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Search tags: british-library-crime-classics
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text 2020-06-27 12:42
Reading progress update: I've read 21 out of 320 pages.
Capital Crimes: London Mysteries - Various Authors,Martin Edwards

This week has been slumpish. I haven't felt like diving into any heavy reads or even full length novels or really anything that required a lot of focus. So, poetry and short stories and Paul Temple, and even this only a few minutes at a time, were the only reads I engaged in this week. Not that poetry doesn't require some focus etc. ... but poems are short and you don't generally need to remember a plot or characters from one poem to the next.


Anyway, I did manage to start Capital Crimes, which is a collection of short stories with London as a theme. 


The first story in the book was The Case of Lady Sannox by Arthur Conan Doyle. 


I have read this story before in a superb collection of ACD's (non-Holmes) short stories called Gothic Tales, and I found it stomach-turning then. On the re-read, it's still makes me wince, but then I am not a fan of horror ... and this falls into the horror genre for me.

However, I think I also appreciated the story a little more on the re-read for its pointing out issues regarding xenophobia and domestic violence. It's one of ACD's stories that I thought was quite modern, ahead if its time even, for story first published in 1893.


Btw, all of ACD's stories are available online for free.  


I am not sure I will write an update for all of the other stories in Capital Crimes, but for reference the stories included in the collection are:


The Case of Lady Sannox - Arthur Conan Doyle

A Mystery of the Underground - John Oxenham

The Finchley Puzzle - Richard Marsh

The Magic Casket - R. Austin Freeman

The Holloway Flat Tragedy - Ernest Bramah

The Magician Of Cannon Street - J. S. Fletcher

The Stealer of Marble - Edgar Wallace

The Tea Leaf - Robert Eustace and Edgar Jepson

The Hands of Mr Ottermole - Thomas Burke

The Little House - H. C. Bailey

The Silver Mask - Hugh Walpole

Wind in the East - Henry Wade

The  Avenging Chance - Anthony Berkley

They Don't Wear Labels - E. M. Delafield

The Unseen Door - Margery Allingham

Cheese - Ethel Lina White

You Can't Hang Twice - Anthony Gilbert

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text 2020-05-26 22:23
Reading progress update: I've read 34%.
Murder by Matchlight (British Library Crime Classics) - E.C.R. Lorac,Martin Edwards

Reeves threw his cigarette away and a few seconds later lighted another match. As he bent over the flame his face was brilliantly lighted, and then he lifted his head and waved the match in the air. Instantly, like some fantastic illusion, another face appeared, some twelve inches above Reeves’, and Mallaig suddenly shouted, as though his strung-up nerves impelled him to give voice. “There’s the third chap… look,” but even as he spoke the match went out and there was a dull thud and a heavy fall. Mallaig jumped up, dropped his torch, fumbled for it and at last turned it on. In the beam of light a man could be seen astride the bridge rail and another lay on the ground. Mallaig sprang forward, but Macdonald’s voice came out of the darkness:

“Steady on, laddie. It’s only a reconstruction you know.”

Mallaig halted with a rather uncertain laugh.

“That was pretty grim, you know. It was exactly what happened last night—except the faces were different. The third chap—he was the same in a way—dark coat and cap—but his face wasn’t like the one I saw last night. What’s so amazing was the way you could see just in the light of one match.”


Yup. This is my last E.C.R. Lorac. 

This story focuses on repetitive plodding police work (not my favourite kind of mystery) and inane conversations between characters who lack individuality and ... character.




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text 2020-05-26 21:02
Reading progress update: I've read 16%.
Murder by Matchlight (British Library Crime Classics) - E.C.R. Lorac,Martin Edwards

“Pop in!” she adjured him.

“Landing blackout’s N.B.G. I do like a bit of light. This dark business is enough to give a girl the creeps. Come right in. That’s better, isn’t it?”

“Much better,” replied Macdonald cheerfully, blinking a little in the strong light. His first impression was of a prevailing pinkness: pink walls, pink curtains, pink cushions: artificial pink roses stood in ornate vases, artificial cherry blossoms trailed over mirrors and peeped coyly round elaborately framed photographs. Macdonald disliked pink as a colour, and this room seemed to him to resemble pink blanc-mange. He turned in some relief to study the owner of all this roseate effect—a neat little black-coated figure, she stood and returned his stare sedately.

This is my second attempt at E.C.R. Lorac's works. I didn't enjoy my first attempt - Bats in the Belfry - much, and it took me 4 attempts so far to get into this story without drifting off.


It's not looking good for E.C.R. Lorac's books to make any further appearances on my TBR. 

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text 2019-07-01 22:52
Reading progress update: I've read 153 out of 240 pages.
Bats in the Belfry - E.C.R. Lorac




I'm just not feeling this one but I'm too far in to abandon the book. And I do want to collect the full amount for the BL-Opoly square.


I'll probably finish this tomorrow, but right now I need another book. Any other book.

Elizabeth’s eyes grew as round as saucers; with her hat in her hand, and her red curls rumpled up like a baby’s, she looked as angelic as a modern young woman could look, with her lips pursed like a Raphael cherub.

“A corpse, in the Belfry? But Bobbie, who corpsed him?”

“I don’t know, bambina, and the cops don’t know either. Old Neil rang me up just now, simply bleating… I know, the blighter!”

A light of comprehension dawned in his eyes.

“That blinking Macdonald told Neil R. not to let me know anything. Confound him! He’ll be trying to tie the beastly unknown round my neck, like an albatross. He took my finger-prints, and now he’ll say he found ’em plastered all over the Belfry, and run me in for doing an anonymous murder. I always said the chap looked too much like Cassius, lean and hungry, and all that.”

Gawd, these people are getting on my nerves.


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text 2019-07-01 12:01
Reading progress update: I've read 71 out of 240 pages.
Bats in the Belfry - E.C.R. Lorac

I didn't make any progress on this until I was on the flight back home last night.


It's still not looking like this will be a favourite book. 


The characters are still bumbling idiots, and now we also have a Scotland Yard Inspector who fits right in with them. 


Talking about Scotland Yard, this is new New Scotland Yard...which I happened to stroll by on Sat. And, yes, I rather liked that the surveillance camera photobombed the shot.


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