Category Archives: England

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

Torture Garden (1967)

The great Robert Bloch (1917-1994) supplied stories and screenplays for six films made by Amicus Film, the only serious rival to Hammer in the 1960s and 70s when it came to horror cinema. The first three – The Skull (1965), … Continue reading

Posted in Amicus, England, Robert Bloch, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , | 32 Comments

GREEN FOR DANGER (1944) by Christianna Brand

Easily he best-known of Brand’s Inspector Cockrill mysteries, this clever and funny book was turned into a clever and funny film that is also one of the most atmospheric whodunits you will ever see. The setting is a secluded hospital now … Continue reading

Posted in 2017 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, England, Five Star review, Kent, World War II | Tagged , | 45 Comments

SINGLE & SINGLE (1999) by John le Carré

John le Carré (born David Cornwell on 19 October 1931) is 86 years old today – and to celebrate here is a quick review of a title that is perhaps unfairly neglected. This is one of the later books that … Continue reading

Posted in England, Espionage, John le Carre, London, Russia, Switzerland, Turkey | 16 Comments

TILL DEATH DO US PART (1944) by John Dickson Carr

This classic Golden Age detective story tends to get a little lost among the multitude and enthralling mysteries that John Dickson Carr was producing at such a prodigious rate at that time. It begins with a superb set piece in … Continue reading

Posted in 2017 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, Audio Review, England, Five Star review, Gideon Fell, John Dickson Carr, Locked Room Mystery, London, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 65 Comments

THE NIGHT MANAGER (1993) by John le Carré

This is a spy novel that got great reviews from the get-go, but I somehow kept delaying actually reading it and despite several attempts, never seemed to actually crack on with it (I don’t mean that literally – cracking spines … Continue reading

Posted in Bahamas, Egypt, England, Espionage, John le Carre, Switzerland | 38 Comments

THE STORY OF CLASSIC CRIME IN 100 BOOKS – guest post by Martin Edwards

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Martin Edwards is a pretty amazing chap. A busy blogger (Do You Write Under Your Own Name?), a lawyer by trade, a fine and prolific mystery author, he is also the … Continue reading

Posted in Agatha Christie, Anthony Berkeley, Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Wallace, England, Julian Symons, Martin Edwards, Michael Gilbert, Patricia Highsmith, Sherlock Holmes | 13 Comments

TRIAL AND ERROR (1937) by Anthony Berkeley

It’s time for a guest post from my blogging buddy Livius, who writes about movies at his marvellous blog, Riding the High Country. And now it’s over to the man himself: The inverted crime story is one where the perpetrator … Continue reading

Posted in 2017 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, Anthony Berkeley, Columbo, Courtroom, England | 29 Comments

THE RIDDLE OF THE THIRD MILE (1983) by Colin Dexter

This book in the Inspector Morse series generally sees little love from either critics or fans  – and was changed greatly when adapted for TV (even the title, to ‘The Last Enemy’). Is this a book that is worth reclaiming? … Continue reading

Posted in 2017 Silver Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, Colin Dexter, England, Inspector Morse, London, Oxford, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 15 Comments

THE SILENT WORLD OF NICHOLAS QUINN (1977) by Colin Dexter

This was the third book in the Inspector Morse series, and is perhaps my favourite of them all (well, it is either this one or Service of All the Dead, I always struggle a bit between the two). Not only is the … Continue reading

Posted in 2017 Silver Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, Colin Dexter, Crime of the Century, England, Five Star review, Inspector Morse, Oxford, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 38 Comments

The House that Dripped Blood (1971)

Robert Bloch (1917-1994) is one of my favourite writers. I discovered him at a very early age and I doubt I’ll ever be able to let him go – but how can you not love an author who once quipped, … Continue reading

Posted in Amicus, England, Robert Bloch, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , , | 52 Comments

OUR GAME (1995) by John le Carré

After several globe-trotting excursions, including The Little Drummer Girl (1983), The Russia House (1989) and The Night Manager (1993), John le Carré got back to basics in this very compact spy novel which doesn’t set foot outside UK until the … Continue reading

Posted in England, Espionage, France, John le Carre, London, Russia | 37 Comments

THE DEMON OF DARTMOOR (1993) by Paul Halter

Sometime in the 1930s, Dr Allan Twist and Inspector Archibald Hurst are called in when theatre star Nigel Manson is seemingly pushed off a window ledge to his death, even though he was surrounded by several apparently impartial witnesses none … Continue reading

Posted in England, John Dickson Carr, Locked Room Mystery, Paul Halter | 81 Comments

DEATH IN THE TUNNEL (1936) by Miles Burton

This is a bit of a special post – I have so far managed to get through life without reading a single novel by John Rhode, who often published as Miles Burton and whose real name was Cecil John Street. … Continue reading

Posted in 2017 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, England, Friday's Forgotten Book, John Rhode / Miles Burton, Locked Room Mystery, London | 77 Comments

PAINKILLER by NJ Fountain

“You wrote my note! My suicide note! You want to kill me!” Although the term ‘gaslighting’ has existed for decades, it is very popular at present to describe stories in which men manipulate the minds of women – and this … Continue reading

Posted in Alfred Hitchcock, Amnesia, Boileau-Narcejac, England, Film Noir, Hammer Studios, Jimmy Sangster, London, Nev Fountain, Patrick Hamilton, Robert Bloch, Ruth Rendell | 42 Comments

DEATH IN THE CLOUDS (1935) by Agatha Christie

I rarely review Christie’s books, mainly because her work is already so well covered out there on the blogosphere. But now that my amazing oldest niece (of two, by 12 minutes) is getting into crime fiction, its time for one … Continue reading

Posted in 2017 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, Agatha Christie, England, France, Friday's Forgotten Book, Poirot | 81 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

HAG’S NOOK (1933) by John Dickson Carr

Today would have been John Dickson Carr’s 110th birthday and JJ, over at his blog, The Invisible Event, is celebrating the great writer’s work. So I thought I should chip in, as Carr is my favourite Golden Age detective story … Continue reading

Posted in 2016 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, England, John Dickson Carr | 45 Comments

HIS BURIAL TOO (1973) by Catherine Aird

This locked room mystery comes at the suggestion of JJ, author-in-chief of The Invisible Event, for which many thanks (I think). Its central conundrum is certainly an absolute doozy: how can a murderer flee a room in which the only … Continue reading

Posted in 2016 Silver Vintage Scavenger Hunt, Catherine Aird, England, Locked Room Mystery | 46 Comments

CAKES AND ALE (1930) by W. Somerset Maugham

Late in life, Somerset Maugham claimed that this was the favourite among his novels and it is easy to see why, with its wit and provocative themes handled with consummate skill. It is certainly among his most autobiographical, resurrecting the … Continue reading

Posted in Five Star review, Kent, London, Somerset Maugham | 42 Comments

Scream and Scream Again (1969) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

The big selling point for this movie was the presence of Vincent Price, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, though in fact the three never appear on-screen at the same time. And despite the title it’s not much of a horror … Continue reading

Posted in Amicus, Christopher Lee, England, London, Peter Cushing, Science Fiction, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , , | 34 Comments

THE LITTLE DRUMMER GIRL (1983) by John le Carré

John le Carré remains a true perennial and an astonishing success story. Some 55 years from his debut, he is still a best-selling author and adaptations of his work, like the BBC mini-series of The Night Manager, are big ratings … Continue reading

Posted in 2016 Silver Vintage Scavenger Hunt, England, Espionage, Germany, Greece, John le Carre, Middle East, Switzerland | 32 Comments

Away on leave

Fedora will be going ‘dark’ for the next few weeks while I catch up with la famiglia which is visiting from Australia. Arrivederci – and hope to see you all again in late July.

Posted in England | 30 Comments

POLICE AT THE FUNERAL (1931) by Margery Allingham

This is the book that many see as being the breakthrough for Margery Allingham in her series featuring Albert Campion, who after three comparatively ‘light’ adventures finally appeared in a darker, more substantial work that showed something like the true … Continue reading

Posted in 2016 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, Albert Campion, Cambridge, England, Margery Allingham, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 46 Comments

THE MADMAN’S ROOM (1990) by Paul Halter

For 30 years French author Paul Halter has published dozens of celebrations-cum-recreations of the impossible mysteries of John Dickson Carr. Thanks to Pietro De Palma, multi-lingual blogger at Death Can Read and La morte sa leggere, I have been reading some of … Continue reading

Posted in England, John Dickson Carr, Locked Room Mystery, Paul Halter | 34 Comments

MURDER IN MINIATURE by Leo Bruce

This 1991 collection brought together all the (then) known uncollected short stories by Leo Bruce, the pseudonym used by Rupert Croft-Cooke (1903-1979) for his murder mysteries, which first featured Sergeant (later Inspector) Beef (1936-1952) and later the amateur sleuth Carolus Deene (1955-1974). … Continue reading

Posted in 2016 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, England, Friday's Forgotten Book | 26 Comments

BRIT NOIR by Barry Forshaw

This is the third in the author’s guides to contemporary crime fiction, following on from Nordic Noir (2013) and Euro Noir (2014). This, the Pocket Essential Guide to the Crime Fiction, Film & TV of the British Isles, looks at the state of … Continue reading

Posted in England, Noir, Police procedural | 36 Comments

Asylum (1972) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Movie

Robert Bloch (1917-1994) is best-known as the author of the suspense classic Psycho and his tale of eternal horror, Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper. At the height of his success he was also an exceptionally prolific screen-writer, writing original screen plays … Continue reading

Posted in Amicus, England, Robert Bloch, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , , | 74 Comments

And your favourite Hitchcock movies are …

Drum roll please … Having gone through a week of voting for the favourite films directed by Alfred Hitchcock on a decade by decade basis, this was meant to lead to a top 10, though we ended up with a … Continue reading

Posted in 'In praise of ...', Alfred Hitchcock, Boileau-Narcejac, California, Cold War, Cornell Woolrich, Ed McBain, England, Espionage, Film Noir, Film Poll, London, New York, San Francisco, Scotland, Spy movies, World War II | 51 Comments

Results for the Hitchcock poll

Well, the polls are now closed and the results are in. First things first though – the response to this celebration of the 53 films directed by Alfred Hitchcock was really gratifying, so special thanks to everyone who joined in. … Continue reading

Posted in 'In praise of ...', Alfred Hitchcock, Amnesia, Arizona, Boileau-Narcejac, Cold War, Cornell Woolrich, Ed McBain, England, Espionage, Film Noir, Film Poll, London, New England, New York, Psycho, Robert Bloch, San Francisco, Scotland, Spy movies | 45 Comments