#499: Cat’s Paw (1931) by Roger Scarlett

roger scarlett v2star filledstar filledstar filledstar filledstars
Dear Elderly Patriarchs Who Hold the Purse-Strings and Delight in Making Everyone Jump and Dance on Cue: you’d live a lot longer if you stopped gathering your slavishly pecuniary-minded families around you before announcing a surprise amendment to their financial situations.  Weren’t you supposed to be captains of industry at some point?  Don’t your creators lay it on a bit thick with your business acumen, your cut-and-thrust tactics, and the rapier-like intelligence that resulted in you rising to the top?  Gordon’s beer, man, exercise a little nouse; at least change the will and then tell them…

Continue reading

#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?

Continue reading

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

D.A. Calls a Turnstar filledstar filledstar filledstar filledstars
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…

Continue reading

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

The Sentence is Deathstar filledstar filledstar filledstar filledstars
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…

Continue reading