Don’t be put off by the publication date — we’re deep in the Golden Age here, with the twelve stories in this collection originally published in 1934 and 1935. And, oh my, what a collection it is.Continue reading
A surgeon, a policeman, a psychiatrist, a mathematician, and a pathologist walk into a club — the foundation not of some esoteric wit but instead the Dilettante’s Club, a dinner-and-discussion group who meet fortnightly for their own entertainment. And when Professor Marcus Stubbs joins their number, those discussions take a frequent turn into the realm of the impossible crime.Continue reading
On the afternoon of November 4th 1927, Sir George Fleet stood unaccompanied on the flat roof of Fleet House and was, as several independent witnesses assert, pushed to his death by invisible hands. Twenty years later, Scotland Yard receive three anonymous postcards marked “Re: Sir George Fleet” exhorting them to “examine the skeleton in the clock” and asking “what was the pink flash on the roof?” because “evidence of murder is still there”. Enter Chief Inspector Humphrey Masters, dragging the Old Man, Sir Henry ‘H.M.’ Merrivale, in his wake…Merrivale himself having just bought a grandfather clock which has a skeleton suspended inside of it.
A little while back, I decided that short story collections don’t really merit an overall star rating since the stories should be considered individually. Thus, I stopped reviewing them on Thursdays and moved them to weekends. The upshot of this is that I now have a lot of unreviewed short story collections, so I’m going to pick out four single-author bundles to look at on Tuesdays in February. And first up is this collection recommended to me by Christian of Mysteries, Short and Sweet.Continue reading
God, this was tedious.Continue reading
Picture the scene: it is 1946 and T.C.H. Jacobs is discussing his next novel with his agent, lamenting “So many types of detective story have successful during this Golden Age, in what style should I write? Some scientific detection? A police procedural? A pulpy shocker? Should I have an amateur detective? A gentleman detective? A criminal gang?” and his agent leans forwards slowly, steeples his fingers, and says simply, “Yes”.Continue reading
The joy of running this blog comes not from the screaming fans that hound my every step, nor the piles of untaxable cash that seemed to just appear from day one, but from the discussions it and others allow me to have with like-, and sometimes unlike-, minded enthusiasts of Golden Age detective fiction. What to do, then, when I have a book that probably no-one is going to want to talk about?Continue reading
Let’s get the new year off to a happy start by showing some appreciation for contemporary authors who make life difficult for themselves by upholding the traditions of Golden Age detective fiction in their own works. And, if you want to discuss modern detective fiction, few are better-placed than Puzzle Doctor, a.k.a. Steve from In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel.Continue reading
Man, there is a lot to unpack here. Firstly my love of Herbert Brean — an author brought to my attention by TomCat, and about whose books Ben at The Green Capsule and I frequently try to outdo each other in our enthusiasm. Secondly the need for a mystery to sell you on its central premise — here, hypnotism, about which a neat little treatise halfway through. And thirdly the purpose of a mystery novel — does a compelling plot obviate the need for a good mystery, and does a disappointing mystery necessarily detract from a great plot? All this and more we shall confront today with Brean’s second novel The Darker the Night (1949).