This was the third novel by ‘Q. Patrick’, the byline belonging to the same family as ‘Patrick Quentin’ and ‘Jonathan Stagge’. The first two were collaborations between Richard Wilson Webb and Martha Mott Kelley but this was by Webb writing … Continue reading
Kerrie’s Alphabet of Crime community meme over at the Mysteries in Paradise blog has returned for 2012. Each week those participating will post a review, author biog or a thematic item in which either the first letter of the title … Continue reading
Posted in 2012 Alphabet of Crime, Agatha Christie, Amnesia, Cornell Woolrich, Crime Fiction Alphabet, Ed McBain, Ellery Queen, Espionage, Film Noir, James Bond, LP Davies, Margaret Millar, Patrick Quentin
This is the fourth book in the long-running series featuring married sleuths Mr and Mrs North, written by husband-and-wife authors Richard and Frances Lockridge. The Jerry and Pam North characters first appeared in book form in a collection of lightly … Continue reading
What is it about the crime and mystery genre that draws people together? More to the point, what is it about the genre that drawn authors together? One can of course look for a variety of psychologicial or sociological rationales … Continue reading
“My name is Westlake, not Watson.” ‘Jonathan Stagge’ was the last of the three pseudonyms used by the writing partnership of Richard Wilson Webb and Hugh Wheeler between 1936 and 1952 and is much less well-known than their other collaboration … Continue reading
With the closure at the end of this month of The San Francisco Mystery Bookstore (as reported here) I thought I would dedicate a post this week to that fine city in Northern California where, once upon a time, I used to visit a very good friend of mine. I did a lot of growing up there in the 80s and 90s and also bought a lot of great mystery books.
I haven’t been there in over a decade now but along with its undoubtedly beautiful setting on the Bay, the vibrancy of its culture (and counter-culture) and of course the wonderful food, fascinating people and amazing architecture, the potential for squalor and seediness seemed often remarkably ever-present to me as a European tourist, requiring little more than a short step in the ‘wrong’ direction – especially before the regeneration of SOMA. This mixture of high and low culture, of beauty and darkness, have made it the perfect setting for all kinds of mysteries, from the misanthropic romance of Hitckcock’s Vertigo to the hard- and soft-boiled worlds of Hammett found in the gritty adventures of Sam Spade and upper class sleuths Nick and Nora Charles. In some ways the most valuable works here for me are those by Bill Pronzini and the late Joe Gores, who use the city and its environs as the backdrop for so much of their work. They offer a particularly fascinating and diverse look at a city and how it has changed over the decades.
Limiting this list to just 10 inevitably meant plumping for some personal favourites and some unavoidable but great, even classic, books that somehow you just can’t do without. So, for today, these are my top mystery books set in and about San Francisco, still beautiful and mysterious - just like my old friend. I present these in strict chronological order. I hope to blog on each separately, as time goes by … Continue reading
The Alphabet of Crime community meme over at the Mysteries in Paradise blog has reached the letter P, and my second nomination this week, also eligible under the guidelines of Bev’s 2011 Mystery Readers Challenge, is …
PUZZLE FOR PLAYERS by Patrick Quentin
In 1936 the new ‘Inner Sanctum’ imprint from publishers Simon & Schuster was inaugurated with Puzzle for Fools, which not only was the first book published under the new ‘Patrick Quentin’ byline but also served to introduce a new kind of literary detective. Set in Dr Lenz’s mental asylum, we meet alcoholic theatrical producer Peter Duluth while he is undergoing treatment for depression. Unlike the equally hard-drinking Bill Crane, introduced the previous year in Jonathan Latimer’s Murder in the Madhouse (1935), Duluth really is an inmate and a undercover detective masquerading as one. Duluth was Broadway’s golden boy but after the tragic death of his wife he hit the bottle and his career has gone downhill. Now he is in the sanitarium and in the course of his stay he helps solve a couple of murders; but more importantly he meets fellow patient, Iris Pattison, and the two fall in love. Although a great little book, Puzzle for Fools is not the best in the series, so here I have plumped for the follow-up, which apart from being a superior mystery also has the benefit of having another ‘P’ in the title … Continue reading