This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
  • LibraryThing
  • Book discussions
  • Your LibraryThing
  • Join to start using.

lyzard's list: worshipping obscurity in 2017 - Part 8

This is a continuation of the topic lyzard's list: worshipping obscurity in 2017 - Part 7.

75 Books Challenge for 2017

Join LibraryThing to post.

Oct 10, 2017, 5:56pm Top

The Australian Capital Territory and its centrepoint, Canberra, take a lot of flak for one reason or another - well, it's where our politicians hide from reality, so perhaps it's not altogether surprising - but despite its very man-made, laid-out character, there are some natural beauties around if you know where to look.

On the left is Namadgi National Park, which lies to the south-west of Canberra and comprises about a half of the entire area of the ACT. The park consists of a series of highly varied landscape, with granite mountains, snow-gum forests, alpine meadows and grass plains within its boundaries, and abundant wildlife. It is a vital Aboriginal heritage area, with signs of occupancy dating back over 21,000 years.

On the right is something that better expresses the character of the ACT, a compromise between the natural and the artificial. The annual Floriade Festival, which started in 1988 as a one-off celebration of Canberra's 75th anniversary, is currently in the middle of its 30th iteration. Gardens composed of over a million flowering bulbs remain the main attraction, but these are supported by music festivals, wine-tasting, various rides and other attractions, and an increasingly popular gnome-decorating contest.


Edited: Dec 27, 2017, 5:25pm 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:

Taken At The Flood by Agatha Christie (1948)

Edited: Oct 10, 2017, 6:02pm 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: Oct 10, 2017, 6:06pm Top

2017 reading


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)
61. Elsie's Children by Martha Finley (1877)
62. The Linger-Nots And Their Golden Quest; or, The Log Of The Ocean Monarch by Agnes Miller (1923)
63. The Three Just Men by Edgar Wallace (1926)
64. Again The Three Just Men by Edgar Wallace (1928)
65. Ruth Fielding At College; or, The Missing Examination Papers by Alice B. Emerson (1917)
66. The Dangerous Dandy by Barbara Cartland (1974)
67. Graustark: The Story Of A Love Behind A Throne by George Barr McCutcheon (1901)
68. Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy L. Sayers (1933)
69. Peril At Cranbury Hall by John Rhode (1930)
70. The Clutching Hand by Charles J. Dutton (1928)
71. The Body In The Library by Agatha Christie (1942)
72. The Mysteries Of London; or, Revelations Of The British Metropolis by Paul Féval (1847)
73. The Mystery Of The Cape Cod Players by Phoebe Atwood Taylor (1933)
74. The 'Z' Murders by J. Jefferson Farjeon (1932)
75. The Holy War by John Bunyan (1682)


76. Zoe: The History Of Two Lives by Geraldine Jewsbury (1845)
77. Patty's Friends by Carolyn Wells (1908)
78. Peregrine's Progress; or, Diana Of The Dawn by Jeffery Farnol (1922)
79. Agatha Webb by Anna Katharine Green (1899)
80. Black Oxen by Gertrude Atherton (1923)
81. Ruth Fielding In The Saddle; or, College Girls In The Land Of Gold by Alice B. Emerson (1917)
82. Red And Black by Grace S. Richmond (1919)
83. The Bunch Of Violets by Ernest Bramah (1924)
84. Ma Cinderella by Harold Bell Wright (1932)
85. Max Carrados Mysteries by Ernest Bramah (1927)
86. Someone Like You by Roald Dahl (1961)
87. The Beautiful Wretch by William Black (1881)
88. The Chinese Shawl by Patricia Wentworth (1943)
89. Walk With Care by Patricia Wentworth (1933)
90. The Murder At Crome House by G. D. H. and Margaret Cole (1927)
91. Spooky Hollow by Carolyn Wells (1923)
92. Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie (1942)
93. The Madwoman In The Attic: The Woman Writer And The Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination by Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar (1979)
94. Pontifex, Son And Thorndyke by R. Austin Freeman (1931)


95. The Hand Of Power by Edgar Wallace (1927)
96. Streaked With Crimson by Charles J. Dutton (1929)
97. Murder Gone Mad by Philip MacDonald (1931)
98. The Man From The River by G. D. H. and Margaret Cole (1928)
99. The Furthest Fury by Carolyn Wells (1924)
100. Drury Lane's Last Case by Barnaby Ross (1933)
101. The Circular Study by Anna Katharine Green (1900)
102. So Big by Edna Ferber (1924)
103. The Taking Men by Anne Hepple (1940)
104. The Outrageous Lady by Barbara Cartland (1977)
105. The Linger-Nots And The Whispering Charm; or, The Secret From Old Alaska by Agnes Miller (1925)
106. Oh Happy Youth by Kay Cleaver Strahan (1931)
107. Red Of The Redfields by Grace S. Richmond (1924)
108. An International Affair by Bruce Graeme (1934)
109. The Chinese Parrot by Earl Derr Biggers (1926)
110. The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie (1943)
111. Un Crime en Hollande by Georges Simenon (1931)
112. Before The Crossing by Storm Jameson (1947)

Edited: Oct 10, 2017, 6:10pm Top

2017 reading


113. He Knew He Was Right by Anthony Trollope (1869)
114. The Merrivale Mystery by James Corbett (1929)
115. Vote For Love by Barbara Cartland (1977)
116. Soundings by A. Hamilton Gibbs (1925)
117. Red Pepper Returns by Grace S. Richmond (1931)
118. Le Histoire de Gil Blas de Santillane by Alain René Le Sage (1715 / 1735)
119. The Bravo Of London by Ernest Bramah (1934)
120. Had You Been In His Place by Lizzie Bates (1873)
121. Towards Zero by Agatha Christie (1944)
122. Down Under by Patricia Wentworth (1937)


123. The Mad Monk by R. T. M. Scott (1931)
124. Death On The Highway by Clifton Robbins (1933)
125. Dead Or Alive by Patricia Wentworth (1936)
126. Death At Windward Hill by Helen Joan Hultman (1931)
127. When Rogues Fall Out by R. Austin Freeman (1932)
128. The Beachcomber by William McFee (1935)
129. The House Of Terror by Edward Woodward (1929)
130. Julia De Roubigné by Henry Mackenzie (1777)
131. The Private Life Of Helen Of Troy by John Erskine (1925)
132. Ruth Fielding In The Red Cross; or, Doing Her Best For Uncle Sam by Alice B. Emerson (1918)
133. Rolling Stone by Patricia Wentworth (1940)
134. Death Of A Ghost by Margery Allingham (1934)
135. The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers (1934)
136. Death Comes As The End by Agatha Christie (1944)
137. Who Pays The Piper? by Patricia Wentworth (1940)


138. Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë (1847)
139. Corinne; ou, l'Italie by Madame de Staël (1807)
140. A House Divided by Pearl S. Buck (1935)
141. Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis (1927)
142. Pursuit Of A Parcel by Patricia Wentworth (1942)
143. The Orange Divan by Valentine Williams (1923)
144. Cottage Sinister by Q. Patrick (1931)
145. Wanted! by W. Carlton Dawe (1931)
146. Prillilgirl by Carolyn Wells (1924)
147. Dr Thorndyke Intervenes by R. Austin Freeman (1933)
148. Miss Silver Intervenes by Patricia Wentworth (1944)
149. Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers (1935)
150. Gallantry Unmask'd; or, Women In Their Proper Colours by Anonymous (1690)
151. The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith (1955)
152. The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson (1952)
153. Sparkling Cyanide by Agatha Christie (1945)
154. Sleeping Dogs by Carolyn Wells (1929)
155. The Curse Of Doone by Sydney Horler (1928)
156. Smash And Grab by Clifton Robbins (1934)

Edited: Dec 29, 2017, 9:07pm Top

2017 reading


157. The Sicilian by "Gabrielli" (1798)
158. Down There by David Goodis (1956)
159. Pick-Up by Charles Willeford (1955)
160. The Real Cool Killers by Chester B. Himes (1957)
161. The Darker Saints by Brian Hodge (1993)
162. G. W. M. Reynolds: Nineteenth-Century Fiction, Politics, And The Press by Anne Humpherys and Louis James (eds.) (2008)
163. The Marching Feet by Annie S. Swan (1931)
164. The Bridge Of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder (1927)
165. Elsie's Widowhood by Martha Finley (1880)
166. Methylated Murder by Clifton Robbins (1935)
167. Busman's Honeymoon by Dorothy L. Sayers (1937)
168. The Bishop Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine (1928)
169. The Hollow by Agatha Christie (1946)
170. The Woman In The Alcove by Anna Katharine Green (1906)


171. Ashton-Kirk: Special Detective by John T. McIntyre (1914)
172. One Of My Sons by Anna Katharine Green (1901)
173. Murder Backstairs by Anne Austin (1930)
174. Murder From The Grave by Will Levinrew (1930)
175. Abomination by Guy N. Smith (1986)
176. Reckless Youth by Archibald Thomas Pechey (1941)
177. The Duke's Children: First Complete Edition by Anthony Trollope (1880 / 2015)
178. The Mysteries Of London (Volume I) by George William Macarthur Reynolds (1845)
179. The Wayward Man by St John Ervine (1927)
180. The Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter (1809)
181. All Quiet On The Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (1929)
182. The Clock Strikes Twelve by Patricia Wentworth (1944)
183. The Labours Of Hercules by Agatha Christie (1947)
184. The Mystery Of The Cape Cod Tavern by Phoebe Atwood Taylor (1934)
185. Ashton-Kirk: Criminologist by John T. McIntyre (1918)


186. Gold Of The Gods by Arthur B. Reeve (1915)
187. Fever Of Love by Denise Robins (1931)
188. A Footman For The Peacock by Rachel Ferguson (1940)
189. The Moon Of Much Gladness by Ernest Bramah (1932)
190. Ruth Fielding At The War Front; or, The Hunt For The Lost Soldier by Alice B. Emerson (1918)
191. Ruth Fielding Homeward Bound; or, A Red Cross Worker's Ocean Perils by Alice B. Emerson (1919)
192. Now, Voyager by Olive Higgins Prouty (1941)
193. Cimarron by Edna Ferber (1929)
194. The House Of The Whispering Pines by Anna Katharine Green (1910)
195. For The Defence: Dr Thorndyke by R. Austin Freeman (1934)
196. The House Of Sudden Sleep by John Hawk (1930)
197. Murder At Bridge by Anne Austin (1931)
198. The Crime Without A Clue by Thomas Cobb (1929)
199. Murder On Wheels by Stuart Palmer (1932)
200. Taken At The Flood by Agatha Christie (1948)

Edited: Dec 22, 2017, 3:38am Top

Books in transit:

On interlibrary loan / branch transfer / storage request:
The Key by Patricia Wentworth

Upcoming requests:

Anthony Adverse by Hervey Allen {Fisher storage}

Mr Fortune Speaking by H. C. Bailey
The Wychford Poisoning Case by Anthony Berkeley
The Flickering Lamp by Netta Muskett
Dark Laughter by Sherwood Anderson

Purchased and shipped:

On loan:
*All Quiet On The Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (15/01/2018)
*Now, Voyager by Olive Higgins Prouty (19/01/2018)
*Cimarron by Edna Ferber (19/01/2018)
Gains And Losses by Robert Lee Wolff (12/02/2018)
The Semi-Attached Couple; and The Semi-Detached House by Emily Eden (13/03/2018)
The Absentee by Maria Edgeworth (16/03/2018)

Edited: Dec 22, 2017, 3:46am Top

Reading projects 2017:

Blog reads:
Chronobibliography: The Secret History Of The Reigns Of K. Charles II, And K. James II by Anonymous
Authors In Depth:
- Forest Of Montalbano by Catherine Cuthbertson
- 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' / Ellesmere by Mrs Meeke
- Family Pictures by Susannah and Margaret Minifie
- The Old Engagement by Julia Day
- The Refugee In America by Frances Trollope
Reading Roulette: The Prisoners Of Hartling by J. D. Beresford
Australian fiction: Louisa Egerton by Mary Leman Grimstone
Gothic novel timeline: Reginald Du Bray by 'A Late Nobleman'
Early crime fiction: The Mysteries Of London by G. W. M. Reynolds
Related reading: Gains And Losses by Robert Lee Wollf / The Man Of Feeling by Henry Mackenzie / Le Loup Blanc by Paul Féval

Group / tutored reads:

Completed: Deerbrook by Harriet Martineau (thread here)
Completed: The Duke's Children by Anthony Trollope (thread here)
Completed: Zoe: The History Of Two Lives by Geraldine Jewsbury (thread here)
Completed: He Knew He Was Right by Anthony Trollope (thread here)
Completed: Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte (thread here)

Now: The Duke's Children (restored edition) by Anthony Trollope (thread here)

Upcoming: The Semi-Attached Couple; and The Semi-Detached House by Emily Eden

General reading challenges:

America's best-selling novels (1895 - ????):
Next up: Anthony Adverse by Hervey Allen

Virago chronological reading project:
Next up: The Semi-Attached Couple; and The Semi-Detached House by Emily Eden

Agatha Christie mysteries in chronological order:
Next up: Taken At The Flood

C.K. Shorter List of Best 100 Novels:
Next up: The Absentee by Maria Edgeworth

Mystery League publications:
Next up: Jack O'Lantern by George Goodchild

Banned In Boston!:
Next up: Dark Laughter by Sherwood Anderson

The evolution of detective fiction:
Next up: The Mysteries Of London by G. W. M. Reynolds

Random reading 1940 - 1969:
Next up: The Loring Mystery by Jeffery Farnol

Potential decommission:
Next up: The Medusa Touch by Peter Van Greenaway

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
- 50 Classics of Crime Fiction 1900–1950 (Jacques Barzun and Wendell Hertig Taylor)
- The Guardian's 100 Best Novels

Edited: Nov 25, 2017, 9:01pm Top

A Century (And A Bit) Of Reading:

1807: Corinne; ou, l'Italie by Madame de Staël
1809: The Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter
1845: Zoe: The History Of Two Lives by Geraldine Jewsbury / The Mysteries Of London (Volume I) by G. W. M. Reynolds
1847: Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë
1869: He Knew He Was Right by Anthony Trollope
1873: Had You Been In His Place by Lizzie Bates
1877: Elsie's Children by Martha Finley
1880: The Duke's Children: First Complete Edition by Anthony Trollope / Elsie's Widowhood by Martha Finley
1881: The Beautiful Wretch by William Black
1899: Agatha Webb by Anna Katharine Green
1900: The Circular Study by Anna Katharine Green

(Note: I'm not counting the copy read of Paul Féval's The Mysteries Of London, as it is an abridgement.)

Edited: Oct 10, 2017, 6:19pm 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)
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)
When The Sea Gives Up Its Dead by Elizaberth Burgoyne Corbett (Mrs George Corbett)
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: Dec 21, 2017, 4:21pm Top

Series and sequels, 1866 - 1919:

(1866 - 1876) **Emile Gaboriau - Monsieur Lecoq - The Widow Lerouge (1/6) {ManyBooks}
(1867 - 1905) **Martha Finley - Elsie Dinsmore - Grandmother Elsie (8/28) {Project Gutenberg}
(1867 - 1872) **George MacDonald - The Seaboard Parish - Annals Of A Quiet Neighbourhood (1/3) {ManyBooks}
(1878 - 1917) **Anna Katharine Green - Ebenezer Gryce - Initials Only (12/13) {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 - Initials Only (6/7) {Project Gutenberg}
(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 - Kai Lung Beneath The Mulberry Tree (5/6) {Kindle}

(1901 - 1919) **Carolyn Wells - Patty Fairfield - Patty's Pleasure Trip (7/17) {HathiTrust / Kindle}
(1901 - 1927) **George Barr McCutcheon - Graustark - Beverly Of Graustark (2/6) {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 - Again The Three Just Men (6/6) {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 - The Penrose Mystery (22/26) {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 - Anything But The Truth (18/49) {Rare Books}
(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 Exploits Of Elaine (6/24) {Project Gutenberg}
(1910 - 1946) A. E. W. Mason - Inspector Hanaud - The House In Lordship Lane (7/7) {Roy Glashan's Library}
(1910 - 1917) ***Edgar Wallace - Inspector Smith - Kate Plus Ten (3/3) {Project Gutenberg Australia}
(1910 - 1930) **Edgar Wallace - Inspector Elk - The Joker (3/6?) {ManyBooks}
(1910 - 1932) *Thomas, Mary and Hazel Hanshew - Cleek - The Amber Junk (9/12) {AbeBooks}
(1910 - 1918) **John McIntyre - Ashton-Kirk - Ashton-Kirk: Criminologist (4/4) {Project Gutenberg}
(1910 - 1931) Grace S. Richmond - Red Pepper Burns - Red Pepper Returns (6/6) {Internet Archive}
(1910 - 1933) Jeffery Farnol - The Vibarts - The Way Beyond (3/3) {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}
(1911 - 1940) *Bertram Atkey - Smiler Bunn - The Amazing Mr Bunn (1/10) {AbeBooks}
(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 Down East (16/30) {Project Gutenberg}
(1913 - 1973) Sax Rohmer - Fu-Manchu - The Bride Of Fu-Manchu (6/14) {interlibrary loan / Kindle}
(1913 - 1952) *Jeffery Farnol - Jasper Shrig - The Loring Mystery (3/9) {Project Gutenberg Canada / mobilereads / Rare Books}
(1914 - 1950) Mary Roberts Rinehart - Hilda Adams - Episode Of The Wandering Knife (5/5) Better World Books}
(1914 - 1934) Ernest Bramah - Max Carrados - The Bravo Of London (5/5) {Roy Glashan's Library}
(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}
(1918 - 1950) *Wyndham Martyn - Anthony Trent - Anthony Trent, Master Criminal (1/26) {Project Gutenberg}
(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 / HathiTrust}

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

Edited: Nov 28, 2017, 3:19pm 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 - 1952) William McFee - Spenlove - Derelicts - (4/7) {Fisher Library storage}
(1920 - 1932) *Alice B. Emerson - Betty Gordon - Betty Gordon At Bramble Farm (1/15) {ManyBooks}
(1920 - 1975) Agatha Christie - Hercule Poirot - Taken At The Flood (26/39) {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 - Streaked With Crimson (9/9) {owned}
(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 Eye In Attendance (3/4) {AbeBooks}
(1922 - 1961) Mark Cross ("Valentine", aka Archibald Thomas Pechey) - Daphne Wrayne and her Four Adjusters - The Adjusters (1/53) {rare, expensive}

(1923 - 1937) Dorothy L. Sayers - Lord Peter Wimsey - In The Teeth Of The Evidence (14/14) {Conservatorium Library / interlibrary loan}
(1923 - 1924) **Carolyn Wells - Lorimer Lane - The Fourteenth Key (2/2) {eBay}
(1923 - 1931) *Agnes Miller - The Linger-Nots - The Linger-Nots And The Secret Maze (5/5) {unavailable}
(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 - Superintendent Wilson's Holiday (5/?) {Internet Archive}
(1925 - 1937) *Hulbert Footner - Madame Storey - Madame Storey (2/10) {mobilereads / Project Gutenberg Canada}
(1925 - 1932) *Earl Derr Biggers - Charlie Chan - Behind That Curtain (3/6) {Roy Glashan's Library}
(1925 - 1944) *Agatha Christie - Superintendent Battle - Towards Zero (5/5) {owned}
(1925 - 1934) *Anthony Berkeley - Roger Sheringham - The Second Shot (6/10) {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}
(1925 - 1927) **Francis Beeding - Professor Kreutzemark - The Seven Sleepers (1/2) {State Library NSW, interlibrary loan}

(1926 - 1968) * / ***Christopher Bush - Ludovic Travers - Murder At Fenwold (3/63) {Rare Books}
(1926 - 1939) *S. S. Van Dine - Philo Vance - The Scarab Murder Case (5/12) {fadedpage.com}
(1926 - 1952) *J. Jefferson Farjeon - Ben the Tramp - The House Opposite (2/8) {interlibrary loan / 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: Dec 26, 2017, 5:02pm Top

Series and sequels, 1928 - 1930:

(1928 - 1961) Patricia Wentworth - Miss Silver - The Key (8/33) {Kindle / 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 - Robbery At Portage Bend (4/5) {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 - Flowers For The Judge (7/35) {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 - Down Under (4/4) {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 - The Doorstep Murders (2/3) {Kindle}
(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 - For Sale - Murder (4/5) {AbeBooks}
(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 - The Shadow Of Evil (2/6) {expensive}
(1929 - 1932) *Thomas Cobb - Inspector Bedison - Inspector Bedison And The Sunderland Case (2/4) {unavailable?}

(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 - A Murder Is Announced (5/12) {owned}
(1930 - ????) *Anne Austin - James "Bonnie" Dundee - One Drop Of Blood (4/5) - {HathiTrust}
(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}
(1930 - 1931) *Roland Daniel - John Hopkins - The Rosario Murder Case (1/2) {unavailable?}

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

Edited: Dec 27, 2017, 5:32pm Top

Series and sequels, 1931 - 1955:

(1931 - 1940) Bruce Graeme - Superintendent Stevens and Pierre Allain - Satan's Mistress (4/8) {expensive}
(1931 - 1951) Phoebe Atwood Taylor - Asey Mayo - Sandbar Sinister (5/24) {AbeBooks}
(1931 - 1955) Stuart Palmer - Hildegarde Withers - Murder On The Blackboard (3/18) {Kindle}
(1931 - 1951) Olive Higgins Prouty - The Vale Novels - Home Port (4/5) {State Library NSW, held}
(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) {Rare Books}
(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 - 1935) Clifton Robbins - Clay Harrison - Methylated Murder (5/5) {Kindle}
(1931 - 1972) Georges Simenon - Inspector Maigret - Au Rendez-vous des Terre-Neuves (9/75) {State Library NSW, held}
(1931 - 1934) T. S. Stribling - The Vaiden Trilogy - The Store (2/3) {Internet Archive / 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)
(1931 - 1933) Molly Thynne - Dr Constantine and Inspector Arkwright - The Crime At The 'Noah's Ark' (1/3) {Kindle}
(1931 - 1935) Valentine Williams - Sergeant Trevor Dene - Death Answers The Bell (1/4) {Kindle}
(1931 - 1942) Patricia Wentworth - Frank Garrett - Pursuit Of A Parcel (5/5) {Kindle}

(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}
(1932 - 1946) Roland Daniel - Inspector Pearson - The Crackswoman (1/6) {unavailable?}
(1932 - 1951) Sydney Horler - Tiger Standish - Tiger Standish (1/11) {Rare Books}

(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}
(1933 - 1952) Wyndham Martyn - Christopher Bond - Christopher Bond, Adventurer (1/8) {rare}
(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}
(1936 - 1940) George Bell Dyer - The Catalyst Club - The Catalyst Club (1/3) {AbeBooks}
(1936 - 1956) Theodora Du Bois - Anne and Jeffrey McNeil - Armed With A New Terror (1/19) {unavailable?}
(1938 - 1944) Zelda Popkin - Mary Carner - Death Wears A White Gardenia (1/6) {Kindle}
(1939 - 1942) Patricia Wentworth - Inspector Lamb - Miss Silver Intervenes (4/?) {Kindle}
(1939 - 1940) Clifton Robbins - George Staveley - Six Sign-Post Murder (1/2) {Biblio / rare}
(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}
(1955 - 1991) Patricia Highsmith - Tom Ripley - Ripley Under Ground (2/5) {interlibrary loan / Kindle}
(1957 - 1993) Chester B. Himes - The Harlem Cycle - For Love Of Imabelle (aka "A Rage In Harlem") (1/9) {interlibrary loan / Kindle}

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

Edited: Oct 10, 2017, 6:53pm 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)

The Linger-Nots - Agnes Miller
The Linger-Nots And The Secret Maze (#5)

Edited: Dec 4, 2017, 3:59pm Top

TBR notes:

Currently 'missing':

The Paddington Mystery by John Rhode (Dr Priestley #1) {CARM}
Tragedy At The Unicorn by John Rhode (Dr Priestley #5) {CARM}
The Corpse In The Car by John Rhode (Dr Priestley #20) {CARM}
The Black Death by Moray Dalton {CARM}

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}

Six Minutes Past Twelve by Gavin Holt (Luther Bastion #1) {State Library NSW, held}
The White-Faced Man by Gavin Holt (Luther Bastion #2) {State Library NSW, held}

Find The Clock by Harry Stephen Keeler {Kindle}
Fiddlestrings by John Haslette Vahey {serialised, The Australasian}
Down River by John Haslette Vahey {serialised, SMH}

The Wychford Poisoning Case by Anthony Berkeley (Roger Sheringham #2) {Kindle / ILL}
Mystery At Olympia (aka "Murder At The Motor Show") (Dr Priestley #22) {Kindle / State Library NSW, held}


The Matilda Hunter Murder by Harry Stephen Keeler {Kindle}

The Flickering Lamp by Netta Muskett {interlibrary loan}
After Rain by Netta Muskett {interlibrary loan}
Pack Mule by Ursula Bloom {interlibrary loan, missing?}

The Crime At The 'Noah's Ark' by Molly Thynne (Dr Constantine and Inspector Arkwright #1) {Kindle / Rare Books}

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:

Gray Terror by Herman Landon
The Pelham Murder Case by Monte Barrett
Prove It, Mr Tolefree by R. A. J. Walling
The Eye In Attendance by Valentine Williams


The Amber Junk (aka The Riddle Of The Amber Ship) by Hazel Phillips Hanshew
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
The Mystery Of The Open Window by Anthony Gilbert
The Mystery Of The Creeping Man by Frances Shelley Wees
The Shadow Of Evil by Charles J. Dutton
The Seventh Passenger by Alice MacGowan and Perry Newberry

Edited: Dec 22, 2017, 1:16am Top

Books currently on loan:



Edited: Dec 22, 2017, 3:50am Top

Reading projects:




Other projects:



Edited: Nov 5, 2017, 3:02am Top

Short-list TBR:



Edited: Nov 25, 2017, 1:58am Top

A note about a couple of upcoming projects:

Next month there will be a group read of the restored version of Anthony Trollope's The Duke's Children. If you are interested in participating, please drop a line at the Which Trollope next? thread. In particular, I would like to hear any ideas about *how* this group read should be conducted, as it is very much about examining what was cut from the novel's original release, and what difference the restored material makes to the success (or otherwise) of the narrative.

Meanwhile, the next work up in the The Virago Chronological Read Project will by Emily Eden's paired novels, The Semi-Attached Couple; and The Semi-Detached House. We have not discussed this yet, but it will probably take place in January; though December is an option if that suits people better. Again, if you are interested in participating, and have a preference, please drop a line.

Edited: Oct 10, 2017, 7:08pm Top

...and locally, can anyone please give me a shout if they are interested in joining in this month for Jane Porter's The Scottish Chiefs (the C. K. Shorter challenge) and/or St John Ervine's The Wayward Man (Banned In Boston challenge)?

There is also John Hawk's The House Of Sudden Sleep (Mystery League challenge) but (i) that doesn't have to be this month, and (ii) I imagine I'm only talking to Harry anyway. :)

Edited: Oct 10, 2017, 7:09pm Top

And I think that's it, so welcome!

Oct 10, 2017, 8:04pm Top

Congratulations on your new job, Liz! I hope you find it more rewarding than the previous one.

And congratulations on your new thread, too.

Oct 10, 2017, 8:43pm Top

Happy New Thread, Liz, and hope the new job is all you wish!

Oct 10, 2017, 8:46pm Top

Happy new thread, Liz!

>21 lyzard: I could use the prompt to finish The Scottish Chiefs (I'm about halfway through), but I have to find my copy again.

As for The House of Sudden Sleep, that could work for this month, but next month would be fine as well. Just let me know.

Oct 10, 2017, 8:55pm Top

>23 bohemima:, >24 ronincats:, >25 harrygbutler:

Hi, Gail, Roni and Harry - thanks very much! :)

>25 harrygbutler:

The House Of Sudden Sleep will be a read-in-the-library book for me, which might be an issue with my new, restricted hours; I'm already committed to doing that with The Bishop Murder Case, which might be as much as I can manage for this month. So why don't we pencil it in for November, and just stick with The Scottish Chiefs?

Oct 10, 2017, 9:07pm Top

Happy new thread, Liz.

Oct 10, 2017, 9:20pm Top

>26 lyzard: At least reading in the library will allow you to quickly refer to the works Vance will mention or Van Dine will cite during the course of the investigation, Liz! :-)

November it is for The House of Sudden Sleep, then.

Oct 10, 2017, 9:42pm Top

>27 PaulCranswick:

Thanks, Paul!

Are you in for The Wayward Man this month?

>28 harrygbutler:

True! :D

Oct 10, 2017, 9:51pm Top

Happy new thread!

Oct 10, 2017, 11:04pm Top

Thanks, Jim!

Edited: Oct 27, 2017, 4:33pm Top

In a no-doubt futile attempt to keep myself organised, I thought I'd better copy over my October possibilities:

Likely October reading:

The Bridge Of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder {best-seller challenge}
The Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter {C. K. Shorter challenge}
The Wayward Man by St John Ervine {Banned In Boston challenge} {State Library}
The Hollow by Agatha Christie {chronological challenge}
Down There by David Goodis {random 1940 - 1969 / ILL}
The Darker Saints by Brian Hodge {potential decommission}
G. W. M. Reynolds: Nineteenth-Century Fiction, Politics, And The Press by Anne Humpherys and Louis James (eds.) {blog reading}
Busman's Honeymoon by Dorothy L. Sayers {shared read / TIOLI}
Methylated Murder by Clifton Robbins {TIOLI}
The Bishop Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine {TIOLI} {Rare Books}
Elsie's Widowhood by Martha Finley {TIOLI}
The Marching Feet by Annie S. Swan {TIOLI / ILL}

Other possibilities

The House Of Sudden Sleep by John Hawk {Mystery League challenge}
The Clock Strikes Twelve by Patricia Wentworth {Miss Silver}
The Sicilian by 'the author of The Mysterious Wife' {blog reading}
The Shadow On Mockways by Marjorie Bowen {TIOLI} {Rare Books}
The Black Mask by E. W. Hornung
For The Defence: Dr Thorndyke by R. Austin Freeman
Pick-Up by Charles Willeford
The Real Cool Killers by Chester Himes
Ashton-Kirk: Special Detective by John T. McIntyre
The Woman In The Alcove by Anna Katharine Green
Murder Backstairs by Anne Austin

Oct 11, 2017, 3:04am Top

Happy new thread.

Hope the first day at the new job went as well. It can be exciting and terrifying at one and the same time, so hopefully the rollercoaster of the first day wasn't too bad.

Did you have a list of Heyer's books in order? I was thinking that might be my next read through - I've quite enjoyed the Wimsey read through. Reading at a steady trickle and they don't get too repetitive.

Oct 11, 2017, 3:55am Top

Happy new thread Liz!

>32 lyzard: I'm hoping to get back on the Agatha Christie train and have pulled out The Hollow for this month's read.

And from your last thread congratulations on your new job! I hope the change in hours makes this a less stressful and exhausting role and that going back to work after having been off for a while isn't too overwhelming initially.

Oct 11, 2017, 6:44am Top

Happy new thread, Liz!

Oct 11, 2017, 7:54am Top

Happy new thread, Liz!
Lovely toppers, rough nature and neatly lined tulip fields, both beautiful in their own way.

Oct 11, 2017, 4:54pm Top

>33 Helenliz:

Thanks, Helen!

It was pretty overwhelming but I gather Tuesdays are always insane; today I have orientation and a single clinic to assist at, so hopefully things will start settling into a rhythm.

This Wikipedia page has all the original publication dates for Heyer, though since they break her books up into subcategories you have to scan the tables for the date you want. My own trick is to use 'Add Book': I search (for example) for 'Georgette Heyer 1921' in Overcat or the Oxford Library; then next time I search Georgette Heyer 1922, and so on. She usually only had one book a year so it's an easy system (unlike Agatha Christie, who often requires secondary research to get the order right!).

>34 souloftherose:

Well, hello! :)

Lovely to see you out and around again; you've been missed. I hope things are easier for you going forward.

Whoo, shared read! :D

Thank you! It feels very strange suddenly having these cast-iron commitments again, but I'm sure I'll adjust in time. :)

>35 scaifea:

Thank you, Amber!

>36 FAMeulstee:

I'm glad you're enjoying my pictures, Anita. :)

Edited: Oct 17, 2017, 1:40am Top

Finished The Darker Saints for TIOLI #1.

Now reading G. W. M. Reynolds: Nineteenth-Century Fiction, Politics, And The Press by Anne Humpherys and Louis James (eds.)

Oct 17, 2017, 1:42am Top

I just love the way my life balances itself out!

Last week I started a new job.

This week I'm dealing with blocked pipes and sewage lines.

Because feeling good about things for too long is SIMPLY NOT ALLOWED.

Oct 17, 2017, 1:43am Top


Finished G. W. M. Reynolds: Nineteenth-Century Fiction, Politics, And The Press for TIOLI #2.

Now reading The Marching Feet by Annie S. Swan.

Oct 17, 2017, 6:11am Top

>39 lyzard: Ugh. Why can't we ever have nice things?!

Oct 17, 2017, 7:04am Top

Well...they caught it before it - ulp! - backed up, so I suppose I shouldn't complain; but I've spent the last two days dealing with plumbers, which isn't exactly what I'd planned...

Edited: Oct 17, 2017, 1:34pm Top

Hi, Liz!

I'm now in the process of reading the classic Frankenstein in which I came upon the word "melancholy" so I immediately thought of you! I hope all is well with you. I'm not on many LT threads any more although I do manage to keep up with TIOLI. Mostly I'm reading kids' books these days as I still babysit for my now four-year-old grandson (who is awaiting the arrival of a baby sister this January). He loves chapter books. This is a four-year-old going on 16. I thought I'd read him the kids' version of Frankenstein and then realized that I myself never read this classic. Is this a book you've read? I'm thinking it must be! So far I like it very much. When it mentioned "melancholy", I liked it even better.

I had the fun opportunity to attend an LT meetup this summer in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where I stayed with jessibud2, and dined with _Zoe_, radicarian, and met torontoc. I love my LT friends. I'm still in touch with Ilana and a few others on FB, but spend less time on LT. I still compulsively list all my books here though.

I'm happy to see you're still leading group reads of others. By the way, I've never read another Jane Austen novel, but I still remain interested in Gothic novels. Maybe one day I'll pick up another one to read.

By the way, when I build castles with my grandson, I tell him what I learned about castles from you...the tunnels, the connection to churches, the hidden rooms, the dungeons. He loves them!!! We are always building castles together. I'm about to turn 70, but I guess I just keep on getting younger.

Congratulations on your new job!

Oct 18, 2017, 4:35pm Top

Hi, Madeline - how lovely to get a visit from you!

Thank you---though I'm still in the panicky early stage where everything is overwhelming!

Yes, I have read Frankenstein. I'll be very interested to hear what you think of it; so many people come away from it disappointed because it's so different from the film versions.

I was following your travel adventures, you lucky thing! I'm personally a little sad that (as I mentioned over at TIOLI) so many people are spending less time on the LT threads, but when real life interferes in such a nice way, it isn't surprising. Congratulations on your impending granddaughter!

My Gothic reading is in an odd place at the moment: I'm reading the very early roots of the genre---not Gothic novels proper, but ones that began to incorporate bits and pieces stolen from The Castle Of Otranto. It's funny finding those touches in sentimental and domestic novels! - but I know that, sooner or later, I'll get a proper spooky castle with proper secret passages... :D

I hope you will get the urge to pick up a Gothic novel again one day. Just give me a shout if you do, I'll be there with bells on!

Oct 18, 2017, 4:38pm Top

Finished The Marching Feet for TIOLI #9.

Now reading The Bridge Of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder.

Oct 18, 2017, 7:13pm Top

Hi, Liz. I stopped in after falling totally behind on your threads, and saw all the books you have read and planned to read and scooted back to thread #1 for explanations. So I got to read your blog for a little bit. What a fantastic task you have set yourself! I'm both impressed and intrigued. I doubt I could conduct such a task without the discipline of actual classes and teachers.

Which reminds me that I much check to see what tutored reads you are doing or planning to do. It's so much fun to have that kind of close interaction with a fellow LTer.

One of my f2f reading groups read The Bridge of San Luis Rey a few years ago. I'll be very interested to see what you think of it.

Edited: Oct 18, 2017, 11:36pm Top

>44 lyzard:

I'm about a third of the way through Frankenstein, and I like it very much. I find it verbose (in a good way) much like those novels which I read with you. I have no expectations of what will happen in this novel. I'm just reading it to find out. I'm hoping to read it completely before I finish reading the kids' version of Frankenstein because, as you know, I hate spoilers. I'm having lots of fun reading the kids' version and keep asking my grandson, "Aren't you scared?". But, of course, I'm reading it in a way that won't actually scare him. I find the kids' version extremely sad. It's about a newly created human who is so large, ugly, and horrifying that people are trying to harm him or even kill him out of fear. This "monster" is unable to communicate and means no harm. That scenario led me to a discussion with my grandson about not judging others by their looks. I'm guessing there will be more good themes to discuss as we continue to read the kids' Frankenstein.

When I first started reading the kids' Frankenstein, I didn't realize that the name Frankenstein was not of the monster in the beginning, but of the doctor who created him. I think I will enjoy this experience as much as I did reading Bram Stoker's Dracula. I, who, would hate to read about vampires, was thoroughly immersed in the original Dracula novel.

I might be willing to try another Gothic novel. Maybe after the first of the year when all of the holidays are over, and I'll have some free time. If I forget, just drop me a reminder. In the meantime, could you give me some ideas of books you'd think I'd like? I can start looking for them. Not that I need more books to read, but that never stopped me before!

Oct 19, 2017, 5:07pm Top

>46 ffortsa:

Hi, Judy! Wow, what a great week for unexpected visitors! Thanks so much for dropping in. :)

Aw, thank you for visiting my blog: I'm always delighted when I hear that anyone has dropped in (being very well aware that it does not exactly have mass appeal!). It's just another one of my many projects that got out of hand... I had great ambitions for it when I first started it but I think now I'd be satisfied with escaping the 17th century!

There have been less tutored / group reads going on for a variety of reasons. My two main involvements at the moment are the Virago project, in which we're plugging gaps via reading in chronological publication order, and the Anthony Trollope reads. Basically we finished both the Barchester and Palliser series, but we will be taking a look at the restored edition of The Duke's Children next month before deciding where to go next.

There might also be a couple of Bronte group reads in the New year but nothing is decided about that yet.

And maybe there will be another Gothic novel tutored read soon...? {SUBTLE HINT}

I am still reading The Bridge Of San Luis Rey and I must say I'm finding it very painful...

Edited: Oct 19, 2017, 5:29pm Top

>47 SqueakyChu:

Yes, it's very philosophical, not really a 'horror novel' as people tend to expect. It's also a very personal novel, I think: Shelley had self-esteem and abandonment issues, and that shows in the Creature's experiences.

It's nice to find another fan of Dracula: I think it's an underrated book.

Ooh, exciting! I'll have a think and put together a list of potential Gothic reads. Remind me: you don't do Kindle, right? Do you use any ebooks?

Edited: Oct 19, 2017, 6:21pm Top

>49 lyzard: I did use ebooks, but I no longer want to. I just don't enjoy them in the same way I like reading real books. The longer the list you give me, the more easily I will be able to find a book I want to buy. I might even use your list for a TIOLI challenge. Who knows? That depends on the number of books on that list, though. (SUBTLE HINT). :)

Oct 19, 2017, 6:24pm Top

Yikes, woman...! :D

Okay, I'll look into it over the weekend and put a list together.

The problem is that many of these novels are not readily available in print, or are expensive. I understand your reluctance to read ebooks, but for some things they are often the only practical option. When I put together the list, I could try to include an indication of what format(s) the books are available in, if that would be helpful?

Oct 19, 2017, 9:18pm Top

>51 lyzard:

It's not for now. It'll be for after the new year. Don't go to too much trouble with it. If most of the books are hard to get, then let's just skip the TIOLI idea for now. Maybe five or so books you think I might like so that I can pick one for sometime in 2018. That's when my daughter-in-law will have her baby so she'll be out on maternity leave, and I won't have to babysit for a bit. More details as the time gets closer.

I really don't want to do ebooks. I don't like them at all.

Oct 20, 2017, 6:10pm Top

No, I understand that; I was simply thinking that in other formats, the cost may rule out certain possible selections. It's unfortunate, but with relatively obscure books like these your choices are often restricted.

Anyway--- I will do some research and put together some options for whenever you have the time and feel the inclination. :)

Edited: Oct 31, 2017, 4:24pm Top

Finished The Bridge Of San Luis Rey for TIOLI #10.

Hmm. Well. I know how that book is intended, but it has nevertheless left me feeling a bit depressed. I think I need something to cheer me up...

Now reading Elsie's Widowhood by Martha Finley.

Edited: Oct 20, 2017, 6:32pm Top

While, as always, the cover from the most recent reissue of this series cracks me up:

...it is obvious that this entry has always caused its publishers some difficulties.

For one thing, there is a distinct reluctance to admit to an Elsie Dinsmore who is old enough to be a widow. For another, there was clearly a moment in time when marketing "an old book" became an issue. So although this rather mutant-looking Elsie makes me laugh, at least this cover is more or less correct in its essentials:

On the other hand, we also have curious releases such as this (1880, folks!):

However, this one is my favourite of the lot. Creepy as Creepy Mr Travilla always was, I can't really accuse him of being creepy enough for this to be his widow:

Oct 20, 2017, 9:26pm Top

>53 lyzard: Thanks, Liz. Whenever you have the time. No hurry!

Oct 20, 2017, 11:48pm Top

Finished Elsie's Widowhood for TIOLI #8.

Now reading Methylated Murder by Clifton Robbins (a book so obscure, I can only find an ebook cover image).

Oct 21, 2017, 1:53pm Top

>54 lyzard: The Bridge of San Luis Rey is certainly not happy reading. And the very last part is especially painful.

I'll check in from time to time to see if there are any group or tutored reads pending, if that's ok with you.

Oct 21, 2017, 6:17pm Top

Please! :)

Edited: Oct 21, 2017, 7:23pm Top

Life's been rough on Elsie in some of those cover illustrations!

Oct 22, 2017, 12:33am Top

Not nearly rough enough! :D

Oct 22, 2017, 6:01am Top

>47 SqueakyChu:, >49 lyzard: Ooh, Frankenstein - one of my favourites and I agree not really a horror novel and the overriding feeling I had from reading it was sadness too.

>51 lyzard: Oh, hooray, another gothic read! *Eagerly awaiting list of gothic novels*

>54 lyzard:, >55 lyzard: From the title I hoped (for your sake) that you might be coming to the end of the Elsie series but just checked the series page and it's only 7 out of 28 books?!

Oct 22, 2017, 4:32pm Top

Hi, Heather!

Oh-ho! Another in for a Gothic read?? Excellent! :D

and it's only 7 out of 28 books?!

...and every one starting with a preface about how she didn't want to write it...

Oct 22, 2017, 4:48pm Top

Have mercy! How do you manage these lengthy self challenges?

I loved both Frankenstein and Dracula, for completely different reasons.

Oct 22, 2017, 7:46pm Top

"Very poorly" would be the answer to that question at the moment, Gail! :D

Oct 23, 2017, 4:52pm Top

Finished Methylated Murder for TIOLI #3, which means I have FINISHED A SERIES!!

Yesterday I took a run to Rare Books and made a start on The Bishop Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine; meanwhile, I am also reading Busman's Honeymoon by Dorothy L. Sayers.

Edited: Oct 23, 2017, 6:02pm Top

Ugh! - hot shower time.

My latest blog posts are about a couple of anonymous sex-comedies from 1690---a two-parter becoming a three-parter when I belatedly discovered that the English author was mining French scandal-memoirs for his material, and so dealing with real people:

Gallantry Unmask'd; or, Women In Their Proper Colours
Intermission: Scandalous and slanderous
The History Of The Mareschalless De La Ferté

Oct 23, 2017, 6:01pm Top

No mystery about what this sifaka is gaping at...

Oct 23, 2017, 6:13pm Top

Thought of you when I saw this ebook offer today!

The Miss Silver Mysteries Volume One: Grey Mask, The Case Is Closed, and Lonesome Road Kindle Edition for $3.99

Oct 23, 2017, 6:55pm Top

Hi, Roni! Thanks for the thought but unfortunately because of copyright we are on a different Kindle schedule here, and rarely get offers like this. :(

Edited: Oct 23, 2017, 10:54pm Top

>62 souloftherose: Frankenstein reminds me of some of the tutored reads I did with Liz. Something about that time period when the action takes place in areas like Germany and France. Then you have the grotesque stuff (which I love). You also have the story told with many details in a very condensed manner. I still find myself taking notes about the story and the characters as well as keeping a vocabulary list...much in the same way I did with the tutored reads. And that word "melancholy"...it just keep on showing up time and again. Although I never before read Frankenstein}, there are things about this novel which seem eerily familiar! :)

Oct 23, 2017, 10:51pm Top

>64 bohemima: I thought Dracula was great. I never before wanted to read a vampire book, nor do I care if I ever read another one. However, Bram Stoker's novel...well, that was something special.

Oct 24, 2017, 6:26pm Top

"Melancholy" was an important concept in the late 18th and early 19th century. The first half of the 18th century (the "Age of Reason") was a brutally rationalist time when feelings (particularly feelings like sympathy, or anything about consideration for others) were considered unnecessary and a sign of weakness. However, it the second half of the 18th century there was a significant pushback, with one of the signs the rise of sentimental novels and poetry which celebrated the emotions. Likewise, there was a separation of emotion from your material situation, an acceptance that your mental and emotional state was not purely a matter of money and security. "Melancholy", a general malaise or sense of dissatisfaction, was one of the terms used to express this more complex understanding of psychology.

I'm not a great reader of vampire fiction, but I do have the very famous (or notorious) 19th century "penny dreadful", Varney The Vampire, on The List. :)

Oct 24, 2017, 6:52pm Top

>73 lyzard: I can't wait to see The List, but no hurry compiling it! :)

Oct 24, 2017, 6:57pm Top

Oh, no---I meant *my* list, not *your* list; though if you're interested... :D

Varney is one of the first out-and-out English horror stories. England was late developing a horror literature of its own, and when it did, the genre was disapproved and even suppressed (because it was mostly aimed at the working-classes, who of course weren't allowed to have any fun!).

Edited: Oct 24, 2017, 6:59pm Top

>75 lyzard: Oh! Haha!

I am a great fan of horror stories! I guess that's why gothic novels appeal to me so much.

Reading Frankenstein feels so comfortable and familiar. I'm going to miss it when I'm done! :)

Edited: Nov 29, 2017, 6:12am Top

I'm still adjusting to the demands of my new job, and to my reduced free hours; and conversely to making better use of my time (particularly the mornings of the days I work in the afternoon).

It's not surprising that my reading has dropped off this month, though I expect to get through most of what I committed to (allowing for the postponement of a couple of self-challenges). The one exception may be Jane Porter's The Scottish Chiefs (for the C. K. Shorter challenge), which I expect to start but may not finish, particularly since the last day of October looks like being an eleven-hour working day. :)

So November will be a month for getting myself reorganised, and back on track with my various neglected challenges.

Importantly, it will also see the next group read, that of the restored edition of Anthony Trollope's The Duke's Children. Please note that while this group read is chiefly for those who read the "standard" edition earlier in the year, people who haven't read the book before can also be accommodated. I will probably put up the thread this weekend: if you are interested in participating (or lurking), please drop in and let us know if you are a returning reader or a newbie. :)

Likely November reading:

The Duke's Children (restored edition) by Anthony Trollope {group read}
All Quiet On The Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque {best-seller-challenge}
The Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter {C. K. Shorter challenge}
The Wayward Man by St John Ervine {Banned In Boston challenge} (State Library, held)
The House Of Sudden Sleep by "John Hawk" {Mystery League Inc. challenge} (Rare Books)
The Labours Of Hercules by Agatha Christie {chronological challenge}
The Clock Strikes Twelve by Patricia Wentworth {shared read} (ILL)
The Mysteries Of London (Volume I) by G. W. M. Reynolds {early detective fiction / blog reading}
Reckless Youth by "Valentine" {random reading}
Abomination by Guy N. Smith {potential decommission}

Other possibilities:

Fever Of Love by Denise Robins (ILL)
The Woman In The Alcove by Anna Katharine Green
The Moon Of Much Gladness by Ernest Bramah (ILL)
Ashton-Kirk: Special Detective by John T. McIntyre
The Wychford Poisoning Case by Anthony Berkeley
One Of My Sons by Anna Katharine Green
Murder Backstairs by Anne Austin
Murder From The Grave by Will Levinrew
Ashton-Kirk: Criminologist by John T. McIntyre
For The Defence: Dr Thorndyke by R. Austin Freeman
Women's Fiction: A Guide To Novels By And About Women In America, 1820-70 by Nina Baym
Gains And Losses: Novels Of Faith And Doubt In Victorian England by Robert Lee Wolff

Oct 24, 2017, 7:16pm Top

>76 SqueakyChu:

Well, I'll just have to snap to it and get to work on your list! :D

Oct 24, 2017, 7:42pm Top

>72 SqueakyChu: and >76 SqueakyChu:. Agreed!

Dracula was much better than I expected, and really cast a spell on me. I expected Frankenstein to be good, but not to be so different from the story we got from the movies. For me, the original story is much more complex and interesting.

Oct 24, 2017, 8:08pm Top

Hi, Joe!

I think they're both much better than they're generally given credit for...and that no-one has made any real attempt to film either as written.

Oct 25, 2017, 2:13pm Top

>80 lyzard: Agreed, Liz. Why not? As you say, the books are much better than they're generally given credit for. Following them would make for at least the potential of much better movies.

Oct 25, 2017, 2:26pm Top

I read Dracula and thought it interesting but not a brilliantly written story. And some of it left me a bit incredulous. Not seen any of the films, it's really not my thing, like reallllllly not my thing. Surprised I read the book, to be honest Not read Frankenstein, but I have a copy. It's on the list...

Oct 25, 2017, 4:42pm Top

>81 jnwelch:, >82 Helenliz:

Well, I guess you can understand why Frankenstein doesn't get filmed as written, since so much of it is philosophical discussion; but I think there's a lot in Dracula that hasn't been mined.

Spoilers for Dracula:

Quite aside from the horror aspects and the sexual undertones, the book is about the clash of the Old World and the New World: the vampire-fighters triumph through what was, at the time, cutting-edge technology, particularly in terms of international communication. The world has gotten a lot smaller since Vlad last ventured out, and he isn't prepared to meet it.

However, the thing in the book that always strikes me hardest is that it's Mina who figures out how to beat Dracula. The men spend the whole narrative trying to keep her out of things, to protect her - which nearly costs her life - but it is she who figures out Dracula's weaknesses and how they can turn the tables on him. No-one has ever tried to get at this rather feminist twist when adapting the book, which I find exasperating: Mina is invariably just an object to be fought over.

Edited: Oct 26, 2017, 5:48pm Top

Finished Busman's Honeymoon for TIOLI #3.

(Which I am not calling as the last in the series, though it is the last novel: instead I will be wrapping things up with In The Teeth Of The Evidence.)

Now reading The Hollow by Agatha Christie; still reading The Bishop Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine.

Edited: Oct 25, 2017, 5:20pm Top

I appreciate that it probably wasn't necessary to do much to sell Agatha Christie's books, but I'm not sure that really excuses these dismal covers (and that goes for the tagline on the fourth one, too!):


Of course the pulp fiction guys - on both sides of the Atlantic - tried to spice things up a bit (I love the way that Poirot is just looking on unconcerned in the second one):


Overall, though, I think my favourite one is the cover of this Czech edition, which inexplicably suggests that the book features Bette Davis:

Oct 25, 2017, 5:36pm Top

>85 lyzard: These are all so terribly great! Is that whatever-animal-that-is on the second cover relevant to the story? And that tagline on No. 4 is perfect — so that's what sets this book apart from all the other Poirots!

Oct 25, 2017, 5:47pm Top

I imagine it's supposed to be one character's expensive fox furs, but that looks more like a Pomeranian. :D

Oct 25, 2017, 5:49pm Top

I thought it was a badger!

Edited: Oct 25, 2017, 5:58pm Top

Here we go:

Nobody spoke for a moment, for Veronica had rather that effect. She was lovely---not quietly lovely, not even dazzlingly lovely---but so efficiently lovely that it made you gasp! The waves of pale shimmering hair, the curving mouth---the platinum foxes that swathed her shoulders...

So you see that cover makes perfect sense!

Oct 25, 2017, 6:03pm Top

OK, I'll admit I don't own a fur coat (gasp!) but wouldn't a platinum fox be white or blond? Maybe platinum means really fancy and expensive rather that referring to the color?

Oct 25, 2017, 6:03pm Top

>83 lyzard: Sounds like I see more movie potential in Frankenstein than you do, Liz. I think there's a lot to work with from the book, and I love the idea of - who's the real monster, the doctor or his creation. The book's Frankenstein is an intelligent, verbose being, and we get lots of hints that if he had been treated differently, he could have been an acceptable member of the community. His "villainy" has a direct connection to how he is treated, and he starts to view himself differently, and fatalistically, based on that treatment. The doctor is a bit of a villain himself, and makes a number of choices that could have gone differently.

Seems like it could be a really cool, interesting movie.

Oct 25, 2017, 6:09pm Top

>90 rosalita:

Uh, yes. :D

>91 jnwelch:

Oh, no - I totally agree with all that; but because so much of the book is discussion and interior monologue, you inevitably lose a great deal in the transference to an exterior presentation of the content.

Oct 25, 2017, 8:13pm Top

>92 lyzard:. Maybe so. You make me think of the play adaptation of The Curious Incident of a Dog in the Night-time, where they pulled that off beautifully. Plus I’d be fine with a movie that mainly tracked the non-interior aspects we’re talking about, guided in part by the interior monologue.

I’d love to see someone try. If I just win the darn Powerball, maybe I can finance it. :-)

Oct 26, 2017, 7:37am Top

Or set up a Kickstarter?? :D

Oct 26, 2017, 10:36pm Top

Finished The Bishop Murder Case for TIOLI #4; still reading The Hollow by Agatha Christie.

Oct 27, 2017, 4:42pm Top

Finished The Hollow for TIOLI #6.

And although there are still three days left in October, I can see that my reading time will be patchy, and so I am regretfully consigning The Scottish Chiefs to November (sorry, Harry!). Instead, I will try to squeeze another mystery or two into the month...

Now reading The Woman In The Alcove by Anna Katharine Green.

Oct 27, 2017, 4:59pm Top

>96 lyzard: That's OK with me, Liz! I got in multiple ILL requests — lengthy academic Festschrifts and similar stuff — in less time than expected, so I'm rather bogged down with those. :-)

Oct 27, 2017, 5:15pm Top

Thanks! Re-starting work has been more of a shock to the system than I anticipated, even though I'm only working restricted hours: I don't seem to be able to get myself reorganised. (Not to mention to get some reviews written...)

Oct 29, 2017, 5:01pm Top

>77 lyzard: I will be joining you for The Labours of Hercules

>83 lyzard: Hear, hear re Dracula. Ironically if someone made a movie showing Mina figuring out how to overcome Dracula it would probably be dismissed as feminists having to remake everything with female lead characters.

>85 lyzard: Wow, those are bad. The cover of my edition isn't great but it as at least relevant to the mystery

>91 jnwelch:, >93 jnwelch: I did see what I thought was a very good stage adaptation of Frankenstein which was faithful to the themes and the story of the original. It was the National Theatre production of Frankenstein. I didn't see it live but saw one of their Encore broadcasts at my local cinema. I expect Darryl/kidzdoc had raved about it plus it starred Benedict Cumberbatch :-D

I thought it was really good. One of the hooks was that the two main actors alternated which roles they portrayed (Frankenstein and the monster) which really emphasised the parallels between the two characters. Plus made people feel they had to see it twice! (We only went once).

Oct 29, 2017, 5:45pm Top

>99 souloftherose:


Yes, as you say, poor but relevant---so I gave that one a pass. )

Though no-one complains about Mina being reduced to a prop, of course...

I can completely imagine Frankenstein working as a play, where it would be strengthened by those aspects which would likely hurt it as a movie. That sounds like an amazing production (I think I do remember Darryl talking about it).

BTW, I will be putting up the thread for The Duke's Children today; hope to see you there!

Oct 29, 2017, 6:19pm Top

Finished The Woman In The Alcove for TIOLI #6.

With that, I am drawing a line under October. Next up, I will be tackling the restored edition of The Duke's Children by Anthony Trollope, for the group read; and while I am figuring out the best way of managing that project, I will be mixing things up with a few old mysteries.

First up---Ashton-Kirk: Special Detective by John T. McIntyre.

Oct 29, 2017, 6:59pm Top

The thread is up for the group read of the restored edition of Anthony Trollope's The Duke's Children---here.

New readers of the novel are welcome, as well as those wanting to examine the two texts.

There is no hurry about joining in, however: I wanted to get started today because I have a very long work day tomorrow and will be out of commission until Wednesday morning.

Oct 29, 2017, 10:54pm Top

Hi, Liz!

I’m loving the discussion of Dracula and Frankenstein here. I’m a fan of old horror movies, and those two, along with The Wolfman, form a trilogy that can’t be beaten, despite the somewhat campy effect age has given them.

That said, both books are superior to any film adaptions that have been made. The depth of characters and assorted contemporary flavorings make Stoker’s book a true classic—and yeah, what about Mina, Hollywood? Frankenstein is an amazing work although my attention must have slipped somewhat and I had to reread the section on the ice. Both books repay multiple readings.

I love The Hollow. It’s Christie’s saddest book, I think, but certainly one of her best.

I don’t envy you that work schedule. One of the best things in my life has been retirement. It took only a bit of adjustment to settle right in. Your day will come!

Oct 29, 2017, 11:10pm Top

Hi, Gail!

Yes, I am too; horror films of all eras, really, but I do watch a lot of the older ones.

I accept that Frankenstein is the more difficult work for its talk-to-action ration, but both it and Dracula have content that hasn't been tapped, even after all these years.

I find The Hollow very sad, too; for mood it reminds me of Sad Cypress. For character too---Henrietta is one of my favourite Christie characters, as is Elinor.

Oh, well: I'll adjust eventually, I suppose! At the moment I'm still in the panicky training phase, which makes everything more difficult and tiring; but once I'm more certain of what I'm supposed to be doing, I'm sure the hours will be less of a challenge. (And at leasr it's only part-time!)

Oct 31, 2017, 6:56am Top

Interesting discussions of Frankenstein and Dracula. I studied both for my degree, and both are well worth reading more than once in my opinion. One interesting thing that struck me about Dracula was how Bram Stoker has his characters use all the most up to date technology of the day. We tend to see Dracula as all swirling capes and gothic castles, but clearly Stoker wanted to present that against the modern world as he saw it.

Oct 31, 2017, 4:28pm Top

Hi, Rhian! Lovely to see you here. :)

Yes, that's the point I was making in >83 lyzard: (which is a spoilers post, for anyone who hasn't read Dracula): the vampire-hunters use all the advantages of the modern world against an ancient evil, which struggles to grasp how the world has changed.

Oct 31, 2017, 5:07pm Top

If anyone is interested, the 2018 category challenge group will be having a read of Frankenstein in January. 200 years since it was published. Might just be the push I need to finally take it off the shelf.

Oct 31, 2017, 5:14pm Top

>107 Helenliz: Indeed! That just might get me to finally read it. I've been meaning to for years.

Oct 31, 2017, 5:31pm Top

>107 Helenliz:, >108 rosalita:

Might be time for a re-read??

Oct 31, 2017, 5:37pm Top

It is definitely time for a re-read, Liz! I'll probably be spamming your thread with random questions about it, anyway. You might as well read along. :-)

Oct 31, 2017, 5:38pm Top

On the basis of a tacit promise of thread visits and posts, agreed! :D

Oct 31, 2017, 5:44pm Top


(you know I'll come around anyway; can't stay away from potential sloth sightings!)

Oct 31, 2017, 6:02pm Top

Given that sloth sightings are tied to review writing, they're becoming increasingly rare... :(

Oct 31, 2017, 7:08pm Top

Finished Ashton-Kirk: Special Detective for TIOLI #8.

Now reading One Of My Sons by Anna Katharine Green; still reading the complete edition of The Duke's Children by Anthony Trollope.

Oct 31, 2017, 7:09pm Top


I hate getting series books out of order.

Stupid interwebz... :(

Oct 31, 2017, 9:55pm Top

>113 lyzard: But when they happen, they are glorious!

>115 lyzard: Oh,boo to that. How frustrating!

Oct 31, 2017, 10:41pm Top

The sloths, I presume you mean? :D

I just can't get into the right frame of mind at the moment, so the read books are piling up around me...even though I know I'm too obsessive to just let them go...

One of the penalties of obscure reading. But at least I had the perverse satisfaction of updating the details on the series lists!

Nov 1, 2017, 6:45am Top

The sloths ... and the reviews. Even though I've never heard of most of the books you read, I enjoy learning about them through your reviews.

Nov 1, 2017, 7:06am Top

>106 lyzard: Oops - sorry I obviously hadn’t gone back far!

Nov 1, 2017, 3:40pm Top

>118 rosalita:

I'm not sure you should be enabling me like that, but I'll take it!

>119 SandDune:

Never mind, Rhian, it's been a very fragmented discussion!

Nov 2, 2017, 5:17pm Top

So much for that.

There was a resignation at my new place of work, which prompted a staffing reshuffle---and, long story short, I've been let go.


Nov 2, 2017, 5:28pm Top

Wait, what?! That's rotten news, Liz. I'm so sorry, but perhaps this just means something even better is right around the corner.

Edited: Nov 2, 2017, 5:33pm Top

I wish I thought so. The prospect of getting back on the job-hunt treadmill is pretty soul-crushing.

Nov 2, 2017, 5:40pm Top

I've been there and I hated it so much, so my heart aches for you, my friend. {{{{{Liz}}}}}

Would a sloth help? This little guy wants to give you a hug, too:

Nov 2, 2017, 5:43pm Top

>121 lyzard: oh no, Liz. I do hope something comes along for you.

Nov 2, 2017, 5:46pm Top

Sloths always help.

Thanks, guys; I'm hanging in there.

Nov 2, 2017, 5:47pm Top

...and there's always books, right?

Finished One Of My Sons for TIOLI #12.

Now reading Murder Backstairs by Anne Austin---although, because I'm reading it online via newspapers.com, I may need an eye-resting alternative too...

Meanwhile, still reading the complete edition of The Duke's Children.

Nov 2, 2017, 5:54pm Top

>121 lyzard: So sorry to read you lost your new job, Liz.

Edited: Nov 2, 2017, 5:55pm Top

Thanks, Anita.

Nov 2, 2017, 5:55pm Top

Bacon and eggs! - surely the highest praise possible:

Edited: Nov 2, 2017, 6:00pm Top

>130 lyzard: Those were the days, when a small-town paper like the Bismarck (North Dakota, presumably) Tribune ran serializations of murder mysteries! That's even better than a crossword puzzle.

I have to say I've never thought of "bacon and eggs for breakfast" as plausible, exactly.

Edited: Nov 4, 2017, 3:57pm Top

Of course it had:

"Tingling"---that's even better than bacon and eggs!

I find these things fascinating: Anne Austin is nearly forgotten today, yet these papers devoted even whole pages to promoting her upcoming books (this ad is from the Miami News). I've seen a lot of authors better remembered who didn't get this sort of push at the time.

Nov 2, 2017, 6:26pm Top


Even more tacit praise for Anne Austin: it turns out that Murder Backstairs was serialised in the Australian papers of the time---very unusual, since we generally only got British authors. They must have known there was a fan-base (or whatever they called it in the 1930s).

This is good news in another way: the American papers sometimes trimmed their serialised books to keep them to a certain length, but the Australian papers seem to have been content to just let things run to completion.

They were also a bit more restrained with their advertising:

Nov 2, 2017, 6:28pm Top

That advert does contain some good advice. Starting a detective story at chapter 2 is usually not the best idea.

Nov 2, 2017, 6:32pm Top

Well, I suppose at the time newspapers were pretty ephemeral; you could certainly use that fact to excuse an implied "DO NOT FAIL TO GIVE US YOUR MONEY". :)

Edited: Nov 2, 2017, 6:41pm Top

Oddly, despite the book's evident popularity (two American editions in addition to international serialisation), the only older cover images I can find are French: one from 1932 - and I don't know *what's* going on there - and one from 1947:


Nov 2, 2017, 6:49pm Top

>121 lyzard: Oh, Liz, I'm very sorry to hear about the job loss. Best of luck in finding another soon that's an even better fit!

I have to say that >130 lyzard: and >132 lyzard: would be more likely to get me to make sure I got the opening chapter than the circumspect >133 lyzard:.

Nov 2, 2017, 8:22pm Top

>133 lyzard: The real question raised by the Australian newspaper advert is: Why didn't she follow her own precedent by naming this one after an adjective-bird? The idea of a Black Pigeon? Meh. But an Avenging Parrot? You need to find that one, Liz!

Also, clearly bacon and eggs for breakfast are not appropriately plausible in Australia.

Nov 2, 2017, 8:31pm Top

>137 harrygbutler:

Thanks, Harry.

Well, we Australians do tend a little more to taciturnity. :)

>138 rosalita:

Perhaps she thought she was writing herself into a corner. Or perhaps she got distracted by her detective, 'Bonnie' Dundee, who first appears in The Avenging Parrot and then became her series character.

I read The Avenging Parrot last year: its owner is murdered in front of it, and it turns out the bird (a good talker) picked up a phrase uttered in the heat of the moment, which it repeats to Dundee and so helps him identify the killer. He then adopts the parrot, and now refers to it as his "Watson". :D

"As plausible as Vegemite on toast!" You're right, much better!

Nov 3, 2017, 8:52am Top

So sorry about your job! I hope something turns up soon for you.

I'm going to have to see if I can find some Anne Austin - these stories of popular writers that have disappeared today fascinate me.

Nov 3, 2017, 12:04pm Top

>121 lyzard: oh, no. So sorry you're on the job-hunt again. I hope the next one is a great fit for you.

>99 souloftherose: Didn't Branagh do an adaptation of Frankenstein that was shown on public television? Ah yes, just looked it up. It's under the title 'Mary Shelley's Frankenstein', from 1994, which is I guess a long time ago. I don't recall much of it, except that I liked it and it ended in the snow. The NTLive filmed stage play was terrific. And we did see both casts. I thought the one where Cumberbatch played the creature and Johnny Lee Miller played the doctor was the better fit.

Edited: Nov 3, 2017, 5:05pm Top

>140 drneutron:

Thanks, Jim.

Time does weird things, that's for sure. One of Austin's books, Murder At Bridge, one of the 'Bonnie' Dundee stories, is available free online for some reason, and some of the others are just now becoming available on Kindle.

>141 ffortsa:

I'm sorry too, Judy, believe me! :)

Some years back, a couple of friends and I did a project examing "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein" and "Bram Stoker's Dracula" with the books and each other, and came to the conclusion that if a film has an author's name in the title, it's going to be LESS like the book than any other adaptation. :D

The problem with that version of Frankenstein is that Kenneth Branagh spends the whole film trying to make Frankenstein the hero instead of the villain...

Nov 3, 2017, 7:25pm Top

Finished Murder Backstairs for TIOLI #15.

And speaking of now-forgotten mystery writers:

Now reading Murder From The Grave by Will Levinrew; still reading the restored edition of The Duke's Children.

Nov 3, 2017, 11:01pm Top

I haven't managed to get any book reviews written, but I have written a short-ish blog post about George William Macarthur Reynolds, one of the odder figures of Victorian England, in preparation for tackling his massive penny-dreadful, The Mysteries Of London:

Reynolds the Radical

Nov 3, 2017, 11:02pm Top

...which at least deserves a little lemur:

Nov 4, 2017, 3:35am Top

Awww, baby lemur! Somehow it doesn't look quite as startled as its grown-up cousins.

Nov 4, 2017, 9:14am Top

>144 lyzard: I just came across Reynolds' name in the introduction to a collection of Tamil "pulp" stories that I got yesterday (The Blaft Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction). A (presumably satirical) article published in 1933 had included this in its guide to "The Secret of Commercial Novel Writing":

"2. Don't worry about the storyline. All you have to do is creatively adapt the stories of Reynolds and the rest. Yet your story must include a minimum of half a dozen lovers and prostitutes, preferably ten dozen murders, and a few sundry thieves and detectives."

Nov 4, 2017, 9:37am Top

I’m really sorry that you’re forced back on the job-hunting treadmill, Liz. That’s awful for you. You have plenty of friends here who are cheering you on and sympathizing at the same time, if that helps at all.

Anne Austin...hmmm...

Nov 4, 2017, 4:01pm Top

>146 rosalita:

It's only a baby, it'll learn!

>147 harrygbutler:

Certainly sounds like Reynolds! :D

The last chapter in the Humpherys / Louis book is about the popularity of Reynolds' works in India, were they were not simply translated into Hindi, but rewritten for an Indian context.

>148 bohemima:

Thanks, Gail, I appreciate it!

Ooh, have I winged you with a BB??

Nov 4, 2017, 4:09pm Top

I know you’ll be shocked, but I’ve discovered that I have an Anne Austin on the kindle. Murder at Bridge, chosen probably because I have been an occasionally avid bridge player. A new-ish purchase, too.

But I can assure that if I had none, I would have added her to my Perpetually Growing Wish List.

Nov 4, 2017, 4:14pm Top


I read Murder At Bridge a few years ago, at the outset of my seemingly endless "read through 1931" project. I found out later it was a series work. It's the third in the Dundee series, and I'm planning on re-reading it now that I'm better informed. :)

Edited: Nov 5, 2017, 4:28pm Top

Gaudy Night - When she receives a letter from an old friend, urging her to attend the celebrations at Shrewsbury College, Harriet Vane decides to go---although not without significant doubts: she has not been back to Oxford since the scandal of her murder trial. While the reunion is attended with disappointment and awkwardness, as such functions usually are, Harriet finds her old passion for Oxford and the scholarly life reawakened, and is delighted to spend time with the pragmatic, intelligent Letitia Martin, Dean of the college, and her former tutor, Miss Lydgate, and to be introduced to the brilliant, idiosyncratic new Research Fellow, Miss de Vine. But even here, it seems, Harriet cannot escape her past: donning the academic gown which she has briefly laid aside, she finds tucked into its sleeve a vicious anonymous note denouncing her as a murderer... Some months later, Harriet receives a letter from the Dean, informing her of an ugly outbreak of vandalism and poison-pen letters self-evidently emanating from within the college. Given the likely consequences of a public scandal, the police have not been notified. The Dean, aware that Harriet has had a certain experience with crime, asks for her help. Harriet agrees to do what she can, despite having her hands tied by the need to preserve the college's reputation; but even as she begins to construct a timeline of the various events and the movements of the potential suspects, the incidents continue to escalate---until Harriet's thoughts turn, reluctantly but unavoidably, towards Lord Peter Wimsey... So here I am again, on the whole greatly admiring a novel by Dorothy Sayers, yet at the same time clenching my teeth in irritation at its pervasive air of elitism. I make basically the same criticism here that I did of The Nine Tailors, that is, that Sayers seems more intent upon showing off her knowledge and experience than sharing it with her readers, something which extends literally from first page to last: from her choosing to call her novel Gaudy Night without ever bothering to explain to the uninitiated what a "gaudy" is, to its climactic exchange of Latin tags; the resulting, overarching implication seems to be that if you didn't go to Oxford, you don't deserve to understand these things. (Disclaimer: I didn't go to Oxford, but I can read Latin; I still find it annoying.) Meanwhile, The Beatification Of Peter Wimsey continues unabated, as we learn that, with war-clouds gathering in Europe, Peter is now trusted by the British government to carry out the most delicate of diplomatic missions. (Hey, remember when Peter had flaws? Dorothy sure doesn't...) Yet at the same time, Sayers does an excellent, heartfelt job of conveying her own passion for Oxford - their mutual university experiences unexpectedly forge a new and precious link between Harriet and Peter - and what Oxford was like for female students in the earliest days of their formal admission. She also makes a framework for her narrative out of a detailed dissecting-out of the various personal and social ramifications of higher education for women---many of which remain, alas, depressingly relevant: the tension between marriage and a career, both individually and between those making opposite choices; society's arrogant assumption that it has the right to dictate how a woman will live her life; the irrational guilt that can assail a woman who refuses to do as she "ought"; and the doubts and hostility that must almost unavoidably arise from constantly having to defend a position. With Shrewsbury College existing, as if were, on sufferance, and vulnerable to outside attack, when the anonymous letter-writing and vandalism begins, the women of the college, students and faculty alike, are united in their absolute determination to defend their alma mater by keeping the matter entirely within-house---even if this means that the situation is allowed to continue much longer than it might with official interference. Harriet Vane, when she agrees to undertake an investigation of sorts - and having met resistance even to her suggestion of allowing the discreet Miss Climpson to assist her - is fully aware not only of the magnitude of the problem, but the painful truth that someone from within Shrewsbury must be responsible for the vicious attacks. Though Harriet does not succeed in exposing the guilty party, she does narrow down the suspects to an uncomfortably small group: one which does not, however, exclude some of those academics whom she most admires... Harriet is both startled and relieved when she encounters Peter at Oxford, attending a function at Balliol. Matters at Shrewsbury having escalated to include a physical attack and an attempted suicide, Harriet is only too glad to have Peter's expertise to turn to; and together, the two devote themselves to the task of bringing the ugly situation to a conclusion---an act of partnership that forces Harriet, finally and definitively, to confront her feelings for Peter...

    The final Chorale was sung, and the audience made their way out. Harriet's way lay through the Broad Street gate; Peter followed through the quad.
    "It's a beautiful night---far too good to waste. Don't go back yet. Come down to Magdalen Bridge and send your love to London River."
    They turned along the Broad in silence, the light wind fluttering their gowns as they walked.
    "There's something about this place," Peter said presently, "that alter's one's values." He paused, and added a little abruptly: "I have said a good deal to you one way and another, lately; but you may have noticed that since we came to Oxford I have not asked you to marry me."
    "Yes," said Harriet, her eyes fixed upon the severe and delicate silhouette of the Bodleian roof, just emerging between the Sheldonian and Clarendon Building. "I had noticed it."
    "I have been afraid," he said simply; "because I knew that from anything you said to me here, there could be no going back... But I will ask you now, and if you say No, I promise you that this time I will accept your answer..."

Nov 5, 2017, 12:11am Top

Finished Murder From The Grave for TIOLI #11.

Now reading Abomination by Guy N. Smith; still reading the restored edition of The Duke's Children.

Nov 5, 2017, 3:04am Top

Finished Abomination for TIOLI #16.

Now reading Reckless Youth by "Valentine" (Archibald Thomas Pechey); still reading the restored edition of The Duke's Children.

Nov 5, 2017, 3:25am Top

>152 lyzard: I see all of what you are saying and yet... it still leaves me going *squeeee* at the end. Part of me thinks she should have left them there, on the bridge in the moonlight.

Nov 5, 2017, 3:50am Top

That's fair enough: just because something annoys me, it doesn't have to annoy everyone! :)

I certainly think you could make a cogent argument either way about that point.

Nov 5, 2017, 4:29am Top

Goodness me, I'm getting tired of British novels that begin with the hero falling desperately in love at first sight.

Though it's interesting that they're all written by men...

Nov 5, 2017, 6:33am Top

So .... this decidedly un-elite American is wondering what IS a Gaudy Night? I had no idea it was an actual thing.

Edited: Nov 5, 2017, 7:28am Top

A gaudy is a (British) form of university celebration with a very, very long history, usually built around a feast of some sort, but which is conducted differently at different institutions. At Oxford it involves a reunion as part of a bigger celebration, with a formal dinner (in full academic dress) as the centrepiece, and other events such as concerts. The reunions run in ten-year cycles for different sets of students (via years of graduation).

"Gaudy" is derived from the Latin for "merry-making", but Sayers got her title from Shakespeare:

"Let's have one other gaudy night: call to me
All my sad captains; fill our bowls once more
Let's mock the midnight bell..."

Edited: Nov 5, 2017, 8:30am Top

>121 lyzard: Wait, what?! :-( Agh - I feel your heavy heart at the thought of having to job hunt again... I've always found it to be a most discouraging process. I hope you find something that suits you soon.

>141 ffortsa: Glad to hear you enjoy the NTLive Frankenstein - if it's ever on again I would certainly go to see it with the actors in the different roles.

>144 lyzard: Very interesting post on George Reynolds. I'm still tentatively interested in joining in when you read The Mysteries of London, maybe....

Nov 5, 2017, 10:49am Top

>159 lyzard: Thanks for the explanation, Liz. Definitely not a thing at public universities in the U.S., at least. I can't vouch for what those hoity-toity private colleges get up to. :-)

Edited: Nov 5, 2017, 4:27pm Top

>160 souloftherose:

Yeah, sigh. Trying to gird up my loins to start over, but it ain't happening yet... :(

Thank you! I'm hoping to make a start on The Mysteries Of London this month; I'm envisaging reading it as separate volumes, though, as I did with the Memoirs Of Vidocq, rather than in one ginormous chunk: I think that might be too much of a good thing!

>161 rosalita:

Making up for Sayers' shortcomings: it's what I do! :D

Edited: Nov 5, 2017, 4:50pm Top

And in fact---

Finished Reckless Youth for TIOLI #1.

Now reading The Mysteries Of London (Volume I) by G. W. M. Reynolds; still reading the restored edition of The Duke's Children.

Nov 5, 2017, 8:09pm Top

The Curse Of Doone - Back in London after a mission on the continent, secret service agent Ian Heath has a chance encounter with a lovely young woman and is immediately smitten with her; noting, however, the look of fear in her eyes. Attending the theatre, he is surprised and pleased to see the girl again---and only too willing to intervene when she is the victim of an attempted abduction. Heath gives her his card, assuring her impulsively that should she ever need help, she may call upon his services; however, she slips away without introducing herself. Without any other family, Cecily Garrett travels to Doone Hall, to live with her uncle, the scientist Warren Murdoch. She quickly learns that the isolated estate has a bad local reputation, and of the so-called "Vampire of Doone Hall"; even so, she is unprepared for screams in the night, and a glimpse of a silent, swooping figure in the sky... An attempt upon Heath's life gives him the opportunity to fake his death, hoping thereby to draw certain enemy agents into the open. Needing to leave London, he takes refuge at the Dartsmoor cottage of his friend, Jerry Hartsgill, which is situated not far from Doone Hall---which, Heath learns to his delight, is the home of the lovely stranger. Persuading Cecily to confide in him, Heath listens disbelievingly to her story of the flying creature---but is forced to consider the incredible when, after visiting Warren Murdoch to examine his new invention, a certain Professor Sapford is found dead in the garden, his throat torn open... Published in 1928, The Curse Of Doone is a typical Sydney Horler effort: a between-the-wars thriller offering a two-fisted hero, "degenerate" villains - including a woman with a monocle ("Prussian", of course) - a secret invention, kidnappings, death-traps, hair's-breadth escapes, sinister servants, secret passages, hidden treasure, and a family curse---all tied together with some of the most outrageous coincidences you'll ever blink at in disbelief. (And no, Mr Horler, admitting them to be such in your narrative does not excuse them.) Horler's ongoing debt to the Sherlock Holmes stories has been well-documented, and The Curse Of Doone is (allowing for the intrusion of an espionage plot) all but a war-time updating of The Hound Of The Baskervilles...a fact which foreshadows certain revelations about this novel's seemingly supernatural horror. Nevertheless, the high-point of this novel is certainly the "Vampire of Doone Hall"---by local tradition, a member of the family which originally owned the property, and who was dispatched via a stake through the heart and burial under the flagstones of the Hall's cellar some two hundred years before. The creature is seen by various characters as it circles in the sky in man-sized bat-form, and before long its victims begin to pile up... Alas, despite all this we know in our hearts it's only a matter of time before Horler lets us down. The only question is how; and while I'm not going to tell you that, I will say that the "explanation" is even stupider than I was expecting. But then, this is a book that shifts the goal-posts of "stupid", featuring as it does a young man falling desperately in love at first sight with a girl not just for her pretty face, but for her "pluck" - meaning she doesn't scream and/or faint when he steps on her foot - and a villain who was once a respected German officer, but who was driven to murder and near-madness when---he went bald...

    He turned his eyes upwards. A wind seemed to have sprung up. The next moment he was literally shaking, for now he was seeing something which gave very real substance to his fears.
    Hovering above him was a dimly outlined Shape. It had the form of a bat---only it was far too monstrous for any bat. It might have been a man...a man with wings...
    "Gosh!" gasped Jerry Hartsgill, and, despite the cold, the sweat poured down his face.
    He knew at once what it was---the Vampire...the Thing that haunted Doone Hall... The Vileness that flew at night...and killed...tearing open the throats of its victims... It had slain that innocent professor---and now it was hunting a fresh prey...
    Clenching his hands, he called up his manhood; he endeavoured to summon sufficient resolution to fight the fear which unnerved him. He told himself that it was impossible, that he was living in a time of cold reason, of deadly logic...but while he did so, the Thing wheeled in the sky and he noticed two glaring balls of fire looking down at him.
    The Creature had eyes...it could see him...

Nov 6, 2017, 12:31am Top

Hi Liz, I've been away for awhile due to RL complexities but I'm finding my way back. As always, I am overwhelmed with your organization and reading challenges.
I also have read Frankenstein and was surprised at how little the films I've seen pay any attention to the book. It was interesting to see Shelley develop the idea of the responsibility of the creator towards the person/thing they have created.

I love browsing through the book covers!

Edited: Nov 6, 2017, 7:30am Top

>164 lyzard: By the time I got to the last sentence I was giggling uncontrollably, Liz. Those murderous hair follicles!

I feel bad for hoping you never run out of dreadful books to read, but the reviews are so enjoyable.

Nov 6, 2017, 3:26pm Top

>164 lyzard: OMG. You READ this stuff? Wow. I admire your fortitude, or maybe your sense of comedy.

Edited: Nov 6, 2017, 3:32pm Top

>165 Oregonreader:

Hi, Jan! Lovely to see you here. Sorry you've been having RL problems; I've been having some myself so I completely sympathise.

Hey! - thank you, but to let you in on a little secret, I'm not quite as organised as these lists might make it look...! I'm glad you like the covers, though. :)

It certainly appears Shelley was reflecting her own unhappy parent-child relationship in her novel: her father rejected her after her mother died, and she was scarred by the estrangement.

>166 rosalita:

Aw, thanks, hon!

Hey, it's a Mystery League book: we were expecting maybe high art?? :D

Personally I was giggling over the fact that the person who had to "call up his manhood" was also the one who went "wanking about upstairs" in an earlier quote...

>167 ffortsa:

Not only that, Judy: I'm mean enough to make other people read it too! :D

Julia was sensible and quickly bailed, but I still have Harry in my evil clutches...

Nov 6, 2017, 3:35pm Top

And now that Julia and Harry are in one place, as it were---

Just noting that I picked up my ILL of The Clock Strikes Twelve yesterday, so that can kick off whenever you like (though between The Duke's Children and The Mysteries Of London, it may still be a few days at this end).

Nov 6, 2017, 3:36pm Top

>168 lyzard: Wankers calling up their manhood? Maybe I should re-think my decision not to read these ...

Nov 6, 2017, 3:41pm Top

>170 rosalita: I suspect your imagination is working overtime there and the reality would be a disappointment (like so much pertaining to manhood...)

Edited: Nov 6, 2017, 3:45pm Top

>170 rosalita:

I wouldn't start second-guessing myself if I were you! :D

>171 Helenliz:

With these Mystery League books, you have to take your entertainment where you can get it!

(Oh, ouch, Helen! Harsh but fair!)

Nov 6, 2017, 3:55pm Top

>171 Helenliz: I think you are spot on, Helen!

>172 lyzard: Yeah, I put a cold compress on my forehead and the feeling went away, so I think I'm good now. :-)

Nov 6, 2017, 4:01pm Top

>168 lyzard: Ahem. I was an easy mark, as I was already reading this sort of book, including some of the Mystery League volumes. :-)

And I enjoyed The Curse of Doone well enough, even if it had some flaws. My issue was chiefly with just how bad a secret agent the protagonist seemed to be.

Nov 6, 2017, 4:10pm Top

So the psychological damage had already been done?

Ehh. Heath and the Bad Guys deserved each other.

(Mind you, much as I criticise, I just put the Tiger Standish series on The List...)

Nov 6, 2017, 4:17pm Top

>174 harrygbutler: Bless your heart, Harry, you're what we call a gamer!

And speaking to both of you: I've started The Clock Strikes Twelve and it's pretty good so far.

Edited: Nov 6, 2017, 4:27pm Top

>175 lyzard: True, the bad guys were pretty incompetent as well. I've a couple other books by Horler, and I'd be willing to get more, I expect.

>176 rosalita: That's good to know about The Clock Strikes Twelve. Thanks, Julia. I was happy with the last Miss Silver novel after I got past the first chapter. I'm still dealing with some hefty ILL books, so I'm not sure just when I'll get started.

Nov 6, 2017, 4:50pm Top

>176 rosalita:

Good to hear!

>177 harrygbutler:

No hurry.

As for Horler, there are two more on the Mystery League list, I believe. :)

Edited: Nov 17, 2017, 7:27am Top

Sleeping Dogs - When Eileen Abercrombie, a beautiful, well-liked socialite, dies suddenly, it is both a shock and a mystery to her family. It is her maid, Corinne, who raises the spectre of poison---and under the circumstances, the family doctor insists upon calling in the police and the coroner. Soon the members of the household are being questioned: Hugh Abercrombie, Eileen's much-younger second husband; Maisie, her pert young daughter from her first marriage; Troy Loring, her cousin and lawyer; Miss Mercer, her social secretary; and Percy Van Atwerp, a friend and neighbour who, despite the disparity in their ages, hopes to marry Maisie. The autopsy confirms death by poisoning with bichloride of mercury; and though an accident seems impossible, everyone who knew Eileen cries out against the idea of either murder or suicide. Those involved are still coming to terms with the tragedy when Van Antwerp encounters Kenneth Carlisle, a friend from his college days: a former matinee idol who retired from the screen to become a private investigator... Knowing the outline of Carolyn Wells' Kenneth Carlisle series, I was disappointed to discover that the books are not (or not as yet) "Hollywood mysteries", but simply feature an actor-turned-detective; with no particular impetus given for his somewhat bizarre career-shift. Nevertheless, these books indicate a praiseworthy effort on Wells' part to do something a bit different. In her best-known and most successful series, Fleming Stone is (to use Wells' own term) a "transcendental detective", in other words, all but infallible, and with an exasperating tendency to turn up at the end of the book and solve the "baffling" mystery in five minutes flat. It is clear that, with Kenneth Carlisle, Wells was striving for anything but a paragon, a detective who makes mistakes, goes up blind alleys, and has to struggle his way to a conclusion: a journey marked by occasional humorous pot-shots at detectives just like Fleming Stone. It doesn't entirely work, but it's a welcome effort. Even so, we have to deal with local law enforcement's willingness to step aside for a rank amateur, something which commonly happens in American mysteries of this era, granted; though on the other hand, Sergeant Downing is both intelligent and competent, something not at all common in these books. The other thing that readers might find hard to swallow is the narrative's straight-faced insistence that an "old woman" like Eileen (she was forty-two, and looked ten years younger) could not possibly expect to be loved in a romantic sense. We're on firmer ground with the revelation that, years before, Eileen swept a very young and infatuated Hugh off his feet and into marriage---but that he never truly loved her as she did him. The revelation that Hugh and another woman, Lorna Garth, had fallen in love seems to provide motive; but no-one who knows the unhappy couple will hear of their doing anything really wrong; while even Maisie's sympathies are with her step-father. The investigation establishes that Eileen must have been poisoned during an afternoon gathering in her garden tea-house, which begs the question of who was there, who might have been there, and who had an opportunity to tamper with her drink? It will take another murder and the revelation of a remarkable secret before Carlisle can expose the killer...

    "It's too bad," Carlisle's thoughts ran, "when I'm so anxious to avoid dropped clues, when I'm such a stickler for the absent clue, to see those things staring me in the face! I've a notion to ignore them, not be pick them up at all, for they can't really be indicative---it's too absurd! Well, of course, I'll pick 'em up, but if these lead to Eileen Abercrombie's murderer I'll---well, I'll own that material clues are the proper caper, after all. And maybe it's all for the best. Maybe these will give me a start in the right direction---pray heaven not! and I can find absence of clues that will corroborate these."
    Diligently our erratic detective searched the room. The waste basket claimed his eager attention. But it was empty save for a wilted flower, a small chrysanthemum it was, and a twisted bit of paper. This paper, scrutinised, was merely a list of a few railroad trains, evidently copied from a timetable, trains leaving the little village of Crescent Cove in the late afternoon. Any of the guests might have thrown that there. Carlisle smoothed it out and put it away in his notebook.
    Then he scanned the ashtrays. These were productive of little. Apparently they had been emptied often during the afternoon, and at the last of the party only a few ashes and stubs had accumulated.
    "I do hate tobacco-ash clues," our fastidious detective mused, "I'd throw up the case if I found a Trichinopoly---not that I know what that is..."

Edited: Nov 6, 2017, 7:46pm Top

Smash And Grab - I've complained plenty about Clifton Robbins' Clay Harrison novels---and apparently I'm not the only one to have done so. This fourth book in the series begins with an amusing meta-sequence, in which Harrison takes Clifton Robbins to task for the way in which he has presenting his, Harrison's, cases to the public, and makes some suggestions for how he can improve them. Since these happen to tally with my own feelings about the shortcomings of these books, I'm going to assume that they were based on criticisms made by contemporary reviewers. At any event, in Smash And Grab we spend much less time inside Clay Harrison's head, often a tiresome place to be, with a shifting of perspectives instead; Henry, Harrison's sidekick assistant - who really, really isn't as funny as Robbins evidently believed - is banished from a chunk of the narrative; and "woman-hater" Harrison (who to this point has had one of those co-dependent detective-story relationships with Henry that make you raise your eyebrows just a little bit) is given - gasp! - a love-interest; though alas! - in spite of his insistence on Joy Lithgow's "charm" and "intelligence", Robbins can't help showing a certain contempt for her, an attitude that infects most of his female characters, with her various "weaknesses" - in particular her attraction to a certain bad-boy band-leader - driving a fair chunk of the plot. (Evidently the critics of the time didn't care about that.) As for Harrison's complaint that Robbins makes him out to be "a prig", well, it seems that was a lost cause. Nevertheless, the overall outcome of all this tweaking is a fairly gripping thriller. A smash-and-grab raid on a jeweller's shop leaves a bystander shot dead, and leads to a high-speed pursuit by a member of the public who happens to be driving by. The gang members are not caught, however; and nor, afterwards, are the police able to locate the chasing driver. It seems, meanwhile, that the raid was interrupted too early for the robbers to take possession of any of the jewellery---or almost so: curiously, the one thing taken was an imitation ring of very little value. The smash-and-grab is only one of a string of recent robberies; and Harrison is consulted by a Mr Lithgow over a strange incident involving his friend and colleague, the jeweller Achilles Fenelon, for whom Lithgow sometimes holds valuable gems, and who was accosted in the street by a criminal type who muttered about Bruges, in what to Lithgow seemed either a warning or a threat. The two men come to Harrison's attention again after the jewel robbery, when a distraught Lithgow brings to the detective's attention a newspaper photograph of the dead man, who he believes to be Fenelon. It is not, however, in spite of the resemblance: the victim is identified as a Mr Brown, a salesman who lived in a nearby boarding-house. However, when "Mr Brown" is identified by his daughter, Anita, as a M. Brassard, a Belgian - and when the death of this obscure individual in London receives unusual attention in the European papers - Harrison becomes convinced that this particular smash-and-grab robbery was only a smokescreen, and its real purpose was the death of Brassard...

    "An ordinary man who is shot by accident, as Mr Brown was, is usually going to an inhabited house and leaves any number of clues to his identity. Mr Brown is much too mysterious. Obviously he isn't an ordinary man."
    "Deliberate murder?" asked Joy.
    "It must be," answered Harrison. "Mr Brown had to be got rid of by somebody or other. He was decoyed to Hamper Street, possibly with the aid of Mr Hilary Barnstaple. The smash and grab raid was arranged by careful timing, so that he could be shot at when his taxi-cab passed. The ring of no great value was stolen by people who were not interested in jewellery, but were interested in murder. When they realised that they had made this silly mistake, they took steps to straighten things out by intimidating the jeweller into going back on his story."
    "It sounds very elaborate," said Lithgow.
    "That's where they are likely to fail," answered Harrison. It was a very carefully arranged plot. I personally cannot understand their taking the ring at all, especially as they did not seem to be acquainted with the value of jewellery. But they must have thought it would be best to pay attention to the smallest detail. Over-elaboration brings its own special dangers..."

Nov 6, 2017, 8:04pm Top

>180 lyzard: Since these happen to tally with my own feelings about the shortcomings of these books, I'm going to assume that they were based on criticisms made by contemporary reviewers.

I prefer to think that author Robbins was actually a time-traveler and lurks here on LT reading your reviews, then dashes back to his own time to write the next one! Doesn't that sound more interesting?

Nov 6, 2017, 8:54pm Top

So it's my fault he quit writing the Clay Harrison books after the next one?? When I'm reviewing that I'll be so self-conscious...

Nov 6, 2017, 9:08pm Top

>182 lyzard: Yes, you must come up with a review capable of stopping a bad author dead in his tracks! I have faith in you, Liz ...

Edited: Nov 6, 2017, 9:17pm Top


Robbins isn't bad: the stories themselves are clever, but the characters are always a bit irritating.

Nov 7, 2017, 12:21am Top

Total bummer about the job, Liz. Little do they realize what a jewel they have lost. Someone retires and they cut ANOTHER position to boot? I'm very sorry about the upheaval this is causing in your life.

Edited: Nov 7, 2017, 11:33am Top

Did you see the list of the reprints the Detective Club has planned for the first half of next year? I wish I could actually subscribe to receive a new entry every month.

Nov 7, 2017, 3:36pm Top

>185 ronincats:

Thanks, Roni. I'm trying to tell myself "Ah, well, their loss", but it isn't really helping. :)

>186 harrygbutler:

I hadn't; thanks for the heads-up!

Edited: Nov 8, 2017, 6:53am Top

Sparkling Cyanide (US title: Remembered Death) - A year after the suicide of Rosemary Barton, her younger sister, Iris Marle, learns from her brother-in-law that he has been receiving anonymous letters insisting that Rosemary did not kill herself at all; that she was murdered. In the interim, Iris has discovered from an incomplete, discarded letter that Rosemary was having an affair, and that the unknown man was trying to break it off. This seemed, to her, to provide some sort of motive for suicide, albeit an unsatisfactory one; but is it not equally motive for murder? - particularly if the man, as Iris suspects, was the married politician, Stephen Farraday. But in that case, his wife, too, might have had motive; as might George... Iris is aware that she turning her thoughts away from Anthony Browne, Rosemary's other close male friend, to whom she herself is strongly attracted... As Iris's birthday draws near, George begins to plan a party---and Iris, to her dismay, realises that he is reassembling those present at Rosemary's death, and has booked the same restaurant. The party goes ahead, despite the mutual discomfort of the guests---and this time, George Barton falls dead. Another suicide? - or murder? - or - another murder...? This 1945 mystery by Agatha Christie is - despite a supporting appearance by intelligence officer Colonel Race (his last) - a standalone novel that bears some resemblance the earlier Five Little Pigs, inasmuch as it involves an attempt to determine, retroactively, the truth about Rosemary Barton's death, and its significance with respect to her husband's murder. Much of the narrative of Sparkling Cyanide consists, therefore, of its various incidents being presented after the event from a range of perspectives, with the characters emerging chiefly from this internal view of their thoughts and motivations. (In which respect, I have always most enjoyed the subplot involving the introverted but passionate Sandra Farraday and her ruthless mother.) The murder-plot itself is cleverly complex, with motive after motive slowly emerging; although that said, the logistics of George Barton's fatal dinner-party are - if you'll pardon the expression - rather difficult to swallow. Be that as it may--- Whatever the truth of Rosemary's death, there is soon no doubt that George was murdered---and little more that one of the dinner-guests - Iris; George's secretary, Ruth Lessing; Stephen and Sandra Farraday; and Anthony Browne - must have been responsible. Both because of Stephen Farraday's political career and his wife's aristocratic parents, Scotland Yard is all too aware for the need to tread carefully; and it is to the tactful Inspector Kemp that the investigation is assigned. Kemp is happy to collaborate with Colonel Race, a friend of George's, who was present at the first fatal dinner-party, but a late withdrawal from the second one. However, it is not long before Anthony Browne takes a hand too---partly because the official investigation succeeds in uncovering a carefully guarded secret from his part, but chiefly because, the longer the investigation goes on, the stronger becomes the case against Iris Marle, with whom he has fallen in love...

    "It must have been either the waiter or one of the five people round the table," said Anthony. "I don't think it was the waiter. It wasn't me and it wasn't Iris. It could have been Sandra Farraday or it could have been Stephen Farraday, or it could have been both of them together. But the best bet, in my opinion, is Ruth Lessing."
    "Have you anything to support that belief?"
    "No. She seems to me the most likely person---but I don't see in the least how she did it! In both tragedies she was so placed at the table that it would be practically impossible for her to tamper with the champagne glass---and the more I think over what happened the other night, the more it seems to me impossible that George could have been poisoned at all---and yet he was!" Anthony paused. "And there's another thing that gets me---have you found out who wrote those anonymous letters that started him on the track?"
    Race shook his head. "No. I thought I had---but I was wrong."
    "Because the interesting thing is that it means that there is someone, somewhere, who knows that Rosemary was murdered, so that, unless you're careful---that person will be murdered next..."

Nov 8, 2017, 6:32am Top

>188 lyzard: That sounds like a good one. I'm planning to tackle Christie's standalones after I wrap up my Poirot chrono read. I don't think I've ever read any of her non-series books!

Also, classic example of changing a title for the U.S. market and making it much more boring and dull. What's wrong with sparkling cyanide, for heaven's sake?!

Nov 8, 2017, 6:56am Top

Some of the standalones are among my favourites.

The narrative does exploit the whole Rosemary, that's for remembrance thing...but I don't really think that outweighs two glasses of cyanide-laced champagne... :)

Nov 8, 2017, 7:26am Top

I will be coming back to your for help in getting them in order, so don't go anywhere! Mind you, it might be 2020 before I get there. I think I have 20 or so Poirots left.

Nov 8, 2017, 7:59am Top

>188 lyzard: I read that one this past spring and enjoyed it quite a bit!

Edited: Nov 8, 2017, 5:21pm Top

>191 rosalita:

Always happy to help! For this project I have, let's see...{consults The List}...fifteen plus an unwritten review. Always an unwritten review...

>192 scaifea:

Hi, Amber! Thanks for visiting. Yes, it's a bit different, isn't it?

Edited: Nov 8, 2017, 6:20pm Top

The Talented Mr Ripley - Just at the moment when he has exhausted his resources, and living hand-to-mouth on an act of low-level fraud, Tom Ripley is approached by businessman Herbert Greenleaf and asked to help bring his son, Richard, home from Italy, where he is trying to support himself as an artist. Though he has not seen Dickie for many years, Tom sees potential in the situation and agrees to help. He first writes to Dickie, then travels to Mongibello, near Naples - at Mr Greenleaf's expense - and ingratiates himself with Dickie and his sort-of girlfriend, Marge Sherwood, another aspiring artist. Tom sees quickly enough that he will have no influence over Dickie, though he considers this no reason to cut his mission short; he sees also that, as far as his art goes, Dickie is fooling himself; but the hedonistic life he leads grows ever more attractive to Tom, even as Dickie himself becomes harder and harder to tolerate---until he finds himself wondering whether he wouldn't make better use of Dickie's life than Dickie himself is doing... This 1955 thriller by Patricia Highsmith is a landmark in crime writing: a cool, frightening yet funny study of a sociopath, as seen through the sociopath's own eyes. The latter makes it natural for all the other characters to seem rather petty and unimportant, certainly foolish, in comparison with Tom himself, whose ability to live by his wits is contrasted darkly with what he views as their undeserved ease. Highsmith's deliberately monotonic prose conveys the out-of-proportion, self-absorbed workings of Tom's mind, in which a nice dinner and an act of murder are all in the same day's work; while the oblique sexual undertones of the two young men's shifting relationship adds a sharp edge to Tom's "consumption" of Dickie---identity theft in its ultimate form. Though Tom's / the novel's obsessive cataloguing of details of places, possessions and past-times (something adopted and updated by Bret Easton Ellis in American Psycho) grows somewhat wearying, once Tom has launched himself upon his grand plan, the equally obsessive cataloguing of the details of his scheme become, perversely, absolutely gripping. The triumph of the novel is that, while being given no reason whatsoever to sympathise with or excuse Tom, the reader is nevertheless drawn into identification with him when questions and doubts inevitably arise, and "Dickie" must attempt to fight through the net that begins to close about him...

    He went up to Dickie's room and paced around for a few moments, his hands in his pockets. He wondered when Dickie was coming back? Or was he going to stay and make an afternoon of it, really take her to bed with him? He jerked Dickie's closet door open and looked in. There was a freshly pressed, new-looking grey flannel suit that he had never seen Dickie wearing. Tom took it out. He took off his knee-length shorts and put on thegrey flannel trousers. He put on a pair of Dickie's shoes. Then he opened the bottom draw of the chest and took out a clean blue-and-white striped shirt.
    He chose a dark-blue silk tie and knotted it carefully. The suit fitted him. He reparted his hair and put the part a little more to one side, the way Dickie wore his.
    "Marge, you must understand that I don't love you," Tom said into the mirror in Dickie's voice, with Dickie's higher pitch on the emphasised words, with the little growl in his throat at the end of the phrase that could be pleasant or unpleasant, intimate or cool, according to Dickie's mood. "Marge, stop it!" Tom turned suddenly and made a grab in the air as if he were seizing Marge's throat. He shook her, twisted her, while she sank lower and lower, until at last he left her, limp, on the floor. He was panting. He wiped his forehead the way Dickie did, reached for a handkerchief and, not finding any, got one from Dickie's top drawer, then resumed in front of the mirror. Even his parted lips looked like Dickie's lips...

Nov 8, 2017, 9:53pm Top

Hi Liz! It's been ages since I visited one of your threads, which is a mistake on my part, because there's always something fascinating to be found.

You've had me snickering - and checking my extended library system for several books, mostly without success. I may join you for Miss Silver (I think I've read all of them and actually own quite a few) and the stand alone Christie. I'll do my best to get you a few more TIOLI shared reads.

Have you read Katharine Walton Or the Rebel of Dorchester by William Gilmore Simms? In Martyr of the American Revolution: the Execution of Isaac Hayne, South Carolinian, the author notes that Katharine Walton is one of several works of popular fiction about or mentioning the execution. I've got it on request from my library system and am planning to read it this month. I'm wondering if you know what I'm getting myself into....

I'm so sorry you're back in job hunting mode - you have my sympathy. Sick of job hunting, I accepted my current position two years ago. It wasn't what I wanted, but it hasn't been bad, largely because I liked my bosses. Now that my immediate boss and her boss are gone, it's long past time for me to start searching, but I dread it. Good luck to us both.

Nov 9, 2017, 3:45pm Top

Princess! How lovely to see you here again. :)

I'm glad you found some entertainment on your wander through, and I would be delighted to share a few reads with you. Harry, Julia and I are reading the Miss Silvers at about one every two months, and you're more than welcome to join us if something takes your fancy.

I have not read Katharine Walton, although I see it's on my Wishlist. (Yeah, yeah: along with every other book in the known universe...) I know Simms was a highly respected historical novelist in his day; although the fact that he was strongly pro-slavery has put an understandable dent in his reputation since.

Thanks; but yeah, ugh. I've been trying to hold out and not just grab at anything but you do start to question your choices after a while. This time I've taken a week off to lick my wounds, but I really have to get back in the searching grind... :(

Edited: Nov 10, 2017, 5:35pm Top

Finished The Duke's Children: First Complete Edition for TIOLI #5.

Still reading Volume I of The Mysteries Of London.

Edited: Nov 10, 2017, 4:48pm Top

The Killer Inside Me - Deputy Sheriff Lou Ford is a popular man in his community, where he is admired for his work ethic and his honesty, and his willingness to put out a helping hand; though there is a little contempt mixed with the liking of some of his male colleagues, due to his slight dim-wittedness and drawling platitudes, and his refusal to use force on the job. Of course, the people of Central City don't know about the bizarre triangle that developed many years before between Lou, his father, and their housekeeper; or that Mike Dean, Lou's foster-brother, was not the one responsible for the attack upon a three-year-old girl, one of a series of such cases. Nor do they know that the on-the-job accident that killed Mike Dean after he was released from reform school was nothing of the kind, but murder orchestrated by businessman Chester Conway. But Lou Ford knows it... When Elmer Conway, Chester's son, is found shot dead, apparently by the prostitute he was beating to death, it seems at first and open-and-shut case; but local law enforcement find worrying signs that someone else was there. When Lou Ford sees vague suspicion beginning to turn his way, he takes steps to cover his tracks; and if saving his own skin means someone else has to die, well, so be it... Three years before Patricia Highsmith lured her readers into identification and sympathy with the sociopathic Tom Ripley, Jim Thompson placed his readers inside the mind of a psychopathic killer---showing them not merely the monsters in their midst, but how such people succeed in hiding in plain sight. With Lou Ford as first-person narrator, The Killer Inside Me offers almost a fractured perspective, with Lou's practised manipulation of those around him via his adopted good-ol'-boy persona sitting side-by-side with his detached awareness of what he calls the sickness; while beneath, in the shadows of Lou's psyche, lurks a brutal sexual predator. The savage hands-on beatings of first the prostitute, Joyce Lakeland, and then Lou's own girlfriend, Amy Stanton, are described to the reader in sickening detail, the calmness of tone doing nothing to conceal Lou's profound gratification in the acts. In fact, Lou has controlled the sickness for many years; but when his revenge upon Chester Conway requires - Lou assures us that it is necessary - the killing of Elmer Conway and his prostitute-girlfriend, the one shot, the other beaten to death, the beast is off the leash... It does not at first occur to Lou that anyone might suspect him; but he has not been as careful in concealing his involvement as he might, and it is not long before suspicion, albeit nebulous and reluctant, turns his way. Lou's first thought is to find a patsy - a dead one, that can't defend itself - but even this proves an inadequate defence; and as Lou's plan unravels, the bodies pile up...

    I could admit, now, that I'd never had any real cause to think that Amy would make trouble for me. She had too much pride; she'd have hurt herself too much; and, anyway, she loved me.
    I'd never had any real cause, either, to be afraid that Joyce would make trouble. She was too smart to try to, from what I'd seen of her. But if she had been sore enough to try---but if she'd been mad enough so's she just didn't give a damn---she wouldn't have got anywhere. After all, she was just a whore and I was old family, quality, and she wouldn't have opened her mouth twice before she was run out of town.
    No, I hadn't been afraid of her starting talk. I had been afraid that if I kept on with her I'd lose control of myself. I'd never had any control even before I met her. No control---just luck. Because anyone who reminded me of the burden I carried, anyone who did what that first her had done, would get killed...
    Anyone. Amy. Joyce. Any woman who, even for a moment, became her...

Nov 10, 2017, 4:40pm Top

>198 lyzard: Yikes! I need to read some Jim Thompson in 2018.

Nov 10, 2017, 4:50pm Top

>199 rosalita:

Strap yourself in...

Edited: Nov 10, 2017, 5:13pm Top

...and with that, I have finished with September; hallelujah!

September stats:

Works read: 19
TIOLI: 19, in 13 different challenges, with 5 shared reads

Mystery / thriller: 14
Classic: 3
Contemporary drama: 2

Re-reads: 3
Series works: 10
Blog reads: 1
1932: 0
1931: 2
Virago / Persephone: 1
Potential decommission: 0

Owned: 2
Library: 8
Ebook: 9

Male authors : female authors : anonymous authors: 8 : 11 : 1

Oldest work: Gallantry Unmask'd; or, Women In Their Proper Colours by Anonymous (1690)
Newest work: The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith (1955)


YTD stats:

Works read: 156
TIOLI: 156, in 109 different challenges, with 23 shared reads and 1 sweep

Mystery / thriller: 86 (55.1%)
Contemporary drama: 19 (12.1%)
Classic: 15 (9.6%)
Young adult: 12 (7.7%)
Historical romance: 7 (4.5%)
Contemporary romance: 3 (1.9%)
Historical drama: 3 (1.9%)
Non-fiction: 3 (1.9%)
Humour: 3 (1.9%)
Short stories: 2 (1.3%)
Science fiction: 1 (0.6%)
Western: 1 (0.6%)
Fantasy: 1 (0.6%)

Re-reads: 23 (14.7%)
Series works: 98 (64.8%)
Blog reads: 6 (3.8%)
1932: 9 (5.8%)
1931: 12 (7.8%)
Virago / Persephone: 3 (1.9%)
Potential decommission: 5 (3.2%)

Owned: 39 (25.0%)
Library: 45 (28.8%)
Ebook: 72 (46.2%)

Male authors : female authors : anonymous authors: 84 (52.2%) : 79 (48.2%) : 1 (0.6%)

Oldest work: The Holy War by John Bunyan (1682)
Newest work: 1815: Regency Britain In The Year Of Waterloo by Stephen Bates (2015)

Nov 10, 2017, 5:12pm Top

...and now I feel kind of like this; though of course not so cute:

Edited: Nov 10, 2017, 5:29pm Top

>202 lyzard: SLOTH!!!!!!!!!

I feel sooooooo sleeeeeepy all of a sudden ...

Nov 11, 2017, 6:21am Top

>202 lyzard:. awww, sleepy sloth.

Nov 11, 2017, 5:53pm Top

Sympathetic snoozing! :D

Edited: Nov 14, 2017, 3:30pm Top

Down There (reissue title: Shoot The Piano Player) - Once a concert pianist with the world at his feet, Edward Webster Lynn now scrapes a living playing piano in a bar in Philadelphia. When, one night, Eddie's brother, Turley, who he has not seem for many years, appears out of the blue, on the run from criminal associates whom he has defrauded and in fear of his life, Eddie wants nothing to do with him; yet when Turley's pursuers track him to the bar, Eddie cannot help intervening to give his brother a chance to escape. This brings Eddie to the attention of the dangerous criminal gang---and plunges him into a nightmare of terror and violence... First published in 1956, and filmed in 1960 by Francois Truffaut as Tirez sur le Pianiste, David Goodis' Down There is a quintessential noir work, a tersely written thriller built around the two fundamental rules of the genre: (i) no good deed goes unpunished, and (ii) no matter how bad things are, they can always get worse. Eddie himself is a prototypical noir protagonist, a victim simultaneously of circumstances and his own flaws, living in a world where kindness will only get you hurt---and love will probably get you killed. The deliberate isolation of Eddie's life is presented in parallel with Goodis' descriptions of a biting, bitter winter; but the author intends here an irony even more bitter and biting: as soon as Eddie opens up a bit, helping his brother and allowing Lena, the bar's almost equally aloof waitress, to express her interest in him, a hostile universe sits up and takes notice... The product of a bitterly poor New Jersey family, Eddie's extraordinary musical ability lifts him out of the deprivation of his childhood home and carries him to the heights of Carnegie Hall---until an appalling personal tragedy sends him into a downward spiral of alcoholism and self-punishment. Washing up at the seedy bar known as Harriet's Hut, Eddie finds a welcome refuge in the ignorance of the dive's regular patrons---and survives by denying himself emotional contact of any sort. In a masterpiece of bad timing, Eddie's intervention on his brother's behalf coincides with his making of a tentative connection with Lena - who happens to be an object of desire to Plyne, the bar's ex-wrestler bouncer - who happens to be the common-law husband of Harriet, the bar's owner - thus ensuring that a great many more people than just Eddie himself are sucked into the escalating vortex of violence set in motion by the pianist's impulsive, one-off breaking of his personal rules...

    Just then Eddie felt the snow and the wind. The wind was very cold. He heard himself saying, "When who gets here?"
    "The skirt," Feather said. "The skirt we saw you with last night. She's coming to pay you a visit."
    He turned and saw her coming down the street. She was crossing the street diagonally, coming toward the car. He raised his hand just high enough to make the warning gesture, telling her to stay away, to please stay away. She kept advancing toward the car and he thought, She knows, she knows you're in a situation and she figures she can help. But that gun. She can't see the gun---
    He heard the voice of Feather saying, "She your girl friend, Eddie?"
    He didn't answer. The waitress came closer. He made another warning gesture but now she was very close and he looked away from her to glance inside the car. He saw Morris sitting slantwise with the gun moving slowly from side to side, to cover two people instead of one. That does it, he thought. That includes her in...

Nov 12, 2017, 7:18pm Top

For a variety of reasons, I've neglected a bunch of challenges over the last month or two---but I want to try to get back on track. I also want to mix my reading up a bit, since at the moment it feels like I have been - and will be - reading The Mysteries Of London FOREVER...and this is only Volume I...!? :D

Anyhoo--- I've put in a request at the State Library for The Wayward Man by St John Ervine, the first work in our new "Banned In Boston" challenge, and will make a start on it tomorrow.

Edited: Nov 13, 2017, 12:47am Top

The Marching Feet - Whether the author herself or only her publishers were to blame, this 1931 novel by the prolific Annie S. Swan is rather---well, perhaps "dishonest" isn't the word; "misleading" might be a better way of putting it---at any rate, what's on the label is not what's in the box. The cover, and the early stages of the book itself, position this as a between-the-wars, questing-youth story, with bright young people getting together in the hope of solving, or at least understanding, some of society's problems. Before long, however, a note of authorial contempt enters the narrative; which soon enough gives way to explicit dismissal, as The Marching Feet reveals itself as a piece of fairly straightforward, Christian didactic literature, with the "questing" young people shown as foolishly lost but for the wise few. This is a legitimate enough plot, of course, but it hardly coincides with the novel's title (or cover, or blurb). Likewise, though you would be hard pressed to put any other label upon The Marching Feet than "romance", here too the opening is misleading. The early stages of the novel introduce the autocratic Mark Challoner to the foolish young people in question, during a meeting where he finds himself drawn to odd-person-out, Janet Raeburn (one of the "wise few"). Mark himself is an anomaly, insisting upon his career as a researcher and lecturer in chemistry in spite of inheriting his family's country estate when his brother is killed in the war; but he is old-fashioned enough to disapprove of Janet's medical training, and particularly her current position a "panel doctor" to a London slum district. Both attracted, but both wary and doubtful, Mark and Janet wonder if the friendship they enjoy can successfully become something more---or are their outlooks too different? Mark's match-making mother, having already selected his bride, is appalled by the unconventional Janet; while Janet herself is distracted from her potential love affair by deep concern for her siblings: the lovely but headstrong young Rosalind, who is being drawn into a relationship with her married employer; and the Reverend Angus Raeburn, who has not only fallen in love with the brilliant but restless artist, Clare Stanton, but confesses to his sister that he is suffering a crisis of faith...

    "You are the first lady doctor I have met."
    "Woman doctor, if you please. I've no use for the other. Well, do tell what your preconceived idea of the medical woman is. I'd love to hear it."
    "I don't know that I could clothe it adequately---"
    "So bad as that, is it? If you'd known, would you have waited for me and offered me a taxi?"
    She was chaffing now, and her eyes were sparkling. Challoner did not like chaff, and his manner stiffened. "Let us change the subject. Did you take seriously at all what you heard tonight?"
    "Most certainly---it's one of the signs of the times, and it's everywhere this questing spirit. The world as it is today demands a remedy, and Youth is seeking it. Don't you feel it?"
    "Can't say I do. One hears a lot of loose talk, and the newspaper stunts are sickening..."

Nov 13, 2017, 6:37pm Top

Pick-Up - Harry Jordan, a failed artist, is struggling with his drinking habit and supporting himself through low-paying jobs when Helen Meredith staggers into the late-night diner where he is working as combined server and cook. Instantly attracted, the two plunge into a torrid affair of sex and booze, only occasionally surfacing to worry about food and the rent. That is, Harry surfaces: though the two fall in love, Harry is soon aware that Helen's addiction is her controlling passion, and that when the craving strikes her she will do anything for a drink. In a rare sober moment, the couple look for a way out of their mutual trap---terrified that there may not be one... First published in 1955, Charles Willeford's Pick-Up is a study in failure: a grim, powerful depiction of a mutually destructive relationship, wound into one man's account of his life of ongoing surrender. The novel is like a slow-motion car-crash, as Harry and Helen struggle unavailingly against the joint tide of their attraction and their addiction; the descriptions of both are unusually explicit for the time. Pick-Up also offers a rare, unromanticised portrait of San Francisco: no bright-lights-and-the-bay here, but a cold, unwelcoming realm of dingy apartments, greasy diners and sleazy bars. Yet for all its strengths, Pick-Up is not entirely convincing: Harry's capacity to control his drinking and hold down a job whenever he puts his mind to it is unrealistic, and somewhat cruel when placed alongside the personal degradation that comes through Helen's inability to control hers, which sends her spiralling out of control. In fact, the longer the narrative goes, the harder it becomes to accept its direction---and in particular its outcome. Furthermore, Pick-Up notoriously concludes with a kicker ending; and while this must have been jolting indeed to readers in the mid-50s, it really adds nothing to the novel. On the contrary, it makes little sense in the context of Harry and Helen's relationship, and the reaction of the other characters to them, and ultimately works against the novel's success.

    There was one sergeant and two corporals, all of them bigger than me. They wore neat, bright-blue Marine uniforms and all had the fresh, well-scrubbed look that serviceman have on the first few hours of leave or pass. But in my mind I didn't see them in uniform. I saw them naked, Helen naked, and all of them cavorting obscenely in a hotel room somewhere, and as this picture formed in my mind my face began to perspire...
    After a while, Helen started to go out of the booth to go to the ladies' room. The sergeant goosed her as she squeezed by him and she squealed, giggled, and broke clear of the table. As she looked drunkenly around the room for the door to the ladies' room she saw me sitting at the bar.
    "Harry!" she screamed joyfully across the room. "Come on over!"
    I half-faced her, remaining on my stool, shaking my head. Helen crossed to the bar, weaving recklessly between the tables, and as soon as she reached me, threw her arms around my neck and kissed me wetly on the mouth. The action was swift and blurred from that moment on. An attack of the Marines landed on me...

Edited: Nov 14, 2017, 12:40am Top

The Real Cool Killers - When a white businessman is attacked in a Harlem bar before being chased down the street and shot dead, the police have a flashpoint on their hands; and the situation gets exponentially worse when, during a confusing confrontation between the police and the local population, a young black gang-member is shot dead by "Coffin" Ed Johnson, and a woman seriously wounded. In the resulting panic and confusing, the suspect in the first shooting, Sonny Perkins, is rescued and smuggled away by the remaining gang members. With Johnson put on suspension, his partner, "Grave Digger" Jones, sets himself to undo as much of the damage as possible---a task that becomes more difficult and confusing when police discover that Perkins' gun is loaded with blanks and that, despite his threats and his pursuit of the first shooting victim, he was not the one who killed him... The second book in Chester B. Himes' series featuring black Harlem cops, Coffin Ed and Gravedigger Jones, The Real Cool Killers is a taut crime novel whose confusing, fragmented plot reflects the state of mind of those involved in the double-shooting that opens the action. The action is confronting and violent, and so too, appropriate to its time, is the language in which Himes tells his story. (Though ugly racial epithets were apparently acceptable at the time, there were some things Himes couldn't say: frankly, I find his substitute obscenity, 'mother-raper', more offensive than the alternative.) The efforts by Jones and, later, Johnson to unravel the bizarre circumstances surrounding the shooting death of Ulysses Galen form the thread which winds through the novel's framework of racial tension and corruption and violence begetting violence in a seemingly endless cycle; and while the partners' courage and intelligence weigh heavily in their favour, their periodic explosions of brutal, sometimes fatal, violence make them uneasy heroes at best. As the higher-ups scramble to do damage-control in the wake of the disastrous street confrontation - bending the truth as far as they have to - a regulation search of the surrounding buildings brings the police into conflict with the other members of the gang who call themselves The Real Cool Moslems---they are nothing of the kind, but like to use robes and fake beards as a disguise---and with the girls who hang out with them. One of the girls, known as 'Sugartit', was involved with the boy shot dead by Coffin Ed: her real name is Evelyn Johnson, and she is Ed's daughter... Meanwhile, Grave Digger follows a series of fragmented clues through the bars and brothels of Harlem, trying to track Ulysses Galen through his associates. When he learns that Galen had a taste for brutalising young black girls, the pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place...

    "Both negroes who attacked him did so because they resented his presence in a coloured bar. They expressed their resentment in so many words. We have coloured witnesses who heard them. Both negroes were intoxicated. The first had been drinking all evening. And Pickens had been smoking marijuana also..."
    The chief and Anderson recrossed the street to the silent group. "Did you get away with it?" one of the deputy commissioners asked.
    "Goddammit, I had to tell them something," the chief said defensively. "Did you want me to tell them that a white executive was shot to death on a Harlem street by a weedhead negro with a blank pistol who was immediately rescued by a gang of Harlem juvenile delinquents, while all we got to show for the efforts of the whole goddamn police force is a dead adolescent calling himself a Real Cool Moslem?"
    "Sho nuff cool now," Haggerty slipped in sotto voce.
    "You want us to become the laughing stock of the whole goddamned world?" the chief continued, warming up to his subject. "You want it said the New York city police stood by helpless while a white man got himself killed in the middle of a crowded nigger street?"

Nov 13, 2017, 10:46pm Top

>208 lyzard: >209 lyzard: >210 lyzard: How do you get through these books, Liz????

Nov 14, 2017, 6:24am Top

Your reading has taken a dark turn, Liz! Those gritty noir books are interesting, but I don't think I'd want to read a bunch back to back. Re: the last one, I guess Himes was successful in finding an epithet that could be printed but is still shockingly offensive. I'm trying not to think how it probably wasn't that offensive at the time...

Nov 14, 2017, 2:10pm Top

Hi Liz, I am slowly making the round of threads to see what all I have missed over the past couple of months. Love the pictures of the tarsier and the sifaka, congrats on double 75 books read and congrats on the new job!

Lovely reviews, as always.

Edited: Nov 14, 2017, 3:17pm Top

>211 Dejah_Thoris:

Oh, I can get through nearly anything, once I actually sit down to it - that's the difficult part! :D

>212 rosalita:

Down There came up in one of my random reading challenges, but I could only access it via an ILL of the omnibus, Crime Novels: American Noir Of The 1950s. I decided to read the other four books too, but it was a bit much all at once.

When you think of the implications of what was acceptable and not, it's pretty depressing.

>213 lkernagh:

Hi, Lori! Thank you for visiting. I'm glad you like my animal pics, and thanks for the congrats---although the job, alas, evaporated very quickly and I'm back on the hunt. :)

Nov 14, 2017, 6:53pm Top

The Darker Saints - Having scored a brilliant success with their ad campaign for a Louisiana-based coffee-producing firm, Justin Gray and his supervisor, Leonard Greenwald, are invited for a weekend to the country estate of the firm's owner, businessman and philanthropist, Andrew Jackson Mullavey. There, Leonard sinks into the hedonistic pleasures provided, including those of a sexual kind; but Justin, newly committed to his wife, April, rebuffs the woman provided for him. Justin is struck by the woman's almost grim determination to service him, and alarmed by the bird's-foot charm he finds near his bed; but these incidents are nothing beside his accidental discovery that Mullavey, the great philanthropist, has a secret colony of Haitian immigrants who he treats literally as slaves... When Mullavey's main competitor is struck by sabotage, with several customers killed by cyanide-laced coffee, the police identify a suspect, who confesses. How the blank-eyed, automaton-like man could have effected the sabotage remains a disturbing mystery, one left unsolved when he commits suicide. Justin is summoned to a secret meeting with a panicked Leonard Greenwald, who is in the middle of referring ominously to his work files when, inexplicably, he dies---choked on his own massively swollen tongue. Moving swiftly, Justin locates the files, which indicate that Mullavey was behind the sabotage; but his attempt to set things right place himself and April in the cross-hairs of a terrifying supernatural power... Brian Hodge's 1991 novel, The Darker Saints, is an interesting if extremely grim horror story that blends together the various aspects and interpretations of voodooism---as a religion, as a protective force, as a dark power to be exploited, as a means for controlling the mind and body, as a weapon in the hands of the unscrupulous. This main plot thread is blended into the history of Haiti, the brutality of the Duvalier regime, the US government's involvement in the regime via the CIA, and the poverty and sufferings of the Haitian people; while these in turn become inexorably linked with the corruption and crime that lurks behind the tourist facade of New Orleans. Justin Gray himself is a man with a facade. He and April have fought hard to break free of their mutual past of bad choices, drug abuse and violence; and it is in the light of their new commitment to each other and the straight and narrow that they decide that they must, despite the self-evident danger, try to expose Andrew Mullavey. The danger is, however, much greater than they anticipate---and takes a form that they do not anticipate at all. Mullavey's brother, Nathan Forrest, restaurateur and, secretly, crime boss, has in his employ a man called Terence Fletcher, an albino, known to most as 'Eel' and to a few unfortunates as 'djab blanc', 'white devil': a man who has in his grasp all the darker elements of voodoo, including the power of zombiism...

    Christophe moved out from beside April, to sit upon the other bed so he could look them all in the eye as he spoke. "These are not just men of violence we have been dealing with. Whether you truly believe in them or not...they have used other methods to accomplish their goals. And this I know, because this I have seen. Do any of you have a problem with believing this?"
    April waited with breath held, knowing that, yes, a more shadowed undercurrent had plagued this conflict, a wind blowing of island mysteries and tribal rhythms. She would never raise her voice in derision, nor would Justin; they both knew too well the facets of hidden realities. Apparently Moreno respected it enough to give it pause, and consideration.
    "They don't know you, Ruben, but you two---" Christophe pointed to her and Justin---"you may yet have reason to worry. The djab blanc. Even if they don't come for you with guns, or for me, they may yet have him devil us in other ways. His ways."
    "If that's the case," April said, "then can we ever feel that we're safe?"
    "Possible. Possible. We may ask to be protected, by someone who can go to the loa on our behalf. Someone who still knows the ways..."

Nov 14, 2017, 8:07pm Top

Nov 14, 2017, 8:53pm Top

Hooray for Australia! I hope the survey results turn into lasting legislation.

Edited: Nov 14, 2017, 9:50pm Top

Catching up ... boo for job volatility, yay for noir crime novels -- I read and loved Down There a few years ago and the others are all already in the Swamp -- and hip-hip-hooray for marriage equality!

Edited: Nov 15, 2017, 9:18am Top

>216 lyzard: I was just reading about that — wonderful and a very convincing majority, too! I gather now it's up to Parliament to pass a law, but nobody seems to think that will be a problem? Well done!

Nov 15, 2017, 8:31am Top

>215 lyzard: Hmmm, that one sounds interesting!

Nov 15, 2017, 3:38pm Top

>217 Dejah_Thoris:

Thanks, Dejah. Hopefully, but there's still a fight ahead...

>218 swynn:

Hi, Steve. It's sure been a bumpy ride lately, that's for sure.

I haven't read as much of that sort of literature as I'd like, so it was nice to get a few of the important noirs under my belt.

>219 rosalita:


It's been a weird and uncomfortable ride, though thankfully to a great conclusion, and of course there's enormous satisfaction not just in the outcome but having this blow up in the faces of the people who instigated it. (Long and complicated story short, this was put in motion in the mistaken assumption it would show people as against marriage equality, and therefore stop the politicians taking action.)

This was a non-binding, non-compulsory vote - basically a very expensive opinion-poll - so nothing has changed legally---yet. But the good news is that (i) the no-voters have to stop insisting they speak for "the silent majority", and (ii) the politicians have to stop claiming they don't have a mandate for change.

Unfortunately the opposition to this - not amongst our more gracious losers - won't take 'YES' for an answer, and are already trying to force changes to the proposed legislation in the name of 'religious freedom' that amount to granting religious people the legal right to discriminate against others, while being protected themselves from discrimination.

Since this is a bipartisan, cross-floor, conscience-vote, the numbers may be great enough to carry it in spite of the feet- (and knuckle- ) draggers, but the fight certainly isn't over. It is, in fact, quite possible that this situation will break up and bring down the current government, and while that it is by no means a bad thing in itself, it will inevitably be time-consuming.

HOWEVER---we're enjoying the moment. :)

>220 drneutron:

Hi, Jim! It's an unusual take on the subject---interesting but very grim.

Nov 15, 2017, 4:36pm Top

>221 lyzard: Ugh for graceless losers. We are fighting that same "religious liberty" battle here and it boggles my mind that there's even a chance it will be considered legal (the most famous case, a baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, is now before the Supreme Court). Of course, "religious liberty" really just means Christian; Oklahoma passed a law allowing religious monuments on public ground, and then everyone pitched a hissy fit when Hindus and Satanists petitioned to be allowed their own public religious monuments. Heh.

Nov 15, 2017, 4:52pm Top

And exactly the same sort of thing is starting to play out here. It's so frustrating when you know that a graceless minority who do not even speak for most of the people they claim to represent is getting the majority of the air-time.

But fingers crossed that there are sufficient numbers to carry this over the attempted roadblocks.

Nov 15, 2017, 5:17pm Top


Edited: Nov 16, 2017, 10:21pm Top

Finished Volume I of The Mysteries Of London for (probably) TIOLI #8.

Now reading The Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter; still reading The Wayward Man by St John Ervine.

Edited: Nov 16, 2017, 10:23pm Top

So---it took me twelve days to read the first volume of The Mysteries Of London, which - when joined up with its immediate sequel, The Mysteries Of The Court Of London, as its author intended - translates to one-eighth of the work's total length, with this first volume comprising almost 1,200 pages, and the lot together therefore approximately 9,600 pages.

I think it's time to trot this out again:

Edited: Nov 16, 2017, 11:20pm Top

Time to pick up a neglected challenge:

The C.K. Shorter List of the Best 100 Novels:

#20: The Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter (1809)

Jane Porter was a Scottish dramatist and novelist who in many respects pioneered the modern historical novel. Having first found widespread success with her four-volume novel, Thaddeus Of Warsaw, which recounts the Polish Occupation of the late 18th century, Porter seized upon the contemporary British taste for regional novels and put it to new use with The Scottish Chiefs, which is the story of William Wallace and the Scottish struggle for independence. The novel was another great success, but also highly controversial for its unapologetic anti-English stance. It was self-evidently a significant influence upon Sir Walter Scott, and also an important work in the burgeoning Romantic movement of the early 19th century.

Nov 17, 2017, 3:45am Top

>226 lyzard: nearly 10,000 pages? Did he not know when to stop??
Good luck with that undertaking.

Edited: Nov 17, 2017, 2:41pm Top

>229 lyzard:

The Mysteries Of London was published as one-penny weekly issues (hence "penny-dreadful") that ran for over four years, from 1844 - 1848. AND THEN HE STARTED ALL OVER AGAIN!!!! :D

Nov 17, 2017, 10:11am Top

Oh, dear Lord. That’s exhausting!

Nov 17, 2017, 2:43pm Top

That's the word, all right! - though I had to laugh when Reynolds wrapped up the first volume by assuring his readers that there were still lots more mysteries to come!

Nov 18, 2017, 1:04pm Top

>221 lyzard: After same sex marriage was legalised here in 2001, we got "refusing civil servants", who refused to marry same sex parners, based on their religion. It took until 2014 to get them out.

Nov 18, 2017, 1:20pm Top

>232 FAMeulstee: We've had some of that too, Anita. I think if a public worker feels any part of the job goes against their beliefs, it is incumbent upon them to resign. They shouldn't get to pick and choose which laws they will enforce. I'm glad your country has gotten past it; I hope we will, too.

Nov 18, 2017, 3:51pm Top

Yes, all of that was immediately brought up. However, the (gay) MP who introduced the private member's bill on this also drew a clear line in the sand about not introducing new discrimination while getting rid of the existing discrimination, so we can hope there won't be any backing down.

Nov 18, 2017, 4:00pm Top

>227 lyzard: Gosh, a novel about the fight for Scottish independence comes across as anti-English? Who could have predicted that?

>234 lyzard: I'm sure it will help to have the public vote for backup. I don't necessarily think human rights (of which I consider this to be) should be subjected to majority opinion, but in this case the majority who voted are in favor, which should provide momentum.

Nov 18, 2017, 7:06pm Top

Well, the English are rarely reasonable about these matters. And as far as that goes, I've occasionally seen Americans in a snit too... :D

The other side has gone very quiet over the last few days; I think the size of the yes-vote took them completely by surprise. Perhaps they're just regrouping but there's at least a chance they've realised this is a fight they can't win.

Nov 18, 2017, 8:35pm Top

>236 lyzard: Americans in a snit? Surely you jest!


Edited: Nov 19, 2017, 6:06pm Top

Best-selling books in the United States for 1928:

1. The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder
2. Wintersmoon by Hugh Walpole
3. Swan Song by John Galsworthy
4. The Greene Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine
5. Bad Girl by Viña Delmar
6. Claire Ambler by Booth Tarkington
7. Old Pybus by Warwick Deeping
8. All Kneeling by Anne Parrish
9. Jalna by Mazo de la Roche
10. The Strange Case of Miss Annie Spragg by Louis Bromfield

On the whole it seems that 1928 was another year in which American readers went for lighter works, though not necessarily without social commentary.

We see series works becoming more popular: Mazo de la Roche's Jalna, part of the long-running Canadian historical saga, is a holdover from the previous year; speaking of 'sagas', Swan Song was the last book in the second trilogy of John Galsworthy's 'Forsyte Saga'; while The Greene Murder Case finds Philo Vance tracking down a killer intent on slaughtering the Greene family.

Warwick Deeping's Old Pybus is a fairly morose work about an elderly man who estranged himself from his sons over their differing views on WWI. Hugh Walpole's Wintersmoon is an odd anti-romance about two people marrying for different but equally selfish reasons. Booth Tarkington's Claire Ambler is also a study in selfishness, albeit a more comic one, as a self-absorbed heiress cruises along wrecking lives right and left; while Anne Parrish's All Kneeling is about a young woman writer who makes an art out of manipulating her relatives.

Both Viña Delmar's Bad Girl and Louis Bromfield's The Strange Case of Miss Annie Spragg are fairly daring novels, in their disparate ways. The first is about unplanned pregnancy and teenage marriage in the slums, and was highly controversial at the time; while the latter attracted controversy of its own with its oblique, cool-prosed account of a woman found dead in a frontier town with what appears to be stigmata on her body.

The best-selling book of 1928, however, was Thornton Wilder's The Bridge of San Luis Rey, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize.

Edited: Nov 19, 2017, 7:16pm Top

Thornton Wilder was born in Wisconsin but, with his siblings, spent part of his childhood in China due his father's diplomatic career. Each of the five children pursued distinguished careers, four of them as writers. However, Thornton was bullied at school and college--overtly for his introverted, "overly intellectual" personality, but more likely because he was gay. He retreated into writing rather than choosing it like his siblings.

Wilder achieved a Master of Arts degree in French literature before studying archaeology, then switched direction again, working as a teacher but beginning to concentrate upon his writing. Ultimately drama became Wilder's focus, and it is chiefly as a playwright that his reputation rests today. However, it was as a novelist that he first won acclaim. His first novel, The Cabala, was published in 1926; the following year he published his second, The Bridge Of San Luis Rey, which won the Pulitzer Prize: an award that Wilder would win again, in 1938, for his play, Our Town.

Edited: Nov 20, 2017, 5:34pm Top

The Bridge Of San Luis Rey - Peru, 1714. A rope bridge over a deep gorge collapses, sending five people plummeting to their deaths. Brother Juniper, a Franciscan monk, witnesses the tragedy. The collapse of the bridge is, in his mind, an unambiguous Act of God; therefore, there must have been a purpose in it---and in the circumstances which brought each of the five to the bridge. Determined, first, to understand this himself, so that he may demonstrate it to others, Brother Juniper begins to investigate the five lives so abruptly cut short: those of the Marquesa de Montemayor, unhappily estranged from her beloved daughter, to whom she writes copious letters which will bring her posthumous fame; Pepita, a girl from a convent-orphanage, who is destined for great works by the convent's Abbess; Esteban, a young scribe left alone and confused by the death of his twin, Manuel; Uncle Pio, who has devoted his life to the training of a great actress, only to see her lose interest in the drama; and Don Jaime, the actress's small son, whom Uncle Pio takes into his own care when his mother is struck down by small-pox and poverty... This short novel from 1927 by Thornton Wilder addresses the literally eternal question of whether the world is the work of an interventionist God, or whether the fate of mankind is dictated by an often unhappy blending of random events and free will: a question often summed up - as, tacitly, it is within the book itself - in terms of bad things happening to good people. Beautifully written, and full of astute and often painfully ironic observations upon the human condition, The Bridge Of San Luis Rey is of course no more capable of answering the questions it raises than any other work of literature or philosophy either before or after it. Brother Juniper soon loses sight of the fact that while the devil may be in the details, God is not. His increasingly unsatisfactory "report", which only becomes more unsatisfactory as it assembles more and more facts, finally acts as an ironic reflection of the novel which contains it: a novel which begins with its omniscient narrator conceding his lack of omniscience. We, like Brother Juniper, are left with the perception of a confusing, often cruelly random world, in which each individual can only do his or her best---whether in the sense of "God's will be done", or the more pragmatic one of "shit happens". Which side of this conclusion Thornton Wilder rests upon is evident in his novel's famous and much-quoted coda - There is a land of the living and a land of the dead, and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning - yet there is nevertheless an inescapable feeling that in this, he was writing against himself. Isolation and loneliness are recurrent themes in Wilder's writing, and The Bridge Of San Luis Rey is a far more convincing work when it is detailing the way in which human beings inevitably fail each other than it is in its final suggestions of enduring connections and survival through love.

    The result of all this diligence was an enormous book, which, as we shall see later, was publicly burned on a beautiful Spring morning in the great square. But there was a secret copy, and after a great many years and without much notice it found its way to the library of the University of San Martin. There it lies between the two great wooden covers collecting dust in a cupboard. It deals with one after another of the victims of the accident, cataloguing thousands of little facts and anecdotes and and testimonies, and concluding with a dignified passage describing why God had settled upon that person or upon that day for His demonstration of wisdom. Yet for all his diligence, Brother Juniper never knew the central passion of Doña Maria's life; nor of Uncle Pio's; not even of Esteban's. And I, who claim to know so much more, isn't it possible that even I have missed the very spring within the spring?
    Some say that we shall never know, and that to the gods we are like the flies that the boys kill on a summer day, and some say, on the contrary, that the very sparrows do not lose a feather that has not been brushed away by the finger of God...

Edited: Nov 19, 2017, 9:44pm Top

Elsie's Widowhood - As per what was, by now, longstanding tradition, Martha Finley begins the seventh book in her Elsie Dinsmore series by expaining how she didn't want to write it at all:

It was not in my heart to give to my favorite child, Elsie, the sorrows of Widowhood. But the public made the title and demanded the book; and the public, I am told, is autocratic...

Curious, then, that she should follow up this statement by giving the public what it had been wanting since about #2 in the series, and killing off Creepy Mr Travilla with what we take to be a heart attack. In literary terms, the immediate consequence of this is that the first half of this book isn't really a book at all, but rather an almost non-stop collection of Bible passages, with the surviving Travillas quoting back and forth at one another as they come to terms with their bereavement. These are further supplemented with other collections of Bible passages, which the Travillas interpret for us, and which I can only suppose were intended to answer some real-life controversy, as they serve little purpose in the book (except for padding it out, of course). However, much to my surprise, after this the book actually improves to the point of being interesting; although not, of course, before we've had a thoroughly creepy moment involving Horace Dinsmore:

...turning hastily, he caught Elsie in his arms, strained her to his breast, and kissed her again and again with passionate fondness...

---a moment bookended by one involving the Travella's eldest son, also Edward, who I can only hope doesn't mean this quite literally:

"My inclination," he answered in grave, earnest tones, "is to take my father's place in every way possible..."

But, as I say, once we're past this Elsie's Widowhood offers a couple of interesting subplots---neither of which involve Elsie herself, who fades from view for long stretches of the narrative. One of them concerns Molly Percival who (as you likely don't recall) was crippled by a fall down the stairs in Elsie's Children: here, still struggling to cope with life in a wheelchair, Molly falls in love with a widower-neighbour. We are then anti-treated to long conversations about how someone with a disability cannot possibly expect to be loved, and how all Molly can do is hide her feelings...only for Mr Embury to prove himself much more broadminded, evidently, than the book which contains him. (A subplot which, however satisfying, sits oddly besides Elsie's repeated declaration that she and Creepy Mr Travilla are married in perpetuity.) The most interesting aspect of Elsie's Widowhood, however, finds various members of the younger generation, male and female, sharing a holiday house together, without a chaperone in sight. This is - and in the context of conservative Christian-didactic fiction even more so - a startling reminder of the distance that existed at the time (i.e. the 1870s) between the social mores of America and those of Britain, where such an arrangement would have been beyond unthinkable. This glimpse into the social life of young Americans makes Elsie's Widowhood one of the more satisfactory entries in the series. Well---that, and the whacking of Edward Travilla...

    ""I am well satisfied with your decision, dear child," her mother said when bidding Violet good-bye, as they and Edward stood alone together for a moment on the little porch. "I think these young people are all safe associates for you and your brother," turning to him and taking a hand of each, "and that you will enjoy yourselves very much with them. But, my darlings, never forget in the midst of your mirth and gaiety---or in trouble, if that should come---that God's eye is upon you, and that you have a Christian character to maintain before men. Let me give you a parting text, 'Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.' And yet another for your joy and comfort, 'The Lord God is a sun and shields the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.'"
    "Was there ever such another dear, good mother as ours?" Violet said to her brother, as together they watched the carriage out of sight.
    "I wish there were thousands like her," he answered. "Ever since I can remember it has been plain to me that what she most desired for all her children was that they might be real, true, earnest Christians. Vi, if we are not all that, we can never lay the blame at our mother's door."
    "Nor papa's either," Violet said with a sigh and a tear to his memory...

Nov 20, 2017, 5:05pm Top

Wow, that's an awfully good review of The Bridge of San Luis Rey, Liz. Are you going to post it on the book page? I'd like to thumb it.

I've yet to read that book. Adding it to the WL.

Nov 20, 2017, 5:13pm Top

Methylated Murder - When former actress Sybil Norton is found shot dead, private investigator Clay Harrison is consulted by her grieving husband, who confides that in the last weeks of her life, Sybil was frightened and harassed over something; and that, as he has discovered, she was drawing large sums of money from the bank. His private belief is that she committed suicide to escape a blackmailer. During the inquest, it is revealed that Sybil spoke on the phone with her solicitor, Stephen Bonnington, immediately before her death; although Bonnington insists it was an ordinary business call. However, Harrison remembers an earlier case, in which one of Bonnington's clerks committed suicide: a coincidence too great to ignore... It seems that of all the criticisms which directed the writing of Smash And Grab, the next-to-last entry in Clifton Robbins' Clay Harrison series, the only one which 'stuck' for the final book in the series was the divided narrative. Thus, Harrison is as much of a prig, as as tiresomely talked-up, as ever; the irritating Henry is front-and-centre again; and there is no sign of would-be love-interest, Joy Lithgow. However, despite this reversion, Methylated Murder is an interesting and convoluted, if not exactly credible, thriller, which finds Harrison tracking down a dangerous professional blackmailer who deals in stolen private documents. His attention caught by the two suicides close to Stephen Bonnington, Harrison looks into the earlier case in which the solicitor's clerk, Lester Cant, took an overdose after, supposedly, having been discovered to be embezzling funds to spend on his mistress. However, Cant's widow insists staunchly that her husband was a conscientiously honest man, that the entire story was a fabrication, and that his death was an accident---or murder. Subsequently, Harrison calls upon Dorice Locket, the 'other woman' in the case, and finds her curiously ignorant about Lester Cant---and also in an evident state of fear. As Harrison begins to unravel these threads, Methylated Murder spends time with a certain "Frances Manners": a man with an inflated opinion of his intellectual powers, exotic ideas about women, and no scruples about the means taken to fund his extravagant tastes. Via his connections with a burglar and a fence, "Manners" has a steady supply of compromising documents, with which he blackmails his victims; and if mere threats don't work, he has another way of terrifying them into compliance... As Harrison pursues a series of oblique clues to the blackmailer's identity, another strange story emerges. He hears of a woman literally driven mad by fear, and another who has fled the country; and of a series of violent attacks committed by a gigantic individual whose victims insist he wasn't human---and who left behind a pervasive odour of methylated spirits...

    "Give up the riddle just as we are beginning to see the answer, Henry? That's not like you. This is what I expected you to say to me. We know that we are up against a tough proposition or, in other words, a man of great skill and cunning. I say man because this preying on women is definitely masculine. He is organising blackmail with the greatest attention to detail and a certain amount of originality. He has obviously thought the whole business out with amazing ingenuity. Indeed he must have made a specialised research into blackmail. He has seen that the old methods are a bit crude and not a little dangerous. The law has helped victims of this kind of crime recently to come forward without publicity---"
    "And the women he has chosen are the type who would have been likely to have done that," broke in Henry excitedly.
    "Quite," said Harrison. "So he had had to improve on the old methods. Fear of publicity isn't strong enough. That's how he must have argued. So he has added another kind of fear..."

Nov 20, 2017, 5:35pm Top

>242 jnwelch:

Done - thank you very much, Joe!

Nov 20, 2017, 6:49pm Top

>244 lyzard: Thank you! Thumb added.

Nov 20, 2017, 11:07pm Top

>240 lyzard: Thumb up from me, too.

I asked you a while back about, because Katharine Walton / William Gilmore Simms because I was planning to tackle it this month - it fits perfectly into your TIOLI Challenge. I've picked it up from the library and now I'm not so certain I want to commit! I've still got 10 days. I suppose it might happen....

>241 lyzard: Btw, you have convinced me that there is no need for me to read the Elsie books - ever.

Nov 21, 2017, 12:57am Top

Thank you, Dejah!

I'm struggling through an entire month of 19th century chunksters, so I'm torn between sympathising and having no sympathy to spare for anyone else! (I'll still hope to see you in my challenge, tho'...)

you have convinced me that there is no need for me to read the Elsie books - ever

Then my work here is done! :D

Edited: Nov 21, 2017, 4:08am Top

I found the entire series of Elsie books for 49p on Kobo and Amazon so I bought them. I'm not sure I shall ever read them but felt I ought to at least have them available. They feature heavily in the early books in the Chalet School series by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer, a favourite of mine, and our heroine, Joey Bettany, writes a sequel while she is confined to bed after a skating accident and this is seen as the first step on her route to being an author herself.

Edited: Nov 21, 2017, 4:28am Top

That's about the best reason I've ever heard to read the Elsie books, Kerry! :D

I have read a lot of 19th century didactic fiction, so they don't get up my nose as much as they do many people's, but they're still pretty hard to take sometimes.

(On another point, did no-one *ever* explain to Finley what she was implying about Horace Dinsmore's attitude towards his daughter!?)

Nov 21, 2017, 8:23am Top

>247 lyzard: *snort* re: Elsie

As for joining your Challenge, well, of course, I'll be joining! Chita: A Memory of Last Island by Lafcadio Hearn has been on my Kindle for a while and as the Atlantic hurricane season winds up this month, I've decided it's time to read it.

It's a little early, but a reread of A Christmas Carol may end up in the mix as well.

Nov 21, 2017, 9:05am Top

>240 lyzard: Very good review, Liz, thumbed it.
I have read it back in June, shortly after my sister died. It left me with a lot of questions (in a good way).

Edited: Nov 21, 2017, 3:43pm Top

>250 Dejah_Thoris:

Excellent! - very interesting choices.

>251 FAMeulstee:

Thank you, Anita, much appreciated. :)

I can certainly understand that response to the book.

Nov 23, 2017, 9:40am Top

Catching up:. Yes to this:

Beautifully written, and full of astute and often painfully ironic observations upon the human condition,

And also to this:
... yet there is nevertheless an inescapable feeling that in this, he was writing against himself.

The latest volume of Elsie sounds horrid as ever. And your review is just as entertaining.

Nov 23, 2017, 12:37pm Top

This is a time of year when I as a non-American ponder over what I am thankful for.

I am thankful for this group and its ability to keep me sane during topsy-turvy times.

I am thankful that you are part of this group.

I am thankful for this opportunity to say thank you.

Nov 24, 2017, 6:22pm Top

>253 swynn:

I found it a very strange book in the end. The "happy ending" (?) seemed to come out of nowhere, and for me failed to counterbalance the rest.

Thank you! It's nice that Elsie is good for something, even if it's not exactly what Martha Finley intended. :D

>254 PaulCranswick:

Thank you, Paul! :)

Nov 25, 2017, 1:48am Top

Finished The Wayward Man, probably for TIOLI #15 (when such a thing is possible).

Still reading The Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter.

Edited: Nov 25, 2017, 3:12am Top

The Wayward Man is next on my pile, as soon as I finish DAW #116. I look forward to your comments.

Edited: Nov 25, 2017, 4:36am Top

The Boston censors were very easily upset.

But I guess we knew that. :D

Nov 25, 2017, 9:02pm Top

Finished The Scottish Chiefs for TIOLI #5 (maybe).

Now reading All Quiet On The Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque.

Nov 26, 2017, 9:17am Top

>259 lyzard: It is strange that Remarque wrote quite a few books but they are darned hard to find in the book shops (a bit like Robert Penn Warren for all his books other than his most successful one).

Hope your weekend has been a good one, Liz.

Nov 27, 2017, 3:36pm Top

I suppose it's easier for a publisher to just beat the same drum but you lose a lot along the way like that.

Thanks, Paul.

Nov 27, 2017, 3:36pm Top

Finished All Quiet On The Western Front for TIOLI #13 (?).

Now reading The Clock Strikes Twelve by Patricia Wentworth.

Edited: Nov 27, 2017, 11:49pm Top

Finished The Clock Strikes Twelve for TIOLI #3 (?).

Now reading The Labours Of Hercules by Agatha Christie.

Edited: Nov 28, 2017, 12:12am Top

...and of course bad covers abound.

Here's the entry in our usual "bland and uninformative" series (which may also the commit the greater sin of being generic, as I'm sure I've seen it used on other books!):



...while this one strays just leetle too far in the other direction:

Nov 28, 2017, 3:25pm Top

Finished The Labours Of Hercules for TIOLI #16 (?).

Now reading The Mystery Of The Cape Cod Tavern by Phoebe Atwood Taylor.

Nov 28, 2017, 7:50pm Top


(Of a writer's colony that stays at a certain inn on Cape Cod):

"Then," he seated himself on the arm of the opposite seat, "then there's that Alex Stout, the feller that's always gettin' banned in Boston..."
---Phoebe Atwood Taylor, The Mystery Of The Cape Cod Tavern (1934)

Nov 29, 2017, 1:27am Top

>264 lyzard: oh deary deary me. I have certainly seen covers that look very similar to that first one. It's almost a default inter war image.
One wonders, not for the first time, if reading the book is a requirement for selecting a cover... and it appears not.

Nov 29, 2017, 4:40am Top

>264 lyzard: Oh, those are dreadful. At least the pink one could be said to be illustrating a fairly key scene in the book, but all that pink! And the one next to it — I didn't realize Edward Hopper dabbled in book cover illustrations. :-)

Nov 29, 2017, 6:10am Top

>267 Helenliz:

Yes! As soon as I looked at it I was sure I'd seen it (or something very like) on a different book. 'Generic' hardly covers it.

>268 rosalita:

It doesn't quite convey the tone of the dinner-party scene, though, does it?? :D

Nov 29, 2017, 6:12am Top

>269 lyzard: Convey the Rome as well as the action? That's just crazy talk, Liz!

Edited: Nov 29, 2017, 5:03pm Top

Apparently! :D

So, anyway---The Key in January??

Nov 29, 2017, 4:21pm Top

Finished The Mystery Of The Cape Cod Tavern for TIOLI #10.

Now reading Ashton-Kirk: Criminologist by John T. McIntyre.

Nov 29, 2017, 5:28pm Top

>271 lyzard: Indeed, I'm already looking forward to The Key. Good way to kick off the new year!

Nov 29, 2017, 5:41pm Top

Nov 29, 2017, 6:09pm Top


It will be another ILL for me (and over the Christmas / New Year break) so I need to plan ahead.

Nov 29, 2017, 6:10pm Top

>275 lyzard: I could use the time as well, as I need to purchase a copy.

Edited: Dec 1, 2017, 9:01pm Top

I can get the ebook from the library, but omeone currently has it checked out so I won't be able to get it for a while, either.

Edited: Nov 30, 2017, 3:12pm Top

Finished Ashton-Kirk: Criminologist for TIOLI #3...and FINISHED A SERIES!!

And that is me done for November...while my reviews are still mired in October... :(

I'm feeling a bit disorganised about December, so I think A List might be in order.

(Yeah, yeah: when was A List *not* in order??)

Edited: Dec 14, 2017, 7:48pm Top

Likely December reading:

Cimarron by Edna Ferber {best-seller-challenge} (TIOLI #9)
The Absentee by Maria Edgeworth {C. K. Shorter challenge}
The House Of Sudden Sleep by John Hawk {Mystery League challenge}
Dark Laughter by Sherwood Anderson {Banned In Boston challenge}
Taken At The Flood by Agatha Christie {chronological challenge} (TIOLI #3)
A Footman For The Peacock by Rachel Ferguson {random reading challenge}
The Medusa Touch by Peter Van Greenaway {potential decommission}
The Moon Of Much Gladness by Ernest Bramah {ILL}
Now, Voyager by Olive Higgins Prouty {ILL} (TIOLI #3)
Fever Of Love by Denise Robins {ILL}

Other possibilities:

In The Teeth Of The Evidence by Dorothy L. Sayers
The House Of The Whispering Pines by Anna Katharine Green (TIOLI #1)
Initials Only by Anna Katharine Green (TIOLI #6)
For The Defence: Dr Thorndyke by R. Austin Freeman
The Crime Without A Clue by Thomas Cobb (TIOLI #2)
Gold Of The Gods by Arthur B. Reeve

Nov 30, 2017, 3:42pm Top

I have my copy of The House of Sudden Sleep ready to go! :-)

I think I haven't mentioned that I recently watched a late silent serial, formerly thought lost, The Mysterious Airman, written by Arthur B. Reeve. I thought it pretty fun.

Nov 30, 2017, 4:00pm Top

I meant to get to it in November, but it's another sit-in-the-library read and I didn't have the opportunity.

Oh, cool! - I haven't seen that, but I did hear it had been made available.

I've been thinking I might get back to the Craig Kennedy books. You might remember that I sorted out a proper series order for them some time ago, but put them aside to concentrate on the Hanshews' Cleek books, which also needed sorting out. But since I'm stalled on that series, maybe I'll pick up the other.

Edited: Nov 30, 2017, 4:18pm Top

Yes. This is the list of Craig Kennedy books that I worked out last year. I stopped and did this when I realised that the LT series list was incomplete (to say the least). Granted, it's a confusing series because of Reeve's working-in of his screenplay novelisations. I stalled when I discovered I'd accidentally skipped a couple of works.

#1: The Silent Bullet (1910)
#2: The Poisoned Pen (1911)
#3: The Dream Doctor (1914)
#4: The War Terror (1915)
#5: Gold Of The Gods (1915) (expansion of a short story that later appeared in The Treasure Train)
#6: The Exploits Of Elaine (1915) (novelisation of the screenplay for the 1914 serial, The Exploits Of Elaine)
#7: The Social Gangster (1916)
#8: The Ear In The Wall (1916)
#9: The Romance Of Elaine (novelisation adapted from the screenplays of The New Exploits Of Elaine (1915) and The Romance Of Elaine (1916); UK variant: The Triumph Of Elaine, which is The Romance Of Elaine plus five further chapters)
#10: The Treasure Train (1917)
#11: The Adventuress (1917)
#12: The Panama Plot (1918)
#13: The Soul Scar (1919)
#14: The Film Mystery (1921)
#15: Craig Kennedy Listens In (1923)
#16: Atavar, The Dream Dancer (1924)
#17: The Fourteen Points (1925)
#18: Craig Kennedy On The Farm (1925)
#19: The Radio Detective (1926) (novelisation of the screenplay for the 1926 serial, The Radio Detective)
#20: Pandora (1926)
#21: The Kidnap Club (1932)
#22: The Clutching Hand (1934) (which reworks part of the story of The Exploits Of Elaine, in which the master-criminal with a secret identity is also known as "The Clutching Hand"; later filmed as the 1936 sound serial, The Clutching Hand)
#23: Enter Craig Kennedy (1935)
#24: The Stars Scream Murder (1936)

Nov 30, 2017, 9:26pm Top

So, yeah:

Now reading Gold Of The Gods by Arthur B. Reeve.

Nov 30, 2017, 9:33pm Top

>282 lyzard: Ah, yes. I remember when you did that. Very helpful and generous of you to share it!

>283 lyzard: :-)

Nov 30, 2017, 9:41pm Top

It's nice that someone else gets some use out of my nerdiness! :)

Dec 3, 2017, 5:27am Top

Catching up Liz - I plan to join in with Taken at the Flood in December, even though I only finished The Labours of Hercules on Friday.... I also have a copy of Footman for the Peacock so may join you in reading that too.

Dec 3, 2017, 4:25pm Top

Hi, Heather - that woulds be excellent! :)

Dec 3, 2017, 9:42pm Top

Finished Gold Of The Gods; I'll work out TIOLI presently.

Now reading Fever Of Love by Denise Robins.

Dec 4, 2017, 4:01pm Top

Finished Fever Of Love.

Now reading A Footman For The Peacock by Rachel Ferguson.

Dec 7, 2017, 3:29pm Top


Dec 7, 2017, 3:35pm Top

>290 lyzard: I heard that on the news this morning! Well done, Australia! And they broke into song — so lovely.

Dec 7, 2017, 3:37pm Top

Great news!

Dec 7, 2017, 4:06pm Top

>290 lyzard: So good!

Edited: Dec 7, 2017, 4:32pm Top

Thank you all! Yes, and not before time.

As anticipated the no-voters had to be dragged over the line kicking and screaming - not much interest there in actually representing - but the numbers were such that it was all an exercise in futility and time-wasting and pettiness. But though the complete absence of grace was frustrating and embarrassing, the upside of this may be that a handful of individuals have so - if they'll excuse me using this expression - outed themselves, in terms of their bigotry, that it may well come back to bite them.

But then on the other hand we had moments like MP Tim Wilson finishing up his speech by proposing to his partner, who was up in the gallery watching:

"A response having been received from the gallery---"
Mr TIM WILSON: "We'll chuck that in the memoirs and Hansard."
The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Rob Mitchell ): "I should note for the Hansard that that was a yes, a resounding yes. Congratulations; well done mate."
Mr TIM WILSON: "Thank you, Mr Speaker."


The end of the vote, and the singing, may be seen here.

Dec 7, 2017, 4:35pm Top

In an hilarious coincidence, I've just come across this passage in the restored edition of Anthony Trollope's The Duke's Children: an absolutely perfect summation of the situation:

"I suppose there is an outside power,---the people, or public opinion, or whatever they choose to call it. And the country will have to go very much as that outside power chooses. Here, in Parliament, everybody will be as Conservative as the outside will let them."

So we didn't let 'em... :)

Dec 7, 2017, 4:53pm Top

>294 lyzard: Oh gosh yes, I forgot about the proposal! So sweet and romantic. Is the Hansard the equivalent of what we call the Congressional Record, where they record all the official business of the parliament?

>295 lyzard: Nope, you sure didn't! Good on ya.

Dec 7, 2017, 5:30pm Top

This has been officially confirmed as the first ever proposal from the floor of the House. :)

Yes, one of the things we carried over from the British system, named after the 18th century publisher who was the first official parliamentary printer.


Dec 8, 2017, 10:25am Top

How fabulous! Woohoo! Congratulations all around!

Dec 8, 2017, 11:32am Top

>297 lyzard: That's got to feel special all round.

Dec 9, 2017, 5:01pm Top

Dec 9, 2017, 5:03pm Top

Finished A Footman For The Peacock for TIOLI #12.

Now reading The Moon Of Much Gladness by Ernest Bramah.

Dec 10, 2017, 7:21pm Top

>290 lyzard: Yes a big thumbs up for Australia and its government for quickly honouring its promise to implement the result of the non-binding 'referendum'.

Hope your weekend has been a pleasant one, Liz.

Dec 12, 2017, 3:44pm Top

Always unexpected when politicians do the right thing, isn't it??


Dec 12, 2017, 3:49pm Top

Edited: Dec 12, 2017, 7:45pm Top

The Clock Strikes Twelve - James Paradine, partner in a firm which does aeronautical design for the government, summons Elliot Wray to his house, to inform him that the set of blue-prints which Wray delivered there has disappeared. Paradine adds that he knows who took them and, further, that it was a member of his own family. He then insists that Wray stay to dinner, which creates an awkward situation: Wray's estranged wife, Phyllida, has been living in the house since she left him, after her adoptive mother, Grace Paradine, proved to her Wray's ongoing infidelity. Over dinner, which is attended by the extended Paradine family, James announces coolly that one member of it has been "disloyal"---that he expects a confession before midnight---and that he will be waiting in his study until then, to receive it. More consciences than one are disturbed by this interlude, it seems, but one may have been more guilty than the others: the following morning, James Paradine is found dead, having been pushed to his death over the balustrade outside his study... The seventh of Patricia Wentworth's Miss Silver novels is by far the most conventional mystery in the series so far: "conventional" in the sense that it is an outright whodunnit, rather than a thriller; that it uses the classic "gathering in a country house" format as the setting for its murder; and that, while there is, inevitably, a romantic subplot, this is only one thread amongst many. In fact, Wentworth does an excellent job scattering her red herrings, and confusing the issue of whether the act of "disloyalty" announced by James Paradine was the public one of stealing the blue-prints, or a far more personal matter. There is also considerable tacit humour in the gradual revelation of just how many members of this respectable family may have had something to confess. However, the situation is not the least bit funny for those members of the family who cannot prove an alibi for midnight, which is established as the time of the murder. One of these is Mark Paradine, the dead man's nephew and main heir. Rumours of misdoing are all very well, but the prosaic Inspector Vyner focuses upon who had the most to gain. Seeing that Mark's arrest is only a matter of time, Lydia Pennington, who is in love with him, appeals for help to Miss Maud Silver. Knowing her reputation, the police accept her help, recognising the advantage given her by an invitation to stay in the house. Miss Silver recruits as an assistant Elliot Wray, one of the few who does have an alibi---having been latched onto by Albert Pearson, the dead man's secretary and cousin, who as prime scapegoat material was determined to provide himself with one. Between them, Miss Silver and Wray begin to untangle the web of guilt and misdoing lurking behind the Paradines' respectable façade...

    "Let us return to Mr Paradine. He was not, you think, emotionally affected by his knowledge of the thief's identity?"
    Elliot grinned suddenly and said, "Mr Paradine didn't have emotions."
    Miss Silver looked as if he were evading the issue. "I will put it another way," she said. "Mr Paradine had ten guests last night. From your own observation, for which of those ten people had he most affection?"
    Elliot said bluntly, "I'm not really stupid, you know---I can see what you're getting at. You want to know whether the person who took the papers was someone he was fond of, and whether he was upset about it on that account. Well, offhand, I should say he wasn't. I'm not saying this to the police, and I'm not swearing to it in any conceivable circumstances, but if you want that impression you were talking about just now, I don't mind giving it to you. I thought he'd caught someone out and he was going to enjoy scoring him off..."

Dec 12, 2017, 8:20pm Top

>305 lyzard: Well done with that review, Liz. I think I've mentioned it before, but I really liked this one. I thought the culprit was somewhat obvious but it didn't detract from my enjoyment of the whole at all. And I'm not sure if the culprit were really obvious or if it was just that I was rooting for that person to be guilty because I disliked them so much!

Edited: Dec 13, 2017, 6:28pm Top


Agree about Grace, though I was kind of hoping that Irene's obsessive fussy mothering was a cover for something awful! :D

Interesting that Wentworth was part of the "sent home from India" generation. I wonder if she really disapproved of that kind of smothering parenting or whether Irene (and Grace for that matter) was her way of convincing herself she was better off?

Dec 13, 2017, 6:54pm Top

Fever Of Love - Born and raised in Rhodesia, Ross Derrel's inexperience with men prevents her from seeing that her aristocratic English husband is beginning to grow bored with their life on an isolated farm---and with her. Clive is debating with himself how to turn their holiday in London into a permanent move when Ross introduces him to her lovely young cousin, Valmy Page. When Ross invites Valmy, an orphan struggling to support herself, to accompany herself and Ross back to Africa, the spark of attraction between Valmy and Clive grows into an obsession that precipitates disaster for themselves, for Ross, and for Bill McCrayle, the manager of Ross's property, who has loved her for many years... This 1931 novel by Denise Robins must be classified as a "romance", but it is certainly a most uncomfortable one: without making the marriage of Ross and clive credible in the first place, it then dwells with distasteful relish upon Ross's misery and humiliation as Clive and Valmy conduct their affair almost under her nose, and the period's double-standard divorce laws which allows Clive to turn Bill's platonic care for Ross into a weapon. The book's best touch and biggest surprise is that Ross does leave Clive, setting up housekeeping with Bill on a small property in a remote district---also platonically, we are asked to believe; but instead of showing us how the two forge their partnership in running their farm, the focus switches back to Clive and Valmy as they reap their various wages of sin, until the love-quadrangle finally resolves itself in a manner both absurd and unpleasant. The strongest aspect of Fever Of Love may be its descriptions of the wilderness through which Ross and Bill trek in their search for a new beginning; though of course this requires the reader to ignore the novel's own ignoring of the native population of the region...except when the nice white people needs servants, of course.

    Ross leaned her charming brown head against the canvas of the tent and looked up at the sky a moment. How wonderful the stars were---the blazing white stars of a South African night. A cool night-breeze blew across her face, bringing the scent of the sun-baked earth---sweet and alluring. All about them was silence, starlight; infinite space; vast solitude. They were in the wilderness indeed, There was peace and beauty unmarred by the machinations of civilisation or the fret and toil of existence they had left behind.
    Suddenly her eyes filled with tears. She turned to Bill. He was not looking at her. He was staring ahead of him, smoking his beloved pipe. She was filled with deep gratitude to him for bringing her away from sorrow and despair, to this healing wilderness...

Dec 13, 2017, 7:11pm Top

Finished Ruth Fielding At The War Front for TIOLI #2.

Now reading its follow-up, Ruth Fielding Homeward Bound; or, a Red Cross Worker's Ocean Perils by Alice B. Emerson.

Dec 13, 2017, 8:51pm Top

Finished Ruth Fielding Homeward Bound for TIOLI #12.

Now reading Now, Voyager by Olive Higgins Prouty.

Dec 14, 2017, 7:47pm Top

Finished Now, Voyager for TIOLI #3.

Now reading Cimarron by Edna Ferber.

Dec 15, 2017, 10:49pm Top

I am impressed that you are closing in on 200 books this year Liz. Isn't that a little more than you normally manage?

Have a lovely weekend.

Dec 16, 2017, 4:39pm Top

Hi, Paul. That's the upside of unemployment, I guess! :)

Dec 16, 2017, 4:39pm Top

Finished Cimarron for TIOLI #9.

Now reading The House Of The Whispering Pines by Anna Katharine Green.

Dec 16, 2017, 4:41pm Top

Reminder / announcement:

Next month there will be a group read of Emily Eden's The Semi-Attached Couple; and The Semi-Detached House for the Virago Chronological Read Project - all welcome!

Edited: Dec 16, 2017, 5:40pm Top

>313 lyzard: Hi, Liz! I definitely read more when I was freelancing after being laid off, as I had fewer hours and also gaps between jobs.

Dec 16, 2017, 8:28pm Top

>307 lyzard: I'm resurfacing after being laid low by a nasty cold, so apologies for the late reply. I didn't know that about Wentworth's India connection. She might well have been exploring alternative scenarios to her own experience, although if she was I'd have to say she came down decidedly against them!

Dec 17, 2017, 5:26pm Top

This commercial keeps airing on TV here in the US and I think of you every time. :)


Edited: Dec 17, 2017, 9:34pm Top

>316 harrygbutler:

I'm toggling between comforting myself with books and feeling guilty for "wasting time"...

ETA: I will finally be making a start of The House Of Sudden Sleep tomorrow---and have to get it done quick smart, as the library will be in Christmas-New Year shutdown from Friday. (That's what I needed: motivation!)

>317 rosalita:

Sorry to hear you've been under the weather!

Wentworth was born in India, into a military family, but went to school in England. She spent her adolescence living in a sprawling country house filled with random relatives, including nine cousins from three different branches of the family, all in the same situation as herself, separated from their parents for some reason. (Although Wentworth's mother did return to England with her, and also lived in the house.)

>318 casvelyn:


Thanks for that!

Edited: Dec 19, 2017, 3:53pm Top

Busman's Honeymoon - Successfully evading the press and most of the groom's family, Harriet Vane and Lord Peter Wimsey are quietly married in an Oxford church. Shortly prior to the ceremony, Peter lets Harriet know that he has bought for her Talboys, an old country farmhouse she has always loved, which sits outside Great Pagford, near to where she spent her childhood with her doctor-father. Escaping to their country honeymoon with only Bunter and a carful of luxuries, Peter and Harriet are rather mortified when they arrive at Talboys to find it dark and deserted, with no sign of any preparations for their arrival, nor of Mr Noakes, the previous owner. Via a key provided by Miss Twitterton, Mr Noakes' niece, who is unable to account for her uncle's protracted absence, the newlyweds are able to enter their house and set about making it habitable, and making a start to their marriage. The latter tasks take a temporary backseat, however, when the dead body of Mr Noakes is discovered at the bottom of the cellar stairs, bearing a head injury that was not caused by a fall... It has become something of a tradition for me to start off my reviews of Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries with some reflections upon what annoyed me about them---and yes, alas, for all its many strengths, Busman's Honeymoon does have its annoyances, the overwhelming one being that Sayers follows up her Latin-tag conclusion to Gaudy Night by punctuating this novel with frequent and lengthy passages in French. The implication seems to be the same, i.e. If you'd had the right sort of education, you'd be able to read this. (And as I said re: the Latin, I did, and I can, and it's still annoying.) Otherwise, the nature of the narrative not really lending itself to even more revelations of obscure interests and arcane talents, Sayers contents herself with letting us know that Peter is dynamite in bed. (In fact, albeit obliquely, Peter tells us so himself!) But as is generally the case, these exasperations aside, Busman's Honeymoon is a fine and complex novel. Carrying the subtitle A Love Story With Detective Interruptions, much of the narrative concerns itself with the new realities created by marriage---with Harriet forced to adjust, not only to the privileges and demands of having married into the British aristocracy, though only to a younger son, but to Peter's complexities, thin-skin, and lingering emotional and psychological trauma. As for Peter himself, having devoted six years to his single-minded pursuit of Harriet, he comes to the belated realisation that he has never really thought beyond the point of his success. Any assumption, however, that marriage would mean a "settling" of his feelings is soon proved entirely false, as Peter finds himself in a whole new realm of emotional upheaval... The discovery of Mr Noakes body, and the confirmation that a murder has been committed, creates a situation awkward far beyond the immediate inconvenience of a police investigation in the middle of a honeymoon. Peter makes some attempt not to involve himself in the mystery, but in the end he cannot help himself; while Harriet resolves within herself that she will not interfere with his instinctive pursuit of the truth... Busman's Honeymoon is the last of Dorothy Sayers' Peter Wimsey novels (though some short stories followed), and as always, we find her using her detective novel as a vehicle for concerns far beyond those usually associated with the genre. Golden Age mysteries were often accused, and not without reason, of trivialising murder, turning it into a mere "entertainment"; and most of all, of course, with respect to the dabblings in crime of amateur, dilettante detectives---like Lord Peter Wimsey. As a parting shot, Sayers engages wholly with the implications of that argument---illustrating with grim exactness just what "playing detective" really means, within a society that embraces capital punishment...

    "Oh, my dear, what is happening to us? What has become of our peace?"
    "Broken," Peter said. "That's what violence does. Once it starts, there's no stopping it. It catches us all, sooner or later."
    "But...it mustn't. Can't we escape?"
    "Only by running away." He dropped his hands in a hopeless gesture. "Perhaps it would be better for us to run. I have no right to drag any woman into this mess---least of all my wife. Forgive me. I have been my own master so long---I think I have forgotten the meaning of an obligation." The stricken whiteness of her face startled him. "Oh, my dear---don't upset yourself like this. Say the word, and we'll go away. We'll leave this miserable business, and never meddle again."
    "Do you really mean that?" Harriet said, incredulously.
    "Of course I mean it. I have said it."
    His voice was the voice of a beaten man. She was appalled, seeing what she had done. "Peter, you're mad. Never dare to suggest such a thing. Whatever marriage is, it isn't that."
    "Isn't what, Harriet?"
    "Letting affection corrupt your judgement. What kind of life could we have if I knew that you had become less than yourself by marrying me?"

Edited: Dec 17, 2017, 9:26pm Top

The Moon Of Much Gladness (US / reissue title: The Return Of Kai Lung) - As far as "sequels" and "series entries" go, I'm not sure I've ever come across a worse cheat than this, the purported fourth book in the series by Ernest Bramah featuring itinerant Chinese storyteller, Kai Lung. The only novel in the series, it is narrated by Kai Lung...who is identified nowhere in the text, and indeed appears nowhere in the book at all except its original subtitle. Those expecting a real "Return Of Kai Lung" will be very much disappointed. The other issue with The Moon Of Much Gladness is that, not just the dialogue, but the entire book is written in Bramah's patented "Chinoiserie" style, a comic faux-rendering of formal Chinese speech which, amusing enough in his short stories, becomes something of an endurance test in a novel---and not a short novel, either. Ultimately the style works against the story, inasmuch as it almost obscures the narrative's central joke. In addition to his Kai Lung stories, Ernest Bramah wrote mysteries featuring the blind detective, Max Carrados; and his expertise in this area shows itself in a most surprising way here, as The Moon Of Much Gladness turns out to be, simultaneously, a detective story and a detective story pastiche, one studded with references to Max Carrados' literary contemporaries... At the beginning of the month known as "The Moon Of Much Gladness", the Mandarin T'sin Wong suffers a grave personal humiliation when some unknown party manages to enter his sleeping quarters and cut off his pig-tail, the symbol of his rank and authority. All the seers and interpreters of auguries in the town of Kochow are summoned together, and commanded to use their powers to locate the guilty party, and the precious item. The time allotted to them running out, one of their number is inspired to announce that not they, but another who will come to Kochow, will solve the mystery: an elderly man who will enter the gates at a certain time; reasoning within himself that many elderly men enter Kochow at all hours, and why should not one of them bear the brunt of the Mandarin's anger...? When professional maker of apologies, Kwan Yen, and his young grandson, Hwa-che, fleeing from trouble of their own, enter Kochow, they are singled out and carried away by the Mandarin's servants, and their mission made clear to them---and their fate should they fail. But even as Kwan Yen is mistaken for another, Hwa-che is not what he - she - appears, either; nor has her education been of the usual kind: for instead of studying the Classics, she has devoted herself to a certain branch of Barbarian literature which describes the many techniques for detecting crime; and, armed with knowledge culled from these volumes, Hwa-che considers herself very well qualified to solve the mystery of the missing pig-tail...

    "Among the Barbarian experts whose doings are set forth it is always thus and thus," was Hwa-che's sufficient explanation. "Whereas, to exemplify, it is the mark of one to mix with crowds in search of interpretation, another finds his requirements met by an inconspicuous grey cell, in which solitude he can doubtless best invoke the Expounding Forces. Yet a third sits in the angle of the wall apart and by means of knotted cords disentangles all involvements. One of strict priestly caste tests innocence and guilt by the parallelism of appropriate Symbols, through which he brings everything to a highly satisfactory conclusion, though without any clear indication of the actual process; while a High Excellence of noble rank becomes inspired on rare and costly scrolls, choice wine and apparel of unique distinction."
    "That one---setting aside the precious scrolls and the rich attire, which are extraneous to the issue---would appear to have the most reasonable foundation," interposed Kwan Yen, with more interest than he had as yet displayed in the Barbarian sages. "Would it not be feasible---"
    "The foremost of the band," pursued Hwa-che, her ear being doubtless closed by the feather to which the other had alluded, "whose mere name has now become a synonym for alertness, inhales the acrid fumes of smouldering weeds and wraps about his form a flowing robe of talismanic virtues. He it is who also calls up attending Shapes by means of forbidden drugs and restores the harmonious balance of the Spheres with a machine of wood and string that in his hand produces music..."

Edited: Dec 18, 2017, 12:55pm Top

You make me want to re-read Busman's Honeymoon! What a good review, Liz. I'll thumb.

Our daughter had a similar frustration with All the Pretty Horses. She couldn't believe how much Spanish he put in, and that's not one she knows.

P.S. If you post the Peter-Harriet review, I'll thumb it.

Dec 18, 2017, 5:27pm Top

>319 lyzard: I can understand that.

Re The House of Sudden Sleep: I guess I had better get started on it myself! :-) Vintage Murder will just have to wait a little bit.

Dec 19, 2017, 4:06pm Top

>322 jnwelch:

Thank you, Joe - done!

If you're not fluent, these passages jerk you right out of the novel. I appreciate that in some instances Sayers is using French to say what she couldn't get away with saying in English, but I still find it over the top.

>323 harrygbutler:

Can't say I'm finding it worth the extra effort so far...

Edited: Dec 19, 2017, 4:09pm Top

>324 lyzard: Fittingly, I found it rather soporific when I got started. Of course, I'm reading at home, so that's not so much of an issue as if I were reading in a library.

Edited: Dec 19, 2017, 4:20pm Top

Yes, it's a bit too well-named, isn't it?? I managed about 65% of it at the first sitting, so I'll be able to wrap it up tomorrow.

Edited: Dec 19, 2017, 4:17pm Top

So, yeah---

The Mystery League Inc. Challenge:

#5: The House Of Sudden Sleep by "John Hawk" (Sybil Norton) (1930 in both the US and the UK; cover art by Gene Thurston)

Only one edition of this novel in each of the US and the UK; I haven't so far been able to find an image of the British edition. This is one of the more easily obtainable Mystery League books, including copies with their dust jacket intact.

Dec 19, 2017, 4:19pm Top

Finished The House Of The Whispering Pines for TIOLI #1.

Now reading For The Defence: Dr Thorndyke by R. Austin Freeman; also reading (obviously) The House Of Sudden Sleep by John Hawk.

Dec 19, 2017, 4:38pm Top

>326 lyzard: I expect it to take me a mite longer, as I think I'm going to have to alternate with other reading. Maybe some Wodehouse.

>327 lyzard: Indeed, my copy has a dust jacket.

Edited: Dec 19, 2017, 4:41pm Top

>324 lyzard: Thanks! Thumb duly applied for Busman's Honeymoon.

Dec 19, 2017, 4:43pm Top

Much appreciated!

Edited: Dec 19, 2017, 7:46pm Top

The Bishop Murder Case - District Attorney John Markham consults his friend, Philo Vance, when a strange murder is committed on the private archery-range of the New York mansion owned by the elderly mathematician, Professor Dillard: "Who killed Cock Robin?" is Vance's immediate response, when he hears that Joseph Cochrane Robin has been killed with an arrow, and was last seen with a Mr Sperling, his romantic and sporting rival; "Sperling" being German for "sparrow". It is soon clear, however, that Robin was stabbed with the arrow elsewhere, after being struck on the head, and his body moved to the range. When a note drawing attention to the nursery rhyme and signed "THE BISHOP" arrives at the Dillard house, the investigation begins to focus upon the narrow professional and social circle of Professor Dillard, which includes his niece and ward, Belle Dillard; Sigurd Arnesson, his adopted son; next-door neighbour, Adoplh Drukker, and his eccentric mother; and friend, John Pardee. The three men, like Dillard himself, are advanced mathematicians. Small progress has been made when a second murder - and a second note - send the detectives scrambling for copies of "Mother Goose"... This fourth entry in S. S. Vane Dine's series featuring Philo Vance has a definite claim to fame, in that it seems to be the first ever nursery-rhyme-themed mystery: a sub-genre more often associated with Agatha Christie---who, I would have to argue, did it better. Van Dine, conversely, writes himself into something of a corner, with the highly unlikely scenario of a handful of people with appropriate victim-names living within such a tiny corner of New York. Furthermore, that the nursery-rhyme business is not merely a distraction, or a red herring, but supposedly a reflection of killer's psyche, overloads a narrative already struggling under the weight of Vance's psychological detection style. As for the rest, the usual Vance annoyances abound: endless quotations, footnotes and lectures on mathematics (it didn't help that I read this back-to-back with Busman's Honeymoon, with its constant French intrusions: not inappropriately, mind you, given that Philo Vance was certainly inspired by Peter Wimsey); much straightfaced psycho-babble about repressions and neuroses to "explain" the killer's motive; and Vance's solving of the case greatly assisted by the fact that, by then, almost everyone but the killer is dead! (The Bishop Murder Case isn't as bad in that respect as The Greene Murder Case, but it's bad enough.) Still, as always with the Vance novels, if you do manage to cut your way through the jungle of extraneous material, the story itself is a lot of gruesome fun---with a man called John E. Sprigg shot through the top of his head - his wig - and another nicknamed "Humpty Dumpty" having a great fall. Official suspicion divides itself between the blustering, cynical Arnesson, who shares his name with an Ibsen character, Bishop Arnesson; and the depressed, introverted Pardee, obsessed with chess and, in particular, the humiliating failure of the gambit to which he devoted many years. However, when a child of the neighborhood - a "little Miss Moffatt" - is abducted, Vance's abstruse approach to the investigation must give way to a desperate race against time...

    "The Bishop" had been at his grisly work again; and the case had now become a terrible triplicate affair, with the solution apparently further off than ever. It was not, however, the insolubility of these incredible crimes that primarily affected us; rather was it the inherent horror that emanated, like a miasma, from the acts themselves.
    Vance, who was pacing sombrely up and down, gave voice to his troubled emotions.
    "It’s damnable, Markham---it’s the essence of unutterable evil... Those children in the park---up early on their holiday in search of dreams---busy with their play and make-believe...and then the silencing reality---the awful, overpowering disillusion... Don’t you see the wickedness of it? Those children found Humpty Dumpty---their Humpty Dumpty, with whom they had played---lying dead at the foot of the famous wall---a Humpty Dumpty they could touch and weep over, broken and twisted and never more to be put together..."
    He paused by the window and looked out. The mist had lifted, and a faint diffusion of spring sunlight lay over the gray stones of the city. The golden eagle on the New York Life Building glistened in the distance.
    "I say; one simply mustn’t get sentimental," he remarked with a forced smile, turning back to the room. "It decomposes the intelligence and stultifies the dialectic processes."

Dec 20, 2017, 1:21am Top

>332 lyzard: " ... and lectures on mathematics ... "

Oh dear: interest piqued.

Dec 20, 2017, 2:05am Top

All care taken, no responsibility accepted. :D

Dec 20, 2017, 10:15am Top

>320 lyzard: Lovely review of Busman's Honeymoon!

Btw, I joined you for Ruth Fielding at the War Front and I might manage the next one - we'll see.

I hope your week is going well!

Dec 20, 2017, 3:41pm Top

Thank you, Princess!

Ooh, I hadn't seen that you'd given me a shared read, lovely! These books are so short, I'm sure you can squeeze another one in... :D

Edited: Dec 20, 2017, 4:46pm Top

The Woman In The Alcove - Rita Van Arsdale is overwhelmed with happiness when the man she loves, Anson Durand, proposes to her at an evening party...and then with mortification, when his attention almost immediately shifts to the beautiful Mrs Fairbrother, well-known for her flirtatious demeanour and her spectacular diamond, a gift from her husband before their separation. When Mrs Fairbrother withdraws into a curtained alcove at the far end of the ballroom, several men pursue her there, Durand among them; and he is the last known to be with her before she is found dead, stabbed, with her diamond gone... This 1906 novel by Anna Katharine Green is technically part of her Caleb Sweetwater series, but Sweetwater, now a member of the New York City detective force, plays a relatively minor role in it compared to both Inspector Dalzell, who is put in charge of the Fairbrother murder, and Rita herself who, when Anson Durand is arrested for the crime, turns amateur detective in order to clear his name. An odd partnership, mutually antagonistic yet mutually respectful, subsequently develops between the two. Like many of Green's mysteries, The Woman In The Alcove has elements of the sensation novel about it - one of the characters is pursued by a banshee, for instance - and the truth of the mystery lies not in the immediate situation, but in a complicated back-story---the unravelling of which gives Caleb Sweetwater his chance to shine. The novel's main weakness is that we don't see enough of the relationship between Rita and Durand before his stupid and rather cowardly behaviour in the face of - he claims - discovering Mrs Fairbrother's body, to justify her love and faith in him; so that her subsequent actions seem to us to have a pretty poor basis. For various reasons, Rita's own suspicions fasten upon a certain Mr Grey, an Englishman with political and diplomatic connections. Inspector Dalzell is amusingly frank about the police not daring to make a move in Grey's direction without evidence of the most concrete nature, so Rita makes it her business to obtain that evidence. Despite her social standing, financial difficulties have prompted Rita to train for a career; and it is as a qualified nurse that she manages to secure a position within Mr Grey's household, caring for his daughter, his only surviving child, whose health is precarious. Rita's position does indeed allow her to pursue her secret investigation; but as she learns to love the frail young woman in her care, and feels Mr Grey's increasing dependence upon her, and his kindness to her, it also presents her with a significant moral dilemma...

    The heart has its strange surprises. Through my whole ride and the indulgence in these thoughts I was conscious of a great inner revulsion against all I had intimated and even honestly felt while talking with the inspector. Perhaps this is what this wise old official expected. He had let me talk, and the inevitable reaction followed. I could now see only Mr Grey’s goodness and claims to respect, and began to hate myself that I had not been immediately impressed by the inspector’s views, and shown myself more willing to drop every suspicion against the august personage I had presumed to associate with crime. What had given me the strength to persist? Loyalty to my lover? His innocence had not been involved. Indeed, every word uttered in the inspector’s office had gone to prove that he no longer occupied a leading place in police calculations: that their eyes were turned elsewhere, and that I had only to be patient to see Mr Durand quite cleared in their minds.
    But was this really so? Was he as safe as that? What if this new clue failed? What if they failed to find Sears or lay hands on the doubtful Wellgood? Would Mr Durand be released without a trial? Should we hear nothing more of the strange and to many the suspicious circumstances which linked him to this crime? It would be expecting too much from either police or official discrimination.
    No; Mr Durand would never be completely exonerated till the true culprit was found and all explanations made...

Edited: Dec 21, 2017, 3:53pm Top

The Hollow - A party gathers for the weekend at The Hollow, the country house of Sir Edward Angkatell and his wife, Lucy: young David Angkatell, the heir to the estate; Edward Angkatell, a cousin; Midge Hardcastle, another relative; Dr John Christow and his wife, the shy, socially awkward Gerda; and the artist, Henrietta Savernake---with whom John Christow is having an affair. Perhaps not surprisingly, the gathering is not altogether a success, with tensions exacerbated by Edward's unrequited love for Henrietta, and Midge's unspoken feelings for him. Glad of another outsider, Lucy Angkatell announces that the famous detective, Hercule Poirot, who has acquired a cottage nearby, will be joining them for Sunday lunch. It is another neighbour, however, who descends upon the party, the Hollywood actress Veronica Cray, who was once engaged to John Christow. Dazed by the sudden reappearance of his first love, Christow allows her to carry him away... On time as always, Hercule Poirot heads for The Hollow just before one o'clock on Sunday, approaching via a path that leads him past the swimming-pool, where he comes across a startling tableau: John Christow lying bleeding on the ground; Lucy Angkatell, Edward Angkatell and Henrietta Savernake nearby; and Gerda Christow standing over her husband with a gun in her hand. As Poirot draws near, he hears the dying man utter a single, urgent word: "Henrietta..." This 1946 mystery by Agatha Christie is one of my favourites---that in spite of a nasty and disappointing touch of antisemitism, wholly out of place in a narrative otherwise notable for its mature, non-judgemental attitude to human failings. This is one of the author's more emotionally resonant novels, being shot through (as was Sad Cypress, another favourite, published a few years earlier) with a constant sense of sadness and frustration. It is also one of her most character-driven, offering two indelible sketches: the dangerously eccentric Lucy Angkatell, who treats the murder of one of her guests as a perverse kind of entertainment; and the enigmatic Henrietta Savernake, whose defiant attitude quickly catches and holds the attention of Hercule Poirot... When the weekend at The Hollow culminates in murder, it seems at first an almost embarrassingly simple matter. No-one, certainly not Inspector Grange, pays much attention to Gerda's flustered claim that she found and picked up the gun. But when ballistic examination proves that the gun with which Gerda was found was not the one with which John Christow was shot, what started out looking like an open-and-shut case becomes instead maddeningly difficult, marked by clues that lead nowhere and motives which, upon closer inspection, peter out into nothingness. As Grange doggedly pursues these small hints, Hercule Poirot focuses upon the psychology of the crime and its aftermath: a process which, again and again, leads him back to the cool, intelligent Henrietta, in whom he finds an antagonist truly worthy of his steel...

    "I don't kill people, M. Poirot. I couldn't kill anyone. That's the plain stark truth. You suspect me simply because my name was murmured by a dying man who hardly knew what he was saying."
    "Dr Christow knew perfectly well what he was saying. His voice was as alive and conscious as that of a doctor doing a vital operation who says sharply and urgently, 'Nurse, the forceps, please.'"
    "But---" She seemed at a loss, taken aback. Hercule Poirot went on rapidly: "And it is not just on account of what Dr Christow said when he was dying. I do not believe for one moment that you are capable of premeditated murder---that, no. But you might have fired that shot in a sudden moment of fierce resentment---and if so---if so, Mademoiselle, you have the creative imagination and ability to cover your tracks."
    Henrietta got up. She stood for a moment, pale and shaken, looking at him. She said, with a sudden, rueful smile: "And I thought you liked me."
    Hercule Poirot sighed. He said sadly: "That is what is so unfortunate for me. I do."

Dec 20, 2017, 7:16pm Top

I still have a blog post to write (two, in fact), but otherwise - just {*cough*} a tad belatedly:

October stats:

Works read: 14
TIOLI: 14, in 10 different challenges, with 2 shared reads

Mystery / thriller: 8
Contemporary romance: 1
Young adult: 1
Non-fiction: 1
Classic: 1
Horror: 1

Re-reads: 2
Series works: 7
Blog reads: 1
1932: 0
1931: 1
Virago / Persephone: 0
Potential decommission: 1

Owned: 2
Library: 7
Ebook: 5

Male authors : female authors: 8 : 7

Oldest work: The Sicilian by "Gabrielli" (1798)
Newest work: G. W. M. Reynolds: Nineteenth-Century Fiction, Politics, And The Press by Anne Humpherys and Louis James (eds.) (2008)


YTD stats:

Works read: 170
TIOLI: 170, in 119 different challenges, with 25 shared reads and 1 sweep

Mystery / thriller: 94 (55.3%)
Contemporary drama: 19 (11.2%)
Classic: 16 (9.4%)
Young adult: 13 (7.6%)
Historical romance: 7 (4.1%)
Contemporary romance: 4 (2.4%)
Historical drama: 4 (2.4%)
Non-fiction: 4 (2.4%)
Humour: 3 (1.8%)
Short stories: 2 (1.2%)
Science fiction: 1 (0.6%)
Western: 1 (0.6%)
Fantasy: 1 (0.6%)
Horror: 1 (0.6%)

Re-reads: 25 (14.7%)
Series works: 105 (61.8%)
Blog reads: 7 (4.1%)
1932: 9 (5.3%)
1931: 13 (7.6%)
Virago / Persephone: 3 (1.8%)
Potential decommission: 6 (3.5%)

Owned: 41 (24.1%)
Library: 52 (30.6%)
Ebook: 77 (45.2%)

Male authors : female authors : anonymous authors: 92 (51.4%) : 86 (48.0%) : 1 (0.6%)

Oldest work: The Holy War by John Bunyan (1682)
Newest work: 1815: Regency Britain In The Year Of Waterloo by Stephen Bates (2015)

Dec 20, 2017, 7:20pm Top

...so I'm feeling at least a little less slothful:

Dec 21, 2017, 1:44pm Top

Hi Liz, it has been far too long since I've been here and I've missed your reviews and, of course, your astounding covers.

I read Busman's Honeymoon many years ago and have forgotten so much. It's now on my TBR pile.

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season.

Dec 21, 2017, 2:24pm Top

Oh, Christmas sloth!!

Dec 21, 2017, 2:26pm Top

>340 lyzard: SLOTH!!!!!! CHRISTMAS SLOTH!!!!!!!!! Now I'm finally feeling the hoilday spirit. :-)

Dec 21, 2017, 3:56pm Top

>341 Oregonreader:

Glad you got here, Jan - thank you!

>342 Helenliz:, >343 rosalita:

Ho, ho, ho! :D

Dec 21, 2017, 4:54pm Top

Finished For The Defence: Dr Thorndyke for TIOLI #14.

Now reading Murder At Bridge by Anne Austin; still reading The House Of Sudden Sleep by John Hawk.

Dec 21, 2017, 5:10pm Top

>345 lyzard: I managed to finish The House of Sudden Sleep, but it sure was a chore.

Dec 21, 2017, 5:25pm Top

Yesterday didn't work out, but I'll be finishing it this afternoon. It's making me think much more kindly of Sydney Horler's man-sized vampire bats... :D

BTW, I'll also be picking up my ILL of The Key today, so that's ready to go.

Dec 21, 2017, 5:35pm Top

>347 lyzard: Yes. For all its flaws, Horler's book was much better.

I haven't yet put in my ILL request, and I think the library is closed until next week, so I may not get to The Key until late in the month.

Dec 21, 2017, 6:57pm Top

No hurry; let me know if you have trouble getting hold of it, we can put it off until February if need be.

Dec 22, 2017, 3:34am Top

Finished The House Of Sudden Sleep for TIOLI #12.

Still reading Murder At Bridge by Anne Austin.

Dec 22, 2017, 3:35am Top

That feeling when...

...you make a special trip to the library to pick up an ILL...

...and it isn't open.


Dec 22, 2017, 11:53pm Top

Dec 23, 2017, 2:37pm Top

Awww... Thanks, Roni! :)

Dec 23, 2017, 6:07pm Top

It is that time of year again, between Solstice and Christmas, just after Hanukkah, when our thoughts turn to wishing each other well in whatever language or image is meaningful to the recipient. So, whether I wish you Happy Solstice or Merry Christmas, know that what I really wish you, and for you, is this:

Dec 24, 2017, 10:55am Top

Merry Christmas, Liz, and thanks for being such a boon companion here in the reading world if not the real one. I hope 2018 brings you everything you want, including the perfect job!

Dec 24, 2017, 1:08pm Top

(Or in other words, Happy Christmas, to you and yours!)

Dec 24, 2017, 2:10pm Top

Dec 24, 2017, 2:19pm Top

Wishing you a merry Christmas, Liz!

Dec 24, 2017, 8:37pm Top

Dec 25, 2017, 3:40am Top

Wishing you all good things this holiday season and beyond.

Dec 25, 2017, 3:58pm Top

Thank you very much for you kind wishes, Roni, Julia, Rhian, Judy, Harry, Robin and Paul---the same to you and yours. :)

Dec 25, 2017, 4:19pm Top

Finished Murder At Bridge for TIOLI #12.

Now reading The Crime Without A Clue by Thomas Cobb.

Dec 26, 2017, 7:05am Top

>290 lyzard: I saw this in the news and then totally failed to make my way over here to say 'yay'!

Also adding my merry Christmas wishes - I admit to always feeling relieved when it's Boxing Day.....

Dec 26, 2017, 4:43pm Top

Thank you, Heather!

Yes, I'm a bit that way myself. :)

Dec 27, 2017, 7:24am Top

I was just wondering what your thoughts were on trying to get back to our Frances Burney read-through in 2018? Off the top of my head I can't remember why we paused (probably RL interfering for one or both of us in some way......) but if you have time I would be up for slotting Camilla in at some point.

Dec 27, 2017, 7:29am Top

Funny, I was thinking about that the other day!

Ilana was very much involved in the early stages of that, and eager to go on; but I think we paused when she was having some serious health issues, and then never picked it up again. We can certainly revisit that plan, though. Glad to! :)

Dec 27, 2017, 2:39pm Top

>366 lyzard: Well remembered! Let's see what Ilana wants to do.

Dec 27, 2017, 3:37pm Top

It would be great if she felt like joining in; I will drop her a line about it and see if it's a possibility. But either way, I will add it to my list of 'upcoming'.

Which reminds me, I promised to put together a list of Gothic suggestions for Madeline, didn't I?? Yike! New Year Panic setting in!! :D

Dec 27, 2017, 5:34pm Top

Finished Murder On Wheels for TIOLI #6.

Now reading Taken At The Flood by Agatha Christie.

Edited: Dec 27, 2017, 5:36pm Top

I do try not to sink to sweeping generalisations, but---

You Americans!!

You change British book titles just to change them, don't you??

Why else would Taken At The Flood have become There Is A Tide!?


Dec 27, 2017, 6:03pm Top

>370 lyzard: Wasn't it published first in the U.S.? :-) Or was it serialized somewhere first?

As an editor, I really can't concede that the author's choice of title is necessarily the title. :-b

There may be more than mere whim at work, but it would be difficult to uncover, at least without documentation of the decision and the reason therefor. But I can think of potentially relevant questions: To what extent were other book or movie titles out there at the time of publication with which Taken at the Flood might have been confused? What events (e.g., actual floods) might have been in the news at the time or in the previous year that would have a similar potential to dilute attention?

Edited: Dec 27, 2017, 6:17pm Top

As an editor, I really can't concede that the author's choice of title is necessarily the title.

Oh, please! :D

America and Britain had different publication "seasons" so sometimes books came out first in the US to, ahem, catch the tide.

I think I'd be less annoyed if they'd changed the title altogether. Picking a different bit of the same quotation seems more than ordinarily pointless. Surely if people know "There is a tide..." they also know "Taken at the flood"? - whatever the prevailing climatic conditions and/or natural disasters. :)

Dec 27, 2017, 6:22pm Top

I'm not perhaps as confident as you in that assumption, since the different bit was the beginning. I wouldn't be surprised if there are many people who would vaguely know that there is a famous line that starts "There is a tide..." that is relevant to various circumstances but who do not actually know the whole quotation.

Dec 27, 2017, 6:23pm Top

Wellll... Maybe. :)

Dec 28, 2017, 6:26pm Top

Happy Holidays, Liz!

Dec 29, 2017, 4:07pm Top

Aww... Thank you, Joe! :)

Dec 29, 2017, 4:25pm Top

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, lovely.

My eyesight (using the term loosely) is one of the banes of my existence: I have myopia and astigmatism, almost non-existent peripheral vision and night-blindness; while in my left eye I have an epi-retinal membrane, which is basically a build-up of scar tissue on the retina.

So of course life tends to be one big trip to the optometrist.

I underwent a sudden shift in vision recently, demanding a change of glasses; but the eye-test didn't go quite as planned. While my right eye responded to testing, my left eye was giving me wavy vision. My optometrist concluded that the epi-retinal membrane, which has been stable for nearly eight years, had thickened to the point of distorting the photoreceptors.

So--- "You'll have to see a specialist and get the membrane peeled." (Beat) "That sort of procedure usually leads to cataract development, so you'll have to get that done too."

2018 was already shaping up as...difficult. I really didn't need this...

Dec 29, 2017, 5:47pm Top

>377 lyzard: Very sorry to hear this, Liz. I hope it can be addressed with minimal disruption.

Dec 29, 2017, 5:57pm Top

>377 lyzard: Stupid eyes, so delicate and so essential at the same time for diehard readers like us. I hope having your eyeball peeled (shudder) isn't as bad as it sounds. Is it something that must be done imminently?

Dec 29, 2017, 7:13pm Top

>378 harrygbutler:, >379 rosalita:

Thanks. I very much dislike having anything done to my eyes, even just routine examinations, so you can imagine how thrilled I feel about this prospect!

I have to make a specialist's appointment for a preliminary assessment, so anything beyond that is yet to be determined. Both procedures are day surgeries, so even if worst comes to worst, hopefully they won't be too restricting.

Dec 29, 2017, 8:25pm Top

Oh Liz, I'm so sorry about your eye difficulties!

I hope that you can get both procedures out of the way quickly, so 2018 has a chance to be wonderful.

Dec 29, 2017, 8:52pm Top

Thank you, Princess! :)

Dec 29, 2017, 9:15pm Top

Finished Taken At The Flood for TIOLI #3...and that is #200 FOR THE YEAR!!

I've never cracked 200 before, and I am thrilled to have made it! - so to celebrate, here's a tarsier!---

Dec 29, 2017, 9:18pm Top

...and that is also where I am drawing the line under 2017. I still have - ulp! - two months' worth of reviews to get through, plus two blog posts, but I'm hopeful the process of setting up the new thread and generally getting organised will inspire me to get those written.

Thank you VERY much to the people who have dropped in to chat during the year: your visits and comments are hugely appreciated. I need to be better about thread-visiting (or at least, posting) going forward: perhaps a resolution I can actually keep??

Dec 29, 2017, 10:02pm Top

Congratulations, Liz, on 200!!!

And you’re a better person than I am to finish up your reviews. I think I’m just going to start afresh with 2018.

Dec 29, 2017, 10:05pm Top

Thank you!

Not "better", just "more OCD". :D

Dec 29, 2017, 10:14pm Top

Congratulations on #200, Liz! Well done!

Edited: Dec 29, 2017, 10:29pm Top

My guess is the publisher figured that the average American associates the term "Tide" more closely with laundry detergent than with a natural phenomenon. "Flood" risked less confusion with registered trademarks.

About the eyes: rats. Hoping for a positive outcome.

And of course: congrats on the double century.

Just, rats. `

Dec 29, 2017, 10:29pm Top

>383 lyzard: Yay, one last tarsier for the road! I wanted to drop by and confess that I accidentally already read The Key — it came in at the library much sooner than I was expecting, and since I took this week off work I've had plenty of time to read. But I will look forward to reading your and Harry's comments when you get to it next month.

Dec 29, 2017, 10:36pm Top

>387 harrygbutler:

Thank you, Harry!

>388 swynn:

Nice theory, but you've got them back to front: the book is Taken At The Flood in Britain and There Is A Tide in the US. Maybe they had some kind of tie-in going with the company: "Free novel with every 25 pound box" - !? :D

Rats indeed, sigh...

>389 rosalita:

They're only small, you can always squeeze in just one more... :)

Oh, well - these things happen in the land of ILL! (I have been thinking, though, I need to try and rope you and Harry back into TIOLI: my shared reads have dropped off rather sadly just lately...)

Dec 29, 2017, 10:38pm Top

>390 lyzard: I get the shakes whenever I try to do TIOLI but I'm game to give it another shot in 2018. You may need t9 talk me through it, though!

Dec 29, 2017, 10:56pm Top

>390 lyzard: I keep trying to get some shared reads with you, Liz, but there were a few this month I couldn’t get through the library system, and ILL beyond the main system is so difficult as to be almost impossible.

I did manage Ruth Fielding at the War Front and i may still manage Ruth Fielding homeward Bound. I’ve already read Now, Voyager.

Honestly, Liz, you read the most interesting stuff.

Dec 30, 2017, 12:24am Top

>391 rosalita:

Very happy to do so! Just give a shout when there's something you want guidance with.

>392 Dejah_Thoris:

Oh, believe me, Dejah, I'm grateful for anything you manage!

And wow, it's great to hear that, thank you! :)

Dec 30, 2017, 12:25am Top

My 2018 thread is now open for business; please stop by and say 'hi'!


Dec 30, 2017, 3:52am Top

Sorry to hear of the impending eye worries. They're amazing things. Ever since we dissected an eye ball in school I've been somewhat freaked by them.

Well done on 200 for the year! That's quite amazing. It's been interesting following your reading again.

Dec 30, 2017, 6:48am Top

Congratulations on your total of 200, Liz!

Sorry about your eye, I hope it all turns out well next year!

Dec 30, 2017, 3:36pm Top

>395 Helenliz:

Thanks, Helen! A literal lifetime of worrying about my vision has left me pretty hyper-sensitive about anything to do with eyes (and yes, we did the dissection too, yikes!).

>396 FAMeulstee:

Thank you and thank you, Anita!

Dec 31, 2017, 8:10pm Top

Jan 1, 12:32pm Top

>377 lyzard:, >380 lyzard: Really sorry to hear this Liz. I think any hint of something impeding eyesight is particularly worrying to us readers. You have reminded me that I should get my own eyes checked - I'm extremely short-sighted with a very weird astigmatism but luckily they seem to be fairly stable. However I haven't had a check up for a few years and the optician (just one of the high street chains) keep sending me increasingly threatening reminder letters ("your sight could be at risk if you do not have regular check-ups").

I hope the appointment with the specialist comes through and the problems are fixable.

>383 lyzard: Congratulations! I just squeaked Taken at the Flood in to 2017 (finished at 11:30pm last night) so am off to add it to the TIOLI wiki as a shared read.

Jan 1, 4:29pm Top

>398 rretzler:

Thanks, Robin!

>399 souloftherose:

Having just had a stable condition decide to be unstable, I heartily recommend regular checks!

I'm just waiting to get over our Christmas / New Year shutdown to make my appointment. When my optometrist examined me he saw little change in my condition and was surprised it seemed to be impacting the vision in my left eye so much, so there is still an outside chance the surgery won't be necessary; but I won't get my hopes up too much.

Whoo-hoo for a shared read!! BTW, I intend listing the two Emily Eden books separately (since they really are two unrelated works), so that should give us a good start on shared reads for the year. :)

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

420 members

172,368 messages


This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.




About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 128,106,706 books! | Top bar: Always visible