#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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#361: False Economies – On the Buying of Second-Hand Books (Definitely Not a Rant…)

Books waiting

A recent post by Noah on the topic of book-scouting came hard upon the back of an experience of mine that really brought home the frequent futility of buying second-hand books.  And, since the timing was rather too apt to ignore, I thought I’d share my frustrations.  But I’m not ranting; be sure to note at the simplicity of the ensuing vocabulary, indicative as it is of me in a reflective (rather than bad) mood.

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#357: Dead Man Control (1936) by Helen Reilly

Dead Man Controlstar filledstar filledstarsstarsstars
We are 30 pages into Dead Man Control (1936) when the case is sealed up beyond any doubt: a millionaire shot dead in his study, the door locked and bolted on the inside, his new, much younger wife unconscious on the floor (her fingerprints on the gun, too), no hiding places, and freshly fallen snow on all the window-ledges to preclude the clandestine exit of anyone else who could have been present.  Clearly the wife dunnit, and everyone can go home early today.  So therefore Inspector Christopher McKee has to be summoned back to New York from his holiday in England because…er, it looks too easy?  And as he investigates, secrets there was no reason to suspect begin to spill out…

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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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#355: Change a Letter, Alter the Plot


If you’ve been paying attention, especially to my comments left both here and elsewhere, you’ll be aware that my typing is rather famously variable.  90% of the time I’m good, but that other 10% — man, some errors there are.  Writing something recently, I made reference to the novel Five Little Pugs by Agatha Christie and then — catching myself in time to correct it — I had a thought…

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