Cultural appropriation is the theme and the music biz the scene for this unusual entry in the 87th Precinct series. ‘Bandersnatch’ is the name of a new album, taken of course from Lewis Carroll, and initially there is more than a touch of the absurd about this tale of a kidnapped singer, and not just because bigot supreme Fat Ollie Weeks seems to have found himself a girlfriend. But we also see the return of the under-used Cotton Hawes (about time) for a book with a somewhat post-modern literary feel that while occasionally playful in its allusions ends very bleakly indeed.

I offer the following review for Friday’s Forgotten Books meme 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 | 14 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 consulting editor for the bestselling range of vintage mystery reprints from the British Library (and he writes the intros too).  He is also Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association and in 2015 was elected eighth President of the Detection Club. He is also Archivist of the CWA and of the Detection Club.

Now he has a new book out, one that tries to paint a picture of the Golden Age of detective fiction through its best books. Over to you Martin:

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Posted in Agatha Christie, Anthony Berkeley, Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Wallace, England, Julian Symons, Martin Edwards, Michael Gilbert, Patricia Highsmith, Sherlock Holmes | 12 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 be published in September.

Book club events cost £3; author meets, hosted by Jake Kerridge, are £6 (£4 for students), which includes a glass of wine.

Our old friend Mike Ripley and Telegraph crime and thriller critic Jake Kerridge will explore the history of British thrillers from the austere 1950s through the boom time of the Swinging Sixties and early 1970s at an event being held on 22 August, one of a series events including a quiz night – see below for the full line-up.

Tickets are redeemable against the purchase of books on the night. You can book online here:

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

THE BURNING COURT (1937) by John Dickson Carr

There are oddly obscure mysteries from the Golden Age that are in fact still entertaining and clever and deserve to be rediscovered. Then there are novels that once were considered classics but now seem very tame indeed. And then there are those that were game changers, genuinely thrilling works that brought something brand new and which ensured that nothing could ever truly be the same ever again. John Dickson’s Carr’s The Burning Court, first published in 1937, is truly one of those. And, without spoilers, here’s why:

I submit this review for Bev’s 2017 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt; and Friday’s Forgotten Books meme run by Patti Abbott at her fab Pattinase blog.

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Posted in 2017 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, Five Star review, Gothic, John Dickson Carr, Locked Room Mystery, Pennsylvania | 74 Comments

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (2017 Blu-ray)

Finally available (it was released yesterday) in a restored and high def format that preserves the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, this visually audacious whodunit lands on Blu-ray in a gorgeous looking edition from Arrow Films. Starring Tony Musante and Suzy Kendall, beautifully shot by Vittorio Storaro and scored by the great Ennio Morricone, writer-director Dario Argento made a very assured debut in this genuinely chilling and thrilling mystery.

The following, updating a previous post, is offered as part of the Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme hosted by Todd Mason over at his Sweet Freedom blog.

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Posted in Dario Argento, Fredric Brown, Giallo, Rome, Scene of the crime, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 28 Comments

FAT OLLIE’S BOOK (2002) by Ed McBain

Ed McBain decided that ultra-bigot Detective/First Grade Oliver Wendell Weeks – known colloquially (if not to his face) as ‘Fat Ollie’ – somehow merited having his own 87th Precinct mystery, even though he’s from the 88th! But what about Roger Havilland and Andy Parker, the two equally un-PC cops actually from the 87th? They never got a volume dedicated to them. But life is never fair .. Carella actually does most of the work tracking down the murderer of a candidate for mayor; Ollie instead tries to find the miscreant who lifted the manuscript of his debut novel!

I offer this review for Friday’s Forgotten Books meme hosted today by Todd Mason at Sweet Freedom.
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Posted in 87th Precinct, Ed McBain, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Police procedural | 32 Comments

Quincy, M.E (1976-83)


“You are about to enter the most fascinating sphere of police work, the world of forensic medicine”

Jack Klugman, one of the best actors who ever worked on American film and TV, was already a 25-year veteran, and star of the hit sitcom The Odd Couple, when he scored his biggest personal success in Quincy, which ran for 7 years. I just watched the third season …

This brief review is offered as part of Tuesday’s Overlooked Film & TV meme hosted by Todd Mason over at his Sweet Freedom blog,
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Posted in California, Tuesday's Overlooked Film, TV Cops | 32 Comments