POSTERN OF FATE (1973) by Agatha Christie

Christie_Postern-of-FateThis was Agatha Christie’s farewell to Tommy and Tuppence, the fun-loving Jazz Age adventurers currently back on TV in the shape of David Walliams and Jessica Raine. This was their fifth and final volume and sees the couple now in their 70s. It was Christie’s last novel and has a pretty poor reputation – but after Karen of Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings trumpeted its values, I have been goaded into giving it another go …

I submit this review for Bev’s Vintage Mystery Challenge; Friday’s Forgotten Books meme at Patti Abbott’s fab Pattinase blog; and Kerrie’s Agatha Christie Reading Challenge monthly Blog Carnival.

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Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Agatha Christie, Friday's Forgotten Book, Tommy & Tuppence | 43 Comments

FIFTY-TWO PICKUP (1974) by Elmore Leonard

52-Pick-Up_posterThis was the novel that put Elmore Leonard on the map as a crime writer – and was filmed twice in very quick succession, which is some kind of compliment! Having appeared as The Ambassador in 1984, it was re-made (much more faithfully) two years later as 52 Pick-up. Roy Scheider and Ann-Margret star as the long-married couple whose lives start to unravel following his infidelity, while John Glover and Clarence Williams III rock as the neophyte blackmailers who might be just what the husband and wife need to keep them together …

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

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Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Elmore Leonard, Film Noir, John Frankenheimer, Noir on Tuesday, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 30 Comments

THE LAST POLICEMAN by Ben H. Winters

250px-The_Last_Policeman_book_coverThe apocalypse is a surprisingly frequent occurrence in fiction (and indeed can be seen to constitute its own subgenre), but admittedly not one often combined with the mystery genre. This was the major selling point of this Edgar-winning novel, the first in a trilogy featuring New Hampshire detective Hank Palace, newly promoted to Homicide. Realising his career ambition proves ironic as the promotion was fast-tracked when the world learned that an asteroid was only months away from a collision that will lead almost certainly to extinction for the population of the planet. Hank is desperate to solve murders just at a time when suicide is rampant – but wouldn’t that be a perfect way to cover up your crime?

This review doesn’t count really, but don’t forget to check out some of the great titles being offered for Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme over at her fab Pattinase blog.

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Posted in Science Fiction, Washington DC | 39 Comments

Strangler’s Web (1965) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Stranglers_Web-PosterThis whodunit was originally marketed as an “Edgar Wallace mystery thriller” but in fact was an original screenplay by Fedora favourite, George Baxt. We begin in ultra traditional fashion with a woman in a nightgown being pursued in a park at night by persons unknown. In a nice reversal we realise that one of the persons is a uniformed policeman, who eventually finds the woman’s body and a man kneeling next to her. He was her lover and the two had just fought – but is he the strangler?

This review is offered for Todd Mason’s Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme over at Sweet Freedom.

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Posted in Edgar Wallace, Film Noir, George Baxt, John Llewellyn Moxey, Noir on Tuesday, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 28 Comments

THE MAN IN LOWER TEN (1906) by Mary Roberts Rinehart

Rinehart_Lower-Ten_dellThis was the debut novel by Mary Roberts Rinehart (1876-1958), though it originally only appeared between hard covers the year after the success of The Circular Staircase (1908), which more or less popularised the spinster ‘Had I but Known’ style most often associated with the author (rightly or wrongly). In this book however the narrator is male, an unmarried thirty-year-old lawyer from Washington DC, who while transporting important documents runs into murder, mayhem – and love.

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

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Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge | 38 Comments

INNOCENT by Scott Turow

I don’t read a lot of modern legal thrillers, despite a) being a confirmed mystery addict, b) loving courtroom dramas on film and TV and c) someone who got a law degree at university. Why? Well, despite several notable examples of the genre from the past that I greatly admire – by the likes of Dickens, Forster, Harper Lee and Hugo – I do not enjoy the genre as it has developed today through the efforts of the likes of John Grisham or Steve Martini, often finding them either too dry to engage with or too overblown to convince. But Scott Turow is usually a cut above …

I submit this revised review for Todd Mason’s Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme at Sweet Freedom.

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Posted in Courtroom, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 22 Comments

THROUGH A GLASS, DARKLY (1950) by Helen McCloy

McCloy_Glass-Darkly_dellpbPoor mousey little Faustina Crayle! An apparently mild, self-effacing art teacher with no axe to grind and perfect manners, she has somehow become an object of horror. Everybody, it seems, is frightened to death of her, yet she has no idea why. When she loses her second teaching position in a row in mysterious circumstances, she turns to psychologist and sleuth Dr Basil Willing for help. What he discovers points to both the presence of a doppelgänger and the possibility of telepathy as a murder method.

I offer this review as part of Bev’s 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme over at her fab Pattinase blog.

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Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Connecticut, Friday's Forgotten Book, Helen McCloy, New York | 40 Comments