Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Postman Always Rings Twice: Review

The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain could so easily have filled the "Out of Your Comfort Zone" square on the Golden Vintage Bingo card for me." Because a noir fan I'm not. But no worries, I've got a hard-boiled, private eye story waiting on the TBR pile, so I'm slotting this short novel which has been converted to film twice (1946 & 1981) into the "Book to Movie" square instead. 

Postman has nothing to do with the mail service or ringing (or doorbells or whatever). It is narrated by Frank Chambers, a drifter who has been in and out jail and a man who likes a hustle better than a steady-paying job. He stops at a diner in California intending to cadge a meal and move on. The diner's owner Nick Papadakis (also known as "the Greek") thinks the fit young man looks like someone he'd like to have work for him at his gas station, but Frank doesn't want to get tied down.....until Nick's sultry, sexy wife Cora comes into view.

Cora is younger than her husband and bored silly with the restaurant work...not to mention disgusted by her husband's size and the grease that seems to linger round him from the kitchen and the cars. Frank is just the bit of excitement she's been looking for and she tumbles straight into his arms at the earliest opportunity. It isn't long before they're plotting to remove the obstacle to their lus--- er, love. But the results of their plans may not be what they think.


This is, as anyone familiar with crime fiction knows, a classic in the noir genre. Considered one of the more important crime novels of the 20th century, it was very successful and notorious once published--banned in Boston at one time for sexual content and violence. Of course, now it doesn't seem nearly so risqué--but it is still full of sexual tension.  It is a book about obsession and the consequences of lust and greed. I can't say that I like any of the characters--none of them are really likeable, not even earnest, hardworking Nick. But the characters are real and vividly display the flaws and short-comings of human nature.  Not my cup of tea--but a good, solid story that kept my attention to the end nonetheless. Three solid stars. 

Challenges Fulfilled: Vintage Mystery Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, Bookish TBR, 1001 Books Before You Die, Century of Books, Outdo Yourself, How Many Books, My Kind of Mystery, 100 Plus Challenge, Back to the Classics, Literary Exploration

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

For Old Crime's Sake: Review

When Jane wins a two-week luxury trip from a somewhat shady London tabloid in For Old Crime's Sake [aka Lucky Jane] (1959), Jane and Dagobert Brown find themselves on a madcap, murderous journey via ferry, limo, and private yacht to the Spanish island of Tabarca.

The story opens with Dagobert lamenting their lack of funds (despite a recent fifty pound bonus on one of Jane's premiums) and Jane telling him that some people make money by going to work. Dagobert is open to new ideas and promptly starts investigating the want ads. He gets distracted by a contest ad that reads: "Win our fascinating competition and BE YOUR OWN BOSS!" The next thing Jane knows he is filling out contest forms right and left for everything from a thousand pounds cash to "double your salary." She's still a bit flabbergasted, however, when Bobby Marcovitch from the Home Truth tabloid arrives on her doorstep with the news that she, Jane Brown, has (along with six other lucky contestants) won a fabulous two-week vacation that will end with attendance at the wedding of Princess Juana of Tabarca to multi-millionaire H. H. Hutton, Jr.

None of the winners seem particularly ecstatic about winning, but the group sets out on their journey determined to enjoy themselves anyway. But it isn't long before a shadow falls over the festivities....Juan (one of the winners) disappears on the ferry ride from England to Spain and it is feared that he has gone overboard--but whether accident, suicide, or....worse, no one is sure. The remaining contestants pile into a limo for a reckless drive through the Spanish countryside and Jane notices a rather familiar figure dogging their tracks on a motor-scooter.  How sweet of Dagobert to miss her and want to follow.

It winds up that Dagobert is a bit suspicious of the contest and when another of their number is found suffocated on board the private yacht his suspicions are proved to be valid.  But who murdered harmless Flossie, the typical British housewife? Was it Bobby--because she wouldn't play along with the mysterious plans he's laid ? Or perhaps it was H. H Hutton--whose past won't bear much investigation.  It could have been the Colonel--who seems rather too much of the hail-fellow-well met type. Or any of the other passengers, really. It's up to Dagobert to use his amateur skills and find the real killer so he and Jane can return to England all in one piece.

This book is a jolly holiday, indeed. Fast-paced. Witty. Great fun all round. I really enjoy the Dagobert and Jane Brown books (this is the third I've read so far--other pre-blogging) and I look forward to more (and I have them--sitting on the TBR pile). There were clues provided that I just managed to ignore completely while I waited for the next outrageous thing to happen. Well played, Mr. Ames.  Well played.  ★★★

This fulfills the "Mode of Transportation" [ferry/limo/private yacht] square on the Golden Vintage Bingo card.

Challenges fulfilled: Vintage Mystery Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, Bookish TBR, European Reading Challenge, Adam's TBR Challenge, How Many Books, My Kind of Mystery, 100 Plus Challenge, 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Book Bingo, Century of Books, Crusin' Thru the Cozies

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Challenge Complete: Women Challenge

Peek a Book's “Women Challenge” encourages us to read more books of any kind written by women. I jumped in for the first time this year and headed straight for

Level 4: WONDER WOMAN - read 20+ books written by a woman author

Here are the books read to complete the challenge:

1. Shake Hands Forever by Ruth Rendell (1/13/14)
2. The Wonder Chamber by Mary Malloy (1/15/14)
3. The Xibalba Murders by Lyn Hamilton (1/18/14)
4. Death by Chick Lit by Lynn Harris (2/1/14)
5. Exit Actors, Dying by Margot Arnold (2/4/14)
6. You Can Write a Mystery by Gillian Roberts (2/9/14)
7. Dandy Gilver & the Proper Treatment of Bloodstains by Catriona McPherson (2/12/14)
8. Death Walks on Cat Feet by D. B. Olsen (2/13/14)
9. The Sound of Breaking Glass by Deborah Crombie (2/25/14)
10. India's Love Lyrics by Laurence Hope [aka Adela Florence Nicolson] (3/4/14)
11. Murder in the Vatican by Ann Margaret Lewis (3/5/14)
12. It's Not All Flowers & Sausages by Jennifer Scoggin (3/10/14)
13. A Girl Walks Into a Bar by Helena S. Paige (3/12/14)
14. Endless Night by Agatha Christie (3/13/14)
15. India Black & the Gentleman Thief by Carol K. Carr (3/19/14)
16. A Tale of Two Biddies by Kylie Logan (3/21/14)
17. The Coral Princess Murders by Frances Crane (4/5/14)
18. After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman (4/6/14)
19. My Antonia by Willa Cather (4/20/14)
20. Death by the Book by Juliann Deering (4/21/14)
21. The Lady of Sorrows by Anne Zouroudi (4/26/14)

Challenge Complete! (4/26/14)

Dorothy Dixon & the Double Cousin: Review

Dorothy Dixon is just your typical girl sleuth--you know, the kind of girl who can fly planes, pilot motor boats, throw a knife with deadly accuracy, and take the place of an almost-identical twin cousin at the drop of a hat (without ever having met the cousin before and, therefore, without having the first clue how said cousin behaves in day-to-day situations). Dorothy is a mere sixteen years old, but by the time Dorothy Dixon and the Double Cousin takes place, she already has three mysteries under her belt and the local Secret Service agent trusts her enough to take her into his confidence over top secret plans for a super spiffy, super dangerous formula for a brand new explosive.

Dorothy's cousin Janet Johnson is in deep trouble with her daddy and the secret organization he belongs to. Janet sleepwalks and she managed to sleepwalk herself into a room where the organization was going to hold its top-secret meeting. She awakens behind a screen and hopes that she won't be discovered...but, of course, she is and the members find it hard to believe that the girl didn't overhear all their nefarious plans. Enter Dorothy....she bumps into Janet's finance (who mistakes her for Janet....just how well does he know his girl, anyway?) and finds out that Janet has been locked in her room until the organization can figure out whether she really was still sleepwalking or whether she overheard everything and is a threat to their plans. Howard is afraid that Janet is in danger and Dorothy promises to help him rescue her.

She enlists the advice of her beau Bill Bolton (who, by the way, is the star of his own mystery/adventure series) as well as the local Secret Service agent who they both happen to be chums with. It winds up that the organization in question is already on the agent's radar and he enlists Dorothy's help in rounding up these crooks who have their eye on Doctor Winn's newest invention "Winnite"--a dangerous, explosive gas that must not fall into the wrong hands. 

The group manages to slip Dorothy into Janet's room where she has all of about 15 minutes to study her cousin (under stressful circumstances) while they exchange clothes and Janet sneaks out the window into Howard's loving arms. It's now up to Dorothy to pull the wool over Janet's father's eyes (as well as the gang members) as she's virtually kidnapped and hustled off to a house in the country where the two leading crooks have their eye on Dr. Winn and his precious formula. The rest of the story consists of the butler/incognito secret service man warning Dorothy not to drink the lemonade, giving her instructions on how to copy the formula before the crooks can get their hands on it, and the secret service agent/butler getting conked on the head by the female half of the crooked duo so Dorothy can be the heroine who saves the day.  Much adventurous hi-jinks ensue and it all ends readers of these Girl Super Sleuth adventures know it will.

This was a fun, quick read and I'm sure I would have devoured it (and the other three books in the series) right along with the Nancy Drew books had I discovered it when I was younger. It was pleasant to settle back and enjoy a girl's adventure story from yesteryear. No deep mysteries here--no complicated plot.  Just good, clean fun.  ★★★

This novel by Dorothy Wayne (1933) fulfills the "Crime Other than Murder" [theft/kidnapping] square on the Golden Vintage Bingo card.


The Lady of Sorrows: Review

The Lady of Sorrows by Anne Zouroudi is a slightly off-beat mystery. Yes, you have your standard murder. Yes, you have your detective investigating the mystery surrounding the murder as well as discovering the identity of the murderer. But the detective is not so much interested in bringing evil-doers to official justice as he is in seeing true justice achieved.

Hermes Diakotoros, our intrepid investigator, stops by a remote Greek island while on a boat journey to take care of undisclosed business. He has always wanted to take a peek at the religious icon lodged on the island--a painting of the Virgin known as "The Lady of Sorrows." But once he views the famous icon, he becomes convinced that the lady is a fake and calls upon a friend in who serves as a governmental art adviser to come and confirm or allay his fears. When she seconds his opinion on the icon, he is all set to leave the situation in her capable hands and continue on his journey until the island's current icon painter is found dead in his fishing boat--poisoned.

Has someone taken revenge on the painter--knowing that if the lady is a fake and has been replaced with such a convincing replica that his must have been the hands to paint her? Or are there deeper secrets on the island? Kiakotoros finds himself searching not only for the murderer but for clues to what happened to the missing lady. And he will discover forgery, betrayal, superstition, and a long-burning rage that might consume them all.

With all the local color and detailed descriptions, Zouroudi's novel could be called a cozy. But the motives that lie beneath the surface of the crime are just a bit darker than those found in the average cozy. She weaves a good story and the justice that Diakotoros dispenses at the end of the novel is very satisfying indeed. Strong points also include characterization, descriptions of the island and Mediterranean summer, and the explanation of the motives behind the murder.  The weakest point for a classic mystery lover like myself is that the identity of the murderer is no secret.  From the moment the icon painter is found dead, there really isn't any reason for the reader to not know who did it. It will take Diakotoros a little bit to hear all the witnesses and gather up the clues...but it's all right there for the reader who has seen the entire story as it unfolds. A bit more suspense on that front would have increased the it is: ★★★

Monday, April 21, 2014

Death by the Book: Review

Death by the Book is the second in Julianna Deering's Drew Farthering series of cozy mysteries set in the 1930s. It is just a few months after the events in Rules of Murder--when Drew helps Chief Inspector Birdsong get to the bottom of a series of murders committed at his country house--and Drew wants nothing more than to spend his time convincing his lady love to accept his proposal of marriage. But his plans are interrupted by the arrival of Madeleine's disapproving aunt and another series of murders that once again strike too close to home for comfort.

First, Drew's solicitor is found murdered in a hotel room--bashed over the head with a bust of Shakepeare and with a cryptic message "Advice to Jack" affixed to his chest with an antique hatpin. Suspicion surrounds the man's family when it is discovered that the supposedly upright member of community was having an affair with a shop girl. But then a local doctor is found dead on the golf course of Drew's club and again there is a strange message pinned to him with a hatpin. Two more deaths follow, and the murder of a young woman makes the police settle on one of Drew's acquaintances as the culprit. But Drew's interpretation of the hatpin clues makes him certain that Inspector Birdsong has arrested the wrong man. But will Drew be able to find the real villain before someone even closer to him is killed?

This series is fun and breezy with definite homage being paid to Christie and Sayers as well as other literary lights. The characters are well-drawn and interesting and I thoroughly enjoy the conversations and interactions among them. The addition of Aunt Ruth is a masterstroke that kept me laughing every time she appeared. She is just sure that Drew is out to ruin Madeleine's virtue and she'll do whatever she can to put a spoke in that romantic wheel. The weakest part of the story is the mystery plot--I spotted the perpetrator quite early for reasons I can't mention without spoiling it and I'm not completely sold on the motive. But following Drew and company as they make their way through the clues and watching he and Madeleine sort out their relationship more than made up for it. 
★★★ 1/2 (rounded to 4 on Goodreads)

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a bookish meme hosted by Book Journey. Every week we check in with what we read, what we're reading now, and what's next on the reading docket.  Here we go....

Books Read Last Week (click on titles for review): 
Gale Warning by Hammond Innes  Murder at the Museum of Natural History by Michael Jahn 
My Antonia by Willa Cather

Currently Reading: 
Death by the Book by Julianna Deering: Drew Farthering wanted nothing more than to end the summer of 1932 with the announcement of his engagement. Instead, he finds himself caught up in another mysterious case when the family solicitor is found murdered, an antique hatpin with a cryptic message, Advice to Jack, piercing his chest. Evidence of secret meetings and a young girl's tearful confession point to the victim's double life, but what does the solicitor's murder have to do with the murder of a physician on the local golf course? Nothing, it would seem--except for another puzzling note, affixed with a similar-looking bloodied hatpin. Soon the police make an arrest in connection with the murders, but Drew isn't at all certain they have the right suspect in custody. And why does his investigation seem to be drawing him closer and closer to home?
Books that spark my interest:
Letters from a Murderer by John Matthews 
Plain Sailing by Douglas Clark
By the Watchman's Clock by Leslie Ford  
The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse by Robert Rankin 
The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw

Sunday, April 20, 2014

My Ántonia: Review

My Ántonia by Willa Cather is the final book of her "pioneer trilogy" of novels...and I must confess that I haven't read the other two. The novel consists, primarily, of Jim Burden's memories of life on the Nebraska prairie and his interactions with Ántonia and her Bohemian family. Jim's parents have died and he travels by train to Nebraska where he will live with his grandparents. On the same train are the Shimerdas--the Bohemian family who have come over from the old country to take possession of land which they have bought sight unseen. Jim and Ántonia form a strong bond somewhere between friendship and siblings and first love--later in the book Jim will admit that he loves Ántonia, but she will not accept his declaration. The novel is divided into five books that roughly follow the stages of Ántonia and Jim's lives and ends with Jim's return to Nebraska to visit Ántonia one more time.

The introductory notes to my edition make a fairly big deal of the possessive "my" in the title. "Is the emphasis in the novel's title on the pronoun or the noun, or, to put it differently, is this Ántonia's story or Jim's?" Quite honestly, I don't think that's the point at all. I would say that the title, as a whole, comes from Ántonia's father's plea to Jim's grandmother: "Te-e-ach, te-e-ach my Ántonia!" Ántonia will become the Bohemian family's ambassador to their English speaking neighbors and the family's interpreter. Without Ántonia, they would have to depend on their rather unreliable (if not down-right dishonest) distant relative--the one who "helped" them pay too much for land and a house. So--maybe in that sense--it is Ántonia's story and not Jim's. And certainly Ántonia never truly belongs to Jim, except perhaps in friendship, so the possessive should not be emphasized by him.

In some ways Cather writes beautifully. The descriptions of the Nebraska prairie are lovely and her characterization of  Ántonia and her family are compelling. Jim, on the other hand, is rather lackluster. His narrative is pretty lifeless and I found myself wishing that Ántonia had told her own story. Given her rendition of the flight from the wolves and the hobo who threw himself in the threshing machine, she is a lively storyteller and would, I think, make a better narrator.

I was entirely happy. Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become of something entire, whether it is sun and air, or goodness and knowledge. At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally sleep. (p. 17)

Gaston Cleric introduced me to the world of ideas; when one first enters that world everything else fades for a time, and all that went before is as if it had not been. (p. 139)

If there were no girls like them in the world, there would be no poetry.

I was thinking, as I watched her, how little it mattered –about her teeth for instance. I know so many women who have kept all the things she had lost, *but whose inner glow has faded*. Whatever else was gone, Antonia had not lost the fire of life. 

I'd have liked to have you for a sweetheart, or a wife, or my mother or my sister--anything a woman can be to a man. The idea of you is part of my mind; you influence my likes and dislikes, all my tastes, hundreds of times when I don't realize it. You really are a part of me.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Saturday Snapshot

West Metro Mommy Reads

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky below. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.

I have been away from this meme for far too long. Long enough that I just discovered that Melinda had taken it on after Alyce. Hi, Melinda! It's nice to meet you!

I just recently started scanning in a lot of vintage pictures for our family heritage Facebook page. It seemed to me a good time to get back on the Saturday Snapshot bandwagon.

 So, for my first entry of 2014, I'd like to share this picture of my Grandpa Ingols. April is his birth month and it seems appropriate to have him be the subject of the first photo shared. He passed away in 2011 at the age of 95. His birthday was April 28th and he's about 4 in this picture.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Challenge Complete: What's in a Name

Back in December, I signed up for the annual What’s In A Name Challenge, originally started by Annie, handed to Beth Fish Reads, and now continued by Charlie at The Worm Hole.

The basics

The challenge runs from January to December. During this time you choose a book to read from each of the following categories (examples of books you could choose are in brackets):

  • A reference to time (Eleven Minutes, Before Ever After)
  • A position of royalty (The People’s Queen, The Last Empress, The Curse Of The Pharaoh)
  • A number written in letters (The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, A Tale Of Two Cities)
  • A forename or names (Rebecca, Eleanor & Park, The Unfinished Work Of Elizabeth D.)
  • A type or element of weather (Gone With The Wind, Red Earth Pouring Rain)

 In February, Charlie added a sixth category (which we all knew I'd do as well...):
  • A book with a school subject in the title.
I have now completed all six categories. Thanks, Charlie, for another great year of What's in a Name?!

My books.
1. Shake Hands Forever by Ruth Rendell (Time) [1/13/14]
2. The Coral Princess Murders by Frances Crane (Royalty) [4/5/14]
3. Seven Footprints to Satan by A. Merritt (number written in letters) [1/22/14]
4. John Smith: Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars by Roland Hughes (forename or names) [3/16/14]
5. Gale Warning by Hammond Innes (weather) [4/15/14]
6. Murder at the Museum of Natural History by Michale Jahn  (Bonus category: school subject) [4/18/14]

Murder at the Museum of Natural History: Review

I started the Bill Donovan series by Michael Jahn in mid-stream, as it were, with Murder on Theatre Row (#4) back in 2011.  I've since been grabbing up the books as I find them at book sales and what-not and when Charlie updated her What's in a Name? Challenge to include a "read a book with 
a school subject in the title" category I decided to step backwards in the series to read Murder at the Museum of Natural History (#3)

By the time Donovan is investigating the murder in Theatre Row, he has established himself as an expert on crimes with unusual weapons. In Museum, we see part of the reason for his reputation. It's Donovan's birthday and he's getting some major presents. His friends and colleagues manage to surprise him with a new set of home exercise equipment (to replace the rusty weight bench he's had since forever). The Commissioner stops by his birthday celebration to not only surprise him with the news that he's been recommended for a captaincy but also that the Commissioner is unable to attend the gala opening of the new Silk Road exhibit at the Museum of Natural History--an event that Donovan, a widely-read man with varying interests (including history), would give his eye teeth to attend. 

The centerpiece of the exhibit is a priceless one-thousand-year-old dagger which Marco Polo carried along the Silk Road as a gift from the Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII to Kublai Khan. During the media circus surrounding the opening, someone steals the dagger and plants it in the chest of Paolo Lucca--the man who has made the exhibit possible. Not only does Donovan have to figure out how the killer got their hands on the ancient dagger, but he also has to make his way through the minefield of famous people and touchy diplomats. The suspects are all high-powered individuals--from Lucca's beautiful model wife to the provincial terrorists--er--diplomats to the Russian mafiosi--and if Donovan wants to make captain he'll have to be careful whose toes he steps on.

As with Theatre Row, I really enjoy the character of Bill Donovan. He's just the right mix of tough-guy cop and intelligent, widely read man--he makes it easy to believe that he just might know something about everything or if he doesn't that he'll soon be reading up on it and have a mastery of the subject. The supporting characters are also good and Bill has excellent interactions with them all. Jahn also tells an interesting, fast-paced story that is fun to read. The main problem--and for some it might be too big--is that a major key to the mystery is blatantly telegraphed and there really isn't much of a mystery to solve. Fortunately, the characters and the pacing make up for that and it is still an enjoyable read. 


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Gale Warning: Review

Gale Warning, originally published as Maddon's Rock in Britain, by Hammond Innes is a little outside my usual mystery fare. Primarily a high action thriller set on the high seas, this book--like much of Innes's work--would normally appeal to those who like their books full of adventure and masculine adventures. The story is told by Corporal Jim Vardy. Vardy and his mates, Gunner Bert Cook and Private Sills, are waiting repatriation to England at the end of World War II. Orders come for them to join Warrant Officer Rankin (as commanding officer) on special detail aboard the S. S. Trikkala, a freighter that will take them and a load of mysterious cargo back to England in a convoy of other boats.

The men are ordered to guard cases marked "Hurricane Engines for Replacement" round-the-clock during the journey. Also aboard the vessel is Captain Halsey, a Shakespeare-spouting captain rumored to be mixed up in piracy, several of his loyal crew (having followed him from a previous ship), and a young woman released from a prison camp, Jennifer Sorrell. Vardy, an army man who would have been better suited to the navy, overhears several conversations and observes some odd behavior that make him suspicious of Halsey and Rankin's true purpose.

When the Trikkala encounters a severe ocean storm (thus the title Gale Warning), Vardy and his mates are ordered into their designated life-boat. A boat that they had previously discovered to not be sea-worthy. Vardy refuses to board the boat--requesting to take one of the "less dependable" rafts instead. Halsey and Rankin deny his request and he defies orders, taking Bert Cook and Jenniferr Sorrell with him. They believe that the Trikkala has gone down and when they are picked up by one of the other ships, it seems that they are the only survivors from the doomed ship. But nearly a month later, Halsey, Rankin, the three crewmen loyal to Halsey are also found floating in the arctic waters.

Charges of mutiny are brought against Vary and Cook and despite their story of the unsafe boat, they are found guilty and sent to Dartmoor for three years. Word reaches them that the five other survivors are planning a trip to salvage the cargo of the Trikkala--which has been revealed to be a fortune in silver bouillon. Our heroes decide to escape from prison and try to beat Halsey and company to the ship with hopes of bringing back proof of their innocence. The real mystery of Gale Warning is whether Vardy will be successful and the revelation of the real story behind the sinking of the freighter.

There are no spoilers in my synopsis. My copy of the book has a brief blurb that pretty much covers everything I've told you--and the few bits I've been able to find on the interwebs tell just about as much. The kernel of mystery, as noted, surrounds Vardy's trip back to the Norwegian sea to find the silver. Bert Cook joins him--as does Jenny. Jenny is a sailor as well and it is her boat that is used to make the journey. The adventure and suspense of the final chapters more than make up for the lack of mystery through the first half of the book. These stories may have been primarily attractive to men during the war years and those immediately following, but I find Innes's prose compelling and interesting.  He's a good story-teller in an action-packed genre. Three and 1/2 stars.

★★★ 1/2

This fulfills the "More Than One Title" square on the Golden Vintage Bingo card.

Challenges Fulfilled: Vintage Mystery Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, Bookish TBR, Around the World, Century of Books, Outdo Yourself, How Many Books, My Kind of Mystery, 100 Plus Challenge, What's in a Name, European Reading Challenge, Book Monopoly