#330: Highs & Lows – Five Reading Highlights of 2017


January, month of rebirth and self-recrimination.  For every resolution to improve there must be some frank assessment of what debilitated you in the first place, and so the month can take on a curiously Jekyll-and-Hyde aspect for some.  So my Tuesday posts for this month will be a mixture of what is good and bad in my reading, and where better to start than a celebration of the previous 12 months?

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#279: The Devil and the C.I.D. (1938) by E.C.R. Lorac

51w0ewg0t4l-sx316My first foray into the work of E.C.R. Lorac was long on character and setting but short on plot.  This time there’s plenty of everything to go around, and I’m now very intrigued by what else Edith Caroline Rivett may have cooked up in the realms of GAD writing — am I right in saying that it was mentioned at the Bodies from the Library conference that one of her books will be a future British Library Crime Classic?  On this evidence, and trusting those fine folk to continue their habit of making generally good selections, that could be something worth anticipating.  She’s not quite Agatha Christie yet, but if you’d read only Destination Unknown and Third Girl then even Agatha Christie wouldn’t be Agatha Christie…

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#167: Case in the Clinic (1941) by E.C.R. Lorac

case-in-the-clinicGiven the number of people who applied themselves to the challenge of writing a novel of detection during the Golden Age (precise dates pending…), it is to be expected that a fair number of wonderful novels, plots, ideas, and authors will have been lost in the tidal wave of creativity.  Through the continued efforts of publishers like Ramble House — who were reprinting this stuff before it was cool again — we’ve been able to rediscover Max Afford, Norman Berrow, Rupert Penny, Hake Talbot, and others, and it’s this path of frank fabulousness that has brought me now to E.C.R. Lorac, author of some 70-odd novels under a couple of pseudonyms.  Does she belong in the realm of How In The Hell Is This Stuff Overlooked?  Well, on this evidence…maybe.

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