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review 2018-12-17 15:50
A rather meh installment
Danger Point - Patricia Wentworth

Not my favorite Miss Silver. The main character, Lisle Jerningham, has all of the personality and vitality of an overcooked noodle and Miss Silver hardly enters the story at all.

 

I do love the way that Miss Silver apparently governessed for every member of British law enforcement.

 

In the Balance was better than Grey Mask, but I preferred Lonesome Road, and this one recycled many of the same plot points. It was not good to be a young woman in control over a large fortune in Miss Silver's world. 

 

The moral to the story: don't make a will. Or make a will leaving your entire fortune to the local pet rescue, so your family has an incentive to keep you alive.

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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 2018-10-31 19:30
Miss Silver on sale for U.S. kindle readers

I was doing my usual Amazon trolling and noticed that Open Road has (finally) put most of the Miss Silver titles on sale for $2.99, with the exception of: Wicked Uncle, which is still priced at $7.99, and Grey Mask, which is $9.07.

 

I would heartily recommend skipping Grey Mask completely, to be honest. It's the weakest one I've read by far, and it's not necessary to read it in order to enjoy Miss Silver.

 

 

So, to my fellow Miss Silver fans - Tigus, Themis-Athena and anyone else who has an opinion - which books should I for sure buy? I already own:

 

Grey Mask (#1)

The Case is Closed (#2)

Lonesome Road (#3)

Poison in the Pen (#29)

Latter End (#11)

The Eternity Ring (#14)

The Clock Strikes Twelve (#7)

The Girl in the Cellar (#32)

 

Let me give a seasonal plug to The Clock Strikes Twelve, which is delightful, and is set on New Years Eve!

 

EDITED:

 

My now expanded Miss Silver Collection: (new books are in bold)

 

Grey Mask (#1)

The Case is Closed (#2)

Lonesome Road (#3)

In The Balance (#4)

The Chinese Shawl (#5)

Miss Silver Deals with Death (#6)

The Clock Strikes Twelve (#7)

The Key (#8)

She Came Back (#9)

Dark Threat (#10)

Latter End (#11)

The Eternity Ring (#14)

The Catherine Wheel (#15)

Through the Wall (#19)

Ladies Bane (#22)

Vanishing Point (#25)

Poison in the Pen (#29)

The Girl in the Cellar (#32)

 

I've got the complete set all the way through #11.

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review 2018-10-16 17:14
The Clock Strikes Twelve by Patricia Wentworth
The Clock Strikes Twelve - Patricia Wentworth

This is the 7th of the Miss Silver mysteries, which I read for the #1944 club on my blog. It is my favorite of the Miss Silver mysteries to date, better even than Latter End, which I also really liked. In fact, this is my sixth Patricia Wentworth - I've read fiveof the Miss Silvers (Grey Mask, Latter End, Poison in the Pen, The Eternity Ring, this one) and one stand-alone (The Dower House Mystery) - and it's my favorite of all of them. Grey Mask is still the weakest, and I wonder how many people have been put off Patricia Wentworth forever by reading that one first. Tragic, really.

 

For me, this was a near perfect Golden Age mystery. It had the closed circle, and the country house feel. The entire mystery takes place over a couple of days, from New Years Eve, where it all begins, to a few days later, when the mystery is solved and the murderer is revealed. We start with a brief interaction between James Paradine, patriarch of the family, and Elliot Wray, when James summons Elliot to the Paradine house over some stolen aircraft plans. He informs Elliot that one of the family has taken them, he knows who it is, and requires that Elliot remain in the home for the evening so he can put his plan into motion.

 

The plan is to announce at News Year Eve dinner that he knows that someone in the family has been disloyal, he is not going to expose them at dinner, but he will be in his study until midnight, and the guilty party must come and confess their misdeed to him or suffer the consequences. At the dinner we have all of the members of the Paradine family: Aunt Grace, the spinster sister, Phyllida, Grace's adopted daughter and Elliot's estranged wife, Elliot, Frank & Irene Ambrose (son of James's first wife & his spouse), Mark Paradine, the heir, Richard, a cousin, Lydia, Irene's sister and Andrew, the odd man out, who is a shirt-tail relative of some sort and is also James's secretary. The characterizations were really well-done. James himself is a bit of a Simeon Lee /Penhallow type patriarch, but he was much nicer than either of them. 

 

As a sometime romance reader, I've become convinced that Wentworth actually walks that line between romance and mystery better than any of the other golden age women - better, even, than Christie. She creates convincing romantic subplots that work with the mystery but don't subvert it. Heyer loses the mystery for the romance and Christie loses the romance for the mystery, but Wentworth balances them almost perfectly. The only issue with this is that it does make her mysteries a bit easier to solve, because the primary romantic coupling is pretty well removed from suspicion - part of the solution always involves moving the obstacle out of the way for their happiness.

 

I've definitely concluded at this point that it isn't necessary to read Miss Silver in order, and I would advocate for skipping Grey Mask altogether. I'm just pleased as punch that, since I've read about 90% of Christie's full length mysteries, and all of Sayers, that I have at least 50 more Wentworths before I've read them all.

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text 2018-10-16 01:05
Reading progress update: I've read 148 out of 315 pages.
The Clock Strikes Twelve - Patricia Wentworth

I am making a guess here. Don't look under the spoiler tag unless you have read it!

 

 

I don't think it is either Elliott or Phyllida, because Patricia Wentworth enjoys her matchmaking and putting marriages back together way too much. I am leaning against Mark & Lydia for much the same reason. 

 

I'm going to go with Aunt Grace, for reasons which I can't really explain. Maybe because she is angry at her brother for interfering and trying to get Elliott and Phyllida back together. 

(spoiler show)

 

 

We'll see!

 

Aaaah! I'm already second guessing myself!

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