By Harriette AshbrookFirst published: US: Coward McCann, 1933. Available on Kindle. Cecily Thane was an orthodox Vancian investigation; Steven Kester was a country house mystery. In her third mystery, Ashbrook tries the ‘hero walks into enigmatic situation’. Spike Tracy’s car breaks down in Vermont; high-spirited Jill takes him home to meet her family, whom she … Continue reading The Murder of Sigurd Sharon (Harriette Ashbrook)
Fleming Stone's second case. Who shot the banker in his library on the eve of changing his will?
How can one man have committed two burglaries and been murdered at exactly the same hour in towns hundreds of kilometres apart?
By Robin Forsythe First published: UK, 1935 Like Forsythe’s other detective stories, this is a pleasant but minor work. A businessman dies, apparently from natural causes, soon after marrying his much younger second wife; his body is exhumed, but no trace of foul play is found. Then his son, who pushed for the autopsy, is … Continue reading The Ginger Cat Mystery (Forsythe)
By M.P. ShielFirst published: UK: John Lane, 1895 A Russian nobleman sits in a domed chamber in the middle of a labyrinth in a ruined abbey, smoking bhang from a gemmed chibouque, brooding in a “lonesome room gloomy in its lunar bath of soft perfumed light, shrouded in the sullen voluptuousness of plushy, narcotic-breathing draperies”. … Continue reading Prince Zaleski (Shiel)
By the Baroness OrczyFirst published: UK: George Newnes, 1905 The man in the corner is the original armchair detective: a shabby, animated scarecrow who sits in the corner of an A.B.C. teashop, tying endless knots in a piece of string while he unravels tangled skeins. Sherlock Holmes rushes around, nose to the ground like a … Continue reading The Case of Miss Elliott (Orczy)
I made one of my occasional assaults on The Lord of the Rings, a book that both impresses and baffles me. Tolkien’s imagination was vast and deep; few can match his achievement of creating a world for a language. But reading it can be as much of a trudge as Frodo’s epic journey to Mount … Continue reading Largely February
Death in a Deck Chair and Peril Under the Palms (K.K. Beck, 1984 and 1989): Bright Young Thing Iris Cooper solves murders on a Transatlantic liner and on Hawaii. Light, frothy, fun. Deck Chair is the better of the two, although as Tomcat points out, it’s really The Secret of Chimneys at sea: deposed kings, … Continue reading Wot I reeded in Janissary
Based on Masters thesis, University of Sydney, 2010 The Puzzle Doctor was unamused by Inspector Ghote Plays a Joker. "Is there a great Inspector Ghote book that I must read?" he wondered. Probably, but not if he expects a detective story... Keating, a gentle, whimsical writer, was less concerned with plot and detection than with … Continue reading H.R.F. Keating: The crime novel as fable
Happy New Year, Terrans and other sentient lifeforms! And welcome to the future! I’m tired; I’ve just flown by jetpack from Mars Colony Five to my parents’ habidome halfway down the Mariana Trench. I’m telepathically dictating this with my cerebral augs while enjoying a revitalizing course of electro-stimulation. In the next room, I can hear … Continue reading Greetings, puny humans, from the space year 2020