#644: A Hundred Thousand Dragons (2010) by Dolores Gordon-Smith

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When Jack Haldean encounters Durant Craig in the lounge at Claridge’s hotel, the latter apparently carries a grievance from their war days and offers up a volley of abuse before storming out.  Haldean refuses to disclose the reason for Craig’s outburst — offering only that “I let him down rather badly once…I deserve it” — and instead seems keen to forget the meeting.  When a mysterious car accident during a fancy dress party raises the possibility of murder, it’s not long before Halden and Superintendent Ashley find themselves investigating a menage that involves one Durant Craig…and so it seems that Jack Haldean has a reckoning with the misdeeds of his past.

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#641: Killed on the Rocks (1990) by William L. DeAndrea

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The brain works in funny ways. TomCat has been a champion of Killed on the Rocks (1990), the sixth novel to feature William L. DeAndrea’s semi-amateur sleuth Matt Cobb, for as long as I can remember.  I learned of this book from TC’s list of favourite impossible crime novels, and was delighted to find a copy about 16 months ago, but it would have sat on my shelves for a long time yet — because, dude, my TBR is haunting — had I not learned, quite by accident, that DeAndrea himself died at the tragically tender age of 44.  I can’t explain the logic, but I suddenly had the urge to read this, and the desire to enjoy it…and now I’ve done both.

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#639: “Nothing is so sad as the devastation wrought by age” – Going Out in Style(s) with Curtain (1975) by Agatha Christie

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Given the inevitable decline in Agatha Christie’s powers as her career drew to a close, there’s a moderate irony in that fact that she had come off probably the most successful decade in the history of detective fiction writing when she opted to portray Hercule Poirot at his apparent worst.

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