In GAD We Trust – Episode 16: Modern Writers in the Golden Age Tradition [w’ Puzzle Doctor @ In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel]

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

#691: Off the Record (2010) by Dolores Gordon-Smith

Off the Recordstar filledstar filledstar filledstar filledstars
You know the drill: two men in a meeting, a shot rings out, one of them is found with a bullet in him, the other holding the gun that fired it.  Stir in a “But he was already dead when I got here!” and simmer until an associate of an-amateur-sleuth-with-a-friend-in-the-police asks them to get involved (usually for personal reasons).  That Off the Record (2010) follows this recipe so perfectly is a credit to how perceptively Dolores Gordon-Smith has assimilated the Golden Age detective novel, because never does it feel just like we’re jumping through hoops for the sake of it.  The setup is familiar, but never less than engagingly handled.

Continue reading

#644: A Hundred Thousand Dragons (2010) by Dolores Gordon-Smith

Hundred Thousand Dragonsstar filledstar filledstar filledstar filledstars
When Jack Haldean encounters Durant Craig in the lounge at Claridge’s hotel, the latter apparently carries a grievance from their war days and offers up a volley of abuse before storming out.  Haldean refuses to disclose the reason for Craig’s outburst — offering only that “I let him down rather badly once…I deserve it” — and instead seems keen to forget the meeting.  When a mysterious car accident during a fancy dress party raises the possibility of murder, it’s not long before Halden and Superintendent Ashley find themselves investigating a menage that involves one Durant Craig…and so it seems that Jack Haldean has a reckoning with the misdeeds of his past.

Continue reading

#587: As If by Magic (2009) by Dolores Gordon-Smith

As If by Magicstar filledstar filledstar filledstar filledstars
Disorientated, drenched, and on the verge of a fever, George Lassiter wanders the streets of London until attracted to a particular house which he breaks into in order to warm himself by the fire.  While he is waiting in the darkness and warmth, three people enter, one of them apparently drops dead on the spot, and Lassiter beats a hasty retreat before being caught by a local bobby.  Upon telling his story, the house is investigated and no sign of a body is found, so Lassiter is carted away to the local hospital.  And when Lassiter’s friend, part-time sleuth and general man-about-town Jack Haldean, hears of his predicament, it’s the beginning of a complex and dangerous skein.

Continue reading