#683: “A terrible orgy of murder and crime, and it seems that we are not at the end of it yet” – The Crimson Circle (1922) by Edgar Wallace

Crimson Circle, The

My TBR pile, like Norm Lindsay’s Magic Pudding, is an apparently self-aware, endlessly self-replicating source of nourishment that I will never, ever finish.  I daren’t even let it out of my sight sometimes, because who knows what sort of nonsense it gets up to when I’m not looking?

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#672: Adventures in Self-Publishing – Murder by Magic (2017) by Paul Tomlinson

Murder by Magic

Typical, eh?  You wait years for a blog to talk about magic, and then suddenly three posts come along at once: the most recent In GAD We Trust episode with John Norris, and two self-published impossible crime stories — one this week, and one next.  Sure, that’s stretching the definition of “at once” to an Orwellian degree, but that’s how I apparently roll.

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#670: Sleeping Murder (1976) by Agatha Christie

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Agatha Christie famously wrote the final novels to feature her two biggest sleuths well ahead of their publication, and where Hercule Poirot’s swansong Curtain (1975) was a joyous return to the heights for a character she had grown weary of, Sleeping Murder (1976) — the last hurrah for Miss Jane Marple, a character you can’t help but feel Christie had a growing respect for as she aged — is…fine.  Yes, it had a cogency and precision that At Bertram’s Hotel (1965) and Nemesis (1971) sorely needed, but in all honesty the sound and fury on display here signifies something that doesn’t even add up to a hill o’ beans, if you’ll forgive my mixing of classics.

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#639: “Nothing is so sad as the devastation wrought by age” – Going Out in Style(s) with Curtain (1975) by Agatha Christie

Curtain

Given the inevitable decline in Agatha Christie’s powers as her career drew to a close, there’s a moderate irony in that fact that she had come off probably the most successful decade in the history of detective fiction writing when she opted to portray Hercule Poirot at his apparent worst.

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