Friday, October 30, 2020

Friday Fright Night: Halloween Word Search

 Well, here we are--the last Friday of the month and the last edition of Friday Fright Night. At the beginning of October Curtis Evans from the The Passing Tramp put out the call to his fellow bloggers to take part in a month-long event to get us ready for Halloween. Each Friday has found bloggers across the internet as well as familiar faces from the Tuesday Night Blogger crew serving up ghastly delights These are being gathered on up on the Golden Age of Detection Facebook page, but if any of my readers would like to join the fun you are welcome to leave a link in the comments and I'll see that Curtis gets it.

Last week I ransacked my Goodreads book list (the easiest to sort) and presented you with a sampling of Halloween-Themed Titles from my read and/or to-read lists along with a little quiz to see if you could match authors and titles. As promised, the answers will appear at the end of this post. This week I present a word search based on that post on Halloween-Themed Titles. In the puzzle, you will find one word from every title mentioned in my previous Fright Night post as well as the last name of each author referenced. Each word will be used only once--for instance,(The) Mystery of the Skeleton Key and The Skeleton Key have duplicate words. So "skeleton" and "key" (if used) may only appear once. Similarly, authors who have more than one title in the list only appear once in the puzzle. If I have done my job correctly and you have found all of the correct words (65 total), then the remaining letters will spell out (in order) the names of the blogs that have participated in our Halloween adventures (twice each)--followed by a suitable holiday message. There should be one random letter left over at the end. 


Clicking on the photo will enlarge the grid. If you would like a file to down load and print, you should be able to access it HERE.

And now for the answers to last week's quiz.

Ghosts
1. Ghost of a Chance                 C. Kelley Roos
2. Death of a Ghost                    D. Margery Allingham
3. Old Lover's Ghost                  B. Leslie Ford
4. What Beckoning Ghost          E. Douglas G. Browne
5. Three-Thirds of a Ghost         A. Timothy Fuller

Skeletons
1. (The) Mystery of the Skeleton Key     D. Bernard Capes
2. The Skeleton in the Clock                  E. Carter Dickson
3. The Long Skeleton                             C. Francis & Richard Lockridge
4. Skeleton Key                                      B. Lenore Glen 
5. Skeleton in the Closet                        A. A. B. Cunningham

Skulls & Monsters 
(I had fewer of these, so I combined)
1. The Riddle of the Traveling Skull     D. Harry Stephen Keeler 
2. The Monster of Lazy Hook               C. Thorne Lee John Dickson Carr
3. Castle Skull                                      B. John Dickson Carr
4. Many a Monster                               A. Robert Finnegan

Witches
1. The Witch of the Low Tide            B. John Dickson Carr
2. Brood of the Witch-Queen            C. Sax Rohmer 
3. The Witch's House                        A. Charlotte Armstrong

Bats
1. Bats Fly at Dusk                 C. A. A. Fair Mary Roberts Rinehart
2. The Bat                               A. Mary Roberts Rinehart
3. The Bat Flies Low               B. Sax Rohmer

Devils
1. The Devil Loves Me            G. Margaret Millar 
2. The Devil's Stronghold        E. Leslie Ford 
3. The Devil to Pay                  B. Ellery Queen Louis Malley
4. The Devil in the Bush          F. Matthew Head 
5. The Devil Man                     A. Edgar Wallace
6. Horns for the Devil              C. Louis Malley
7. The Devil & the C.I.D.         D. E. C. R. Lorac

Midnight (the witching hour!)
1. Before Midnight                         A. Rex Stout
2. The Midnight Plumber               C. Maurice Proctor 
3. Prelude to a Certain Midnight    D. Gerald Kersch
4. Midnight Sailing                         B. Laurence G. Blochman

Monday, October 26, 2020

Why Mermaids Sing


 Why Mermaids Sing (2007) by C. S. Harris

Third in the Viscount Devlin (Sebastian St. Cyr) Regency-era mystery series. It's now September 1811 and Sir Henry Lovejoy once again approaches Devlin for help with a gruesome series of murders. The sons of some of the wealthiest families in London have been found slain--their throats cut, portions of their bodies mutilated, and strange objects stuffed in their mouths. The young men have obviously been killed elsewhere and then dumped in prominent public places--someone wants their handiwork to be seen. But then a merchant captain's son and the son of a country parson are also killed. The Bow Street Runners (who take over the case) claim there is no connection--but Devlin is sure it's all part of a deadly serious pattern.

The first connection he finds is to a John Donne poem, "Song: Go and catch a falling star." The items found in the young men's mouths all come from the lines of the poem. Next, he finds that the fathers of all the young men were survivors of the doomed last voyage of Captain Edward Bellamy's ship, the Harmony. The fathers all behave as if they have something to hide and definitely don't want Devlin to investigate. So, he becomes convinced that something dreadful must have happened on that ship. But why kill the innocent sons who weren't even born yet? Once Devlin can answer that question, he'll be on his way to finding out who is behind the murders haunting London.

This is another really well-done mystery on the part of Harris. It doesn't claim to be in the Golden Age tradition, but the clues truly are all there and one could (despite the fact that one didn't) figure it all out before Devlin did. Lots of action and adventure and twists and turns to keep the reader on her toes. It's not easy to use the "murderer following a rhyme or poem or song" theme and make it work--but Harris does. There is a very logical (to the murderer) reason for the use of the Donne poem and it's not overdone. 

I honestly had forgotten how gruesome this series could be. Fifteen deaths is a pretty high body count and the deaths are not pleasant. Not that murder ever is, but these are particularly nasty. Of course, one understands why after the motive is revealed and the fact that the method of murder follows on the precipitating event makes it easier to have read. I think one reason I remembered this series so fondly is because Devlin is such an interesting and well-drawn character. The struggles he faces both in his investigations and in his personal life are very realistic and bring the reader firmly into Devlin's corner. We want him to succeed in his investigations and we want him to succeed privately.

There is a whole sub-story of mystery revolving around Devlin and his missing mother as well as Devlin and his lover, the actress Kat Boleyn. New twists keep appearing and I for one am eager to find out where Devlin goes from here. He's dealt a pretty devastating blow at the end of this one...but maybe there is hope for a happy ending eventually. ★★★★

First line: Fear twisted Dominic Stanton's stomach, compressed his chest until his breath came shallow and quick.

Last line: And still he sate there, until the last of the day faded from the sky, and the lamplighter on his rounds set a flickering flame to the oil lamps in the square.

***********

Deaths (including those contributing to the motive and resulting from catalytic event that started it all) = 15 (seven stabbed; one hit by sailing vessel; two drowned; two hit on head; one fell from height; one alcohol poisoning; one natural causes)

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Death of a Warrior Queen


 Death of a Warrior Queen (1991) by S. T. Haymon

Detective-Inspector Ben Jurnet is overjoyed that the love of his life, Miriam, has returned to England after a year spent in Israel. He's not sure exactly where the relationship stands, but he knows he just wants to be with her. When he gets an invitation to examine an archaeological dig in the Lanthrop area in order to give advice about how best to protect any finds, he decides to turn it into a picnic holiday with Miriam. After a brief stop at the archaeological site, the venture to a lovely strop of beach along the sea. There's even a handy little hide-away in the dunes for lovers to get reacquainted. 

All is going well--in fact, even better than Jurnet expected--until their activities unearth a brown, leathery hand attached to a very dead body. Jurnet is hastily turned from ardent lover to cop on a job and his task is to find out who wanted Annie Chance dead. All indications were that she had packed everything she owned and planned to leave town (leaving her adult, but somewhat backward son behind) and some say she was leaving with traveling sales rep. Her suitcase is missing and there's no sign of the sales rep. Annie wasn't the most pleasant of women--so there are a few suspects in the village as well, including her son who may have gotten tired of her blows, both verbal and physical. Annie's isn't the only death in Lanthrop--but Jurnet will have to determine if an auto accident, an apparent suicide, a death from AIDS, and/or the slaughter of a herd of goats have anything to do with Annie's murder.

I have to say that I was disappointed with this one. I had read the first five Haymon mysteries in the late 80s/early 90s and found Ben Jurnet to be an interesting detective. The mystery plots were all solid--nothing extraordinary, but they were well-plotted and were good for a day's read. Reading the sixth installment about thirty years later, Jurnet is still an interesting and well-drawn character, but I wasn't all that keen on the plot. I found the motive for murder to be rather bizarre and, well, tawdry [explaining would be a MAJOR spoiler]. And, yes, murders are often tawdry in real life, but I don't generally want my fiction experiences to leave me feeling so icky.  ★★

Quotes
First line: They came to the coast by narrow roads that snaked between fields of barley and heathland where the bracken along the verges bent to the stir of the car's passing.

But things that change your life, I've discovered, don't have to be showy or dramatic. They can be so small that when you look back at them afterwards, it seems incredible such little things could have such colossal consequences. (Hannah Millburn; p. 41)

You could say that she was the one who put the whole idea into my mind. I mean, if somebody suddenly makes it plain that they think you capable of things  you never suspected you were capable of, well, you begin to think perhaps you are, if you take my meaning. (Endymion Mobbs, p. 175)

Last line: Dazed with joy, he watched the door slowly opening.
 
***********
Deaths = 5 (2 car wreck; 1 natural causes; 1 stabbed; 1 hit)

Friday, October 23, 2020

Friday Fright Night: Halloween-Themed Titles

At the beginning of the month Curtis Evans from the The Passing Tramp put out the call to his fellow bloggers to take part in a month-long event to get us ready for Halloween. Friday Fright Night has found bloggers across the internet as well as familiar faces from the Tuesday Night Blogger crew serving up ghastly delights These are being gathered on up on the Golden Age of Detection Facebook page, but if any of my readers would like to join the fun you are welcome to leave a link in the comments and I'll see that Curtis gets it.

I missed last week and wasn't sure I would be able to put together one today, but I decided to try and squeeze one in under the wire. So...I ransacked my Goodreads book list (the easiest to sort) and will present you a sampling of Halloween-Themed Titles from my read and/or read lists. For most of the categories I have at least two titles, so I am challenging you to match the title to the correct author.  But I'll lead with Dwight V. Babcock's (The) Gorgeous Ghoul Case. There are no other ghouls among my books--unless you count the fact that I own two different pocket-size, pulp-era editions.

I haven't read this one yet, but the blurb for Babcock's book promises: You'll Shudder, You'll Groan, You'll Laugh--You'll Sit Up All Night to Read The Gorgeous Ghoul Murder Case! ...the intriguing, contrasting combinations that crows the pages include: A phone call from a dead man! A romantic moon that shines on a bitter fight in an open grave! A sweet-smelling gardenia crushed under the beautiful nude body of a throttled woman! A trumpet that serves as a doorbell! And a skunk that is a house pet! If you're badly in need of sleep, DON'T start this story--because you won't close your eyes until you've read the last action-packed line of this definitely superiour "whodunit"!

Of course, in honor of Halloween itself, there is Hallowe'en Party by Agatha Christie. Leo Bruce also tried his hand at a Halloween mystery with Death on Allhallowe'en. And, coincidentally, each story revolves around the murder of a young person who saw more than s/he should have.

But...on with our ghoulish games. In each category, your challenge is to match up the author with the appropriate title. Please--no peeking in Google. Answers will be posted next Friday so you can see how you did.

Ghosts
1. Ghost of a Chance                 A. Timothy Fuller
2. Death of a Ghost                    B. Leslie Ford
3. Old Lover's Ghost                  C. Kelley Roos
4. What Beckoning Ghost          D. Margery Allingham
5. Three-Thirds of a Ghost         E. Douglas G. Browne

Skeletons
1. (The) Mystery of the Skeleton Key     A. A. B. Cunningham
2. The Skeleton in the Clock                  B. Lenore Glen Offord
3. The Long Skeleton                             C. Francis & Richard Lockridge
4. Skeleton Key                                      D. Bernard Capes
5. Skeleton in the Closet                        E. Carter Dickson

Skulls & Monsters 
(I had fewer of these, so I combined)
1. The Riddle of the Traveling Skull     A. Robert Finnegan
2. The Monster of Lazy Hook               B. John Dickson Carr
3. Castle Skull                                      C. Thorne Lee
4. Many a Monster                               D. Harry Stephen Keeler

Witches
1. The Witch of the Low Tide            A. Charlotte Armstrong
2. Brood of the Witch-Queen             B. John Dickson Carr
3. The Witch's House                        C. Sax Rohmer

Bats
1. Bats Fly at Dusk                 A. Mary Roberts Rinehart
2. The Bat                               B. Sax Rohmer
3. The Bat Flies Low              C. A. A. Fair 

Devils
1. The Devil Loves Me            A. Edgar Wallace
2. The Devil's Stronghold        B. Ellery Queen
3. The Devil to Pay                  C. Louis Malley
4. The Devil in the Bush          D. E. C. R. Lorac
5. The Devil Man                     E. Leslie Ford
6. Horns for the Devil              F. Matthew Head
7. The Devil & the C.I.D.        G. Margaret Millar

Midnight (the witching hour!)
1. Before Midnight                         A. Rex Stout
2. The Midnight Plumber               B. Laurence G. Blochman
3. Prelude to a Certain Midnight    C. Maurice Proctor
4. Midnight Sailing                         D. Gerald Kersh






Thursday, October 22, 2020

Color Coded Challenge 2021: My Sign-Up

 


Every year I think I've used up my last title with "Brown" (or a shade of brown) for the Color Coded Reading Challenge and every year I prove myself wrong (or buy more books with suitable titles). I'll keep signing up as long as I have suitable titles (I'm determined to use titles and not covers).

Here's the basic rule: read nine books with the various colors listed below in their titles or as a dominant color/image on their covers. For full details, click the link above. I'll list my books and date read as they come.

1. Read book with "Blue" (or a shade of blue): Blue Octavo by John Blackburn (3/12/21)

2. Read a book with "Red" (or a shade of red): The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang [ed] (1/9/21)

3. Read a book with "Yellow" (or a shade of yellow):

4. Read a book with "Green" (or a shade of green): Behind the Green Door by Mildred A. Wirt (2/26/21)

5. Read a book with "Brown" (or a shade of brown):

6. Read a book with "Black" (or a shade of black):

7. Read a book with "White" (or a shade of white):

8. Read a book with any other color:

9. Read a book a word/image that implies color (rainbow, polka dot, etc):

Calendar of Crime 2021: My Sign-Up


As mentioned elsewhere on the Block, mysteries are my go-to read, so filling up a Calendar of Crime with all sorts of dastardly deeds is an easy challenge for me. The goal--to read one month-related mystery book per month for a total of 12 books (or more, if you'd like). If you'd like to join me, just click on the link.



January: Death & the Dutch Uncle by Patricia Moyes [author's birth month] (1/18/21)
February: The Talisman Ring by Georgette Heyer [Couple/romance] (2/19/21)
February: Uncle Silas by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu [author's birth month) (2/22/21)
March: Money in the Morgue by Ngaio Marsh & Stella Duffy [Duffy's birth month] (3/28/21)
April: Sidney Chambers & the Shadow of Death by James Runcie [Original publication] (1/14/21)
April: Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz [author's birth month] (2/4/21)
May: Death of a Millionaire by G.D.H. & Margaret Cole [Margaret's birth month] (1/4/21)
June: Raffles [The Amateur Cracksman] by E. W. Hornung [author's birth month] (1/28/21)
July: The Cannibal Who Overate by Hugh Pentecost [my birth month/wild card] (2/14/21)
July: Murder at Bray Manor by Lee Strauss [Original publication] (2/21/21)
July: Behind the Green Door by Mildred A. Wirt [author's birth month] (2/26/21)
August: When Maidens Mourn by C. S. Harris [primary action] (1/20/21)
August: Gently in the Sun by Alan Hunter [boat/water on cover] (4/5/21)
September: The Listerdale Mystery by Agatha Christie [author's birth month] (2/7/21)
September: The Boomerang Clue by Agatha Christie [Original publication] (2/21/21)
October: Dead as a Dodo by Jane Langton [primary action] (1/24/21)
November: Hallowed Murder by Ellen Hart [Thanksgiving] (1/26/21)
December: Princess Elizabeth's Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal [Primary Action] (1/2/21)
December: Crimson Snow by Martin Edwards (ed) [Christmas] (1/12/21)
December: The Floating Admiral by The Detection Club [Original publication] (1/17/21)




Virtual Mount TBR 2021: My Sign-Up

 

image credit--ST:The Next Generation holodeck with Capt. Picard

Every year my goal is to read from my own stacks (hence the original Mount TBR Challenge). And every year I decide that there are TBR books that I don't own that I just have to Read. So--with my Virtual Mount TBR Challenge, I get to count that mountain too. I'm starting with Rum Doodle and, hopefully, I won't get too carried away with library books. Though it would be nice to say that I've climbed the steps to Vulcan's Mount Seleya....

click to enlarge

If you have tons of books on your want to read list that you don't own, then please join me as we tackle fictional mountains in the TBR world. Just click on the link above.

1. Crimson Snow by Martin Edwards [ed] (1/12/21)
2. The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix (1/18/21)
3. The Double-Jack Murders by Patrick McManus (2/2/21)
4. The Bookwanderers by Anna James (2/6/21)
5. The Listerdale Mystery by Agatha Christie (2/7/21)
6. My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg (2/13/21)
7. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carre (2/20/21)
8. Murder at Bray Manor by Lee Strauss (2/21/21)
9. A Rogue of One's Own by Evie Dunmore (2/25/21)
10. Grand Central: Original Stories of Postwar Love & Reunion intro by Kristin Hannah (3/10/21)
11. Money in the Morgue by Ngaio Marsh/Stella Duffy (3/29/21)
12. The Devil & the Dark Water by Stuart Turton (4/1/21)
Rum Doodle!!
13. Death of a Busybody by George Bellairs (4/10/21)
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Mount Crumpit

Mount TBR 2021: My Sign-Up

 

 

January 2021 kicks off the tenth year for the Mount TBR Reading Challenge and, despite climbing like mad and conquering Mount Everest on the regular each year, I still have mountain ranges to climb. And miles of bookcases to read before I sleep (or something like that). I just can't resist a good old fashioned used bookstore (though they are become rarer and rarer) or the community Hoosier Hills Food Bank Book Sale which adds to the mountains as fast as I knock books off. And, somehow, despite the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has cancelled both my trips to my favorite used bookstore and the community book sale, my mountain range seems to be just as vast as ever. 

So, once again, I plan to concentrate on reading primarily from my own books in the coming year. Perhaps this year I will actually plant a flag on Mount Olympus...but my declared goal will remain Mount Everest. Please join me in knocking out some of those books that have been waiting for attention for weeks...months...even years. Just click on the link above.

1. Princess Elizabeth's Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal [on TBR since 2/16/17] (1/2/21)
2. Death of a Millionaire by G.D.H. & Margaret Cole [on TBR since7/1/17] (1/4/21)
3. The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang (ed) [on TBR since 10/4/2018] (1/9/21)
4. Sidney Chambers & the Shadow of Death by James Runcie [on TBR since 1/22/17] (1/14/21)
5. The Floating Admiral by The Detection Club [on TBR since 1980s] (1/17/21)
6. Death & the Dutch Uncle by Patricia Moyes [on TBR since 9/28/12] (1/18/21) 
7. When Maidens Mourn by C. S. Harris [on TBR since 8/17/17] (1/20/21)
8. Mr. President, Private Eye by Martin H. Greenberg & Francis M. Nevins, Jr. (eds) [on TBR since 12/5/19] (1/22/21)
9. Dead as a Dodo by Jane Langton [on TBR since 12/6/08] (1/24/20)
10. Hallowed Murder by Ellen Hart [on TBR since 3/1/12] (1/26/21)
11. Raffles by E. W. Hornung [on TBR since 12/22/18] (1/28/21)
12. Murder in the Calais Coach (aka Murder on the Orient Express) by Agatha Christie [on TBR since 12/25/20] (1/30/21)
Pike's Peak!!
13. One Lady, Two Cats by Richard Lockridge [one TBR since 9/8/20] (1/31/21)
14. Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz [on TBR since 1/19/19] (2/4/21)
15. The Cannibal Who Overate by Hugh Pentecost [on TBR since 10/3/14] (2/14/21)
16. The Talisman Ring by Georgette Heyer [on TBR since 7/14/18] (2/19/20)
17. The Boomerang Clue by Agatha Christie [on TBR since 10/12/13] (2/21/21)
18. Uncle Silas by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu [on TBR since 7/22/15] (2/22/21)
19. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier [on TBR since 10/1/93] (2/24/21)
20. Behind the Green Door by Mildred A. Wirt [on TBR since 10/5/17] (2/26/21)
21. Howard's End by E. M. Forster [on TBR since 2/11/10] (2/27/21)
22. The Adventure of the Peerless Peer by Philip Jose Farmer [on TBR since 10/6/16] (2/28/21)
23. Dracula (graphic novel) by Bram Stoker [on TBR since about 1977] (3/2/21)
24. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers [on TBR since 1/19/13] (3/6/21)
Mount Blanc!!
25. Dead, Man, Dead by David Alexander [on TBR since 7/1/17] (3/7/21)
26. Mr. Parker Pyne, Detective by Agatha Christie [on TBR since 9/4/10] (3/8/21)
28. Blue Octavo by John Blackburn [on TBR since 10/5/17] (3/12/21)
29. Taking Detective Stories Seriously: The Collected Crime Reviews of Dorothy L. Sayers by Martin Edwards (ed) [on TBR since 3/27/17] (3/21/21)
30. The Coconut Killings by Patricia Moyes [on TBR 10/3/19] (3/22/21)
31. Murder in 3 Acts by Agatha Christie [on TBR since 12/25/14] (3/26/21)
32. Final Notice by Jo Dereske [on TBR since 3/10/17] (3/27/21)
33. Death in the Clouds by Agatha Christie [on TBR since 5/17/19} (3/31/21)
34. The Lazarus Tree by Robert Richardson [on TBR since 4/10/15] (4/2/21)
35. Gently in the Sun by Alan Hunter [on TBR since 12/31/11] (4/5/21)
36. Mr. Smith's Hat by Helen Reilly [on TBR since 3/28/15] (4/7/21)
Mt. Vancouver!!
37. Murder Goes to College by Kurt Steel [on TBR since 12/17/20] (4/8/21)
38. What Darkness Brings by C. S. Harris [on TBR since 8/17/17] (4/11/21)
39. Why Kings Confess by C. S. Harris [on TBR since 5/25/17] (4/12/21)
40. One Murdered: Two Dead by Milton Propper [on TBR since 7/29/27] (4/14/21)
41. Who Killed Stella Pomeroy? by Sir Basil Thomson [on TBR since 12/24/18] (4/16/21)
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Mt. Ararat
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Mt. Kilimanjaro
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El Toro
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Mount Everest

Vintage Scattergories 2021: My Sign-Up

 2021 marks the ten-year anniversary of the Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge and I decided to go back to the early days and revive the Vintage Scattergories edition. I am, of course, signing up for my own mystery challenge and, being a glutton for mysteries, I'm going to try for all the categories. For full details and to join me for some mystery madness, click on the link .

Categories:
1. Colorful Crime: A book with a color or reference to color in the title
Gold: Behind the Green Door by Mildred A. Wirt [1940] (2/26/21)
Silver: Blue Octavo by John Blackburn [1963] (3/12/21)
2. Murder by the Numbers: 
Gold: Death of a Millionaire by G.D.H. & Margaret Cole [1925] (1/4/21)
Silver: 
3. Amateur Night: A book with a detective who is not a P.I.; Police Officer; or other official investigator (Nurse Keate, Father Brown, Miss Marple, etc.)
Gold: The Boomerang Clue by Agatha Christie [1934] (2/21/21)
Silver:
4. Leave It to the Professionals: A book featuring cops, private eyes, secret service, professional spies, etc.
Gold: Gently in the Sun by Alan Hunter [1959] (4/5/21)
Silver: The Coconut Killings by Patricia Moyes [1977] (3/22/21)
5. Jolly Old England: A mystery set in the United Kingdom
Silver: Crimson Snow by Martin Edwards (ed) [2016, but all stories pre-1990] (1/13/21)
6. Yankee Doodle Dandy: A mystery set in the United States
Gold: Dead, Man, Dead by David Alexander [1959] (3/7/21)
Silver: The Cannibal Who Overate by Hugh Pentecost [1962] (2/14/21)
7. World Traveler: A mystery set in any country except the U.S. or U.K.
Gold: Murder in the Calais Coach (aka Murder on the Orient Express) by Agatha Christie (1934) [events take place from Syria to Yugoslavia (present-day Croatia)] (1/30/21)
Silver:
8. Dangerous Beasts: A book with an animal in the title
9. A Calendar of Crime: A mystery with a date/holiday/year/month/etc. in the title
10. Wicked Women: A book with a woman in the title--either by name or by reference
Gold: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier [1938] (2/24/21)
Silver:
11. Malicious Men: A book with a man in the title--either by name or by reference
Gold: The Listerdale Mystery by Agatha Christie (1934) [Lord Listerdale] (2/7/21)
Silver: Death & the Dutch Uncle by Patricia Moyes [1968] (1/18/21)
12. Murderous Methods: A book with a means of death in the title (The Noose5 BulletsDeadly Nightshade, etc.)
13. Staging the Crime: A mystery set in the entertainment world (theatre, musical event, pageant, Hollywood, etc)
14. Scene of the Crime: A book with the location of the crime in the title (The Body in the LibraryMurder at the Vicarage, etc)
15. Cops & Robbers: A book that features a theft rather than murder
Gold: Raffles (The Amateur Cracksman) by E. W. Hornung [1899] (1/28/21) 
Silver: 
16. Locked Rooms: A locked-room mystery
17. Impossible Crimes: Any other impossible crime (locks not necessary)
18. Country House Criminals: A standard (or not-so-standard) Golden Age-style country house murder
Gold: Mr. Smith's Hat by Helen Reilly [1936] (4/7/21)
Silver:
19. Murder on the High Seas: A mystery involving water 
Gold: The Floating Admiral by The Detection Club [1931] (1/17/21)
Silver
20. Planes, Trains, & Automobiles: A book with a mode of transportation in the title
21. Murder is Academic: A mystery involving a scholar, teacher, librarian, etc. OR set at a school, university, library, etc.
Gold: Murder Goes to College by Kurt Steel [1936] (4/8/21)
Silver: Hallowed Murder by Ellen Hart [1989] (1/26/21)
22. Things That Go Bump in the Night: A book with something spooky, creepy, gothic in the title (The Skeleton in the ClockHaunted LadyThe Bat; etc)
23. Repeat Offenders: A mystery featuring your favorite series detective or by your favorite author or reread an old favorite
Gold: Death in the Clouds by Agatha Christie [1935] (3/31/21)
Silver:
24. The Butler Did It...Or Not: A mystery where the butler is the victim, the sleuth...(gasp) the criminal...or is just downright memorable for whatever reason.
Gold: Murder in 3 Acts by Agatha Christie [1934] (3/25/21)
Silver: 
25. A Mystery by Any Other Name: Any book that has been published under more than one title 
Gold: Mr. Parker Pyne, Detective (aka Parker Pyne Investigates) [1934] (3/8/21)
Silver: 
26. Dynamic Duos: A mystery featuring a detective team (Holmes & Watson; Pam & Jerry North; Nero Wolfe & Archie Goodwin, or a little-known team that you introduce to us)
27. Size Matters: A book with a size or measurement in the title (Death Has a Small VoiceThe Big FourThe Weight of the Evidence; etc.)
28. Psychic Phenomena: A mystery featuring a seance, medium, hypnotism, or other psychic or "supernatural" characters/events
29. Book to Movie: A book that has appeared on screen (feature film or TV)
Gold:
Silver: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le CarrĂ© [1974] (2/20/21)
30. The Old Bailey: A courtroom drama mystery OR a mystery featuring a judge, lawyer, barrister, district attorney
31. Serial Killers: Books that were originally published in serial format (from the pulp era) OR a book that includes three or more deaths--all committed by the same person.
Gold: Uncle Silas by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu [serialized in Dublin University Magazine, 1864] (2/22/21)
Silver:
32. Killed in Translation: A work that originally appeared in another language and has been made available in English--original publication date determines Gold or Silver Age--OR if your native language is not English, then a work that originally appeared in English which you read in your native language.
33. Blondes in Danger: A variation on "Colorful Crime." A book that features a blonde in the title (The Blonde Died FirstThe Case of the Black-Eyed Blonde) or another shade of hair color (The Case of the Substitute Brunette)
34. International Detectives: A variation on "World Traveler"--but instead of the crime being set in another country, the detective is not from the U.S. or U.K.
35. Somebody Else's Crime: Read a book that someone else has already read for the challenge.
36. Genuine Fakes: Read a book by an author who wrote under a pseudonym (Josephine Tey [Elizabeth Mackintosh]; Nicholas Blake [Cecil Day Lewis]; etc.)
Gold: Death of a Busybody by George Bellairs (Harold Blundell) [1942] (4/10/21)
Silver
37. Hobbies Can Be Murder: A mystery that involves a hobby in some way: stamp, coin book collecting, etc; knitting; birdwatching; hunting; etc.
38. Snatch & Grab: Read the first book you pick up off your shelf or TBR stack/s
39. I've Got You Covered: Pick a book to read based on the cover
40. Get Out of Jail Free: One per customer. You tell me what special category the book fits and it counts
Gold: The Adventure of the Peerless Peer by Philip Jose Farmer (1974) [really bad Sherlock Holmes pastiches] (2/28/21)
Silver: Mr. President, Private Eye by Martin H. Greenberg & Francis M. Nevins, Jr. [eds] (1988) [features real historical figures] (1/22/21)

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Virtual Mount TBR Challenge 2021

 

image credit--ST:The Next Generation holodeck with Capt. Picard

We're ready for another year of the Virtual Mount TBR Reading Challenge. This challenge, a sister site to the Mount TBR Challenge is for folks who have a long "wish-list" of TBRs and who would like a chance to tackle those mountains. The strategy and general set-up is the same as for the regular Mount TBR--but you don't own the books. Heard about a great book from a friend, took note of the title, and then never got around to reading it? Saw a book online that you thought sounded intriguing but you keep putting off ordering it up from the library? You borrowed a book from somebody and need an extra push to read it and return it? This is the place for you!

Challenge levels:
Mount Rum Doodle: Read 12 books from your Virtual TBR/Wish List/Library
Mount Crumpit: Read 24 books from your Virtual TBR/Wish List/Library
Mount Munch: Read 36 books from your Virtual TBR/Wish List/Library
White Plume Mountain: Read 48 books from your Virtual TBR/Wish List/Library
Stormness Head: Read 60 books from you Virtual TBR/Wish List Library
Mount Mindolluin: Read 75 books from your Virtual TBR/Wish List/Library
Mount Seleya: Read 100 books from your Virtual TBR/Wish List/Library
Mount Olympus: Read 150+ books from your Virtual TBR/Wish List/Library

In keeping with the virtual nature of the challenge, all mountains are fictional (reference in comments below). How many do you recognize? The only one shared by both TBR challenges is Olympus--both fictional and on Mars. However, since I don't know actual heights, I have arbitrarily assigned levels.

The Rules:
~This challenge is only for books you do not own. They may be borrowed from the library, a friend, found on a free e-book site (like Project Gutenberg), or anywhere else that allows you to temporarily "checkout" the book. Also--unlike Mount TBR--there is no date limit on your wish list. If you see a book that strikes your fancy after January 1 and want to grab it from the library, etc. then go for it.

~Once you choose your challenge level you are locked in for at least that many books. If you find you are on a mountain-climbing roll and want to tackle a taller mountain, then you are welcome to upgrade. All books counted for lower mountains carry over towards the new peak.

~Challenge runs from January 1 to December 31, 2021. You may count any "currently reading" book that you begin prior to January 1--provided you have 50% or more of the book to finish when January 1 rolled around. Exception: if you participated in the 2020 Virtual Mount TBR and did not finish a book in time to count it towards that challenge, then you may count it as your first step of 2021 regardless of how much you had left to read.

~Rereads may count if you have not yet counted it for a Virtual Mount TBR Challenge.

~You may count "Did Not Finish" books provided they meet your own standard for such things; you do not plan to ever finish it; and you move it off your virtual mountain.

~Books may be used for other challenges as well.

~A blog and reviews are not necessary to participate. If you have a blog then please post a challenge sign-up and link that post (not your home page) in the form below. Non-bloggers may skip that question on the form, provide a link to another media site for tracking--OR, if you are a member of Goodreads, you may join the challenge there. Feel free to sign up HERE (link coming soon) if that's where you want to participate.

~If you post on Facebook, Instagram, or other social media about the challenge or books read, please use #VirtualMountTBR2021.

~The headquarters link in the left-hand side-bar will be fully updated at the beginning of January.



Mount TBR Challenge 2021

 

January 2021 kicks off the tenth year for the Mount TBR Reading Challenge and, despite climbing like mad and conquering Mount Everest on the regular each year, I still have mountain ranges to climb. And miles of bookcases to read before I sleep (or something like that). I just can't resist a good old fashioned used bookstore (though they are become rarer and rarer) or the community Hoosier Hills Food Bank Book Sale which adds to the mountains as fast as I knock books off. And, somehow, despite the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has cancelled both my trips to my favorite used bookstore and the community book sale, my mountain range seems to be just as vast as ever. 

So, once again, I plan to concentrate on reading primarily from my own books in the coming year. Perhaps this year I will actually plant a flag on Mount Olympus...but my declared goal will remain Mount Everest. Please join me in knocking out some of those books that have been waiting for attention for weeks...months...even years.

Challenge Levels:

Pike's Peak: Read 12 books from your TBR pile/s
Mount Blanc: Read 24 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Vancounver: Read 36 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Ararat: Read 48 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Kilimanjaro: Read 60 books from your TBR pile/s
El Toro*: Read 75 books from your TBR pile/s (*aka Cerro El Toro in South America)
Mt. Everest: Read 100 books from your TBR pile/s
Mount Olympus (Mars): Read 150+ books from your TBR pile/s

The Rules:
*Once you choose your challenge level, you are locked in for at least that many books. You are welcome to voyage further and conquer taller mountains after your commitment is met. All books from lower mountains carry over towards the next peak.

*Challenge runs from January 1 to December 31, 2021

*You may sign up at any time--no matter when you see this challenge. All qualifying books read after January 1st count.

*Books must be owned by you prior to January 1, 2021--items requested or ordered prior to January 1, may count even if they arrive in the new year. No library books~. If you're looking for a library book challenge or one that counts books on your non-owned TBR list, then please see Mount TBR's sister challenge: the Virtual Mount TBR Challenge.
   ~The ONLY exception to the library rule: If you own the book in any form and have a reason to check out a version from the library instead, then you may count it. For example--if you own a hard copy, but are planning on taking a trip where listening to the audio version would be a great way to knock out a book while you drive, then by all means check out the audio version and have a wonderful trip! Please check with me if you have questions.

*Rules for Rereads: Any reread may count, regardless of how long you've owned it, provided you have not counted it for a previous Mount TBR Challenge.

*Audiobooks and E-books may count provided they are yours prior to January 1. ARCs are also fine.

*You may count any "currently reading" book that you begin prior to January 1--provided you had 50% or more of the book left to finish when January 1 rolled around. I will trust you all on that. The only exception is if you have participated in Mount TBR in 2020 and were unable to finish the book in time for the final Check-in Post. Then--if you finish the book post-January 1, you may count it as your first step of the new challenge.

*You may count "Did Not Finish" books provided they meet your own standard for such things, you do not plan to ever finish it, and you move it off your mountain [give it away, sell it, remove from e-resources, etc.]. For example, my personal rule (unless it's a very short book) is to give it 100 pages. If I decide I just can't finish it and won't ever, then off the mountain it goes and I count it as a victory--the stack is smaller!

*Books may be used to count for other challenges as well.

*Feel free to submit your list in advance or to tally them as you climb. 

*A blog and reviews are not necessary to participate. If you have a blog, then please post about the challenge and link that post (not your home page) in the form below. My link provider has limited the number of link "parties" I can have open at a time--so I will be using Google forms for all my sign-up links this year. Non-bloggers may enter their names only without a blog link OR members of Goodreads are welcome to join the Goodreads group HERE

*If you post on Facebook, Instagram, or other social media to log a book, please use #MountTBR2021.

* As I have in the past, I will have a headquarters link in the left hand side-bar which will offer links to this original post, monthly review links, and the final wrap-up. I will update it at the beginning of the new year The Headquarters will also have a link to a list of our climbing crew with their commitments. 

Happy climbing!