Hope you all have a restful and loving Holiday Season and a great New Year.

As I won’t be blogging again any time soon, this is something of a farewell. Perhaps only temporary but probably not. Thank you all so very much, it’s been a great pleasure getting to know you.

Most especially (in alphabetical order): Bev (and her amazing challenges), Brad, Chris, Colin (respondent extraordinaire), Curtis (who literally got me into a book), Elgin, Jim (keep up the good work, sunshine), Jeff (father of the amazing Kenji), John F (who it turns out is not sinister at all), John/Paul (top bloke all round whatever the moniker), Jose Ignacio (bilingual blogger and Simenon fan of repute), Just Jack, George, Karen (and her ramblings), Les, Margot (first responder among all bloggers), Martin (who is making new GAD fans of us all), Matt, Michael, Mike, Moira (who got me looking at clothes in fiction for the first time), Neeru, Noah, Patrick (who should be a cardinal soon), Piero, Prashant, Rich, Richard, The Ripster (who I hope makes a good recovery), Santosh, TomCat (lover of all locked things), TracyK (who has never reviewed a book positively that I also didn’t like), and the redoubtable and lovely Yvette. And a special nod to Steve and Mrs P, who inspired me to take the plunge, all those years ago.

And as always, special thanks to Todd and Patti for making Tuesdays and Fridays always a bit more special.

Just reading that long list of names makes me realise what a privilege this has been, especially with the recent news about Bill Crider’s ill health and the loss of such gents as Ed Gorman and Randy Johnson along the way.

It’s been grand. And in the words of the great Patrick McGoohan, be seeing you!

Posted in 'In praise of ...' | 64 Comments

2017 Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt Wrap-up

Bev over at My Reader’s Block has been hosting her vintage mystery reading challenges for much longer than I’ve been blogging and it’s been a pleasure to take part all these years.

So how did I do this year? Well I managed to review books from both the Golden (up to 1959) and Silver (1960-89) ages though, in a sign of things to come, I did far fewer than in years past. But here is what I found:

Continue reading

Posted in 2017 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, 2017 Silver Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, Agatha Christie, Anthony Berkeley, Carter Brown, Carter Dickson, Colin Dexter, Gideon Fell, Graham Greene, Helen Nielsen, Henry Merrivale, Inspector Morse, Jim Thompson, John Dickson Carr, John Lange, Michael Crichton, Poirot, Stark House Press | 18 Comments

Buon Natale 2017

So, what’s 2017 been like? Well, about this big as James Stewart might have said in that dark example of Film Noir that bizarrely seems to everyone’s favourite feel good Christmas movie … And on the mystery front? Well … I managed to participate in both the Golden and Silver Vintage Mystery Challenges set by Bev at My Reader’s Block as well as Todd Mason’s Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme and Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Book celebration over at Pattinase – special thanks to all of these fine folks for looking after us. But who else has helped make this a memorable year?
Continue reading

Posted in 'In praise of ...', 2017 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, 2017 Silver Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt | 50 Comments

ZERO COOL (1968) by Michael Crichton

Crichton-Zero-Cool-open-road_This is one of the ‘John Lange’ adventures written by Michael Crichton during his apprenticeship as a purveyor of paperback thrills. Reprinted in paper by Hard Case Crime, it is also available as an e-book from Open Road in what they refer to as the author’s ‘Med School Years’.

“Listen,” he hissed, his voice low and harsh. “If you do the autopsy, we will kill you. Do you understand? Kill you.”

I offer the following review for Patti’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme at her fab Pattinase blog and Bev’s 2017 Silver Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt.

Continue reading

Posted in 2017 Silver Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, Barcelona, France, Friday's Forgotten Book, Hard Case Crime, John Lange, Michael Crichton, Paris, Spain | 41 Comments

Crime at Christmas

As Britain gets ready for a very chilly yule indeed (and no, I don’t just mean the weather), my mind inevitably turns to the comforts of fictional crime!

There are some splendid books being made available for crime aficionados this season and I wanted to share with you some of the ones that have got my pulse racing – some are brand new and some are classic reprints in the wake of the great success of the British Library Crime Classics range so lovingly curated by Martin Edwards.

So here are a dozen of the ones I am certainly most looking forward to – in alphabetical order:

Continue reading

Posted in 'In praise of ...', Albert Campion, Cosy Cozy, Edward D. Hoch, England, Locked Room Mystery, Margery Allingham, Mike Ripley, Ngaio Marsh, Peter Lovesey, Philip MacDonald, Simon Brett | 45 Comments

Callan is back … on audio

Callan, the classic spy drama television series from the Sixties, returns with a star-studded cast in brand new audio adaptations from Big Finish Productions. Ben Miles stars as the titular Callan, with Frank Skinner joining him as small-time thief Lonely.

Continue reading

Posted in Audio Review, Big Finish, David Callan, James Mitchell, Nicholas Briggs, Ostara Publishing | 10 Comments

SHOTGUN SATURDAY NIGHT (1987) by Bill Crider

Today Patti Abbott is hosting Bill Crider Day over at her fab Pattinase blog. Crider has been remarkably prolific over the decades, managing to publish an average of two books a year while also working full-time as an academic until his retirement. As well as his mysteries, he has also published Spy, Horror and Western books as well as some YA fiction.

My modest contribution to today’s celebration is a review of his second published novel. It was also the second in the series of two-dozen mysteries featuring Sheriff Dan Rhodes, who is kept very busy in this one with boxes of human remains found dumped on a farm and then a dead body turning up, all in one piece this time (just about).

Continue reading

Posted in 2017 Silver Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, Bill Crider, Ed McBain, Texas | 35 Comments