Another year, another collection of forgotten or unknown tales from the luminaries of detective fiction’s Golden Age brought to us by the tireless efforts of Tony Medawar. So how does Bodies from the Library 5 (2022) stack up?Continue reading
To me falls the honour of rounding off the blog tour for The Life of Crime (2022) by Martin Edwards, adding to the deserved praise it has already garnered elsewhere. This “personal journey through the genre’s past, with all the limitations and idiosyncrasies that implies” is a monumental achievement, encompassing the breadth and depth of a genre that is now a good couple of centuries old, and finding many nuggets to share about it along the way. And, since any study of a genre must inherently be about that genre to some extent, Edwards’ trump card here is to tell a story of crime writing that also sheds light on the need for such stories to exist in the first place.
Brad is working his way through full season summary breakdowns of the recent US TV Sherlock Holmes update Elementary (2012-19) and, since he and I have been watching it at about the same time — thanks to urging from a mutual friend — I thought I’d belatedly
jump on that bandwagon share my own thoughts in more compact form.
With the superb British Library Crime Classics range having recently published its one hundredth title, and with doubtless many more books still in its future, the time seems ripe to revisit one of its most exciting reprints, It Walks by Night (1930) the novel-length debut of John Dickson Carr and his first sleuth, Henri Bencolin.Continue reading
I hadn’t intended Phantom Lady (1942) to be my next Cornell Woolrich read — that was going to be a revisit of the short story collection Nightwebs (1971) which so underwhelmed me and put me off Woolrich for two decades, only for me to fall in love with the man’s work recently — but, after his own glowing review of this title, I don’t think Ben at The Green Capsule would have forgiven me if I’d gone anywhere else. And, honestly, I’m having such a blast with Woolrich’s nightmarescapes that I was probably going to enjoy whatever I read…but, woo, can I ever see why he wanted me to read this one. So, attempting to avoid nudges, winks, and spoilers that might mar your enjoyment, here goes…
For someone who wishes there was more ambition displayed in the modern impossible crime novel, I prove hard to please when Gallic maestro of the impossible Paul Halter stretches his wings into his more enterprising undertakings. I can’t shake the feeling that I rated The Man Who Loved Clouds (1999, tr. 2018) a little too harshly, and maybe in a couple of years I’ll feel that The Mask of the Vampire (2014, tr. 2022) deserves more than the three stars I’m giving it. Because, see, there is a lot of ambition here, and I want to celebrate the complexity of Halter’s intentions and achievements…but, I dunno, something just holds me back.
My memory of The Sign of Four (1890), the second story to feature Sherlock Holmes from the pen of Arthur Conan Doyle, was that it offered little of interest or consequence, and stood rather as a footnote in the canon than a core text. And, rereading it for this post, I’ve come to realise that this impression is both quite right and very wrong indeed.Continue reading
Sometimes I buy a book and, for no good reason at all, it ends up sinking to the bottom of the heap. Over time, I forget what motivated me to buy it in the first place, and the desire to find out is overwhelmed by other, more arresting excitements. And so Tuesdays this month will be given over to these long-gestating reads.Continue reading
Actress Cicely Foster, calling at the home of movie mogul Jacob Singerman to discuss a role in a ‘talkie’, is innocent enough to be shocked by his advances and fights him off, striking him on the head in the struggle before fleeing. When reporter Julian Mendoza, “the bloodhound of Fleet Street”, tracks her down and tells her that Singerman was found dead shortly after her departure, it looks bleak…but for the small matter of the corpse having been found with a bullet between his eyes.Continue reading