Category Archives: Private Eye

Crime at Christmas

As Britain gets ready for a very chilly yule indeed (and no, I don’t just mean the weather), my mind inevitably turns to the comforts of fictional crime! There are some splendid books being made available for crime aficionados this … Continue reading

Posted in 'In praise of ...', Albert Campion, Cosy Cozy, Edward D. Hoch, England, Locked Room Mystery, Margery Allingham, Mike Ripley, Ngaio Marsh, Peter Lovesey, Philip MacDonald, Simon Brett | 45 Comments

EIGHT MILLION WAYS TO DIE (1982) by Lawrence Block

This fine private eye novel is first and foremost a powerful character study, depicting the slow recovery of an alcoholic but it also provides the requisite crime thrills too. It was the fifth in the Matthew Scudder series of New … Continue reading

Posted in 2017 Silver Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, Lawrence Block, New York, Private Eye | 23 Comments

DEATH IN PARADISE (2001) by Robert B. Parker

The next year should be a good one for fans of Jesse Stone on screen and on the printed page as we are promised two brand new entries in these parallel series. Jesse is a compelling character, built along traditionally … Continue reading

Posted in Jesse Stone, Police procedural, Robert B. Parker | 14 Comments

Summer of Spies

This Summer the Waterstones bookchain is running a “Summer of Spies” promotion at its Gower Street shop in London, as a run-up to the publication of the new Smiley novel by John le Carre, A Legacy of Spies, due to … Continue reading

Posted in Espionage, George Smiley, John le Carre, Mike Ripley | 8 Comments

KISS KISS, BANG BANG by Mike Ripley

The subtitle really does say it all: The Boom in British Thrillers from Casino Royale to The Eagle Has Landed Though I sadly missed the launch party last week due to an international incident (but which sadly I can’t discuss due … Continue reading

Posted in Adam Hall, Alistair MacLean, Clive Egleton, Eric Ambler, Frederick Forsyth, George Smiley, Gerald Seymour, Ian Fleming, James Bond, James Mitchell, John le Carre, Lee Child, Len Deighton, Mike Ripley | 26 Comments

Smile Jenny, You’re Dead (1974)

This is was the second of two feature-length TV Movies that ultimately served to launch the short-lived private eye series Harry O (1974-76) starring David Janssen, which in its first season may have got as good as this genre ever … Continue reading

Posted in California, Film Noir, Noir on Tuesday, Private Eye | Tagged | 33 Comments

2016 Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt

For as long as I’ve been hosting this blog, I’ve participated in Bev Hankins’ irresistible vintage mystery reading challenges. The rules have been amended over the years, but the basic criteria is the same – review a mystery from two … Continue reading

Posted in 2016 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, 2016 Silver Vintage Scavenger Hunt, 87th Precinct, Albert Campion, Bill Pronzini, California, Canada, Catherine Aird, Chicago, Cosy Cozy, David Callan, Don DeLillo, Dorothy L. Sayers, Edgar Wallace, Ellery Queen, England, Fletcher Fliora, Florida, Germany, Gideon Fell, Inspector Wexford, Italy, James Hadley Chase, James Mitchell, John Dickson Carr, John le Carre, Kansas City, London, Louisiana, Margery Allingham, Middle East, Montana, New York, Noir, Ostara Publishing, Patricia Moyes, Police procedural, Private Eye, Radio, Ruth Rendell, San Francisco, Stark House Press, Vintage Mystery Cover Scavenger Hunt 2016 | 18 Comments

THE VANISHED (1973) by Bill Pronzini

Bill Pronzini’s “Nameless” private eye first appeared in short stories from the late 1960s, some of which he later expanded into novels from the following decade, beginning with The Snatch (which I previously reviewed here). Our San Francisco private eye now … Continue reading

Posted in 2016 Silver Vintage Scavenger Hunt, Bill Pronzini, Friday's Forgotten Book, Germany, Private Eye, San Francisco | 31 Comments

Johnny Staccato

Today’s post is dedicated to a show that lasted just one season but which deserves to be remembered. Filmed in LA but set in New York, the half-hour adventures of Johnny Staccato (Revue/NBC; US 1959-60) featured great jazz music, some amazing … Continue reading

Posted in Film Noir, New York, Noir on Tuesday, Private Eye | 48 Comments

THE LAST TANGO OF DOLORES DELGADO (1992) by Marele Day

I really enjoyed this Australian private eye mystery from the 1990s, especially for its gender-bending sensibility, though it remains otherwise comparatively conservative in terms of  its genre boundaries. What it did do though was make me ponder on the kind … Continue reading

Posted in Australia, Friday's Forgotten Book, Private Eye, Sydney | 34 Comments

MR CAMPION’S FAULT by Mike Ripley

Almost exactly fifty years after the death of Albert Campion creator Margery Allingham (1904-1966), her celebrated sleuth is back in action thanks to Mike Ripley with Mr Campion’s Fault, the third in his new series, following on directly from the … Continue reading

Posted in Albert Campion, Margery Allingham, Mike Ripley | 14 Comments

TALES ON THE OFF-BEAT by Youngman Carter

Philip ‘Pip’ Youngman Carter was an illustrator, writer and also the husband of famed queen of crime, Margery Allingham. After her death he completed the Campion novel she had started, Cargo of Eagles (1968), and then went on to write … Continue reading

Posted in Albert Campion, Margery Allingham, Mike Ripley, Ostara Publishing | 21 Comments

CALLAN UNCOVERED 2 by James Mitchell

Following on from the success of the first collection of James Mitchell’s long-thought lost short stories about his classic Cold War secret agent David Callan, here’s comes a very welcome and unexpected surprise – a sequel! The diffident protagonist was … Continue reading

Posted in Cold War, David Callan, Espionage, James Mitchell, Mike Ripley, Ostara Publishing | Tagged | 19 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

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

CALLAN UNCOVERED by James Mitchell

David Callan is an agent for British Intelligence and his great skill is marksmanship – but he is tortured by ethical and moral dilemmas. For every double agent uncovered or paid assassin eliminated, there is always a cost, usually borne … Continue reading

Posted in Cold War, David Callan, Espionage, James Mitchell, Mike Ripley, Ostara Publishing | Tagged | 27 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

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ANGEL by Mike Ripley

Fitzroy Maclean Angel is the driver of a de-licensed taxi who doubles as an unofficial private eye and triples as an occasional musician. Which is to say that he does a bit of this and a bit of that, surviving … Continue reading

Posted in London, Mike Ripley, Scene of the crime | 28 Comments

Callan is back!

More great news from Mike Ripley and those great people at Ostara Publishing. Almost half a century after he first electrified British television screens in the “one-off” drama  A Magnum for Schneider, the enigmatic, ruthless and tragic hero David Callan … Continue reading

Posted in David Callan, James Mitchell, Mike Ripley, Ostara Publishing | 30 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

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

EDWIN OF THE IRON SHOES (1977) by Marcia Muller

This was the first in the Sharon McCone series that so far has spawned 33 volumes. As debuts go this is a fairly traditional one but historically it remains a very important work as it is generally held to have … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Friday's Forgotten Book, Private Eye, San Francisco | 31 Comments

Farewell, My Lovely (1975) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Robert Mitchum plays Raymond Chandler’s immortal private eye Philip Marlowe in this beguiling valentine to the classic 1940s detective yarn. Charlotte Rampling is the beautifully coiffed leading lady who is more than she seems, David Shire supplies the lustrous musical … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Film Noir, London, Noir on Tuesday, Philip Marlowe, Private Eye, Raymond Chandler, Scene of the crime, Tuesday's Overlooked Film, Uncategorized | 57 Comments

MYSTERIES UNLOCKED – ESSAYS IN HONOR OF DOUGLAS G. GREENE edited by Curtis Evans

Curtis Evans, he of The Passing Tramp blog and the Masters of the Humdrum Mystery book, has edited the new anthology, Mysteries Unlocked – Essays in Honor of Douglas G. Greene. It’s a celebration of the work of the founder of Crippen & … Continue reading

Posted in Agatha Christie, Edmund Crispin, Fredric Brown, John Dickson Carr, Margery Allingham, Patrick Quentin, Raymond Chandler, Ross Macdonald | Tagged , , , | 32 Comments

Marlowe, Private Eye: season 1

Powers Boothe starred in this 1980s TV show that took Raymond Chandler’s early pulp stories and replaced their original protagonists with the detective from his later novels. The brainchild of British writer-producer-director David Wickes, the first season was made in … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Bryan Forbes, Film Noir, Noir on Tuesday, Philip Marlowe, Private Eye, Raymond Chandler, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 23 Comments

THE SAINT IN EUROPE (1953) by Leslie Charteris

I can’t quite believe it but this may in fact be the first Saint book I have read in about 35 years! I do remember picking up some of the tie-ins reprinted when Return of the Saint premiered on TV in 1978 … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Austria, Friday's Forgotten Book, Germany, Leslie Charteris, Mike Ripley, Paris, Rome, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands | Tagged | 59 Comments

MR CAMPION’S FAREWELL by Mike Ripley

I first got hooked on the world of Margery Allingham and her crime-solving adventurer Albert Campion by proxy, through the scripts written by Alan Plater for the criminally underrated Campion TV series starring Peter Davison. I mention this because what we … Continue reading

Posted in Albert Campion, England, Margery Allingham, Mike Ripley | 36 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 | 47 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 | 47 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