Away on leave

Fedora will be going ‘dark’ for the next few weeks while I catch up with la famiglia which is visiting from Australia.

Arrivederci – and hope to see you all again in late July.


Posted in England | 30 Comments

The Thrilling Film Scores of Bernard Herrmann

Herrmann_CFS_GerhardtThis small detour is dedicated to the great Bernard Herrmann (1911-1975). He is the composer who, when I was a pre-teen, first got me into serious music via the movies, along with the likes of Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Dmitri Shostakovich and William Walton. An innovator and hugely influential, his amazing film career started with Citizen Kane (1941) and ended with Taxi Driver (1976), in between coming a ten-year collaboration with Alfred Hitchcock and much, much more besides. Here are some of my favourites from the mystery genre …

The following celebration is offered for Thursday’s Underappreciated Music meme hosted by Todd Mason over at his fab Sweet Freedom blog.
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Posted in Alfred Hitchcock, Film Noir, Noir on Tuesday, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged | 18 Comments

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 | 30 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 | 46 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 | 29 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