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text 2018-06-10 22:48
Detection Club Bingo: UPDATES

 

Links to the book lists - courtesy of Themis-Athena

 

The 100 books: The 100 books individually highlighted by the author.

 

Chapters 1 through 5: (Chapter 1: A New Era Dawns; Chapter 2: The Birth of the Golden Age; Chapter 3: The Great Detectives; Chapter 4: Play Up! Play Up! and Play the Game!; Chapter 5: Miraculous Murders)

 

Chapters 6 & 7: (Chapter Six: Serpents in Eden; Chapter Seven: Murder at the Manor)

 

Chapters 8 through 10: (Chapter Eight: Capital Crimes (London mysteries); Chapter Nine: Resorting to Murder (detectives solving crimes while on vacation); Chapter Ten: Making Fun of Murder)

 

Chapters 11 through 15: (Chapter Eleven: Education, Education, Education; Chapter Twelve: Playing Politics; Chapter Thirteeen: Scientific Enquiries;; Chapter Fourteen: The Long Arm of the Law; Chapter Fifteen: The Justice Game

 

Chapters 16 through 20: (Chapter 16: Multiplying Murders; Chapter 17: The Psychology of Crime; Chapter 18: Inverted Mysteries; Chapter 19: The Ironists; Chapter 20: Fiction from Fact)

 

Chapters 21 through 24: (Chapter Twenty-One: Singletons; Chapter Twenty-Two: Across the Atlantic; Chapter Twenty-Three: Cosmopolitan Crimes; ChapterTwenty-Four: The Way Ahead)

 

 

Updated 6/10/18

 

 

It's been a couple of months since I updated my card, although I have checked off a couple more spaces by reading Patricia Highsmith's Strangers on a Train and  Marsh's The Nursing Home Murders.

 

I am beyond the halfway point for Detection Bingo - I've checked off 14 squares, and have 11 left to fill!

 

The Card:

 

As promised, I put together a bingo card for The Detective Club, based on the chapter headings in Martin Edward's The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books.

 

Each number refers to the relevant chapter in The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books. The images are either a detail from the cover image of a book mentioned in the chapter, with the exception of #3, and I couldn't resist an image of Hercule Poirot for a chapter called The Great Detectives!

 

1. A New Era Dawns: image: cover detail from The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

2. The Birth of the Golden Age: image: cover detail from The Mystery of the Red House by A.A. Milne

3. The Great Detectives: image: Hercule Poirot as played by David Suchet
 

4. Play Up! Play Up! and Play the Game!: image: cover detail from The Hog's Back Mystery by Freeman Croft
 
The Hog's Back Mystery by Freeman Wills Croft

5. Miraculous Murders: image: cover detail from Miraculous Murders anthology, edited by Martin Edwards
 
Murder of a Lady by Anthony Wynne
 
Also read:
 
Miraculous Mysteries edited by Martin Edwards (anthology)
The Hollow Man by John Dickson Carr

6. Serpents in Eden: image: cover detail from Serpents in Eden anthology, edited by Martin Edwards
 
Poison in the Pen by Patricia Wentworth
 
7. Murder at the Manor: image: cover detail from Murder at the Manor anthology, edited by Martin Edwards
 
The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie

8. Capital Crimes:  image: cover detail from Capital Crimes anthology, edited by Martin Edwards
 
Murder in Piccadilly by Charles Kingston
 
Also read:
 
Murder in the Museum by John Rowlands
Lord Edgware Dies by Agatha Christie

9. Resorting to Murder: image: cover detail from Resorting to Murder anthology, edited by Martin Edwards

10. Making Fun of Murder: image: cover detail from Ask A Policeman by The Detection Club
 
The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie

11. Education, Education, Education: image: cover detail from Death on the Cherwell by Mavis Doriel Hay
 
Death on the Cherwell by Mavis Doriel Hay
 
Also read:
 
Cat Among the Pigeons by Agatha Christie

12. Playing Politics: image: cover detail from The End of Andrew Harrison by Freeman Wills Croft
 

13. Scientific Enquiries: image: cover detail from Death of an Airman by Christopher St. John Sprigg
 
Mystery in the Channel by Freeman Wills Crofts

14. The Long Arm of the Law: image: cover detail from anthology of the same name, edited by Martin Edwards

15. The Justice Game: image: cover detail from Verdict of Twelve by Raymond Postgate
 
Somebody at the Door by Raymond Postgate

16. Multiplying Murders: image: cover detail from The Z Murders by J. Jefferson Farjeon
 
The Z Murders by J. Jefferson Farjeon (read 1/12/18)

17. The Psychology of Crime: image: cover detail from Payment Deferred by C.S. Forester

18. Inverted Mysteries: image: cover detail from Portrait of a Murderer by Anne Meredith

19. The Ironists: image: cover detail from Family Matters by Anthony Rolls

20. Fiction from Fact: image: cover detail from  The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey

21. Singletons: image: cover detail from Darkness at Pemberley by T.H. White

22. Across the Atlantic: image: cover detail from Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith
 
Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith

23. Cosmopolitan Crimes:image: cover detail from Pietr the Latvian by Georges Simenon 

24. The Way Ahead: image: cover detail from The Beast Must Die by Nicholas Blake
 
25. Free Square: I've used an image of The Detection Club mascot, Eric the Skull, for the free square.
 
The Golden Age of Murder by Martin Edwards
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review 2018-04-19 15:32
The Nursing Home Murder by Ngaio Marsh
The Nursing Home Murder - Ngaio Marsh

Because this one involves the murder of the Home Secretary, which is apparently a cabinet level position in the British Government (it seems to correspond loosely to a combination of the Secretary of State and the Head of Homeland Security, near as wikipedia can help me to figure out), it is one of the featured books in Chapter 12 of TSCC100, Playing Politics. 

 

This is also the third Inspector Alleyn mystery, but is the first one that I've read. I am reserving judgment overall because it was obvious to me that there was a backstory to the characters that I didn't have.

 

The mystery itself was fun - by the time Inspector Alleyn gets called out to the deceased Home Secretary, who died on the operating table from a septic appendix, pretty much everyone is a suspect. He's been getting threatening letters from the local anarchists and Bolsheviks, and he's broken it off with a mistress who is taking it badly and who just happens to be, along with his former friend and hopeful swain of the above mentioned mistress, the nurse and surgeon, respectively. They've both recently threatened him because the nurse is not handling the rejection with equanimity. And then we have his rather bizarre wife, a Leninst nurse, and an anesthetist who is disturbingly fond of a hands on approach to eugenics.

 

I didn't get the relationship between Alleyn and Nigel Bathgate at all, and the relationship with his fiancee, the fair Angela even less. I think I need more data in order to draw any conclusions. It was enjoyable, but a bit farcical.

 

Unfortunately, the solution to the crime was just plain bad. I had to read the last two chapters three times before I was able to really absorb what had happened, and at the end I was still just puzzled about the entire thing.

 

 

Allrighty then.

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text 2018-04-16 21:08
Updates: Serpents in Eden, edited by Martin Edwards
Serpents in Eden (British Library Crime Classics) - Martin Edwards

I'm reading this collection for The Detection Club. I will update this post as I read the stories.

 

Table of Contents:

 

The Black Doctor by Arthur Conan Doyle: This is a non-Holmes story about a doctor of color (from the Argentine, so the precise racial background is undefined) practicing in a small rural community. It's interesting for the off-hand manner in which the doctor's minority status is addressed, as it is not a barrier to his ultimate engagement to a prominent white woman in town. The mystery is sort of obvious. 3 stars.

 

Murder by Proxy

The Fad of the Fisherman

The Genuine Tabard

The Gylston Slander

The Long Barrow

The Naturalist at Law

A Proper Mystery

Direct Evidence

Inquest

The Scarecrow

Clue in the Mustard

Our Pageant

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review 2018-04-03 15:42
How To Succeed At Espionage Without Really Trying
The Secret Adversary - Agatha Christie

Cross Posted on my classic crime blog, Peril at Whitehaven Mansion

 

Published in 1922, The Secret Adversary was Christie’s second novel, coming directly on the heels of The Mysterious Affair At Styles, her first Poirot outing which was published in 1920. For the first decade or so of Christie’s career she dabbled heavily in the thriller/espionage genre, publishing The Man in the Brown SuitThe Secret of ChimneysThe Seven Dials Mystery and The Big Four, all of which deal with international crime gangs and conspiracies with varying levels of competence and success. After the 1929 publication of The Big Four (which is nominally a Poirot, the plot of which, however, deals less with garden variety murder than with a strange, Austin Powers-esque international crime conspiracy), her publisher must have convinced her to abandon her not wholly convincing thriller career in favor of writing whodunnits, because she doesn’t write another international spy thriller until the second Tommy and Tuppence novel was published in 1941.

 

I am of mixed emotions about this because I find her early thrillers (with the exception of The Big Four, which was absolutely terrible) to be weirdly charming in their innocence about the incompetence of the political criminal/international criminal mastermind. The Secret Adversary definitely falls into the category of charming and innocent. The basic plot is whisper thin (literally – it’s based on Tommy overhearing two people whispering about a woman named Jane Finn) and is generally about the possession of some government documents by a young woman (with amnesia. Yes, really) and an international crime syndicate who want to get a hold of those documents in order to foment revolution in England. If this doesn’t make any sense to you, that’s because it doesn’t actually make any sense. Tommy and Tuppence are two broke Bright Young Things who decide that the best way for them to come into possession of a few pounds is to place an ad in the newspaper, to try to hire themselves out as adventurers.

 

It’s preposterous and in the real world (or in modern fiction, which goes for verisimilitude) they’d have been dead within about 25 pages, and the rest of the book would’ve been spent with the professionals attempting to figure out why these two charming young people ended up murdered by terrorists. That’s not how this one goes, though. It feels like such an innocent world in The Secret Adversary (and in The Secret of Chimneys as well). I can only wonder if this was simply a reaction to the trauma that WWI inflicted on the British people, and surmise that, perhaps, what they really needed was to believe that a pair of children, with very little money, a great deal of sparkling wit and a fetching hat could, in fact, save the world. Because there is nothing even remotely convincing or realistic about this plot, but somehow, it’s impossible to care because it is all so delightful.

 

This was my first time reading The Secret Adversary, and I doubt that it will become one of my favorites although I thoroughly enjoyed it. I went into it convinced that Tommy and Tuppence were lifted wholesale from Dashiell Hammett’s Nick and Nora Charles – imagine my surprise when I actually looked it up and learned that T & T predated N & N by a dozen years. I should’ve known better, though – The Queen sets trends, she doesn’t follow them.

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review 2018-03-29 15:33
An Excellent Golden Age Mystery
Latter End - Patricia Wentworth

A special thank you to Tigus who steered me towards this particular Miss Silver mystery, as it is by far the best of the three that I've read so far. 

 

The set up for Latter End has been used dozens of times before - Lord of the Manor (Jimmy Latter) marries Lois, a jumped up younger woman slash self-centered floozy who decides to be the new broom that sweeps out the old. She proceeds to throw out the old retainers and impoverished relatives, then gets into a blazing row with the husband after he finds her trying to rekindle an old flame with his cousin, Antony, who is having none of it, realizing that he made a narrow escape indeed, and ends up dead of poison in her Turkish coffee. The suspect list is loooooong, indeed, because everyone had cause to hate Lois. Including Jimmy, he's just too obtuse and taken with her fragile form to figure it out. She was truly awful. 

 

Not Mrs. Boynton from Appointment With Death awful. More like "I'm so pretty and young and everyone should do exactly what I demand otherwise I will get bored and mope around and behave generally like a spoiled child. Oh, and I'm the center of the universe, so no one else's needs are important at all."

 

Frank Abbott, one of Miss Silver's old pupils who is now the younger half of a Scotland Yard detective team shows up with DI Lamb to investigate the crime. Jimmy, distraught, hires Miss Silver to come to the country house and dig around because he is convinced that the lovely Lois committed suicide because she was upset about the fact that he'd been giving her the silent treatment for two days after he found her practically mauling cousin Antony in her negligee. Did I mention that Jimmy is obtuse? Jimmy is obtuse.

 

Miss Silver's contribution to the mystery is very Marple-esque - she uses her knowledge of human nature and her sharp eyes to figure out when the various and sundry occupants aren't telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth and then worms it out of them in the nicest way possible. I am pretty sure at this point that I like Miss Silver more than I like Miss Marple, although continued investigation is required to confirm.

 

I came up with a solution at 70%, which turned out to be right on. It was a pleasing solution because this is one of those mysteries where the victim is extremely hateable, and everyone else actually seems pretty nice, if a bit dramatic at times. 

 

The Miss Silver mysteries do not seem to need to be read in order, so I'd recommend this one over either of the other two I read. 

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