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review 2018-12-04 03:19
Romantic suspense by Patricia Wentworth
Nothing Venture - Patricia Wentworth

Ten years earlier, when she was ten and he was 20, Nan Forsyth saved the life of Jervis Weare and was smitten with an overwhelming childhood crush. At the beginning of the book, she is 20 and working for Weare's lawyer when she overhears him storm in and tell the solicitor that he needs to come up with a bride in three days because his society fiancee, the beautiful Rosamund, has unceremoniously dumped him. Under the terms of his Uncle's will, if Jervis must be married in three months and one day after his uncle's death, or the entire fortune goes to Rosamund.

 

You can already see where this is going, right? Nan follows Jervis home and makes him a business proposition - she will marry him in return for 2000 pounds, which she promptly hands off to her sister so that the delicate Cynthia can marry her one true love and go to Australia.

 

This book is just delightful. I spent much of the book being reminded of a Heyer romance - although this is not set during the regency period, if Heyer had written contemporaries, they might have been similar to this one. There is the marriage of convenience, with Jervis coming to the realization that Nan is in love with him, and then later that he is also in love with her. There is a nice little bit of suspense because someone is trying to murder Jervis, and we're pretty sure we know who it is from the beginning. Nan is a fantastic character, with tons of agency, who saves Jervis time and again in a really convincing way. Jervis is a worthy hero, if a bit thick since he can't figure out that he's being targeted for death. The mystery is completely beside the point here - there's no reason to read it for the whodunnit. The real questions are: 1) will they survive and 2) will Jervis pull his head out of his hind end and realize that he is in love with Nan?

 

Wentworth takes a similar line with respect to the suspense climax that she did in Grey Mask, actually, but this time around it is just so much more successful. Grey Mask was published in 1928, and Nothing Venture in 1932, but that four years made quite a difference in terms of the quality of the writing, characterizations and plotting.

 

Anyway, for readers who like a lot of romance with their suspense, this is wonderful. It's not so sophisticated as Mary Stewart or Phyllis Whitney, but the romantic bits are much more fleshed out than the tiny romantic subplots in the average Agatha Christie mystery. I wouldn't be surprised if this one has some rereadability.

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text 2018-12-03 01:28
Reading progress update: I've read 32%.
Nothing Venture - Patricia Wentworth

I am really enjoying this one so far - it has a very romantic suspense feel to it, with a marriage of convenience.

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text 2018-12-02 18:43
Master tracking post: Patricia Wentworth

 

I pulled this from Wikipedia:

 

Miss Silver series

 

  • Grey Mask, 1928; Read 8/16/17
  • The Case Is Closed, 1937; Read 11/15/18
  • Lonesome Road, 1939; Read 11/30/18
  • Danger Point (USA: In the Balance), 1941
  • The Chinese Shawl, 1943
  • Miss Silver Intervenes (USA: Miss Silver Deals with Death), 1943
  • The Clock Strikes Twelve, 1944; Read 10/16/18
  • The Key, 1944
  • The Traveller Returns (USA: She Came Back), 1945
  • Pilgrim's Rest (or: Dark Threat), 1946
  • Latter End, 1947
  • Spotlight (USA: Wicked Uncle) (library), 1947
  • The Case of William Smith (library), 1948
  • Eternity Ring, 1948; Read 10/4/18
  • The Catherine Wheel, 1949
  • Miss Silver Comes to Stay, 1949
  • The Brading Collection (library) (or: Mr Brading's Collection), 1950
  • The Ivory Dagger (library), 1951
  • Through the Wall, 1950
  • Anna, Where Are You? (or: Death At Deep End), 1951
  • The Watersplash, 1951
  • Ladies' Bane, 1952
  • Out of the Past, 1953
  • The Silent Pool (library), 1954
  • Vanishing Point (paperback), 1953
  • The Benevent Treasure (library), 1953
  • The Gazebo (library) (or: The Summerhouse), 1955
  • The Listening Eye (library), 1955
  • Poison in the Pen, 1955; Read 3/24/19
  • The Fingerprint (library), 1956
  • The Alington Inheritance (library), 1958
  • The Girl in the Cellar, 1961

Frank Garrett series

 

  • Dead or Alive, 1936
  • Rolling Stone, 1940

Ernest Lamb series

 

  • The Blind Side, 1939
  • Who Pays the Piper? (USA: Account Rendered), 1940
  • Pursuit of a Parcel, 1942

 

Benbow Smith

 

  • Fool Errant, 1929
  • Danger Calling, 1931
  • Walk with Care, 1933
  • Down Under, 1937

Standalone

 

  • A Marriage under the Terror, 1910
  • A Child's Rhyme Book, 1910
  • A Little More Than Kin (or: More Than Kin), 1911
  • The Devil's Wind, 1912
  • The Fire Within, 1913
  • Simon Heriot, 1914
  • Queen Anne Is Dead, 1915
  • Earl or Chieftain?, 1919
  • The Astonishing Adventure of Jane Smith, 1923. Serialised, Baltimore Evening Sun, 1925
  • The Red Lacquer Case, 1924
  • The Annam Jewel, 1924
  • The Black Cabinet, 1925
  • The Dower House Mystery, 1925; Read 10/14/17
  • The Amazing Chance, 1926
  • Hue and Cry, 1927
  • Anne Belinda, 1927
  • Will-o'-the-Wisp, 1928
  • Beggar's Choice, 1930
  • The Coldstone, 1930
  • Kingdom Lost, 1931
  • Nothing Venture, 1932; Read 12/2/18
  • Red Danger (USA: Red Shadow), 1932
  • Seven Green Stones (USA: Outrageous Fortune), 1933
  • Devil-in-the-Dark (USA: Touch And Go), 1934
  • Fear by Night, 1934
  • Red Stefan, 1935
  • Blindfold, 1935
  • Hole and Corner, 1936
  • Mr Zero, 1938
  • Run!, 1938
  • Unlawful Occasions (USA: Weekend with Death), 1941
  • Beneath the Hunter's Moon, 1945
  • Silence in Court, 1947
  • The Pool of Dreams: Poems, 1953
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text 2018-11-25 22:02
24 Festive Tasks: Door 7 - Mawlid, Task 4 (Characters Who Made a Career Change)
A Rare Benedictine (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael) - Ellis Peters
Poirot: The Complete Battles of Hastings, Vol. 1 - Agatha Christie
Washington Black - Esi Edugyan
Trial and Error (Arcturus Crime Classics) - Anthony Berkeley
The Fabulous Clipjoint - Fredric Brown
Miss Silver Comes to Stay - Patricia Wentworth

1. Brother Cadfael: A career change can hardly get any more radical than going from crusading soldier to herbalist monk (with a sideline of detection).

 

2. Captain Arthur Hastings: From soldier in WWI to London detective (of sorts) to cattle rancher in "the Argentine".

 

3. Washington Black: From child slave on a sugarcane plantation to explorer to painter (supporting himself by working as a delivery boy) to scientist and scientific illustrator -- all in the space of barely 20 years.

 

4. Mr. Lawrence Todhunter: From philantropist and occasional literary columnist to murderer (which btw is not a spoiler -- it's the book's explicit premise).

 

5. Ed Hunter: From printer's apprentice / assistant to amateur detective to "carnie".

 

Special mention:

 

Miss Maud Silver: From governess to private investigator.

 

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text 2018-11-23 17:17
24 Festive Tasks: Door 8 - Penance Day, Task 1 (Comfort Reads)
The Complete Sherlock Holmes - Arthur Conan Doyle
Poirot: The Complete Battles of Hastings, Vol. 1 - Agatha Christie
Poirot: The Complete Battles of Hastings, Vol. 2 - Agatha Christie
Gaudy Night - Dorothy L. Sayers
A Man Lay Dead / Enter a Murderer / The Nursing Home Murder (The Ngaio Marsh Collection) - Ngaio Marsh
The Clock Strikes Twelve - Patricia Wentworth
Envious Casca - Georgette Heyer
Margery Allingham Omnibus: Includes Sweet Danger, The Case of the Late Pig, The Tiger in the Smoke - Margery Allingham
The Great Detectives - JULIAN SYMONS,TOM ADAMS
The Golden Age of Murder - Martin Edwards

It's probably no secret that my comfort reads are Golden Age mysteries -- I'm slowly making my way through the works of the members of the Detection Club, including the forgotten and recently republished ones, but most of all, I keep coming back to, again and again:

 

Arthur Conan Doyle / Sherlock Holmes: Still the grand master -- both the detective and his creator -- that no serious reader of mysteries can or should even try to side-step.  I've read, own, and have reread countless times all 4 novels and 56 short stories constituting the Sherlock Holmes canon, and am now making my way through some of the better-known /-reputed Holmes pastiches (only to find -- not exactly to my surprise -- that none of them can hold a candle to the original), as well as Conan Doyle's "non-Holmes" fiction.

 

And, of course --

 

The Golden Age Queens of Crime

Agatha Christie: Like Sherlock Holmes, part of my personal canon from very early on.  I've read and, in many cases, reread more than once and own (largely as part of a series of anniversary omnibus editions published by HarperCollins some 10 years ago) all of Agatha Christie's novels and short stories published under this name, as well as her autobiography, with only those of her books published under other names (e.g., the Mary Westmacott romances) left to read.

 

Dorothy L. Sayers: My mom turned me onto Sayers when I was in my teens, and I have never looked back.  I've read all of her Lord Peter Wimsey novels and short stories, volume 1 of her collected letters (which covers her correspondence from childhood to the end of her career as a mystery writer), and some of her non-Wimsey short stories and essays.  Gaudy Night and the two addresses jointly published under the title Are Women Human? are among my all-time favorite books; not least because they address women's position in society decades before feminism even became a mass movement to be reckoned with, and with a validity vastly transcending both Sayers's own lifetime and our own. -- Next steps: The remainder of Sayers's non-Wimsey stories and of her essays, as well as her plays.

 

Ngaio Marsh: A somewhat later entry into my personal canon, but definitely a fixture now.  I've read all of her Inspector Alleyn books and short stories and reread many of them.  Still on my TBR: her autobiography (which happily is contained in the last installments of the series of 3-book-each omnibus volumes I own).

 

Patricia Wentworth: Of the Golden Age Queens of Crime, the most recent entry into my personal canon.  I'd read two books by her a few years ago and liked one a lot, the other one considerably less, but Tigus expertly steered the resident mystery fans on Booklikes to all the best entries in the Miss Silver series, which I'm now very much looking forward to completing -- along with some of Wentworth's other fiction.

 

Georgette Heyer: I'm not a romance reader, so I doubt that I'll ever go anywhere near her Regency romances.  But I'm becoming more and more of a fan of her mysteries; if for no other reason than that nobody, not even Agatha Christie, did viciously bickering families as well as her.

 

Margery Allingham: I'm actually more of a fan of Albert Campion as portrayed by Peter Davison in the TV adaptations of some of Allingham's mysteries than of her Campion books as such, but I like at least some of those well enough to eventually want to complete the series -- God knows I've read enough of them at this point for the completist in me to have kicked in long ago.  I've also got Allingham's very first novel, Blackerchief Dick (non-Campion; historical fiction involving pirates) sitting on my audio TBR.

 

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