British Mysteries and Crime Fiction

Cats Literature Reviews

June 2021 and Mid-Year Reading Recap

Sigh.  Well, I think posting a monthly (and even half-year) reading recap a full three weeks into the next month has to be some sort of record, even for me, but here we are.  And I admit that at this point I’d even been contemplating holding off another week so as to combine this with […]

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Literature Reviews

Dorothy L. Sayers: The Five Red Herrings

Dorothy L. Sayers is occasionally accused of having gotten too caught up in her research for a given book; and the two mysteries that routinely come up in this context are The Nine Tailors (bell ringing, published in 1934) and, well, The Five Red Herrings (1931), which, although chiefly concerned with fishing and painting, also […]

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Literature Reviews

Molly Thynne: He Dies and Makes No Sign

One of the standout books of last year’s holiday reading was Molly Thynne’s The Crime at the ‘Noah’s Ark’, the first of her three Dr. Constantine books, and I instantly resolved to read more books by her.  It turns out, though, that POV may be important to my enjoyment of a book (who knew?!), and […]

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Literature Reviews

Agatha Christie: The Seven Dials Mystery

The Seven Dials Mystery marks our second (and in Bundle’s case, alas, final) meeting with Lady Eileen “Bundle” Brent and Scotland Yard Superintendent Battle, both of whom we first encountered in The Secret of Chimneys.  While they both were (key) supporting characters there, here Bundle gets star billing, and that’s a very good thing, because […]

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Literature Reblogs Reviews

Georgette Heyer: Duplicate Death

This is the penultimate of Georgette Heyer’s Inspector Hemingway mysteries, and while in other books Hemingway and his former boss, D.I. Hannasyde — as whose sergeant Hemingway appears in the first four novels of the eight-book arc — occasionally make reference to previous cases they’ve been involved in, outside of the fact that the four […]

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Literature Reviews

Dorothy L. Sayers: Clouds of Witness

June being Dorothy L. Sayers’s birthday, a revisit of her books was in the cards anyway — and speaking of which, the topic of this year’s summer reading project pretty quickly also determined which books I would be picking: Clouds of Witness, where card sharping is a key plot element, and The Five Red Herrings, […]

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Literature Reviews

Leonard Gribble: The Arsenal Stadium Mystery

I’d set this as my book to accompany the England vs. Germany match during this year’s European football / soccer championships but I should probably make it clear that it wasn’t the fact that Germany lost (deservedly) in a major tournament match against England for the first time in decades that made me lose my […]

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Literature Reviews

Ellen Wilkinson: The Division Bell Mystery

The Division Bell Mystery is one of my favorite BLCC republications to date — though not on account of the actual mystery, which, setting (The Houses of Parliament) aside, doesn’t have much going for it: the “locked room” / impossible crime scenario has (as even series editor Martin Edwards acknowledges in his introduction) a plot […]

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Literature Reviews

Harriet Rutland: Blue Murder

Harriet Rutland (real name: Olive Shimwell née Seers) only published three novels: I had (largely) enjoyed, even without being overly impressed with them, her first two ventures into detective fiction, Knock, Murderer, Knock and Bleeding Hooks, both of which feature a sort of “extracurricular” Scotland Yard detective named Winkley, but I had decided to leave […]

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Cats Literature Reviews

Mystery Writers of America Presents: Odd Partners

A few years ago, I read a Mystery Writers of America short story compilation named Face Off, which featured short stories where two different authors’ series detectives / protagonists teamed up to solve a given crime, with each of the authors writing part of the respective story.  I thought that was an interesting (and surprisingly […]

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Literature Music Reviews

May 2021 Reading Recap

Still a lot of work on the back end of the blog, including on my “featured authors” pages (see the right column on the main Literature page and the introduction of my April 2021 recap post).  So, contrary to plans, still no new posts in my alphabet blogging series in May.  However, the time-consuming back end […]

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Literature Reviews

Agatha Christie: The Mystery of the Blue Train

Agatha Christie hated this book.  While she was trying to write it, her little daughter kept distracting her and demanding her attention.  The plot is not an original idea but, for the first time (of what would eventually be multiple repeat occasions), she had chosen to expand an idea first used years earlier in a […]

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Literature Reviews

Joanna Cannan: Murder Included

Joanna Cannan was chiefly known, until her death in 1961, for three types of books: her novels examining British interwar society, the mysteries she published from the early 1930s onwards, and her pony books for young readers.  A keen horsewoman herself, Cannan passed her love of all things equine on to her daughters Josephine, Diana […]

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Literature Reviews

Joanna Cannan: They Rang Up the Police

They Rang Up the Police was Joanna Cannan’s first-ever mystery.  It is one of only two books featuring Inspector Guy Northeast, an investigator forming, as indicated in my review of Murder Included, the polar opposite of that book’s D.I. Price: Of humble rural origin, Northeast is the perpetual, quintessential outsider in Scotland Yard; he is […]

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Literature Reviews

Harriet Rutland: Bleeding Hooks

Harriet Rutland (real name: Olive Shimwell née Seers) fell out of favor with publishers and the reading public even more than Joanna Cannan in the decades after WWII (or at least after her 1962 death); it would take over half a century for the three books that constitute her entire literary output to be republished, […]

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Literature Reviews

Daphne Du Maurier: My Cousin Rachel

Oh, I wanted to like this so much better than I ultimately did; for its glorious Cornish and Italian (Florence) settings alone, as well as for the fact that Du Maurier (as she herself insisted) apparently identified so much with this novel’s first person narrator, Philip Ashley, that at times she almost felt like she […]

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Literature Reviews

Arthur Conan Doyle: Sherlock Holmes

My May 2021 reading included one totally predictable binge: It’s Arthur Conan Doyle’s birth month, and I still had the complete Sherlock Holmes Canon as read by Stephen Fry that I’d acquired long ago sitting in my Audible app, waiting for the perfect moment to indulge … well, I figured this was it.  However, I […]

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Literature Reviews

Martha Grimes: The Man With a Load of Mischief

Until not so very long ago, Martha Grimes’s Richard Jury series used to be one of my standard “go to” mystery series; it had everything that I’m looking for: well-constructed puzzles, great characters and settings, snappy dialogue, and plenty of sardonic humor.  (Also, if you thought that Elizabeth George was the first American novelist to […]

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Literature Reviews

Martha Grimes: The Old Fox Deceiv’d

The Old Fox Deceiv’d was the first-ever book by Martha Grimes that I read, and whatever other details of its contents I subsequently forgot, it opens with an image that instantly grabbed me and stayed in my mind as vividly as when I first read it decades ago, and it’s in fact the one pictured […]

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Literature Reviews

Ann Cleeves: Red Bones

Ann Cleeves’s Shetland series became a “go-to” series for me, whenever I am looking for a profoundly atmospheric (preferably Scottish) setting, with its very first book, Raven Black.  Needless to say, I’m also a huge fan of the TV series starring Douglas Henshall as the series’s protagonist, Jimmy Perez; never mind that in the books […]

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