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text 2018-01-14 23:15
Detection Club Bingo: My Progress So Far
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books - Martin Edwards
The Golden Age of Murder - Martin Edwards
Murder of a Lady (British Library Crime Classics) - Anthony Wynne
The Tales of Max Carrados - Ernest Bramah,Stephen Fry
Pietr Le Letton - Georges Simenon
Lonely Magdalen: A Murder Story - Henry Wade
Margery Allingham Omnibus: Includes Sweet Danger, The Case of the Late Pig, The Tiger in the Smoke - Margery Allingham

 

1. A New Era Dawns: Ernest Bramah - The Tales of Max Carrados

2. The Birth of the Golden Age
3. The Great Detectives:
Margery Allingham - The Crime at Black Dudley, Mystery Mile, Look to the Lady, Police at the Funeral, Sweet Danger, Death of a Ghost, Flowers for the Judge, The Case of the Late Pig, Dancers in Mourning, The Fashion in Shrouds, Traitor's Purse, and The Tiger in the Smoke
4. 'Play Up! Play Up! and Play the Game!'
5. Miraculous Murders:
Anthony Wynne - Murder of a Lady
6. Serpents in Eden
7. Murder at the Manor:
Ethel Lina White - The Spiral Staircase (aka Some Must Watch)
8. Capital Crimes
9. Resorting to Murder
10. Making Fun of Murder
11. Education, Education, Education
12. Playing Politics
13. Scientific Enquiries
14. The Long Arm of the Law:
Henry Wade - Lonely Magdalen
15. The Justice Game
16. Multiplying Murders
17. The Psychology of Crime
18. Inverted Mysteries
19. The Ironists
20. Fiction from Fact
21. Singletons
22. Across the Atlantic
23. Cosmopolitan Crimes: Georges Simenon - Pietr le Letton (Pietr the Latvian)
24. The Way Ahead

 

Free Square / Eric the Skull: Martin Edwards - The Golden Age of Murder

 

The book that started it all:

Martin Edwards - The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books

 

The Detection Club Reading Lists:
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: The "100 Books" Presented
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: Other Books Mentioned, Chapters 1-5

The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: Other Books Mentioned, Chapters 6 & 7
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: Other Books Mentioned, Chapters 8-10
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: Other Books Mentioned, Chapters 11-15
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: Other Books Mentioned, Chapters 16-20
The story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: Other Books Mentioned, Chapters 21-24

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review 2018-01-12 23:44
Murder in the Bud
Murder in the bud - Phyllis Bottome

"Has Ronnie any right to live - like that?" Hilda demanded fiercely.

"No - not like that," Dr. Silla agreed, "but even his having no 'right' is his own business. He might at any time see his mistake, and alter his way of living. We are at the mercy of our opinion of ourselves - or sometimes be events- or sometimes by others. Criminals are less final than their punishments."

 

I had been looking forward to this book. Phyllis Bottome was the author that allegedly inspired a young Ian Fleming to take up writing, and her book The Lifeline (1946) allegedly gave rise to the character of James Bond. Murder in the Bud is an earlier (1936) work by her, and I was intrigued to find out what her writing was like. Even if there were no discernible similarities or links to Fleming's work.

 

What I found was that Bottome's Murder in the Bud did not make for great reading. It may have been very daring in its time for talking about women having affairs and having sex outside of marriage, but too much of the book dwelt on the psychological explanations that were really far-fetched.

 

However much the psycho-babble may have annoyed me, it was nowhere near as far-fetched as the plot - this book is out of print and I assume that very few readers will rush out to procure a copy, so I have not added spoiler tags (if you are going to read on, you have been warned):

 

Hilda, our MC, is jilted by Ronnie, her ex-lover. Ronnie is a cad, but he is also her family's lodger, and following the break with Hilda, he now is in pursuit of her little sister, Annie (she's about 18 or 19). Upset by all of this, Hilda decides to kill Ronnie.

 
I would have thought this was a bit unreasonable. Surely, Hilda could have just turned him out of the house, but she's afraid of fessing up to her parents about the affair because she thinks it would tarnish her reputation, and that of her family etc.
I have no idea why she makes such a fuss about telling her parents because she tells literally everyone else she meets - even perfect strangers.
 
Anyway, this is all a bit ridiculous, right? The next thing Hilda, a typist, does is to pretend to be one of her clients, a Czech neuroscientist/psychiatrist who is giving a guest lecture in London. Hilda omits to send of a letter declining an invitation to a medical lab and visits the lab herself, dressed as her client Dr. Silla. While she is shown around the lab by a young scientist (who quickly develops a crush on her), Hilda steals two tubes of toxic bacteria.
 
At this point in the book, I was still not convinced that Ronnie, the ex, deserved all this. And there is no thought about her committing several crimes instead of just tossing him out...
 
What made me laugh very hard was when I looked up what she stole - her means of killing Ronnie was not some ordinary poison or something sophisticated that could not be traced back to her. No, it was a Shiga culture.
Yup - she planned to kill him with dysentery. 
 
I don't need to explain how ridiculous this idea is - and that she may have harmed or killed the rest of her family at the same time as it would have been contagious...but there was something hilarious about the idea of killing the shitbag with ... well....erm....yeah.
 
It never happens, tho. The Czech neuroscientist/psychiatrist/mindreader talks her out of it. She also talks the ex-lover out of being a douchebag.
 
The end.
 
This was such a weird book. 
It was as fascinating as it was ... just hilariously bad.
 
So, while there were no links to Fleming's work in this book, I can see how Fleming may have been inspired to roll with his own ridiculous plots.
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review 2018-01-10 21:49
Sitting Murder
Sitting Murder - A.J. Wright

After Alice, a recent widow, develops the ability to speak with the dead after her husband dies in a mining accident, her aunt Doris takes advantage of it by bringing in people for spirit readings. After receiving a threatening letter, the police are contacted and Detective Sergeant Brennan and Constable Jaggery begin to investigate. Brennan initially dismisses the letter as a crank but the case heats up quickly when Doris is found suffocated, and there’s no shortage of suspects. But who was the target, Doris or Alice?

 

Whoo, what a ride! Loved, loved, LOVED this, I was swept up in this deftly written mystery combining the Victorian fascination with mediums and spirits with a classic whodunit.  I loved the simple yet complex plot that takes twist after turn and by the time the surprise ending was unfolding, I was just holding on for dear life! The tragic stories from the suspects made it hard to single one out, and although you think you know who did it, you’ll be wrong.

 

Sitting Murder was a fantastic mystery and one I will be thinking out for a long time. I’ve not read any of the earlier books in the series (you can bet I will now!) so this book can easily be read as a standalone or as an entry into the series.

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review 2018-01-09 11:52
Enough secrets to make two trips around the sun
The English Wife - Lauren Willig

Just a heads up, do not start this book unless you plan to stay up all night and read. This is one that you cannot start and put down to come back to later. You are going to be stuck until you know the absolute truth. Ms. Willig's writing reminds me of Daphne du Maurier.

Georgie has no illusions about the future, and what might be waiting for her. Memories of the past are just that, and she is determined to keep as far ahead of them as she can. Not all memories are good, and the ones that Georgie is running from would make another person cringe with fear. Not that she is not afraid, but she built up a wall - refusing to allow anything to get under her skin. She thought she could handle anything, but she did not count on Bayard Van Duyvil. When this sweeping young man comes into her life, she is anything but gracious. That he is rich is one thing, but men are always after just one thing. Bay is determined to prove her wrong, and over the next several weeks courts her quietly. While she wonders why he really is interested in her, her own feelings overwhelm her rational. Before long, they marry and prepare to return home, to face his formidable mother.
While they settle into their new lives, Georgie has restyled herself as Annabelle Lacey. While she hopes to meld into society easily, she is not one for normal convention, and neither is her husband. Having grown up under his mothers withering glare, he is slowly discovering his own independence. Stuck at home with their mother is his sister Janie. She has yet to find her means of escape. But when Bay is found bleeding to death on the ground of his new home, and his wife missing no one knows what is going on. Wild rumors spring to life, and the papers are running with the story.
Janie, as quiet and mold-able as she is, has a hidden stubborn side. While her mother has relegated her to the background as unimportant, Janie is determined to see that her brother gets justice, and his name cleared of the rumors that are swirling around him and his wife. Enlisting the help of one of the journalists, they embark on a journey of truths, mystery and dark secrets that have been lurking in the shadows for far to long.
While they begin to untangle the webs that have molded their family name, the truth might be something that no one can deal with, and leave some newfound truths in their wake...

Seriously enjoyed this book. There are some adult themes in the book, so not something that I would recommend to anyone under 18, but this story draws two worlds together and fleshes them out. Secrets, lies and half truths have been overlooked, and squirreled away all to protect a family name. The matriarch of the family is one that will go to any length to protect their good name - and perhaps even some lengths that others are not aware of - all to keep their standing within the community.
As I stated above, do not start this book if you have any plans on sleeping, it is one that will draw you in and keep you turning pages until the very end.

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review 2018-01-09 00:46
Unutterably brilliant dystopian SF
Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe) - Neal Shusterman

Disclaimer: review based on an uncorrected digital proof via NetGalley.

 

Guys. Guys, listen. This was ridiculously good. I feel like the first time I picked up a Scott Westerfeld book (it was Uglies, btw). One for the record books.

 

Ok, yes, Scythe was brilliant and I loved it and it got one of my very rare 5 star reviews last year, but it just KEEPS GETTING BETTER. This is dystopian SF at its best; insightful, natural, emotional, relatable, engaging, stress-inducingly tense, original, shocking . . . how many more adjectives can I cram in here?

 

The technology and vision of a utopian AI-controlled future feels like a plausible extension of our current moment. And how many authors can make an entire series about death and still make it readable? The way the Thunderhead explores a Judeo-Christian vision of a personal god is also fascinating.

 

Book 1 scythe apprentices Citra and Rowan have graduated to next-generation leader and antihero respectively. I can't get over how great newcomer Greyson's progression is, too. And the way the Thunderhead AI has a character arc? What? The twists and reveals in this are gonna kill you. And if they don't, that ending just might. I CAN'T wait a year for more!! TToTT

 

Ok, so Citra is now Scythe Anastasia, and is rocking the boat by giving her (victims? gleanees? um.) time to come to terms with and define the method of their deaths. Rowan's gone rogue as an underground vigilante scythe murdering all the corrupt scythes. Greyson's an isolated loner that the Thunderhead brought up when his parents abandoned him. His dream is to become a civil servant out of appreciation for it. The Thunderhead's just trying to help everyone and keep them from destroying themselves and their world, dammit. Everyone's hopes and dreams get twisted around and undermined and melted and there's betrayal and shock and horror and lots of murder and also grand conspiracies and sacrifice and emo teen rebels and some mostly offscreen romance and the ending is brutal and I can't wait for more.

 

So pardon me while I go and binge-read everything Shusterman's ever written. BRB.

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