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review 2020-02-16 19:28
The Dark Clue: A Novel - James Wilson
The Dark Clue: A Novel - James Wilson

Despite my very good intentions, I can already tell where my new efforts at journaling are going to fail.  For one thing, I have more time to spend reading (while eating, while waiting for my husband to pick me up at work, etc) than I have to spend writing about my reading.  So, even though I'm making more notes as I read, and thinking more about my reading, the time to synthesize and distill those thoughts is lacking.  Also, I read fast and a lot.  Currently I'm seven books behind in my journal and I just know it's going to get worse.

So. Even though I'd like to say something about this book, I'm at a loss.  Because my youngest is sleeping on the sofa behind me, and I don't want to wake her up turning on the light to see what I wrote in my notebook as I was reading.  Seven books later I'm having a hard time remembering details.  Okay first:  my one big disappointment with the book.  I really expected a traditional mystery-that-will-be-solved.

Library copy



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review 2019-10-08 05:05
This YA 'Clue' mystery, inspired by the classic 80's film and the board game, is a fun read for your October TBR!
In The Hall With The Knife - Diana Peterfreund

Scarlet. Mustard. Green. Peacock. Plum. Orchid.

One storm will change their lives forever…if they survive the night.


When a killer storm strikes at Blackbrook Academy, an elite prep school nestled in the woods of Maine, a motley crew of students are left stranded at the aristocratic mansion on campus. House later, his lifeless body is discovered in a pool of blood.


Based on the classic board game CLUE, IN THE HALL WITH THE KNIFE kicks off a trilogy of young adult mysteries in which nothing is what it seems, and everyone has a motive for murder.


The Game is On. No One is Safe.



I am going to hazard a guess and bet that a whole load of readers of this will pick it up out of nostalgia for either the cult classic 1985 film 'Clue' or because they enjoyed the Hasbro board game of the same name that the excellent movie was based on.

Or both, which is why I had to read it!


This is a modern reimagining of the board game 'Clue' (and when it's brought 'to life' in this way, it takes on the story form like the movie); set in an elite prep school in the woods of Maine called Blackbrook Academy. The characters are all there: Scarlet, Mustard, White, Green, Plum, Peacock, Orchid, and yes, Mr. Boddy. They all become stuck in this grand mansion of a school out on the tip of a rocky peninsula in the middle of what seems to be the storm of the decade, with no power, no way in or out, and then there's a murder.


The characters all have secrets, and a lot of them neatly fit stereotypes (rather like the original movie, I suppose, which may grate on some nerves and irritate some readers, but is actually wonderfully campy in the film). If you don't have the movie to constantly compare to (even with the board game as background), the book actually simply works well as a YA fun murder-mystery read: everyone is a suspect, they all seem to have a motive, but it doesn't get too heavy or scary. This is actually much like the vibe of the film; mystery LITE. 


I would be interested in hearing what people think who have only played the board game, and from those who have not played the game but seen the film; I may have seen the film so many times that I constantly had images of Tim Curry scurrying around a mansion in a butler outfit (he was just SO PERFECT). I do think that Diana Peterfreund has paid great homage to the general 'Clue' board game franchise, and it will bring back some warm fuzzy feelings for fans (unless you expect the characters to be carbon copies of the movie versions, as well as the storyline). 

It took a little while for me to get fully invested in the story, and much like the film, the 'big event' happens quite the way into the book. The chapters are named after the different characters as they reveal more about each one and follow them through the story. That took a while to get used to (it is used SO much) but I found it useful in separating their story arcs.


It's always a huge gamble to write a movie based on a book, so is it just as much of a gamble to write a book based on a movie? I'm not sure. This may be removed enough from the original film (or game) that it will find a different audience anyway. And maybe people will go out and play the board game again??! Who knows.


This will be released 10.8.19 on Amulet Books (Abrams) and there are plans for a series of Clue mysteries (at least 2 more books).

You can find all the links to GET A COPY HERE!



*I gratefully received this ARC as part of Miss Print’s ARC Adoption Program. Thank you!


Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/43908878-in-the-hall-with-the-knife
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text 2019-10-04 23:02
Halloween Bingo 2019: Fifth Extra Square
The Unfinished Clue - Georgette Heyer,Ulli Birvé


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review 2019-07-24 01:31
The Clue in the Diary, Nancy Drew #7
The Clue in the Diary - Russell H. Tandy,Margaret Maron,Mildred Benson,Carolyn Keene

Returning home from a carnival with George and Bess, Nancy only has time to briefly admire a house they pass before it bursts into flames. The girls are the first people on the scene, but the heat of the fire is so intense there's no question of getting inside to discover if there are people trapped inside.


Going around to the back of the house Nancy spots a man fleeing into the woods and finds a diary. From the crowd that gathers around the building Nancy learns that the property belongs to wealthy owners who are out of town, and there is little sympathy for the couple.


In the crush of cars leaving, Nancy meets a helpful young man named Ned Nickerson who is directing traffic away from the fire. It's bizarre to see Nancy, so indifferent to boys before, go head over heels so quickly over Ned. He's briefly a suspect, but not for long, even though some of his behavior is a little suspicious.This must have been the result of editorial interference as this is still the work of the original ghostwriter - though Mildred Wirt Benson would take a hiatus from the series for a few volumes after this.


The writing is still more vivid then the revised versions I remember from when I was a kid, but my complaint is still the reliance on coincidence. I'd like to see Nancy do a little more sleuthing, please. I actually liked the doting attention on Honey Swenson, the daughter of the main suspect in the arson case and who COINCIDENTALLY Nancy and co. ran into at the carnival before the fire started. It's that pushy, do-gooding side of Nancy that makes her a little more human.


The revised version of the book, done in 1962, has most of the same plot elements. I don't remember, and the internet isn't helping, but I can't believe Nancy's speeding away from the cops was left in the revised version, either. Othereise, Nancy doesn't swoon for Ned in the beginning of their friendship and there was dance subtracted and a mail fraud plot added in - which is really weird because mail fraud is the heart of the plot of the next book - 'Nancy's Mysterious Letter'.


Nancy Drew


Next: 'Nancy's Mysterious Letter'


Previous: 'The Secret of Red Gate Farm'

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review 2019-03-23 23:10
Found at last!!!!!
Clue - Michael McDowell

Movie novelizations are amongst the lowest genre in terms of literary merit, and yet it's common to see them go for high prices on eBay. This “Clue” novelization by Michael McDowell is particularly pricy, rarely going for anything less than $150. Possibly because the movie remains a cult masterpiece, or maybe because Michael McDowell was a noteworthy horror writer on his own, I understand why fans are constantly seeking it out. I certainly was.

When I at last got my hands on a copy, I decided to not just read it but literally transcribe every word. The archivist in me felt it was important to save a digital copy should it ever disappear completely to the dusty shelves of rare book collectors. This transcription process was one of my most cherished reading experiences. There are few ways to be more intimate with a book than to retype every word. It requires a slower reading and allows the discovery of technique you would normally never notice, such as stylized word repetition, clever usage of punctuation, and white space.

I'm also happy to report that this novelization has literary merit. Content-wise, it never strays from the movie and yet it is still delightful to essentially re-watch the film through McDowell's superb narration. Consider, for example, this delicious description of Yvette:

Yvette was the nec plus ultra of downstairs maids. She was young. She was astonishingly beautiful. She had better curves than a major league pitcher. She was dusting the books in the library with a feather duster that wasn’t half as soft as the waves of her lustrous hair. Yvette was not only a French maid; she was a fetishist’s dream of a French maid, and she had an outfit to match: a glossy black dress, cut high on the thigh and low in the bosom, so tight it whined when she walked. A starched white cap was perched absurdly atop her head, and a starched white apron was slung low across her waist, like a remembrance of chastity. Her stockings were at once black and sheer, and the seam that ran along the back of her calf was a draftman’s ecstasy of curve. Her shoes were high in the heel and tight in the toe, completing a figure that was—all in all—at once startling, grotesque, and divine.

So often as I was reading/transcribing my way through, I would crack up at McDowell's hilarious use of language to depict scenes that I knew by heart. Other times I simply marveled at the quality of his tight, efficient prose.

There is one other big attraction this book has to offer—an extra ending not included in the film. It's an outlandish, preposterous ending and I'm not surprised it was scrapped from the movie, but it's also one of the most fun. Probably not $150+ fun, but if you are obsessed with the movie as much as I am, you might very well consider this money well spent.

Overall, while this book is a line-for-line replica of the iconic film, McDowell's talented way with words adds next-level charm that isn't possible even if you've watched the movie a hundred times. McDowell notices little quirks and clues in the characters that I never picked up on, and he even offers subtle jabs at some of the more absurd moments of the movie. It's a shame this novelization will likely never be re-printed, because it's truly a fabulous read that works on so many levels.

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