OUR GAME (1995) by John le Carré

lecarre_our-gameAfter 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 very end. It tells the story of Tim and Larry, two men bound by their past working for British intelligence but who, after being let go, are supposed to be living civil civilian lives in Somerset. But Larry just isn’t the quiet type and when he goes missing, Tim and his girlfriend Emma are dragged back into his old life …

I offer this review for Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme at her fab Pattinase blog.

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Posted in England, Espionage, France, John le Carre, London, Russia | 34 Comments

THE DEMON OF DARTMOOR (1993) by Paul Halter

halter-dartmoorSometime 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 of whom saw anyone do it. This is one of three dozen or so homages by Halter to the Golden Age detective stories of John Dickson Carr, who for me remains the best mystery author there ever was. But how well does Halter’s pastiche measure up? My previous experiences of his work have been a bit mixed

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 England, John Dickson Carr, Locked Room Mystery, Paul Halter | 78 Comments

The Columbo podcast

Today is my Dad’s 79th birthday and he loves this show (almost as much as the Montalbano series). So, I’ll keep this short and sweet. Columbo is my favourite US cop show (I have explained why elsewhere, along with a list of the my top 10 Columbo episodes). Peter Falk played the role in 69 feature-length TV movies shown between 1968 and 2003. There is a terrific podcast, hosted by Scottish Columbo fan Gerry and his friend and self-confessed ‘Columbo newbie’ Iain, that devotes each episode to one of the TV Movies and which I heartily recommend, not least because their head-to-head dynamic is modelled on that of the show itself as they pick over each little facet of the story and the character motivations, just as the good lieutenant would do. It began a couple fo years ago and the project is done – all of the 69 episodes now has its own podcast, available for streaming and download from iTunes as well as: www.columbopodcast.com/

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Posted in 'In praise of ...', Columbo | 30 Comments

DEATH IN THE TUNNEL (1936) by Miles Burton

burton_death-in-the-tunnell_blThis 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. So I am really happy to have one of his books reviewed here at Fedora – only not by me. Instead this fine analysis come to you courtesy of our very good blogging buddy Colin (aka ‘Livius’) of the mighty party Riding the High Country blog, who has once again graciously agreed to write a guest post for Fedora.

We submit this review for Bev’s Golden Age Mystery Scavenger Hunt; and Friday’s Forgotten Books meme, hosted today by Todd Mason at his Sweet Freedom blog.

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Posted in 2017 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, England, Friday's Forgotten Book, John Rhode / Miles Burton, Locked Room Mystery, London | 71 Comments

DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1943) by James M. Cain

Cain-Double-Indemnity-signetIt is possible that the public conception of Noir owes more to the success of this book than any other. On the face of it, author James M. Cain just rewrote The Postman Always Rings Twice (click here for my review of that one), telling a similar story of a wife and lover bumping off her husband, finishing up with a volume that is even shorter (just under 30,000 words). But this tart serial from the Depression era ultimately tapped in to the sour mood engendered by the war when collected in a book and in its scheming protagonist created one of the first true Femme Fatales of the genre. It also served as the basis for a movie that, as adapted by Raymond Chandler and Billy Wilder, most think seriously outclassed the original.

I submit this review for Bev’s Vintage Mystery Challenge; Rich Westwood’s Crime of the Century meme; and Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme hosted by Todd Mason over at his unmissable Sweet Freedom blog.

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Posted in 2017 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, Billy Wilder, Film Noir, James M. Cain, Noir on Tuesday, Raymond Chandler, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 33 Comments

MINISTRY OF FEAR (1943) by Graham Greene

Greene-Ministry-penguinA wartime story of espionage and guilt, this was the last and personal favourite of Graham Greene’s self-styled ‘entertainments,’ the term he used to differentiate his thrillers from his more mainstream novels, though several of his books fall into that category too (see the list below). It all begins when Arthur Rowe, in an England trying to cope with the horrors of the Blitz, wins a cake at a village fête and unwittingly gets involved with enemy agents …

I submit this review for Bev’s Vintage Mystery Challenge; Rich Westwood’s Crime of the Century meme; and Friday’s Forgotten Books meme hosted today by Todd Mason at his Sweet Freedom blog.

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Posted in 2017 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, Espionage, Film Noir, Five Star review, Friday's Forgotten Book, Graham Greene, Spy movies, World War II | Tagged | 43 Comments

PAINKILLER by NJ Fountain

“You wrote my note! My suicide note! You want to kill me!”

fountain-painkiller

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 clever suspense novel definitely fits the bill. Monica had an accident five years ago and is now in a constant state of neuropathic pain. She used to be a powerful actor’s agent but now, due to side effects from her medication, can barely remember anything of her old life. Her husband Dominic has seemingly been very supportive, putting up with all her vicious emotional outbursts; but when she finds forgotten  old suicide note, in clear handwriting she physically couldn’t have written, Monica starts to doubt everything, and everyone, around her.

And don’t forget to check out the reviews posted as part of Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme over at her fab Pattinase blog.
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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