#636: Justice It Was That Moved My Great Creator – It’s About Crime [ss] (1960) by MacKinlay Kantor

It's About Crime

Marketing has a lot to answer for.  In much the same way that Herbert Brean a couple of weeks ago found himself the centre of a tussle between competing crime fiction ideologies, and endless crime fiction authors these days end up with “as gripping as Agatha Christie” in their synopses, it’s fashion that determines how to lie to you when selling something.

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#635: A Taste for Honey (1941) by H.F. Heard

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It’s difficult to know where to begin with A Taste for Honey (1941), the first of three ‘Mr. Mycroft’ novels by H.F. Heard.  The core conceit is delightfully barmy — I shall avoid naming it in this review to preserve it for the curious — and played with an impressively straight face, but beyond that there’s really only a short story’s worth of content here, spread thinly over 189 generously-margined pages.  With only one plot-line, only really three characters, and nothing to widen the universe or engage the mind in any meaningful way past the halfway point (when the ending will already be painfully obvious to anyone), this really is just a latter-day Holmes pastiche with verbal diarrhoea.

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#632: The Honjin Murders (1946) by Seishi Yokomizo [trans. Louise Heal Kawai 2019]

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After years of occasional titles like The Tattoo Murder Case (1948) by Akimitsu Takagi trickling through the East-West translation gap, it seems English-speaking audiences might be getting more classic Eastern honkaku.  The shin honkaku translations brought to us by Locked Room International have highlighted the ingenuity in works coming out of Japan, China, and surrounds during the 1980s and 1990s, an era when the Western crime novel was rather more focussed on character and procedure, and so the puzzle-rich seam of GAD-era honkaku titles might finally get more attention.  And the first non-LRI novel to come across is one that was greeted with much excitement.

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#630: The Freight Should be Proportioned to the Groove – The Sliding Scale of Poetry in Detective Fiction

Snark Was a Boojum

When Xavier brought to my attention that Lee Child is sharing the writing of his best-selling Jack Reacher series to his brother before handing it over in due course, I saw it as the universe nudging me towards a filial co-authoring job residing in my own TBR, The Snark Was a Boojum (1957/2015) by Gerald and Chris Verner.

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