#749: The Red Right Hand (1945) by Joel Townsley Rogers

Red Right Hand

star filledstar filledstar filledstarsstars
I first read The Red Right Hand (1945) by Joel Townsley Rogers about a decade ago — maybe more, maybe less, it’s fitting given the nature of the narrative herein that I’m a little hazy on the precise details. I’m unsure how it came to my attention, but I do know that I had expected a traditional suspects-murder-investigation-solution structure and that, when the book absolutely did not deliver this, it proved to be a frustrating read. This reissue by the American Mystery Classics range, then, was to be celebrated for a chance to re-evaluate the novel — my previous copy having gone who knows where — knowing what I was getting. And, well, it is still a frustrating read.

Continue reading

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

Taste for Honey, Astar filledstar filledstarsstarsstars
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.

Continue reading

#593: Home Sweet Homicide (1944) by Craig Rice

Home Sweet Homicidestar filledstar filledstar filledstar filledstar filled
As a rule, I start getting a bit nervous if it takes me more than three days to finish a book.  I read Home Sweet Homicide (1944), the first of Georgiana Ann Randolph Craig’s novels I’ve ever attempted, over one week and one day and, quite honestly, would have happily kept reading it for another month or two.  I’ve never gotten a sense of her as an author from her short stories — largely, I’d imagine, because of the need to cram in character and plot in less space — and, if I’m honest, didn’t relish the screwball antics her reputation seemed to promise.  Well, no fear.  This isn’t screwball, it’s not especially tightly plotted, and it’s possibly the best book I’ve read in a long ol’ time.

Continue reading