NINE-AND DEATH MAKES TEN (1941) by Carter Dickson

I fell in love with John Dickson Carr’s work via his  ‘Carter Dickson’ alter ego when I chanced across his classic The Reader is Warned back when I was 14. Nine and Death Makes Ten (aka Murder in the Submarine Zone) was the next book of his I was able to find, and it confirmed for me what a great author he was. Here’s why (without spoilers):

“They are not the finger-prints of anybody aboard this ship”

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

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Posted in 2017 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, Carter Dickson, Five Star review, Friday's Forgotten Book, Henry Merrivale, John Dickson Carr, Locked Room Mystery | 84 Comments

DEATH IN PARADISE (2001) by Robert B. Parker

The next year should be a good one for fans of Jesse Stone on screen and on the printed page as we are promised two brand new entries in these parallel series.

Jesse is a compelling character, built along traditionally heroic lines redolent of the Old West. Formerly a Homicide Detective in LA, when his wife cheated on him his drinking got worse until he had to resign in disgrace. But he has been given one last chance, as Chief of Police in the small (fictional) town of Paradise in north Massachusetts.

The following book vs movie review is offered as part of the Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme hosted by Todd Mason over at his Sweet Freedom blog.

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Posted in Jesse Stone, Police procedural, Robert B. Parker | 14 Comments

HARK! (2004) by Ed McBain

The Deaf Man, the cold-blooded super-criminal whose antics plagued the boys and girls of the 87th Precinct for decades was last seen, in 1993’s Mischief, being tied naked to a bed and being shot twice in the chest by Gloria, his two-timing confederate. But it seems that you just can’t keep a good arch-nemesis down, and after a decade to recuperate he returned for what would prove to be his final appearance, in the penultimate book in the series. And this time he teases and frustrates the squad by quoting from the works of Shakespeare. But what is he really up to?

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 87th Precinct, Ed McBain, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Police procedural | 18 Comments


Bringing together new essays with material published over the last decade, this new volume in the Stark House Reference range more than lives up to its subtitle: Essays on Crime Fiction Writers from the ’50s through to the 90s. Part of the material first appeared as introductions to earlier Stark House reprints for such hardboiled authors as James Hadley Chase, Peter Rabe, Wade Miller, Charles Williams, WR Burnett and the recently departed Ed Gorman. But it is also a personal look at the trials and tribulations experienced writing such material .

I submit this review for Friday’s Forgotten Books meme run by Patti Abbott at her fab Pattinase blog.

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Posted in Charles Williams, Donald Westlake, Ed Gorman, Friday's Forgotten Book, Harlan Ellison, Hollywood, Los Angeles, New York, Noir, Stark House Press, Wade Miller | 16 Comments

Pursuit to Algiers (1945)

It’s a shame, I know, but as we say in Italy, not every ring doughnut comes out with a hole in the middle. And the tenth entry in Universal Studios’ Holmes and Watson series, is by common consent considered the very least of them. It involves the protection of a member of a foreign royal family, stolen emeralds and is largely set aboard a ship and has a trio of memorable villains too. So far, so good. But we begin in a foggy old London fish and chip shop for an elaborate meet and greet that gets pretty silly …

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, Sherlock Holmes, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , | 13 Comments

THE NIGHT MANAGER (1993) by John le Carré

This is a spy novel that got great reviews from the get-go, but I somehow kept delaying actually reading it and despite several attempts, never seemed to actually crack on with it (I don’t mean that literally – cracking spines is not cool in my house). I almost started it last year, ahead of the TV version, but never got round to it in time so missed seeing the well-received adaptation too. Why did I keep delaying? Well, probably because my paperback copy (here on the left) is 700 pages long and I wasn’t sure I wanted to carry it around with me on the tube for a couple of weeks!

Finally after  some prodding from an old mate (codename: ‘Soldier’), I’ve got round to reading the book. And ..?

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

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Posted in Bahamas, Egypt, England, Espionage, John le Carre, Switzerland | 35 Comments


Cultural appropriation is the theme and the music biz the scene for this unusual entry in the 87th Precinct series. ‘Bandersnatch’ is the name of a new album, taken of course from Lewis Carroll, and initially there is more than a touch of the absurd about this tale of a kidnapped singer, and not just because bigot supreme Fat Ollie Weeks seems to have found himself a girlfriend. But we also see the return of the under-used Cotton Hawes (about time) for a book with a somewhat post-modern literary feel that while occasionally playful in its allusions ends very bleakly indeed.

I offer the following review for Friday’s Forgotten Books meme run by Patti Abbott at her fab Pattinase blog.
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Posted in 87th Precinct, Ed McBain, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Police procedural | 14 Comments