Saturday, November 30, 2013

The XYZ Murders: Part II of III

The XYZ Murders is a 3-in-1 volume by Barnaby Ross (aka Ellery Queen aka Frederic Dannay & Manfred Lee)--the star of which is Drury Lane, retired actor and amateur sleuth extraordinaire.  Since the three novels included in this volume were originally published as separate works, I will treat them as such and review them accordingly.

Part II: The Tragedy of Y is Drury Lane's second outing as recorded in print and it brings him in contact with the Hatter family--the Mad Hatters as they are known.  The Hatters are not just mad...but they are thoroughly nasty people.  The family is ruled by the imperious Emily Hatter--a woman who sowed plenty of wild oats before marrying poor York Hatter.  York had been a brilliant scientist before Emily got him in her clutches--sucking the life out of him and making him bend to her every whim.  She rules the rest of the household--three grown children, one daughter-in-law, two grandsons, a cook, a maid, and nurse--with an iron fist.  The only one she seems to have any feeling for is her fourth child--a young woman born with certain disabilities and who has acquired more.  Louisa is deaf, blind, and mute.

The old lady's preference for Louisa only ensures that the woman will be hated by the rest of the family.  And it isn't long before the family's madness and vicious streak takes hold.  York is the first to go--drowned at sea and an apparent suicide.  What follows is a rash of poisonings...all attempts to get rid of Louisa...and then, finally, murder when Emily is killed with the oddest of weapons--York's mandolin.  The police are baffled and call in Drury Lane to help them get to the bottom of the mystery.  There are clues and false clues and the first thing that must be determined is who was the real target?  Were the attempts on Louisa genuine and the old lady killed to prevent the murderer from being caught too soon?  Or will someone be wiping out as many of the Hatters as they can?  Lane discovers that there is a detailed plan being followed...but whose plan is it?  And why are there references to York Hatter when the man was the first to die?

I am enjoying these mysteries featuring Drury Lane very much.  The plots are nice and intricate and there are plenty of clues to be had.  For a fair amount of the book it looks like a dead man may be responsible and the explanation of the plot is very pretty indeed (in the short form).  My one complaint has to do with Lane's methods--he plays that brilliant amateur keeping clues from the police role just a little too well.  There are real dangers in his secrecy.  The other problem with Lane is his tendency to drag out his wrap-up.  An explanation that should take--at most--four or five pages goes on for almost twenty.  Another three and 3/4 star adventure. 

December Mount TBR Reviews

Link up all reviews for this month below.

Challenge Wrap-UP: European Reading Challenge

Host: Rose City Reader
Name: European Reading Challenge, 2013
Post Reviews

Dates: January - January
My Goal: 5+ Books (Five Star, Deluxe Entourage)

I actually completed my goal (five or more books) for this challenge back in March--but I knew that I would have more on the reading list that would qualify.  I've now doubled my goal and am posting my wrap-up.  It's possible that I'll add one or two more before the year is out...but we'll have to see where my TBR pile leads me.

Thanks to Gillion for hosting another fun reading travel extravaganza!
My List:

1. The Man Who Went up in Smoke by May Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö (set in Hungary, written by Swedish authors) [1/8/13]

2. Whip Smart: Lola Montez Conquers the Spaniards  by Kit Brennan (Spain) [2/9/13]
3. Three English Comedies by A. B. De Mille (United Kingdom) [2/27/13]
4. The Perfect Landscape by Ragna Sigurdardottir (Iceland) [3/12/13]
5. The Lady Vanishes by Ethel Lina White (Bulgaria--actually takes place in the "Balkans" which area covers parts of Bulgaria, Serbia, Turkey, etc; I have arbitrarily picked Bulgaria for location) [3/17/13]
6. The Talking Sparrow Murders by Darwin Teilhet (Germany) [5/6/13]
7. Heart of a Dog by Mikhail Bulgakov [Russia] (6/23/13)
8. The Monster of Florence by Magdalen Nabb [Italy] (8/17/13 
9. Andersen's Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen (Denmark) [8/20/13]
10. Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne (French author) [11/27/13]

Around the World in Eighty Days: Review

Around the World in Eighty Days is a classic adventure novel by Jules Verne.  I had seen two filmed versions of the story--the 1956 version starring David Niven and a host of stars in cameo roles and the 1989 TV mini series starring Pierce Brosnan and his own host of stars--but had never read the story (despite having a huge book with all of Verne's major works).  I still haven't "read" it.  Faced with a long car trip over the Thanksgiving holiday, I popped in the audio version featuring Christopher Plummer as my narrator and listened to Verne's original story.  I'm pleased to say that each of the films are remarkably faithful to the original--with only a bit of Hollywood glitz sprinkled in.

The story should be a familiar one, but just in case, here is a brief run-down.  Phileas Fogg is an eccentric English gentleman of precise habits.  He dines at the same hour every day, arrives at his club exactly on time, and always plays whist with his fellow club members at the same hour and for the same amount of time.  He is something of a mystery--beyond his obsession with precision and his preference for the game of whist, little is known about him.  That he is wealthy is obvious--how he came to be wealthy is another matter--whether it be through inheritance or sound investments or some other one knows.  

Fogg is so particular about the details of his life that as the story opens he has just dismissed his manservant for the inexcusable error of providing shaving water that was two degrees too cold.  He advertises for a replacement and a Frenchman by the name of Passepartout arrives at his door in response to the ad.  Passepartout has led a rather varied and adventuresome life, but is looking for something quiet and regular.  Having heard about Fogg's passion for regularity and precision, he believes this to be the perfect position.  Fogg hires him on the spot and sets off for his club.

At cards that evening, the subject of travel and how small the world has become with all the modern travel (trains, steamer ships, etc) options available--why, a man can go 'round the world in three months!  Eighty days, is Fogg's reply.  His fellow club members scoff at this, but Fogg recites the various methods of travel available, the length of time required for each leg of the journey, and adds it all up to eighty days.  After much discussion back and forth, a wager is made.  Fogg will offer up twenty thousand pounds (five thousand for each of his colleagues) if he is unable to return to the club in time for their usual whist game in precisely 80 days.  He finishes the card game and heads home to inform Passepartout that they must pack and prepare to journey around the world.  And so Fogg's grand adventure begins--an adventure that will include saving an Indian woman from being burned on a funeral pyre with her dead husband, preventing American Indians from taking over a train, and inciting a seafaring crew to mutiny in order to reach England in time.  

In the meantime, a great bank robbery has taken place and it is said that the thief is--of all things--a gentleman.  When the detective on the case--one Detective Fix--hears of Fogg's intended trip around the world, he becomes convinced that this mysterious gentleman with abundant funds but no visible means of support must be the thief and he takes off after him on the famous journey.  Fix dogs Fogg's steps until Phileas sets foot on British soil once more...where he serves him with a warrant.  By the time it is proved that Fogg is not the thief in question and flies by special train to London too many hours have passed and it looks like Fogg has lost his bet.  But there is one last surprise waiting for Fogg, Passepartout, and the Indian woman Aouda.  Fogg may collect after all.

This is my favorite Verne novel to date.  I've read 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Journey to the Center of the Earth and they're both fine adventure stories, but Around the World is the best.  I really enjoy reading about the proper, precise British gentleman making his way around the world and overcoming the various obstacles along the way.  And Passepartout is such a charming sidekick for Fogg.  I'm afraid I don't have much in the way of in-depth analysis on this one--listening to audio novels makes for pleasant driving, but limits my note-taking for review purposes.  A delightful novel coming in at four stars....and now I want to pull out my Brosnan version of the film and rewatch it.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The XYZ Murders: Multi-Part Review

The XYZ Murders is a 3-in-1 volume by Barnaby Ross (aka Ellery Queen aka Frederic Dannay & Manfred Lee)--the star of which is Drury Lane, retired actor and amateur sleuth extraordinaire.  Since the three novels included in this volume were originally published as separate works, I will treat them as such and review them accordingly.

First up is Drury Lane's debut novel, The Tragedy of X. Lane is a Shakespearean actor who was forced into retirement due to deafness. As compensation for his hearing loss, he has developed an extraordinary skill at lip-reading and his acting background has given him plenty of practice at the art of disguise.  He will use both skills as he helps Inspector Thumm and District Attorney Bruno track down a ruthless killer intent on evening old scores.

The story opens with Thumm and Bruno driving up to Lane's fortress estate on a mission to solicit his help with their latest murderous puzzle.  Reference is made to the help he gave on "the Cramer case" but we, the reading public, are never enlightened with the details of that mysterious outing.  The current victim is Harley Longstreet, a wealthy stockbroker, who has been killed on an enclosed streetcar in the company of his nearest and dearest.  The method? A piece of cork stuck with dozens of pins laced with deadly poison.  And who did it? One of the people on that streetcar.  But there is no evidence and not even a clue to point the police in the correct direction.

Enter Drury Lane.  Like Sherlock Holmes, he sees and "hears" everything that the police do--but he observes all the finer points that the officials miss.  He thinks to interview those that the police miss--or give only a brief once-over.  Before long, Lane knows who the culprit is, but has no proof.  Two more men will die before Lane can help the police put the cuffs on the villain.

The story is an interesting variation on the locked room mystery.  The streetcar's windows are all shut and the doors were not opened once Longstreet collapsed.  None of the passengers were allowed off the car until the police arrived to question and search them.  And yet Lane insists that there is a certain item that must have been found if that is true.  How did the murderer kill in full view of a carload of passengers and how did she or he dispose of the crucial item?  Solve that and you'll be ahead of the police...and Drury Lane.

An interesting mystery with clues galore and twists and turns throughout.  A good fair play story--it's all there, if you're nimble enough to spot it--with (in my opinion) just one weak spot.  The wrap-up--Drury Lane gives a marathon session monologue to explain the murders.  It would seem necessary to tell us every little thought process along the way--even explaining the bits that the reader was privy to (and the police were not).  Twenty-four pages of smallish print is rather a lot of explanation.  Three and 3/4 stars...nearly 4

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Challenge Complete: Off the Shelf

I have now completed the Off The Shelf Challenge for 2013. I signed up for the Hoarder Level and declared that I would do 100 books (even though 76 technically met the level requirements). 

Challenge Levels

  1. Tempted– Choose 5 books to read
  2. Trying – Choose 15 books to read
  3. Making A Dint – Choose 30 books to read
  4. On A Roll – Choose 50 books to read
  5. Flying Off – Choose 75 books to read
  6. Hoarder – Choose between 76-135 books to read
  7. Buried – Choose between 136-200 books to read

Here's this year's list:

1.  The Man Who Went up in Smoke by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö (1/8/13)
2. The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey (1/13/13)
3. The Puzzle of the Silver Persian by Stuart Palmer (1/15/13)
4. Slippage by Harlan Ellison (1/19/13)
5. The Web Between the Worlds by Charles Sheffield (1/21/13)
6. Four Lost Ladies by Stuart Palmer (1/23/13)
7. The Case of the Negligent Nymph by Erle Stanley Gardner (1/24/13)
8. Veiled Murder by Alice Campbell (1/28/13)
9. The Cavalier's Cup by Carter Dickson (2/5/13)
10. Corpses at Indian Stones by Philip Wylie (2/7/13)
11. Aaron's Serpent by Emily Thorn (2/22/13)
12. The World's 100 Best Short Stories, Vol. III: Mystery by Grant Overton, ed (2/24/13)
13. Three English Comedies by A. B. De Mille, ed (2/27/13)
14. The Other Side of Tomorrow by Roger Elwood, ed (2/28/13)
15. The Green Plaid Pants by Margaret Scherf (3/3/13)
16. The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith (3/6/13)
17. The Lady in the Morgue by Jonathan Latimer (3/10/13)
18. Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers (3/11/13)
19. The Diplomat & the Gold Piano by Margaret Scherf (3/16/13)
20. The Lady Vanishes (aka The Wheel Spins) by Ethel Lina White (3/17/13)
21. A Perfect Red by Amy Butler Greenfield (3/22/13)
22. Unhappy Hooligan by Stuart Palmer (3/24/13)
23. Sally's in the Alley by Norbert Davis (3/25/13)
24. Black Widow by Patrick Quentin (4/3/13)
25. In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff (4/9/13)
26. The Mountains Have a Secret by Arthur W. Upfield (4/16/13)
27. The Devil's Stronghold by Leslie Ford (4/21/13)
28. The Silence of Herondale by Joan Aiken (4/21/13)
29. Holiday Homicide by Rufus King (4/23/13)
30. A Private History of Awe by Scott Russell Sanders (4/27/13)
31. Death Has Green Fingers by Lionel Black (4/30/13)
32. Inland Passage by George Harmon Coxe (5/2/13)
33. The Talking Sparrow Murders by Darwin L. Teilhet (5/6/13)
34. Sleep No More by Margaret Erskine (5/21/13)
35. Death at Crane's Court by Eilis Dillon (5/23/13
36. Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood (5/24/13)
37. The Curse of the Bronze Lamp by Carter Dickson (5/27/13)
38. Miss Silver Deals With Death by Patricia Wentworth (finished 5/28/13)
39. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (6/7/13)
40. Murder on Safari by Elspeth Huxley (6/8/13)
41. The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers (6/12/13)
42. Murder Within Murder by Frances & Richard Lockridge (6/14/13)
43. Break Any Woman Down by Dana Johnson (6/17/13)
44. The Chinese Parrot by Earl Derr Biggers (6/18/13)
45. The Father's Day Murder by Lee Harris (6/18/13)
46. Tragedy at Law by Cyril Hare (6/21/13)
47. Death in Zanzibar by M. M. Kaye (6/25/13)
48. Jack on the Gallows Tree by Leo Bruce (6/26/13)
49. The Listening by Kyle Dargan (6/28/13)
50. Mystery Train by David Wojahn (6/28/12)
51. Death & the Gentle Bull by Frances & Richard Lockridge (6/29/13)
52. The Mummy Case Mystery by Dermot Morrah (7/3/13)
53. Dead Man Control by Helen Reilly (7/6/13)
54. The Hollow Chest by Alice Tilton [Phoebe Atwood Taylor] (7/12/13)
55. Twenty First Century Blues by Richard Cecil (7/13/13)
56. The Call of the Wild by Jack London (7/14/13)
57. Spotted Hemlock by Gladys Mitchell (7/18/13)
58. London Particular (aka Fog of Doubt) by Christianna Brand (7/22/13)
59. The Case of the Careless Kitten by Erle Stanley Gardner (7/23/13)
60. Mist on the Saltings by Henry Wade (7/26/13)
61. The Mind of the Maker by Dorothy L. Sayers (7/31/13)
62. Till Death Do Us Part by John Dickson Carr (8/2/13)
63. The Long Farewell by Michael Innes (8/3/13)
64. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (8/6/13)
65. Andersen's Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen (8/20/13)
66. The Door by Mary Roberts Rinehart (8/22/13)
67. Poems & Prose by Christina Rossetti (8/27/13)
68. Death at the Bar by Ngaio Marsh (8/28/13)
69. Bullet at the Ballet by Caryl Brahms & S. J. Simon (8/28/13)
70. This New & Poisonous Air by Adam McOmber (9/3/13)
71. Murder & Blueberry Pie by Frances & Richard Lockridge (9/3/13)
72. The Croquet Player by H. G. Wells (9/4/13)
73. Malcolm Sage, Detective by Herbert Jenkins (9/8/13)
74. Famous Ghost Stories edited by Bennett Cerf (9/13/13)
75. The Temple of Death by A. C. & R. H. Benson (9/16/13)
76. The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene (9/17/13) [original version]
77. The Dreadful Hollow by Nicholas Blake (9/19/13)
78. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (9/24/13)
79. Death Knocks Three Times by Anthony Gilbert (9/27/13)
80. The Mystery Lovers' Book of Quotations by Jane Horning (ed) [9/27/13]
81. The Prayer of Jabez by Bruce Wilkinson (10/1/13)
82. Foundation by Isaac Asimov (10/4/13)
83. The Haunted Dolls' House by M. R. James (10/9/13)
84. Murder at Cambridge by Q. Patrick (10/15/13)
85. Dead of a Counterplot by Simon Nash (10/20/13)
86. The Water Room by Christopher Fowler (10/25/13)
87. Gently Go Man by Alan Hunter (10/27/13)
88. Once Upon a Crime by M. D. Lake (10/28/13)
89. Through a Glass, Darkly by Helen McCloy (10/29/13)
90. Mystery & Crime: NYPL Book of Answers by Jay Pearsall (10/30/13)
91. By a Woman's Hand by Jean Swanson & Dean James (11/2/13)
92. Shell Game by Richard Powell (11/4/13)
93. Kemp's Last Case by M. R. D. Meek (11/4/13)
94. The Murder Stone by Charles Todd (11/8/13)
95. Death Is in the Air by Kate Kingsbury (11/10/13)
96. Evidence of Things Seen by Elizabeth Daly (11/12/13)
97. Check-Out Time by Kate Kingsbury (11/13/13)
98. The Small Hours of the Morning by Margaret Yorke (11/15/13)
99. The Dorothy Parker Murder Case by George Baxt (11/19/13)
100. The Patient in Room 18 by Mignon G. Eberhart (11/20/13)

The Patient in Room 18: Review

The Patient in Room 18 is the debut novel for Mignon G. Eberhart.  It is also the book that introduces Nurse Sarah Keate (who would appear in six of Eberhart's 57 novels). Nurse Keate is strong-minded, red-haired, and sharp-tongued. She has a bit of the Had-I-But-Known heroine's attributes and, though often quick-witted, she does fail to recognize certain danger on a couple of instances in this, her first encounter with murder.  She is much more assured and consistently perceptive in The Mystery of Hunting's End (my personal favorite)--but I'm sure that, as with all things, practice makes perfect and as her involvement in murders continues she becomes more adept.

In her debut, Nurse Keate faces the theft of radium (being used for medical purposes), the death of a patient and a doctor and the janitor/night watchman.  The patient in question, one Mr. Jackson who needs the radium for his treatment, is given a hefty dose of morphine and sent into a permanent sleep.  It would appear that the murder was necessary so the villain could steal the very valuable radium.  Detective Lance O'Leary, who has a very impressive capture rate, is called in to track down the radium and the killer.  And he's the one who discovers the patient's doctor dead in a locked closet.  Did the doctor walk in on the killer and get murdered to keep him quiet?  Or is there more to this mystery than meets the eye?  It would seem that there were at least four people wandering in and out of the Room 18 and most of them were carrying deadly instruments of one sort or another.

And then, in a classic little move, Higgins the janitor/night watchman pops up and confides in Nurse Keate.  You see--he's seen something that "just ain't right" and he doesn't know what to do about it.  Despite her best efforts Higgins refuses to reveal the most important bits of his information because he simply has to run off and see to his boiler.  And even though Nurse Keate sees one of the possible suspects slinking away, it doesn't occur to her that Higgins might actually be in danger because of his knowledge (this would be one of her less-than-stellar moments).  Naturally, before too many pages are turned we have another corpse on our hands...poor Higgins.

After finding the radium and losing it again, O'Leary (with helpful tidbits from Nurse Keate) manages to gather enough clues to stage a grand finale in....Room 18.  All the suspects are brought together and O'Leary gives us the standard Golden Age wrap-up monologue.  Accusations are thrown about until finally the villain slips up and reveals knowledge that only the killer could know.  Snap goes the trap! And snap go the handcuffs!

Despite my rather trite summation and being full of standard mystery plot devices, this really was an enjoyable read.  I liked seeing Sarah Keate in her first mystery and watching her relationship with O'Leary begin.  There are plenty of clues--I picked up on most of them--and plenty of plot twists--I missed some of them.  And the denouement was very satisfying.  I certainly recommend this early look at a hospital-based mystery with a strongly-written female character.  Three and a half stars.

Clues are funny things. When they seem to point one way they are very apt, on close investigation to point another way entirely. So please don't hesitate to answer my questions. (Lance O'Leary; p. 93)

 Well--here is one definite and concrete trick. As a rule, given enough rope a man can hang himself. Often I find that there will be one little circumstance that only the guilty man knows. Sooner or late he lets it out. Sometimes I have to trap the man I suspect into such an admission. (O'Leary; p. 220)

2014 Men in Uniform Challenge

2014 Men in Uniform Reading Challenge
January 1, 2014 – December 31, 2014

As Brianna at The Book Vixen says: Who doesn't love a man in uniform? I sure do! And I love reading about them too. They're hot, resourceful and they're always well-equipped. Do you like reading books featuring men in uniform too? If so, then this is the reading challenge for you!
I've seen this challenge go by for several years now and just never managed to get myself signed up.  I realized just now that with all the murder mysteries I read that surely to goodness I can collect enough policemen to enter at the most basic level.  So that's what I'm going to do.  If I find that I can round up even more of those handsome men in uniform, then I'll ask my commanding officer for a promotion and will try for a higher level.  But my basic challenge will be complete when I earn my stripes for:

Sergeant: read 1-5 men in uniform novels

If you'd like to join in the fun, then click on the 2014 Men in Uniform Challenge link for full details and to sign up.

My reading list:
1. Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell [policemen] (1/5/14)
2. Shake Hands Forever by Ruth Rendell [policemen] (1/13/14)
3. Too Much of Water by Bruce Hamilton [ship's officers & crew] (1/27/14)
4. Shelf Life by Douglas Clark [policemen] (2/6/14)
5. The Poisoned Island by Lloyd Shepherd [navy] (3/8/14)

Challenge Complete!  I may try for a promotion to Lieutenant, but my commitment is complete at Sergeant.

6. Vicious Circle by Douglas Clark [policemen] (3/11/14)
7. The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw [all branches of armed service] (5/9/14) 
8. The Laughing Policeman by Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo [policemen] (6/8/14)
9. Plain Sailing by Douglas Clark [policemen] (6/11/14)
10. On the Beach by Nevil Shute [US & Australian Navy] (7/7/14) 

I've now earned my Lieutenant's stripes! Who knows, maybe I'll make Captain.

11. The Forgotten War by William R. Forstchen [Starfleet officers] (7/9/14)

Outdo Yourself Challenge 2014

January 1, 2014 – December 31, 2014

I've regularly posted the fact that I can't keep up with my Outdo Yourself 2013 (and GoodReads) reading goal pace.  I had too many weeks where I seemed to struggle just to get a few books read.  I want to pick up the pace.  I want to be able to go to Mount Olympus on Mars for my very own Mount TBR Challenge in 2014.  So, I'm gonna sign up for the Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge for 2014 sponsored by The Book Vixen and see if I can get motivated. For the full details, click on the link, but here's the scoop in a nut shell: Sign up to read more books than you finish in 2013. That's it. There are several levels and I'm going for
Out of breath – Read 6–10 more books (and aiming for 10)
Currently, I'm sitting on 159...and I'm supposed to read 22 more to meet my Outdo goal for 2013. I better have a book in hand on New Year's Eve and be ready to take off when January 1 rolls around!

To Fill in When 2013 comes to a close:

Well, I finished 2013 with 181  books that means that in order to meet this challenge, I will need to read 191 or more books in 2014. 

Books read: 
1. The Poison Belt by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1/2/14) [93 pages]
2. Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell (1/5/14) [280 pages]
3. Shakespeare's Planet by Clifford D. Simak (1/6/14) [202 pages]
4. The Skeleton in the Clock by Carter Dickson (1/8/14) [284 pages]
5. Dangerous Visions #3 by Harlan Ellison, ed (1/11/14) [224 pages]
6. Angels & Spaceships by Fredric Brown (1/12/14) [186 pages]
7. Shake Hands Forever by Ruth Rendell (1/13/14) [184 pages]
8. The Wonder Chamber by Mary Malloy (1/15/14) [265 pages]
9. Triumph by Philip Wylie (1/18/14) [240 pages]
10. The Xibalba Murders by Lyn Hamilton (1/18/14) [290 pages] 
11. The Kingdom by the Sea by Paul Theroux (1/20/14) [353 pages]
12. Seven Footprints to Satan by A. Merritt (1/22/14) [225 pages]
13. The Winter Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine (1/23/14) [174 pages]
14. Death on the Aisle by Frances & Richard Lockridge(1/24/14) [256 pages]
15. The Adventure of the Eleven Cuff-Buttons by James Francis Thierry (1/26/14) [120 pages]
16. Other Times, Other Worlds by John D. MacDonald (1/26/14) [287 pages]
17. Too Much of Water by Bruce Hamilton (1/27/14) [272 pages] 
18. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick (1/28/14) [192 pages] 
19. Darkness at Pemberley by T. H. White (1/30/14) [286 pages] 
20. Death by Chick Lit by Lynn Harris (2/1/14) [242 pages] 
21. Exit Actors, Dying by Margot Arnold (2/4/14) [184 pages] 
22. Where There's Love, There's Hate by Adolfo Bioy Casares & Silvina Ocamp (2/5/14) [128 pages]
23. Shelf Life by Douglas Clark (2/6/14) [174 pages] 
24. Gambit by Rex Stout (2/8/14) [155 pages] 
25. You Can Write a Mystery by Gillian Roberts (2/9/14) [121 pages] 
26. Dandy Gilver & the Proper Treatment of Bloodstains by Catriona McPherson (2/12/14) [293 pages] 
27. Death Walks on Cat Feet by D. B. Olsen (2/13/14) [144 pages]
28. Cursed in the Act by Raymond Buckland (2/16/14) [304 pages]
29. Made Up to Kill by Kelley Roos (2/18/14) [192 pages]
30. XCIA's Street Project by Hank O'Neal (2/20/14) [208 pages]
31. Ellery Queen's 20th Anniversary Annual by Ellery Queen, ed (2/22/14) [349 pages] 
32. The Sound of Broken Glass by Deborah Crombie (2/25/14) [384 pages] 
33. The Purple Parrot by Clyde Clason (2/25/14) [191 pages] 
34. To Kingdom Come by Will Thomas (2/26/14) [275 pages] 
35. The Man in the High Castle by Philip K Dick (2/27/14) [218 pages]
36. The Darker the Night by Herbert Brean (3/3/14) [213 pages]
37. India's Love Lyrics by Laurence Hope (3/4/14) [173 pages] 
38. Murder in the Vatican by Ann Margaret Lewis (3/5/14) [151 pages]
39. The Poisoned Island by Lloyd Shepherd (3/8/14) [409 pages]
40. It's Not All Flowers & Sausages by Jennifer Scoggin (3/10/14) [249 pages] 
41. Vicious Circle by Douglas Clark (3/11/14) [230 pages] 
42. A Girl Walks Into a Bar by Helena S. Page (3/12/14) [261 pages] 
43. Endless Night by Agatha Christie (3/13/14) [224 pages]
44. John Smith: Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars by Roland Hughes (3/17/14) [274 pages]
45. Harlan Ellison's 7 Against Chaos by Harlan Ellison (3/17/14) [200 pages]
46. India Black & the Gentleman Thief by Carol K. Carr (3/19/14) [312 pages]
47. A Tale of Two Biddies by Kylie Logan (3/21/14) [304 pages] 
48. The League of Frightened Men by Rex Stout (3/23/14) [320 pages] 
49. Tut, Tut! Mr. Tutt by Arthur Train (3/25/14) [315 pages] 
50. Grimms' Fairy Tales by the Brothers Grimm (3/28/14) [373 pages] 
51. The Clue of the Leather Noose by Donald Bayne Hobart (3/31/14) [254 pages] 
52. The Coral Princess Murders by Frances Crane (4/5/14) [235 pages] 
53. Decoded by Mai Jia (4/5/14) [315 pages] 
54. After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman (4/6/14) [334 pages] 
55. A Hangman's Dozen by Alfred Hitchcock, ed (4/7/14) [223 pages] 
56. Naked Is the Best Disguise by Samuel Rosenberg (4/8/14) [253 pages]
57. The Mammoth Book of the Lost Chronicles of Sherlock Holmes by Denis O. Smith (4/13/14) [503 pages] 
58. Gale Warning by Hammond Innes (4/15/14) [226 pages]
59. Murder at the Museum of Natural History by Michael Jahn (4/18/14) [268 pages] 
60. My Antonia by Willa Cather (4/20/14) [238 pages]
61. Death by the Book by Julianna Deering (4/21/14) [317 pages]
62. The Lady of Sorrows by Anne Zouroudi (4/26/14) [270 pages]
63. Dorothy Dixon & the Double Cousin by Dorothy Wayne (4/26/14) [253 pages]
64. For Old Crime's Sake (aka Lucky Jane) by Delano Ames (4/29/14) [223 pages]
65. The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain (4/29/14) [120 pages] 
66. Faro's Daughter by Georgette Heyer (5/1/14) [218 pages] 
67. Ship of the Line by Doug Drexler & Margaret Clark (eds) [5/1/14] (176 pages) 
68. The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse by Robert Rankin (5/6/14) [342 pages]
69. The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw (5/9/14) [412 pages]  
70. Death at the Medical Board by Josephine Bell (5/16/14) [218 pages] 
71. Bed-Knob and Broomstick by Mary Norton (5/16/14) [240 pages]
72. Sinners & the Sea by Rebecca Kanner (5/21/14) [339 pages] 
73. Whispers of Vivaldi by Beverle Graves Myers (5/21/14) [288 pages] 
74. Mind Fields: The Art of Jacek Yerka/The Fiction of Harlan Ellison by Yerka & Ellison (5/22/14) [71 pages]
75. By the Watchman's Clock by Leslie Ford (5/23/14) [280 pages]
76. Red Herring by Edward Acheson (5/25/14) [281 pages] 
77. Beyond Uhura: Star Trek & Other Memories by Nichelle Nichols (5/29/14) [320 pages]
78. Steampunk Poe by Edgar Allan Poe; illustrated by Zdenko Basic & Manuel Numberac (5/30/14) [263 pages] 
79. Invisible Green by John Sladek (6/2/14) [186 pages] 
80. Thus Was Adonis Murdered by Sarah Caudwell (6/5/14) [320 pages]
81. 12.21 by Dustin Thomason (6/6/14) [326 pages]
82. The Laughing Policeman by Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo (6/8/14) [220 pages]
83. Plain Sailing by Douglas Clark (6/11/14) [208 pages]
84. The Corsican Caper by Peter Mayle (6/11/14) [162 pages]
85. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien (6/12/14) [290 pages]
86. Total Harmonic Distortion by Charles Rodrigues (6/12/14) [124 pages]
87. A Hearse on May-Day by Gladys Mitchell (6/15/14) [158 pages]
88. Undead & Unpopular by MaryJanice Davidson (6/17/14) [175 pages]
89. The Godwulf Manuscript by Robert B. Parker (6/19/14) [201 pages]
90. No. 9 Belmont Square by Margaret Erskine (6/21/14) [190 pages]
91. The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie (6/23/14) [197 pages]
92. This Private Plot by Alan Beechey (6/26/14) [307 pages]
93. DeKok & Murder in Ecstasy by A. C. Baantjer(6/28/14) [219 pages]
94. The 7 Professors of the Far North by John Fardell (6/29/14) [220 pages] 
95. The Day They Kidnapped Queen Victoria by H. K. Fleming (7/2/14) [171 pages] 
96. A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott (7/3/14) [354 pages]
97. The Chief Inspector's Daughter by Sheila Radley (7/5/14) [211 pages] 
98. On the Beach by Nevil Shute (7/7/14) [312 pages]
99. Selections from the Essays of Montaigne by Michel Eyquem de Montaigne (trans & ed by Donald M. Frame) [7/7/14] (120 pages)
100. A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby [7/8/14] (333 pages) 
101. The Forgotten War by William R. Forstchen [7/9/14] (270 pages) 
102. Too Many Cooks by Rex Stout [7/12/14] (190 pages) 
103. Murder at the Villa Rose by A. E. W. Mason [7/14/14] (216 pages) 
104. Death in an Ivory Tower by Maria Hudgins [7/16/14] (208 pages) 
105. The Tattooed Man by Howard Pease [7/17/14] (332 pages) 
106. Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis [7/20/14] (188 pages)
107. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes [7/21/14] (369 pages)
108. Relic by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child [7/22/14] (468 pages)
109. Who Guards a Prince by Reginald Hill [7/23/14] (338 pages)
110. Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym [7/25/14] (218 pages)
111. Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell [7/30/14] (307 pages)
112. Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley [7/31/14] (215 pages)
113. The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Angel of the Opera by Sam Siciliano (8/4/14) [309 pages] 
114. The Mangle Street Murders by M. R. C. Kasasian (8/5/14) [329 pages]
115. Introducing C. B. Greenfield by Lucille Kallen (8/6/14) [201 pages]
116. Date With Danger by Roy Vickers (8/11/14) [193 pages]
117. Button, Button by Marion Bramhall (8/13/14) [199 pages]
118. Book of the Dead by Elizabeth Daly (8/14/14) [245 pages]
119. Book Clubbed by Lorna Barrett (8/16/14) [308 pages]
120. New Orleans Requiem by D. J. Donaldson (8/17/14) [280 pages]
121. Seventh Son by Orson Scott Card (8/19/14) [214 pages]
122. Zingers, Quips, & One-Liners by Geoff Tibballs, ed (8/25/14) [596 pages]
123. The Bigger They Come by A. A. Fair (8/28/14) [200 pages]
124. The Attenbury Emeralds by Jill Paton Walsh (8/29/14) [338 pages]
125. The Late Scholar by Jill Paton Walsh (8/30/14) [356 pages]
126. The Shakespeare Mask by Newton Frohlich (9/2/14) [348 pages]
127. Vertigo 42 by Martha Grimes (9/5/14) [336 pages]
128. Death in a White Tie by Ngaio Marsh (9/6/14) [274 pages]
129. The Unfinished Crime by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding (9/8/14) [249 pages]
130. Wednesday the Rabbi Got Wet by Harry Kemelman (9/8/14) [312 pages]
131. Red Cent by Robert Campbell (9/10/14) [221 pages]
132. Ten Little Indians by Agatha Christie (9/11/14) [264 pages--length of my paperback copy]
133. The Sittaford Mystery by Agatha Christie (9/12/14) [192 pages--length of paperback copy I read earlier]
134. The Herb of Death & Other Stories by Agatha Christie (9/14/14) [80 pages]
135. Death Takes a Sabbatical by Robert Bernard (9/16/14) [213 pages]
136. The Edison Effect by Bernadette Pajer (9/20/14) [246 pages]
137. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy (9/21/14) [204 pages]
138. The Footprints on the Ceiling by Clayton Rawson (9/25/14) [256 pages]
139. Two for Sorrow by Nicola Upson (9/27/14) [482 pages]
140. A Death for a Dancer by E. X. Giroux (9/28/14) [180 pages]
141. Bleeding Maize & Blue by Susan Holtzer (9/30/14) [294 pages]
142. Blood on the Stars by Brett Halliday (10/4/14) [192 pages]
143. The Witch's Grave by Philip DePoy (10/5/14) [301 pages]
144. Death by Hitchcock by Elissa D. Grodin (10/6/14) [208 pages]
145. Lament for a Maker by Michael Innes (10/8/14) [264 pages]
146. The Labors of Hercules by Agatha Christie (10/11/14) [255 pages]
147. Death on Allhallowe'en by Leo Bruce (10/11/14) [176 pages]
148. Only a Matter of Time by V. C. Clinton-Baddeley (10/13/14) [187 pages]
149. Murder on Mike by H. Paul Jeffers (10/15/14) [167 pages]
150. Appleby's Answer by Michael Innes (10/17/14) [158 pages]
151. The Haunted Lady by Mary Roberts Rinehart (10/19/14) [269 pages]
152. Too Many Doctors by Holly Roth (10/22/14) [204 pages]
153. Madman's Bend by Arthur W. Upfield (10/24/14) [187 pages]
154. Roast Eggs by Douglas Clark (10/25/14) [175 pages]
155. Nor Live So Long by Sara Woods (10/26/14) [221 pages]
156. Head of a Traveller by Nicholas Blake (10/29/14) [233 pages]
157. The Mind-Murders by Janwillem van de Wetering (10/30/14) [201 pages]
158. Copper Gold by Pauline Glen Winslow (11/1/14) [100 pages]
159. The Lady in Black by Anna Clarke (11/1/14) [165 pages]
160. Guest in the House by Philip MacDonald (11/2/14) [157 pages]
161. The Circular Staircase by Mary Roberts Rinehart (11/4/14) [301 pages]
162. The Final Deduction by Rex Stout (11/10/14) [172 pages]
163. American Eve by Paula Uruburu (11/11/14) [386 pages]
164. Trick or Treat Murder by Leslie Meier (11/12/14) [256 pages]
165. Two Men in Twenty by Maurice Procter (11/14/14) [247 pages]
166. Death by Sheer Torture by Robert Barnard (11/15/14) [186 pages]
167. The D. A. Breaks a Seal by Erle Stanley Gardner (11/16/14) [154 pages]
168. Murder Within Murder by Frances & Richard Lockridge (11/17/14) [163 pages]
169. The Pavilion by Hilda Lawrence (11/17/14) [234 pages]
170. Death of a Dutchman by Magdalen Nabb (11/18/14) [216 pages]
171. The Dark Ring of Murder by Misa Yamamura (11/19/14) [189 pages]
172. Oxford Knot by Veronica Stallwood (11/20/14) [298 pages]
173. The Curious Affair of the Third Dog by Patricia Moyes (11/24/14) [203 pages]
174. Lament for the Bride by Helen Reilly (11/24/14) [249 pages]
175. Past Encounters by Davina Blake (11/29/14) [428 pages]
176. Alone Against Tomorrow by Harlan Ellison (11/30/14) [277 pages]
177. Mayhem in B-Flat by Elliot Paul (12/4/14) [304 pages]
178. Black-Headed Pins by Constance & Gwenyth Little (12/7/14) [155 pages]
179. The Secret of the Gondola by David Alan Brown (12/7/14) [44 pages]
180. A Curtain Falls by Stefanie Pintoff (12/10/14) [405 pages]
181. The Finishing Stroke by Ellery Queen (12/13/14) [190 pages]
182. Then Gone by Romayne Rubinas (12/13/14) [15 pages]
183. The White Dress by Mignon Eberhart (12/15/14) [191 pages]
184. Words for Murder Perhaps by Edward Candy (12/16/14) [183 pages]
185. Sick to Death by Douglas Clark (12/17/14) [155 pages]
186. A Crossworder's Holiday by Nero Blanc (12/21/14) [193 pages]
187. The Night Before Christmas Profusely Illustrated  by Clement Moore, et al (12/24/14) [134 pages]
188. Star Wreck III: Time Warped by Leah Rewolinski (12/26/14) [117 pages]
189. The Films of Sherlock Holmes by Chris Steinbrunner and Norman Michaels (12/30/14) [253 pages]
190. Book Lovers' London by Lesley Reader (12/30/14) [185 pages]
191. Tzimmes by Arthur Marshall Fell (12/31/14) [90 pages]