DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1943) by James M. Cain

Cain-Double-Indemnity-signetIt is possible that the public conception of Noir owes more to the success of this book than any other. On the face of it, author James M. Cain just rewrote The Postman Always Rings Twice (click here for my review of that one), telling a similar story of a wife and lover bumping off her husband, finishing up with a volume that is even shorter (just under 30,000 words). But this tart serial from the Depression era ultimately tapped in to the sour mood engendered by the war when collected in a book and in its scheming protagonist created one of the first true Femme Fatales of the genre. It also served as the basis for a movie that, as adapted by Raymond Chandler and Billy Wilder, most think seriously outclassed the original.

I submit this review for Bev’s Vintage Mystery Challenge; Rich Westwood’s Crime of the Century meme; and Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme hosted by Todd Mason over at his unmissable Sweet Freedom blog.

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Posted in 2017 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, Billy Wilder, Film Noir, James M. Cain, Noir on Tuesday, Raymond Chandler, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 28 Comments

MINISTRY OF FEAR (1943) by Graham Greene

Greene-Ministry-penguinA wartime story of espionage and guilt, this was the last and personal favourite of Graham Greene’s self-styled ‘entertainments,’ the term he used to differentiate his thrillers from his more mainstream novels, though several of his books fall into that category too (see the list below). It all begins when Arthur Rowe, in an England trying to cope with the horrors of the Blitz, wins a cake at a village fête and unwittingly gets involved with enemy agents …

I submit this review for Bev’s Vintage Mystery Challenge; Rich Westwood’s Crime of the Century meme; and Friday’s Forgotten Books meme hosted today by Todd Mason at his Sweet Freedom blog.

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Posted in 2017 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, Espionage, Film Noir, Five Star review, Friday's Forgotten Book, Graham Greene, Spy movies, World War II | Tagged | 42 Comments

PAINKILLER by NJ Fountain

“You wrote my note! My suicide note! You want to kill me!”

fountain-painkiller

Although the term ‘gaslighting’ has existed for decades, it is very popular at present to describe stories in which men manipulate the minds of women – and this clever suspense novel definitely fits the bill. Monica had an accident five years ago and is now in a constant state of neuropathic pain. She used to be a powerful actor’s agent but now, due to side effects from her medication, can barely remember anything of her old life. Her husband Dominic has seemingly been very supportive, putting up with all her vicious emotional outbursts; but when she finds forgotten  old suicide note, in clear handwriting she physically couldn’t have written, Monica starts to doubt everything, and everyone, around her.

And don’t forget to check out the reviews posted as part of Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme over at her fab Pattinase blog.
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Posted in Alfred Hitchcock, Amnesia, Boileau-Narcejac, England, Film Noir, Hammer Studios, Jimmy Sangster, London, Nev Fountain, Patrick Hamilton, Robert Bloch, Ruth Rendell | 42 Comments

WOMAN ON THE ROOF (1954) by Helen Nielsen

nielsen_woman-on-the-roof_shpThis books starts off with a premise reminiscent of the Hitchcock movie Rear Window (or rather, the short story on which it was based, ‘It Had to Be Murder’ by Cornell Woolwich / William Irish): looking through a window a person see a crime and become the target of the culprit. But beyond this simple situation, this book goes in quite a different direction, exploring the themes of paranoia, voyeurism and, most surprisingly, a sympathetic treatment of mental health issues, in port-war America.

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, Friday's Forgotten Book, Helen Nielsen, Stark House Press | 55 Comments

DEATH IN THE CLOUDS (1935) by Agatha Christie

chrisite-death-in-the-clouds_fontanaI rarely review Christie’s books, mainly because her work is already so well covered out there on the blogosphere. But now that my amazing oldest niece (of two, by 12 minutes) is getting into crime fiction, its time for one of my rare posts on her work – but in fact, not by me at all as this is going to be a guest review.  She is already a GAD veteran, having read Carr, Marsh and Queen, but this is her first Christie, which I suggested for its clever plot, lack of scary bits and the international setting. But now, over to: Littlemisscrime47

We submit this review for Bev’s Mystery Scavenger Hunt; and don’t forget to check out Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme over at her fab Pattinase blog.

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Posted in 2017 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, Agatha Christie, England, France, Friday's Forgotten Book, Poirot | 75 Comments

THE GETAWAY (1959) by Jim Thompson

Thompson-The-Getaway-pbThis tale of thieves falling out is lifted out of the ordinary by  Thompson’s uncanny ability to create chillingly credible portraits of criminals, misfits, felons and psychopaths at the extremes of human behaviour. He then caps it all with a hellish finale that goes where no pulp paperback had gone before, which was predictably excised from both movie versions .. but which unexpectedly surfaced in a George Clooney movie written by Quentin Tarantino …

I submit this review for Bev’s Vintage Mystery Challenge; Rich Westwood’s Crime of the Century meme; and (in hope, and admiration) 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, Jim Thompson, Texas, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 54 Comments

FROZEN CHARLOTTE by Alex Bell

bell_frozen-charlotte This is one of a series of books published under the ‘Red Eye’ banner from Little Tiger/Stripes Publishing and aimed at young adults. I picked this one up for my amazing niece (youngest of the two by 12 minutes) while I was visiting her in Sydney. It’s a mixture of Gothic mystery and horror, but also a contemporary story that greatly appealed to her. As she has a lot more experience than I do in this genre, I have asked her to review this for Fedora. So, now, it’s over to Frozencharlotte12, for her first ever blog post.

After reading this, don’t forget tomorrow to check out the other reviews posted as part of Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme over at her fab Pattinase blog.

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Posted in Five Star review, Friday's Forgotten Book, Gothic, Scotland | Tagged | 52 Comments