I think ‘The Speckled Band’ (1892) is perhaps the most fun Arthur Conan Doyle ever had writing about his most famous creation.Continue reading
#1065: “Well, you know, I’m pretty hot on a murder puzzle…” – Buffet for Unwelcome Guests [ss] (1983) by Christianna Brand [ed. Francis M. Nevins, Jr. & Martin H. Greenberg]
Sixteen stories from Christianna Brand, who, thanks to the likes of the excellent Bodies from the Library (2018-present) series and the British Library Crime Classics range, has enjoyed something of a resurgence of late. So, how do these stack up?Continue reading
#1061: Death and the Conjuror (2022) by Tom Mead
Tom Mead is that rare thing these days: an author writing detective fiction in the classic tradition with some actual interest in the classic tradition of detective fiction. When he peppers the text of Death and the Conjuror (2022), his very entertaining and easy-to-read debut novel, with references to the work of R. Austin Freeman, G.K. Chesterton, Melville Davisson Post and others, you know it’s the result of time spent reading the genre rather than a few quick Google searches to give him credibility. And when he plays the games of identity and location as well as he does here, you also know he’s having a joyous time playing in his favourite sandbox…and wonderful it is to see.
#1051: Murder in the Mews, a.k.a. Dead Man’s Mirror [ss] (1937) by Agatha Christie – ‘Dead Man’s Mirror’, a.k.a. ‘Hercule Poirot and the Broken Mirror’ (1937)
Do you like interviews? I hope you like interviews.Continue reading
#1049: The End of Andrew Harrison, a.k.a. The Futile Alibi (1938) by Freeman Wills Crofts
It’s been a long road to The End of Andrew Harrison, a.k.a. The Futile Alibi (1938) by Freeman Wills Crofts. Back when I was fairly new to classic era detective fiction in general, and impossible crimes in particular, I heard rumours of this book — the first I’d ever heard of Crofts — but it turned out to be rather unavailable. I also heard that Crofts was dull, dull, dull, however, and so spent a long time avoiding him before finally taking the plunge, falling in love with his writing and reading 22 of his novels in broad chronology, in which time Andrew Harrison was reprinted by Harper Collins. And…that just about brings us up to date.
#1047: Five to Try – Elementary, Season 6 (2018)
Eking out these recommended episodes of Elementary, having found a lot of joy in Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Dr. Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) solving mysteries in modern day New York, I’m amazed and mildly distressed to have reached the penultimate season already. What am I going to watch when I’m done?Continue reading
#1038: A Little Help for my Friends – Finding a Modern Locked Room Mystery for TomCat Attempt #21: Murder at Black Oaks (2022) by Phillip Margolin
Listen, if I was a lawyer and someone had built a replica of a house cursed by werewolves in an isolated location called Solitude Mountain, there’s no hourly rate in the world that would get me driving there for a spooky weekend.Continue reading
#1019: Back from the Grave (1940) by Walter S. Masterman
In the London suburb of Balham, stark among the red-brick villas that stand like “lines of red cabbage in a field”, can be found the “ugly and squat” house Bloomfield, the one-time home of Mr. Peabody which contains within its high surrounding wall some three acres of land and presents a “forlorn appearance” to the world. Following the death of its elderly owner, who refused to sell out to the “rising tide of suburbia” and insisted the house and land be kept together, Bloomfield stands empty for many months until the mysterious Dr. Cox arrives on the scene and takes possession — refusing to answer any queries about himself or his work, much to the frustration of the local busybodies.
#1018: “If it’s a new wrinkle in the art of homicide, I want to know all about it.” – The White Priory Murders (1934) by Carter Dickson
It speaks volumes about the excitement that the work of John Dickson Carr provokes in me that, with still around 20 of his novels unread, I’m revisiting some favourite titles from his output. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the likes of the American Mystery Classics and the British Library Crime Classics ranges are putting out such lovely new editions — and who wouldn’t want to revisit Carr in his prime?Continue reading