Five more recommended episodes of Elementary, in which Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Dr. Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) solve mysteries in modern day New York. And this time it’s season 3 under the microscope. Or magnifying glass, whatever.Continue reading
One of the things that struck me as I got into the works of Freeman Wills Crofts is how, from book to book, he always finds a way to subtly alter the nature of the plot he is writing so that he never covers the exact same ground twice. This was evidently not so much of a concern for Cornell Woolrich, who could so readily imagine so many nightmarish possibilities bristling from any setup that he often had to use the same core idea more than once just to explore the principles that struck him. ‘All At Once, No Alice’ (1937) shares a sizeable chunk of DNA with the novel Phantom Lady (1942), and today’s read Rendezvous in Black (1948) harks back to Woolrich’s criminous debut, The Bride Wore Black (1940).
One final, for now, trip to Four Corners, “the kind of one-horse burg where they leave the doors open at night”, and the story of ‘Daisy Boy’ Dumont and the Curlew fortune.Continue reading
Here’s something I’ve been curious about, and probably only now have the time and energy to think about organising: who is the most popular detective character of the genre’s Golden Age?Continue reading
At the bunfight following his marriage to Helene Brand, theatrical agent Jake Justus, reflecting that “he had had more than his fair share of homicides”, is unprepared for Mona McClane boasting that she will kill someone “in broad daylight on the public streets, with…plenty of witnesses”. Surely she can’t be serious? And so a bet is struck — powered, no doubt, by the veneer of alcohol that drives so much of Craig Rice’s wild plotting — that, if Mona commits the murder, Jake will prove her guilty of it. And then a man is shot dead on the busiest corner in Chicago during the Christmas rush, with Mona McClane spotted in the vicinity just moments before.
Where next for Theodore Roscoe’s tales of small own life in upstate New York? Well, how about some Suspense?Continue reading
One of my very favourite detective fiction tropes is the Unidentified Corpse. It’s at the heart of my favourite E.C.R. Lorac book, one of my favourite Freeman Wills Crofts books, and as a mainstay of the work of R. Austin Freeman is put to wonderful use both traditional and inverted. Murder in the Basement (1932) by Anthony Berkeley also invents the Whowasdunin?, giving us a cast of characters from which the corpse will be produced, and not divulging the identity of the victim until the halfway point. Thankfully, given Berkeley’s tendency to commit to a thought experiment regardless of whether the book that comes out of it is any good, he’s also written an entertaining and very witty novel along the way.
Another tales of small town Americana from Theodore Roscoe, his time focussing on the effects of a crime on one man’s standing in the tiny community of Four Corners, the fictional town in upstate New YorkContinue reading
The Detection Club — a membership-by-election dining club for detective fiction writers, whose origins and early days were traced so entertainingly by Martin Edwards in The Golden Age of Murder (2015) — has produced several collaborative efforts down the years, and it’s to one of those that we turn today.Continue reading