ELEVEN CAME BACK (1943) by Mabel Seeley

Seeley_Never-Came-Back_pyramidThis wartime example of the ‘Had I But Known’ school was one of the handful of mysteries published by the Minnesotan writer Mabel Seeley (1903-1991), who principally set her work in the Mid West. This particular title however takes place a little further along, in the the Tetons of Wyoming, at a ranch named the Lady Luck. Martha and Dane Chapple own a small network of radio stations but their principal investor has decided to pull out – and to their horror, is planning to sell his interest to a borderline fascist.

I offer the following reviews as part of Bev’s 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge; and  Patti’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme, today hosted by Todd Mason at Sweet Freedom.

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Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Friday's Forgotten Book, Had I But Known, Wyoming | 58 Comments

Sherlock Holmes in Washington (1943)

SH-in-Washington-movie-posterHolmes and Watson leave the semi-Victorian comforts of Baker Street far behind and head off to 1940s America in search of a microfilm hidden inside a matchbook and which ends up doing the rounds of Washington’s high and low society as our heroes try to beat enemy agents to the prize. George Zucco, who played Moriarty in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939) returns, albeit as a different villain, while the script was co-written by Bertram Millhauser, who would become a major contributor to the Universal series.

The following is offered for Todd Mason’s Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme at his fab Sweet Freedom blog.
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Posted in Arthur Conan Doyle, London, Sherlock Holmes, Tuesday's Overlooked Film, Washington DC | Tagged , | 38 Comments

HEAT (1981) by Ed McBain

McBain_Heat_panIt’s summer in the city and we get a quartet of plotlines for the thirty-fifth volume in the 87th Precinct series (I am in the process of reading / re-reading them all in chronological order; to see my previous 34 reviews, click here). In the first, Steve Carella is investigating a suicide that is not what it seems; the second is a tale of domestic jealousy involving Bert Kling and his wife Augusta; then there is a drugs bust in which everything goes wrong; and finally the nasty tale of a jail-bird who sets out to kill the cop who arrested him.

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

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Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, 87th Precinct, Ed McBain, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Police procedural | 33 Comments

The new face of Maigret

It was announced quite a while ago that Rowan Atkinson, best known for playing Mr Bean and Blackadder, was the surprise choice to portray Jules Maigret in a new series of British feature-length TV episodes for ITV. Filming has now commenced on adaptations by Stewart Harcourt of Maigret Sets a Trap (a novel which I previously reviewed here) and Maigret’s Dead Man. And now there is the first press image released to promote the series. It offers nothing too surprising, but then it is just a teaser – what do we think? It certainly doesn’t stray too far from what one might have imagines here, sticking closely to the bare archetypal essentials of what we would associate with such series (pipe, waistcoat, fedora, our lead actor looking very serious).

[Image: © ITV / John Rogers]

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Posted in Georges Simenon, Maigret, Paris | 40 Comments

Top 25 Courtroom Movies

VerdictAs I have blogged before, I love legal drama on the screen. Maybe it’s because I trained to be a lawyer (in the interests of full disclosure, my legal background informs the work I do in education in terms of copyright, contracts and licensing but I have never actually practised law professionally). Mostly though it is because the adversarial system used in courtrooms is potentially such a dynamic way to explore topical issues – and of course, unravelling complex mysteries. So I decided to come up with a list of some of my favourite move dramas featuring lawyers and courtroom. So, all rise …

The following is offered for Todd Mason’s Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme over at his fab Sweet Freedom.
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Posted in 'Best of' lists, Australia, California, England, France, India, Scott Turow, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 61 Comments

THE SKELETON IN THE GRASS (1987) by Robert Barnard

Barnard_Skeleton_dellIt is 1936, the year of the Spanish Civil War and the British abdication crisis, and Sarah Causeley is the new Governess for the youngest child of the Hallam family, for generations the lords of a small village in Oxfordshire. She quickly falls in love with the whole clan, but not everybody feels the same way. Stoked by Major Coffey, a fascist embittered after his limelight was stolen by Oswald Mosley, a series of nasty pranks are played on the family. And then one night a dead body is found on their front lawn, lying next to a skeleton …

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

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Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, England, Friday's Forgotten Book, Robert Barnard | 30 Comments

A MAN LAY DEAD (1934) by Ngaio Marsh

MARSH_LAY-DEADHaving rather hated one of the later cases featuring Roderick Alleyn, the upper-class cop invented by Ngaio Marsh (click here for my splenetic review of False Scent), I thought I would dial back the clock and see how he fared in his first investigation. It was later adapted by the BBC for radio and TV too, which suggests it has a lot of appeal, right? Well … here’s the premise: at a weekend gathering at Frantock, an English country house, a game of ‘Murder’ goes wrong and Alleyn is called in …

I submit this review for Bev’s 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge; and Tuesday’s Overlooked Film / TV meme hosted by Todd Mason at his Sweet Freedom blog.

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Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, England, Ngaio Marsh, Roderick Alleyn, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 44 Comments