#485: “What I say is, is it wise or necessary to rake up things?” – Memory as Evidence in Elephants Can Remember (1972) by Agatha Christie

Elephants Can Remember

You’ve heard of Elephants Can Remember (1972): it’s the final time Hercule Poirot investigates a case at Agatha Christie’s direction, written in the final stretch of her career when everything she did was awful and without merit.  Not even I could find something positive to say about it…could I?

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#484: The D.A. Calls a Turn (1944) by Erle Stanley Gardner

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Thanksgiving evening, Sheriff Rex Brandon receives a call from a contrite drunk claiming to have stolen a car, and heads over to pick him up along with D.A. Doug Selby.  Arriving too late to prevent an accident in which the man is killed, a chance observation by Selby leads to an identity different to one the man had claimed  This in turn brings Brandon and Selby to Carmen Freelman, who had been called away from dinner with her new husband’s family that evening by her boss…who just happens to be the man killed in the crash.  So run the first twenty-four pages of The D.A. Calls a Turn (1944) by Erle Stanley Gardner.  Strap in for a wild ride…

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#475: The Sentence is Death (2018) by Anthony Horowitz

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Having gotten so successfully into the skin of Dr. John H. Watson for his Sherlock Holmes tale The House of Silk (2011), Anthony Horowitz has now found a Watson whose skin fits even better: himself.  And if Horowitz is to be Watson, he needs a Holmes — a role obligingly filled by the brilliantly perceptive ex-D.I. Daniel Hawthorne, a man as private as he is borderline-unlikable, who is parachuted into cases which run the risk of sticking around for a while and making the Metropolitan Police Force’s statistics look bad.  And with Horowitz as his chronicler, it’s to be hoped that any cases they meet will require at least 80,000 words to solve…

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#472: The Pit-Prop Syndicate (1922) by Freeman Wills Crofts

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Back in 2015, before I’d ever opened any of Freeman Wills Crofts’ works, Puzzle Doctor reviewed The Pit-Prop Syndicate (1922) at his place and ended by saying “I could go on, but I’ll just keep writing euphemisms for BORING BOOK over and over again. Absolutely, 100%, NOT RECOMMENDED. I’d go so far as Actively Avoid”.  Shortly after reading that I broke my first bread with Crofts and, almost exactly three years later, I’ve read and loved seven Crofts novels and — in a move some might consider hasty — have tracked down all but four of his oeuvre. Still, I picked this one up with the Doc’s warning echoing in the back of my skull.  Gulp.

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#471: Minor Felonies – Jolly Foul Play (2016) by Robin Stevens

Jolly Foul Play

The fourth entry in Robin Stevens’ Murder Most Unladylike series finds us returning to a very different Deepdean School for Girls to the one we last saw at the end of the opening of this series.  And this time around Christian, who blogs over at Mysteries, Short and Sweet when he’s not translating Carter Dickson novels into Swedish, has stepped in to help me tackle this one as a fellow fan of Robin Stevens’ work.

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