For as long as I’ve been hosting this blog, I’ve participated in Bev Hankins’ irresistible vintage mystery reading challenges. The rules have been amended over the years, but the basic criteria is the same – review a mystery from two eras, Golden (up to 1959) or Silver (1960 to 1989) and then post the links to these over at her site, My Reader’s Block (which is a very ironic name when you see just how many book reviews she posts there).
Here’s how it went for me this year:
For the Golden Era this year, I reviewed three books by my favourite detective story writer of all time, John Dickson Carr, including the radio serial Who Killed Matthew Corbin? There were also some pretty cosy books by the likes of Margery Allingham, Edgar Wallace, Dorothy L. Sayers, Leo Bruce and Patricia Moyes and some decidedly tougher specimens such as four exceptionally hardboiled novels by James Hadley Chase, including No Orchids for Miss Blandish and its sequel and He Won’t Need it Now. There was also one incontrovertible literary classic, in the shape of Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent. In total I managed 18 reviews in this category this year
I managed 15 books in the silver age category. The biggest surprise was probably The Power of the Dog by Thomas Savage, a magnificent work that is usually not considered part of the mystery genre, but it certainly should be. This year saw the inclusion of Lullaby, the last eligible volume from Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct series as well as thrillers and spy novels by the likes of Alistair MacLean, James Mitchell and John le Carré as well as more unusual volumes by the likes of Don DeLillo and John Trinian as well as The Girl on the Best Seller List by ‘Vin Packer’ (aka Marijane Meaker) and the first Wexford by the late Ruth Rendell and an early locked room mystery by Catherine Aird. And special thanks to my mate Colin, for contributing a review for that most unusual Ellery Queen book, Cop Out. Though I don’t think much could top having Bill Pronzini himself stop by with a comment on my review of his early “Nameless” novel, The Vanished – now that kind of made my year!
Thanks for looking after us Bev, as always a most generous and gracious hostess. Looking forward to the 2017 challenges!
You did quite well, Sergio! What I like about these challenges is that they encourage one to try those lesser-known gems from those eras. There’s so much there to explore, that I doubt one lifetime’d be enough. But these sorts of challenges are encouragement. Looking forward to what you share with us in 2017.
Quite right Margot – many thanks 😀
You did very well indeed, but you usually do, buddy.
Way off my usual game this year but then …
Tell me about it! Even so, lots of good content there and plenty of pleasure to be had from chats on old favorites and new discoveries.
Who needs content, it’s all about the comments mate 🙂
Well you can’t have the latter without the former, and people only like chatting about the interesting stuff, so don’t sell yourself short on that score. It was great to see Bill Pronzini pop in to comment a few days back, it must have been a thrill and you’ve earned it.
I know, how great was that? Brilliant of Bill Pronzini to stop by.
Very impressive, Sergio. I did not come anywhere close to that number. I had a really hard time finding matches to the scavenger hunt items on Silver Age books, and I only had maybe 15 Golden Age with a match to the scavenger hunt items (and not that many more that had no match). But no matter, I enjoyed it all and that is the point.
Thanks Tracy though I have done better in previous years admittedly…
Wonderful Sergio, as always. And thanks for introducing me to some not so well-known writers.
My great pleasure Neeru – thanks as always for the support.
Thanks for the wrap-up post, Sergio! (Keep your eyes peeled for the year-end prize opportunity!) But don’t tell me you are done reading for 2016?! Sure you can squeeze in another book or two…. 🙂
No can do Bev 🙂 Off to Australia on the 27th and work and social commitments up until then have me completely stretched as it is. Thanks again for hosting – it is always great fun.
Sergio, the wrap-up post is up (https://myreadersblock.blogspot.com/2016/12/vintage-mystery-scavenger-hunt-wrap-up.html). Be sure to link up for a chance to win!
Off I go 🙂
Sergio, you really did well and you read some great books too — congratulations! I’m intrigued by “The Power of the Dog” by Thomas Savage. I will check out the book. Good luck for 2017!
Thanks Prashant – hope you try the Savage!