman

Stark-House_Lion-anthologyDespite sporting a generic title that makes it sound like a Gothic horror, don’t be put off as this is a terrific little mystery with a strong psychological slant. This reprint comes courtesy of Stark House Press supremo Greg Shepard, who has brought together three little known thrillers in this anthology to celebrate and represent the range and diversity of the titles published by Lion Books during the paperback original explosion of the 1950s. All three are pretty obscure and hitherto not that easy to get hold of. Out of the three in this volume, today I’m focusing on what may be the least known of them all, a piece of dark psychological suspense set in San Francisco from the husband and wife team of Clayre and Michael Lipman.

I submit this review for Bev’s 2016 Vintage Golden Age Mystery Scavenger Hunt; Patti’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme over at her fab Patinase blog; and Rich Westwood’s Crimes of the Century meme over at his Past Offences blog, which this month celebrates all things from 1954.

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Posted in 2016 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, Friday's Forgotten Book, San Francisco, Stark House Press | 4 Comments

The Pearl of Death (1944)

220px-The_Pearl_of_Death_-_1944_-_PosterAfter the rousing success of The Scarlet Claw, could Universal’s Holmes and Watson series continue at the same fever pitch? Well, no, not quite, but this breezy thriller, kicking off the next trio of Holmesian adventures for Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, remains none the less extremely entertaining. It is also one of the most faithful to its original Conan Doyle source, in this case The Adventure of the Six Napoleons, in which Lestrade calls on the detective to investigate a series of odd crimes perpetrated by a an ape-like man.

The following is offered for Todd Mason’s Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme at his fab Sweet Freedom blog.
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Posted in Arthur Conan Doyle, London, Sherlock Holmes, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , | 26 Comments

THE LITTLE DRUMMER GIRL (1983) by John le Carré

LeCarre_LITTLE-DRUMMER-GIRL_panJohn le Carré remains a true perennial and an astonishing success story. Some 55 years from his debut, he is still a best-selling author and adaptations of his work, like the BBC mini-series of The Night Manager, are big ratings winners and critical favourites too. This spurred me and a friend of mine (lets call him ‘Giles Ladd’) to search through the le Carré back catalogue for one of his books that neither of us had read. We came up with Little Drummer Girl, which is set in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

I offer this review for Bev’s 2016 Silver Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt and Patti Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme at her fab Pattinase blog.

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Posted in 2016 Silver Vintage Scavenger Hunt, England, Espionage, Germany, Greece, John le Carre, Middle East, Switzerland | 28 Comments

What Have You Done to Solange? (1972) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Solange_posterIn the 1960s two film companies made a long series of films using the Edgar Wallace byline – the UK thrillers were made for Anglo Amalgamated (my microsite devoted to these is here), while Rialto filmed their own in Germany, though often set in England. Solange is very loosely based on the Wallace novel The Clue of the New Pin but along with this bit of heritage it offers  a fascinating example of pop culture cross-pollination as an Italo-German co-production filmed largely in London that acts effectively as a sort of giallo-krimi cross-over.

The following is for Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme hosted by Todd Mason at his fab Sweet Freedom blog

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Posted in Edgar Wallace, Giallo, London, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 26 Comments

KISS (1992) by Ed McBain

McBain_KISS_mondadoriThe 44th entry in the Ed McBain series of police procedurals offers two main storylines. In the first, Carella and Meyer investigate two cases of attempted murder against one person and two related deaths; in the second we carry on the story from the previous book in the series, Widows, following the trial of the men who murdered Carella’s father. Along the way we get digressions on racial disquiet, the Chicago mob, and the lacunae at the heart of the American justice system. But the author is still trying out new twists and turns too …

I submit this review for Patti’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme hosted today by Todd Mason at Sweet Freedom.
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Posted in 87th Precinct, Ed McBain, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Police procedural | 18 Comments

And Soon the Darkness (1970) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Movie

And-soon-the-darkness-posterMade on location in the  Loire Valley in France, this 99-minute thriller takes a simple, stripped down  concept – two people on a biking holiday become isolated and fear they are being stalked by a killer –  and then stretches and squeezes it to extract the maximum amount of suspense. The result is a movie that, despite a little bit of padding here and there, offers a fascinating exercise in how to create and sustain jeopardy and even a sense of claustrophobia despite the story all taking place in wide open spaces. It was the clever notion of Brian Clemens, here using the main production personnel that he had just finished working with for nearly a decade on his greatest TV hit, The Avengers (1961-69).

The following is offered for Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme hosted by Todd Mason at his fab Sweet Freedom blog

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Posted in Brian Clemens, France, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , , | 42 Comments

RUNNING DOG (1978) by Don DeLillo

DeLillio_Running-Dog_picadorDon DeLillo has a new book out but I don’t have it yet – so I am looking at one of his first, instead. A darkly comic conspiracy thriller, it involves murder, transvestitism, radical journalists, art dealers, a US Senator, the CIA, a smut merchant and Vietnamese hitmen, all on the hunt for a scabrous piece of long-lost Naziana. It is also an oblique satire on the acquisitive society, where the hunt for an object exhausts its pursuers until they find something else to fixate on – until that too is obtained.

The following review is offered as part of Bev’s Silver Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt;  Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme at her Pattinase blog.

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Posted in 2016 Silver Vintage Scavenger Hunt, Don DeLillo, New York | 31 Comments