HIS BURIAL TOO (1973) by Catherine Aird

Aird_HIS-BURIAL-TOO_collinsThis 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 exit is blocked by an immovable piece of stonemasonry? Told in a light, breezy style, this is a cosy mystery that refuses to take itself seriously and which would make a great episode of the Midsomer Murders TV series. We begin on a hot July day …

I submit this review for Bev’s 2016 Silver Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt; and Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme over at her fab Pattinase blog.

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

Vintage Mystery Cover Scavenger Hunt 2017

That inveterate Challenge setter Bev Hankin, she of My Reader’s Block, keeps finding new and fiendish ways to get us vintage mystery fans into action – and here is her latest reading challenge:

Vintage Scavenger Hunt

Here’s the plot premise for 2017:

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Posted in 2017 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, 2017 Silver Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt | 20 Comments

ROMANCE (1995) by Ed McBain

McBain_ROMANCE_hbThere was a two-year break following the publication of Mischief (1993), but McBain picks up directly from the end of the previous volume – indeed, the first 5 pages of this new novel are taken from the end of the previous one. We also find the author in a very playful mood as we switch to a scene set in Manhattan and featuring the NYPD – has McBain forgotten to substitute Isola? No, it turns out we are watching a play in rehearsal, though I have no idea where New York lies in the fictional McBain universe – probably on the East Coast,  shall we just leave it at that?

I offer the following review for Friday’s Forgotten Booksmeme run by Patti Abbott at her fab Pattinase blog
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Posted in 87th Precinct, Ed McBain, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Police procedural | 20 Comments

HARLOT’S MOON (1998) by Ed Gorman

gorman_harlots-moon_hbThis was the the third in a quartet of books featuring FBI profiler turned private investigator Robert Payne, who is called in by an old school friend to look into the death of a parish priest at St. Mallory’s Catholic School. Father Daly has in fact been found in a motel where he used to pursue assignations with his parishioners – but why was his tongue cut out? And does it link to other recent deaths, where one victim had their ears cut off and another their eyes gouged out? There is also trouble on Payne’s domestic front …

Please don’t forget  to check out Patti Abbott’s Tribute to Ed Gorman, who today would have been celebrating his 75th birthday, over at her fab Pattinase blog

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Posted in Ed Gorman, Iowa | 14 Comments

THE SECRET AGENT (1907) by Joseph Conrad

Conrad-Secret-Agent-penguin-modern-classicsSubtitled ‘A Simple Tale’ and dedicated to HG Wells, Conrad’s novel of anarchists, spies, treachery and a terror campaign gone wrong was based on the Greenwich bombing of 1894, though it is actually set eight years before that. Recently adapted for TV and made into an under-regarded movie by Hitchcock in the 1930s, this is a story that has lost little of its relevance since its original publication.

The following is offered (a bit early) for Todd Mason’s Overlooked Film meme at Sweet Freedom; Bev’s 2016 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt; and Rich Westwood’s Crime of the Century meme, this month celebrating all things 1907 over at Past Offences.

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Posted in 2016 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, Alfred Hitchcock, Crime of the Century, Joseph Conrad, London, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 27 Comments

SHADOW GAMES (1993) by Ed Gorman

gorman_shadow-games_pbI think this is a terrific book and so offer this review by way of a small tribute to prolific author and blogger Edward Joseph Gorman, who died last Friday just a few weeks shy of his 75th birthday. This powerful suspense story had a special significance for its author, who not only had to struggle greatly to get it published but who was inspired by the career and tragic later life of his cousin, Bobby Driscoll, who in the late 40s and early 50s was a huge Disney film star. The protagonist is Cobey Daniels, loved by all for his role in a family sitcom but who has some very serious ‘issues’ …

Don’t forget to check out Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme hosted today by Todd Mason as Sweet Freedom

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Posted in Chicago, Ed Gorman, Friday's Forgotten Book, Hollywood, Robert Bloch, Stephen King, William Goldman | 18 Comments

THE POWER OF THE DOG (1967) by Thomas Savage

Savage_Power-of-the-Dog_vintageNot to be confused with Don Winslow’s book of the same name, this powerful study of revenge and repressed emotion is too little-known and unlikely to turn up on anybody’s list of classic crime fiction. But don’t be fooled – there is a chilling murder mystery at its heart, one that needs solving, though you have to wait until the very last line to discover exactly who was murdered, how and why.  Set in 1920s Montana, it tells the story of two brothers, Phil and George Burbank, and examines what happens when one of them suddenly and unexpectedly gets married.

I submit this review for Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme over at her fab Patinase blog and Bev’s 2016 Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt.

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Posted in 'In praise of ...', Montana | 42 Comments