Author Archives: Cavershamragu

Marple: Endless Night

Endless Night, among the best of Agatha Christie’s  later novels, is the latest to be ‘Marple-ised’ – that is to say, adapted for the ongoing Marple TV series by inserting Jane Marple into a story where she did not originally appear. … Continue reading

Posted in Agatha Christie, Margaret Millar, Miss Marple | Tagged , , | 73 Comments

ENDLESS NIGHT (1967) by Agatha Christie

We begin 2014 with a classic author trying something different. Many readers (myself included) regard this as among the most accomplished of Agatha Christie’s (admittedly variable) later novels. A clever variation on one of her best Golden Age gambits, this is none … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Agatha Christie, Friday's Forgotten Book, Margaret Millar, Miss Marple | 73 Comments

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt: The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 190,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists | Tagged | 24 Comments

Buon Natale 2013

This site began back in January 2011 and here we are, three years and 374 posts and 7,500 comments later. So, what have we learned this year?

Posted in 'In praise of ...' | 40 Comments

A FATAL ATTACHMENT (1992) by Robert Barnard

The late Robert Barnard (1936-2013) wrote four dozen mysteries that deftly combined ironic swipes at the class system with often very clever plots. He was also the author of a fine critical study of Agatha Christie, A Talent to Deceive. As a small … Continue reading

Posted in Charlie Peace, Robert Barnard, Yorkshire | 34 Comments

2013 Book to Movie Challenge – completed

I had promised myself that in 2013 I would not undertake any new Challenges … but this one created by Katie over at her Doing Dewey blog proved irresistible. I selected the Movie Aficionado level (a dozen books to be reviewed … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, Bill Pronzini, Boileau-Narcejac, Bryan Forbes, Harlan Ellison, Michael Crichton, Philip Marlowe, Raymond Chandler, Richard Matheson, Stanley Ellin | 22 Comments

2013 Vintage Mystery Challenge – completed

The indefatigable and always welcoming Bev of My Reader’s Block regularly corrals us mystery buffs with her Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge, which focuses on mystery fiction published pre-1960 to be eligible for inclusion. I’ve had a great time this year with … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Albert Campion, Boileau-Narcejac, Edgar Wallace, Elisabeth Sanxay Holding, George Axelrod, Georges Simenon, James M. Cain, Maigret, Margaret Scherf, Margery Allingham, Michael Gilbert, Nero Wolfe, Philo Vance, Rex Stout, Richard Matheson, Sherwood King, SS Van Dine, Stanley Ellin, Wade Miller, Whit Masterson, World War II | 26 Comments

HAIL, HAIL, THE GANG’S ALL HERE! (1971) by Ed McBain

To celebrate the 25th entry in the 87th Precinct series, Ed McBain (aka Evan Hunter) tried something new with this triple-decker of a novel incorporating 14 separate storylines! “This modest volume is dedicated to the Mystery Writers of America, who, … Continue reading

Posted in 87th Precinct, Ed McBain, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Police procedural | 28 Comments

Book to Movie Challenge 2: The Sequel

And this time, it’s personal! Katie over at Doing Dewey is running a sequel to her Book to Movie Challenge next year and in an act of Yuletide madness has offered me the chance to co-anchor. Let’s hope she doesn’t regret it … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge | Tagged , | 22 Comments

Callan (1974) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

In the 1970s British cinema was at a particularly low ebb following the departure of the American majors. The number of productions fell precipitously and confidence ebbed away. As a result, for the next few years British cinemas seemed to … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, Cold War, David Callan, Espionage, James Mitchell, Tuesday's Overlooked Film, TV Spinoff | 18 Comments

THINK TWICE (1939) by Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand, author of The Fountainhead, was a fan of mysteries, praising the likes of Mickey Spillane and Fredric Brown, and even dabbled in the genre. Night of January 16th was a popular courtroom drama where the audience decided the outcome; Think … Continue reading

Posted in Ayn Rand, New York | 27 Comments

The Lady from Shanghai (1948) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

The story goes that Orson Welles, needing $50,000, rang the head of Columbia Studios and offered to make a film for them from a paperback he had just plucked at random from a book stand near the phone booth. Is … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, 2013 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Film Noir, New York, Orson Welles, San Francisco, Sherwood King | Tagged | 48 Comments

IF I DIE BEFORE I WAKE (1938) by Sherwood King

Later adapted by Orson Welles into The Lady from Shanghai starring Rita Hayworth, this was one of a pair of pre-war mysteries by Raymond Sherwood King. Set among the wealthy elite of Long Island, it is narrated by Laurence Planter, … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, 2013 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Courtroom, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Orson Welles, Sherwood King | 22 Comments

The Drowning Pool (1975) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Lew Archer, Ross Macdonald’s immortal private detective, had a name change when played by Paul Newman in Harper (1966). The movie was a hit so further attempts were made to transpose the character to the screen. The 1974 TV-Movie of The … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, New Orleans, Ross Macdonald | 43 Comments

A MAGNUM FOR SCHNEIDER (1969) by James Mitchell

David Callan is a very reluctant spy who undertakes nasty jobs for a black ops unit of MI6 known only as ‘The Section.’ An exceptional marksman with a deep-rooted (and usually well-founded) distrust of authority, his often lethal assignments do little to … Continue reading

Posted in Cold War, David Callan, Espionage, James Mitchell, Novelisation, Ostara Publishing | Tagged | 29 Comments

Blind Date (1959) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

This above average whodunit was directed with style and conviction by Joseph Losey, an American émigré in London who brought much of own feelings of cultural and social displacement to bear. Hardy Kruger is the foreigner in London who gets framed for murder … Continue reading

Posted in England, Film Noir, Georges Simenon, Joseph Losey, Leigh Howard, London, Scene of the crime, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged | 24 Comments

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN by Lionel Shriver

Columbine, Santana, Pocatello, Virginia Tech … 10 years after its publication and this novel remains as controversial and potent as ever, its distressing subject matter still relevant after the recent events in Sparks, Nevada and Sandy Hook Elementary School last … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, Lionel Shriver, New York | Tagged , , | 26 Comments

THE WINTER MURDER CASE (1939) by SS Van Dine

This was the snowy swan song for amateur sleuth Philo Vance. It is also, stylistically, Van Dine’s most atypical book, told in a brisk, direct and light manner almost completely free of those adornments (footnotes and expansive digressions etc.) that … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, 2013 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Philo Vance, SS Van Dine | 43 Comments

The Edgar Wallace Anthology

This is a bit of an indulgence I realise but I just got myself this massive box set and wanted to tell everybody about it … The following overview is offered as part of the Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme hosted … Continue reading

Posted in 'In praise of ...', Edgar Wallace, London, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 20 Comments

Joseph Losey’s crime movies

In the 1940s and early 1950s Joseph Losey established himself as a new director of rare intelligence and technical dexterity in Hollywood. His promise however was curtailed by the McCarthy witch hunts that destroyed the lives of hundreds of men … Continue reading

Posted in Cold War, Film Noir, James Hadley Chase, Joseph Losey, London, New York, Noir on Tuesday, Paris, Stanley Ellin, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 23 Comments

THE DROWNING POOL (1950) by Ross Macdonald

This is the second of eighteen books featuring Lew Archer, the California PI created by Kenneth Millar, first published under his soon to be shortened pen-name, ‘John Ross Macdonald.’ It was also the first of the series that I read, … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, 2013 Vintage Mystery Challenge, California, Friday's Forgotten Book, Ross Macdonald | 46 Comments

2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge

The amazing Bev Hankins is spoiling us mystery addicts again with details of her 2014 Reading Challenge (and no, I haven’t finished this year’s yet). For 2014 Bev has introduced not one but two innovations. To know more, come this way … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo | 12 Comments

Avanti! (1972) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Uptight Baltimore business executive Jack Lemmon and lovelorn British hairdresser Juliet Mills meet cute in Italy, lose their inhibitions (and their clothes) and get mixed up in blackmail, murder and a dash of body snatching in Avanti!, Billy Wilder’s autumnal … Continue reading

Posted in Billy Wilder, Italy, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , , | 24 Comments

The name is Parker …

Who is Parker? Well, he is the elusive protagonist of a series of crime novels by ‘Richard Stark’ (aka Donald Westlake) – we never learn his first name but then Parker is not his real surname anyway. In the second … Continue reading

Posted in Donald Westlake, Film Noir, Parker, Richard Stark | 26 Comments

DEADLY WEAPON (1946) by Wade Miller

Bill Miller and Bob Wade made their debut as novelists with this highly distinctive mystery that opens with a stabbing in the back row of a San Diego burlesque house. The victim was a fan of Shasta Lynn, the strip-tease … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Dashiell Hammett, Private Eye, San Diego, Scene of the crime, Wade Miller | 27 Comments

Danger Within (1959) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

The late Bryan Forbes co-adapted Michael Gilbert’s wartime mystery Death in Captivity (which I previously reviewed here) into this tight little movie, released in the US as Breakout. Set in an Italian POW camp in the Summer of 1943, it is a … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, Bryan Forbes, Italy, Michael Gilbert, Tuesday's Overlooked Film, World War II | Tagged | 23 Comments

SS Van Dine – forgotten author

Does anyone read the rarefied intellectual puzzles investigated by Philo Vance anymore? I have been looking again at this series written and narrated by ‘SS Van Dine’ mainly with great pleasure (and will provide a couple of reviews here at Fedora very … Continue reading

Posted in 'In praise of ...', 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, 2013 Vintage Mystery Challenge, SS Van Dine | 38 Comments

DEATH IN CAPTIVITY (1952) by Michael Gilbert

The unusual background for this superb locked room mystery is a POW camp in Italy, loosely based on the author’s own experiences during the Second World War. It was filmed with Richard Todd in 1959 as Danger Within, the book’s US … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, 2013 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Italy, Michael Gilbert, World War II | 34 Comments

Callan is back … in print

Next month will see the return – in print – of that tough, downbeat icon of 60s British espionage, Callan. Created by James Mitchell for a television play in 1967, the character of David Callan – personified by actor Edward Woodward -  was … Continue reading

Posted in David Callan, James Mitchell, Ostara Publishing | 10 Comments

Payback – Straight Up: The Director’s Cut

When Parker, the Jason Statham / Jennifer Lopez movie was released, they used a rather obscure though witty strapline that only fans would probably enjoy: “Payback has a new name” Why is this amusing? Well it helps if you know that … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, Donald Westlake, Film Noir, Parker, Richard Stark | Tagged , | 32 Comments