Torture Garden (1967)

The great Robert Bloch (1917-1994) supplied stories and screenplays for six films made by Amicus Film, the only serious rival to Hammer in the 1960s and 70s when it came to horror cinema. The first three – The Skull (1965), The Psychopath (1966) and The Deadly Bees (1966) – were all directed by Freddie Francis and Bloch considered them a bit disappointing (I quite like The Skull myself). He was a little happier with their fourth and final collaboration, Torture Garden, an anthology (an Amicus speciality) adapted from four of his tales.

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

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Posted in Amicus, England, Robert Bloch, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , | 20 Comments

GREEN FOR DANGER (1944) by Christianna Brand

Easily he best-known of Brand’s Inspector Cockrill mysteries, this clever and funny book was turned into a clever and funny film that is also one of the most atmospheric whodunits you will ever see. The setting is a secluded hospital now seconded to the war effort at the time of the Blitz.

“You think there wasn’t any murder, but there was, and I know who did it and how it was done and everything …”

I submit this review for Bev’s Vintage Mystery Challenge; and Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme hosted by Todd Mason over at Sweet Freedom.

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Posted in 2017 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, England, Five Star review, Kent, World War II | Tagged , | 36 Comments

Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

Just released in the cinemas, this new adaptation of the classic Agatha Christie novel seems to be dividing critics and viewers. In fact, I have now been to see it twice – the first time with a friend who is a big fan of the book and really liked it, especially for its passionate depiction of the detective. I then saw it again with a different group of friends, all of whom found it disappointing and cold. What did I think and why the divergence of opinions? Well, here’s what I think really happened …

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Posted in Agatha Christie, Poirot, Turkey | Tagged | 56 Comments

I AM MARY DUNNE (1968) by Brian Moore

Karen of Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings and Simon of Stuck in a Book regularly celebrate work published in a particular year. And this time it’s 1968, which I couldn’t resist as it’s when I was born. My choice is the thirteenth novel (though some would say sixth, see below) by Brian Moore, a meditation by a thrice married woman on her life thus far.

I offer this review for Simon and Karen’s The 1968 Club at Stuck in a Book; and Friday’s Forgotten Books meme run by Patti Abbott at her fab Patinas blog.

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Posted in Brian Moore, New York | 25 Comments

THE WENCH IS WICKED / BLONDE VERDICT / DELILAH WAS DEADLY by Carter Brown

This omnibus by ultra-prolific paperback writer ‘Carter Brown’ (in private life Alan Geoffrey Yates) – courtesy of those very nice people at Stark House Press – features the first three cases of Al Wheeler, the unorthodox and wise-cracking Lieutenant working in the California police department of (the fictional) Pine County, not far from L.A.

“Wipe the lipstick off, Lieutenant. It looks sort of silly on a cop.”

I submit this review for Bev’s 2017 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt; and Friday’s Forgotten Booksmeme run by Patti Abbott at her fab Pattinase blog.

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Posted in 2017 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, California, Carter Brown, Friday's Forgotten Book, Stark House Press | 18 Comments

SINGLE & SINGLE (1999) by John le Carré

John le Carré (born David Cornwell on 19 October 1931) is 86 years old today – and to celebrate here is a quick review of a title that is perhaps unfairly neglected. This is one of the later books that sees the author stretch beyond his standard spy environment, though in truth what we have is a pretty close equivalent for a story dealing with international finance and the way that it shields criminals by creating impenetrable money-laundering structures and how a man goes undercover to thwart it.

I offer this review, one day early, for Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme at her fab Pattinase blog.

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Posted in England, Espionage, John le Carre, London, Russia, Switzerland, Turkey | 16 Comments

TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT (1937) by Ernest Hemingway

A tale of smuggling between Cuba and  Florida, this is generally considered one of Hemingway’s lesser works, which may actually explain why it made surprisingly good movie fodder. The hardboiled story of downtrodden boat-owner Harry Morgan was famously filmed with Bogart and Bacall in 1944 and later with Audie Murphy too. However, my favourite version is the one that came in between, The Breaking Point, starring John Garfield, Patricia Neal and the great Juano Hernandez, now available from Criterion.

I submit this review for Bev’s Vintage Mystery Challenge; and Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme hosted by Todd Mason over at Sweet Freedom.

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Posted in 2017 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, Cuba, Ernest Hemingway, Film Noir, Friday's Forgotten Book, Miami, Michael Curtiz | Tagged , , | 25 Comments