The Augustus Mandrell Mysteries by Frank McAuliffe

Cover[5]News reaches us at Fedora of a terrific rediscovery, the Edgar-winning  misadventures of Augustus Mandrell, the creation of Frank McAuliffe. The first three volumes are now, after decades of neglect, to be returned to print on both sides of the Atlantic by Ostara Publishing, The three volumes are out later this month and are:

  1. Of All the Bloody Cheek (1965)
  2. Rather A Vicious Gentleman (1968)
  3. For Murder I Charge More (1971)

I hope to be reviewing the first of these shortly, but in the meantime, here (below) is a word from Top Notch Thrillers series editor Mike Ripley:

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Posted in Ostara Publishing | 12 Comments

SCRATCH A THIEF (1961) and HOUSE OF EVIL (1962) by John Trinian

Trinian_Thief-Evil_starkhouseThis omnibus volume brings together two distinctive thrillers by John Trinian (aka Zekial Marko), courtesy of those very nice people at Stark House Press. The first is set in San Francisco and is a classic tale of an ex-con who tries to go straight but is hounded by vengeful cops and his old criminal associates. Will he succumb to the temptations of the old life? The second is a bit more on the bizarre side, featuring a B-movie actor on the skids who inadvertently falls in with a Satanic cult in Hollywood …

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

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Posted in 2016 Silver Vintage Scavenger Hunt, Hollywood, San Francisco, Stark House Press | 34 Comments

Fear is the Key (1972) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Maclean_Fear-is-the-Key_fawcettWith news of a possible remake, the time seemed right to take a look at this adaptation of Alistair MacLean’s 1961 novel, my favourite of the slew of films made from his books in the 70s. It stars Barry Newman, who was not yet Petrocelli on TV, so at the time was best-known for Vanishing Point (1971). And like that film, he plays quite an enigmatic character and a proficient driver, though this movie has much more plot. We begin with an air attack heard but not seen and then segue to several years later with our protagonist behaving very badly …

This review is offered for Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme hosted by Todd Mason over at Sweet Freedom; and Bev’s Silver Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt

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Posted in 2016 Silver Vintage Scavenger Hunt, Alistair MacLean, Film Noir, Louisiana, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , | 30 Comments

MURDER IN MINIATURE by Leo Bruce

Bruce_Murder-in-MiniatureThis 1991 collection brought together all the (then) known uncollected short stories by Leo Bruce, the pseudonym used by Rupert Croft-Cooke (1903-1979) for his murder mysteries, which first featured Sergeant (later Inspector) Beef (1936-1952) and later the amateur sleuth Carolus Deene (1955-1974). Beef appears in ten of the stories in this collection, which otherwise features another detective, Sergeant Grebe  (who however never appeared in any of the novels), along with a variety of ironic tales with no series character.   

I submit this review for Bev’s 2016 Vintage Scavenger Hunt; and Friday’s Forgotten Books meme hosted today by Todd Mason at his fab Sweet Freedom blog.

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Posted in 2016 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, England, Friday's Forgotten Book | 26 Comments

Strait-Jacket (1964) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Despite the lurid (and irrelevant) title and advertising campaign to match, this is a pretty typical late Joan Crawford vehicle, a bit camp and over-the-top, but full of interest none the less. Robert Bloch’s tale of a convicted axe-murderer who returns home after 20 years in an asylum is handled by producer-director William Castle without recourse to any of his usual gimmicks, though there is plenty of deception here – indeed, this is a very good example of a film marketed as a Grand Guignol horror that is actually a whodunit.

This review is offered for Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme hosted by Todd Mason over at Sweet Freedom.

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Posted in Robert Bloch, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , | 64 Comments

MR CAMPION’S FAULT by Mike Ripley

Ripley_Campions-FaultAlmost exactly fifty years after the death of Albert Campion creator Margery Allingham (1904-1966), her celebrated sleuth is back in action thanks to Mike Ripley with Mr Campion’s Fault, the third in his new series, following on directly from the original books.

The first two were Mr Campion’s Farewell (2014), which I previously reviewed here, and Mr Campion’s Fox (2015). So what next for our aging but still agile ‘tec and his extended family?

Here’s the blurb, beneath the fold:

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Posted in Albert Campion, Margery Allingham, Mike Ripley | 14 Comments

THE GIRL ON THE BEST SELLER LIST (1960) by Vin Packer

9781933586982In the 50s and 60s ‘Vin Packer’ was the pulp fiction alter ego of Marijane Meaker, better known today as YA author M.E. Kerr. Originally published as a Gold Medal paperback, her novel is a smart and deliciously back-handed riff on Grace Metalious’ Peyton Place, the sensationalist small town exposé modelled on the uncouth author’s own life. The idea behind Packer’s book is simple and clever: what if one of the real people behind the thinly disguised characters in the book took umbrage and decided to get even?

I submit this review for Bev’s Vintage Scavenger Hunt; and Friday’s Forgotten Books meme hosted today by Todd Mason at his fab Sweet Freedom blog.

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Posted in 2016 Silver Vintage Scavenger Hunt, Friday's Forgotten Book, Stark House Press, Vin Packer | 58 Comments