#365: Minor Felonies – Welcome to Danger, a.k.a. Danger Unlimited (1949) by Christianna Brand

Welcome to Danger

Every so often someone will email me to let me know of books that may pique my interest: Kate at CrossExaminingCrime has brought several Freeman Wills Croftses to my attention, and Ben of The Green Capsule has also informed me of some bargains, including today’s title that, it’s fair to say, we’re still not sure who was most excited to discover existed.

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#362: Minor Felonies – The Clue of the Phantom Car (1953) by Bruce Campbell

Clue of the Phanton Car

An orphaned young man who lives with his red-haired best friend’s family, all the while having adventures…yeah, okay, no, the Harry Potter similarities stop (and indeed, don’t even start — he’s not an orphan, his father’s just away a lot) there.  But it’s interesting to reflect, as these YAGAD novels are making me do, on the format that adventures for younger readers take and how little the classic tropes have needed to change in the intervening decades.

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#359: Minor Felonies – The Secret of the Old Clock (1930) by Carolyn Keene [rev. Harriet Adams 1959]

Secret of the Old Clock
Well, well, well, even at my time in life there’s still much to be learned.  For instance, I did not know that Carolyn Keene, author of the Nancy Drew mysteries, wasn’t an actual person but instead a syndicate a la the Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators authors (the key difference being that they never put any author name on the cover).

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#356: Minor Felonies – Young Robin Brand, Detective (1947) by Freeman Wills Crofts

The thirty-first novel Freeman Wills Crofts published in his career was this novel for younger readers.  Let that sink in a moment.  Captain Dryasdust encroaching on Enid Blyton’s territory seems about as likely as Blyton herself trying her hand at Raymond Chandler’s metaphor-laden hard-edged novels of moral decay…the difference being that Crofts actually tried it.

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

good

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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#316: Stand Back, Detective Novelist at Work in The Mystery of the Invisible Thief (1950) by Enid Blyton

Invisible Thief

No discussion of children’s literature is complete without at least a passing reference to the 14,762 books Enid Blyton wrote in her career.  Somehow I’d heard of this one and its implied impossible disappearance, and it seemed perfect for my Tuesday posts in November on precisely this type of book.  Generally you know what to expect from Blyton — a poorly-dated whiff of imperialism, comfortable middle-class adventures, ginger beer — but prepare for a bit of a shock: the rigour of the detection in this is something to behold.

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