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text 2017-04-28 02:37
Reading progress update: I've read 216 out of 296 pages.
Inspector French Mystery - Freeman Wills Crofts

holy, frigging, moley! yes, that was my reaction, not long before typing this, when I got to around page 200. it is at that point that Inspector French dug up a clue that completely nuked everything that had gone before. at that moment--on that crucial page (around 200, I'm not going to look up the exact page)--with the new discovery, it's fair to say a cocksure Inspector French had his entire theory, a theory fully supported by every thing figured out up until then, thrown right in the crapper. but that's not the best part; that's not my personal "holy woolly moley!!' part...

 

y'see, someone recently said that lesser-known "Golden Age and thereabouts" Mysteries they were sampling were not turning out to be quite as good as, let's say, Agatha Christie, and anyone who has stayed in print forever. in other words, the cream did rise to the top. there's a reason Christie rules the roost...and if you read these "lesser" efforts, you can see why they faded away--although suddenly many of them are back in print. in the case of this particular book, I have watched as Inspector French has got onto a theory--and more, a suspect, the potential murderer--very early on. and the cleverness of the book has been mainly me watching the Inspector attach meanings to things that were presented earlier in the book--before, and right around, the killings--with me smacking my forehead and thinking "oh yes, that was actually a clue, pointing to a person's guilt--I totally missed that!". and that's been fun, but like a Columbo episode...the cleverness seems to be in knowing who the killer is, and in having the detective bring to light all the little things that prove who the killer is--the stuff we miss. it's cool, with Columbo, and also here. but HERE, we the reader do not actually know who the killer is--it's more like knowing who the killer must be...and everything unearthed proves it more and more.

 

so...without giving everything away, I have been slowly coming up with my own alternate theory that fits all these facts that make Inspector French pinpoint one person as the culprit, but suggest to me that if Inspector French is wrong, and I am right--and the book is even cleverer than it seems--then all those revealed clues can still work, still fit, and yet there is still room for an entirely other culprit. I'll just say that it has to do with this: we don't really know which three people actually burned up in that fire...do we! 

 

unfortunately, at around page 200, the newest discovery shot down my theory at exactly the same time it was busy destroying Inspector French's entire case. whoah! oh my!! we are both starting over, French and me. and I suddenly LOVE this book. if you read it, make sure you get to, oh, about page 200. new ballgame!

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text 2017-04-27 16:00
Just not as good as I was hoping for
The Crime at Black Dudley - Margery Allingham,David Thorpe

The narrator killed this book for me--and not in a good way. I listened to the whole thing but it was a battle, with a lousy narrator who made very poor choices for the voicing of the various characters (none of them sounded realistic, especially Albert Campion)) and a plot that was full of holes and full of inconsistencies.Other words that come to mind to describe this book are melodrama, caricature and misogynistic (or perhaps just dated the attitudes toward women). It might do better as a film--a period piece in black and white.

 

Fortunately, a couple of the other titles in the series use a different narrator and I may try them to see if this author improves with age and a different narrator.

 

Overall, two stars-- three for the story reduced by one for the narration.

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text 2017-04-27 14:48
Reading progress update: I've read 112 out of 296 pages.
Inspector French Mystery - Freeman Wills Crofts

the more French digs into the Starvel tragedy, the more complex the underpinnings become. he seems to be bringing to light a big spider's web of connected--or unconnected?--events that suggest much skullduggery was going on, long before the fire. and one has to wonder how many safes are going to turn up with shocking artefacts in them--we're at two, so far, where I thought one would certainly be the fair share for this Mystery!

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text 2017-04-27 01:45
Reading progress update: I've read 63 out of 296 pages.
Inspector French Mystery - Freeman Wills Crofts

it's fun. I like it. Colin Firth should play Inspector French. meanwhile, whodunits involving arson are a morbid fascination with me. of course, at around page 30, the quaint little town was not thinking "Arson!'. now it's page 63; Inspector French has taken a look around. he's thinking "arson", so I'm thinking "arson". I don't know where all the money went, or even who actually died, but French and I are starting at "arson" and going from there...

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review 2017-04-26 13:51
Convoluted Crime Fiction: "She Died a Lady" by John Dickson Carr
She Died a Lady - Carter Dickson

Just about every book written by John Dickson Carr is a locked room mystery, and all of them try to play fair (thus also trying to drive the reader nuts), but I always feel Carr tried too hard. His books are so convoluted that they become almost unreadable. I’m a bit reluctant to continue reading books wherein the intricacies become utterly unbelievable (why do some authors bother to impinge on our consciousness crap like this?) I’m better off reading Agatha Christie. This Carr was me being back to 'easy' reading after a hard week reading hard stuff. This one is among his middle-rankers. The method of murdering two persons close to a cliff with only his own footprints on wet sand was clever - maybe a bit too clever-clever - and the characters a touch clichéd - but then you do meet the same people over and over again in a Carr novel. The fun is in trying to out-guess him, and in the wonderful, spooky atmospheres he creates. Unlike Christie, the Carr’s leave a lot to be desired. In this case the solution just doesn't hang together. The characters and motivations are there but the explanation of the murder is just too weird. Carr once again didn’t play fair.

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