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 , , | 24 Comments

The Manny deWitt trilogy by Peter Rabe

This omnibus – a secret review copy of which arrived, via three drop boxes and as many couriers in disguise – comes courtesy of those very nice people at Stark House Press. It brings together the trilogy of decidedly off-beat adventure capers by Peter Rabe featuring Manny deWitt, a lawyer by trade who also acts as a troubleshooter for his wealthy and mercurial boss, Dutch industrialist Hans Lobbe.

“The girl in the painting was a trollop”

I submit this review for Bev’s 2017 Silver 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 Silver Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, Africa, Cold War, Espionage, Germany, Paris, Peter Rabe, Stark House Press, The Netherlands | 14 Comments


This riveting psychological thriller dealing with returning American servicemen has just completed its second season and I am here to sing its praises – of course, without divulging any spoilers. An audio drama available as a free podcasts, it features a stellar cast headed by Catherine Keener, Oscar Isaac, David Schwimmer, Amy Sedaris and in season 2, Michael Cera.

I submit this post for Tuesday’s Overlooked Media meme hosted by Todd Mason over at his Sweet Freedom blog.
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Posted in Amnesia, Audio Review, Florida | 8 Comments

THE NOISE OF TIME by Julian Barnes

Julian Barnes is a celebrated author of novels, short stories and literary criticism. He also wrote four thrillers (1980-87) as ‘Dan Kavanagh’ (named for his late wife, Pat Kavanagh), featuring bisexual private eye Duffy. Though recently reprinted by Orion, you wouldn’t know that from the bibliography in Barnes’ most recent volumes as Duffy has been expunged from these.

He had been a mistake, swiftly corrected: a face in a photograph that went missing the next time the photograph was printed.

The Noise of Time, while containing references to murder, espionage and blackmail, is not crime fiction.

I submit this short review for Friday’s Forgotten Books meme, hosted today by Todd Mason over at his fab Sweet Freedom blog.

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Posted in Julian Barnes, Moscow, New York, Russia | 22 Comments

Terror by Night (1946)

The Holmes and Watson series picked itself right up again with this train-bound adventure that comes as very welcome after the disappointment of Pursuit to Algiers. It was also the swansong for Dennis Hoey’s Lestrade.

Holmes: The Inspector’s going to Scotland to fish for salmon!
Watson: Oh really? The season doesn’t start for another month, but you wouldn’t know that, would you?
Lestrade: ‘Oo says I’m gonna fish fer salmon?
Watson: ‘Oo? ‘Im!

The following review is offered for Todd Mason’s Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme over at his fab Sweet Freedom blog.
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Posted in Arthur Conan Doyle, London, Scotland, Sherlock Holmes, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , | 19 Comments

PAST TENSE by Margot Kinberg

kinberg_past-tenseYou all know Margot Kinberg, the indefatigable mystery author and academic who blogs over at Confessions of a Mystery Novelist and who cheerleads for the detective genre here, there and everywhere. Past Tense is the third in her series of mysteries featuring Joel Williams, an ex-cop who now is an academic at (the fictional) Tilton University, somewhere in Pennsylvania. It’s exam time but there is more excitement than normal when remains of a man who died some 40 years earlier are found on campus. Was it murder?

Don’t forget to check out Friday’s Forgotten Books meme run by Patti Abbott at her fab Pattinase blog

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Posted in Campus crime, Friday's Forgotten Book, Margot Kinberg, Pennsylvania | 16 Comments