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lyzard's list: worshipping obscurity in 2017 - Part 3

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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Mar 13, 5:53pm Top

Tasmania crams an extraordinary variety of landscapes and environments into its limited space, from snow-capped mountains to rainforests. On the left is a view of Cradle Mountain over Dove Lake; on the right are the Bridal Veil Falls, on Bulls Creek. Both are situated in Lake St Clair National Park, in the north-west of the central highlands of the state.


Edited: Apr 10, 2:41am Top

"When we really worship anything, we love not only its clearness but its obscurity."
---G. K. Chesterton (I'm pretty sure he was talking about books...)



Currently reading:

Elsie's Children by Martha Finley (1877)

Edited: Mar 31, 3:28am Top

2017 reading


1. Deerbrook by Harriet Martineau (1839)
2. The Case Of The Black Twenty-Two by Brian Flynn (1928)
3. Forgive Us Our Trespasses by Lloyd C. Douglas (1932)
4. The Man Who Fell Through The Earth by Carolyn Wells (1919)
5. Elsie's Motherhood by Martha Finley (1876)
6. Hatter's Castle by A. J. Cronin (1931)
7. Colonel Gore's Third Case by Lynn Brock (1927)
8. The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez (1916)
9. Mrs Tim Flies Home by D. E. Stevenson (1952)
10. Summerhills by D. E. Stevenson (1956)
11. Red Pepper's Patients by Grace S. Richmond (1917)
12. Penelope's English Experiences by Kate Douglas Wiggin (1893)
13. Madeline; or, Love, Treachery And Revenge by James Summerfield Slaughter (1859)
14. The Merriweather Girls At Good Old Rockhill by Lizette M. Edholm (1932)
15. 1815: Regency Britain In The Year Of Waterloo by Stephen Bates (2015)
16. Cousin Kate by Georgette Heyer (1968)
17. One, Two, Buckle My Shoe by Agatha Christie (1940)
18. Mr Pottermack's Oversight by R. Austin Freeman (1930)
19. The Linger-Nots And The Mystery House; or, The Story Of Nine Adventurous Girls by Agnes Miller (1923)


20. The Riddle Of The Mysterious Light by Mary E. Hanshew and Hazel Phillips Hanshew (1921)
21. The Man Without A Face by Clifton Robbins (1932)
22. The Barrakee Mystery by Arthur W. Upfield (1929)
23. More Tales Of The Unexpected by Roald Dahl (1980)
24. Wind In His Fists by Phyllis Bottome (1931)
25. Kai Lung Unrolls His Mat by Ernest Bramah (1928)
26. The Devil's Highway by Harold Bell Wright and John Lebar (1932)
27. The Ellerby Case by John Rhode (1927)
28. Gentlemen Of Crime by Arthur Gask (1932)
29. The Man Of The Forest by Zane Grey (1920)
30. Sons by Pearl S. Buck (1932)
31. Mr Fortune, Please by H. C. Bailey (1927)
32. Death At Four Corners by Anthony Gilbert (1929)
33. Evil Under The Sun by Agatha Christie (1941)
34. Charity Girl by Georgette Heyer (1970)


35. The Duke's Children by Anthony Trollope (1880)
36. Feathers Left Around by Carolyn Wells (1923)
37. Flying Clues by Charles J. Dutton (1927)
38. Murder On The Palisades by Will Levinrew (1930)
39. The Greene Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine (1928)
40. One Wonderful Night by Louis Tracy (1912)
41. Lost Man's Lane by Anna Katharine Green (1898)
42. The Linger-Nots And The Valley Feud; or, The Great West Point Chain by Agnes Miller (1923)
43. Ruth Fielding Down In Dixie; or, Great Times In The Land Of Cotton by Alice B. Emerson (1916)
44. Main Street by Sinclair Lewis (1920)
45. The Hermit In Van Diemen's Land by Henry Savery (1830)
46. This House Of Grief: The Story Of A Murder Trial by Helen Garner (2014)
47. The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay (1918)
48. Arresting Delia by Sydney Fowler (1933)
49. Dr Nikola by Guy Newell Boothby (1895)
50. N or M? by Agatha Christie (1941)
51. Lady Of Quality by Georgette Heyer (1972)
52. Daylight Murder by Paul McGuire (1934)
53. The Bartlett Mystery by Louis Tracy (1919)

Edited: Apr 10, 2:42am Top

April - June:

54. The House Of Discord by Hazel Phillips Hanshew (1922)
55. Death At The Opera by Gladys Mitchell (1934)
56. Danger Point by Patricia Wentworth (1941)
57. None Of My Business by David Sharp (1931)
58. The Tragedy Of Z by Barnaby Ross (1933)
59. The Zoo Murder by Francis D. Grierson (1926)
60. If Winter Comes by A. S. M. Hutchinson (1921)

Edited: Apr 10, 2:55am Top

Reading projects 2017:

Blog reads:
Chronobibliography: Gallantry Unmask'd; or, Women In Their Proper Colours by Anonymous
Authors In Depth:
- The Mother-In-Law by E. D. E. N. Southworth
- The Captain Of The Vulture by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
- The Sicilian by 'the author of The Mysterious Wife'
- Family Pictures by Susannah and Margaret Minifie
- The Old Engagement by Julia Day
Reading Roulette: Had You Been In His Place by Lizzie Bates
Australian fiction: Louisa Egerton by Mary Leman Grimstone
Gothic novel timeline: Julia De Roubigné by Henry Mackenzie
Early crime fiction: The Mysteries Of London by Paul Feval
Related reading: Gains And Losses by Robert Lee Wollf

Group / tutored reads:

Completed: Deerbrook by Harriet Martineau (thread here)
Completed: The Duke's Children by Anthony Trollope (thread here)

Upcoming: Zoe: The History Of Two Lives by Geraldine Jewsbury

General reading challenges:

America's best-selling novels (1895 - ????):
Next up: Black Oxen by Gertrude Atherton

Virago chronological reading project:
Next up: Zoe: The History Of Two Lives by Geraldine Jewsbury

Agatha Christie mysteries in chronological order:
Next up: The Body In The Library

C.K. Shorter List of Best 100 Novels:
Next up: The Holy War by John Bunyan

Mystery League publications:
Next up: The Hand Of Power

The evolution of detective fiction:
Next up: The Mysteries Of London by Paul Feval (R. Stephenson, translator)

Random reading 1940 - 1969:
Next up: The Taking Men by Anne Hepple / Before The Crossing by Storm Jameson

Potential decommission:
Next up: The Dangerous Dandy by Barbara Cartland

Georgette Heyer historical romances in chronological order

Possible future reading projects:
- Nobel Prize winners who won for fiction
- Daily Telegraph's 100 Best Novels, 1899
- James Tait Black Memorial Prize
- Berkeley "Books Of The Century"
- Collins White Circle Crime Club / Green Penguins
- Dell paperbacks
- "El Mundo" 100 best novels of the twentieth century
- 100 Best Books by American Women During the Past 100 Years, 1833-1933

Edited: Apr 8, 10:07pm Top

Books in transit:

On interlibrary loan / branch transfer / storage request:
The 'Z' Murders by J. Jefferson Farjeon
Murder Gone Mad by Philip MacDonald
The Mad Monk by R. T. M. Scott
Julia de Roubigne by Henry Mackenzie

Purchased and shipped:
Streaked With Crimson by Charles J. Dutton

On loan:
**The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay (12/04/2017)
**The Greene Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine (14/04/2017)
Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy L. Sayers (14/04/2017)
Burglars In Bucks by G. D. H. & M. Cole (14/04/2017)
**The Barrakee Mystery by Arthur Upfield (14/04/2017)
**The Hermit In Van Diemen's Land by Henry Savery (14/04/2017)
The Way Beyond by Jeffery Farnol (14/04/2017)
The Madwoman In The Attic by Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar (14/04/2017)
**Sons by Pearl S. Buck (14/04/2017)
*Death At The Opera by Gladys Mitchell (21/04/2017)
*Danger Point by Patricia Wentworth (28/04/2017)

Edited: Apr 8, 10:18pm Top

TBR notes:

Peril At Cranbury Hall by John Rhode (Dr Priestley #8) {Rare Books}
Mystery At Greycombe Farm by John Rhode (Dr Priestley #12) {Rare Books}
Dead Men At The Folly by John Rhode (Dr Priestley #13) {Rare Books}
The Robthorne Mystery by John Rhode (Dr Priestley #17) {Rare Books / State Library NSW, held}
Poison For One by John Rhode (Dr Priestley #18) {Rare Books / State Library NSW, held}
Shot At Dawn by John Rhode (Dr Priestley #19) {Rare Books}
Hendon's First Case by John Rhode (Dr Priestley #21) {Rare Books}
In Face Of The Verdict by John Rhode (Dr Priestley #24) {Rare Books / State Library NSW, held}
Secret Judges by Francis D. Grierson (Sims and Wells #2) {Rare Books}
The Platinum Cat by Miles Burton (Desmond Merrion #17 / Inspector Arnold #18) {Rare Books}
The Double-Thirteen Mystery by Anthony Wynne (Dr Eustace Hailey #2) {Rare Books}

The Sign Of the Glove by Carlton Dawe {academic loan / State Library NSW, held}
Trunk Call (aka The Trunk-Call Mystery) by J. Jefferson Farjeon {academic loan / State Library NSW, held}
Before The Crossing by Storm Jameson {academic loan / State Library NSW, held}
The Thousandth Case by George Dilnot {State Library NSW, held}
The Rope Which Hangs by Gerard Fairlie {State Library NSW, held}
The Flying Beast by Walter S. Masterman {State Library NSW, held}
The Prince Of Poisoners by Ladbroke Black {State Library NSW, held}

Mystery At Olympia (aka "Murder At The Motor Show") (Dr Priestley #22) {Kindle / State Library NSW, held}
The Ebony Bed Murder by Rufus Gillmore {Kindle}
The 'Z' Murders by J. Jefferson Farjeon {Kindle}
Find The Clock by Harry Stephen Keeler {Kindle}
Down River by John Haslette Vahey {serialised, SMH}
The Clutching Hand by Charles J. Dutton {serialised, Los Angeles Times}

Wanted! by Carlton Dawe {serialised, SMH / State Library NSW, held}
Ma Cinderella by Harold Bell Wright {HathiTrust}
Murder Gone Mad by Philip MacDonald {Fisher Library storage}
The Mad Monk by R. T. M. Scott {Fisher Library storage}
Whose Name Is Legion by Isabel Clarke {interlibrary loan}
The Marching Feet by Annie S. Swan {interlibrary loan}
Fever Of Love by Denise Robins {interlibrary loan}
The Flickering Lamp by Netta Muskett {interlibrary loan}
After Rain by Netta Muskett {interlibrary loan}
Pack Mule by Ursula Bloom {interlibrary loan, missing?}

Tragedy On The Line by John Rhode (Dr Priestley #10) {Rare Books}
Death By Appointment by "Francis Bonnamy" (Audrey Walz) (Peter Utley Shane #1) {Rare Books}
The Bell Street Murders by Sydney Fowler (S. Fowler Wright) (Inspector Cambridge and Mr Jellipot #1) {Rare Books}
The Murderer Returns by Edwin Dial Torgerson (Pierre Montigny #1) {Rare Books}

NB: Rest of 1931 listed on the Wiki

Shopping list:
The Orange Divan by Valentine Williams
The Seventh Passenger by Alice MacGowan and Perry Newberry
Gray Terror by Herman Landon
The Pelham Murder Case by Monte Barrett
Prove It, Mr Tolefree by R. A. J. Walling
Murder At The Hunting Club by Mary Plum
By The Watchman's Clock by Leslie Ford

The Hawkmoor Mystery by W. H. Lane Crauford
Dead Man's Hat by Hulbert Footner
October House by Kay Cleaver Strahan
The Double Thumb by Francis Grierson

Edited: Apr 2, 5:55pm Top

Series and sequels, 1866 - 1919:

(1866 - 1876) **Emile Gaboriau - Monsieur Lecoq - The Widow Lerouge (1/6) {ManyBooks}
(1867 - 1905) **Martha Finley - Elsie Dinsmore - Elsie's Children (6/28) {Project Gutenberg}
(1867 - 1872) **George MacDonald - The Seaboard Parish - Annals Of A Quiet Neighbourhood (1/3) {ManyBooks}
(1878 - 1917) **Anna Katharine Green - Ebenezer Gryce - The Circular Study (10/12) {Project Gutenberg}
(1896 - 1909) **Melville Davisson Post - Randolph Mason - The Corrector Of Destinies (3/3) {Internet Archive}
(1893 - 1915) **Kate Douglas Wiggins - Penelope - Penelope's Progress (2/4) {Project Gutenberg}
(1894 - 1898) **Anthony Hope - Ruritania - Rupert Of Hentzau (3/3) {Project Gutenberg}
(1895 - 1901) **Guy Newell Boothby - Dr Nikola - The Lust Of Hate (3/5) {Roy Glashan's Library}
(1897 - 1900) **Anna Katharine Green - Amelia Butterworth - The Circular Study (3/3) {Project Gutenberg}
(1899 - 1917) **Anna Katharine Green - Caleb Sweetwater - Agatha Webb (1/6) {ManyBooks}
(1899 - 1909) **E. W. Hornung - Raffles - The Black Mask (aka Raffles: Further Adventures Of The Amateur Cracksman) (2/4) {Project Gutenberg}
(1900 - 1974) *Ernest Bramah - Kai Lung - The Moon Of Much Gladness (4/6) {State Library NSW, interlibrary loan}

(1901 - 1919) **Carolyn Wells - Patty Fairfield - Patty's Friends (6/17) {Project Gutenberg}
(1901 - 1927) **George Barr McCutcheon - Graustark - Graustark (1/6) {Project Gutenberg}
(1903 - 1904) **Louis Tracy - Reginald Brett - The Albert Gate Mystery (2/2) {ManyBooks}
(1905 - 1925) **Baroness Orczy - The Old Man In The Corner - Unravelled Knots (3/3) {Project Gutenberg Australia}}
(1905 - 1928) **Edgar Wallace - The Just Men - The Three Just Men (5/6) {Roy Glashan's Library}
(1906 - 1930) **John Galsworthy - The Forsyte Saga - Awakening (4/11) {Project Gutenberg}
(1907 - 1912) **Carolyn Wells - Marjorie - Marjorie's Vacation (1/6) {ManyBooks}
(1907 - 1942) *R. Austin Freeman - Dr John Thorndyke - Pontifex, Son And Thorndyke (18/26) {Roy Glashan's Library}
(1907 - 1941) *Maurice Leblanc - Arsene Lupin - The Hollow Needle (3/21) {ManyBooks}
(1908 - 1924) **Margaret Penrose - Dorothy Dale - Dorothy Dale: A Girl Of Today (1/13) {ManyBooks}
(1909 - 1942) *Carolyn Wells - Fleming Stone - Spooky Hollow (15/49) {Kindle}
(1909 - 1929) *J. S. Fletcher - Inspector Skarratt - Marchester Royal (1/3) {Kindle}
(1909 - 1912) **Emerson Hough - Western Trilogy - 54-40 Or Fight (1/3) {Project Gutenberg}
(1910 - 1936) *Arthur B. Reeve - Craig Kennedy - The Treasure-Train (6/11) {ManyBooks}
(1910 - 1946) A. E. W. Mason - Inspector Hanaud - The House In Lordship Lane (7/7) {Roy Glashan's Library}
(1910 - ????) *Edgar Wallace - Inspector Smith - Kate Plus Ten (3/?) {Project Gutenberg Australia}
(1910 - 1930) **Edgar Wallace - Inspector Elk - The Joker (3/6?) {ManyBooks}
(1910 - ????) *Thomas, Mary and Hazel Hanshew - Cleek - The Amber Junk (9/12) {AbeBooks}
(1910 - 1918) **John McIntyre - Ashton-Kirk - Ashton-Kirk: Special Detective (3/4) {HathiTrust}
(1910 - 1931) *Grace S. Richmond - Red Pepper Burns - Red And Black (4/6) {HathiTrust / Internet Archive}
(1910 - ????) *Jeffery Farnol - The Vibarts - The Way Beyond (3/?) {Fisher Library storage}

(1911 - 1935) G. K. Chesterton - Father Brown - The Scandal Of Father Brown (5/5) {branch transfer}
(1911 - 1937) Mary Roberts Rinehart - Letitia Carberry - Tish Marches On (5/5) {Kindle}
(1911 - 1919) **Alfred Bishop Mason - Tom Strong - Tom Strong, Lincoln's Scout (5/5) {Project Gutenberg}
(1912 - 1919) **Gordon Holmes (Louis Tracy) - Steingall and Clancy - The Bartlett Mystery (3/3) {ManyBooks}
(1913 - 1928) **Louis Tracy - Winter and Furneaux - The Strange Case Of Mortimer Fenley (2/9) {ManyBooks}
(1913 - 1934) *Alice B. Emerson - Ruth Fielding - Ruth Fielding At College (11/30) {Project Gutenberg}
(1913 - 1973) Sax Rohmer - Fu-Manchu - The Bride Of Fu-Manchu (6/14) {interlibrary loan / Kindle}
(1913 - 1952) *Jeffery Farnol - Jasper Shrig - Peregrine's Progress (2/9) {ManyBooks}
(1914 - 1950) Mary Roberts Rinehart - Hilda Adams - Episode Of The Wandering Knife (5/5) Better World Books}
(1914 - 1934) *Ernest Bramah - Max Carrados - The Bunch Of Violets (short story) (3/5) {ManyBooks}
(1916 - 1941) John Buchan - Edward Leithen - Sick Heart River (5/5) {Fisher Library}
(1915 - 1936) *John Buchan - Richard Hannay - The Thirty-Nine Steps (1/5) {Fisher Library / Project Gutenberg / branch transfer / Kindle}
(1915 - 1923) **Booth Tarkington - Growth - The Magnificent Ambersons (2/3) {Project Gutenberg / Fisher Library / Kindle}
(1916 - 1917) **Carolyn Wells - Alan Ford - Faulkner's Folly (2/2) {owned}
(1916 - 1927) **Natalie Sumner Lincoln - Inspector Mitchell - The Nameless Man (2/10) {AbeBooks}
(1916 - 1917) **Nevil Monroe Hopkins - Mason Brant - The Strange Cases Of Mason Brant (1/2) {Coachwhip Books}
(1917 - 1929) **Henry Handel Richardson - Dr Richard Mahony - Australia Felix (1/3) {Fisher Library / Kindle}
(1918 - 1923) **Carolyn Wells - Pennington Wise - In The Onyx Lobby (3/8) {Project Gutenberg}
(1918 - ????) *Valentine Williams - Okewood / Clubfoot - Clubfoot The Avenger (4/?) {AbeBooks}
(1919 - 1966) *Lee Thayer - Peter Clancy - The Key (6/60) {expensive / Rare Books}
(1919 - 1921) **Octavus Roy Cohen - David Carroll - The Crimson Alibi (1/3) {Rare Books}

*** Incompletely available series
** Series complete pre-1931
* Present status pre-1931

Edited: Apr 8, 8:27pm Top

Series and sequels, 1920 - 1927:

(1920 - 1939) E. F. Benson - Mapp And Lucia - Trouble For Lucia (6/6) {interlibrary loan}
(1920 - 1948) *H. C. Bailey - Reggie Fortune - Mr Fortune Speaking (5/23) {State Library NSW, interlibrary loan}
(1920 - 1949) William McFee - Spenlove - The Beachcomber - (3/6) {owned}
(1920 - 1932) *Alice B. Emerson - Betty Gordon - Betty Gordon At Bramble Farm (1/15) {ManyBooks}
(1920 - 1975) Agatha Christie - Hercule Poirot - Five Little Pigs (23/39) {owned}
(1920 - 1921) **Natalie Sumner Lincoln - Ferguson - The Unseen Ear (2/2) {HathiTrust}
(1920 - 1937) *H. C. McNeile - Bulldog Drummond - Bull-Dog Drummond (1/10 - series continued) {Project Gutenberg / Fisher storage}

(1921 - 1929) ** / ***Charles J. Dutton - John Bartley - The Clutching Hand (8/9) {serialised}
(1921 - 1925) **Herman Landon - The Gray Phantom - Gray Terror (3/5) {Amazon}

(1922 - 1973) *Agatha Christie - Tommy and Tuppence - By The Pricking Of My Thumbs (4/5) {owned}
(1922 - 1927) *Alice MacGowan and Perry Newberry - Jerry Boyne - The Seventh Passenger (4/5) {Amazon}
(1922 - 1931) *Valentine Williams - Inspector Manderton - The Orange Divan (2/4) {AbeBooks}

(1923 - 1937) Dorothy L. Sayers - Lord Peter Wimsey - Murder Must Advertise (10/15) {on loan}
(1923 - 1924) **Carolyn Wells - Lorimer Lane - The Fourteenth Key (2/2) {eBay}
(1923 - 1931) *Agnes Miller - The Linger-Nots - The Linger-Nots And Their Golden Quest (3/5) {owned}
(1923 - 1927) **Annie Haynes - Inspector Furnival - The Abbey Court Murder (1/3) {Kindle}

(1924 - 1959) Philip MacDonald - Colonel Anthony Gethryn - Persons Unknown (aka "The Maze") (5/24) {academic loan / State Library NSW, held / Kindle / interlibrary loan}
(1924 - 1957) *Freeman Wills Crofts - Inspector French - Inspector French And The Starvel Tragedy (3/30) {academic loan / State Library NSW, Rare Books / Rare Books / Kindle upcoming}
(1924 - 1935) * / ***Francis D. Grierson - Inspector Sims and Professor Wells - The Smiling Death (6/13) {AbeBooks, expensive}
(1924 - 1940) *Lynn Brock - Colonel Gore - The Slip-Carriage Mystery (4/12) {Kindle}
(1924 - 1933) *Herbert Adams - Jimmie Haswell - The Crooked Lip (2/9) {Rare Books}
(1924 - 1944) *A. Fielding - Inspector Pointer - The Charteris Mystery (2/23) {AbeBooks / Rare Books / Kindle, Resurrected Press}
(1924 - 1928) **Ford Madox Ford - Parade's End - No More Parades (2/4) {ebook}

(1925 - 1961) ***John Rhode - Dr Priestley - Death In The Hopfields (25/72) {HathiTrust / State Library NSW, held}
(1925 - 1953) *G. D. H. Cole / M. Cole - Superintendent Wilson - The Murder At Crome House (4/?) {academic loan / State Library NSW, held}
(1925 - 1937) *Hulbert Footner - Madame Storey - Madame Storey (2/10) {mobilereads / Project Gutenberg Canada}
(1925 - 1932) *Earl Derr Biggers - Charlie Chan - The Chinese Parrot (2/6) {feedbooks}
(1925 - 1944) *Agatha Christie - Superintendent Battle - Towards Zero (5/5) {owned}
(1925 - 1934) *Anthony Berkeley - Roger Sheringham - The Second Shot (5/10) {academic loan / Rare Books}
(1925 - 1950) *Anthony Wynne (Robert McNair Wilson) - Dr Eustace Hailey - The Double-Thirteen Mystery (2/27) (aka "The Double Thirteen") {AbeBooks / Rare Books}
(1925 - 1939) *Charles Barry (Charles Bryson) - Inspector Lawrence Gilmartin - The Smaller Penny (1/15) {AbeBooks / Amazon}
(1925 - 1929) **Will Scott - Will Disher - Disher--Detective (aka "The Black Stamp") (1/3) {AbeBooks, expensive}

(1926 - 1968) * / ***Christopher Bush - Ludovic Travers - Murder At Fenwold (3/63) {Rare Books}
(1926 - 1939) *S. S. Van Dine - Philo Vance - The Bishop Murder Case (4/12) {Rare Books}
(1926 - 1952) *J. Jefferson Farjeon - Ben the Tramp - The House Opposite (2/8) {Kindle / State Library NSW, held}
(1926 - ????) *G. D. H. Cole / M. Cole - Everard Blatchington - Burglars In Bucks (aka "The Berkshire Mystery") (2/6) {Fisher Library}
(1926 - 1936) *Margery Lawrence - The Round Table - Nights Of The Round Table (1/2) {Kindle}
(1926 - ????) *Arthur Gask - Gilbert Larose - Cloud, The Smiter (1/27) {University of Adelaide / Project Gutenberg Australia}

(1927 - 1933) *Herman Landon - The Picaroon - The Picaroon Does Justice (2/7) {Book Searchers}
(1927 - 1932) *Anthony Armstrong - Jimmie Rezaire - The Secret Trail (2/5) {Kindle}
(1927 - 1937) *Ronald Knox - Miles Bredon - Footsteps At The Lock (2/5) {State Library NSW, interlibrary loan / Kindle / Project Gutenberg Canada}
(1927 - 1958) *Brian Flynn - Anthony Bathurst - The Murders Near Mapleton (3/54) {HathiTrust}
(1927 - 1947) *J. J. Connington - Sir Clinton Driffield - Tragedy At Ravensthorpe (2/17) {Murder Room ebook / Kindle}
(1927 - 1935) *Anthony Gilbert (Lucy Malleson) - Scott Egerton - Mystery Of The Open Window (4/10) {expensive}
(1927 - 1932) *William Morton (aka William Blair Morton Ferguson) - Daniel "Biff" Corrigan - Masquerade (1/4) {expensive}
(1927- 1929) **George Dilnot - Inspector Strickland - The Crooks' Game (1/2) {AbeBooks / Amazon}

*** Incompletely available series
** Series complete pre-1931
* Present status pre-1931

Edited: Apr 5, 6:18pm Top

Series and sequels, 1928 - 1930:

(1928 - 1961) Patricia Wentworth - Miss Silver - The Chinese Shawl (5/33) {Kindle / Rare Books / interlibrary loan?}
(1928 - 1936) *Gavin Holt - Luther Bastion - The Garden Of Silent Beasts (5/17) {academic loan / State Library NSW, held}
(1928 - ????) Trygve Lund - Weston of the Royal North-West Mounted Police - In The Snow: A Romance Of The Canadian Backwoods (4/?) {AbeBooks}
(1928 - 1936) *Kay Cleaver Strahan - Lynn MacDonald - October House (4/7) {AbeBooks}
(1928 - 1937) *John Alexander Ferguson - Francis McNab - Murder On The Marsh (2/5) {Internet Archive / Rare Books / State Library NSW, held}
(1928 - 1960) *Cecil Freeman Gregg - Inspector Higgins - The Murdered Manservant (aka "The Body In The Safe") (1/35) {rare, expensive}
(1928 - 1959) *John Gordon Brandon - Inspector Patrick Aloysius McCarthy - The Black Joss (2/53) {State Library NSW, held}
(1928 - 1935) *Roland Daniel - Wu Fang / Inspector Saville - Wu Fang (2/6) {expensive}
(1928 - 1946) *Francis Beeding - Alistair Granby - Pretty Sinister (2/18) {academic loan}
(1928 - 1930) **Annie Haynes - Inspector Stoddart - The Man With The Dark Beard (1/4) {Project Gutenberg Australia / Kindle}
(1928 - 1930) **Elsa Barker - Dexter Drake and Paul Howard - The Cobra Candlestick (aka "The Cobra Shaped Candlestick") (1/3) {AbeBooks / Rare Books}
(1928 - ????) Adam Broome - Denzil Grigson - Crowner's Quest (2/?) {AbeBooks / eBay}

(1929 - 1947) Margery Allingham - Albert Campion - Death Of A Ghost (6/35) {interlibrary loan / Kindle}
(1929 - 1984) Gladys Mitchell - Mrs Bradley - The Devil At Saxon Wall (6/67) {interlibrary loan / Kindle}
(1929 - 1937) Patricia Wentworth - Benbow Smith - Walk With Care (3/4) {Kindle}
(1929 - ????) Mignon Eberhart - Nurse Sarah Keate - Murder By An Aristocrat (aka "Murder Of My Patient") (5/8) {Rare Books / Kindle US / academic loan}
(1929 - ????) ***Moray Dalton - Inspector Collier - ???? (3/?) - Death In The Cup {unavailable}, The Wife Of Baal {unavailable}
(1929 - ????) * / ***Charles Reed Jones - Leighton Swift - The King Murder (1/?) {AbeBooks}
(1929 - 1931) Carolyn Wells - Kenneth Carlisle - Sleeping Dogs (1/3) {Amazon / eBay / Rare Books}
(1929 - 1967) *George Goodchild - Inspector McLean - McLean Of Scotland Yard (1/65) {State Library NSW, held}
(1929 - 1979) *Leonard Gribble - Anthony Slade - The Case Of The Marsden Rubies (1/33) {AbeBooks / Rare Books / re-check Kindle}
(1929 - 1932) *E. R. Punshon - Carter and Bell - The Unexpected Legacy (1/5) {expensive, omnibus / Rare Books}
(1929 - 1971) *Ellery Queen - Ellery Queen - The Roman Hat Mystery (1/40) {interlibrary loan}
(1929 - 1966) *Arthur Upfield - Bony - The Sands Of Windee (2/29) {interlibrary loan / Rare Books}
(1929 - 1931) *Ernest Raymond - Once In England - A Family That Was (1/3) {State Library NSW, interlibrary loan}
(1929 - 1937) *Anthony Berkeley - Ambrose Chitterwick - The Piccadilly Murder (2/3) {interlibrary loan}
(1929 - 1940) *Jean Lilly - DA Bruce Perkins - The Seven Sisters (1/3) {AbeBooks / expensive shipping}
(1929 - 1935) *N. A. Temple-Ellis (Nevile Holdaway) - Montrose Arbuthnot - The Inconsistent Villains (1/4) {AbeBooks / expensive shipping}
(1929 - 1943) *Gret Lane - Kate Clare Marsh and Inspector Barrin - The Cancelled Score Mystery (1/9) {Kindle}
(1929 - 1961) *Henry Holt - Inspector Silver - The Mayfair Mystery (aka "The Mayfair Murder") (1/16) {AbeBooks}
(1929 - 1930) *J. J. Connington - Superintendent Ross - The Eye In The Museum (1/2) {Kindle}
(1929 - 1941) *H. Maynard Smith - Inspector Frost - Inspector Frost's Jigsaw (1/7) {AbeBooks, omnibus}
(1929 - ????) *Armstrong Livingston - Jimmy Traynor - The Doublecross (1/?) {AbeBooks}
(1929 - 1932) Clemence Dane and Helen Simpson - Sir John Saumarez - Re-Enter Sir John (3/3) {Fisher Library storage}
(1929 - 1940) *Rufus King - Lieutenant Valcour - Murder By The Clock (1/11) {AbeBooks, omnibus / Kindle}
(1929 - 1933) *Will Levinrew (Will Levine) - Professor Brierly - Murder From The Grave (3/5) {ordered}
(1929 - 1932) *Nancy Barr Mavity - Peter Piper - The Body On The Floor (1/5) {AbeBooks / Rare Books / State Library NSW, held}
(1929 - 1934) *Charles J. Dutton - Professor Harley Manners - Streaked With Crimson (1/6) {AbeBooks / Amazon}
(1929 - 1932) *Thomas Cobb - Inspector Bedison - The Crime Without A Clue (1/4) {Kindle}

(1930 - ????) ***Moray Dalton - Hermann Glide - ???? (3/?) {see above}
(1930 - 1932) Hugh Walpole - The Herries Chronicles - Vanessa (4/4) {Fisher Library storage}
(1930 - 1932) Faith Baldwin - The Girls Of Divine Corners - Myra: A Story Of Divine Corners (4/4) {owned}
(1930 - 1960) ***Miles Burton - Desmond Merrion - The Platinum Cat (17/57) {Rare Books}
(1930 - 1960) ***Miles Burton - Inspector Henry Arnold - The Platinum Cat (18/57) {Rare Books}
(1930 - 1933) ***Roger Scarlett - Inspector Kane - In The First Degree (5/5) {unavailable}
(1930 - 1941) *Harriette Ashbrook - Philip "Spike" Tracy - The Murder Of Sigurd Sharon (3/7) {Rare Books}
(1930 - 1943) Anthony Abbot - Thatcher Colt - About The Murder Of The Night Club Lady (3/8) {AbeBooks / serialised}
(1930 - ????) ***David Sharp - Professor Fielding - I, The Criminal (4/?) {unavailable?}
(1930 - 1950) *H. C. Bailey - Josiah Clunk - Garstons (aka The Garston Murder Case) (1/11) {HathiTrust}
(1930 - 1968) *Francis Van Wyck Mason - Hugh North - The Vesper Service Murders (2/41) {Kindle}
(1930 - 1976) *Agatha Christie - Miss Jane Marple - The Body In The Library (3/12) {owned}
(1930 - ????) *Anne Austin - James "Bonnie" Dundee - Murder Backstairs (2/?) - {Kindle}
(1930 - 1950) *Leslie Ford (as David Frome) - Mr Pinkerton and Inspector Bull - The Hammersmith Murders (1/11) {AbeBooks / Rare Books}
(1930 - 1935) *"Diplomat" (John Franklin Carter) - Dennis Tyler - Murder In The State Department (1/7) {Amazon / Abebooks}
(1930 - 1962) *Helen Reilly - Inspector Christopher McKee - The Diamond Feather (1/31) {Rare Books}
(1930 - 1933) *Mary Plum - John Smith - The Killing Of Judge MacFarlane (1/4) {AbeBooks / Rare Books}
(1930 - 1945) *Hulbert Footner - Amos Lee Mappin - The Mystery Of The Folded Paper (aka The Folded Paper Mystery (1/10) {mobilereads / omnibus}
(1930 - 1940) *E. M. Delafield - The Provincial Lady - The Provincial Lady In Wartime (4/4) {Fisher Library}
(1930 - 1933) *Monte Barrett - Peter Cardigan - The Pelham Murder Case (1/3) {Amazon}
(1930 - 1931) Vernon Loder - Inspector Brews - Death Of An Editor (2/2) {Kindle}

*** Incompletely available series
** Series complete pre-1931
* Present status pre-1931

Edited: Apr 6, 1:47am Top

Series and sequels, 1931 - 1955:

(1931 - 1940) Bruce Graeme - Superintendent Stevens and Pierre Allain - An International Affair (3/8) {AbeBooks}
(1931 - 1951) Phoebe Atwood Taylor - Asey Mayo - The Mystery Of The Cape Cod Players (3/24) {AbeBooks / State Library NSW, held}
(1931 - 1955) Stuart Palmer - Hildegarde Withers - Murder On Wheels (2/18) {Kindle}
(1931 - 1951) Olive Higgins Prouty - The Vale Novels - Now, Voyager (3/5) {interlibrary loan / Kindle}
(1931 - 1933) Sydney Fowler - Inspector Cleveland - Arresting Delia (4/4) {Book Depository / Rare Books / online}
(1931 - 1934) J. H. Wallis - Inspector Wilton Jacks - The Capital City Mystery (2/6) {AbeBooks, expensive}
(1931 - ????) Paul McGuire - Inspector Cummings - Daylight Murder (aka "Murder At High Noon") (3/5) {academic loan / State Library NSW, held}
(1931 - 1937) Carlton Dawe - Leathermouth - The Sign Of The Glove (2/13) {academic loan / State Library NSW, held}
(1931 - 1947) R. L. Goldman - Asaph Clume and Rufus Reed - Murder Without Motive (2/6) {Wildside Press}
(1931 - 1959) E. C. R. Lorac (Edith Caroline Rivett) - Inspector Robert Macdonald - The Murder On The Burrows (1/46) {rare, expensive}
(1931 - ????) Clifton Robbins - Clay Harrison - Death On The Highway (3/5) {owned}
(1931 - 1972) Georges Simenon - Inspector Maigret - Un Crime en Hollande (8/75) {interlibrary loan}
(1931 - 1934) T. S. Stribling - The Vaiden Trilogy - The Store (2/3) {academic loan / State Library, held}
(1931 - 1935) Pearl S. Buck - The House Of Earth - A House Divided (3/3) {Fisher Library storage}
(1931 - 1942) R. A. J. Walling - Garstang - The Stroke Of One (1/3) {Amazon}
(1931 - ????) Francis Bonnamy (Audrey Boyers Walz) - Peter Utley Shane - Death By Appointment (1/8){AbeBooks / Rare Books}
(1931 - 1937) J. S. Fletcher - Ronald Camberwell - Murder In The Squire's Pew (3/11) {Kindle / State Library NSW, held}
(1931 - 1933) Edwin Dial Torgerson - Sergeant Pierre Montigny - The Murderer Returns (1/2) {Rare Books)

(1932 - 1954) Sydney Fowler - Inspector Cambridge and Mr Jellipot - The Bell Street Murders (1/11) {AbeBooks / Rare Books}
(1932 - 1935) Murray Thomas - Inspector Wilkins - Buzzards Pick The Bones (1/3) {AbeBooks, expensive}
(1932 - ????) R. A. J. Walling - Philip Tolefree - Prove It, Mr Tolefree (aka The Tolliver Case) (3/22) {AbeBooks}
(1932 - 1962) T. Arthur Plummer - Detective-Inspector Andrew Frampton - Shadowed By The C. I. D. (1/50) {unavailable?}
(1932 - 1936) John Victor Turner - Amos Petrie - Death Must Have Laughed (1/7) {Rare Books}
(1932 - 1944) Nicholas Brady (John Victor Turner) - Ebenezer Buckle - The House Of Strange Guests (1/4) {Kindle}
(1932 - 1932) Lizette M. Edholm - The Merriweather Girls - The Merriweather Girls At Good Old Rockhill (4/4) {HathiTrust}
(1932 - 1933) Barnaby Ross (aka Ellery Queen) - Drury Lane - Drury Lane's Last Case (4/4) {AbeBooks}
(1932 - 1952) D. E. Stevenson - Mrs Tim - Mrs Tim Flies Home (5/5) {interlibrary loan}
(1932 - ????) Richard Essex (Richard Harry Starr) - Jack Slade - Slade Of The Yard (1/?) {AbeBooks}
(1932 - 1933) Gerard Fairlie - Mr Malcolm - Shot In The Dark (1/3) (State Library NSW, held}
(1932 - 1934) Paul McGuire - Inspector Fillinger - The Tower Mystery (aka Death Tolls The Bell) (1/5) {Rare Books / State Library, held}

(1933 - 1959) John Gordon Brandon - Arthur Stukeley Pennington - West End! (1/?) {AbeBooks / State Library, held}
(1933 - 1940) Lilian Garis - Carol Duncan - The Ghost Of Melody Lane (1/9) {AbeBooks}
(1933 - 1934) Peter Hunt (George Worthing Yates and Charles Hunt Marshall) - Allan Miller - Murders At Scandal House (1/3) {AbeBooks / Amazon}
(1933 - 1968) John Dickson Carr - Gideon Fell - Hag's Nook (1/23) {Better World Books / State Library NSW, interlibrary loan}
(1933 - 1939) Gregory Dean - Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Simon - The Case Of Marie Corwin (1/3) {AbeBooks / Amazon}
(1933 - 1956) E. R. Punshon - Detective-Sergeant Bobby Owen - Information Received (1/35) {academic loan / State Library NSW, held / Rare Books}
(1933 - 1970) Dennis Wheatley - Duke de Richlieu - The Forbidden Territory (1/11) {Fisher Library}
(1933 - 1934) Jackson Gregory - Paul Savoy - A Case For Mr Paul Savoy (1/3) {AbeBooks / Rare Books}
(1933 - 1957) John Creasey - Department Z - The Death Miser (1/28) {State Library NSW, held}
(1933 - 1940) Bruce Graeme - Superintendent Stevens - Body Unknown (2/2) {expensive}
(1934 - 1936) Storm Jameson - The Mirror In Darkness - Company Parade (1/3) {Fisher Library}
(1934 - 1949) Richard Goyne - Paul Templeton - Strange Motives (1/13) {unavailable?}
(1934 - 1941) N. A. Temple-Ellis (Nevile Holdaway) - Inspector Wren - Three Went In (1/3) {unavailable?}
(1934 - 1953) Carter Dickson (John Dickson Carr) - Sir Henry Merivale - The Plague Court Murders (1/22) {Fisher Library}
(1934 - 1968) Dennis Wheatley - Gregory Sallust - Black August (1/11) {interlibrary loan / omnibus}
(1935 - 1939) Francis Beeding - Inspector George Martin - The Norwich Victims (1/3) {AbeBooks / Book Depository / State Library NSW, held}
(1935 - 1976) Nigel Morland - Palmyra Pym - The Moon Murders (1/28) {State Library NSW, held}
(1935 - 1941) Clyde Clason - Professor Theocritus Lucius Westborough - The Fifth Tumbler (1/10) {unavailable?}
(1935 - ????) G. D. H. Cole / M. Cole - Dr Tancred - Dr Tancred Begins (1/?) (AbeBooks, expensive / State Library NSW, held / Rare Books}
(1935 - ????) George Harmon Coxe - Kent Murdock - Murder With Pictures (1/22) {AbeBooks}
(1935 - 1959) Kathleen Moore Knight - Elisha Macomber - Death Blew Out The Match (1/16) {AbeBooks / Amazon}
(1935 - 1953) Leslie Ford (Zenith Jones Brown) - Colonel John Primrose and Grace Latham - The Clock Strikes Twelve (aka "The Supreme Court Murder") (NB: novella) {owned}
(1936 - 1974) Anthony Gilbert (Lucy Malleson) - Arthur Crook - Murder By Experts (1/51) {interlibrary loan}
(1936 - 1952) Helen Dore Boylston - Sue Barton - Sue Barton, Student Nurse (1/7) {interlibrary loan}
(1939 - 1942) Patricia Wentworth - Inspector Lamb - Who Pays The Piper? (aka "Account Rendered") (2/3) {State Library NSW, interlibrary loan}
(1940 - 1943) Bruce Graeme - Pierre Allain - The Corporal Died In Bed (1/3) {unavailable?}
(1941 - 1951) Bruce Graeme - Theodore I. Terhune - Seven Clues In Search Of A Crime (1/7) {unavailable?}
(1947 - 1974) Dennis Wheatley - Roger Brook - The Launching Of Roger Brook (1/12) {Fisher Library storage}
(1948 - 1971) E. V. Timms - The Gubbys - Forever To Remain (1/12) {Fisher Library / interlibrary loan}
(1953 - 1960) Dennis Wheatley - Molly Fountain and Colonel Verney - To The Devil A Daughter (1/2) {Fisher Library storage}
(1955 - 1956) D. E. Stevenson - The Ayrton Family - Summerhills (2/2) {interlibrary loan}

*** Incompletely available series
** Series complete pre-1931
* Present status pre-1931

Edited: Apr 7, 7:08pm Top

Unavailable series works:

John Rhode - Dr Priestley
The Paddington Mystery (#1)
Tragedy At The Unicorn (#5)
The Hanging Woman (#11)
The Corpse In The Car (#20) {expensive}

Christopher Bush - Ludovic Travers
The Plumley Inheritance (#1)

Moray Dalton - Inspector Collier
>#3 onwards (to end of series)

Moray Dalton - Hermann Glide
>#3 onwards (to end of series)

Miles Burton - Desmond Merrion / Inspector Arnold
>everything from #2 - #11 inclusive

David Sharp - Professor Fielding
When No Man Pursueth (#1)

Francis D. Grierson - Inspector Sims and Professor Wells
The Double Thumb (#3) {expensive}

Roger Scarlett - Inspector Kane
>#4 onwards (to end of series)

Tom Strong - Alfred Bishop Mason
Tom Strong, Boy-Captain (#2)
Tom Strong, Junior (#3)
Tom Strong, Third (#4)

Wu Fang - Roland Daniel
The Society Of The Spiders (#1)

Edited: Mar 13, 6:43pm Top

Timeline of detective fiction:

Things As They Are; or, The Adventures Of Caleb Williams by William Godwin (1794)
Mademoiselle de Scudéri by E.T.A. Hoffmann (1819)
Richmond: Scenes In The Life Of A Bow Street Officer by Anonymous (1827)
Memoirs Of Vidocq by Eugene Francois Vidocq (1828)
Le Pere Goriot by Honore de Balzac (1835)
Passages In The Secret History Of An Irish Countess by J. Sheridan Le Fanu (1838); The Purcell Papers (1880)
The Murders In The Rue Morgue: The Dupin Tales by Edgar Allan Poe (1841, 1842, 1845)

The Mysteries Of Paris by Eugene Sue (1842 - 1843)
The Mysteries Of London - Paul Feval (1844) (Internet Archive, R. Stephenson)
The Mysteries Of London - George Reynolds (1844 - 1848)
The Mysteries Of The Court Of London - George Reynolds (1848 - 1856)
John Devil by Paul Feval (1861)

Early detective novels:
Recollections Of A Detective Police-Officer by "Waters" (William Russell) (1856)
The Widow Lerouge by Emile Gaboriau (1866)
Under Lock And Key by T. W. Speight (1869)
Checkmate by J. Sheridan LeFanu (1871)
Is He The Man? by William Clark Russell (1876)
Devlin The Barber by B. J. Farjeon (1888)
Mr Meeson's Will by H. Rider Haggard (1888)
The Mystery Of A Hansom Cab by Fergus Hume (1889)
The Queen Anne's Gate Mystery by Richard Arkwright (1889)
The Ivory Queen by Norman Hurst (1889) (Check Julius H. Hurst 1899)
The Big Bow Mystery by Israel Zangwill (1892)

Female detectives:
The Diary Of Anne Rodway by Wilkie Collins (1856)
The Female Detective by Andrew Forrester (1864)
Revelations Of A Lady Detective by William Stephens Hayward (1864)
The Law And The Lady by Wilkie Collins (1875)
Madeline Payne; or, The Detective's Daughter by Lawrence L. Lynch (Emma Murdoch Van Deventer) (1884)
Mr Bazalgette's Agent by Leonard Merrick (1888)
Moina; or, Against The Mighty by Lawrence L. Lynch (Emma Murdoch Van Deventer) (sequel to Madeline Payne?) (1891)
The Experiences Of Loveday Brooke, Lady Detective by Catherine Louisa Pirkis (1893)
Dorcas Dene, Detective by George Sims (1897)
- Amelia Butterworth series by Anna Katharine Grant (1897 - 1900)
Miss Cayley's Adventures by Grant Allan (1899)
Hilda Wade by Grant Allan (1900)
Dora Myrl, The Lady Detective by M. McDonnel Bodkin (1900)
The Investigators by J. S. Fletcher (1902)
Lady Molly Of Scotland Yard by Baroness Orczy (1910)
Constance Dunlap, Woman Detective by Arthur B. Reeve (1913)

Related mainstream works:
Adventures Of Susan Hopley by Catherine Crowe (1841)
Men And Women; or, Manorial Rights by Catherine Crowe (1843)
Hargrave by Frances Trollope (1843)
Clement Lorimer by Angus Reach (1849)

True crime:
Clues: or, Leaves from a Chief Constable's Note Book by Sir William Henderson (1889)
Dreadful Deeds And Awful Murders by Joan Lock

Edited: Mar 31, 3:49am Top

Books currently on loan:




Edited: Mar 30, 5:32pm Top

Reading projects:



Other projects:



Edited: Apr 3, 6:56pm Top

Short-list TBR:



Edited: Mar 13, 6:49pm Top

...and I think that's all.

I'll just add a reminder that there is currently a group read of Anthony Trollope's The Duke's Children - here - and that in May, there will be a group read of Geraldine Jewsbury's Zoe: The History Of Two Lives through the Virago group.

Mar 13, 6:05pm Top


Mar 13, 6:49pm Top

Boom-tish! :)

Mar 13, 7:00pm Top

I am so sad that this is the final Georgette Heyer book.

Mar 13, 7:12pm Top

Happy new thread, Liz.

>1 lyzard: Tasmania looks more than a little worth a visit. One of my partners in the construction company studied law there and does a good enough job himself of selling the place.

Edited: Mar 13, 7:22pm Top

>20 ronincats:

Oh, I know! Though the sadness of that is somewhat balanced by the thought that I am actually completing a challenge!

I do intend to go on to the straight historical fiction, but I'll understand if others choose to pass. :)

>21 PaulCranswick:

Thanks, Paul! Yes, it's spectacular, and small enough that you can see pretty much everything within a conventional holiday period, so that's another attraction.

Mar 13, 7:42pm Top

Re: your topper. We have a study abroad program at the University of Tasmania in Sandy Bay (I think it's a suburb of Hobart?), and the students come back raving about how wonderful it is there. Those pictures offer a good clue as to why!

Mar 13, 9:16pm Top

Yes, Sandy Bay is a waterside suburb to the south of Hobart. (It's also where the Wrest Point Casino is located: I hope *that's* not what your students were interested in!)

Mar 14, 3:21am Top

Happy new thread, Liz!

Mar 14, 6:14am Top

>24 lyzard: I'd be shocked if they didn't wander in to the casino at least once, but since we have those here, too, it shouldn't be a huge draw. *fingers crossed*

Mar 14, 6:38am Top

Happy new thread, Liz!

Mar 14, 10:53am Top

Happy New Thread, Liz!

>18 alcottacre: from Stasia ("18") made more sense when you just had numbers in your initial posts. :-)

Beautiful photos up top - I'm particularly taken by the waterfall one. What a lovely part of the world.

Mar 14, 11:58am Top

Happy new thread!

Mar 14, 2:10pm Top

Love your thread toppers, beautiful images.
Happy new thread. >:-)

Mar 14, 2:55pm Top

>1 lyzard: Beautiful! Happy new thread!

To celebrate here are some baby sloths talking (scroll down for video):


Mar 14, 3:15pm Top

>31 souloftherose: Squeaky sloths! Just adorable.

Mar 14, 6:04pm Top

Hi, Harry, Amber, Joe, Jim, Helen, Heather - thank you all fpr dropping in!

Welcome back, Julia!

>26 rosalita:

It was the first one on the country so there was always an extra aspect of looking at it askance here. :)

>28 jnwelch:

Yes, it was hard to choose just two images.

>30 Helenliz:

Glad you like them, Helen!

>31 souloftherose:

Awwww, thank you!

Mar 15, 12:40am Top

Finished Lost Man's Lane for TIOLI #5.

Now reading The Linger-Nots And The Valley Feud by Agnes Miller.

Mar 15, 10:15pm Top

I have finally written a blog post about James Summerfield Slaughter's Madeline; or, Love Treachery And Revenge: a work that goes out of its way to prove that an American could write a sentimental novel just as hilariously terrible as any Englishman!


Mar 15, 10:16pm Top

...and I'm so relieved to have that off my back that I feel like celebrating---with a sifaka!

Mar 15, 10:44pm Top

Slo— wait a minute, that's not a sloth! It's a cute fella, if somewhat startled-looking.

Edited: Mar 15, 10:46pm Top

That's its non-startled expression; if you're lucky, I'll celebrate the next blog-post with some sifaka face-pulling. :)

Mar 15, 10:54pm Top

Oh boy! Start writing, Liz!


Mar 16, 12:35am Top

I've got to start reading first: I'm all caught up! :)

Mar 16, 2:09am Top

Finished The Linger-Nots And The Valley Feud for TIOLI #14.

Now reading Ruth Fielding Down In Dixie by Alice B. Emerson.

Edited: Mar 16, 7:05pm Top

I hate it when the touchstones aren't working...

(Though I gather this time it's related to a search issue?)

ETA: Yay, they're back!

Edited: Mar 16, 7:05pm Top

Finished Ruth Fielding Down In Dixie for TIOLI #8.

Now reading Main Street by Sinclair Lewis.

Mar 16, 6:47pm Top

Happy new thread, Liz, Tasmania looks beautiful & >36 lyzard: is cute :-)

Mar 16, 7:04pm Top

Thanks, Anita! :)

Mar 17, 7:24am Top

>43 lyzard: I'll be interested to see what you make of Main Street, Liz. I struggled my way through it a number of years ago and was non-plussed as to how it managed to get a Pulitzer Prize.

Have a great weekend.

Edited: Mar 17, 7:50am Top

>46 PaulCranswick:

I've read it before; I found its attitude to Carol profoundly disheartening. We'll see how I feel this time.

(Lewis didn't win for Main Street, although the fact that he was considered for the prize but ultimately eliminated from the running because the novel wasn't considered "wholesome" enough might account for your reaction! He did win for Arrowsmith but refused the award because of the earlier slight. Ironic that the book that did win for 1920 was a devastating takedown of social and sexual hypocrisy...)

Mar 17, 7:45am Top

Apropos, this is an excerpt from Sinclair's Lewis's letter to the Pulitzer committee explaining his rejection; the requirement for a book to be "wholesome" later faded away (obviously!):

Those terms are that the prize shall be given “for the American novel published during the year which shall best present the wholesome atmosphere of American life, and the highest standard of American manners and manhood.” This phrase, if it means anything whatever, would appear to mean that the appraisal of the novels shall be made not according to their actual literary merit but in obedience to whatever code of Good Form may chance to be popular at the moment.

That there is such a limitation of the award is little understood. Because of the condensed manner in which the announcement is usually reported, and because certain publishers have trumpeted that any novel which has received the Pulitzer Prize has thus been established without qualification as the best novel, the public has come to believe that the prize is the highest honor which an American novelist can receive...

Mar 17, 8:03am Top

>47 lyzard: Yep, of course it was a huge controversy. I should have said recommended rather than get although wikipedia does state slightly erroneously that it was awarded to him and then rejected. The split jury recommended it to the Trustees and they rejected it in favour of Wharton's book (the right decision IMO) also by a split decision.

When the decisions were made public, Wharton was also very vocal in her criticism of the process of what is in any event a subjective decision. Lewis and Wharton were united in their experiences to such a degree that his next book Babbitt was actually dedicated to her.

Mar 17, 5:45pm Top

Yes, that's right; even more complicated than I remembered.

I certainly have no issue with The Age Of Innocence winning on merit, but I'm at a loss trying to work out how anyone could describe it as a depiction of a society with a "wholesome atmosphere"! :)

I would think that any serious writer would reject the Pulitzer parameters as then stated, though as always it tends to be more risky for a woman to say so, given the implications. It's interesting that Lewis and Wharton came together over this.

Mar 17, 6:40pm Top

Copying analysis from my thread:

Charity Girl by Georgette Heyer (249 pp.)

One of her last books, this one never has the sparkle for me of some of the others. I think a large part of this is that Desford is on the move so much that there is relatively little interaction between him and Hetta. His relations with his father, mother, and brother, however, are topnotch, as are the characterizations of the miserly Lord N and the cardsharp son. The end moves quickly and wraps up in quite satisfactory fashion.

Mar 17, 6:45pm Top


What occurred to me after the event is that this is the rare novel involving someone *not* prepared to "consider the world well lost for love", as they say. Not that the situation arises but it's clear that Desford wouldn't have married Cherry even if he wanted to, because of his feeling of obligation to his family (even as that family is trying to swallow the idea of him doing just that). Charity Girl is probably closer to reality in that respect than most of the other novels.

Mar 17, 10:07pm Top

(hanging head in shame) I have never read Main Street. I really need to get that one read.

Happy weekend, Liz :)

Edited: Mar 20, 2:36am Top

Belated 'thank you', Stasia! :)

I don't know that head-hanging is in order: I understand why Main Street was such a success, but I must confess I find it something of a slog. (I also suspect I'm a bit too much like the protagonist for comfort...)

Mar 20, 2:36am Top

Finished Main Street for TIOLI #7.

Now reading The Hermit In Van Diemen's Land by Henry Savery.

Edited: Mar 20, 7:38pm Top

Feathers Left Around - To amuse his guests - his fiancée, Pauline Fuller; flirtatious Anna Knox and her writer-husband, Ned; book-dealer Bob "Angel" Baldwin; aspiring psychic Stella Lawrence; Mr and Mrs Meredith; Roly Mears; and the Countess Galaski - Valentine loft invites to his country house Hugh Curran, an author of best-selling mysteries; although due to his own prejudice on the subject, Loft is sorry to have done so when he learns that Curran is divorced. Dinner is a strained affair, with Curran speaking oddly on several occasions---at people, rather than to them, some of the guests feel---so that there is a sense of relief when he retires for the night. The next morning Curran is found dead in his room, in an armchair and still dressed in his evening clothes. The others assume he has suffered a stroke or similar attack, but the summoned doctor immediately suspects poison. The locked room suggests suicide, but the absence of any container or wrapper at the scene indicates murder... This fourteenth book in Carolyn Wells' series featuring private investigator, Fleming Stone, and his teenaged assistant, Terence 'Fibsy' McGuire, is a very mixed work. This is quite a long book for this genre, and more than half of it is given over to the tedious efforts of the house-guests - male only, of course - to play amateur detective; while the police officer who supposedly has charge of the case is, even by the standards of American mysteries of the period, astonishingly stupid and incompetent, trailing after the people who should be his suspects like a lost puppy and not "daring" to cross Valentine Loft. (Although items were taken from the dead man's body, it's a week before Detective Kinney thinks to search for them, and then it's at someone else's prompting.) The amateurs' efforts do meet with some success, but to Loft's horror the emerging evidence all seems to point to Pauline. When she flees the house and disappears, Loft takes stock of his feelings---and calls in Fleming Stone: firstly to find Pauline; secondly, to find some evidence that will exculpate her, whether she be guilty or innocent of murder... Feathers Left Around lifts markedly once Stone and Fibsy arrive belatedly upon he scene. The two divide the case between them (instead of Fibsy doing all the work and Stone getting all the credit, as happens in a few too many of these books), with Fibsy hunting down the elusive Pauline and Stone focused upon the murder---with the solution to the latter involving both an unusual murder method, and an amusingly prosaic explanation of the "locked room" aspect of the case. An examination of Hugh Curran's body indicates to Stone how the murder was committed; while he finds the necessary proof of his theory amongst the commonplace and overlooked objects in the dead man's room: a scenario which circles back to the discussion of mysteries and murder methods with which Feathers Left Around opens, and to the explanation of the book's title (one unfortunately presented as a 'negro story'). How do you solve a case of stolen chickens once the birds have been eaten? From the feathers left around...

    "As I see it, whoever killed Mr Curran did so in a most clever and ingenious way. To administer prussic acid, and leave no trace of the method or manner of its administering, is to my mind the work of a diabolically clever brain."
    "Yes, I agree to that," said Angel, thoughtfully.
    "But," Stone went on, "I have a belief that the smarter the criminal, the easier he is to catch... Your stupid dolt, who kills on an impulse, is often harder to apprehend than the smart Aleck, who takes pains to hide his clues."
    "And leave no feathers around," put in Loft.
    And as Stone looked inquiringly, he related the story of the negro and the stolen chickens.
    Fibsy laughed outright. "That's a good one," he said. "Feathers left around! And F. Stone can take those feathers and construct a whole bird,---just like the Natural History guys do."

Mar 20, 6:40pm Top

>56 lyzard: I love those old mysteries, so I need to get around to Carolyn Wells one of these days.

Edited: Mar 20, 7:27pm Top

Flying Clues - Recuperating after an illness, Pelt accepts an invitation to join George Carter at his rented seaside house in the resort town of Westford. Although Carter poses as a idle young man-about-town, in reality he is a Secret Service man; and Pelt is not surprised to learn that he is on a case---one of drug smuggling, which cost the life of Carter's predecessor. While walking through a dense fog fog to a bachelor dinner which he agrees to attend in Carter's place, Pelt encounters a nervous woman searching for Carter's house, and points her in the right direction. The dinner held by Dr Jackson is an excuse to propose to the town's prominent men the building of a proper cottage hospital---and to ask for money. The doctor's pitch is interrupted by a shocking announcement from his frightened butler---who has found a murdered woman in Jackson's examination room. To Pelt's astonishment, he recognises the woman from the fog... Charles J. Dutton's seventh work about private investigator John Bartley is a reasonably engaging work, at least by the standards of this generally lethargic series; although it cannot be said that the mixing of disparate elements makes a lot of sense. Case in point: if you were up to your eyeballs in drug-smuggling, and you or one of your collaborators had murdered a Secret Service operative, would you really draw attention to yourself by posing as a "Hindu" cult leader and holding fake seances? The latter provides the cover image for Flying Clues, but is only a diversion in a thriller devoted chiefly to discovering how cocaine is being brought into Westford, and to the dangerous situation of George Carter after his cover is blown. This book is ultimately less interesting for its central mystery than for the social portrait it provides, at a time when drugs were only just beginning to be taken seriously by law enforcement agencies already stretched to breaking-point by the demands of Prohibition. (Bartley and Carter are assisted by the Westford police chief, who admits frankly that he and his men rarely interfere with the local booze-runners, unless it's forced upon them: they don't have the resources.) Bartley's investigation uncovers an amusingly original method of drug-smuggling, and also identifies the murdered woman---although how she came to be at Dr Jackson's house remains a puzzle. Tracking the woman to an isolated roadhouse, where she worked as a dancer, the investigators learn enough to suspect that she was attempting to blackmail the leader of the drug-smugglers. Since "Savitr the Hindu" is well-known to the authorities, Bartley argues that even if he is involved with the smuggling, he is an unlikely target for blackmail. Rather, the murderer is one of the prominent townspeople present at the doctor's dinner...

    It was about five feet in height, standing upon a square gilt platform---the typical Buddha with the calm, majestic face breathing out an air of kindness and peace. As we gazed at it, Bartley laughed. "That is the best evidence you need as to Savitr being a fake. I told you that the name he used is that of one of the Brahman gods. No Brahman would have anything to do with Buddha for he led a reform movement against the older faith..."
    The chief murmured some retort as Bartley moved closer to the gilt figure and bent to examine it. I saw his face light up. He reached out and grasped the side of the statue. With a little shove he applied his strength, and the figure moved upon its pedestal. As it moved we saw an opening in the base below---an opening which was filled with small vials whose white contents seemed to glimmer a little in the strong lights...

Mar 20, 7:30pm Top

>57 alcottacre:

Wells is rather an acquired taste; I've acquired it, but I don't excuse it. :)

Her mysteries are extremely variable, many of them weak to poor, but with a few gems standing out.

Mar 20, 7:53pm Top

>58 lyzard: Is that (gasp) a scantily clad redhead on the cover?

Edited: Mar 20, 8:53pm Top

Murder On The Palisades (reissue title: The Wheelchair Corpse) - Three weeks after "Iron Man" Hite, editor of the Herald, receives an anonymous letter announcing that Conrad Manx Jr, son of a prominent New Jersey doctor, will soon die of meningitis---the young man does. Reporter Jimmy Hale talks to a language professor at Columbia about the letter's use of the Hebrew 'alef' in place of a '1' or 'A', and naturally carries his questions about meningitis to Professor Herman Brierly. Upon learning that the dead man was missing a piece of his skull due to a war injury, Brierly concedes that it is theoretically possible that bacteria could have been introduced into his cerebrospinal fluid, and that his death could indeed have been murder. When a second letter is received, predicting the death of another Manx, Jimmy calls upon County Prosecutor Harmon of New Jersey; he, Chief of Detectives Connors and Jimmy visit the isolated Manx house, which sits high upon the Palisades, and shelters a large, blended family. The grieving Dr Manx gives them short shrift, however, and orders them out of his home. The three men have barely closed the study door behind themselves when there is the sound of shattering glass. They rush back into the room, finding Dr Manx dead at his desk with his skull crushed, and a window broken---but there is no sign of a weapon... As was the case with the first book in the Professor Brierly series, The Poison Plague, it is the sheer grotesquery of the plot which provides the entertainment in Will Levinrew's Murder On The Palisades. The central trio of Brierly, his assistant / adopted son, John Matthews and Jimmy Hale aside, Levinrew hardly bothers to develop his characters at all, so there is little emotional resonance in his story: as one Manx after another is struck down in some bizarre way, it is hard to react with anything other than a shrugging, "Well, there goes another one!" (Although if you're anything like me, you might start giggling...) But given that meningitis and impossible-crime skull-crushing are soon joined by murder by gangrene, attempted murder by diabetes and pernicious anaemia, and - in the case of the second Mrs Manx, who is wheelchair-bound - a crude but effective shove off the roof, it cannot be said that Murder On The Palisades fails to hold the interest. In fact, the only thing more utterly outrageous than the mystery itself is the solution to it eventually provided by Professor Brierly. Better give your powers of suspension of disbelief a good workout before attempting this one...

    When they reached the doctor's study, Connors said, "Don't seem to get us anywhere, does it?"
    He looked at the other men with an air of indecision that was very unlike his cocksure self. In his bewilderment, he was driven to vent his sarcasm on the old man.
    "Don't seem to be much good being a scientific detective in this case, does it?"
    "I'm not a detective, sir," retorted the old man coldly. "i am a scientist. I do not form snap judgements nor jump to conclusions. Nor do I make guesses. I must prove whatever conclusions I come to, step by step, in the only way that is worth considering---the scientific way. When I have examined all the available data, I shall know the answer, not sooner."

Edited: Mar 21, 11:21pm Top

Hello, America!---

From Murder On The Palisades:

"Say, you gimme authority and I'll make someone talk. Be-e-lie-ieve me, I'll make 'em talk."

"If I had my way, I'd have the whole bunch down to the county courthouse and I'd sweat the inside of this out of somebody. But you can't do that now. the minute we put someone in the sweat-box and give him the works, some ladida is sure to make a holler about 'rights'... There is so many leagues and soceties about rights and liberties and such that you can't ask a yegg or a stick-up man a simple question without the lawyers of them societies bein' on your neck, and the judges falls for them too. Aw!"

"Smart, ain't ya, huh? Gonna talk about your rights and warrants and the constitution, huh? Well, lissen, feller, in a case like this, in a murder case, I got the constitution right here." He whipped out a pair of handcuffs and an automatic...

Chief of Detectives Connors is one of the good guys, by the way...

Edited: Mar 20, 8:42pm Top

>60 ronincats:

I know! How unprecedented!! :D

(She's not a redhead in the book, of course...)

Edited: Mar 21, 6:37pm Top

The Greene Murder Case - Chester Greene, a club acquaintance of District Attorney John Markham, demands that the official's personal attention be given to the case which has afflicted his family, with one of his sisters shot dead and another wounded in what the police believe to be a burglary gone wrong. Philo Vance, present when Chester is telling his story, accompanies Markham to the Greene house, where the circumstances of the crime cause him immediately to dismiss the theory of an outside job, despite the footsteps in the snow found leading to and from the front door. He cannot get anyone to listen to him, however; not until Chester, too, is shot dead... This third book in the series by "S. S. Van Dine" (Willard Huntington Wright) features both the strengths and the weaknesses of the Philo Vance mysteries; and while The Greene Murder Case is often found upon "best of" lists, I have to say that the longer it went on - and this is quite a lengthy book - the more impatient and frustrated with it I became. We're all supposed to be swept away by Vance's brilliance, but it's hard to be impressed when that "brilliance" relies (as so often in American mysteries) upon the the police being almost moronic, and when his identification of a killer requires nearly everyone else to be eliminated as a suspect by being murdered themselves! I thought it was fairly obvious who the murderer was about halfway through - particularly now that I'm awake to Van Dine's tactic of including a crime that one person "couldn't possibly have committed" - but the story went on and on for so long after that, I began to think I must be mistaken. (I wasn't.) However, despite these exasperations, the sheer ghoulishness of The Greene Murder Case makes for a gripping narrative. As a condition of the bequeathing of his fortune, Tobias Greene made it a condition that his Family's New York house must not only remain untouched for twenty-five years, but that the entire family must occupy it for that period of time---under penalty of losing a share of his fortune should anyone leave. During her lifetime, the family money is in the control of Mrs Greene, who suffers a form of paralysis, and who passes her time enjoying her own martyrdom and making her children miserable. Thrown together inescapably, and living in an atmosphere of mutual mistrust and dislike, are Julia, Chester, Sibella, Rex, and Ada---the latter of whom is adopted, much to the resentment of her siblings. The family's only regular visitor is young Dr Von Dorn, their medical attendant; the only servants, apart from a skittish maid who departs at the first opportunity, are the maid, Hemming, a religious fanatic; the unnaturally calm butler, Sproot; and the stubbornly silent cook, Mrs Mannheim. One of these people, it seems, has decided that they want a much larger share of Tobias Greene's estate---but which?

    "You give me some facts that've got some sense to 'em," challenged Heath, "and I'll put 'em together soon enough."
    "The Sergeant's right," was Markham's comment. "You'll admit that as yet we haven't had any significant facts to work with."
    "Oh, there'll be more."
    Inspector Moran sat up, and his eyes narrowed. "What do you mean by that, Mr Vance? It was obvious that the remark had struck some chord of agreement in him.
    "The thing isn't over yet." Vance spoke with unwonted sombreness. "The picture's unfinished. There's more tragedy to come before the monstrous canvas is rounded out. And the hideous thing about it is that there's no way of stopping it. Nothing now can halt the horror that's at work. It's got to go on."

Mar 21, 6:36pm Top

So was family slaughter a "thing" in late 20s America, or just something people fantasised about a lot??

It was weird reading this and Murder On The Palisades back-to-back, I can tell you...

Mar 21, 7:06pm Top

>64 lyzard: I wasn't alive in the 1920s, and none of my family has ever had enough money to be worth killing, but it certainly seems there are an awful lot of books from that era that casually paint rich Americans as greedy, bloodthirsty bastards, doesn't it?

Mar 21, 7:09pm Top

>64 lyzard: Philo Vance! Now that brings back memories!

Edited: Mar 21, 7:36pm Top

One Wonderful Night: A Romance Of New York - Thread-visitors may recall that last year I got myself into a tizzy over a book - books - titled "No Other Way": author Louis Tracy, writing under his pseudonym 'Gordon Holmes', published an American-set mystery / thriller featuring New York Detectives, Steingall and Clancy---and then rewrote it and published it again as a British-set mystery / thriller featuring Scotland Yard detectives, Winter and Furneaux. Each of these books became the first in a mystery series which subsequently had nothing to do the other. Published in 1912, One Wonderful Night is the second work in the series featuring Steingall and Clancy - the former large, intimidating and bulldog-like, the latter small, emotional and insightful - but the detectives occupy second place in what is a romantic thriller rather than a mystery, one which moves from improbable adventure to improbable adventure at such a breakneck pace, the reader barely has a chance to catch their breath, let alone worry about the myriad absurdities of the plot. The result is a hugely enjoyable bit of nonsense. The focus of One Wonderful Night is John Delancy Curtis, an American-born engineer who has spent the majority of his life in China, and who returns to the place of his birth for a rare holiday---and is immediately plunged into a strange and dangerous series of events, witnessing a murder, dabbling in international espionage, getting married and falling in love - in that order - all in the course of a single night. When an accident gives Curtis the overcoat of the murdered man, he finds in one pocket a marriage license---and decides impulsively that he will break the dreadful news to the man's fiancée, rather than waiting until the police identify him. To his astonishment, the Lady Hermione Grandison is more dismayed by the delay of her wedding than upset by the murder; he learns that she had organised a marriage of convenience to a French music-master, Jean de Courtois, in order to avoid being forced into marriage with a dissolute Hungarian, Count Vassilan, by her father, the Earl of Valletort, who wants the match for financial and political reasons. Smitten by the lovely Hermione, Curtis offers himself as a substitute groom...

    "Then you're married for keeps," Clancy announced, with the grin of a man who has solved a humorous riddle. "By refusing to thwart the lady you throw away your last slender chance of freedom, and you will find her waiting at the gate of the State Penitentiary when you come out. By Jove, you've been pretty rapid, though. No wonder people say the East is waking up. Are there many more like you in China?"
    Curtis was not altogether pleased by this banter, nor did he trouble to conceal his opinion that the New York Detective Bureau was treating a grave crime with scandalous levity.
    "Whether Lady Hermione married me or Jean de Courtois is a rather immaterial side issue," he said, somewhat emphatically. "From what little I can grasp of a curiously involved affair, it seems to me that there are weightier interests than ours at stake. And, if I may venture to differ from you, a lot of things may happen before I see the inside of a prison."
    "After your meteoric career during the past few hours I am inclined to agree with that last remark."

Edited: Mar 21, 7:46pm Top

>66 rosalita:

none of my family has ever had enough money to be worth killing

Mine neither. Sucks, doesn't it??

I guess with the Depression on the horizon you can understand why you'd get portraits of the rich like this, but interestingly it's not just about the money: the recurrent theme is psychosis. We get a lot of what I'm inclined to call 'dime-store psychiatry' in these books, which tend to be rather uncomfortably shot through with contemporary ideas about eugenics and breeding, explaining why the rich are all as mad as hatters. The money is generally secondary.

>67 alcottacre:

Hi, Stasia! I understand why the Vance books are important but I must confess I find them a bit of a struggle---as I do most of the post-Peter-Wimsey, bundle-of-affectation detective stories.

Mar 21, 7:52pm Top

>67 alcottacre: I can understand why. Dorothy Sayers is hard to live up to.

Mar 21, 8:30pm Top

Peter has depth under his affectations; the others only have the affectations. It's a pretty significant difference! :)

Mar 22, 2:01pm Top

>71 lyzard: Peter is perfect and my first literary crush. *swoon*

What ever you do, do not, DO NOT, read the stories by Jill Paton Walsh. The last one The Attenbury Emeralds is set post war and is just as wrong as a very very wrong thing. Peter looks like an out of touch anachronism and it felt like an awfully cruel thing to do.

Mar 22, 4:56pm Top


I wasn't planning to: as a rule I don't read any continuations, the exception being the Hanshews' 'Cleek' series, because Mary and Hazel were involved with the original stories anyway. I appreciate your objection as having read one, but basically my response is a feeling that these people are leeching off someone else's work and ideas.

Mar 22, 5:27pm Top

Finished The Hermit In Van Diemen's Land for TIOLI #2.

Now reading This House Of Grief by Helen Garner.

Edited: Mar 22, 7:16pm Top

Lost Man's Lane - When Ebenezer Gryce of the New York Police Department intimates to Miss Amelia Butterworth that her detective skills might be of assistance to him in a strange new case, she is determined to resist his lures---until she learns not only that the case is unfolding in the isolated village where her recently deceased schoolfriend, Althea Knollys, lived, but that Althea's children are directly concerned in the mystery. Having intended anyway to pay a visit of condolence at some point, Miss Butterworth yields to temptation, sending a telegram ahead of herself and immediately setting out for the Knollys house: one of only three on the lonely country road from which, over the preceding two years, four men have disappeared without trace---and which has acquired the local name of Lost Man's Lane... Like many American mysteries of this period, this 1898 publication by Anna Katharine Green is as much a sensation novel as a conventional whodunnit, with the narrative containing hints of madness as well as murder, and Miss Butterworth's investigation involving her in eerie midnight adventures and many disturbing discoveries. Though secretly Miss Butterworth revels in this second opportunity to exercise her detective skills, she is even more motivated by her concern for her old friend's children, whose circumstances make them unavoidably suspect in the case of the vanishing men. But while perforce they take her in, it is evident that the Knollyses - glowering, bad-tempered William; cool, reserved Loreen; and fragile, emotional Lucetta - do not want her there; and Miss Butterworth has not been long within the walls of their crumbling mansion before its poisonous atmosphere and the strange behaviour of the Knollyses themselves convince her that there is indeed a dangerous secret within its walls---but is it the great secret she has come to investigate? While the main narrative of Lost Man's Lane is gripping on its own, it is very much bolstered by its parallel focus on the evolving relationship between Miss Butterworth and Ebenezer Gryce which, after being thoroughly adversarial during the events of That Affair Next Door - patronising on his part and angrily defiant on hers - has resolved itself into mutual respect and reliance---albeit that Inspector Gryce uses his understanding of Miss Butterworth's character to bait her into action, and that she is still more motivated than she will admit to herself by a desire to beat the professional detective at his own game. Perhaps the most unexpected aspect of Lost Man's Lane, however, is that Miss Butterworth finds herself an object of romantic interest to not one, but two men. So often (and rightly) is she described as a forerunner of Miss Marple that it comes as a shock to realise that this "elderly" woman is only in her early forties at worse. It is impossible not to imagine that there was an autobiographical aspect to Green's creation and depiction of Amelia Butterworth (Green turned fifty not long before Amelia's first appearance), and to the fact that the other characters' tendency to dismiss her sneeringly as "the old woman" plays directly into her hands, allowing her to disguise a suspicious nature and an acute intellect behind a pose of fluttering old-maidenhood. Flattered and moved she certainly is by these unexpected masculine attentions, but when Miss Butterworth realises that she has allowed the situation to influence her behaviour and thinking, she is embarrassed and ashamed of herself; and when a fifth man disappears almost under the noses of the two detectives, the real Amelia Butterworth stands up, playing her part in the laying of a dangerous trap...

    It took no small degree of what my father used to call pluck, for me to put foot on this winding staircase and descend almost, as it were, into the midst of what I must regard as the last wicked act of a most cowardly and brutal murder.
    I did it, however, and after a short but grim communion with my own heart, which would persist in beating somewhat noisily, I leaned forward with all the precaution possible and let my gaze traverse the chamber in which I had previously seen such horrors as should have prepared me for this last and greatest one.
    In a moment I understood the whole. A long square hole in the floor, lately sawed, provided an opening through which the plain plank coffin, of which I now caught sight, was to be lowered into the cellar and so into the grave which had doubtless been dug there. The ropes in the hands of the six persons, in whose identity I had made no mistake, was proof enough of their intention; and, satisfied as I now was of the means and mode of the interment which had been such a boundless mystery to me, I shrank a step upward, fearing lest my indignation and the horror I could not but feel...would betray me into some exclamation which might lead to my discovery and a similar fate...

Mar 23, 2:11am Top

Finished This House Of Grief for TIOLI #11.

Now reading (and a blessed relief it is) The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay.

Mar 23, 6:23pm Top

The Linger-Nots And The Valley Feud; or, The Great West Point Chain - Like its predecessor, this second book in Agnes Miller's young adult series mixes adventures for its characters with history for the reader: in this case, the story of the 'Great Chain', which was constructed from West Point during the Revolutionary War, and deployed across the Hudson River in order to prevent the British from sailing upriver. The 'adventure' part of the narrative involves two families involved in the forging of the Great Chain, who later became bitter rivals over a misunderstanding in a land deal, the resulting feud carrying on over generations. The nine members of the 'Linger-Nots' club gather at the summer cottage owned by the Clevelands, which is in the mountains near to West Point. Separately, the girls become friends with Cecily Graham and Keith Perrhyn, the youngest representatives of the two feuding families, and are witness to the unhappiness and discomfort which their conflict brings to the entire district. When Cecily declares passionately to Priscilla Cleveland and Dorothy Stone that if she could find an honourable solution to the situation, she would end the feud in a moment, the Linger-Nots put their heads together. When first learning of the forging of the Great Chain, while visiting the ironworks where this extraordinary project was accomplished, the girls learned also of the beginning of the feud; of the single great iron link torn apart at that time, and the declaration that, "I and mine will speak to you and yours when that link is joined again, and not before." Discovering that both pieces of the broken link still exist, the Linger-Nots make it their business to see that it is joined again...

    Dorothy's face shone with delight, and so did Priscilla's.
    "Girls, we've found the chain, the old chain that went across the Hudson! I thought it was in some historic museum, of course, and here it is right out in this lovely grove. We walked right into it!" cried Dorothy.
    "Look, sixteen links! Isn't it perfectly wonderful, and isn't it arranged perfectly wonderfully?" Priscilla's ecstasies quite impoverished her vocabulary.
    In the midst of the circular walk, supported on low pillars arranged in a circle, the sixteen links of the historic trophy, identified by an inscription, rested on the very scene of their war service. To the nine girls who knew the history of that chain, what determination and skill and courage and speed had gone into every blow of the hammer, what once firm friendship, too, had been forged with the chain, the splendid relic had a deep significance...

Edited: Mar 23, 6:44pm Top

Ruth Fielding Down In Dixie; or, Great Times In The Land Of Cotton - This tenth book in the young adult series by "Alice B. Emerson" is a wholly uncomfortable work, though no doubt an accurate reflection of its time. Ruth Fielding and her best friend, Helen Cameron, travel to Virginia to stay with their schoolfriend, Nettie Parsons, and her aunt; and the resulting narrative is shot through with commentary upon the position of black people in American society, with the attitudes displayed ranging from the patronising to the frankly racist, and the various pronouncements on the subject including (inevitably, it seems) the assertion that black people were really better off as slaves. In the light of all this, it is difficult to focus upon (or care about) the actual story, which in any event is one of the least substantial of the series. The main thread involves the girls' acquaintance, the trouble-prone Henry 'Curly' Smith, who they learn to their horror has run away from home after being accused of involvement in a robbery. Spotting him on their travels south, Ruth and Helen agonise over the correct thing to do, in light of their belief in his innocence. Meanwhile, the girls themselves make an enemy in the form of a neurotic schoolteacher, Miss Miggs, who, due to a misunderstanding, becomes convinced that they stole her railway ticket---and, in an ironic counterpoint to Curly's situation, causes them a great deal of embarrassment by repeating her accusation to anyone who will listen. The two threads come together when, during a dance held at a hotel built on an island in the middle of a river, Ruth and Helen face danger when a violent storm leads to destructive flooding, and the elusive Curly risks his life to come to their rescue...

    “Something’s broken loose!” exclaimed Helen.
    “Let’s see what it means!” exclaimed Ruth, and she darted out of the long window.
    Her chum and Nettie followed her. But when they found themselves splashing through water which had risen over the porch flooring, almost ankle deep, Nettie squealed and ran back. Helen followed Ruth to the upper end of the porch. The oil lamps burning there revealed a sight that both amazed and terrified the girls from the North.
    The river had risen over its banks. It surged about the front of the hotel, but had not surrounded it, for the land at the back was higher.
    In the semi-darkness, however, the girls saw a large object looming above the porch roof, and it again struck against the hotel. It was a light cottage that had been raised from its foundation and swept by the current against the larger building. Again it crashed into the corner of the hotel...

Mar 23, 8:21pm Top

Finished The Magic Pudding for TIOLI #13.

Now reading Arresting Delia by Sydney Fowler.

Edited: Mar 24, 11:27pm Top

I have written a blog post about The Hermit In Van Diemen's Land, a set of satirical essays published in Hobart is 1830 by Henry Savery, who shortly afterwards wrote the first Australian novel, Quintus Servinton:

The Hermit In Van Diemen's Land

Mar 24, 11:38pm Top

...and here are some startled sifakas: :)

Mar 25, 8:31am Top

>81 lyzard: You had me Google an animal again, Liz ;-)

Mar 25, 5:43pm Top

Then clearly I am doing a public service in making them better known! Deserve to be, don't you think?? :)

Mar 25, 6:11pm Top

Finished Arresting Delia for TIOLI #8...

...and also FINISHED A SERIES!!

Now reading Dr Nikola by Guy Newell Boothby.

Mar 25, 8:05pm Top

Kara enjoying the first sunshine we've had in about three weeks. What a miserable March it has been, to be sure. I am *not* looking forward to the end of daylight saving...

(Stands back, and waits for Julia to explode...)

Mar 25, 10:52pm Top

>78 lyzard: It is amazing to me, Liz, how much the world has changed for the better in the course of even half my lifetime. That may sound unusually upbeat in the aftermath of that attack this week in London, but frankly the world is a much less prejudiced place than it was when I was growing up.

Mar 26, 5:41pm Top

This is one of the main reasons that I am so opposed to the censoring of books for racist language. This is a work of popular fiction---essentially a children's book---and it gives a very clear picture of what was considered acceptable. It offers both the reality of its time and a measure of how far we have travelled---even when it sometimes feels we haven't budged an inch.

Mar 26, 5:43pm Top

>87 lyzard: I agree. Very well said, Liz.

Mar 27, 1:38am Top

Thanks, Stasia!

Mar 27, 4:31am Top

Finished Dr Nikola for TIOLI #12.

Now reading N or M? by Agatha Christie.

Mar 27, 7:07am Top

>81 lyzard: Wow, they are just such interesting-looking critters, aren't they?

>85 lyzard: I don't mind if Australia chooses to keep DST, Liz, as long as I don't have to live by it! And Kara is definitely soaking up that sunshine!

Mar 27, 4:39pm Top

Hopefully I'll keep my blog sufficiently up-to-date to share a few more...

I find few things more depressing than the slide into the leave in darkness / get home in darkness part of the year; particularly with the weather changing here, and our winters getting longer, colder and wetter. So Kara and I shall cling to every bit of sunshine that we can, while we can! :)

Mar 28, 3:44am Top

I took a run into the State Library today to make a start on Daylight Murder by Paul McGuire, and came away suspecting that I had been misinformed about it being a series work. A little research reveals some good news and some bad news: first, that it is indeed part of McGuire's series featuring Chief Inspector Cummings (who is being slow to put in an appearance); but second, that evidently Daylight Murder crosses a second series by McGuire featuring an Inspector Fillinger (who has put in an appearance).

So I'm both in and out of order---oh, well!

Mar 28, 3:46am Top

Finished N or M? for TIOLI #1...which also happens to be my #50 for the year! This theoretically puts me on track for a 200-book year, though I suspect I won't keep up the pace.

And as noted, currently reading Daylight Murder by Paul McGuire; while my "travelling book" is Lady Of Quality by Georgette Heyer.

Edited: Mar 28, 7:08am Top

>93 lyzard: Did you know he had the second series but didn't realize this book crossed both? Or was the second series a surprise? You're never going to clear your lists if you keep adding more, you know!

>94 lyzard: Is Lady of Quality the last of the Heyer re-reads? I'll be sad to see it go, since I only hopped on board halfway through. And speaking of such, can you point me toward a list of all the Heyers in chronological order?

Edited: Mar 28, 6:08pm Top

Alas, the second series was a surprise! Worse still, this seems to be the final book in it.

The upside of this is that because Paul McGuire was Australian, I can access most of his books through our libraries. Just as well, because they are otherwise very rare. A shame, I think; he's worth being rediscovered.

It is! It's going to be weird and rather sad to have the Georgette read wrapped up, though as I mentioned upthread, I will probably go on to the straight historicals. This Wikipedia page breaks her books into categories, with some overlap between the dates.

Mar 29, 7:35pm Top

Finished Lady Of Quality for TIOLI #4...

...which means that I have completed the Georgette Heyer challenge!!

Looking back at my threads, the read (re-read for me) began in February 2013 (!!), with various other people, in particular Heather, Roni and Julia, joining in along the way. Thank you, ladies, for making the journey even more enjoyable! Thank you, too, to the others who have dropped in from time to time. I am particularly delighted to have snagged the male of the species in the form of Joe, who is to be congratulated for his open-mindedness and courage! :D

Mar 29, 7:49pm Top

Of course, I haven't quite finished (You haven't written it up, for one thing, comments my party-pooping inner voice): we can hardly have a send-off for Georgette without one final round of Shocking Covers!

First of all, as a general remark, may I say that I am thrilled to be seeing the back of this pair of bimbos?---the combination of cutesiness and irrelevance in that series of covers sets my teeth on edge:

On-topic, the worst covers for Lady Of Quality seem to me to fall into two distinct categories. First, we have a couple of wardrobe malfunctions, with Annis wearing a ruff (!?) on the left, and a 1970s faux-peasant outfit (!!??) on the right:


As always, however, it's the WTF!? covers that primarily catch the eye. A special shout-out to this audiobook image, wherein Annis's appearance seems to be based on that of Julie Andrews in Victor / Victoria---

---but in the end, I have to reward the prize to this pair of tragedy / comedy masks:


Edited: Mar 29, 8:55pm Top

I went back to the State Library yesterday, hoping to combine reading with a good walk. I was doubtful in the morning, as it was overcast and looked to be threatening rain; but the forecasts all swore that it would clear around midday, so I stuck to Plan A, taking the train to Circular Quay and walking around the Opera House and the along the foreshore in the Botanic Gardens before hooking right to the library.

And as it turned out, but the time I got off the train it was not just clear but scorching! There was some breeze beside the water, but it was a harder walk than I'd envisaged (though very good for me I'm sure!). I didn't do the full foreshore, as a section of it is blocked off to allow for a series of open-air performances of Carmen (to which I'd very much like to go, if I could trust the weather an inch; we're back to cold and rainy today, sigh); but I ended up putting in a good 50 minutes (about 3.5 km / 5000 steps).

I got to have a good look at the Carnival Cruises ship, Carnival Spirit, which is in dock at our Overseas Passenger Terminal at the moment; but the seal was not in residence, alas!



Mar 29, 9:44pm Top

Panic attack? Almost!

I was sitting here thinking, "Well, I need to pick another reading book, since I won't have another chance to read Daylight Murder until tomorrow" - I was so distracted by the wrap-up of Lady Of Quality that I didn't think any further - when it occurred to me that the other thing I need to pick is another reading challenge!

One of the things I have long been tempted by is the "Century Of Reading" that a few people have undertaken; although in my case I've always imagined it would be the 19th rather than the 20th century. This would fit with my blog reading; but it would also tie into two of the potential challenges I've noted down in the past, the Daily Telegraph's Best 100 Novels, 1899 and the 1898 C.K. Shorter List of Best 100 Novels, both of which offer some fascinating and (let's face it!) inexplicable choices, and give an amusingly clear picture of the tastes and prejudices of the time. Both of these appeal because of their "plug your gaps" potential; I've read a considerable number on the lists, though not all.

So (since as always, "in order" must prevail!), I've decided to make the C. K. Shorter list my new challenge, and to build it into a "Century Of Reading" challenge where applicable. Because you just can't make your reading challenges too complicated!

Another thought that occurred to me is that we are in the process of wrapping up The Duke's Children, the last of the 'Palliser' novels---whither Anthony Trollope? I've read a great deal of Trollope but by no means all, and I am sorely tempted to undertake a re-read / gap-plug project there, too, if I could find a couple of suckers one or two people who might be interested in joining in.

Finally, I am going to begin working through - or trying to work through the books released by the small publisher, the Mystery League, in the 1930s, which are much more notable for their cover art than their contents! This may be a frustrating exercise, as many of these novels are deservedly obscure, but it will be a good chance to highlight some of the decade's most extraordinary cover art. I don't expect anyone else to join me on this venture! (Well...maybe Harry...?)

Edited: Mar 29, 10:11pm Top

>100 lyzard: Sure, I'm willing to tackle the Mystery League -- but I don't know that I'll be willing to reread those I've already read (::shudder::). Could you share a complete list? I'm sure I must be missing at least a couple.

I glanced over the C. K. Shorter list, and I may be willing to drop in now and then, but I don't think I'd want to do the whole challenge.

Mar 29, 10:15pm Top

>100 lyzard: Huzzah for overly complicated reading plans! I'm doing Two Centuries of Reading, plus a Bit (1800-present) and I'm not only trying to read a work of general adult fiction from each year, but a mystery, speculative fiction, and children's fiction from each year as well. (Obviously some of the genre stuff just wasn't done in the early 19th century, but I read what I can.)

And I love the stuff they put on the older lists. Did you know that the National Council of Women of the United States put Elsie Dinsmore on the "100 Best Books by American Women During the Past 100 Years" list they compiled in 1933? I know women were rather underrpresented as authors at that point, but surely they could do better than Elsie?!?!

Edited: Mar 30, 3:04am Top

Clement King Shorter was a British author, journalist, literary critic, Bronte scholar and book collector---and also a man somewhat ahead of his time, inasmuch as he put together one of popular fiction's first ever "Best Of" lists.

Significantly, Shorter's list was published in an American magazine, The Bookman: in Britain there was a resistance to best-seller and best-of lists that lasted well into the 20th century, stemming from a feeling that such lists really reflected quantity not quality; but in America regular lists started to appear from the end of the 19th century---most famously in the form of the Publishers Weekly Best-Seller Lists, which Steve and I use as the basis of our "best-seller challenge", and which in fact originated with The Bookman.

Shorter's chronological list, compiled in 1898, is every bit as idiosyncratic as you'd expect, and contains as much obscurity as even I could desire!---though having run an eye down both this and the Daily Telegraph list, I get a much stronger sense of someone who really understood his subject. Particularly noteworthy is that this list contains a much higher proportion of non-English novels, conspicuous by their absence from the Telegraph list.

I have marked with a double asterisk books I have definitely read, and a single asterisk those books I feel I must have read at some point but can't quite remember. My challenge reading will concentrate upon those works I definitely haven't read before:

(I seem to have killed the touchstones!)

**Don Quixote – 1604 – Miguel de Cervantes
The Holy War – 1682 – John Bunyan
Gil Blas – 1715 – Alain René le Sage
**Robinson Crusoe – 1719 – Daniel Defoe
**Gulliver’s Travels – 1726 – Jonathan Swift
**Roderick Random – 1748 – Tobias Smollett
**Clarissa – 1749 – Samuel Richardson
**Tom Jones – 1749 – Henry Fielding
**Candide – 1756 – Françoise de Voltaire
**Rasselas – 1759 – Samuel Johnson
**The Castle of Otranto – 1764 – Horace Walpole
**The Vicar of Wakefield – 1766 – Oliver Goldsmith
**The Old English Baron – 1777 – Clara Reeve
**Evelina – 1778 – Fanny Burney
**Vathek – 1787 – William Beckford
**The Mysteries of Udolpho – 1794 – Ann Radcliffe
**Caleb Williams – 1794 – William Godwin
*The Wild Irish Girl – 1806 – Lady Morgan
Corinne – 1810 – Madame de Stael
The Scottish Chiefs – 1810 – Jane Porter
**The Absentee – 1812 – Maria Edgeworth
**Pride and Prejudice – 1813 – Jane Austen
*Headlong Hall – 1816 – Thomas Love Peacock
**Frankenstein – 1818 – Mary Shelley
**Marriage – 1818 – Susan Ferrier
The Ayrshire Legatees – 1820 – John Galt
Valerius – 1821 – John Gibson Lockhart
Wilhelm Meister – 1821 – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
*Kenilworth – 1821 – Sir Walter Scott
Bracebridge Hall – 1822 – Washington Irving
The Epicurean – 1822 – Thomas Moore
The Adventures of Hajji Baba – 1824 – James Morier
The Betrothed – 1825 – Alessandro Manzoni
Lichtenstein – 1826 – Wilhelm Hauff
*The Last of the Mohicans – 1826 – Fenimore Cooper
The Collegians – 1828 – Gerald Griffin
The Autobiography of Mansie Wauch – 1828 – David M. Moir
Richelieu – 1829 – G. P. R. James
Tom Cringle’s Log – 1833 – Michael Scott
Mr. Midshipman Easy – 1834 – Frederick Marryat
**Le Père Goriot – 1835 – Honoré de Balzac
Rory O’More – 1836 – Samuel Lover
Jack Brag – 1837 – Theodore Hook
Fardorougha the Miser – 1839 – William Carleton
Valentine Vox – 1840 – Henry Cockton
Old St. Paul’s – 1841 – Harrison Ainsworth
Ten Thousand a Year – 1841 – Samuel Warren
**Susan Hopley – 1841 – Catherine Crowe
Charles O’Malley – 1841 – Charles Lever
The Last of the Barons – 1843 – Bulwer Lytton
Consuelo – 1844 – George Sand
Amy Herbert – 1844 – Elizabeth Sewell
Adventures of Mr. Ledbury – 1844 – Elizabeth Sewell
**Sybil – 1845 – Lord Beaconsfield (a. k. a. Benjamin Disraeli)
**The Three Musketeers – 1845 – Alexandre Dumas
The Wandering Jew – 1845 – Eugène Sue
Emilia Wyndham – 1846 – Anne Marsh
The Romance of War – 1846 – James Grant
**Vanity Fair – 1847 – W. M. Thackeray
**Jane Eyre – 1847 – Charlotte Brontë
**Wuthering Heights – 1847 – Emily Brontë
The Vale of Cedars – 1848 – Grace Aguilar
**David Copperfield – 1849 – Charles Dickens
The Maiden and Married Life of Mary Powell – 1850 – Anne Manning
**The Scarlet Letter – 1850 – Nathaniel Hawthorne
Frank Fairleigh – 1850 – Francis Smedley
*Uncle Tom’s Cabin – 1851 – H. B. Stowe
The Wide Wide World – 1851 – Susan Warner (Elizabeth Wetherell)
Nathalie – 1851 – Julia Kavanagh
**Ruth – 1853 – Elizabeth Gaskell
The Lamplighter – 1854 – Maria Susanna Cummins
Dr. Antonio – 1855 – Giovanni Ruffini
Westward Ho! – 1855 – Charles Kingsley
Debit and Credit (Soll und Haben) – 1855 – Gustav Freytag
*Tom Brown’s School-Days – 1856 – Thomas Hughes
**Barchester Towers – 1857 – Anthony Trollope
**John Halifax, Gentleman – 1857 – Dinah Mulock Craik
Ekkehard – 1857 – Viktor von Scheffel
Elsie Venner – 1859 – O. W. Holmes
**The Woman in White – 1860 – Wilkie Collins
The Cloister and the Hearth – 1861 – Charles Reade
Ravenshoe – 1861 – Henry Kingsley
**Fathers and Sons – 1861 – Ivan Turgenieff
**Silas Marner – 1861 – George Eliot
*Les Misérables – 1862 – Victor Hugo
Salammbô – 1862 – Gustave Flaubert
Salem Chapel – 1862 – Margaret Oliphant
The Channings – 1862 – Ellen Wood (a. k. a. Mrs Henry Wood)
Lost and Saved – 1863 – The Hon. Mrs. Norton
The Schönberg-Cotta Family – 1863 – Elizabeth Charles
**Uncle Silas – 1864 – Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
Barbara’s History – 1864 – Amelia B. Edwards
Sweet Anne Page – 1868 – Mortimer Collins
**Crime and Punishment – 1868 – Feodor Dostoieffsky
Fromont Junior – 1874 – Alphonse Daudet
Marmorne – 1877 – P. G. Hamerton
Black but Comely – 1879 – G. J. Whyte-Melville
The Master of Ballantrae – 1889 – R. L. Stevenson
Reuben Sachs – 1889 – Amy Levy
News from Nowhere – 1891 – William Morris

Mar 29, 10:26pm Top

>101 harrygbutler:

I don't blame you a bit! I won't even hold you to the Mystery League reading, if it gets too much for you! :D

I had a list; now I just have to find it again...

If it helps, the Mystery League started out by reprinting Edgar Wallace, so I guess at least they eased everyone into it!

>102 casvelyn:

Wow! You're sure we weren't separated at birth, or anything!?

Do you have a link to the National Council of Women list? Is it on LT? That list must go on MY list!!

Oh, goodness me! Methinks a book being "improving" might have had a tad more to do with its selection than "quality"... :D

Mar 29, 10:27pm Top

Ha! My copy of Lady of Quality has the faux-peasant outfit.

Mar 29, 10:32pm Top

Hi, Roni! Honestly, did they think people would be frightened off if the characters didn't look contemporary?? :D

Mar 29, 10:38pm Top

>104 lyzard: Yes, I believe they started with Edgar Wallace's The Hand of Power, which was possibly the worst of his novels I've read. So I'm prepared. :-) I'm certainly prepared to read (most of) them, since I already have them on hand.

Mar 29, 10:48pm Top

Lucky you! I won't be holding to any strict schedule with this, since even uf I can get hold of the books (in one form or another), I imagine it might take some time. I'll let you know if I have one scheduled, and you can join in or not, if you like?

Mar 29, 10:54pm Top

Sure, that works. I'll begin to gather mine together. They seem to be fairly common around here (without dust jackets), so I'll watch for more.

Mar 29, 10:56pm Top


And of course, if you find anything too terrible, you can always gift it to me... :D

Mar 29, 10:57pm Top

Well, they are prime candidates for culling once read! :-)

Mar 29, 11:06pm Top

Painfully true, my friend!

Edited: Mar 29, 11:20pm Top

>104 lyzard: The National Council of Women list is on LT! That's where I found it, actually, with Elsie in all her glory.

And if you can access HathiTrust in Australia, then you can get the book they published describing and explaining their choices. (ETA: If it's not accessible, I'm sure *someone* could download the PDF and get it to you *somehow*)

Their justification for including Elsie is essentially "lots of people have read it." :(

And because we're sharing lists, here's my reading over two centuries thus far.

Also ETA: I love that you're using the Daily Telegraph list; I did the bulk of the entries on that one here on LT. It was an epic battle between my dislike of monotony and my obsession with lists. :)

Edited: Apr 1, 5:34pm Top

I can't find the Mystery League list I compiled last year, so I'm going to start putting together another one (on the assumption that if I start a second list, I'm sure to find the first!). I will copy this up-top when I put together my next thread:

Mystery League, Inc. publications:

The Hand Of Power by Edgar Wallace (14 Jun 1929)
*The Merrivale Mystery by James Corbett (1 Nov 1929)
The House Of Terror by Edward Woodward (1 Dec 1929)
The Curse Of Doone by Sydney Horler (15 Jul 1930)
The House Of Sudden Sleep by John Hawk (25 Aug 1930)
The Mystery Of Burnleigh Manor by Walter Livingston (7 Oct 1930)
The Invisible Host by Gwen Bristow and Bruce Manning (6 Nov 1930)
The Day Of Uniting by Edgar Wallace (13 Nov 1930)
The Hardway Diamonds Mystery by Miles Burton (13 Nov 1930)
The Monster Of Grammont by George Goodchild (13 Nov 1930)
Peril! by Sydney Horler (30 Nov 1930)
*The Maestro Murders by Frances Shelley Wees (17 Jan 1931)
Turmoil At Brede by Seldon Truss (17 Feb 1931)
*Death Walks In Eastrepps by Francis Beeding (23 Mar 1931)
*The Secret Of High Eldersham by Miles Burton (25 Apr 1931)
The Gutenberg Murders by Gwen Bristow (22 May (1931)
The Tunnel Mystery by J. C. Lenehan (25 Jul 1931)
The Mystery Of Villa Sineste by Walter Livingston (28 Aug 1931)
The Hunterstone Outrage by Seldon Truss (28 Sep 1931)
*Murder In The French Room by Helen Joan Hultman (26 Oct 1931)
The False Purple by Sydney Horler (24 Jan 1932)
Two And Two Make Twenty-Two by Gwen Bristow and Bruce Manning (26 Feb 1932)
For Sale--Murder by Will Levinrew (7 Apr 1932)
The Ebony Bed Murder by Rufus Gilmore (12 Jul 1932)
Spider House by Van Wyck Mason (1 Aug 1932)
The Mardi Gras Murders by Gwen Bristow and Bruce Manning (12 Jan 1933, though dated 1932)
Death Points A Finger by Will Levinrew (1 Apr 1933)

Jack O'Lantern by George Goodchild (post 25 Aug 1930)
The Bungalow On The Roof by Achmed Abdullah (1931)

Edited: Mar 29, 11:53pm Top

>113 casvelyn:

It was an epic battle between my dislike of monotony and my obsession with lists.

I take it back that we were separated at birth---we're actually the same person! :D

Thank you for sharing your centuries of reading, that's fabulous!

I can access some of the things at the HathiTrust, so I'll take a look and let you know - thanks!

Mar 30, 3:06am Top


After all that huffing and puffing I forgot to mention that my new 'currently reading' book is The Bartlett Mystery by Louis Tracy.

Mar 30, 6:47am Top

Oh, Liz, I love it when you talk book lists!

Mar 30, 7:49am Top

>114 lyzard: Cool. If that's the whole list, I have all but four (a few in reprint editions), so I'm definitely good to go. But I've already read close to half, so there will definitely be some I'll be skipping.

Are the asterisks identifying ones you've read and will be skipping? If so, it looks like the first shared read will be The Curse of Doone.

Mar 30, 8:06am Top

>115 lyzard: I take it back that we were separated at birth---we're actually the same person! :D

Compulsive list-making doppelgangers!

Mar 30, 10:02am Top

>98 lyzard: That first cover is the style of my ebooks. The only thing I like about them is the typeface of the titles! The pictures often have nothing to do with the actual storyline or even general time period. And the less said about the rest of those, the better. You wonder if the designer not only didn't read the book but also didn't read the synopsis.

>99 lyzard: What a lovely setting for a walk!

>100 lyzard: Oh, Liz. You list-loving loco, you. Heaven forbid you should have one fewer reading list to work from! I salute your intrepid spirit, my friend.

I'm looking forward to picking up our Patricia Wentworth shared read next month. I've got the book in hand (well, on my e-reader, anyway) — had a bit of confusion at first until I figured out it was published under a different title here: In the Balance here rather than Danger Point.

Edited: Mar 30, 4:49pm Top

>117 scaifea:

Hi, Amber! You shouldn't validate my OCD like that, you know! :D

>118 harrygbutler:

That list isn't complete: there are about 30 Mystery League releases, I believe, so I'm still missing a few. I will continue to hunt around for info and add them in.

Yes, an asterisk means I've already read the book in question, although for myself a re-read isn't out of the question. I imagine tracking these down will be a lot more difficult for me, and I may have to skip some. (Unless you're in a culling mood...)

>119 casvelyn:

You know, we really should make a list of who makes the best lists...

>120 rosalita:

Everything about those covers is nails down the blackboard for me! And the rest are almost as terrible: we dodged the stupid tagline with Lady Of Quality but that's about all. A fitting conclusion to our journey! :D

Yes, it's a lovely area and the distance is just right, so weather permitting it offers a lovely combination of walking and reading!

The only thing I love better than a list is crossing things off one...

You know how I feel about retitlings! I gather my copy is under the title Danger Point---I requested it under both, just in case---and I will be picking it up this afternoon! :)

Edited: Mar 30, 4:57pm Top

>121 lyzard: Best list list? I think it goes like this...

1. Liz
2. Liz
3. Liz
4. Liz
5. Liz

etcetera ad infinitum (et ad nauseam?)


(edited because I can't spell worth beans in Latin)

Mar 30, 4:53pm Top

Awwww.... {*blush*}

Mar 30, 5:03pm Top

>122 casvelyn: That's how my list goes, too!

>123 lyzard: I gather my copy is under the title Danger Point---I requested it under both, just in case---and I will be picking it up this afternoon!

Woo-hoo! And I think Harry already had a copy in hand, waiting for us to get to April. Let the wild rumpus start!

Mar 30, 5:05pm Top

I wonder what Patricia Wentworth would have made of being the basis of wild rumpus!?

Mar 30, 5:10pm Top

It's always hard to know what those older-era authors were really like. Maybe she liked the odd wild rumpus or two?!

Mar 30, 5:18pm Top

I like to think so! :D

Mar 30, 6:45pm Top

>121 lyzard: The first that is unread for me is The Merrivale Mystery.

>124 rosalita: My copy of Danger Point is beside me as I type this. I should be ready for the rumpus on April 1. (I want to finish The Mysterious Mr. Quin before starting another mystery/thriller sort of book, I think.)

>126 rosalita: >127 lyzard: Sure, why not?

Edited: Mar 30, 7:52pm Top

This House Of Grief: The Story Of A Murder Trial - On 3rd September 2005, a car swerved off the road in country Victoria, crossed a stretch of ground and plunged nose-down into a dam. The driver, Robert Farquharson, managed to escape the submerged vehicle; his three young sons - aged ten, seven and two - did not. Farquharson later insisted that he had suffered an attack of cough syncope, and had lost control of the car while unconscious; the physical evidence, however, suggested that the car could not have entered the water as it did unless it was being steered. The subsequent investigation brought to light details none the less painful for their familiarity: a broken marriage, a woman in a new relationship, a man whose life was sliding out of his control... Was the day of the boys' deaths - Father's Day - just a macabre coincidence, or chosen deliberately? Was this a dreadful accident---or an unthinkable act of revenge? In August 2006, Robert Farquharson was charged with the murder of his three children; a year later, his trial opened in the Supreme Court of Victoria... This House Of Grief is not a work of "true crime" in the usual sense. Rather, it is an account of one onlooker's exposure to the workings of the criminal justice system and trial-by-jury. When details of the appalling tragedy began to emerge late in 2005, Australian author Helen Garner became fascinated with the story; subsequently, she attended every day of the trial, getting to know and to understand many of the people brought together by the tragedy: family members, friends, witnesses, police, lawyers, jurors, reporters. Her account of the unfolding human drama, the behaviour of those involved, the physical and emotional toll taken on all concerned and her own reactions are recorded in almost confessional detail; the result is a heartbreaking story told with great compassion.

    Up to this point you could tell the story as a country-and-western song, a rueful tale of love betrayed, a little bit whiny, a little bit sweet.
    But ten months later, just after dark on a September evening in 2005, while the discarded husband was driving his sons back to their mother from a Father's Day outing, his old white Commodore swerved off the highway, barely five minutes from home, and plunged into a dam. He freed himself from the car and swam to the bank. The car sank to the bottom, and all the children drowned.
    I saw it on the TV news. Night. Low foliage. Water, misty and black. Blurred lights, a chopper. Men in hi-vis and helmets. Something very bad here. Something frightful.
    Oh Lord, let it be an accident...

Mar 30, 8:07pm Top

>128 harrygbutler:

No hurry about starting, Harry - at your convenience! :)

Edited: Mar 31, 2:04am Top


- 2 novels finished
- 2 libraries visited
- 2 books returned
- 2 books borrowed
- 2 series finished during the month

Not a bad afternoon's work...even aside from the fact that I completed a TIOLI sweep!

#1: N or M? by Agatha Christie
#2: The Hermit In Van Diemen's Land by Henry Savery
#3: The Greene Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine
#4: Lady Of Quality by Georgette Heyer
#5: Lost Man's Lane by Anna Katharine Green
#6: Daylight Murder by Paul McGuire
#7: Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
#8: Arresting Delia by Sydney Fowler
#9: The Duke's Children by Anthony Trollope
#10: Feathers Left Around by Carolyn Wells
#11: This House Of Grief by Helen Garner
#12: Dr Nikola by Guy Newell Boothby
#13: The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay
#14: The Linger-Nots And The Valley Feud by Agnes Miller
#15: Flying Clues by Charles J. Dutton

Mar 31, 1:58am Top

...and now I shall go and have a bit of a lie down. Phew!

Mar 31, 2:06am Top

>132 lyzard: Well-deserved! Very impressive...

>100 lyzard: Just last night I put together a little Excel sheet of various lists I want to complete, and Trollope was one of them. Over the years I've accumulated about 15 of the lesser novels & story collections. I was thinking of randomly reading them (hangs head in shame), but if there's an organized read, I'm game. Also the Shorter list is interesting and I may also pop in and out, assuming some of the more obscure titles can still be found.

Edited: Mar 31, 3:53am Top

Thanks, Karen!

Well, we'll see how others feel about progressing with Trollope (many people go no further than the Barchester and Palliser novels, of course); we can talk about it to wrap up the group read. I'd be delighted to have your company for that, and whenever you feel inclined for the Shorter list! I would imagine that many of the books listed would be available via Project Gutenberg or similar, if you're an ebook reader?

Mar 31, 3:55am Top

Congratulations on your sweep, Liz!

Edited: Mar 31, 5:37pm Top

So, yes---this afternoon I polished off Daylight Murder for TIOLI #6.

I was pleased to do that, but two points of annoyance did emerge, one major, one minor. First, it turns out that the overlap of Paul McGuire's two series is more complicated than I realised, plus (even allowing for that) I seem to have read Daylight Murder out of order: there is one other book in which both Cummings and Fillinger appear, and since this one ends with Fillinger retiring, I imagine that one should have come beforehand. (Unless it's an Hercule Poirot-esque "retirement": I don't know Fillinger well enough yet to judge.)

As far as I can now tell, the Inspector Cummings series runs:

Murder In Bostall (1931)
Three Dead Men (1933)
Murder In Haste (1934)
Daylight Murder (1934)
7.30 Victoria (1935)

---while the Superintendent Fillinger series runs:

The Tower Mystery (1932)
Murder By The Law (1932)
Death Fugue (1933)
There Sits Death (1933)
Murder In Haste (1934)
Daylight Murder (1934)

---so having read #1, #2 and (as it turns out) #4 or the Cummings series, and #6 of the Fillinger series, I now need to go back and fill in the gaps.

And the minor annoyance? The final section of Daylight Murder is full of eggs. Can't find eggs where I need them, though---very frustrating! :)

Mar 31, 4:06am Top

The other book I finished today was The Bartlett Mystery for TIOLI #9. This is the third---AND FINAL!!---book in the short series by Louis Tracy featuring Steingall and Clancy of the New York Detective Bureau.

Mar 31, 4:08am Top

>135 FAMeulstee:

Thanks, Anita!

Mar 31, 4:40am Top

So after all that, my first April book will be the next in the Cleek series, The House Of Discord by Hazel Phillips Hanshew.

Mar 31, 7:13am Top

>131 lyzard: Congratulations on the sweep, Liz!

>136 lyzard: There's always The Egg and I — though so far as I know it doesn't kick off a book series, you could use it to launch a viewing of that movie and the Ma and Pa Kettle series. :-)

Mar 31, 7:32am Top

Thanks, Harry!

At the moment it's more about a desperate egg hunt in my existing (but uncooperative) books, but I'll keep that in mind! :)

Mar 31, 1:01pm Top

I would definitely be in for more Trollope. I've read all of the Barchester and Palliser novels but haven't read any others.

Mar 31, 5:38pm Top

That would be great, Jennifer! I'll let you know if / when there's a definite decision.

Mar 31, 5:39pm Top

>131 lyzard: Another TIOLI sweep! You are on a roll, friend. I'm not clear on why you so desperately need an egg, but I hope you find one soon.

Mar 31, 5:45pm Top

You just answered your own question! - this month's Challenge #13. :D

Mar 31, 5:47pm Top

A-ha! I really should have suspected that it had something to do with TIOLI, no marks for me on that one. :-)

Mar 31, 5:49pm Top

>141 lyzard: But this is probably the best book of all for that challenge. :-)

Mar 31, 5:59pm Top

>146 rosalita:

Mind you, the eggs are only a side issue: what I'm really panicking over is that so far there's no slot for The Body In The Library. As I said on the thread, what I really needed this month was Hercule and his egg-shaped head! :D

How are you going with Murder On The Orient Express, BTW?

>147 harrygbutler:

Ha! Thank you, I like that better than The Egg And I!

Mar 31, 7:01pm Top

>148 lyzard: Oh dear. Don't they eat coddled eggs for breakfast or something in that one? It seems like the sort of thing that couple would do.

And MotOE is finished and thoroughly enjoyed. Not reviewed yet, of course, but I found it completely satisfying and living up to all the hype.

Mar 31, 7:08pm Top

>131 lyzard: Huzzah! Good for you!

Mar 31, 7:46pm Top

Thanks, Stasia!

Apr 1, 1:56pm Top

I thought I had found a copy of Spider House for the Mystery League challenge, but unfortunately it was an abridged paperback. :-/

Edited: Apr 1, 5:17pm Top

Oh, I hate that! What edition is that, so I know to avoid it?

ETA: Both my academic library and the State Library hold a copy of Spider House, so I'm off the hook on that one. (Like I said, our libraries can sometimes surprise me!)

ETA2: Currently there's a Mystery League copy available at AbeBooks for US$9.50, if you want a replacement?

Apr 1, 5:28pm Top

Finished The House Of Discord; I'm still pondering which challenge to list it under.

Now reading Death At The Opera by Gladys Mitchell.

Edited: Apr 1, 5:33pm Top

>153 lyzard: Luckily I spotted that it was abridged before I purchased it -- this particular paperback said so right on the cover. I didn't note the publisher, though. I may try a library source when we get to it, but I'll probably pick up one of the copies available via AbeBooks or Amazon if I don't find it locally. Thanks for reporting on one there!

Apr 1, 5:35pm Top


BTW, I've added another couple to the Mystery League list---I now have 29 books listed, but I have it in my head there were exactly 30, so I will continue to tear my hair for the meantime...

Edited: Apr 1, 5:43pm Top

>156 lyzard: Well I'm glad to see that the more complete list includes no more that I don't already have. Probably the 30th is really, really rare. :-)

Apr 1, 6:35pm Top

Or more likely, commentators have rounded 29 up to 30 and I'm bashing my head against the wall for nothing... :)

Edited: Apr 2, 6:16pm Top

I love inexplicable search results!

I just searched a library catalogue for a book called The Scream Of The Doll; the only result was Cosy Corner, A Magazine For Children.


Apr 1, 6:45pm Top

>159 lyzard: Clearly those two works should be combined! :-)

I dislike our library system's catalog search: the default results are too often irrelevant, and I then have to move on to an advanced search before I get something in the neighborhood of what I want. You can't open individual results in separate tabs or windows to compare results, and the search results aren't persistent, so you can't back up from a single opened result to the list of results seamlessly.

Apr 1, 7:10pm Top

>160 harrygbutler: I have the same dislike of my local library's catalog search.

Apr 1, 9:23pm Top

Yes, we have books, ebooks, audiobooks, articles and books about (rather than by) an author jumbled in, and it's as if they try to give you one of each to choose from, so you always have to have a second layer to your search.

Edited: Apr 1, 9:54pm Top

The Magic Pudding: Being The Adventures Of Bunyip Bluegum And His Friends Bill Barnacle And Sam Sawnoff - A well-mannered, erudite young koala called Bunyip Bluegum, finding himself unable to go on living in a confined space with his uncle's whiskers (they get in the soup), leaves home and almost immediately falls in with sailor Bill Barnacle and penguin Sam Sawnoff---who own a very remarkable pudding called Albert, who can not only be any pudding desired, but is inexhaustible: the more you eat, the more there is to eat. Naturally others long to get their hands (and their teeth) on Albert, and the three friends must devote their energies to thwarting the machinations of a couple of determined pudding-thieves... I don't read as much children's fiction as I would like, but last month's TIOLI challenges offered an opportunity to revisit The Magic Pudding for what you might call "historical" reasons: in effect, this was the book I was taught to read with---and it was staggering and a little scary to realise how much of it I could remember word for word. (I knew I remembered The Puddin' Song, but that was intentional.) The story itself is flimsy, though amusingly supported by nonsense poetry, offering a fantasy version of rural Australia equally populated by human beings and animals, much comic crime and violence, and a typically disrespectful attitude towards the law---or at least, The Law. But in truth, the story is merely an excuse for the marvellous illustrations of Norman Lindsay, which I likewise remembered in vivid detail---and with good reason.

    "They're after our Puddin'," explained Sam, "because they're professional puddin'-thieves."
    "And as we're professional puddin'-owners," said Bill, "we have to fight them on principle. The fighting," he added, "is a mere flea-bite, as the sayin' goes. The trouble is, what's to be done with the Puddin'?"
    "While you do the fighting," said Bunyip bravely, "I shall mind the Puddin'."
    "The trouble is," said Bill, "that this is a very secret, crafty Puddin', an' if you wasn't up to his games he'd be askin' you to look at a spider an' then run away while your back is turned."
    "That's right," said the Puddin' gloomily. "Take a Puddin's character away. Don't mind his feelings."
    "We don't mind your feelin's, Albert," said Bill. "What we minds is your treacherous 'abits."

Edited: Apr 1, 10:13pm Top

Here we have the four main characters of The Magic Pudding: Bunyip Bluegum, Bill Barnacle, Albert and Sam Sawnoff:

That group drawing is one of the most famous of Lindsay's illustrations; another is the one which concludes his book. I know for a fact I'm not the only one who comes away from this book longing for a treehouse just like the one to which the companions retire at the end, located in the market-garden of their friend, Benjamin Brandysnap, and which comes complete with a detached Puddin' Paddock:

But this is the picture that has always stayed with me: Albert pinching the Mayor (as a consequence of which he is "pinched" himself):

Edited: Apr 1, 10:20pm Top

Interesting personality test: re-reading this, I realised that even as a very young child I identified with the bad-tempered Albert, even as I always sympathised with Oscar the Grouch.

I don't think it was a matter of "temper", exactly, rather that my introversion was in place even then, and I already knew the pleasure of being "left alone"!


O, who would be a puddin',
    A puddin' in a pot,
A puddin' which is stood on
    A fire which is hot?
O sad indeed the lot
Of puddin's in a pot.

I wouldn't be a puddin'
    If I could be a bird
If I could be a wooden
    Doll, I wouldn't say a word.
Yes, I have often heard
It's grand to be a bird.

But as I am a puddin',
    A puddin' in a pot,
I hope you get the stomach-ache
    For eatin' me a lot.
I hope you get it hot,
You puddin'-eatin' lot!

Edited: Apr 2, 7:18pm Top

Best-selling books in the United States for 1921:

1. Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
2. The Brimming Cup by Dorothy Canfield
3. The Mysterious Rider by Zane Grey
4. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
5. The Valley of Silent Men by James Oliver Curwood
6. The Sheik by Edith M. Hull
7. A Poor Wise Man by Mary Roberts Rinehart
8. Her Father's Daughter by Gene Stratton-Porter
9. The Sisters-in-Law by Gertrude Atherton
10. The Kingdom Round the Corner by Coningsby Dawson

The 1921 best-seller list is comprised chiefly of quite serious works of fiction, interspersed with some more escapist literature. In the latter category we find Zane Grey's The Mysterious Rider, the story of a gunfighter who acts as Deus ex machina for a family of Colorado ranchers; James Oliver Curwood's The Valley of Silent Men, an adventure-romance set in the far north of Canada; while The Sheik is a justly notorious and completely twisted "romance" about the violent relationship between an aristocratic British woman and her rapist-lover (and which spawned an entire subgenre of "desert romances").

Life post-WWI and ongoing social upheaval dominate a number of the books on the list. The Kingdom Round the Corner is about an English lord trying to come to grips with changes to the social and class structure. The Sisters-in-Law is a study of aristocratic San Francisco society before and during the war. A Poor Wise Man is one of Mary Roberts Rinehart's social commentary novels, about a privileged young woman whose wartime experiences completely change her outlook and ambitions.

Gene Stratton-Porter's Her Father's Daughter possibly belongs in a category of its own: ostensibly about an brilliant and talented young girl fighting for a life of her own, it is a post-war work shot through with ugly racial and eugenic attitudes.

Dorothy Canfield's The Brimming Cup is a daring feminist work about a married woman who undergoes a personal crisis after her youngest child starts school. The Age of Innocence is Edith Wharton's famous dissection of late 19th century New York society, which secured her the year's Pulitzer Prize for fiction---although not without controversy, after the judges decided that the other leading contender, Sinclair Lewis's Main Street, was insufficiently "wholesome".

Which may or may not have contributed to making Main Street America's best-selling work of 1921.

Edited: Apr 2, 7:17pm Top

Harry Sinclair Lewis was born in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, in 1885. He began writing and publishing while at Yale, but the first few years of his career were hardly promising: at that time he wrote chiefly superficial adventure and romance stories for the magazines, while his first novel, Hike And The Aeroplane, was a boy's adventure story published under a pseudonym. However, Lewis's career took a new turn in 1914: although he continued to support himself with self-proclaimed "pot-boilers", he also wrote several serio-comic character studies, which won him the beginning of a reputation as an observer of American society. However, no-one was prepared for the impact of 1920's Main Street, a satirical dissection of small-town life that became 1921's best-selling work, and - almost - secured Lewis the Pulitzer Prize.

Instead, Main Street became the focus of a controversy that highlighted the specious qualifications which then existed for Pulitzer winners, with novels awarded not for their literary qualities, but for "best present(ing) the wholesome atmosphere of American life, and the highest standard of American manners and manhood". Although Main Street was considered the best novel, it failed the "wholesome" test, and the Pulitzer was awarded instead to The Age Of Innocence---with Edith Wharton subsequently joining Lewis in a public denunciation of the conditions attached to the prize (which were eventually revised).

The following decade saw Sinclair Lewis produce a remarkable series of novels depicting middle- and professional-class American life, winning - and rejecting - the Pulitzer Prize for Arrowsmith, and becoming the first American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Edited: May 15, 8:42pm Top

Main Street - Sinclair Lewis's 1920 novel is - for the most part - the story of Carol Milford, a university graduate who is working as a librarian in St Paul, Minnesota, when she attracts the attention of Dr Will Kennicott, and who makes the Dorothea Brooke-like mistake of taking a man (and a man's home town) at his own estimation. In their courting days, Will is full of the beauties and wonders of Gopher Prairie, but to the horrified eyes of new bride Carol the town is a wasteland: small, ugly and desolate, and hardly improved by its residents - "the best folk in the world" according to Will - who seem to her narrow-minded and judgemental. Desperate to find a purpose in life, Carol vows to reform Gopher Prairie, and bring to it both beauty and new ideas. It does not occur to her that the town does not want these things... A mixture of satire and social commentary, Main Street is an excoriating denunciation of the worst of small-town life in post-WWI America: a time when the country as a whole was seething with new energy and ideas and ways of living---but not in towns like Gopher Prairie. Lewis captures in painful detail the soul-sapping boredom and pettiness of the town, as well as the perverse resistance to change that keeps it so, with the residents doing the same things, even saying the same things, year in and year out. Where the novel stumbles is its attitude to Carol, who becomes as much an object of satire as the town itself. Undeniably there is much about Carol that is absurd - her egotism and self-satisfaction, her play-acting, her fantasies of herself as "the great reformer" - but there is nothing funny about her emotional isolation, nor her starving desire for intellectual companionship. Yet there is always something slightly ridiculous in Lewis's depiction of Carol, even when she is at her most unhappy: the novel allows the legitimacy of the dissatisfaction of women like Carol; it plays straight with the town's destruction of Myrtle Cass, the new young teacher; but all the while it continues to undermine Carol herself. At the same time, Lewis rescues Will from his inherent littleness by having him, and showing him, turn out to be a much better and more dedicated professional than we initially grasp. Will also evinces an unexpected, and ill-prepared-for, generosity, when Carol finally reaches crisis-point. Carol herself has no such fall-back; she can only flutter like a moth within the glass jar of her own female limitations. In this, Lewis evinces a distinct tendency to side---not with Gopher Prairie, certainly, but with the masculine point of view. Main Street concludes with Carol and Will at cross-purposes, as they have been from the outset, not merely misunderstanding but barely listening to one another; but significantly, it is Will who gets the last word---saying exactly the same thing, under the same circumstances, that he said the year before...

    A man in cuffless shirt-sleeves with pink arm-garters, wearing a linen collar but no tie, yawned his way from Dyer's Drug Store across to the hotel. He leaned against the wall, scratched a while, sighed, and in a bored way gossiped with a man titled back in a chair. A lumber-wagon, its long green box filled with large spools of barbed-wire fencing, creaked down the block. A Ford, in reverse, sounded as though it were shaking to pieces, then recovered and rattled away. In the Greek candy-store was the whine of a peanut-roaster, and the oily smell of nuts.
    There was no other sound nor sign of life.
    She wanted to run, fleeing from the encroaching prairie, demanding the security of a great city. Her dreams of creating a beautiful town were ludicrous. Oozing out from every drab wall, she felt a forbidding spirit which she could never conquer.
    She trailed down the street on one side, back on the other, glancing into the cross streets. It was a private Seeing Main Street tour. She was within ten minutes beholding not only the heart of a place called Gopher Prairie, but ten thousand towns from Albany to San Diego...

Edited: May 15, 8:43pm Top

(NB: Spoilers for Crime & Co.)

Arresting Delia - The short series featuring Inspector Cleveland by "Sydney Fowler" (S. Fowler Wright, better known for his dystopian science fiction) is an odd mixture of tones and approaches. The first of the four books, The Hanging Of Constance Hillier, is one of its era's grimmest crime novels; whereas the other three are blackly humorous and rather amoral, as likely as not to side to side with the criminal. Arresting Delia is a direct sequel to the third book, Crime & Co., in which, if Inspector Cleveland didn't precisely let American Kingsley Starr get away with murder, he did something enough like it to disturb his own conscience, cause his superiors to look at him slightly askance---and make him vow it won't happen a second time, when he finds Starr and his new bride, Cora - the sister of one of Cleveland's closest friends - up to their eyebrows in a second mysterious death. In fact, both of them are innocent this time - at least of murder - although Cleveland will take some convincing of that. Instead, detouring from the tiresome task of seeing her brother and his new bride, Kingsley's twin sister, George Eliot Starr, off at the station, Cora returns to the apartment she and Ted have vacated and sublet, taking advantage of the new tenants' tardy arrival to dispose of some personal papers. What she finds in the apartment, however, is a dead man---and a frightened young woman, Delia Russell... Arresting Delia is an amusing and well-written mystery-thriller which is a lot less interested in self-confessed murderer Delia than it is in the battle of wits that develops between Cleveland and the Starrs after Cora decides impulsively to help Delia run from the law. This is not a book that plays fair with the reader, inasmuch as its plot turns upon a conversation between Cora and Delia to which the reader is not privy; but since both Kingsley and Inspector Cleveland are equally in the dark, we haven't too much reason to complain. It is at Cora's prompting that Delia, from hiding, makes a written confession---and perversely, it is this that puts the first doubt of her guilt into Cleveland's mind, preparing it to deal with the contradictory confession made by Edward Wilson, Delia's fiancé; although he doesn't quite believe that, either. When the dead man is identified as Cavendish Taunton, aka Isaac Marks, money-lender and blackmailer, motive seems self-evident; and while the case is further complicated by the many secrets of the dead man, a large sum of missing money, and a mysterious passenger on an ocean liner who seems somehow involved in the case, Inspector Cleveland is confidant that all he needs to do to discover the truth is to find the girl and place her under arrest. But with the Starrs involved, arresting Delia is easier said than done...

It was clear now that, wherever Delia had gone, it was with the Starrs' knowledge. What was their part in the matter? Why should they first bring her confession (whether true or false), and then be active to hide her? Why should they be so concerned in her fate that they should be corresponding with her in this elaborately deceptive way? He considered again, and again rejected the theory that Kingsley was the assassin, and Delia no more than a decoy to divert suspicion from him. It was not so much the fact that Wilson's confession complicated the probability of this solution, as that his instinct rejected it. He admitted Kingsley's reputation, the manner of life of his youthful years, his admitted homicide. All these things were against him. That he had entered the flat to find his wife assaulted by a man who had no business there, and that a dispute had followed, in the course of which he had shot the man with his own gun---that was possible enough, and fitted in with everything, apart from the doubtful evidence of the girl seen going up the stairs. Cleveland recognised that as a matter of abstract logical deduction; but, in fact, he was sure that the explanation was of a different kind. His judgement, defying analysis, told him that had this been so, both Kingsley and Cora would have appeared, spoken, acted, somewhat differently from how they had. But he felt that he would soon know the truth now---he would know it when he had arrested Delia...

Apr 3, 4:39am Top

>166 lyzard: I think this is a first - you have some books on your bestsellers list that I have actually heard of, and even one (Main Street) that is on my radar of books that I might read in the not too distant future.

Apr 3, 6:00pm Top

Hi, Rhian! I imagine that will happen more and more as the 20th century rolls along, although we're still getting plenty of 'forgotten' books too. Of course, given my obscure tastes, I'm always fascinated in seeing what more ephemeral works made the top ten in a given year.

Apr 3, 6:01pm Top

Finished Death At The Opera for TIOLI #1; also placed The House Of Discord in #13 ("Your eyes are like hard-boiled eggs...")

Now reading Danger Point by Patricia Wentworth.

Whoo for mini-group reads! :D

Edited: Apr 3, 7:10pm Top

I'm frustrated by the fact that I can't find an appealing cover image for Danger Point; in fact I can't find the first edition cover image at all, which is extremely unusual. I have found an image for the first American edition, but of course they had to retitle the book, didn't they?? (I also don't know yet how relevant a train is to the story; it opens on one, but then, so many British mysteries and thrillers do!)

This is my library copy; yawn!

Apr 3, 6:35pm Top

Since we are sliding into April, I just want to remind people that there will be a group read of Zoe: The History Of Two Lives by Geraldine Jewsbury in May, as part of my Virago Chronological Read Project. This is one of the rarer Virago releases, so if you want to join in, you may need to start tracking down a copy now! I am aware of a couple of online editions, but so far no downloadable one.

Apr 3, 10:57pm Top

>168 lyzard: I agree that Lewis is too hard on Carol. I took it as a piece of general misanthropy: the Gopher Prairians are ridiculous because they're so provincial and dull, but Carol's ridiculous because she's so naive and vain that she thinks she can change them. (And isn't Erik ridiculous for being so clumsily pretentious?) Everyone is targeted for ridicule, and darned if it doesn't score frequent hits. But you get the feeling that the real hero of the story is the author for being so clever and above it all. Sort of like South Park.

I didn't catch Lewis's antifeminist streak, or at least interpreted it as being part of Gopher Prairie's general awfulness, so I appreciate that insight.

Apr 4, 12:07am Top

you get the feeling that the real hero of the story is the author for being so clever and above it all. Sort of like South Park.

Yes, that's exactly it: if you're prepared to take a pot-shot at anything, what's the point?

Which is not to say that Lewis isn't often right, but rather that the indiscriminate nature of the satire undermines the overall effectiveness.

Apr 4, 3:18pm Top

>173 lyzard: Those are not great covers, though they don't sink quite to the level of the average Georgette Heyer, I don't think. Which is something, at least.

Here's the cover of my ebook. It is ludicrously generic:

Apr 4, 3:24pm Top

>173 lyzard: >177 rosalita: Here's the cover of my copy:

For now I'm going to assume that the cover has something to do with the story (I'm not very far in yet). But even if it does, I find it an ugly and unimpressive cover.

Apr 4, 3:35pm Top

>178 harrygbutler: I think you win the relevancy sweepstakes, Harry, but I agree it's not an attractive or enticing cover.

Apr 4, 5:20pm Top

>177 rosalita:

So you got the inevitable 'woman with her head cut off', and I got her head and nothing else; okay.

>178 harrygbutler:

Like the alternative cover I picked, Harry, yours has a couple of relevant touches but is as you say ugly and unimpressive.

No, these covers don't match up with the worst of Georgette, but let's not overlook the fact that they come with a generic subset even more irritating than the cutesy bimbos. Behold!---


Edited: Apr 4, 5:24pm Top

>180 lyzard: Oh, I love the one for Lonesome Road! It looks like a screenshot from an Excedrin commercial. (Not sure if you have Excedrin? It's basically super-strength aspirin. The use to run a series of television commercials featuring women who had pretty much exactly that expression on their faces, all suffering from the dreaded "Excedrin tension headache").

Edited to clarify: According to Wikipedia, Excedrin is a mix of acetominophen/paracetamol, aspirin and caffeine. Wowza!

Apr 4, 5:39pm Top

>180 lyzard: Oh, my. I can't imagine anyone purchasing a book based on such a cover.

>181 rosalita: I guess Excedrin tops Anacin, which is just aspirin and caffeine. :-) But Anacin gets the nod from me for sponsoring Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons, an endearingly mediocre old-time radio show that ran for 18 years and that was based on the 1906 novel The Tracer of Lost Persons, by Robert W. Chambers.

Edited: Apr 4, 5:43pm Top

>181 rosalita:

Wowza! indeed. :)

I had that copy of The Case Is Closed by interlibrary loan. I remember abusing it then---something along the lines of, "You mean it has a man and a woman in it!? Wow!"

Anyway, it looks like I won't have to retire my "awful covers" posts any time soon.

>182 harrygbutler:

Have I ever read Robert Chambers? I don't think so. But, you know---The List...

Apr 4, 5:58pm Top

>183 lyzard: I've read The King in Yellow, but that's all, and not recently. I do have The Tracer of Lost Persons, though, so I expect I'll read that one eventually (once it resurfaces from wherever it is hiding).

Apr 4, 6:07pm Top

Chambers was on the best-seller lists when Steve and I started so I'm aware of him, but he hasn't managed to force himself into my full attention yet.

Apr 4, 8:17pm Top

Finished Danger Point for TIOLI #14.

Now reading None Of My Business by David Sharp.

Edited: Apr 15, 9:41pm Top

Finished None Of My Business for TIOLI #11; and, much as I am enjoying this series, I'm not sure I'm going to get much further with it, as the books get rarer and rarer from here, on top of the first in the series, When No Man Pursueth, being completely unobtainable. I cannot find a copy of the next entry, I, The Criminal, for under US$100. :(

Now reading The Tragedy Of Z by "Barnaby Ross" (Ellery Queen).

(No, not Hamlet by William Shakespeare: pity my touchstone challenge is over!)

Apr 5, 6:05am Top

>182 harrygbutler: I don't think I've ever heard any episodes of Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons but I've certainly heard of it. I wonder if any of the episodes are available online?

>183 lyzard: Honestly, it's a wonder anyone ever picks up some of these books with their terrible covers!

>187 lyzard: I don't think I ever knew that the duo behind Ellery Queen wrote under another pen name. I have a soft spot for EQ, especially the novels set in Wrightsville. I had an omnibus volume and read it a million times when I was a kid. And then, of course, Jim Hutton (father of Timothy) played Ellery on 1970s American television and I might have been a little bit in love with him. :-)

Apr 5, 7:41am Top

I can only say what I always say at these moments---Someone got paid for THAT!? :D

The "Barnaby Ross" books have since been reissued as by Ellery Queen, but the secret was kept for some time. Perversely enough, I haven't yet read any of the "real" Ellery Queen books.

I can vaguely remember my father teasing my sister over Jim Hutton, but I can't remember if she actually had a crush or if he just liked to annoy her by suggesting she did. :)

Edited: Apr 5, 8:21am Top

>188 rosalita: Most, or maybe all, of the known surviving episodes of Mr. Keen are available at archive.org: https://archive.org/details/OTRR_Mr_Keen_Tracer_Of_Lost_Persons_Singles. The episodes up through 1950 have the best Mr. Keen.

The Ellery Queen TV show was fun; I liked the interplay between Jim Hutton and David Wayne. We got my mom the series on DVD several years ago but haven't ever borrowed it to watch.

Edited: Apr 5, 10:18am Top

>189 lyzard: Jim Hutton was dreamy. :hearteyesemoji:

>190 harrygbutler: Thanks, Harry!

Apr 6, 1:47am Top

Finished The Tragedy Of Z for TIOLI #2.

Now reading The Zoo Murder by Francis D. Grierson.

Edited: Apr 6, 1:53am Top

It seems I'm destined to be plagued by covers this week.

After wrestling with myself over the choice between an awful (but correctly titled) and a decent (but unnecessarily retitled) cover for Patricia Wentworth's Danger Point, I now have more or less the same choice for The Zoo Murder---

Decent cover but unnecessary (and less interesting) retitling---or correct title but jaw-dropping error?


Apr 6, 6:33am Top

>193 lyzard: Oh my stars! Who's responsible for proofreading covers whose blurbs contain such basic errors?

On the plus side, sans typo that blurb would definitely get me to pick up that book! I look forward to your report on why that would be a bad idea. :-)

Edited: Apr 6, 6:55am Top

The thought of a publishing house letting that off the premises---!?

So far with Grierson I've only read a couple of his thrillers, which I find a bit tiresome (they tend to be based around a treasure-hunt---rather than, you know, lions eating people), but I shall hope for better this time. (You know---lions eating people...)

Edited: Apr 6, 9:10am Top

>193 lyzard: Heh. At last year's World Science Fiction Convention I picked up a copy of Baen's The Year's Best Military & Adventure SF 2015 on the free table. Apparently they were giving copies away because they'd misspelled an author's name on the cover. The version that was officially released had only the editor's name, I suppose to avoid a similar mistake.

At least in that case *someone* caught it, but not before thousands of copies had been printed. The temptation must have been great just to ship them anyway hoping nobody would notice.

Edited: Apr 6, 9:38am Top

>195 lyzard: >196 swynn: No system of internal checks is perfect, unfortunately. I once worked on a book that went out with a typo in the title on the cover despite many people needing to sign off on the cover proof. It was an annual publication, so apparently all any of us checked were the things that changed from year to year, such as the year, and we just assumed the actual title was correct. However, it turned out that the text on the cover had been recreated that year because the old file was missing, as we learned later, and the typo was introduced at that time. It wasn't discovered until a month or two after the book had shipped to subscribers. Oops.

Apr 6, 5:44pm Top

It is wonderful what you don't see when you "know" what something says. I was resident proofreader during my previous job and I am VERY familiar with that one!

This edition of The Zoo Murder was released in 1939, so I suppose I can put the error down to "nervous tension" or "wartime shortages", as the case may have been. :)

Apr 6, 6:20pm Top

>198 lyzard: Indeed! The typo in this case was "County" for "Country" so it even was a correctly spelled word. Still, it was a bit discomfitting to have the CEO bring it up in conversation, basically saying "So, Harry, I hear you've added a new product to our offerings." :-)

Apr 6, 9:33pm Top

I was either a copyeditor or other sort of editor at various newspapers for 18 years. It's astonishing what a dozen sets of eyes will completely miss — and that was back when newspapers still thought copyeditors were worth paying! I'm amazed that any newspaper gets published these days without typos all over the place — and of course, some don't.

Apr 6, 9:48pm Top

Apologies for doubling up on your thread, Liz, but I think you need to see this:

You can thank me later.

Apr 7, 1:04am Top

Thank you!? I'm DYING here!!!!

Apr 7, 1:52pm Top

Ah, Julia beat me to it. I was just coming to post that same link for you!! Sloths!! With photos taken by our own Oberon (Eric) during his Costa Rica vacation with his family.

Apr 7, 6:24pm Top


Edited: Apr 8, 5:17pm Top

Finished The Zoo Murder for TIOLI #2.

(You don't need to pick this one up, Julia!)

Now reading If Winter Comes by A. S. M. Hutchinson.

Apr 8, 7:20pm Top

>205 lyzard: Aw, too bad. I'll still look forward to your detailed comments, though. Those are always fun with the bad ones!

Apr 8, 7:22pm Top

Not bad, just dull, which is an occupational hazard with Grierson. In this case the dullness is exacerbated by the fact that the "eaten by a lion" business turns out to be almost a throwaway detail. (No, really!)

Edited: Apr 8, 8:23pm Top

Philip Frickin' MacDonald, sigh.

I suppose I should just read the damn things, so I can stop copying this from thread to thread to thread...

Anthony Gethryn:
#5: Persons Unknown - aka The Maze - first published in the US late in 1930, republished early in 1931, published in the UK in 1932, which is usually, incorrectly, listed as its publication date
#6: The Choice aka The Polferry Mystery aka The Polferry Riddle, 1931
#7: The Wraith, 1931
#8: The Crime Conductor - published late 1931 in the US, early 1932 in the UK
#9: Rope To Spare, 1932

Edited: May 15, 8:49pm Top

(NB: Spoilers for A Bid For Fortune)

Dr Nikola (US title: Dr Nikola Returns) - Created by the Australian author, Guy Newell Boothby, in 1895, Dr Nikola was one of pulp fiction's first "master criminals", a model for many such insidious figures to come. However, while his first appearance in A Bid For Fortune found Nikola lurking in the shadows of the narrative, harassing and threatening the characters from whose point of view the story was told in his efforts to acquire a certain Chinese artefact, the action of Dr Nikola places him front and centre: a protagonist if not exactly a hero; at least, modern readers are unlikely to find him "heroic", his sidekick-narrator even less so. After an adventurous life spent roaming the world, making and losing money, Wilfred Bruce is in Shanghai, on the verge of destitution, when he is approached by Dr Nikola, who has a proposition for him... Bruce's inquiries about his potential employer are hardly reassuring - one acquaintance admits frankly to being terrified of him, and disturbing stories abound - but Bruce is in no position to be fussy; and in any event, finds himself fascinated by the enigmatic stranger. Nikola explains to Bruce that he wants his companionship, his local knowledge and his strong right arm on a dangerous expedition: the attempted infiltration of a secret and ancient monastery in Tibet, in order to gain the extraordinary medical knowledge held by the monks---including, it is rumoured, how to raise the dead... Like so many adventure stories of this period, Dr Nikola is more than a little uncomfortable in its blithe assumption that other cultures exist merely to be plundered and exploited by Europeans, and that anyone objecting to this is automatically "a bad guy". Furthermore, we are asked to accept that a pair of very Caucasian Caucasians - one of whom is "always deadly pale, a sort of toad-skin pallor" - would have no difficulty in disguising themselves as Chinese, or doing it well enough to fool the super-suspicious members of a secret society. However, if you can get past all this - not to mention the trail of corpses our "heroes" leave in their wake - Dr Nikola is the kind of breathless adventure story that gives the reader with little time to ponder its myriad improbabilities. Bruce learns from Nikola that he has engineered the kidnapping of a candidate to be initiated into the mysteries of the monastery, and intends to take his place. The two men travel from Shanghai to Peking, and from there north through the mountains, facing physical hardship and danger at every turn, from which Nikola's quick thinking and almost occult powers manage to extricate them. But will even the remarkable Nikola be able to save himself and Bruce once the gates of the hidden monastery have closed behind them...?

    I knocked the ashes out of my pipe, and rolling over on my blankets, looked Nikola straight in the face.
    "By the time you have got to the end of this business," I said, "your information, presuming all the time that you do get it, will have cost you close on £40,000---very possibly more; you will have endangered your own life, to say nothing of mine, and have run the risk of torture and all other sorts of horrors. Do you think it is worth it?"
    "My dear Bruce, I would risk twice as much to attain my ends. If I did not think it worth it I should not have embarked upon it at all. You little know the value of my quest. With the knowledge I shall gain I shall revolutionise the whole science of medicine. There will be only one doctor in the world, and he will be Dr. Nikola! Think of that. If I desired fame, what greater reputation could I have. If money, there is wealth untold in this scheme for me. If I wish to benefit my fellow-man, how can I do it better than by unravelling the tangled skein of Life and Death? It is also plain that you have not grasped my character yet. I tell you this, if it became necessary for me, for a purpose I had in view, to find and kill a certain fly, I would follow that fly into the utmost parts of Asia, and spend all I possessed in the world upon the chase; but one thing is very certain, I would kill that fly. How much more then in a matter which is as important as life itself to me?"

Edited: May 15, 8:54pm Top

N or M? - Tommy and Tuppence Beresford are depressed and frustrated by their inability to find meaningful war-work when their old friend, "Mr Carter" of the Secret Service, comes to their rescue---or at least, to Tommy's: once Tuppence has been got out of the way, he is offered the chance to undertake an undercover mission, attempting to identify the German agents known only as 'N' and 'M', who are involved in Fifth Column activities meant to pave the way for a German invasion of England. Telling Tuppence that he has secured a dull but necessary administration job in Scotland, Tommy in fact sets out for a boarding-house in the coastal town of Leahampton, where the espionage seems to be centred---and where he is astonished to find already in residence a certain 'Mrs Blenkinsop'... After the indirect approach of One, Two, Buckle My Shoe, in N or M? Agatha Christie takes the bull by the horns in this tale of war-time espionage: one written during the dark days preceding the Battle of Britain, when invasion was a real and imminent threat. There is, we suspect, a measure of self-identification in Christie's presentation of Tommy and Tuppence who (unlike some of Christie's more famous characters) have aged in real time, and so are considered "past it" by their loving but disrespectful children, who think that the "old folk" (they're in their forties) should sit quietly at home and leave the winning of the war to them. Needless to say, neither Tommy nor Tuppence is the sitting-at-home type---while their value to the authorities sits exactly where it always did, the combination of their amateur (and therefore unknown) status with Tommy's steady caution and Tuppence's insight and quick thinking. The two of them undertake their mission in the knowledge that their predecessor was discovered and murdered; what slight information they have was culled from his dying words. The situation of Leahampton does indeed offer advantages for enemy action, but the idea that as commonplace a boarding-house as Sans Souci could be the centre of espionage activity seems incredible. And yet, as both 'Mr Meadowes' and 'Mrs Blenkinsop' soon realise, something there is definitely wrong... The landlady, Mrs Perenna - Irish, though she bears a Spanish name - her rebellious daughter, Sheila, and a young German refugee, Carl von Deinim, seem the obvious suspects; perhaps too obvious? But could any of the other residents really be a German agent hiding in plain sight? Between them, Tommy and Tuppence must consider and test intimidating Mrs O'Rourke; fussy spinster, Miss Minton; Anglo-Indian bore, Major Bletchley; hypochondriacal Mr Cayley and the submissive Mrs Cayley; and young wife, Mrs Sprot, who has been evacuated from London with her toddler, Betty. It is Tommy who first stumbles over a part of the truth---and when he subsequently disappears, Tuppence must bury her terror in order to set a trap for the enemy: one in which she herself is the bait...

    It was Tuppence's turn to talk to the fisherman on the end of the pier.
    She had hoped against hope that Mr Grant might have some comfort for her. But her hopes were soon dashed. He stated definitely that no news of any kind had come from Tommy.
    Tuppence said, trying her best to make her voice assured and business-like: "There's no reason to suppose that anything has---has happened to him?"
    "None whatever. But let's suppose it has."
    "I'm saying---suppose it has. What about you?"
    "Oh, I see. I---carry on, of course."
    "That's the stuff. There is time to weep after the battle. We're in the thick of the battle now. And time is short..."

Edited: Apr 9, 7:24pm Top

...and thereby hangs a tale.

Today we know all about the activities of Bletchley Park, but in 1941 it was Britain's most important secret; and when Agatha Christie published a spy-novel featuring a character called 'Major Bletchley', The Authorities, en masse, turned pale. Was there a leak? Was this Agatha showing off her knowledge?

And so England's best-selling novelist found herself under investigation by MI5.

They were cautious, and tactful. Agatha was friends with Dilly Knox, one of the Bletchley code-breakers, who - after denying that he was the source of her apparent knowledge - was sent in to sound her out. Agatha explained that she had once had a perfectly beastly time at Bletchley, stuck there for hours when her train was stopped en route to London. Calling an exasperating bore 'Major Bletchley' was her revenge.

This explanation satisfied The Authories, but---I wonder...

Edited: May 15, 8:57pm Top

Lady Of Quality - Taking the daring step of removing from her brother's country estate and setting up her own residence in Bath, Annis Wychwood concedes to convention by accepting her garrulous spinster cousin, Maria Farlow, into her household; even though she considers herself, at twenty-nine, past the age of needing a chaperone. On the journey to Bath, Annis encounters two young people, Lucilla Carleton and Ninian Elmore, whose carriage has lost a wheel. She offers to shelter Lucilla for the night, and hears from her a garbled story about a forced engagement, and Lucilla's own attempt to run away from it. Seeing, as the girl does not, that scandal may ensue, Annis tries to smooth the situation over, writing to Lucilla's aunt and turning the escapade into a visit. She soon realises, however, that her kindness has bought trouble, first when Miss Farlow evinces an angry jealousy of Lucilla, second when it brings down upon her the wrath of Mr Oliver Carleton, Lucilla's guardian, who has a not-undeserved reputation as the rudest man in London... Lady Of Quality was the last of Georgette Heyer's historical romances - the last of her works to be published in her lifetime - and, like its predecessor, Charity Girl, it contains echoes of earlier works: in this case, Black Sheep in particular. The humour is less successful here, however, with a suggestion of strain and contrivance in the overly-familiar situations. On the other hand, the psychology is rather interesting, with the beautiful and wealthy Annis, who finds nothing to excite her in the exemplary conduct of her various suitors, strangely drawn to the rough-mannered Oliver Carleton, whose reputation as a libertine is enough to send Annis's over-protective brother, Sir Geoffrey, into a panic. But Annis, though her manners and behaviour are very different, has a ruthless streak quite equal to Carleton's own; and in his Juggernaut behaviour, seems to see a reflection of her own frequent (if hidden) impatience and exasperation. Annis is not long in doubt of her own feelings, but must negotiate the outraged negativity of Sir Geoffrey, the worried doubt of his gentle wife, Amabel, and the hysteria of Maria Farlow before she can achieve happiness. She must also struggle through a violent bout of influenza---and take the consequences of a shocking interlude of "carousing"...

    "When I ask myself what you could give me in exchange for my liberty, which is very dear to me, I---oh, I don't know, I don't know!"
    "Nothing but my love... If you marry me, it must be because you wish to spend your life at my side, not for any other reason! There are many things I can give you, but I don't mean to dangle them before you, in the hope that you might be bribed me." His eyes gleamed. "You would send me to the rightabout in two shakes of a lamb's tail if I did, wouldn't you, my dear hornet? And I wouldn't blame you!"
    "It would certainly be carrying incivility to the verge of insult!" Annis said, trying for a lighter note. "There is no saying, however, that you might not be able to bribe me by promising never to snap my nose off!"
    He smiled, and shook his head. "I never make empty promises!"

Edited: Apr 9, 9:20pm Top

Daylight Murder (US title: Murder At High Noon) - Three months after his disappearance, the body of Charles Diegel, financial editor of the Morning Register, is found inside a haystack on a farm in the south of England. Diegel was stabbed to death, possibly with a three-pronged pitchfork; while to the horror of the police, his eyes were pricked out after death. Was he killed by a superstitious local---or is this merely an attempt to suggest it? The building of the stack dates the murder very precisely at the end of June, when Diegel's disappearance was first reported. Superintendent Fillinger of the Dorset police and Inspector Cummings of Scotland Yard join forces with Blight, a reporter who worked with Diegel, to trace the events that led up to his disappearance---and, as they now know, death. What they learn is that Diegel's financial and sexual manoeuvring means no shortage of suspects... Daylight Murder is another unusual mystery by Australian author, Paul McGuire: highly enjoyable for the most part, though it perhaps spends more time dwelling on the details of Diegel's financial chicanery than necessary. On the other hand, McGuire's characterisations are as strong as ever, and as usual Daylight Murder is shot through with touches of irony and black humour which help to leaven the gruesomeness of the murder. It also does an excellent job answering the eternal Golden Age mystery question---how could one person have so many others wanting him dead? The novel opens with the finding of Diegel's body and the ugly details of his death, before flashing back to his disappearance, with Blight taking over the narrative. The third-person telling them resumes as the formal investigation gets underway, with the police forming a somewhat uneasy alliance with the reporter---the latter under strict orders to cooperate as far as it will advantage his newspaper: a situation complicated still more by the fact that Blight's boss, editor Featherstonehaugh, clearly has more than a platonic interest in Diegel's wife; widow. Diegel's various crimes and misdemeanors make his movements on the day of his death hard to trace, as he had a vested interest in concealing them. However, the investigators learn that four people - Diegel's brother, Albert; businessman George Raddish; Featherstonehaugh; and a Mrs Brossett - had been defrauded by Diegel, losing large sums of money in the process; while at least three people - Hilda, the betrayed wife; Mrs Brossett, the abandoned mistress; and Mr Brossett, the jealous husband - all had personal motives. Furthermore, the police establish that four of their suspects - Albert Diegel, Hilda Diegel, George Raddish and Betty Brossett - were within driving distance of the crime scene on the day in question, while Andrew Brossett, supposedly in London, has no real alibi. Furthermore, though he keeps it to himself, Blight isn't quite sure about Featherstonehaugh. Meanwhile, much to his indignation, the police have an eye on him...

    "What are the terms of Charles Diegel's will? Is there anthing to suggest that Diegel's death has been of definite advantage to any one of them? Is there anything in the behaviour of any one of them which suggests that they knew Diegel was dead all the time? Is there---"
    "I think we've enough questions to start with," said Cummings soberly. "They're good questions, Superintendent. They've given me something to think about, things to watch for, every day of these four months." He glanced across at me. "Blight, you may be useful here. You know these people better than I do, you've had your own opportunities for watching them. If I ask you to collaborate here, can I trust you? Some of them are friends of yours---"
    "You can trust me," I said.
    "Your own alibi will have to be tested again, you know."
    "I've got it all nicely framed for you."

Edited: Apr 9, 10:32pm Top

The Bartlett Mystery - Winifred Bartlett lives an isolated life, moving between the lonely house she shares with her aunt and an unsatisfying job at a book-binder's, with only the knowledge that some danger makes this necessary to reconcile her to her circumstances. To Winifred's bewilderment, her aunt, Rachel Craik, falls under suspicion in a shocking murder case, though she is soon released; while the girl herself is also questioned. Winifred's lecherous supervisor, Fowle, takes advantage of this to have her dismissed, hoping to exploit her destitute situation; but his harassment of her brings to her rescue young businessman Rex Carshaw---who promptly falls in love with her. Meanwhile, Detective Clancy has accidentally observed a meeting between Rachel Craik and Senator Meiklejohn, and satisfied himself of a further connection between them and a man calling himself Ralph Voles---prime suspect in the murder of Ronald Tower, killed in mistake for the Senator... The third and final work in Louis Tracy's series featuring Steingall and Clancy of the New York Detective Bureau is, like its predecessor, One Wonderful Night, less a conventional mystery than an adventure-romance. This time around, however, a sense of humour is unfortunately lacking, its place being taken by straightfaced melodrama and some unwelcome class snobbery; though this is somewhat balanced by the interesting relationship between the contrasting detectives and a plot that crams non-stop twists and turns into its limited pages. Winifred eventually learns that it is her startling resemblance to her late mother than makes her concealment necessary---but this only opens up further questions about her real identity and background. Meanwhile, Ralph Voles holds yet another secret, one shared between them, over Senator Meiklejohn's head, forcing the politician to participate in his ugly schemes for Winifred, which progress as far as a planned forced marriage; though in this, Voles reckons without Rachel, who for all her hard coldness nurses an unquenchable passion for him. Rex Carshaw joins forces with Steingall and Clancy in their efforts to rescue Winifred from her persecutors, a task which becomes a desperate race against time when the men learn of a plot to carry her out of the country...

    “Ah, quit that hair-trigger business!” snapped Clancy. “You just listen, an’ maybe you’ll hear something interesting. Ralph Vane Meiklejohn left Vermont soon afterward. Twelve years ago a certain Ralph Voles was sentenced to five years in a penitentiary for swindling. Mrs. Marchbanks’s child lived. It was a girl, and baptised as Winifred. She was looked after as a matter of charity by William Meiklejohn, and entrusted to the care of Miss Bartlett, the ex-governess.”
    Carshaw was certainly “interested” now. “Winifred! My Winifred!” he cried, grasping the detective’s shoulder in his excitement.
    “Tut, tut!” grinned Clancy. “Guess the story’s beginning to grip. Yes. Winifred is ‘the image of her mother,’ said Voles. She must be ‘taken away from New York.’ Why? Why did this same Ralph vanish from Vermont after her father’s death ‘by accident’? Why does a wealthy and influential Senator join in the plot against her, invoking the aid of your mother and of Mrs. Tower? These are questions to be asked, but not yet. First, you must get back your Winifred..."

Apr 9, 10:27pm Top

I've at last finished Danger Point. Shall we tackle The Chinese Shawl in May or June?

Apr 9, 10:33pm Top

I'm fine with May, unless Liz needs more time to acquire it?

Edited: Apr 9, 10:50pm Top

Well done! Probably June unless you or Julia have an urgent preference. We did say every two months, and the next is a slightly tricky ILL for me.

ETA: Great minds! I *can* do it next month as long as I know now?

ETA2: BTW, Julia, Harry and I are also plotting a joint read of The Merrivale Mystery---you remember that one, don't you? - where the detective tells the suspects, "You are living the life of a potato!" :D

Edited: Apr 9, 10:50pm Top

>217 lyzard: It was a bit of a struggle. :-)

Whatever works best for you is fine, Liz.

ETA2: Do join in, Julia, if you can!

Apr 10, 2:48am Top

I can understand that, although it finally won me over in a rather nasty way. :)

If you two are fine with May for The Chinese Shawl, that works for me: I'll place the ILL now.

Apr 10, 2:48am Top

Finished If Winter Comes for TIOLI #6.

Now reading Elsie's Children by Martha Finley...heaven help me.

Edited: Apr 10, 2:53am Top

Oh, yeah?

With this volume, bringing the story of Elsie and her children down to the present time, the series closes...
---Martha Finley, Preface to Elsie's Children (#6 in a series of 28)

Apr 10, 6:59am Top

>219 lyzard: Oh, I didn't mean to upset the apple cart — I'm fine with waiting for June if that was the original plan. I had gotten so excited about us all reading them together that I forgot all the details. :-)

>212 lyzard: Lovely review of Lady of Quality. I like this one but not as much as, say, Black Sheep which as you say is somewhat similar, and certainly not as much as Venetia, another unconventional woman and dissolute man. I was never quite convinced of why Annis and Carleton fell in love, despite them both being unconventional and liking that in each other. It felt a little abrupt, maybe? I don't know; anyway it's not one of my absolute favorites but it's still decent.

Apr 10, 7:56am Top

Well, we did say every two months but there's no problem with moving more quickly as long as no-one feels pressured.

Thanks, Julia---yes, I think 'abrupt' is a good word. We know Georgette was struggling at this time so it's not surprising, though sad, that things weren't quite at her usual standard. But then, her usual standard was so high! :)

Apr 10, 8:01am Top

Happy Monday, Liz!

Apr 10, 8:13am Top

>219 lyzard: Yes, the latter part of the book did deliver.

>222 rosalita: >223 lyzard: I had forgotten the tentative schedule, too. :-)

Why don't we go with May for The Chinese Shawl and then see whether we want to tackle another one in June or allow Miss Silver a month off? :-)

Apr 10, 9:29am Top

>223 lyzard: >225 harrygbutler: OK, we'll wrap ourselves in a Chinese shawl in May and then revisit the schedule after that? Sounds like a plan to me.

>217 lyzard: I would love to read more about living the life of a potato! I'll have to see if The Merrivale Mystery is available to me from any of my usual dealers ...

Apr 10, 5:43pm Top

>224 alcottacre:

Thanks, Stasia!

>225 harrygbutler:

I was thinking that it works better if you've read quite a few of that sort of thriller.

>225 harrygbutler:, >226 rosalita:

Yup, definitely a plan!

Corbett's books are not easy to find, alas! - the combination of general obscurity plus a few of us who understand his, uh, unique talents snapping up the remainder.

Apr 10, 5:53pm Top

I think this might be right up your alley, Liz, and it's open to international as well as US.


Apr 10, 6:01pm Top

Thanks for the heads-up, Roni!

Apr 10, 6:04pm Top

>225 harrygbutler: A paucity of likable characters and too little involvement by Miss Silver weakened it for me.

>226 rosalita: >227 lyzard: I do see some affordable copies (for those in the U.S., anyhow :-) ) available online, and a quick search at Worldcat suggests the book may be available via ILL, too (though I've had plenty of disappointments on that score with older popular fiction that seemed to be available).

Apr 10, 6:12pm Top

That's the nature of the genre - everyone has to be a suspect! - but no argument on your second point.

Edited: Apr 10, 6:27pm Top

March stats:

In March I completed the Georgette Heyer chronological read project, and overcompensated by setting myself two more challenges.

Works read: 19
TIOLI: 19, in 15 different challenges, with three shared reads and a sweep!

Mystery / thriller: 11
Young adult: 2
Classic: 2
Contemporary drama: 1
Historical romance: 1
Children's fiction: 1
Non-fiction: 1

Re-reads: 5
Series works: 13
Blog reads: 1
1932: 0
1931: 0
Virago / Persephone: 0
Potential decommission: 0

Owned: 8
Library: 5
Ebook: 6

Male authors : female authors: 13 (including 1 using a female pseudonym) : 6

Oldest work: The Hermit In Van Diemen's Land by Henry Savery (1830)
Newest work: This House Of Grief: The Story Of A Murder Trial by Helen Garner (2014)

Edited: May 15, 11:02pm Top

First quarter stats:

Works read: 53
TIOLI: 53, in 40 different challenges, with 8 shared reads and 1 sweep

Mystery / thriller: 24 (45.3%)
Contemporary drama: 7 (13.21%)
Young adult: 5 (9.43%)
Classic: 4 (7.55%)
Historical romance: 3 (5.66%)
Humour: 3 (5.66%)
Non-fiction: 2 (3.77%)
Historical drama: 1 (1.89%)
Science fiction: 1 (1.89%)
Short stories: 1 (1.89%)
Fantasy: 1 (1.89%)
Western: 1 (1.89%)

Re-reads: 10 (18.87%)
Series works: 35 (66.04%)
Blog reads: 2 (3.77%)
1932: 6 (11.32%)
1931: 2 (3.77%)
Virago / Persephone: 1 (1.89%)
Potential decommission: 1 (1.89%)

Owned: 16 (30.19%)
Library: 16 (30.19%)
Ebook: 21 (39.62%)

Male authors : female authors: 31 : 24

Oldest work: The Hermit In Van Diemen's Land by Henry Savery (1830)
Newest work: 1815: Regency Britain In The Year Of Waterloo by Stephen Bates (2015)

Edited: Apr 10, 6:51pm Top

...and with so many stats, one sloth just isn't enough!

Apr 10, 6:37pm Top

>231 lyzard: Oh, I'm not griping about that. I certainly read enough mysteries where the only trustworthy people are those investigating, and not always them. :-) It's just that, unlike in the previous Miss Silver, I couldn't stand the protagonist — which would have been OK if there had been more space devoted to an unraveling of the situation by Inspector March or by Miss Silver or by both but made the first half especially an exercise in tedium for me.

Apr 10, 6:48pm Top

Fair enough!

Apr 10, 6:53pm Top

>230 harrygbutler: I find myself more or less agreement with Harry — I was excited when Miss Silver appeared on the first page, but then she disappeared for such a long period of time!

ILL is a great idea — I always forget about that. I will see if I can acquire it that way. Is there a general timeline for when we are reading The Merrivale Mystery? I recall that Liz will be reading the others that come before it in the Mystery League series first, but I don't know exactly where this one comes in and I'm too lazy to go back and look. :-)

Apr 10, 6:55pm Top

>234 lyzard: Did you sneak that sloth in while I was posting? No matter — they are adorbs!

Apr 10, 7:19pm Top

>237 rosalita:

Yes, that part's a letdown.

We can't put a timeframe on our 'Mystery League' challenge because the availability of the books is going to be a major and ongoing issue. In the case of The Merrivale Mystery, both Harry and I own copies, so if you're really interested, why don't you go ahead and see if you can get hold of it, and if / when you do, that's when we'll tackle it?

>238 rosalita:


Apr 10, 7:47pm Top

>234 lyzard: Love the sloths!! I have watched I do not know how many of the Animal Planet videos of sloths on YouTube :)

Apr 10, 8:52pm Top

Oh, me too! They're mesmeric, in the best way. :)

Edited: Apr 10, 8:53pm Top

Having wrapped up my March reviews, I've started a new thread. Please drop in and say hi! (Or make a bad joke, as the case may be!)


Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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