Category Archives: 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge

THE MAN IN LOWER TEN (1906) by Mary Roberts Rinehart

This was the debut novel by Mary Roberts Rinehart (1876-1958), though it originally only appeared between hard covers the year after the success of The Circular Staircase (1908), which more or less popularised the spinster ‘Had I but Known’ style most often associated … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge | 39 Comments

THROUGH A GLASS, DARKLY (1950) by Helen McCloy

Poor mousey little Faustina Crayle! An apparently mild, self-effacing art teacher with no axe to grind and perfect manners, she has somehow become an object of horror. Everybody, it seems, is frightened to death of her, yet she has no … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Connecticut, Friday's Forgotten Book, Helen McCloy, New York | 51 Comments

GHOSTS (1980) by Ed McBain

A heavy emphasis on the supernatural takes the 87th Precinct series into uncharted waters with this volume. It may be Christmas but Carella and Hawes are investigating the fatal stabbing of two residents of a new and highly secure apartment … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, 87th Precinct, Ed McBain, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Police procedural | 40 Comments

THE STRANGE WORLD OF PLANET X (1957) by Rène Ray

And now for a change of pace here at Fedora, featuring a novel by Irene Creese (1911-1993), better known as actress Rène Ray, who later became Countess of Midleton after marrying her longtime partner, George St John Brodrick, 2nd Earl … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, England, Science Fiction, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged | 36 Comments

NOTHING CAN RESCUE ME (1943) by Elizabeth Daly

Don’t you just hate it when a book you think you’re really going to like just doesn’t ‘do it’ for you? This is such a case …It is one of 16 detective novels by Elizabeth Daly (1878-1967), who was said … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York | 36 Comments

NIGHT OF THE HORNS (1958) and CRY WOLFRAM (1959) by Douglas Sanderson

This volume, reprinting a pair of hitherto hard-to-find mysteries by Douglas Sanderson (1920-2002), comes from those very nice people at Stark House Press. Both originally appeared under multiple titles and bylines: Night of the Horns was known as Murder Comes Calling by ‘Malcolm … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Friday's Forgotten Book, Stark House Press | Tagged | 94 Comments

HOSTILE WITNESS (1968) by Jack Roffey

Simon Crawford is a highly successful barrister whose world comes crashing down when his daughter Joanne is killed in a hit-and-run accident. He suffers a nervous breakdown when he is unable to find out who was responsible and spends months … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Courtroom, London, Ray Milland, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged | 28 Comments

CALYPSO (1979) by Ed McBain

Carella and Meyer of the 87th get involved in the music world in this, the 33rd entry in this amazingly long-lived series of police procedurals. “King George’ was a Trinidadian singer-songwriter of calypso songs dealing with hot topic issues, from … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, 87th Precinct, Ed McBain, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Police procedural | 36 Comments

CAROL (1952) by Patricia Highsmith

This was Highsmith’s second novel and superficially is quite different from her usual tales of tortured suspense. It first appeared as by ‘Claire Morgan’ under the title The Price of Salt, the switch in identity due to the fact that … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Patricia Highsmith | 76 Comments

THE LITTLE SISTER (1949) by Raymond Chandler

This is one of my favourite Raymond Chandler novels but I’m probably in a minority on this. In fact, even the author professed to dislike it! I loved this book when I first read it as a kid but wondered … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Five Star review, Friday's Forgotten Book, Hollywood, Los Angeles, Philip Marlowe, Private Eye, Raymond Chandler, Scene of the crime | 76 Comments

DEAD MAN’S BAY (1953) by Catherine Arley

This tale of psychological suspense marked the literary debut of Catherine Arley (the pen name of Pierrette Pernot), who celebrated her 90th birthday last December. Originally published in France as Tu Vas Mourir (and later reissued as Mourir sans toi), it appeared … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, France, Friday's Forgotten Book | 49 Comments

PAYROLL (1959) by Derek Bickerton

This fuel-injected thriller was an early effort by Derek Bickerton, who subsequently established himself as an eminent linguist. Set in Birmingham, it tells the story of a heist that goes wrong – but then, in fiction, don’t they always? A … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Birmingham, George Baxt, Newcastle | Tagged | 31 Comments

LONG TIME NO SEE (1977) by Ed McBain

Well, it really has been a while – over a year to be precise! After the disappointment of So Long As You Both Shall Live (which I reviewed here), I decided to bench the 87th Precinct books for a while. But … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, 87th Precinct, Ed McBain, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Police procedural | 36 Comments

AYLMER VANCE: GHOST-SEER (1914) by Alice and Claude Askew

This collection, combining crime and the paranormal, was by the husband-and-wife team of Alice and Claude Askew, both of whom perished when their passenger ship was torpedoed during the Great War in 1917. The protagonist is Aylmer Vance, who undertakes investigations on behalf of … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, England, Friday's Forgotten Book, Once Upon A Time IX Challenge | Tagged | 29 Comments

CRIME ON MY HANDS (1944) by George Sanders (and Craig Rice)

This was the first of two mysteries published as by suave movie star George Sanders, then best known for playing the Saint and the Falcon on screen. Two of the latter had been co-written by Craig Rice (1908–1957), who ghosted … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Craig Rice, Friday's Forgotten Book, Hollywood | Tagged | 52 Comments

SLAYGROUND (1971) by Richard Stark

One of the very last of the original run of novels featuring ultra-hardboiled, single moniker criminal Parker, it begins with a getaway that goes awry. He and his occasional colleague, Grofield, soon part company. To find out what happens to Grofield … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Blackpool, Donald Westlake, Film Noir, New York, Parker, Richard Stark | Tagged | 26 Comments

FIRE WILL FREEZE (1944) by Margaret Millar

This year marks the centenary of the birth of Margaret Millar (1915-1994), easily one of the best suspense writers of the 50s and 60s. To celebrate (no that I need much of an excuse) I decided to pick up this … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Canada, Friday's Forgotten Book, Margaret Millar | 69 Comments

SHAKE HANDS FOREVER (1975) by Ruth Rendell

Reg Wexford and Mike Burden, the two top cops of Kingsmarkham, have a very cunningly conceived plan to unravel in their ninth case, which has always been one of my favourites. Angela Hathall is found strangled in the home she … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, England, Inspector Wexford, Ruth Rendell | Tagged , | 49 Comments

THE PLEDGE (1958) by Friedrich Dürrenmatt

This is a police procedural with a real difference. The story of an investigation that goes wrong, it tries to bring the reality of crime investigation (circa 1958) in a face-off with the conventions of the mystery genre. Indeed, it … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Film Noir, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Switzerland, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , , | 25 Comments

SPEAK OF THE DEVIL (1941) by John Dickson Carr

This historical mystery, set around the battle of Waterloo and involving a locked room murder, a phantom woman who only our hero believes exists, a mysterious ‘man in black’ and a duel in a hot air balloon, was for decades a … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Audio Review, England, John Dickson Carr, Locked Room Mystery, London | 41 Comments

THE MAN ON THE BALCONY (1967) by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö

According to the cover of my paperback (on the left) this was the second case for Martin Beck, the Stockholm police detective created by husband and wife authors Per Wahlöö and Maj Sjöwall. Actually, I’m pretty sure it was the … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, Police procedural, Sweden | 31 Comments

THE COMPLETE CASES OF INSPECTOR ALLHOFF by DL Champion

The armchair sleuth has been a fixture of mystery fiction from the days of Baroness Orczy’s ‘old man in the corner’ and Jacques Futrelle’s SFX Van Dusen. However, the frankly insane Inspector Allhoff was surely pulp fiction’s first wheelchair-bound detective. … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York | 34 Comments

THE IVORY DAGGER (1950) by Patricia Wentworth

I may not be a particular fan of cosies (or even ‘cozies’) but for decades Wentworth was a truly ubiquitous figure – so it’s about time Fedora posted a review of one of her mysteries. Doris Amy Elles (1878-1961) as … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, England, Friday's Forgotten Book, Patricia Wentworth | 48 Comments

THE QUIET AMERICAN (1955) by Graham Greene

Graham Greene differentiated his thrillers like A Gun For Sale (1934) from more mainstream efforts by labelling them ‘entertainments’ though the line often blurred, as with Brighton Rock (1938). After the War he stopped making the distinction, benefitting his work as a whole … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Five Star review, Graham Greene, Vietnam | Tagged , , | 38 Comments

THE RINGER (1929) by Edgar Wallace

Like Somerset Maugham, the hugely popular novelist and short story writer Edgar Wallace was for a time even more successful as a playwright, starting with his 1927 smash, The Ringer, adapted from his novel, The Gaunt Stranger. It was so successful … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Edgar Wallace, England, Friday's Forgotten Book, Germany | Tagged , | 44 Comments

CLEAN BREAK (1955) by Lionel White

I’d not read anything by Lionel White (1905-1985) before but was really looking forward to it, being a huge fan of the movie adaptation. This story of a racecourse heist that (of course) goes wrong was filmed very shortly after … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, California, Jim Thompson, Lionel White, New York | Tagged , , , | 40 Comments

THE DEADLY CLIMATE (1954) by Ursula Curtiss

For years I’ve been meaning to sample the neo-Gothic romantic suspense of Ursula Curtiss (1923-1984) – and after reading a particularly glowing review of this book by that pretty sinister rascal John F Norris, I knew the time had arrived! After … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Friday's Forgotten Book, Gothic, New England, Ursula Curtiss | 30 Comments

HE WHO WHISPERS (1946) by John Dickson Carr

This classic Golden Age detective story features a seemingly impossible murder and came top of the 2014 John Dickson Carr poll, somewhat to my surprise. I hadn’t read it in a while (well, try 30 years actually, and only in … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Audio Review, England, Five Star review, France, Gideon Fell, John Dickson Carr, Locked Room Mystery, London | 65 Comments

THE OBSTINATE MURDERER (1938) and SPEAK OF THE DEVIL (1941) by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding

A belated Fedora welcome to 2015 after a fantastic Aussie sojourn. This year we open with a double bill from Elisabeth Sanxay Holding (1889-1955) that has just been republished by Stark House Press. In both novels, their respective protagonists certainly have … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Elisabeth Sanxay Holding, Friday's Forgotten Book, Stark House Press | 43 Comments

Vintage Mystery Challenge 2015

The unstoppable Bev of My Reader’s Block has launched her 2015 Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge bingo, which like this year’s comes in two flavours: Golden (books or stories published originally up to 1959) and Silver (from 1960 to 1989). I’m … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge | 8 Comments