Saturday, August 17, 2019

Murder in the Maze: Review

Murder in the Maze (1927) by J. J. Connington 

Roger and Neville Shandon are twins at birth...and at death. The men often took themselves to the twin centers of the lovely hedge maze in the grounds of Roger's estate Whistlefield. There they would seek peace and quiet away from their shiftless brother Ernest, the endless piano-playing of their young nephew Arthur Hawkhurst, and the various house guests that Arthur's sister Sylvia often invited. This time they went and found their eternal rest. 

When Sylvia's friends Vera Forrest and Howard Torrence decide to give the maze a try, Howard suggests they each race to a separate center. The winner to earn a tin of cocoa. But what they find in the center isn't the sweet feeling of victory--they each find a Shandon twin dead apparently from an air gun dart. But how could an air gun dart be so murderous? Quite easily when dosed with curare as Sir Clinton Driffield (Chief Constable) discovers when he arrives on the scene to investigate and hands the darts over to the (very convenient) local expert on rare poisons.

The primary mystery Sir Clinton and his Watson-like friend Squire Wendover must solve is why were both men killed? Roger Shandon was a cracking good barrister who just happened to be neck-deep in a prosecution of a very tricky case. The sharp examination by Roger will most likely send a crook to the criminal courts...a lesser man might not pull it off. And a man connected with the Hackleton case just happens to be in the neighborhood when the Shandons are killed. Was Neville mistaken for Roger and then when the murderer discovered that he'd killed the wrong man he polished off Roger afterward? Or was there a reason why both men needed to die? When three more attacks occur it begins to look like someone has it in for the entire family. Will Sir Clinton solve the mystery before all the Shandons and Hawkhursts are wiped out?

Curare and twins and hedge mazes and even air guns (flavor of Sherlock Holmes there) may be old hat by 2019, but I'm sure that mystery readers of the 1920s were probably much more surprised by these plot devices. And Connington uses them to good effect. Especially the hedge maze. The initial scenes where the bodies are discovered are very atmospheric and almost claustrophobic. The reader definitely shares the feeling of being trapped...and possibly hunted by the murderer...with Vera Forrest.

The story is also a good example of the fair play mystery of the Golden Age. Clues are displayed for the observant reader to find and it is definitely possible to divine the solution to the how, who, and why. This is the fourth Connington book that I've read and so far I've enjoyed them all. I particularly liked Sir Clinton and his interactions with Wendover--the good Squire comes up with some quite good solutions of his own (erroneous...but still) and Sir Clinton is surprised at how good they are and even seems a bit chagrined to have to tell his friend that he's not quite right. It was quite nice to have a Watson who was fairly clever himself. ★★

Finished 8/10/19
Gold Just the Facts: Character with similar job
Calendar of Crime: October (costume/disguise/mistaken identity)
Deaths = Two (poisoned)

Family Affair: Review

Family Affair (1941) by Ione Sandberg Shriber

Polly Drake is sent by her employer Mr. Henry Gregory to Beacon Hill, country estate of the Troy family who own the Beacon Machine Tool Company. Gregory works for the company and has some important papers for Godfrey Beacon, head of the firm, but an attack of gout has laid him up at home. So, he asks his secretary to take the envelope of papers with the instructions that she is to given them to no one but Godfrey Beacon.

Polly is excited by her mission--she's heard so much about the estate and about the extended Beacon family, but she's never had a chance (or a reason) to visit the house. She's also just a little bit in awe of and attracted to Clay Beacon, one of Godfrey's sons. But from the moment she sets foot in the house, she feels unwelcome. Dinah, Godfrey's only daughter, makes it quite plain that she wished Polly had never come and refuses to let her see the elderly man. She claims that her father is too ill to see anyone--especially non-family--and insists that Polly hand the papers over to her. But Polly knows her duty and, despite her position, declares that she must do as Mr. Gregory told her and is willing to wait as long as necessary for Mr. Beacon to be well enough.

Unfortunately, he never is well enough. He dies one evening...apparently from the severe asthma that has plagued him. But Dinah's beau, who just happens to be a doctor, isn't satisfied and Lieutenant Grady is sent to discover whether there has been any foul play. Family solidarity and a blizzard outside complicates his investigation. Then the nurse who had attended Godfrey Beacon disappears and he becomes sure that there has been a bit of dirty work. Polly discovers that the papers she was sent to deliver have been stolen and is even attacked herself before Grady manages to run the villain to earth. 

This is to my mind a fairly average 1940s mystery. Has a lot of standard plot points: female narrator in a suspenseful old house setting; a family full of suspicious-acting people; a blizzard to strand them all together; and a bit of romance (on two fronts) to liven things up. Grady is a fairly well-drawn detective, but I get the feeling this isn't his best outing (Kirkus Reviews tells me this is so). The murderer does use a rather ingenious method to "smother" his victim. Overall, a nice, quick read. ★★

Finished 8/6/19
Calendar = February ("F" word in title)
Deaths = 2 (one hit on head; one smothered)

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Gaslight Grotesque: Nightmare Tales of Sherlock Holmes

Gaslight Grotesque: Nightmare Tales of Sherlock Holmes (2009), edited by J. R. Campbell and Charles Prepolec, is a walk on the wild, gruesome, slightly supernatural side with the great detective. There's murder galore--but it's not always human agents at work and even Holmes has his faith in pure logic shaken at times. As with all short story collections some of these work better than others and I can definitely say that I preferred the ones that did not mess with the Holmes canon. Not one, but two of these stories tell us that Watson flat-out lied to us about the Hound of the Baskervilles. I'm perfectly happy to have Holmes pastiches address all those stories that Watson tells us "the world is not yet ready for," those that get a passing mention in the original works. Or to have brand-new stories featuring Holmes at work in the horror and speculative fiction realms. But don't tell me that Watson got it wrong--whether deliberately or because Holmes didn't tell him the truth or whatever. I'm not buying it.

Another thing I'm not in the market for is a story that tells me that Moriarty also survived the Reichenbach Falls without supernatural intervention. Given the nature of the collection, I might believe that Moriarty survived zombie-fashion or was a vampire who could only die with a stake through the heart or some other-worldly creature took over his body--but don't tell me this normal human fell down the falls, bounced off a couple of huge rocks, and somehow survived to take revenge on Holmes. Just don't. We've already bought the Holmes return from the dead story and there's only so many impossible things that can be believed before...or after...breakfast.

Beyond that, there are some ingenious and haunting stories including "The Death Lantern" by Lawrence C. Connolly where Holmes, Watson, and Lestrade watch a man die (repeatedly) on an early version of the silent movie. But is all as it seems? Other favorites are listed below with brief synopses.

“The Tragic Case of the Child Prodigy,” by William Patrick Maynard: A ruthless man uses diabolical means to control the mother of a young violinist and the wealth generated by the prodigy.

“Celeste,” by Neil Jackson: Holmes and Watson are delegated by the Prince of Wales to discover the mystery behind the abandoned ship. There are some secrets that are better left alone....especially if you don't burn the secret up with fire once discovered. 

“The Affair of the Heart,” by Mark Morris: In which a human heart is delivered to Holmes and he and Watson find themselves involved in a time loop of sorts. Once they know whose heart it is will they be able use the time loop properly to save him/her?

“Mr. Other’s Children” by J. R. Campbell: finds Holmes in a particularly nasty situation. Having correctly identified the evil at work, he is unable to stop its escape into the world at large. Quite a horrific note on which to end the collection.


Finished 8/5/19
Deaths =15 (4 mauled to death; 3 shot; 3 stabbed; 1 explosion; 2 devoured; 2 crushed)

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

And Then There Were None (audionovel)

Well, here it is and it is a honey. Imagine ten people, not knowing each other, not knowing why they were invited on a certain island house-party, not knowing their hosts. Then imagine them dead, one by one, until none remained alive, nor any clue to the murderer. Grand suspense, a unique trick, expertly handled. [Kirkus Reviews, Feb. 1 1939]

And Then There Were None (1939) is one of Agatha Christie's most famous mysteries and the plot is well-known among mystery fans. It regularly makes "Best Of" lists--from Best Crime & Mystery Novels to Best Books of the 20th Century to PBS's Great American Read. One would think that everyone would know the story by now. But I regularly find people in my life who don't--who have never read it. Or seen one of the adaptations. Or listened to it on audio. And every time I convince one of them to give it a try, I make the same offer. If they can read it and honestly tell me at the end of the book that they figured it out before the grand reveal...then I will buy them dinner at any restaurant of their choosing. Over 30 years of periodic offers and I have not had to pay up once. Dame Agatha was that good at what she did.

And even though I have read it (more times than I can count). I never get tired of reading/watching/listening. This time around I spent several trips to and from work listening to Hugh Fraser, of Hastings fame in the Poirot mystery series with David Suchet, narrate this ultimate tale of diminishing returns. Fraser does an excellent job voicing the characters and adding just the right dose of suspense to the telling. I really got swept up in the story and it was almost as good as if I were reading (listening) for the first time. ★★★★ for both the mystery itself and for the audio edition.

Finished 8/2/19
Deaths = 11 (4 poisoned; 1 strangled; 1 stabbed; 2 shot; 1 drowned; 2 hit)
   Caused by our current murder victims (10+): 2 run over; three neglect/medical malpractice; one shot (war); two drowned; one hung; one overdose [and a bunch of unnamed natives that Philip Lombard left to die in the jungle]
Monthly Motif: Transportation plays important role. (You bet it's important. Since the boat doesn't come back when expected, these victims-to-be can't get off the island and avoid their fate.)

Monday, August 5, 2019

A Hard Rain

A Hard Rain (2002) by Dean Wesley Smith is a Star Trek novel focused almost entirely on Captain Jean-Luc Picard as 1940's private eye Dixon Hill. The real world Enterprise is danger--all ship's systems are offline because of the the ship's proximity to the "Blackness." The engines are working and the ship is drifting towards certain destruction. Commander Data and Geordie LaForge have been working like fiends to develop a device that will counteract the effects of the "Blackness" and go to the holodeck to do test runs of the device. 

But...the effects of the "Blackness" is such that their test program is taken over by the last holodeck program run. Which just happens to be the captain's Dixon Hill program. The device's main component (known hereafter as the Heart of the Adjuster) goes missing and it's up to Dixon Hill (the Captain), Data, and Beverly Crusher to take on the gangsters of the 1940s and find out who stole the Heart before the Enterprise is destroyed.

Occasionally, the writing flows smoothly--but mostly the story is wooden as is the dialogue and the book as a whole is pretty much a mess. The best part of the whole novel is Data quoting from all sorts of detective/crime novels from the Mack Bolan Executioner series to Inspector French to various fictional detectives created expressly to mention in the Dixon Hill story. It also appears to be a recycle of the STNG episode "The Big Goodbye"--even down to one of the team getting shot and the holodeck safety measures being off-line so the man's life really is in danger. In "The Big Goodbye" Dixon Hill was apparently hired to find a mysterious object. In this story Captain Picard as Dixon Hill is hunting for the "Heart of the Adjuster*"--which his crew in the real world actually needs. There's also a "Whelan" character who seems to be an echo of the Dr. Whalen who joined Picard, Beverly, and Data on the holodeck in the television episode. If it's meant to be an homage to that episode, it lacks the crisp dialogue and the freshness of the script. Not to mention that the solution of the mystery is downright silly.

*And...speaking of the Adjuster, Captain Picard and company seem to have lost a fair amount of their scientific smarts. This "gizmo" (Picard's word, not mine) that is some sort of important object that Data and Geordie need to fix what's wrong with the Enterprise is officially called an "Adjuster." That's some fancy, high-tech lingo right there. Doesn't even sound like Star Trek technobabble. And why do they need an Adjuster to fix what's wrong? Why because the "Blackness" (yes, friends, another high-tech word for the unknown astronomical field they encounter) is causing the ship's systems to go haywire. [I can be just as technical as the next guy, let me tell you.]

Another little pet many times are we going to call Dr. Beverly Crusher the "Luscious Bev"??? I mean, seriously. It doesn't even sound natural for Picard's hardboiled Dixon Hill character.

Not recommended at all--either as a Star Trek novel or as a mystery.

Calendar of Crime: November--author's birth month

The Mystery of the Fire Dragon: Spoilerish Review

The Mystery of the Fire Dragon (1961) is the 38th entry in the Nancy Drew mystery series. This time Nancy is called upon by her Aunt Eloise to investigate the disappearance of a young Chinese woman. The young woman is the granddaughter of Miss Drew's neighbor in her New York City apartment building. It soon becomes apparent that Chi Che has been kidnapped because she stumbled across something in her job at a bookstore that made her dangerous to a certain group of people. Nancy, Bess, and George set out to discover just what Chi Che found out and what these people are up to. The trail leads to Hong Kong--where fortuitously Carson Drew has business to attend to and Ned Nickerson just happens to be studying abroad. There are, in fact, several kidnappings, a couple of impersonations, and (as is to be expected) an exciting escape by Nancy. 

There are several of the Nancy Drew stories that I read over and over (The Clue of the Broken Locket and The Clue of the Dancing Puppet are two that come to mind). But Fire Dragon was never one of them. I haven't any idea why. It involves a bookshop that contains clues to the mystery. It has Nancy making a daring escape at the end. And--going back and reading it as an adult, I think the use of the mahjong sets as a cover for nefarious activities was quite interesting. Some of the material and viewpoints are a bit dated, but I think the adventure itself holds up rather well. It was a lot of fun revisiting this episode in the Nancy Drew adventures--particularly since I didn't remember every last detail the way I would for several of the stories. ★★★★

I was left with one question at the end of the day: Why did the bad guys steal Grandfather Soong's manuscript? If an explanation for that was given, I totally missed it.

Finished 7/29/19
Just the Facts Silver: Animal in title

Friday, August 2, 2019

4:50 from Paddington

4:50 from Paddington (1957) is one of Agatha Chritie's novels that I have read far less often than others (say...And Then There Were None or Murder on the Orient Express). I have watched various productions of it...including the farcical Margaret Rutherford version (which, apart from squishing Elspeth McGillicuddy and Lucy Eyelesbarrow's parts into Miss Marple and throwing in the extraneous Mr. Stringer, is actually fairly faithful to Christie's plot)...and Joan Hickson's version several times. 

I've been rereading Christie's novels in publication order, but I'm afraid I've jumped rather ahead with this one. Fortunately, it's a BBC full-cast dramatization so I will feel fully justified in reading the complete novel when I reach that point in Christie canon.

The dramatization stars June Whitfield as the deceptively mild Miss Marple who takes on the case once her friend Elspeth McGillicuddy reports that she's just witnessed a murder while traveling on the train to visit Miss Marple in St. Mary Mead. As she looked out her compartment window at a train traveling on a parallel line, a window blind suddenly flew up and she saw the back of a man busily engaged in strangling a young woman. But after reporting the incident to both the railway officials and the police and an investigation by both parties, no evidence of a murder is found. It's suggested that perhaps Mrs. McGillicuddy misinterpreted what she saw--but Jane Marple knows her friend Elspeth. And if Elspeth McGillicuddy says she saw a woman being murdered, then obviously there is a dead body that just hasn't been found yet.

After determining the best place to pitch a dead body off the train, Miss Marple dispatches her young friend Lucy Eyelesbarrow (housekeeper extraordinaire) to work for the Crackenthorpes. Luther Crackenthorpe owns the country home that lies along the tracks and our sleuth is convinced that the woman's body is somewhere on the property. Of course, she's right--but tracking down both the body and the killer is going to be tricky. Especially if she's to find them before all of the Crackenthorpes go the way of the young woman on the train.

This was a very entertaining production by a talented group of actors. There was, of course, some paring down of the plot to accommodate the dramatization (rather than a full narration of the story). But the cuts that were made were hardly noticeable and didn't change the story in any real way. An enjoyable way to spend a mysterious evening. ★★★★

Finished 7/28/19
Just the Facts Golden: Death by Strangulation
Deaths = three; one strangled and two poisoned
Calendar of Crime: March--Inheritance major role

Friday's Forgotten Book: Tenant for the Tomb

Tenant for the Tomb (1971) by Anthony Gilbert (Lucy Beatrice Malleson) finds the irrepressible Arthur Crook, lawyer-detective whose clients are always innocent (Always.), mixed up with two ladies who plunge in where angels fear to tread and who can talk the hing leg off a donkey without batting an eye. He first meets Dora Chester and Imogene "Dotty" Garland on the train station at Penton. They and three others are waiting for the train to London. They get to chatting as you do when stuck in a train waiting room and Crook gets a taste of Imogene's unique brand of random, non sequitur talk. Then he and Dora witness what looks to be an attempt by Imogene's companion, Miss Styles (aka Miss Plum as named by Imogene), to shove Imogene under the train. 

Crook manages to grab Imogene in time and as he and Dora discuss the odd scene (there's really nothing to prove it wasn't just an accident or a slip on Imogene's part), the lawyer hands Dora his card and asks for her address. Just in case something happens. She's actually preparing to leave London and move to the Penton area, so..

Well, sugar, drop me a line before you go and give me the new address. No, I'm not making a pass--as if you ever thought I would--but if something does happen to Dotty I'd like to have my witness. And, like I said before, the time could ven come when you could do with a bit of help yourself.

The next thing he knows something has happened. But it's Miss Styles who is dead and Imogene has disappeared. The two women had taken a hotel room in London and while Imogene was having a bath (at Miss Styles's suggestion) someone had shoved Miss Styles out the window. After the police finish a round of preliminary question and leave her in the charge of a nurse--more to keep an eye on her than because she's in shock, Imogene decides that having had to endure Miss Styles's constant companionship she isn't keen on being kept under the watch of another keeper and makes a bid for freedom. 

She's not sure where to go, but then she remembers Dora and her invitation to "come see me at my new house" sometime. time like the present. Once there, she and Dora join forces with Arthur Crook to find out who killed Miss Styles. And why Miss Styles behaved so oddly about where to stay. And why Miss Styles posted all her letters in another town rather than using the local post office. And why Miss Styles swore Imogene to secrecy over her brother. And just exactly who was blackmailing whom? The investigation will take them to a seedy seaside resort where Miss Styles had previously had a partnership in a run-down hotel and ends in a lonely churchyard where a freshly dug grave tempts our villain to try one more spot of murder.

I think this is my favorite Arthur Crook mystery yet. I've found that I much prefer the stories where the lawyer shows up early in the proceedings. As I've mentioned before, Gilbert/Malleson is much more effective when she's writing about her protagonist and his interactions with other characters. This particular plot contained numerous laugh-out-loud moments, especially when Crook, Imogene, and Dora are all on stage. The conversation runs like a comedy team's patter routine. And the plot is quite good too. I had my heart set on a certain culprit and managed to disregard any and all clues that Gilbert/Malleson provided along the way. ★★★★

Finished 7/28/19
Deaths = 3 (two pushed from height; one shot)
Silver Just the Facts: Where--primary death takes place in London (capital city)
Calendar of Crime: October (spooky scene)

You can postpone evil moments, but you can't put them off forever, not even the instance of death, your own or anyone else's (p. 19)

But in the end he didn't go to London, because soon after seven o'clock the next morning he was called by the police to say that, although Miss Styles had stayed put as any decorous corpse would, Miss Garland had disappeared. (p. 43)

DC: How can she help them? She was in the bath.
AC: They need a witness.
DC: People having baths don't expect to be asked to act as witnesses.
(Dora Chester, Arthur Crook; p. 57)

I was thinking about all the people who deserve medals and never get them. There's Mr. Crook going to face Charles and Flora singlehanded, and taking it as part of the day's work. I'd sooner be Daniel in the lions' den myself. Lions can only roar. (Imogene "Dotty" Garland, p. 69)

I'd back Miss Chester against a whole posse of police. Tell you the truth, I begin to feel quite sorry for the chaps, facing those two. Y'see, Miss Garland don't answer the question she thinks the police have in mind, like most of them do, she answers the actual question. You ask your criminal--suppose you're investigatin' the death of a cow, say--Did you notice the cow when you crossed the field this morning? and he'll hand you a lot of spiel about noticing it because it was behaving in a very rum manner, convulsions or something, and he did wonder should he say something to the farmer. But your sister she'll just say yes, she saw the cow, and if the chap tries to press her into an opinion on how it was behaving, she'll just tell him that not being a cow, she don't know the right way a cow should behave. That floors 'em. (Arthur Crook, pp. 76-7)

They [the police] ain't used to the truth, it has the same effect on them as whiskey on a total abstainer. (Crook, p. 77)

But it wasn't easy to silence Charles. Crook began to realize why he had (1) got into the House of Commons and (2) gave every sign of staying there. (p. 84)

I could do with a drink. It's been an afternoon of shocks and I'm not the chap I once was. I don't care what time of day it is. (Charles Garland, p. 101)

Murder's generally simple. It's the consequences that get so tangled up. (Crook, p. 123)

I'm sure they'll all try and make out that somehow, whatever's happened, it's Dot's fault. They do tend to treat her like a zany, and actually, even though her conclusions sometimes sound very odd, they're just as likely to be right as anyone else's. (Dora Chester, p. 173)

Challenge Complete: Cloak & Dagger

Stormi at Books, Movies & Reviews! Oh My! is a mystery and crime novel fan (like yours truly), so she wanted to do a challenge that incorporated all the different types of mystery and crime type novels. When the blog that use to do Cloak and Dagger Challenge gave it up, she decided to take it on and tweak it a bit to make it her own and she also asked Barb from Booker T’s Farm to help cohost it.

This is usually a slam dunk challenge for me--after all, mysteries make up about 90% of my reading diet. I signed up for the Sherlock Holmes level and reading 56+ books in the mystery and crime field--and completed that earlier in July.

1. The Winter Women Murders by David A Kaufelt (1/5/19) 
2. Died in the Wool by Ngaio Marsh (1/7/19) 
3. An African Millionaire by Grant Allen (1/10/19) 
4. Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L Sayers (1/12/19) 
5. The Dead Shall Be Raised by George Bellairs (1/13/19) 
6. The Murder of a Quack by George Bellairs (1/14/19) 
7. A Whiff of Cyanide by Guy Fraser-Sampson (1/15/19) 
8. The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie (1/18/19) 
9. The Secret Files of Sherlock Holmes by June Thomson (1/25/19)  
10. The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie (1/25/19)  
11. Blind Corner by Dornford Yates (1/27/19)  
12. A Death in the Night by Guy Fraser-Sampson (1/30/19)  
13. Final Curtain by Ngaio Marsh (2/14/19)  
14. Blood of the North by James B. Hendryx (2/15/19)  
15. Where the Snow Was Red by Hugh Pentecost (2/16/19)  
16. Night of the Fox by Jack Higgins (2/19/19)  
17. No Patent on Murder by Akimitsu Takagi (2/21/19)  
18. Monsieur Lecoq by Emile Gaboriau (2/28/19)  
19. The Lucky Stiff by Craig Rice (3/1/19)  
20. Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie (3/9/19)  
21. A Wreath for Rivera by Ngaio Marsh (3/11/19)  
22. Murdered: One by One by Francis Beeding (3/16/19)  
23. Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal (3/23/19)  
24. Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers (3/24/19)  
25. A Knife in the Back by Bill Crider (4/2/19)  
26. Opening Night by Ngaio Marsh (4/4/19)  
27. When in Rome/Opening Night by Ngaio Marsh [BBC Audio] (4/11/19)  
28. The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie (4/13/19)  
29. Gallows Court by Martin Edwards (4/13/19)  
30. Murder at the Mardi Gras by Elisabet M. Stone (4/20/19)  
31. Trixie Belden & the Mystery on the Mississippi by Kathryn Kenny (4/23/19)  
32. Lord Peter Views the Body by Dorothy L. Sayers (4/23/19)  
33. The March Hare Murders by Elizabeth Ferrars (4/23/19)  
34. Murder in a Nunnery by Eric Shepherd (4/26/19)  
35. Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy L. Sayers (4/28/19)  
36. Is Skin Deep, Is Fatal by H.R.F. Keating (5/1/19)  
37. Behold, Here's Poison by Georgette Heyer (5/3/19)  
38. Murder at the 42nd Street Library by Con Lehane (5/5/19)
39. Spinsters in Jeopardy by Ngaio Marsh (5/6/19)  
40. Strong Poison by Dorothy L. Sayers (5/11/19)  
41. Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie (5/12/19)  
42. Miss Agatha Doubles for Death by H.L.V. Fletcher (5/16/19)  
43. The Lover by Laura Wilson (5/17/19)  
44. The Five Red Herrings by Dorothy L. Sayers (5/19/19)  
45. Beverly Gray's Island Mystery by Clair Blank (5/21/19)  
46. The Cream of Crime edited by Jeanne F. Bernkopf (5/26/19)  
47. The Barrakee Mystery by Arthur W. Upfield (6/1/19)  
48. River of Darkness by Rennie Airth (6/3/19)  
49. The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie (6/6/19)  
50. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (6/13/19)
51. Scales of Justice by Ngaio Marsh (6/16/19)  
52. The Father Hunt by Rex Stout (6/18/19)  
53. Killing the Goose by Frances & Richard Lockridge (6/24/19)  
54. Mystery of the Emerald Buddha by Betty Cavanna (6/29/19)  
55. Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers (7/1/19)  
56. Death of a Fool by Ngaio Marsh (7/7/19)  
57. The Notting Hill Mystery by Charles Warren Adams (7/12/19)

Challenge Commitment Complete: Six Shooter Mystery Reading Challenge

The Six Shooter Mystery Reading Challenge
Sponsored by Rick @ Rick Mills Project

This was Rick Mills first year sponsoring reading challenges and he came up with a couple of dandies (this and the Medical Examiner Challenge).

I committed myself (personally--Rick requires no commitment) to completing two targets this year. My first target had Ngaio Marsh's name all over it because I was already signed up for the Ngaio Marsh Challenge (Part II--having read her first 12 books in 2018). Then I added Agatha Christie when I decided to read her novels in publication order. I've taken down those two queens of crime...and completed my commitment, but I've still got targets up. We'll see how many more I get down before the year's out. 
Ngaio Marsh Target
1. Died in the Wool  (1/10/19)
2. Final Curtain (2/14/19)
3. A Wreath for Rivera (3/11/19)
4. Opening Night (4/4/19)
5. Spinsters in Jeopardy (5/6/19)
6. Scales of Justice (6/16/19)

Agatha Christie Target
1. The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1/18/19)
2. The Secret Adversary (1/25/19)
3. Murder on the Links (3/9/19)
4. The Man in the Brown Suit (4/13/19)
5. Poirot Investigates (5/12/19)
6. The Secret of Chimneys (6/6/19)

Challenge Complete: Charity Reading Challenge

Charity Reading Challenge
Host: Becky's Book Reviews (sign up here)
Duration: January-December 2019
# of books: You decide: I'm going for 12
Read for a good cause! Buy books at a charity shop, or, even a friends of the library book sale, or, donate a certain percentage of money for each book you read for the challenge. You can choose your own goal of how many books to read, what charity you'll be donating money towards, how much money, etc. (For example, you might want to donate $1 for each paperback you read, or, $3 for every hardback you read. You can work out the details yourself.) For full details click on link above.

I have completed my challenge commitment to reading 12 books bought from charity sources. I am still keeping a running total on charity books purchased this year, so I'll check in again towards the end of the year to see how much I give to charity in exchange for good books.

Books Read:
1. Tales of Terror & Mystery by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle [Hoosier Hills Foodbank Book Sale] (1/23/19)
2. The Secret Files of Sherlock Holmes by June Thomson [Hoosier Hills Foodbank Book Sale] (1/25/19)
3. Blind Corner by Dornford Yates [Historical Society Community Rummage Sale] (1/27/19)
4. A Wreath for Rivera by Ngaio Marsh [FOL] (3/11/19)
5. Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal [FOL] (3/23/19)
6. Opening Night by Ngaio Marsh [FOL] (4/4/19)
7. Murder at the Mardi Gras by Elisabet M. Stone [Hoosier Hills Foodbank Book Sale] (4/20/19)
8. The March Hare Murders by Elizabeth Ferrars [Hoosier Hills Foodbank Book Sale] (4/23/19)
9. The Lover by Laura Wilson [FOL] (5/17/19)
10. The Cream of Crime edited by Jeanne F. Bernkopf [Hoosier Hills Foodbank Book Sale] (6/1/19)
11. The Barrakee Mystery by Arthur W. Upfield [Hoosier Hills Foodbank Book Sale] (6/1/19)
12. Scales of Justice by Ngaio Marsh [Hoosier Hills Foodbank Book Sale] (6/16/19)


Thursday, August 1, 2019

August Calendar of Crime Reviews

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August Virtual Mount TBR Reviews

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August Monthly Key Word Reviews

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August Mount TBR Reviews

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August Just the Facts Reviews

Just a little reminder: Gold Card entries must be first published 1959 or earlier. Silver Card entries must be first published from 1960 to 1989 (inclusive).

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