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text 2018-12-13 16:40
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)

 

Bumping up 12/13/18

 

I am bumping this to the top of my feed in the hopes of getting caught up today. There's at least one new category that I can check off!

 

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 
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
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 2018-12-03 01:57
24 Festive Tasks: Door 10 - Bon Om Touk, Book
The Sinking Admiral - The Detection Club,Simon Brett
The Sinking Admiral - The Detection Club,Simon Brett

In 1931, "certain members" of the Detection Club -- in fact, none other than its leading lights Dorothy L. Sayers, G.K. Chesterton, Agatha Christie, Anthony Berkeley, G.D.H. and Margaret Cole, Victor L. Whitechurch, Freeman Wills Crofts, Henry Wade, John Rhode, Milward Kennedy, Edgar Jepson, Ronald A. Knox and Clemence Dane -- published the club's first round robin crime novel, The Floating Admiral.

 

To mark the 85th anniversary of The Floating Admiral's publication, "certain members" of the Detection Club in its current incarnation, instigated by its president (until 2015), Simon Brett, published a round robin of their own, paying tribute to the original novel not only in its title, The Sinking Admiral, but also by the fact that all the suspects and the two policemen in their collaborative concoction are named for one of the authors of the original book -- and The Sinking Admiral's other characters (most prominently the two amateur sleuths) are named for first generation Detection Club members as well.

 

However, whereas the original book was named for a person (the eponymous admiral, or rather, his corpse, floating downriver in a small boat), the tribute is named both for a person and the pub run by him, both of whom are "sinking" metaphorically as a result of the fact that the pub is in dire financial straits.  (Though, yes, the Admiral is still the person whose murder sets the book's investigation in motion.)  Moreover, whereas the original group of authors all wrote their respective chapters without revealing their own solutions to the group beforehand -- even such a solution was required to have been worked out by each contributor by the time their chapter was written -- the writers of the tribute book hashed out a plan for the entire book beforehand, and then distributed the chapters among themselves according to their respective specialization.  I confess I liked the second approach better: it simply made for a more coherent book.  The 1931 group probably had tons of fun keeping each other guessing as much as the reader, but the result is a bit of a hodge-podge, which at some point simply gets in the way of enjoyment.  Then again, in order to add another level of mystery, the new group did not unveil the identity of the respective authors of their book's individual chapters -- but I frankly couldn't be bothered to try and work this one out, though based on subject matter familiarity alone there can hardly be any doubt as to the author of at least one of them, and anyone inclined to dig deeper would probably be able to attribute the authorship of most or even all of the chapters to one particular contributor.

 

For a round robin -- especially one written by a group of authors all specializing in different types of mysteries -- The Sinking Admiral is remarkably coherent in style and tone, and most of the Detection Club in jokes it contains come off fairly well.  In that respect, it works very well as a tribute.  However, it occasionally tries to be too many things at the same time: maybe one topical specialization or two should have been sacrificed; even if this would almost certainly have meant jettisoning the contribution of one of my favorite writers; but there's a historical deviation in the whole thing that simply feels forced, out of place and just general "de trop" (and the odd other arabesque or two could probably have been cut out as well).  Similarly, the extent to which the two cops -- or, well, the senior cop at least -- are your proverbial country bumpkins who are just screaming to be bested by the two intrepid amateur sleuths just beggars belief.  In that respect, the book feels more like a parody of a well-known Golden Age mystery trope than a tribute.  But by and large, this is quite an enjoyable exponent of crime fiction tribute writing, and it certainly reads like its creators had a ball concocting it.

 

Since upon closer inspection the blue stuff on the book cover is supposed to be water, I'll be using this book as my read for the Bon Om Touk square (a book with water on the cover).

 

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review 2018-11-24 00:46
Not a whodunnit. Not even a whydunnit.
Portrait of a Murderer: A Christmas Crime Story - Anne Meredith

Themis reviewed this one last year for the Penance Day task, and her rationale is convincing enough that I may end up sliding it in there. At this point, though, I've completed several of the Penance Day tasks, so I figure I'll hold onto it and see if it fits somewhere else first.

 

This was an oddly intriguing mystery. It took me some time to get into it, but once I was hooked, I was really hooked and couldn't set it down. In spite of the fact that we know who the murderer is from the moment that the murder occurs (it's really more a manslaughter than a murder), it's the first - possibly the only - Golden Age mystery that I've read where I genuinely thought that the wrong person might hang for the murder. This was a clever plot device because it really did keep the tension high for me, even though there were no secrets to be revealed.

 

This book fits neatly into one of my favorite book categories: English country house Christmas murder mystery. While the author does keep the festivities to a minimum, the murder occurs on Christmas Eve. The victim, yet another stingy patriarch, is the sort of petty domestic tyrant that the members of the Detection Club specialized in creating. Were all old English men such maliciously awful people? One wonders...

 

One of the things that I did admire about the book was the success that Meredith had in creating individual characters - all too often in these books, the siblings (suspects) sort of blend together and it's hard to remember whose who. Not so in this family. 

 

I also enjoyed the fact that there are a few (very few, but a few) very likeable characters mixed in with the rest of this miserable family. Miles Amerey has married the youngest daughter of Adrian Gray, Ruth, and they have a sweet and happy marriage. Miles is unambitiously happy as a mundane solicitor, in contrast to the two strivers in the family: Richard, the eldest, an MP who desperately wants his father to buy him a title, and whose just a noxious social climber, and Eustace, who has married one of the Gray daughters, and who is a "financier" (i.e., swindler) who seems to have managed to waste the entire family fortune, along with the fortunes of countless working class families, through his fraudulent dealing.

 

I also really liked the two women who seem to come to life throughout the events of the book: Isobel, the youngest daughter, whose been dispatched home by her husband after her child dies and he decides he just can't deal with her anymore, and Richard's wife, Laura, who has some sort of an intellectual awakening as Richard's life falls apart, in which she realizes that everything that they have been working for is an illusion. I would have loved to see more of these two characters, because I found their tangential story lines really interesting.

 

Martin Edwards wrote the Forward to this one, and mentioned that many of the members of the Detection Club would use one another's names in their books. He pointed out that Agatha Christie named one of the characters in Cards on the Table "Anne Meredith" after the author.

 

This was a library copy, and while I did enjoy it, it isn't Christmassy enough to make it into my holiday rotation. The cover is gorgeous, though - even better in person!

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text 2018-10-07 20:54
Reading progress update: I've read 69 out of 256 pages.
Trial and Error (Arcturus Crime Classics) - Anthony Berkeley

 

Hmm.  The opening pages read unexpectedly timely.  Right now we seem to be sliding into typical Anthony Berkeley mode, which isn't necessarily a good sign.  But the premise and the introduction still hold the promise of more good things to come.

 

Reading this for the "Justice Game" square of the (inofficial) Detection Club Bingo.

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text 2018-10-06 19:55
Detection Club Bingo: My Progress So Far
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books - Martin Edwards
The Golden Age of Murder - Martin Edwards
The Hollow Man - John Dickson Carr
Poison In The Pen - Patricia Wentworth
File on Fenton & Farr - Q. Patrick
Mystery in the Channel (British Library Crime Classics) - Freeman Wills Crofts
The Wychford Poisoning Case - Anthony Berkeley
Penhallow - Georgette Heyer
Murder Underground - Mavis Doriel Hay
Murder at the Vicarage - Agatha Christie

 

First five bingos (bottom row, second column from right, center column, diagonal top left to bottom right, and 4 corners + central square) -- plus two more in the making (top row and diagonal top right to bottom left).  Not that it greatly matters, but still. :D  Progress!

 

The Squares / Chapters:

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

Emmuska Orczy - The Old Man in the Corner

2. The Birth of the Golden Age: A.A. Milne - The Red House Mystery
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;

Anthony Berkeley - The Poisoned Chocolates Case

Patricia Wentworth - Miss Silver Intervenes, Latter End, The Watersplash, and The Traveller Returns;

Agatha Christie - Murder at the Vicarage (reread)

4. 'Play Up! Play Up! and Play the Game!': Freeman Wills Crofts - The Hog's Back Mystery;

Dennis Wheatley and J.G. Links - Murder off Miami

5. Miraculous Murders: Anthony Wynne - Murder of a Lady;

John Dickson Carr - The Hollow Man

6. Serpents in Eden: Agatha Christie - The Moving Finger (reread);

John Bude - The Lake District Murder;

Patricia Wentworth - Poison in the Pen

7. Murder at the Manor: Mavis Doriel Hay - The Santa Klaus Murder;

Ethel Lina White - The Spiral Staircase (aka Some Must Watch);

Georgette Heyer - Penhallow

8. Capital Crimes: Mavis Doriel Hay - Murder Underground

9. Resorting to Murder
10. Making Fun of Murder:
Edmund Crispin - The Moving Toyshop;

Alan Melville - Quick Curtain

11. Education, Education, Education: Mavis Doriel Hay - Death on the Cherwell
12. Playing Politics
13. Scientific Enquiries:
Christopher St. John Sprigg - Death of an Airman;

Freeman Wills Crofts - Mystery in the Channel

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:
Anne Meredith - Portrait of a Murderer

19. The Ironists: Anthony Rolls - Family Matters;

Anthony Berkeley - The Wychford Poisoning Case

20. Fiction from Fact: Josephine Tey - The Franchise Affair

21. Singletons
22. Across the Atlantic: Patricia Highsmith - The Talented Mr. Ripley (reread);

Q. Patrick (Richard Wilson Webb and Hugh Wheeler) - File on Fenton and Farr;

Mary Roberts Rinehart - Locked Doors

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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