Mysteries and Crime Fiction

Lifestyle Literature Movies Music Reviews

February and March 2021: Reading Recap

Well, go figure.  The first quarter of 2021 is already behind us, never mind that I’m still having to remind myself on occasion to write “2021” instead of “2020” … (and we’re even a week into April already, but let that go). Anyway, since I never got around to doing a “February in review” post, […]

Read More
Literature Reviews

S.J. Rozan: China Trade

A monumental shout-out to Hobart, aka The Irresponsible Reader, for bringing this series to my attention by reviewing some of its installments in the good old BookLikes days.  I know that I am shamefully late to the party, but now that I’m finally here, I’m here to stay. China Trade is the first book of […]

Read More
Literature Reviews

Robert van Gulik (transl.) & Anonymous: Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee (Dee Gong An)

This was “technically” a reread, but as unlike Robert van Gulik’s series of mysteries that were inspired by this book, I had not actually revisited the original novel itself in a minor eternity, almost all of it felt as fresh and new as if I had been reading it for the very first time. Although […]

Read More
Literature Reviews

Agatha Christie: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

Well, talk about a book that you really cannot discuss without sticking spoiler warnings onto it right, left and center!  Christie was initially raked over the coals for its solution — and while her fellow mystery authors stoutly stood by her, it strikes me that it actually does break at least one of [Ronald] Knox’s […]

Read More
Literature Movies Reviews

Graham Greene: The Third Man (and The Fallen Idol)

If you’re coming to this book from having watched the movie starring Orson Welles, Joseph Cotton, Alida Valli and Trevor Howard (as you arguably should — Greene wrote the novella as a preliminary exercise for the screenplay), probably the first thing that is going to stand out to you is the changed perspective:  Whereas the […]

Read More
Literature Reviews

Anna Katharine Green: The Leavenworth Case

Sigh.  Can you believe that in my Golden Age mystery quest I actually acquired three different editions of this book … only to be but marginally entertained by it?  Oh well. The Leavenworth Case was one of the first-ever detective novels, even predating Sherlock Holmes by almost a decade … and it was written by […]

Read More
Literature Reviews

Nicholas Blake: Minute for Murder

If I’ve counted correctly, this is the fifth Nigel Strangeways mystery that I’ve read, and — like the sheer inexplicable segue from the stellar Murder of Roger Ackroyd to the beyond-lamentable Big Four at a similar point in the trajectory of Agatha Christie’s career — it is proof positive that there is no such thing […]

Read More
Literature Reviews

Ellis Peters: Fallen into the Pit

The “Appointment with Agatha” group actually selected Dorothy L. Sayers’s The Nine Tailors as its official March 2021 side read, but as that is one of my favorite novels by Dorothy L. Sayers and one of my annual Christmas reads, I opted for the runner-up, Ellis Peters’s first “Felse investigation” instead.  And I am so […]

Read More
Literature Reviews

Agatha Christie: A Murder Is Announced

One of my confirmed all-time favorite books not only in the Miss Marple series but in Agatha Christie’s entire body of work. Like in the case of The Man in the Brown Suit and Crooked House, there currently is an audio double feature available combining The Secret of Chimneys (our “Appointment with Agatha” February 2021 […]

Read More
Literature Reviews

John Le Carré: Call for the Dead

I discovered Le Carré as a teenager; not through any of his Smiley novels but through The Little Drummer Girl (his most recent book at the time), which, in the snobbery that characterizes the German literary scene to this very day, was characterized as a thriller and hence, “entertainment literature” (as opposed to “serious literature” […]

Read More
Literature Reviews

Philip Gooden: The Salisbury Manuscript

After the double disappointment of Anne Tyler’s Vinegar Girl and (especially / even more so) Margaret Atwood’s The Robber Bride, I felt in need of crawling into some warm, cozy and comforting place and curling up there, and in book terms that usually means taking recourse to a mystery — in this instance, the first […]

Read More
Literature Reviews

The Medieval Murderers: Sword of Shame

Following on from my successful foray into Philip Gooden’s — relatively — new series, I decided to conclude the month of March with a revisit of one of the Medieval Murderers‘ round robins; the second book from the series, Sword of Shame.  In its entirety, this book is fairly average for the series — well-researched […]

Read More
Literature Reviews

Agatha Christie: The Secret of Chimneys

Oh, I would love to love this book so much more than I ultimately do.  There Christie goes and takes me on a merry romp in the spirit of The Secret Adversary (whose plot, let’s face it, is every bit as implausible as that of The Secret of Chimneys), complete with adventurers, mysterious manuscripts and […]

Read More
Literature Reviews

Martin Edwards (ed.), Various Authors: Blood on the Tracks

The January “side read” — topic: Murder by Transport — for the Appointment with Agatha / Agatha Christie Centenary Celebration group read (blog master post HERE; Goodreads group HERE): For me, another reread after first having read this collection only last year, but decidedly one of my favorites among the British Library Classic Crime short […]

Read More
Literature Reviews

Agatha Christie: Spider’s Web

Spider’s Web is a screwball drawing room murder mystery comedy mashup with bits of Christie’s own Bundle Brent books (The Secret of Chimneys and The Seven Dials Mystery), as well as bits of the Hitchcock comedy The Trouble with Harry thrown in for good measure.  The result is an evening’s entertainment of pure hilarity — […]

Read More
Literature Reviews

Agatha Christie: A Pocket Full of Rye

As a detective protagonist, like Agatha Christie herself, I prefer Miss Marple to Hercule Poirot, and among all of the Miss Marple books, this is one of my all-time favorites.  Needless to say, this was a (well, actually my umpteenth) repeat visit, courtesy (also on repeat) of Richard E. Grant’s narration as part of the […]

Read More
Literature Reviews

Agatha Christie: The Lie

This play, even to longstanding fans of Agatha Christie, must necessarily come as at least as great a surprise as to writer and director Julius Green, who discovered it in 2018 (apparently, along with a number of other plays — though at least those listed HERE were in fact already known and available in print […]

Read More
Literature Reviews

Agatha Christie: Crooked House

  Spoiler warning: Only go on reading if you’ve read the book and know the solution to the mystery. I already own print as well as audio CD editions of all of Christie’s full length novels, but Audible last year started rereleasing them in “two for the price of one” digital packages, and who am […]

Read More
Literature Reviews

Agatha Christie: The Man in the Brown Suit

This was the monthly “main” read in the Appointment with Agatha / Agatha Christie Centenary Celebration group read (my blog master post can be found HERE; the Goodreads group is HERE): Like almost all of Christie’s spy / political conspiracy novels, this won’t ever be one of my all-time favorite books by her — parts […]

Read More
Literature Reviews

J.J. Connington: Mystery at Lynden Sands

The Dreidel pick for my first book of 2021 from the 2020 edition of Festive Tasks, and in many ways, things only went uphill from here.  It’s not a bad book, mind, just not entirely my cup of tea.  I had wanted to read this, on the one hand, because (as I’ve learned from Martin […]

Read More