If the genre’s Golden Age had one commendable attribute, it’s that there was no pressure to outdo previous entries in a series by going bigger, louder, or more preposterous with each successive entry.Continue reading
It’s all been leading to this.Continue reading
I first read Green for Danger (1944) by Christianna Brand about 12 years ago on the back of enthusiastic Agatha Christie comparisons, and came away impressed with its wartime hospital setting but underwhelmed by what I remembered as the seemingly random allocation of guilt to an undeniably surprising party in the finale. Since then, I’ve been assured by reputable sources that the book is in fact rigorously — and very fairly — clewed and warrants re-examination, so its republication in the British Library Crime Classics range is the perfect chance to find out if it does indeed stand on its own or if everyone’s enthusiastic just because they also love the 1946 movie (because, my god, don’t people ever love that movie).
This second entry in Marthe Jocelyn’s Aggie Morton series — featuring juvenile sleuths inspired by both Agatha Christie and her arguably most famous creation Hercule Poirot — contains much of the charm that made the series opener stand out, but also falls down in ways that leave me a little underwhelmed.Continue reading
God, I love Cornell Woolrich.Continue reading
In the same year that Agatha Christie mixed sight-seeing and shipboard slaughter in Death on the Nile (1937), Freeman Wills Crofts sent his series detective, Chief Inspector Joseph French, into bat with a similarly travelogue-rich tale of marine-centric malfeasance. Found Floating (1937) might, in many ways, be seen as Crofts’ take on the essential principles of a Christie plot, even if it does highlight many of the reasons Dame Agatha has remained in the public consciousness while Crofts is only now enjoying a resurgence in awareness and popularity. Indeed, for a man who made hay in the annals of the realistic detective story, this might be his most successful brush with verisimilitude yet.
Well, it seems that you write off Enid Blyton at your peril…!Continue reading
It’s getting very exciting now.Continue reading
In the back of my mind when I started The Invisible Event was the idea that exactly half of what I’d post about would feature impossible crimes, locked room mysteries, and/or miracle problems — and although this proportion started an irreversible slide after the first 500 or so posts, the impossible crime remains my first love.Continue reading
If you’re reading this in the Southern Hemisphere — or in the year 2047, when global warming has reduced the planet to a scorched wasteland — then the raft of snow-bound mysteries reviewed in the run-up to Christmas might seem a little odd. Nevertheless, this snowswept tale of impossible murder, which came recommended by Tom Mead, has been reserved for this precise season so that its twofold chills — physical and atmospheric — might be better appreciated. Gerald Verner wrote so much that it would be easy to believe that quality wasn’t high on his agenda, but he does good work in They Walk in Darkness (1947) even if the overall edifice doesn’t quite live up to its promise.