Classics

Cats Literature

Halloween Bingo 2021: Card, Spells, Markers and Book Pool

Phew!  I’ve had blog display issues for the better part of August due to a stupid WP plugin acting up (and of course, it was a plugin allegedly intended to “facilitate” the import of content into my chosen theme — haha, right), but luckily they were resolved just in time for Halloween Bingo! (Gosh … […]

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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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Literature Reviews

John Steinbeck: The Moon Is Down

My final venture into John Steinbeck’s oeuvre in the context of the (Dead) Authors in Residence challenge, and once more I found confirmation of everything that made me a fan of Steinbeck’s all the way back in my teens: vision and prescience of judgment, exquisitely fine characterization and, perhaps most of all, infinitely great humanity. […]

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Literature Reviews

Ursula K. Le Guin: A Wizard of Earthsea

While my first two Le Guin reads for the (Dead) Authors in Residence challenge were both taken from Le Guin’s final years, for my last book I went back to her very beginning and picked the first book of her Earthsea Cycle.  And, while I know that this is an awardwinning milestone of (YA) fantasy […]

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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

Georges Simenon: Les vacances de Maigret (Maigret’s Holiday)

The Appointment with Agatha group’s May 2021 “side read” theme took us to France yet again, and who better to read in this context than Simenon?  Like Poirot in our main (Christie) read, Simenon’s commissaire Maigret has also taken himself to one of the country’s manifold vacation spots in this particular installment of the long-standing […]

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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

John Steinbeck: The Winter of Our Discontent

John Steinbeck’s final novel was one I had never gotten around to in my Steinbeck fangirl binges of yore — I knew it was reputed to be “bleak”, and after I’d seen what Steinbeck can do along those lines in The Grapes of Wrath (never mind that that actually is one of my favorite novels […]

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