Category Archives: 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo

2014 Vintage Mystery Challenges – completed

12 months and 72 book reviews later and the Vintage Mystery Challenge bingos, both Golden (pre-1960) and Silver (1960 to 1989) varieties, are complete! The indefatigable Bev of My Reader’s Block gives structure and meaning to the reading habits of us mystery … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, 87th Precinct, Agatha Christie, Bill Pronzini, Carter Dickson, Charlotte Armstrong, Cornell Woolrich, Dashiell Hammett, David Callan, Dorothy Dunnett, Ed McBain, Edward D. Hoch, Erle Stanley Gardner, Evelyn Anthony, Georges Simenon, Gideon Fell, Gil Brewer, Gillian Freeman, Graham Greene, Harold Q. Masur, Helen Nielsen, James Hadley Chase, James M. Cain, James Mitchell, John Blackburn, John Dickson Carr, John Sladek, L. Ron Hubbard, Lange Lewis, Lawrence Sanders, Leslie Charteris, LP Davies, Maigret, Marcia Muller, Miss Marple, Nero Wolfe, Ngaio Marsh, Noir, Orson Welles, Parker, PD James, Perry Mason, Peter Corris, Philip Marlowe, Philo Vance, Poirot, Police procedural, Private Eye, Raymond Chandler, Rex Stout, Richard Stark, Robert B. Parker, Robert Bloch, Roderick Alleyn, Science Fiction, Shirley Jackson, Somerset Maugham, SS Van Dine, Stanley Ellin, Stark House Press, The Shadow, Thomas M. Disch, Walter B Gibson, William Goldman | 24 Comments

Buon Natale 2014

2014 has been very busy – but will it be remembered as a vintage year?

Posted in 'In praise of ...', 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo | 30 Comments

DOLLY AND THE BIRD OF PARADISE (1983) by Dorothy Dunnett

Dorothy Dunnett (1923 – 2001) was best known for her historical novels but she also penned a series of mysteries featuring Johnson Johnson, a portrait painter and spy who travels on his yacht, the eponymous ‘Dolly,’ each book narrated by a … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Dorothy Dunnett | 32 Comments

THE BODY VANISHES (1976) by Jacquemard-Sénécal

Originally published in France as ‘Le Crime de la maison Grün’, this elaborate murder mystery was the earliest book by the team of Yves Jacquemard (1943-1980) and Jean-Michel Sénécal to be translated into English. Although the prose is a little … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Strasbourg | 31 Comments

BLACK ALICE (1968) by Thomas M. Disch and John T. Sladek

When Todd Mason wrote on his Sweet Freedom blog about the neglect of SF writer Thomas M. Disch, this immediately struck a chord. I realised that not only did I know very little of the man’s work but that what … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Friday's Forgotten Book, John Sladek, Thomas M. Disch | 42 Comments

BURY ME DEEP (1947) by Harold Q. Masur

This was the first in the series featuring New York lawyer Scott Jordan. It opens with a great screwball variant on that hardboiled cliché of a man waking up with a hangover and an unknown dead blonde in his bed. … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Courtroom, Friday's Forgotten Book, Harold Q. Masur, New York | 23 Comments

THE LIVING SHADOW (1931) by Maxwell Grant

One of the great figures from the pulp magazines era, The Shadow was also something of a multimedia phenomenon in the 1930s. This was the first novel in which the vigilante appeared and was penned by the ultra prolific Walter B. … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, New York, The Shadow, Walter B Gibson | 38 Comments

THE RIVERSIDE VILLAS MURDER (1973) by Kingsley Amis

From its mid 1930s setting to its convoluted murder method, this is an affectionate (if sui generis) hommage to the Golden Age mystery – from a seemingly unlikely champion, the angry young ironist of 1950s British literature, Kingsley Amis. But … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Edmund Crispin, Friday's Forgotten Book, John Dickson Carr, Kingsley Amis, Locked Room Mystery | 42 Comments

The Man on the Eiffel Tower (1949)

Charles Laughton plays Inspector Maigret in this highly atypical Hollywood movie, shot in colour and on location in Paris. Despite a cast that includes Franchot Tone and Burgess Meredith (who also took over as director at the last-minute), this is … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, France, Georges Simenon, Maigret, Paris, Scene of the crime, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged | 38 Comments

AN EASTER EGG HUNT (1981) by Gillian Freeman

This three-part novel begins in 1915, when a girl goes missing from a country finishing school while on an Easter treasure hunt. This is presented in the form of a true-crime story published two years later, with the names changed … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, England, Friday's Forgotten Book, Gillian Freeman | Tagged | 34 Comments

Fedora (1978) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

I had to review this film for its title alone! But it’s also a great movie, well worth 2 hours of your time (it’s just been released on Blu-ray). Based on the eponymous novella by Thomas Tryon – the actor-turned-author … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Billy Wilder, France, Germany, Greece, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , | 27 Comments

Vote for your Top 10 John Dickson Carr books

What are your favourite books by John Dickson Carr (aka Carter Dickson)? The topic came up while re-reading The Crooked Hinge, a title that regularly turns up in lists of the author’s best works, though few think it as ‘perfect’ a performance … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Carter Dickson, Gideon Fell, Henry Merrivale, John Dickson Carr, Locked Room Mystery | 111 Comments

THE LETTER (1927) by Somerset Maugham

At night on a Malaya rubber plantation a gunshot rings out. A man stumbles out of a bungalow, pursued by a woman, who empties all the chambers of her revolver into him. The moonlight reveals a distraught, gun-toting Bette Davis … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Courtroom, Malaysia, Singapore, Somerset Maugham | Tagged , , , | 60 Comments

STRANGLED PROSE (1986) by Joan Hess

I haven’t read many books in the ‘contemporary cosy’ genre but decided to check this one out after a strong review from that wise mathematician, the Puzzledoctor. It’s the first in the continuing series of Claire Malloy mysteries set in Farberville, … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Campus Crime, Cosy Cozy, Friday's Forgotten Book | Tagged | 49 Comments

THE FURY (1976) by John Farris

A wannabe blockbuster in its day, John Farris’s expansive novel – and the far more linear movie version he scripted for Brian De Palma – still works as a sui generis mixture of espionage, action and the paranormal. Gillian is a … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Alfred Hitchcock, Brian de Palma, Chicago, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Scene of the crime | 39 Comments

THE GODWULF MANUSCRIPT (1973) by Robert B. Parker

Robert B Parker’s Boston private eye Spenser made his debut with this campus investigation, first into the theft of the eponymous precious artefact (he never does find it) before looking into several murders linked to a student revolutionary group. Like … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Boston, Friday's Forgotten Book, Private Eye, Robert B. Parker | 44 Comments

MAGIC (1976) by William Goldman

William Goldman is probably known best for The Princess Bride and Marathon Man, both of which he adapted into successful movies. His suspense novel Magic was a hit in its day too, though did less well when he reworked it for … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, New York, Tuesday's Overlooked Film, William Goldman | Tagged , , , , | 46 Comments

SOME MUST WATCH (1933) by Ethel Lina White

It’s Halloween, so time for things to get a little shuddery here at Fedora! Ethel Lina White, a big name in the 1930s, is best known today for The Wheel Spins, later filmed by Hitchcock as The Lady Vanishes. Some … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Film Noir, Gothic, Robert Siodmak | Tagged | 40 Comments

THE RETURN OF THE THIN MAN by Dashiell Hammett

Absurd as it may seem, there are those who don’t think the delightful screwball mysteries featuring Nick and Nora Charles really belong in the oeuvre of hardboiled master, Dashiell Hammett. This has been exacerbated by the perceived devaluation of his … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Dashiell Hammett, New York, San Francisco, Screwball, The Thin Man | Tagged , | 44 Comments

THE BLACK SPECTACLES (1939) by John Dickson Carr

I was always predisposed to love this book: first off, it’s an impossible crime mystery, second it’s by John Dickson Carr and third it involves movie-making equipment – perfect! It sees the titanic powers of lexicographer detective Gideon Fell at … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, England, Gideon Fell, Italy, John Dickson Carr, Locked Room Mystery | 79 Comments

THE DRAGON MURDER CASE (1933) by SS Van Dine

A man dives into an open air swimming pool and vanishes, never to be seen alive again. When the pool is drained, the only clue to be found is what looks like the footprints of a dragon on the muddy … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, New York, Philo Vance, SS Van Dine, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 48 Comments

THE SNATCH (1971) by Bill Pronzini

After reading Marcia Muller’s first Sharon McCone series (click here for the review), I thought it might be fun to go look at the debut of another San Francisco private eye, one that she would subsequently meet. “Nameless’ was created … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Bill Pronzini, Friday's Forgotten Book, Private Eye, San Francisco | 44 Comments

The Empty Beach (1985) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Bryan Brown played Australian private investigator Cliff Hardy in this adaptation of the fourth in the continuing series of mysteries by Peter Corris. As of this year Hardy has featured in 40 books, and as the author is usually credited … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Australia, Peter Corris, Sydney | 24 Comments

DETOUR (1953) by Helen Nielsen

Danny Ross is 18 years old and heading south, anxious to start a new life. A few hundred miles from the Mexico border his car packs up but is offered a lift by old Doc Gaynor, who is heading to … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Friday's Forgotten Book, Helen Nielsen | 37 Comments

The Jigsaw Man (1983) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

This spy thriller was inspired by the exploits of double agent Kim Philby. Indeed the author went so far as to cheekily dedicate the book to him, and all her ‘dear friends in the KGB’ including those, ‘not yet surfaced.’ … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Cold War, England, Espionage, London, Moscow, Spy movies, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 36 Comments

Phantom Lady (1944) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

This great movie is based on the book that got me hooked on the dark suspense of  Cornell Woolrich in the 1980s – and I suspect that, along with The Bride Wore Black, it’s the one that does it for … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Cornell Woolrich, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Robert Siodmak | 39 Comments

SHOOTING STAR (1958) by Robert Bloch

Reprinted by Hard Case Crime a few years back, this was Robert Bloch’s one and only private eye novel – so of course, given his inclination towards the tongue-in-cheek, he made it a book about an investigator with only one … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Friday's Forgotten Book, Hollywood, Robert Bloch | 71 Comments

Try This One for Size (1989) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

This amusing comedy-thriller was the first of a quartet of films starring Michael Brandon derived from the work of euro noir legend, James Hadley Chase. Set in the double-dealing world of smugglers and dodgy art dealers, this one brought Paradise City detective Tom … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Florida, France, James Hadley Chase, Noir, Switzerland | 24 Comments

A SCENT OF NEW-MOWN HAY (1958) by John Blackburn

I’ve been looking to sample this author’s weird fiction for years after hearing him compared with LP Davies, one of my favourite British pulp authors of the 1960s. So I have decided, in my usual fashion, to start at the … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, England, Germany, John Blackburn, LP Davies | 29 Comments

SLEEP WITH SLANDER (1960) by Dolores Hitchens

This was the second, and last, of the novels featuring private detective Jim Sader published under her ‘Dolores Hitchens’ byline by Julia Clara Catharine Dolores Birk Olsen Hitchens (1907–1973), who also wrote as D. B. Olsen, Dolan Birkley and Noel Burke. … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Bill Pronzini, Los Angeles, Private Eye, Ross Macdonald | Tagged | 25 Comments