BLOOD RELATIVES (1975) by Ed McBain

McBain-Blood-Relatives-panWe really like Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct books here at Fedora and for the last couple of years have been re-reading them in chronological order (links to all the reviews can be found here). All are lively and engrossing, with some undeniably more successful than others. In much the same way that Steve Carella is first among equals within its range of corporate heroes, so this is one of my favourites among the later volumes. Indeed, for me the series here reached a peak that it would never quite be able to scale again. We start on a rain-soaked night and a pair of bloody palm prints …

“I hate knife wounds, don’t you?” Monoghan said.

I submit this review for Katie’s 2014 Book to Movie Challenge at Doing Dewey (for review links, click here); Bev’s 2014 Silver Age Vintage Mystery Challenge bingo; and Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme over at her fab Pattinase blog, which today celebrates the work of Ed McBain (aka Evan Hunter).

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Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, 87th Precinct, Claude Chabrol, Ed McBain, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Police procedural | 36 Comments

BREAD (1974) by Ed McBain

McBain-Bread-panAfter much too long a break, Cotton Hawes is brought back centre-stage for this story involving drugs, porn, insurance scams, pyromania and a few murders. It also gives a pungent, heartfelt depiction of the degradation of the slums of the city – and introduces a new if often repellent character to the roster of regulars … get ready to say hello to ‘Fat’ Ollie Weeks.

“People in America keep guns the way Englishmen keep pussycats”

The following review is offered (slightly in advance) as part of Patti Abbott’s celebration of Ed McBain this Friday over at her fab Pattinase blog and Bev’s 2014 Silver Age Vintage Mystery Challenge.

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Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, 87th Precinct, Ed McBain, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Police procedural | 26 Comments

HAIL TO THE CHIEF (1973) by Ed McBain

McBain-Hail-to-the-Chief.pbThis story of rival gangs plays some interesting narrative tricks and demonstrates an unusually strong satirical and political edge but is usually seen as one of the weaker entries in  the 87th Precinct series. How does is stand up today?

“Why? What do you mean, ‘why’? I’m the President, that’s why. I’m the elected leader, I can do what I want.”

The following review is offered (slightly in advance) as part of Patti Abbott’s celebration of Ed McBain this Friday over at her fab Pattinase blog and Bev’s 2014 Silver Age Vintage Mystery Challenge.

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Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, 87th Precinct, Ed McBain, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Police procedural | 33 Comments

NOTHING IN HER WAY (1953) by Charles Williams

Williams-nothing-River-StarkHouse“Charles Williams remains the best kept secret in noir fiction” - Max Allan Collins

Charles Williams (1909-1975), one of the masters of the 1950s paperback original, has gone through a long period of neglect, probably more read in translation on the Continent than in English. So it is great to have this new edition of two of his early works from those very nice people at Stark House Press. The first book in the volume is Nothing in Her Way, a complex story of gamblers and con artists that begins with a seemingly chance encounter in a New Orleans bar …

I offer this review as part of Bev’s 2014 Vintage Golden Age Mystery Challenge, Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme over at her fab Pattinase blog and Katie’s 2014 Book to Movie Challenge at Doing Dewey (for review links, click here);

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Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Charles Williams, Friday's Forgotten Book, Noir, Stark House Press | Tagged , | 29 Comments

Women of Twilight (1953) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Brit-Film-Noir-Twilight-SlasherNothing to do with Stephenie Meyer, this stark social drama (aka Twilight Women) was based on Sylvia Rayman’s groundbreaking all-female play. The up-and-coming Lois Maxwell and Laurence Harvey co-star, though the film is dominated by René Ray as unlikely heroine Viviane and Freda Jackson as an evil landlady. It begins in Noirish fashion with a couple of policemen looking for a good-for-nothing crooner and the tortured woman trying to help him escape a murder charge.

The following review is offered as part of the Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme hosted by Todd Mason over at his fab Sweet Freedom blog.

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Posted in Film Noir, Hammer Studios, London, Noir on Tuesday, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 24 Comments

Fedora’s 400,000 visits

(image copyright: "D Sharon Pruitt)

(image copyright: D Sharon Pruitt)

Well, we pause briefly for a minor celebration here at Fedora …

Late yesterday this blog sailed past its 400,000th visit, which seems incredible to me – and that’s not including the 113,000 plus visits from spammers (a curse on their tin heads empty hearts).

In looking back at what have been some of the most popular posts since this blog began ion January 2011, one can see that inevitably those composed of ‘best of’ lists tend to do well … but for me there are some eye-opening other results too and a surprising fascinating with a particular letter of the alphabet …

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Posted in 'In praise of ...' | 69 Comments

THE CASE OF THE LUCKY LEGS (1934) by Erle Stanley Gardner

THE-CASE-OF-THE-LUCKY-LEGS-1934-by-Erle-Stanley-Gardner-panThe third in the Perry Mason series is set in the world of crooked beauty pageants and hails from back when the character was a pretty hardboiled lawyer who spent most of time racing around outside the courtroom.

“I always take risks. It’s the way I play the game; I like it.”

I offer this book & film review as part of Bev’s 2014 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Challenge bingo; Katie’s 2014 Book to Movie Challenge at the Doing Dewey blog (for links click here); and Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme at her fab Pattinase blog.

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Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Erle Stanley Gardner, Friday's Forgotten Book, Los Angeles, Perry Mason, San Francisco | 43 Comments