I found this book to be delightful and the ending made me laugh out loud with glee. The solution to the "impossible crime" was absurd and contrived - as these impossible crime solutions often are - but not such that I was annoyed.
I didn't guess whodunnit. I was pretty sure throughout the entire thing whodidntdunit, and I was right about that, but I focused on the wrong character.
The victim, Mary Gregor was an odious woman. She reminded me a lot of Mrs. Boynton, from Appointment With Death, which remains one of my favorite Christie mysteries. Some people go unmourned for good reason. The second inspector sent to investigate, Barley, was a blooming idiot with a bad case of confirmation bias - he decided who did it, and then try to squash the evidence into agreeing with him.
The book did drag a bit - this I cannot deny, and I agree with Tigus that the talky-mc-talkerson grew tiresome. I was totally astonished by the THIRD murder, and by the fourth, I was dying to get to the end! Overall, this ended up being one of my favorite of the BLCC reissues.
Classic noir: A subgenre of mystery that includes authors such as Dashiell Hammett, James Cain, Raymond Chandler and Cornell Woolrich. Anything that also qualifies as "hard-boiled" will work for this square.
I've read the first four stories in this anthology:
The Case of Lady Sannox by Arthur Conan Doyle: this is a rather dark, non-Sherlock story about Douglas Stone, a noteworthy surgeon, and his married inamorata Lady Sannox. The conclusion is unforgettable and downright horrifying.
A Mystery of the Underground by John Oxenham: there was a lot to like about this "impossible crime" style story told through newspaper clippings. Someone is killing passengers on the underground as they sit alone in their carriages, and no one knows how. Unfortunately, the identification of the murderer came literally out of nowhere, so it was ultimately a disappointment.
The Finchley Puzzle by Richard Marsh: this story centered around Judith Lee, an amateur sleuth and recurring character who assists the police with her lip reading skills. It starts with an attempt on her life through a chocolate that has been fashioned into a bomb and gains steam with even more creative efforts to dispatch her into the world beyond. It was entertaining enough to motivate me to look read more by Marsh. So far, I've come up with The Complete Adventures of Judith Lee - Richard Marsh.
The Magic Casket by R. Austin Freeman: So far, this is the one I enjoyed the most. The hero of the tale is Dr. Thorndyke, and his sidekick is Christopher Jervis. It has a very Victorian Holmes/Watson vibe and evokes the London setting well.
‘London is an inexhaustible place,’ he mused. ‘Its variety is infinite. A minute ago we walked in a glare of light, jostled by a multitude. And now look at this little street. It is as dim as a tunnel, and we have got it absolutely to ourselves. Anything might happen in a place like this.’
I'll update with information about the additional stories as I finish them!
The books I'm going to read on a more immediate basis are the Capital Crimes anthology & The Tiger in the Smoke, to round out my survey of Chapter 8. In addition, Obsidian Blue & I were discussing reading The Secret Woman over the weekend, so that's ready to go!
I read this one for my Supernatural square. It would also fit for Monster, Ghost & Terrifying Women.
So, I'm all caught up on this series, and now I just have to wait for the next book.
I'd been waiting for a book from Antimony's POV for a while now. I love Verity, and am lukewarm on Alex, so I was curious to find out how I'd feel about the youngest of the Price siblings. Verity is still my favorite, but I enjoyed seeing the world from Antimony's grumpy, occasionally misanthropic, grudgy perspective.
McGuire is so imaginative and talented that when I stop to think about how many different series she writes, and how different each of those series are, I'm sort of blown away. This is still my favorite of her series, although I do also love the Wayward Children series.
The carnival setting is strangely effective here, and reading this book in October was serendipitous. I was reminded frequently of Something Wicked This Way Comes by Bradbury, which is one of the books that most clearly signals autumn to me.
I can't actually remember who I am friends with online that I originally met on the amazon forums. Obsidian Blue for sure, and maybe some of the rest of you as well. I think Grimlock and I originally met on amazon. While I've not posted on the forums for years as a result of the troll infestation, it's still bittersweet to see them finally shut down. They were the first places that I found a group of people to discuss books on the internet. From the forums, to GR, and from GR to here, it's a straight line for me.
Edit - I think I met Char on amazon, too! It's all jumbled up in my mind now - hard to believe I've known some of you for five years or so!
Great news for U.S. fans of Mary Stewart. At long last, her gothic/romantic suspense novels have been published for kindle by Hodder.
And, unlike the Phyllis Whitney reissues, at least for today the prices are extremely reasonable
Madam Will You Talk
Thunder on the Right
The Ivy Tree
This Rough Magic
Wildfire at Midnight
The Gabriel Hounds
Airs Above the Ground
Yes, for $20.00, you can acquire her entire backlist for kindle (in the U.S.). Link to books here.
Gothic: any book with significant gothic elements, a genre or mode of literature and film that combines fiction and horror, death, and at times romance.
I read this one for Diverse Voices. It would also work for Supernatural, Ghost & The Dead Will Walk (there's a necromancer reanimating corpses).
I went back and forth on this book, but ultimately settled on 3 stars. I enjoyed the urban feel to this piece of urban fantasy and the Brooklyn setting was well-done. The narration is told from the (first person) perspective of Carlos Delacruz, whose internal dialogue switches between profanity-laced grit and self-deprecating humor.
One of the weaknesses of the book was the weird, almost stalkerish, relationship between Carlos and the love interest Sasha. Carlos sees a picture of Sasha and is immediately "drawn" to her. There are major issues with this entire aspect of the plot, at least for me, starting with this attraction based on Sasha's terminal hotness, and ending with the resolution to their "relationship" at the end of the book. The whole thing made me uncomfortable. It was a huge part of the book, as well, so I can't just ignore it.
And, I'm not going to lie, nearly the entire ending of this book is confusing. I'm still trying to sort it out in my mind. In addition, when I think about the UF series that I've really enjoyed, it's clear to me that I prefer my UF to revolve around women, such as Kate Daniels, Mercy Thompson, and Verity Price. So, I haven't decided if I will go on with this series or not, and now I've talked myself into knocking off another 1/2 star.
A professor of Elizabethan literature dies in the reading room at the British Museum.
The second book in my mini-exploration of classic crime fiction set in London, I'm pleased to report that I enjoyed this one significantly more than Murder in Piccadilly. While the cover isn't as aesthetically pleasing, everything else was better!
This was a fast-paced mystery, sprinkled with red herrings directing attention to various characters. The good Inspector, Inspector Shelley, is helped along in the investigation by the mild-manner Mr. Fairhurst, who witnessed the death of Professor Arnell, and who ends up acting as a bit of a fairy god(father) to Arnell's daughter, Violet who is engaged to the prime suspect in her father's murder.
An enjoyable golden age read!
OB & I have been discussing putting together that second buddy read for Halloween bingo, to begin 10/10/17! I have two suggestions, and would love to get some additional suggestions going in the bingo group or in the comments!
This is a novella, although page counts seem to vary dramatically. Plot summary;
Before Dracula, there was Carmilla—the first seductive vampire to haunt readers’ imaginations
This classic of Gothic horror follows Laura, a woman haunted by a girlhood dream of a beautiful visitor to her bedroom. Now, a decade later, Laura finds Carmilla, who appears to be her own age, on the side of the road after a carriage accident. The two recognize each other from the same childhood dream and become fast friends. Soon after, Laura begins to experience mysterious feelings and is once again haunted by nightmares. She finds Carmilla strangely irresistible and longs to be with her.
But as the two friends grow closer, Laura’s health begins to fail. It becomes apparent that her enchanting companion is harboring a sinister secret. To free herself from Carmilla’s grasp, Laura and her family must fight for their lives.
Another novella, this one is around 87 pages.
A very young woman's first job: governess for two weirdly beautiful, strangely distant, oddly silent children, Miles and Flora, at a forlorn estate...An estate haunted by a beckoning evil.
Half-seen figures who glare from dark towers and dusty windows- silent, foul phantoms who, day by day, night by night, come closer, ever closer. With growing horror, the helpless governess realizes the fiendish creatures want the children, seeking to corrupt their bodies, possess their minds, own their souls...
But worse-much worse- the governess discovers that Miles and Flora have no terror of the lurking evil.
For they want the walking dead as badly as the dead want them.
Both of these are very short reads! Let me know if either of these sound appealing, or feel free to make some additional suggestions in the discussion group. I started a discussion thread here!
I started this one last night, once I decided to go ahead with a few more books set in London. It is a very quick read, and I am enjoying it a lot. There are a lot of characters, and Rowland has set up one of the characters, probably with some red herrings. If he sustains my enjoyment through to the end, this is shaping up to be a 3 to 4 star read for me!
I decided to do a little mini-exploration of vintage mysteries set in London, to go along with my read of Murder in Piccadilly! I snagged this one, & also bought the "Capital Crimes" BLCC anthology edited by Martin Edwards.
I already own Lord Edgware Dies, which takes place in London, so I'm going to give that one a reread as well, and possibly Margery Allingham's The Tiger in the Smoke, also mentioned by Edwards in the chapter on murders set in London, to round out the group.
In the middle of this, I'll also still be joining in the buddy read for Murder of a Lady late this week! Can't wait!
So, I've taken the call off-line because I set it for the wrong date to publish!