Category Archives: Nicholas Blake

THE GOLDEN AGE OF MURDER – guest post by Martin Edwards

Martin Edwards is a pretty amazing fellow. Not only a solicitor and a fine and prolific mystery author, he is also the consulting editor for the bestselling range of vintage mystery reprints currently being undertaken by the British Library (and … Continue reading

Posted in Agatha Christie, Alfred Hitchcock, Carter Dickson, Edgar Wallace, England, Gladys Mitchell, John Dickson Carr, Margery Allingham, Martin Edwards, Michael Innes, Ngaio Marsh, Nicholas Blake, Patricia Wentworth, Philip MacDonald, Selwyn Jepson, TH White | 25 Comments

Top 100 mystery books (almost)

The plan was to come up with a top 100 that I was prepared to stand by – but I wanted to re-read so many of the books that I might have included but now remembered too vaguely (such as Ngaio Marsh’s output or books like Tey’s hugely popular The Daughter of Time) that I thought I should publish only a partial list. Not to mention finding it a bit hard to just settle on one book by Georges Simenon given the enormity of his output – I have placed a list of 80+ titles on the site and am extremely open to suggestions …

So here are My (Nearly) Top 100 Mystery Books  Continue reading

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Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge 2011

Over at My Reader’s Block Bev has started (and in fact already completed!) a year-long challenge for 2011 – to read a pre-determined number of classic detective stories of a pre-1960 vintage. There are several challenge levels to commit to and one can of course change as it progresses – these levels are:

In a Murderous Mood: 4-6 Books
Get a Clue: 7-9 Books
Hot on the Trail: 10-12 Books
Capture the Criminal: 13-15 Books
Take ‘Em to Trial: 16+ Books

OR

The Golden Age Girls: Read 5-7 books from female authors from the vintage years
Cherchez Le Homme: Read 5-7 books from male authors from the vintage years

Having begun late, I have set myself the task to read 16+ eligible books before the year is out … could be a near thing frankly. Having started late, I shall present a revision of one I wrote at the end of January … The Beast Must Die (1938) Continue reading

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THE BEAST MUST DIE (1938) by Nicholas Blake

Over at My Reader’s Block Bev has started (and in fact already completed!) a year-long challenge for 2011 – to read a pre-determined number of classic detective stories of a pre-1960 vintage. There are several challenge levels to commit to and one can of course change as it progresses – I will attempt to read 16+ eligible books before the year is out. So, 1 down and 15 to go with a classic pre-war mystery that begins as follows:

“I am going to kill a man. I don’t know his name, I don’t know where he lives, I have no idea what he looks like. But I am going to find him and kill him … “

So opens this 1938 Nicholas Blake novel which is regarded by many to be the author’s finest work and which certainly must rank as his most distinctive. It tells the sad story of mystery novelist Frank Cairnes who, following the death of his son in an unsolved hit-and-run accident, vows to track down the driver of the car and exact revenge. The first part of the book, approximately 40% of its length, is taken up with entries from Frank’s diary spread over a period of two months as he confides all his unspoken range, anger and guilt over the death of his young boy, with whom he was particularly close having brought him up almost single-handed with his housekeeper after the death in child-birth of his wife. It is unusually sensitive and well written for a crime novel of this vintage and is undeniably the most significant aspect of the book. Blake himself was well aware that some mystery fans might balk at this extended interior monologue and uses Frank as an alter ego to comment on this at one point, writing:

“I am unable to convince myself that detective fiction is a serious branch of literature”.

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Posted in Nicholas Blake, Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge 2011 | 9 Comments