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lyzard's list: A live thing plus animation! - Part 1

75 Books Challenge for 2018

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Dec 29, 2017, 10:39pm Top

My header theme for 2018 will be CAMOUFLAGE...because who doesn't feel like hiding from the world sometimes?

Several species of pygmy seahorse are found in the waters of south-east Asia. They are amongst the smallest of all seahorses, often less than 2 cm long at full adult growth. They come in a spectacular range of colours and markings, which mimic the corals of their environment.


Edited: Dec 29, 2017, 10:58pm Top

My thread title this year is taken from what is undoubtedly A Very Bad Novel Indeed...even if some of us - a few of us- okay, one of us - do think it's bad enough to be funny:

"Books are my constant inspiration and delight, and without them I should be a dead thing minus animation."
---James Corbett, The Merrivale Mystery

Welcome to my 2018 thread!

Hello, all! I'm Liz, and I'm back for my 8th full year in the 75ers.

What goes on here? Well, let's just say this isn't the place for discussion of books hot off the press! My reading is dominated by the old and the obscure: Golden Age mysteries, 18th and 19th century novels, and (at least in theory) books for my much-neglected blog, which focuses upon the beginnings of various genres---Australian literature, detective stories, the Gothic novel and the English novel itself among them.

I am a fairly an obsessive self-challenger, so there are a number of separate reading challenges going on here at any time; you'll find more information about those further down the thread. Anyone who sees something they'd like to join in for, please feel free to do so!

I am also a devoted participant of the Take It Or Leave It (TIOLI) challenges. (If you like shared reads and/or reading challenges without pressure, drop in and give TIOLI a try!)

It has been my privilege to lead a number of group reads, most often of 18th or 19th century novels. We usually manage about one every two months, recently concentrating up the novels of Anthony Trollope and some of the earlier, lesser known Virago releases. Everyone is most welcome to join in these reads.

My other hope for this year is to engage more fully in the social aspects of the 75ers, particularly with respect to commenting on other threads, which was something I neglected in 2017.

Edited: Jan 25, 9:27pm Top


Currently reading:

Gains And Losses: Novels Of Faith And Doubt In Victorian England by Robert Lee Wolff (1977)

Anything But The Truth by Carolyn Wells (1925)

Edited: Jan 25, 9:33pm Top

2018 reading


1. The Semi-Attached Couple by Emily Eden (1860)
2. The Semi-Detached House by Emily Eden (1859)
3. The Absentee by Maria Edgeworth (1812)
4. Robbery At Portage Bend by Trygve Lund (1933)
5. The Loring Mystery by Jeffery Farnol (1924)
6. The Medusa Touch by Peter Van Greenaway (1973)
7. Initials Only by Anna Katharine Green (1911)
8. The Flickering Lamp by Netta Muskett (1931)
9. The Key by Patricia Wentworth (1944)
10. Crooked House by Agatha Christie (1949)
11. Ruth Fielding Down East; or, The Hermit Of Beach Plum Point by Alice B. Emerson (1920)
12. The Exploits Of Elaine by Arthur B. Reeve (1915)
13. The Secret Trail by Anthony Armstrong (1928)
14. The Crimson Circle by Edgar Wallace (1922)

Edited: Jan 24, 4:34pm Top

Books in transit:

On interlibrary loan / branch transfer / storage request:
Anything But The Truth by Carolyn Wells
Mr Fortune Speaking by H. C. Bailey
After Rain by Netta Muskett

Upcoming requests:
The Wychford Poisoning Case by Anthony Berkeley

Purchased and shipped:

On loan:
*The Key by Patricia Wentworth (02/02/2018)
Gains And Losses by Robert Lee Wolff (12/02/2018)
*The Flickering Lamp by Netta Muskett (23/02/2018)
Dark Laughter by Sherwood Anderson (05/03/2018)
*The Semi-Attached Couple; and The Semi-Detached House by Emily Eden (13/03/2018)
*The Absentee by Maria Edgeworth (16/03/2018)
Anthony Adverse by Hervey Allen (17/04/2018)
Derelicts by William McFee (17/04/2018)
The Story Of Dr Wassell by James Hilton (17/04/2018)

Edited: Jan 21, 5:10pm Top

Reading projects 2018:

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:

Now: The Semi-Attached Couple by Emily Eden (thread here)
Now: The Semi-Detached House by Emily Eden (thread here)

Upcoming: Camilla by Frances Burney

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: A Murder Is Announced

The C.K. Shorter List of Best 100 Novels:
Next up: Headlong Hall by Thomas Love Peacock

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 (Volume II) by G. W. M. Reynolds

Random reading 1940 - 1969:
Next up: The Story Of Dr Wassell by James Hilton

Potential decommission:
Next up: The Amityville Horror Part II by John G. Jones

Potential decommission (non-fiction):
Who Killed Precious? by H. P. Jeffers

Georgette Heyer historical romances in chronological order

Possible future reading projects:
- Georgette Heyer's historical fiction
- 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: Jan 7, 3:37am Top

A Century (And A Bit) Of Reading:

A book a year from 1800 - 1900!

1807: Corinne; ou, l'Italie by Madame de Staël
1809: The Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter
1812: The Absentee by Maria Edgeworth
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
1959: The Semi-Detached House by Emily Eden
1860: The Semi-Attached Couple by Emily Eden
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: Dec 29, 2017, 11:21pm 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: Jan 23, 5:02pm 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 - The Mystery Of The Hasty Arrow (13/13) {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 - The Mystery Of The Hasty Arrow (7/7) {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 Ear In The Wall (8/24) {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 In The Great Northwest (17/30) {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 High Adventure (4/9) {State Library NSW, held / ILL}
(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: Jan 24, 8:19pm 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 - Mrs McGinty's Dead (27/39) {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 Trail Of The Lotto (3/5) {AbeBooks}
(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: Jan 20, 9:31pm Top

Series and sequels, 1928 - 1930:

(1928 - 1961) Patricia Wentworth - Miss Silver - The Traveller Returns (aka "She Came Back") (9/33) {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 - The Vanished Prospector (6/9) {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: Jan 20, 9:33pm 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 - The Key (5/?) {interlibrary loan}
(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: Dec 29, 2017, 11:41pm 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 29, 2017, 11:44pm 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: Jan 24, 4:45pm Top

Books currently on loan:




Edited: Jan 21, 4:48pm Top

Reading projects:




Other projects:



Edited: Jan 21, 4:54pm Top

Short-list TBR:



Edited: Dec 30, 2017, 12:16am Top

A word on upcoming group reads:

At the moment the only one organised is for January, when we will be reading Emily Eden's The Semi-Attached Couple; and The Semi-Detached House for the Virago Chronological Read Project. This will be conducted through the Virago group, but everyone is welcome.

I think those who participated in the group read of the restored edition of Anthony Trollope's The Duke's Children are still in recovery mode! At any rate, we haven't decided on our next step, but there will definitely be more Trollope in 2018. I will be reviving the Which Trollope Next? thread shortly, to discuss this; if anyone has any requests or preferences, please post them there.

Meanwhile, Heather has suggested resuming our group reads of the novels of Frances Burney, after we completed Evelina and Cecilia; or, The Memoirs Of An Heiress. I am very amenable to this idea; if anyone else is interested in a group read of Camilla (to start with), please let me know.

Edited: Jan 13, 5:02pm Top

Likely January reading

The Semi-Attached Couple; and, The Semi-Detached House by Emily Eden {Virago Chronological Read Project}
The Absentee by Maria Edgeworth {C. K. Shorter challenge}
Crooked House by Agatha Christie {chronological challenge}
The Loring Mystery by Jeffery Farnol {random reading challenge}
The Key by Patricia Wentworth {shared read / ILL}
In The Teeth Of The Evidence by Dorothy L. Sayers {complete series}
The Medusa Touch by Peter Van Greenaway {potential decommission}
Robbery at Portage Bend by Trygve Lund {purchased book}

Other possibilities:

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley {group read}
Initials Only by Anna Katharine Green {series work}

Edited: Dec 30, 2017, 12:26am Top

...and that should do for now. :)

Welcome, all!

Dec 29, 2017, 11:02pm Top

Hope your 2018 is filled with good reads!

Dec 30, 2017, 12:26am Top

Thank you very much, Lori!

Dec 30, 2017, 2:14am Top

Dropping a star to keep up with your fascinating (and sometimes regrettable) obscurities.

Dec 30, 2017, 3:59am Top

Popping in to drop a trail of breadcrumbs.
Happy New Year.

Dec 30, 2017, 4:27am Top

Happy New Year, Liz. One of my resolutions is to be a bit more social online, too, and I'm starting here!

I'm ready for the Emily Eden books and I have a copy of Camilla ready too. I enjoyed Evelina and Cecilia more than I expected to so I'm looking forward to the next.

Dec 30, 2017, 7:50am Top

Hi, Liz! Looking forward to following along again this year.

I noticed that you have Roger Scarlett's Inspector Kane series crossed out in >11 lyzard: because #5 is unavailable. Good news! Coachwhip Publications has reprinted all 5 in the series: http://www.coachwhipbooks.com/curt-evans-intros

Dec 30, 2017, 10:21am Top

Welcome back!

Edited: Dec 30, 2017, 4:40pm Top

Thank you, Steve, Helen, Kerry, Harry and Jim!

>23 swynn:

You put me in mind of The Simpsons' "Presidents' Day" song: "Adequate, forgettable, occasionally regrettable..." :D

>25 CDVicarage:

That's great, Kerry! Do you have a preferred month for doing that? I haven't absorbed the various group reads and other projects that are going on yet.

>26 harrygbutler:

That's kind of a good news / bad news thing, Harry: those books are very expensive here, which in its way is worse than being simply unavailable; but I shall keep my eye on them and hope - thank you!

Meanwhile, I'm very excited about the upcoming John Rhodes reissues...

Dec 30, 2017, 5:21pm Top

>28 lyzard: I know that some of the Coachwhip books are available as e-books, so perhaps these will be published in that format, too.

I'm reading a British Library Crime Classics reprint of an Anthony Wynne mystery. It is OK, but in some ways a little too much like another I've recently read. I'm afraid that I don't find the selections for that series consistently appealing; I'm hoping the choices for the Detective Club prove better on average.

Dec 30, 2017, 5:40pm Top

Hmm. Still not feeling organised...

...which is not to be wondered at, when someone is as far behind in their reviews etc. as I am. I have decided, consequently, to put most of my challenges on hold this month while I try to catch up.

The exceptions will be the Emily Eden novels - of course, as they are for a group read; my monthly Agatha (Crooked House); and The Key by Patricia Wentworth, which is for a shared read in January...even though Certain Persons Who Shall Be Nameless dashed ahead and finished it in December. Hmmph!

As it happens, there will be a natural hiatus in the best-seller challenge, firstly because I read The Good Earth quite recently, and secondly because it was America's best-selling novel for two years running, 1931 - 1932. So I'm going to take a break in January and February...in the foreknowledge that the 1933 best-seller was a MASSIVE chunkster...

Conversely, I may tackle the next work in my C. K. Shorter challenge, Maria Edgeworth's The Absentee, this month, simply because I am feeling rather 19th-century-y.

In that respect, I am still debating whether or not to join in the group read of Frankenstein, and may leave a call on that until later on.

But I will probably postpone Dark Laughter and Jack O'Lantern until February; while I am definitely not ready to confront the second volume in George Macarthur's absurdly interminable The Mysteries Of London just yet...

Dec 30, 2017, 5:50pm Top

Two things I want to try and do this year are, firstly, mix up my reading a bit more, and secondly, read more non-fiction.

That both of these dropped away in favour of, particularly, mysteries and series works reflects the fact that 2017 was the kind of year that demanded regular comfort reading.

I have had several works of non-fiction sitting around untouched for an embarrassing amount of time (luckily, my academic library is generous with respect to both loan periods and renewals), and really want to get to them. My goal will be a minimum of one non-fiction work a month.

As you may have noticed, the book cover images on the top layer of my Shortlist TBR post have been pretty static, compared to the bottom layer. The top layer reflects different categories of general reading, while the bottom reflects series reading.

Part of the problem is that quite a number of my general-reading books are rare enough to require reading-in-the-library. Since that is also the case with various of my challenge books (most frequently the Mystery League books, and now the Banned In Boston books), the former tend to get bumped for the latter. So I need to be more proactive in slotting the general reads in whenever an opportunity presents itself.

Likewise, I want to focus more on my "random reading" challenge, also the hope of mixing things up. (Although this time around I landed on a book which is simultaneously (i) old, (ii) a mystery, and (iii) a series work, which rather defeats the purpose!...but I guess that's randomness for you...)

Dec 30, 2017, 5:56pm Top

>29 harrygbutler:

I will have to hope for that too, though at the moment they are only available as pricey paperbacks. (It seems strange at this point that there would *not* be an ebook option, but then I don't know too much about how Coachwhip operates.)

Yes, I saw your Christmas presents post - nice! With Anthony Wynne, I haven't yet progressed past The Mystery Of The Evil Eye (aka "The Sign Of Evil"), which as we discussed before I found interesting as an early serial-killer mystery; The Double-Thirteen Mystery is one of those needs-to-be-read-in-a-library works I was complaining about in >31 lyzard:, but I suppose I'll get to it eventually... :)

Dec 30, 2017, 6:08pm Top

>32 lyzard: I think Coachwhip is essentially a one-person operation, and quite possibly a spare time activity, too. That may very well play a role, as I gather it takes some doing to make an e-book. The pulp reprints from Altus Press also appear first in print and only later in e-book form.

>31 lyzard: I may take something of the opposite tack this year myself, given my other challenges. I found that the ILL nonfiction books were rather overwhelming my other reading — and often without yielding a satisfying completed book even after several hundred pages, because of essays I didn't read. So though I'll do a bit of ancient history reading via ILL this coming year, I'll likely turn more often back to the works of medieval literature I have on hand and slot philosophy or theology from my shelves into the mix.

Dec 30, 2017, 6:14pm Top

>33 harrygbutler:

Of course simple practicality is the bottom line! Anyway, we can both keep an eye out and hope for the best. :)

My non-fiction reading is complicated by the fact that it tends to be related to my blog, and so is part of a bigger problem. I think you did / do a very good job of mixing up your reading, but yes, I certainly know how these side-projects can begin to overwhelm your main focus.

Edited: Jan 4, 7:23pm Top

My "general reading" subcategory, discussed in >31 lyzard:, encompasses a few things that, thankfully, are available through ILL. This includes Netta Muskett's The Flickering Lamp, which presents us with the first 2018 example of The Terrible Cover: I wonder which one I'll be lucky enough to get??

The third one is my call for the worst: he looks like he's being comforted by his mother! - his very disinterested mother...


And while I'm sure this image in no way, shape or form reflects the actual content of the book, I'm going to have to go with the pulp-fiction reissue as the best:

Dec 30, 2017, 6:54pm Top

>34 lyzard: Coachwhip has some other puzzles for me. He has reprinted many J. J. Connington mysteries, but for some reason the links on that page on his website only go to Barnes & Noble, not Amazon, but other books that he has brought out, both before and after, have buying links to both.

Thanks for the kind words. I don't envy you the work on the blog. I managed to get rid of most of that impulse in graduate school years ago, which goes some way to explaining the brevity of my reviews, too. :-)

>35 lyzard: Ugh. Rick Springfield has fallen on tough times, though I don't recognize the woman in choice 3. :-)

Dec 30, 2017, 8:04pm Top

Hey, you should have been in this group when every review I wrote was as long as a blog post!

The Connington books *are* available here as ebooks, so that's one good thing. (Another Oz wild card: presumably for rights reasons, we only get a subset of Kindle releases; so just because something's available, that doesn't mean it's available *here*.)

Rick Springfield has fallen on tough times


Dec 31, 2017, 3:17am Top

>36 harrygbutler: Looks to me like Beverly d'Angelo. Cast beneath her talent, again.

Dec 31, 2017, 12:12pm Top

Happy reading in 2018, Liz!

Dec 31, 2017, 12:15pm Top

Happy New Year! I wish you to read many good books in 2018.

Dec 31, 2017, 2:49pm Top

Happy New Year Liz!

Dec 31, 2017, 4:42pm Top

Hi, Anita, Rachel and Rhian - thank you very much! :)

Dec 31, 2017, 4:42pm Top

>38 swynn:

Yeah, maybe... I was thinking Kathy Baker myself. :D

Dec 31, 2017, 5:24pm Top

Happy New Year, everyone! Here's hoping for a kinder and much less stressful 2018, full of books and other good things. :)

Edited: Dec 31, 2017, 5:38pm Top

Happy New Year, Liz!

Jan 1, 12:27am Top

Dropping off a
And wishing you

Jan 1, 4:07am Top

Happy New Year
Happy New Group here
This place is full of friends
I hope it never ends
It brew of erudition and good cheer.

Jan 1, 3:19pm Top

Happy 2018, Liz!

Jan 1, 4:06pm Top

>1 lyzard: Wow - before I read your post I thought you were going to be showcasing coral from the pictures but I see the tiny seahorses now!

>19 lyzard: Hmm, dithering over whether to try to join in with The Absentee (have always meant to read more Edgeworth and the library has a copy so it wouldn't hurt to check it out would it?). I am planning to join in with Crooked House but it's one I don't own so I will order a copy. And also the Emily Eden (of course).

>35 lyzard: Yeah, the female character looks pretty bored on the third cover...

>44 lyzard: Hear, hear and happy new year!

Edited: Jan 1, 4:35pm Top

Thank you, Harry, Roni, Paul, Joe and Heather - very best wishes to you all for the New Year!

>49 souloftherose:


Yeah, I considered a couple of photos that show the seahorses a little more clearly but then decided that would defeat the purpose.

Shared reads!? Be still, my heart!

Jan 1, 6:54pm Top

The threads are now up for the group read of Emily Eden's paired novels, The Semi-Attached Couple and The Semi-Detached House, next up in the Virago Chronological Read Project:

The Semi-Attached Couple
The Semi-Detached House

If you are intending to participate, or just lurk, please drop by and let us know!

Edited: Jan 2, 12:04am Top

>30 lyzard: even though Certain Persons Who Shall Be Nameless dashed ahead and finished it in December. Hmmph!

Hey, I SAID I was sorry! It's all the library's fault, honest. :-D

Also, only you would base your year's theme on such a terrible book! You truly are living the life of a potato.

Also also, it's just my fevered imagination, but I do believe one of the seahorses in the top (pink) photo is wearing a little hat!

Jan 2, 12:07am Top

Try as you might, you'll never get to the bottom of my brain-box...

(Okay. Let's not start that again!)

I do believe one of the seahorses in the top (pink) photo is wearing a little hat!

Of course! - it's a vital part of his disguise! :D

Edited: Jan 2, 10:47pm Top

Finished The Semi-Detached House by Emily Eden, and waiting for 'I' to roll around for TIOLI #4.

Now reading The Absentee by Maria Edgeworth.

Edited: Jan 2, 5:37pm Top

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

#21: The Absentee by Maria Edgeworth (1812)

Maria Edgeworth was a much-admired female author of the early 19th century, although her peculiar relationship with her domineering father probably prevented her from reaching her full potential. Nevertheless, she left her mark both with her non-fiction writing - her manuals on childhood education, notable for their encouragement of the imagination, and the use of fiction to engage interest in a topic, were widely adopted - and her fiction for both adults and children. Her acutely observed if rather didactic novels aimed at young women were an influence on Jane Austen, and helped to raise the contemporary reputation of the novel (and more particularly, that of "women's fiction").

Edgeworth was also one of the pioneers of the regional novel, in which she influenced Walter Scott. Anglo-Irish herself, she was the author of four well-received works set in Ireland and highlighting the national, religious and personal conflicts that made English-Irish relations so fraught and difficult. While posterity usually highlights Edgeworth's blackly comic Castle Rackrent, for his 'Best 100 Novels' list, the critic C. K. Shorter chose 1812's The Absentee.

Jan 2, 5:44pm Top

Partly for the Virago Chronological Read Project, and partly as an exercise in gap-filling - but mostly because they are both excellent books - a couple of years ago a group of us read the first two novels by Frances Burney: Evelina; or, The History Of A Young Lady's Entrance Into The World and Cecilia; or, The Memoirs Of An Heiress.

At the time we discussed going on to Burney's other two novels, but for various reasons it didn't happen. Now, however, as you may have seen, we are trying to organise a group read of Burney's third novel, Camilla.

At the moment it is looking like this will take place in April, however nothing has yet been decided. If April would be difficult for anyone interested in joining us, please let me know.

Jan 2, 7:32pm Top

>56 lyzard: Can one read Camilla without having read the other two? If so, I'll keep it in mind for April.

Jan 2, 7:54pm Top

Yes, the novels are unrelated. Reading them back-to-back is a fascinating exercise in how Burney's writing style and opinions developed (she became increasingly cynical about certain aspects of "romance", despite her own happy marriage), but there is no necessity to have read the earlier ones.

We'd love to have you! :)

Jan 2, 8:01pm Top

>58 lyzard: OK, I'll pencil it in. No promises because who knows where my reading will be by April!

Jan 2, 8:08pm Top

It's all in pencil at the moment! :)

Jan 2, 10:44pm Top

>55 lyzard: Those old covers always appeal to me!

Jan 2, 10:48pm Top

>61 thornton37814:

Sometimes I think they're careless about their image selection but that one's just right. :)

Jan 4, 4:41pm Top

Well, this year (all five days of it) is not getting any less stressful. Yesterday was a long-put-off trip to the vet: Kara has needed her teeth cleaned for some time, but given her age I was reluctant to have her anaesthetised unnecessarily. However, she beginning to develop some inflammation of the gums, so I finally accepted that it had to be done. So it was an early morning consult plus a blood test, followed by the procedure, vaccination and nail-clipping for her, a day spent nervously pacing up and down for me.

I needn't have worried so much: she came through it all like a trouper. In fact (probably because she was full of pain-killers, and therefore not feeling her arthritis for the first time in three years), she spent last night bouncing around like a kitten, while I lay on the couch in a state of emotional exhaustion. :)

Jan 4, 4:52pm Top

>63 lyzard: The little pink wrap at the IV site is awfully cute, though, you have to admit! I'm glad she sailed through it, and I hope you can recover you equilibrium soon. :-)

Jan 4, 4:53pm Top

Awww, poor puss cat. And poor Liz!

Jan 4, 5:01pm Top

>63 lyzard: Glad to hear she came through it so well!

Jan 4, 5:03pm Top

>56 lyzard: April works for me!

>63 lyzard: Glad Kara has come through it all - I know exactly how you feel post vet visit. I hope you feel less wrung out soon. Coincidentally, Erica is booked in to the vet's on Tuesday for a general check up for suspected teeth issues - she has been more than usually picky about her food lately and as she has a history of very bad teeth I have a feeling more extractions may be needed.....

Jan 4, 5:22pm Top

>64 rosalita:, >65 Helenliz:, >66 harrygbutler:, >67 souloftherose:

Thank you, everyone! It's a big relief to have it over and done with.

(And that taken care of, I can go back to worrying about my own eyes!)

>67 souloftherose:

Oh, poor Erica! I hope she comes through as well as Kara did.

Jan 4, 5:22pm Top

>67 souloftherose:

Since we now have three votes for April, we might nail that down - thanks!

Jan 4, 11:02pm Top

>63 lyzard: Glad all went well for your fur baby!

Jan 4, 11:46pm Top

Liz, Here's to great reading for you in 2018. I will also pencil in the April read.

Jan 5, 8:17am Top

Yay for Kara making it through the vet visit with flying colors!

Jan 5, 3:10pm Top

Hi, Lori, Jan and Amber - thank you for the kind wishes! :)

>71 Oregonreader:

That would be great, Jan!

Jan 5, 3:34pm Top

>63 lyzard: How old is Kara, Liz? Our Sweep is fourteen and starting to have some problems. We had real issues in getting her to eat before Christmas, but she is now on steroids which seem to be doing the trick.

Edited: Jan 5, 4:51pm Top

Ashton-Kirk: Special Detective - Ashton-Kirk is consulted by an acquaintance, Bat Scanlon, about a strange and dangerous situation involving his friend, Frederic Campe, a young man a German extraction, but whose family made their fortune as financiers in Mexico. Scanlon explains that, over the past year, the previously light-hearted Campe has become quiet, withdrawn and nervous, though without any evident cause. However, when Scanlon accepted an invitation to Schwartzberg, the Campe country house, he soon realised that Campe's was terrified of something; that he, Scanlon, with his rough-and-tumble background, was effectively there as a bodyguard; and that Schwartberg - built by one of Campe's ancestors to replicate a Rhine castle - was in a state of siege... The third entry in John T. McIntyre's series is, despite its subtitle, far more a thriller than a detective story, though there is certainly a mystery to be solved. The reader here spends less time than usual in company with Ashton-Kirk himself - not a bad thing since, as a fairly blatant Sherlock Holmes expy, large doses of Ashton-Kirk get irritating - with the book's perspective split between the detective and Scanlon, with the latter taking up residence in Schwartzberg while the detective handles matters from the outside. Scanlon's duties consist chiefly of defending Campe a series of mysterious attacks; while Ashton-Jirk attempts to identify those responsible---and find the reason for them. The narrative generates considerable tension out of the fact that Campe does not know why he is being persecuted---though with his father, his uncle and his elder brother having all died in mysterious "accidents", there is no question about the magnitude of the danger confronting him. The sudden eruption into the narrative of an "atavistic throwback" to the Aztecs - human sacrifice and all - adds an absurdly entertaining aspect to the story; though the sweeping racial generalisations made here are pretty offensive (not to mention idiotic). While he and Scanlon take up matters at Schwartzberg, Ashton-Kirk sends one of his agents to Mexico, to look into the family, and concludes that the Campe family was involved in some unscrupulous financial dealings---and their defrauded former partners have come to collect. Pursuing his researches, Ashton-Kirk's suspicions soon fasten upon a local inn which has been converted into a country retreat for invalids, but where, he is convinced, more is going on than meets the eye. Meanwhile, Scanlon's own experiences suggest a secret way into Scwartzberg of which its owner knows nothing, and that a member of his household - whether Campe's aunt, the family-obsessed Miss Hohenlo; a distant cousin, Grace Knowles, who was nearby during two attempts upon his life; or Kretz, the family major-domo, who knows Schwartberg better than anyone else - is an enemy on the inside...

    "You think, then---" began Scanlon.
    "That the man in the rolling chair, Alva, is a 'throwback'; that his deformed head is an assertion of the old Aztec strain; that if this deformity had anything to do with the fiendish character of the Aztecs, it might naturally be supposed that it had some effect upon him."
    "I think I get you," said Bat Scanlon, slowly. "Check me off, and see if I'm right. This fellow, Alva, is the leader of the party at the inn. He's done for three of the Campe family already, and is reaching for a fourth. The answer to this, so you tell me, is that his Indian ancestors loved blood spilling, ad that the thing's broken out in him."
    "That's a part of the answer. It was only after failing at something else, remember, that the murder mania took possession of him. And boasting of his Indian ancestry, as Fuller reports, it is not at all strange that his murderous tendency should find vent in the ancient form."
    Bat nodded. "But why all the frills? Why this," touching the drumhead with the toe of his shoe. "Why the execution stone?"
    "All part of a system for terrorising Campe. And you've seen how it succeeded..."

Edited: Jan 5, 4:49pm Top

>74 SandDune:

Hi, Rhian!

She's fifteen now. It's probably two years since the vet first noticed she had a problem, but because it obviously wasn't causing her any difficulties (certainly not affecting her appetite!), I was hoping to avoid having a procedure done. But at her last examination they found inflammation of the gums which could escalate, and might mean she would need teeth extracted, so it had to be done.

Previously the vet recommended more fresh meat in her diet and less dry stuff and (in particular) tinned food, and I think both her general health and her teeth have benefited from that.

Jan 5, 5:26pm Top

Hi, Liz. Dropping a star.

I am always so in awe of the time and organization you put into reading the detective fiction. I would love to do it, but am a bit haphazard about it. I hate to read out of order, but I just can't seem to find the time to get myself that organized and do an all out search for what I am missing. I was excited to see that a lot of George Bellairs novels are being printed, however, the first two are not, which seems very stupid to me - oh, well.

Glad to hear that Kara is doing well after the vet visit. We lost one of our cats, Matisse, last year to liver cancer at only 12. Picasso, his littermate, is still with us, but definitely not as lively as he used to be. We adopted 3 kittens in August (Mycroft, J'Zargo and Bandit) who try to keep Picasso on his toes!

Jan 5, 8:17pm Top

Hi, Robin - thank you! I used to get myself into such a tangle that I was finally driven to just write it all down...even if that emphasises how out of control my series reading really is! Oh, yes, I hate when they do a "piecemeal" release of old mysteries (of any books, really): it's so frustrating!

I was very sorry to hear about Matisse; I hope your kittens are bringing you (and Picasso) joy!

Jan 6, 1:20am Top

>78 lyzard: I used to keep my records in a Microsoft Access database, but I discovered Airtable.com last year. Now I have about 20 databases - books read, books purchased, arc books, book series, planned reading, etc. It does take some time to keep up, but I do feel organized, and much less out of control. Even dear LT wasn't helping me keep track, but for some reason, I can manage the databases.

Thanks. The kittens are bringing the humans joy - but Picasso just tolerates them, which I guess is the most we can hope for until they start to settle down.

Jan 6, 1:31am Top

Very glad Kara tolerated the procedure so well. My Zoe is also 15 and just had a bout of pancreatitis. She had several teeth removed a few years ago.

Jan 6, 5:43am Top

>76 lyzard: Similar age to Sweep then, who is 14. She has an ongoing thyroid problem, and also something intestinal which (hopefully) is some sort of irritable bowel problem, but at the worse case scenario is something cancerous. Based on an ultrasound the vet thinks the former is more likely, and that is being treated by steroids which seem to be working. We decided against having a biopsy to rule out cancer as that would be very invasive and we wouldn't want to put her through weekly chemotherapy.

Edited: Jan 11, 10:44pm Top

>79 rretzler:

My issue was that I would spend x-amount of time researching series order and availability...get distracted...and end up forgetting and doing it all over again. Hence the structure of my series lists, which include the next book in each and if / how it is available. :)

>80 ronincats:

Thanks, Roni! Poor Zoe... I was very relieved that Kara did not need more serious treatment.

>81 SandDune:

I'm sorry to hear that, Rhian. Fingers crossed that it is just something manageable! - those are such hard decisions to have to make. :(

Jan 6, 7:17pm Top

One Of My Sons - As he passes, lawyer Arthur Outhwaite is called into a New York brownstone by a frightened child. He finds her grandfather, millionaire businessman Archibald Gillespie, dying. His last moments are spent pressing a sealed letter upon Outhwaite: he manages to convey that the letter must be given to one person only, but not who that person is. To Outhwaite's astonishment, he then learns that two of Gillespie's three sons, with all of whom he was notoriously at odds, are in the house; yet the dying man had Claire call a stranger... Forced by circumstance to witness the aftermath of Gillespie's death, Outhwaite is shocked when what is first considered an accidental overdose of chloral is declared murder by poisoning with prussic acid. By observation and deduction, Outhwaite determines that Gillespie's letter was intended for Hope Meredith, his niece and ward: in the letter, he reveals that there was an earlier attempt upon his life, which he was certain was the work of one of his sons... This 1901 novel by Anna Katharine Green features both of her series characters, veteran New York police detective Ebenezer Gryce and his young protégé, Caleb Sweetwater, who are called in over the murder of Archibald Gillespie; but while the policemen play a vital role in the case, narrator Arthur Outhwaite remains the focus of the narrative, as he finds himself turning amateur detective. As is true of most of Green's crime stories, One Of My Sons is as much a sensation novel as a straightforward whodunit, full of mysterious strangers and people behaving inexplicably, dark secrets which must be unravelled before the murder can be solved, and large servings of romance and melodrama. Drawn into the mystery by circumstance and held there as a vital witness, Outhwaite finds himself falling in love with Hope Meredith---and becoming gloomily certain that she, in turn, is in love with one of the three younger Gillespies---but which one?---and could that man be the murderer of his own father? The openly dissipated George and Alfred Gillespie are likewise open rivals for Hope's affection; but Outhwaite becomes convinced that it is the third son, Leighton, the father of the child, Claire, for whom Hope cares. Having become estranged from his father because of his marriage to a beautiful but emotionally unsteady opera singer, who was unable to adjust to her social elevation, since her death Leighton has devoted himself to religion and charitable works; yet there are those who whisper that this is merely a cloak for his vices: that he haunts the dark corners of New York, and has been seen in company with most depraved of women...

    "Have I not already asked myself these questions? Have I not repeated them over and over in my own mind till their ceaseless repetition has well-nigh maddened me? I think I know George, yet I dare not say he has a heart incapable of crime. I think I know Alfred and I think I know Leighton; but what certainty can this imaginary knowledge give me of the integrity of men who hide their best impulses under wild ways or cloud them with plausible hypocrisies? There is not an open soul among the three; and unless one of them consents to confess his crime, we can never feel sure of the two true men who are guiltless... You are, and are likely to remain, my only friend; then why should I hold back facts well known to those who come in daily contact with me? I am unfortunate in having a father who is no father to me. From earliest childhood till I left him to come to New York, I had never received from either parent a caress which was more than a formality. My father's lack of sympathy rose from the mortal disappointment he suffered when, of his two children, it was the girl and not the boy who survived the illness which prostrated both. My mother---but I will not talk of her; she has been dead a dozen years---only you will believe me when I say that all tokens of affection were lacking to my childhood and that the first word expressive of warmth and protection came to me from the cousin who met me at the train the day I entered upon my new life in my dear uncle's home..."
    I rose to leave; my self-control was not strong enough for me to bear up against these repeated attacks. As I did so, I said: "Miss Meredith, you have heard my promise. May I be prospered in my undertaking, for success in it means not only satisfaction to myself but great relief to you. Why do you tremble?"
    "I fear---I dread your interference. Sometimes I wish never to know the truth..."

Jan 6, 8:57pm Top

Liz, your reading is impressive as always.

I'm reading Moll Flanders, and I'm stuck trying to get to the meaning of the phrase 'going into the Mint', which Moll says her second husband does when caught in bankruptcy, and which she does as well a little later. Can you offer any hint? I and my reading group would be grateful if you could.

Jan 6, 9:10pm Top

Hi, Judy!

Yes, indeed I can. :D

Traditionally in the City of London (which was a defined, self-governed territory, subject to its own laws) there were areas of "sanctuary" where people could find refuge and the law couldn't touch them. In particular, over time these became refuges from arrest for debt.

The English debtors' laws, which persisted into the 19th century, meant that people in debt could be imprisoned indefinitely---and of course, being so, had very little chance of doing anything to earn money, and therefore discharge their debts.

So people trying to evade this arrest would hide out in these sanctuary areas, one of which was The Mint---which was a district in south London (where Henry VIII once set up an actual mint, though it ceased operation under Mary). Once there, they couldn't be arrested; but they also couldn't leave.

At that time there was a gentleman's agreement that real, and particularly violent, criminals would *not* be sheltered by these sanctuaries; but eventually this was abused, with the sanctuaries becoming "no-go zones", where law officers were in danger of their lives. The sanctuaries were therefore progressively eliminated: as a compromise, The Mint lost its protected status, but at the same time the laws were changed so that you couldn't be arrested for debt if you owed less than 50 pounds.

I hope that helps? Let me know if there's anything else.

Jan 6, 11:10pm Top

>85 lyzard: perfect! I knew it wasn't debtor's prison, as that is mentioned separately, and Moll would not be able to choose to leave. I'll point out your explanation to Jim, who runs our reading group. I'm sure there will be questions next month.

And many thanks for such a quick reply!

Jan 7, 3:44am Top

You're very welcome. :)

Jan 7, 3:45am Top

Finished The Absentee for TIOLI #6.

Now reading Robbery At Portage Bend by Trygve Lund.

Edited: Jan 7, 11:05pm Top

Murder Backstairs - When James Dundee accepts an invitation to the country home of his college friend, Dick Berkeley, he finds himself part of a tense and uncomfortable gathering. There is an embarrassing scene when the younger daughter, Gigi, snatches a bottle of perfume given to her mother by guest Seymour Crosby and splashes its contents on the house-guests; and another, when Crosby, who is supposed to be on the verge of becoming engaged to elder daughter, Clorinda, shows himself overly interested in Mrs Berkeley's maid, Doris Matthews. Like the butler, Wicket, Doris was once employed by Mrs Lambert who, left penniless by her husband's death, now works as secretary to the social-climbing Mrs Berkeley; while before that, Doris worked for Crosby's late wife. After a restless night, which several members of the household likewise spend sleepless, Dundee meets Gigi for an early morning swim---during which, to their horror, they discover the body of Doris in the pool. Dundee determines that she was strangled in the pool-house, where the pervasive odour of perfume makes it almost certain that the killer is one of the house-party... This third entry in Anne Austin's series featuring young detective, James "Bonnie" Dundee, is a lengthy and quite complex mystery, which differs from most mysteries of this time not only in dealing with the murder of a servant, but by having its detectives take that murder every bit as seriously as they would that of a "lady"---and not caring how many high-society toes they step on in the process. At the same time, there is a bit too much repetition in how the story is told (though of course, it was written for serialisation, so that's not surprising); while Dundee's flirtatious relationship with Gigi - who is either a little too young, or a little too old, depending on how you look at it - is just uncomfortable. However, the young detective again displays his intelligence and doggedness; while the scene in which the body is discovered is a genuinely effective piece of writing. The Berkeleys' is a household full of secrets and embarrassments, and it takes time and effort for Dundee to cut his way through the jungle of obstructions to the truths that really matter. At the outset, Doris's death looks like a crime of passion: Dick Berkeley had been flirting with her, or trying to; while her fiancé, the chauffeur, Eugene Arnold, is known to have a jealous temper. However, unbeknownst to his hosts, Dundee is not there merely as a companion for Dick Berkeley, an old college friend, but to keep an eye on Seymour Crosby, whose wife died under mysterious circumstances some time back, in London. Having accidentally overheard an argument between Mr and Mrs Berkeley, Dundee is aware that gossip surrounding Mrs Crosby's death has followed her husband from England to America---and that the police are not the only ones who have their suspicions. When Dundee is able to access the case notes he learns that it was chiefly Doris's testimony that led to her employer's fall from a rooftop being ruled suicide rather than murder---and realises that in order to solve Doris's murder, he may first have to determine the truth about the strange death of Phyllis Crosby...

    "Swell dive!" he sung out, as the damp curls emerged. Then because there was a queer expression on her dripping face, he shouted anxiously: "What's the matter, Gigi? Did you hurt yourself?"
    "Hurt myself?" she echoed, her voice strangely muffled and trembly. "Of course not! But---" and she began to swim rapidly toward the springboard on which he stood---"I think---I think I saw a mermaid down there."
    "A mermaid?" Dundee stooped to give her a hand and she clamoured upon the board, shivering violently.
    "Don't pay any attention to the little idiot," Clorinda commanded with contemptuous anger. "I told you it was too cold for swimming, Gigi. Come back to the house."
    But Gigi had drawn up her goose-fleshed knees and had dropped her head upon them. She was trembling more violently than ever and suddenly Dundee knew it was not from cold...

Jan 8, 6:50pm Top

Finished Robbery At Portage Bend for TIOLI #10.

Now reading The Loring Mystery by Jeffery Farnol.

Edited: Jan 9, 4:29pm Top

Murder From The Grave - Professor Herman Brierly is consulted by the eccentric Rodney Borger about a certain dinner-party, at which several members of his family, including himself, were taken ill. The physician in charge of the case subsequently died in a car accident, so that no cause for the illnesses was ever determined. Hearing the circumstances, Brierly admits reluctantly that the rapid onset of sickness makes food poisoning unlikely... When Borger dies, it is discovered that his bizarre and vindictive will divides his property amongst his extended family in a trust---but includes the dark rider that they won't live long to enjoy it... The implicit threat is not long in becoming reality: within two days of the reading of the will, at different times and in different places, seven of the heirs are taken ill, three of them fatally... Like all of the books in Will Levinrew's series featuring Professor Herman Brierly, Murder From The Grave is both preposterous and entertaining; although it certainly has its disturbing side, inasmuch as it is yet another American mystery of this era built around the attempted slaughter of an entire family. (There was definitely something in the air...) This particular example is so extreme that even the irascible Brierly is jolted out of his usual scientific detachment: having begun the book expressing his new-found enthusiasm for the inexact science of criminology, he begins to take ever-greater personal risks in his determination to explain the doom hanging over this particular family. When word breaks that Anita Clements and Charles Borger, brother and sister to the late Rodney Borger, have been found dead in the dining-room of their New Jersey home, and that Joseph, another brother, has likewise been found dead in another part of the state, the apparent act of revenge from beyond the grave grips the imagination of the public---and sets the press in a frenzy. Reporter Jimmy Hale, the good friend of Professor Brierly's adopted son and assistant, John Matthews, exploits his connection and attaches himself to the Professor in the hope of a big story...and gets even more than he bargained for. Shaken out of his habitual scientific detachment, Brierly devotes himself to the case, determined to disprove in the first instance the hysterical claims of supernatural revenge, but also to discover whether Rodney Borger could, in fact, be somehow wreaking posthumous vengeance upon his hated relatives. At the same time, Brierly is mindful of the nature of Borger's will - that with each death, that person's inheritance is divided among the survivors - and that there is also a possibility that one of the Borgers is trying to make himself - or herself - the residual legatee...

    "Just think of it, Jim," said the District Attorney. "Just eight days after the death of a multi-millionaire, an attempt is made on the life of seven out of the nine heirs... Two in Imlaystown were poisoned with aconitine; one in Allentown was poisoned with nicotine. They died. There is also medical testimony to the effect that the three who died had within their bodies traces of arsenic poison.
    "The most remarkable thing about the entire matter was that all of them, except the two victims in Imlaystown, were poisoned at practically the same time, on the same day at the same meal. And if the two at Imlaystown had come home when the rest did, they, too, would have probably been poisoned at dinner Thursday evening as the others were.
    "Think of it, Jimmy, five different places, two of them about eighty miles apart... And don't forget the second attempt in New York, on Saturday night. All of them poisoned at the same time, at the same meal, by different poisons..."

Jan 8, 8:20pm Top

it is yet another American mystery of this era built around the attempted slaughter of an entire family

We've always been a nation that believes in the value of a good bulk discount. :-)

Jan 8, 8:39pm Top

Apparently the expression "family values" doesn't mean what I thought it did. :D

Jan 8, 9:24pm Top

>93 lyzard: Lost in translation, perhaps? :-)

Jan 8, 9:24pm Top

Abomination - Having moved with his wife, Diane, and young daughter, Emma, to a small farm in the Welsh countryside, Len Earnshaw finds himself fighting a bitter war against the use - and overuse - of a new chemical pesticide, the product of Roeder Agrochemicals Limited, which has a research plant in the district. Emma is the first to notice the mutated amphibians and insects on the outskirts of the Earnshaw farm; though when she insists that they were massing together and acting in concert, her parents think it is merely her fright talking---at least at first. Then the deaths begin... Best known for his novels featuring giant mutated killer crabs, this time around Guy N. Smith turns his attention to giant mutated just-about-everything-else. Abomination was supposedly written in the wake of, and as a protest against, the Bhopal tragedy in India, and perhaps it was: it makes a few salient points along the way - for example, pointing out that the use of DDT was allowed in Britain long after it was banned in the US and other countries; but as usual with Smith, any message finally gets lost in his pursuit of the gross-out. Smith's prose is terse to the point of simplicity, and his characterisations perfunctory: most of his people exist purely to die, overwhelmed by this mutation or that, in scenes that are not only physically graphic but often disturbingly sexualised, with the mutants attacking their victims at exactly those points you would least want to be attacked, and the victims--- Well, let's just say I'm still trying to get my head around the woman who responds to being eaten alive by army ants from the inside out by having an orgasm. The bad guys, too, are the standard cut-out types: the head of the project who won't be swayed from his goal no matter what the collateral damage, and his second-in-command who's getting cold feet. The only truly unexpected thing about Abomination is its climax, which is ruthless even by the standards of this particular pulp author.

    He was running blindly now. His whole body was crawling with them. He tore at his shirt, an old working garment that ripped, came apart in shreds, and was cast aside. The bastards were on his balls, biting fiercely, bringing him to a stumbling halt. He almost fell. He tugged at the waistband of his trousers, hopping on one foot as he began to drag them frantically off, his pants with them. Naked except for his boots and socks, he plucked at the crawling horrors lodged in his groin, yelling with agony as they stung in retaliation, trying to throw them off, but they clung to his fingers with the persistence of freshly plucked down.
    Sweat, pain and fear all merged into panic. Run, run anywhere, he thought. The baked ground all around him was swarming with earwigs, regiments of them appearing out of the cracks, pouring from the foliage of the brassicas. A deliberate ambush, they had gathered en masse and lain in wait for an unsuspecting human. So methodical, so bloody organised, their intelligence was terrifying...

Jan 9, 1:14am Top

>95 lyzard: that sounds a bit, um, grim. Maybe not one I'll be looking out for.

Jan 9, 3:35am Top

I got it for a dollar at a charity sale; it was probably worth that. :D

Jan 9, 10:46am Top

>91 lyzard: Sounds like what I think of as pretty typical for the era.

Jan 10, 1:25pm Top

Meet Vivien Leigh, the newest sloth at the Pittsburgh Aviary. The article says "Visitors will also have the opportunity to book an encounter with Vivien beginning in February. They can touch the sloth, take photos and interact with her in a comfortable, private setting."

If that doesn't get you to book a trip to America, I don't know what will!

Jan 10, 1:58pm Top

>99 rosalita: awww, who could possibly resist!

Jan 10, 3:56pm Top

>98 thornton37814:

Harsh, Lori! :)

>99 rosalita:, >100 Helenliz:


...but I gotta tell ya, if I'm going to be travelling halfway around the world, it will probably be to Costa Rica.


Jan 10, 4:01pm Top

>101 lyzard: But her name is Vivien Leigh!

OK, fine. I've always wanted to visit Costa Rica, anyway. :-P

Jan 10, 5:08pm Top

Reckless Youth - When his friend and solicitor, Gerald Anstruther, warns him about investing any of his inheritance with financier, Gilbert Denham, Richard Lessing must confess that he has already done so. He, however, is not worried: though he was prepared to make a handshake deal, Denham insisted upon offering security in the form of a bill of sale over the contents of his house. To Lessing's dismay, Anstruther informs him drily that such "security" is not security at all... Still with faith in his own judgement, but disturbed by what he tells himself is Anstruther's cynicism, Lessing makes a point of calling upon Denham at his house, which occupies property along the river where Lessing has his houseboat. He finds Lessing at home---and also his daughter, Sheila; and in an instant, everything changes... Having highlighted the strange American phenomenon of "family slaughter" novels, it is only fair that I also highlight an even stranger British phenomenon of the same period---namely, the tendency of writers (invariably male writers) to begin their stories with their hero falling desperately in love at first sight. Often this was made the starting-point of a mystery or thriller, and so balanced out at least some the guff; but when it was opening gambit in a romance, or a comedy - or, worst of all, a romantic comedy - the results could be intolerable. A perfect example of the latter is Reckless Youth by "Valentine" (real name: Archibald Thomas Pechey, also aka "Mark Cross"), which is so pleased with itself, so sure that it is both funny and wise, so full of sententious bits and pieces about being a gentleman, so horrified about "modern woman", so full of digs at the female sex even while its plot is being driven by the stupid behaviour of its hero, that it literally made me writhe. The final exasperation is that this is that type of "romance" which creates and maintains a barrier between its protagonists, even though one frank conversation could tear it down at any moment. In this case, Lessing feels he can't be honest with Sheila about his financial transactions with her father because it would mean informing her that Denham is a crook. It doesn't occur to him that (i) she's going to find out anyway, and (ii) she's probably rather hear it from him than the police. So when the ruined Denham kills himself, and that bill of sale surfaces, it's the cue for half a novel's worth of contrived misunderstanding and separation, before our idiots lovers fall into each other's arms. Feh! - give me family slaughter any day.

    Lessing rose to his feet as Sheila Denham approached. But his heart was doing funny things, and for the first time he was wishing devoutly that he had never accepted that bill of sale...
    When Sheila Denham had been mentioned by her father a few moments previously, he had thought of her carelessly as yet one more of those ordinary modern products in which he had never the slightest interest and to which he had by this time grown so accustomed; slang, superciliousness, silk stockings, lipstick, languor and luxury. Instead he saw a fresh, smiling, and---to him---infinitely lovely young woman whose friendly expression seemed to suggest to him that in some amazing way she knew him and was glad to see him. She was wearing a short linen skirt, an old sweater, and her slim legs were bare. He fair hair was gloriously untidy, and it seemed to Lessing that it had caught and imprisoned all the sunbeams of the ages. Her eyes met his fearlessly, and as she put out her hand and spoke, Lessing---already head over heels in love---thought of a brook dancing over pebbles, the summer wind in the trees, the singing of a happy young bird, or any of those other foolish similes which infatuated young men apply to their mistresses when they first meet them. Though seldom after they have married them.
    It was a case of Ferdinand and Miranda, Beatrice and Dante, Romeo and Juliet, Valentine and Sylvia. And because he had never fallen in love before, he went down with a crash and thrilled at it as he had never thrilled before...

Jan 10, 5:11pm Top

>102 rosalita:

I admit, that is an added temptation! :)

I guess we'd better start saving our pennies...

Jan 10, 5:23pm Top

>104 lyzard: Pennies is about right! :-)

Jan 10, 5:33pm Top

>105 rosalita:

Likewise. :(

Edited: Jan 10, 8:39pm Top

NB: Major spoilers below! - don't read this if you are planning on reading the 'Palliser' novels.


The Duke's Children: First Complete Edition - Early in 2017, those of us reading Anthony Trollope's 'Palliser' novels together wrapped up the project with the sixth volume, The Duke's Children. At that time there was a general sense of dissatisfaction with the novel: a feeling that it was good, but only good; that something was lacking about it, compared to Trollope's other novels.

And something was: rightly or wrongly, Trollope's publishers decided that the public was tired of his lengthy, political novels, and insisted that his manuscript for The Duke's Children be cut from a four-volume down to a three-volume work---the removal of approximately 65,000 words.

Trollope undertook the distasteful task, and in fact did a remarkable job. The narrative of the shorter work is coherent, and story-wise nothing is missing. But those who know their Trollope will know that, nevertheless, something important is missing.

The Duke's Children finds its protagonist, Plantagent Palliser, the Duke of Omnium, struggling after the sudden death of his wife. Introverted and thin-skinned, devoted to his political career, Plantagenet's bereavement leaves him isolated and lonely, cut off from the world at large, to which the Duchess was his link. More immediately, however, he is forced for the first time to deal directly with his adult children, who he realises to his dismay he barely knows---and who will cause him infinite trouble, before he and they work their way to a better understanding and a new intimacy...

The essence of Trollope as a novelist is his acute understanding of his characters' psychology and motivation. It is here that the cut version of The Duke's Children is so unsatisfactory: we see what his characters do but not really why they do it. The edited text does everyone an injustice, but causes measureless damage to the central plot of Plantagent's interaction with his warm-hearted and well-meaning, but emotionally immature, eldest son, Lord Silverbridge. Trollope's fine dissection of these two, loving one another but misunderstanding each other at almost every point, is a brilliant piece of analytical writing, funny and touching and frustrating all at once.

Furthermore, the restoration of the political subplots - removed almost in their entirety in the cut version - restores also the novel's balance. The Duke's Children is about both halves of Plantagenet Palliser's life, the private and the public, and his struggle to come to terms with the new reality of both. The loss, in the cut version, of his hesitant re-engagement with his political career makes for an incomplete characterisation, and significantly contributes to its air of superficiality.

The Duke's Children is still a good novel; but the restored edition gives us the Trollope we know best. Painstakingly reconstructed from Trollope's own handwritten manuscript through The Trollope Society, The Duke's Children: First Complete Edition was first released as a limited, Folio Society edition, but is now available from both Penguin and The Everyman's Library. The last two, however, are without the Folio Society's annotations indicating where the text has been restored.

Last year, we followed our group read of the cut version of The Duke's Children with a second one intended specifically to examine the differences between the two. The latter includes a transcription of all the restored text, as well as indications for where and how the cuts were originally made. It is my hope that future readers of this / these novel(s) will find this a useful resource:

Group read: The Duke's Children (original edition) - thread here
Group read: The Duke's Children (restored edition) - thread here

Edited: Jan 10, 6:19pm Top

And because I cannot say this too often---

To those of you who got together to make me a gift of the Folio Society limited edition of The Duke's Children---you are wonderful, generous people, and I am deeply grateful to you.

Edited: Jan 10, 7:46pm Top

The Wayward Man - Born in Belfast, the youngest of four siblings, Robert Dunwoody grows up at odds with his domineering mother and determined to resist her plans for his future. Though as a child he has little control over his life, as he becomes a teenager Robert begins to fight back against his mother's grip upon his life. A growing restlessness finally leads to a decisive explosion: Robert runs away from home, and then to sea, where for the first time, he feels himself at home. Despite his lingering sense of guilt, it is a period of years before he returns to Ireland---and to his mother. Once she has him back, Mrs Dunwoody determines never to let him go again---and decides that the best way to trap him is marriage... Published in 1927 by the Irish novelist, playwright and biographer, St John Greer Ervine, The Wayward Man is a semi-autobiographical story about a young man at odds with his world. The novel is set during the last decades of the 19th century, and offers a vivid description of shipping in the years just prior to the coming of steam. However, though much of the narrative is devoted to Robert's career at sea, which becomes his dominant passion despite its hardships, its loneliness, and the necessarily transient nature of the friendships it creates, the real strength of this novel is its opening third describing Robert's feckless childhood in a working-class area of Belfast, with its odd, self-contained class-consciousness, its ambitions and feuds, and its prevailing religious tensions. Against this backdrop, Robert Dunwoody stumbles in and out of trouble, dreams of the sea that took his father's life, and devotes much time and energy to resisting the plans for his future of his ambitious, controlling mother: plans which involve both his success and her consequent aggrandisement, but are mostly about keeping him tied to her. This section of the narrative is humorous and acutely observed, shot through with a sense of reality that suggests personal experience, and it holds the interest in a way that the sections of the novel dealing with Robert's adult life generally do not---certainly not when he is on land. The novel, like Robert himself, is better when at sea, offering unromaticised descriptions of the life which make its appeal clear despite the unavoidable ugliness and danger, and heartfelt passages dealing with Robert's growing passion for, and sense of oneness with, the elements and his ship.

The Golden North was a good goer, and she made a lovely sight as she shifted before the humming trades with her lee scuppers in the water. Robert sometimes crawled out onto the bowsprit and lay looking at her beautiful spread of sail straining from the yards, and while he lay his sense of rapture returned to him, and he found himself again in love with a ship. He listened to her spars creaking and heard the canvas whipping the wind and felt the spray beating against his face, as it leapt off the sea and struck against the ship's sides---and his heart filled. Whatever illusions he had had about a sailor's life were gone now. The romantic legends which caused landsmen to believe that it somehow ennobled those who led it no longer deceived him. He had seen too much of the brutality of life at sea to hold any illusions of that sort, and he knew now that captains and mates were nearly always men of foul temper, greedy and harsh and tyrannical, but his knowledge did not discourage him from his love of ships, and now, lying in the sunshine on the bowsprit and regarding the ship's great spread, he knew that he was a sailor and must for ever be a sailor...

Edited: Jan 10, 7:59pm Top

Banned In Boston!

The Wayward Man was #1 in yet another self-challenge, looking at several dozen novels that got themselves banned in Boston during the late 20s and early 30s, when the notoriously censorious city hit a peak of hand-wringing and overreaction.

The banning of The Wayward Man seems most obviously due to a brief interlude in which its protagonist loses his virginity in a San Francisco brothel, to a most unrepentant prostitute. Other possibilities are the book's rather facetious attitude to religion, reflecting the protagonist's own, and a subplot dealing matter-of-factly with an adulterous affair and a resulting pregnancy.

I'm still betting on the brothel, though (it came out a little blurry, sorry!):

Jan 10, 7:59pm Top

>107 lyzard: Outstanding review, Liz.

>108 lyzard: You are most welcome, especially as we all reaped the benefits thanks to your hard, hard work!

Jan 10, 8:36pm Top

>107 lyzard: Thanks for this review and for the group reads of The Duke's Children. Reading Trollope with you has been a very meaningful reading experience for me!

Jan 11, 3:00pm Top

>111 kac522:

Thank you, Kathy! :)

>112 japaul22:

That's great to hear, Jen, thank you!

Jan 11, 3:20pm Top

>109 lyzard: Agreed. What's good about the novel comes in the first two-thirds. The middle act covering his years at sea was most absorbing, brothel and all.

Edited: Jan 25, 4:43pm Top

The Scottish Chiefs (reissue title: Life of Sir William Wallace; or, The Scottish Chiefs) - This 1809 novel by the Scottish author and dramatist, Jane Porter, is a landmark work of fiction: not only one of the first examples of the modern historical novel, The Scottish Chiefs also helped to consolidate the concept of the "regional novel" and, along with the works of Irish writers including Maria Edgeworth and Sydney Owenson, was part of a burgeoning movement of national identity. Porter's use of nature in her novel, and her insistence upon the spiritual connection of the Scots to their land, also marks it as part of the "Romantic" movement of the early 19th century. In all these capacities, The Scottish Chiefs was hugely influential upon Walter Scott, who made this style of novel his own. However, despite its great success, Porter's novel was also highly controversial for its parochial viewpoint and legitimisation of rebellion against authority---to the extent of winning the dubious honour of being banned by Napoleon. (Madame de Staël's Corinne; ou, l'Italie was likewise banned: the Emperor did not like political women.) The Scottish Chiefs is an account of the Wars of Scottish Independence. It opens in 1296, in the wake of the Battle of Dunbar: defeat has left the country scarred and devastated, with most of its important cities and citadels held by the forces of Edward I, and its still-loyal nobles scattered. One of these is the young William Wallace, who retires to his estate in Eldeslie, hoping for a quiet life with his wife, Marion. However, intervening in a violent incident, he saves the life of the Earl of Mar but wins the enmity of the English governor of Lanark, whose nephew is killed in the struggle. At Elderslie, when Wallace succeeds in concealing himself and Lord Mar, the enraged Englishman kills Marion in retaliation. The devastated Wallace, now an outlaw, retreats into the rocky fastnesses of the Highlands, where he begins to collect an army---swearing a sacred vow that he will not rest until the English are driven out of Scotland... In terms of history, The Scottish Chiefs is a generally accurate account of the Scottish campaign, from the unlikely victory of the Battle of Stirling Bridge to the final disaster of the Battle of Falkirk---and its consequences. Despite the role played in the story by Edward and his forces, the English are not the novel's real villains: Porter saves her bitterest scorn for those Scottish nobles who, through fear, greed or ambition, joined with Edward; and they who, out of jealousy and suspicion, undermined and rejected Wallace just at the moment of Scottish triumph. The novel's overarching theme is that the English alone could never have defeated Scotland: only a Scot could defeat a Scot. The most problematic aspect of The Scottish Chiefs is its - to say the least - idealised portrait of William Wallace, who is presented effectively as a Christ-figure: a choice that created quite as many difficulties for Porter as it does for the reader, as she struggles to reconcile her veray parfit gentil knight with the savage realities of medieval warfare. (Her language remains oblique when the Scots are victorious, but is sufficiently graphic when the English are in the ascendant.) The novel's crowning weakness, however, is that Porter refuses entirely to engage with the circumstances of Wallace's death, and here resorts, not just to soft-pedalling, but to outright falsification. Compelled by history to write a tragedy, Porter manages to provide her novel with a happy ending by extending its narrative beyond the life of William Wallace to the Battle of Bannockburn, and the defeat of the English by the forces of Robert the Bruce.

    When this patriotic host assembled on the Carse of Stirling, every inmate of the city, who had not duty to confine him within the walls, turned out to view the glorious sight. Mounted on a rising ground, they saw the leaders of each little army, shining in mail, and waving their gorgeous banners which, blazoned with all the chivalry of Scotland, floated afar over the lengthened ranks.
    At this moment the lines which guarded the outworks of Stirling opened from right to left and discovered Wallace advancing on a white charger. When the conqueror of Edward's hosts appeared---the deliverer of Scotland---a mighty shout, from the thousands around, rent the skies and shook the earth on which they stood.
    Wallace raised his helmet from his brow, as by an instinctive motion every hand bent the sword or banner it contained.
    "He comes in the strength of David!" cried the venerable bishop of Dunkeld, who appeared at the head of his church's tenantry: "Scots, behold the Lord's anointed!"
    This exclamation, which burst like inspiration from the lips of the bishop, struck to every heart. "Long live our William the Lion! our Scottish king!" was echoed with transport by every follower on the ground; and while reverberating heavens seemed to ratify the voice of the people, the lords themselves...joined in the glorious cry. Galloping up from the front of their ranks, they threw themselves from their steeds, and before Wallace could recover from the surprise into which this unexpected salutation had thrown him, Lord Bothwell and Lord Lochawe, followed by the rest, had bent their knees, and acknowledged him to be their sovereign...

Jan 11, 5:30pm Top

>114 swynn:

Yes, it's an odd book in that respect: it almost runs backwards.

Jan 11, 5:41pm Top

>115 lyzard: But did William Wallace bellow "FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEDOM!!!!!" at the top of his lungs while being disemboweled in the book?

Jan 11, 6:10pm Top

Well, you see...

He doesn't get disemboweled in the book: he dies of a broken heart before they can do anything nasty to him. :D

Jan 11, 6:18pm Top

Finished The Loring Mystery for TIOLI #2.

Now reading The Medusa Touch by Peter Van Greenaway.

Edited: Jan 12, 4:52pm Top

Best-selling books in the United States for 1929:

1. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
2. Dodsworth by Sinclair Lewis
3. Dark Hester by Anne Douglas Sedgwick
4. The Bishop Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine
5. Roper's Row by Warwick Deeping
6. Peder Victorious by O. E. Rolvaag
7. Mamba's Daughters by DuBose Heyward
8. The Galaxy (aka "The Milky Way") by Susan Ertz
9. Scarlet Sister Mary by Julia Peterkin
10. Joseph and His Brethren by H. W. Freeman

In 1929, the year of the Wall Street Crash, American readers got serious again---for the most part.

The anomaly here is The Bishop Murder Case, the fourth in the Philo Vance series, which finds a psychopath killing people off according to nursery rhymes (if you're interested, my review is here)

Otherwise, several distinct themes emerge, with contentious and unhappy family and marital relationships prominent. So too is the dissection of "middle-class morality", in both America and England.

O. E. Rolvaag's Peder Victorious is about Norwegian settlers in the Dakotas, and the generation gap which develops when the younger generation begins to assimilate. H. W. Freeman's Joseph and His Brethren is also set in a farming community, with the lives of a farmer's sons shaped by their ties to his land.

Dark Hester is also a generation-gap novel, about a doting mother confronted with her son's thoroughly modern new wife, and the emotional struggles that follow. Roper's Row is almost a riff on Of Human Bondage, with a socially awkward doctor marrying a neighbour under the pressure of scandal, but continuing his own self-absorbed life. The Galaxy, meanwhile, finds a woman looking back over her life-choices, including her two, very different, marriages. Sinclair Lewis's Dodsworth uses a mid-Western man's mid-life crisis as the pivot for an examination of morals, manners, intellect and culture in both America and Europe.

Perhaps the most striking thing about the 1929 list is that two of its books focus upon black lives (albeit they are both by white writers; both, oddly, from South Carolina). Mamba's Daughters finds a poor but determined black woman attaching herself to an impoverished Southern family in the hope of lifting her granddaughter to middle-class respectability, even if she has to sacrifice her daughter in the process. In contrast, Scarlet Sister Mary is the story of a single mother, ostracised by her community and her church, struggling to build a life for her children on her own terms.

However, the year 1929 was dominated by a single, recording-breaking book: Erich Maria Remarque's Im Westen nichts Neues ("In the west, nothing new"), now best known under the title given it by its first English-language translator, Arthur Wesley Wheen: All Quiet on the Western Front.

Edited: Jan 12, 5:46pm Top

Erich Maria Remarque was born in Germany in 1898. In 1916, when he turned 18, he was conscripted; the following year he was sent to Germany's Western Front, where in July he suffered shrapnel wounds to his leg, arm and neck. This injuries kept him in hospital until the end of the war.

Post-war, Remarque worked at a number of professions, including as a teacher; but he also returned to his first ambition of writing. He published two novels to moderate success before writing the semi-autobiographical Im Westen nichts Neues. The novel's subject matter made it hard for him to find a publisher, but it finally appeared 1929. Remarque followed it with several other novels dealing with post-war conditions, including Der Weg zurück ("The Road Back"), about the painful readjustment of returned soldiers, and Drei Kameraden ("Three Comrades"), set against the extreme conditions of the Weimar Republic.

Under the title All Quiet On The Western Front, Remarque's story of young men confronting the horrors of war became an international best-seller, including the best-selling book of 1929 in America. However, it damned him at home. With the rise of the Nazis, Remarque's frank and critical works made him a public enemy: his books were banned and publicly burned; while various lies were propagated about him, including that he had never served in the war. Remarque fled Germany for Switzerland, at the same time remarrying his ex-wife to prevent her forced repatriation. The Nazis retaliated by arresting and executing his sister on a trumped-up charge of treason.

The vagaries of Remarque's subsequent life finally led him to Hollywood, where he published more novels and worked on adaptations of his books for the screen; and where (after his second divorce from his wife) he had affairs with several actresses including Hedy Lamarr and Marlene Dietrich before marrying Paulette Goddard; their relationship lasted until Remarque's death in 1970.

Edited: Jan 12, 6:53pm Top

All Quiet On The Western Front - Based upon Erich Maria Remarque's own wartime experiences, this account of life and death in the trenches of WWI is a powerful and upsetting work. Told, for the most part, from the perspective of young Paul Bäumer, one of a group of friends who signed up at age eighteen, the novel describes not only the physical horrors of the conflict but the profound emotional and psychological trauma suffered by the combatants. As the soldiers play the lottery of life and death, Paul experiences a revelatory moment in which he realises that the war has already killed the young men who existed before it, whether or not they continue to live and breathe and fight... As Remarque well knew, he had only to describe what he and his comrades experienced for his book to have all the grim impact he desired. Consequently, he employs in his novel a clipped, journalistic style which becomes more detached, less emotional, as the horrors of his story escalate. The young soldiers have no control over their situation, and can only react in the moment; and the novel's stop-start, fragmented narrative reflects this. We follow the young soldiers as they learn to let go of what mattered to them before the war, and as their battle, not for victory, but merely for survival, strips life down to its most crudely elemental aspects: eating and sleeping, sex and excretion. Even in the midst of the nightmare there are occasional flashes of pitch-black humour---such as when the soldiers find an up-side in the slaughter of most of their unit: they have enough to eat for once, the rations having been ordered pre-battle; though they must still cut through the red tape before they dine. While there is no narrative arch, as such, to All Quiet On The Western Front, Remarque uses Paul's personal revelation as an emotional framework; in particular in his illustration of the necessity for men in these conditions to don the armour of cynicism and disconnection; but also how the unexpected can tear through such armour and rend the mind as well as the body. One of the book's most disturbing scenes - and, interestingly, presented as such - finds men who have remained stoic through the dismemberment and death of their comrades going almost mad when they must listen to the agonised screams of wounded horses. For Paul, however, his moment of devastation comes not at the front, but when he returns home on leave---and finds himself dissevered from everything that once made up "Paul Bäumer": his family, his home, his books, his dreams; driving home his bitter sense that he, and those like him, are simply dead men walking...

    We recognise the smooth distorted faces, the helmets: they are French. They have already suffered heavily when they reach the remnants of the barbed wire entanglements. A whole line has gone down before our machine-guns; then we have a lot of stoppages and they come nearer.
    I see one of them, his face upturned, fall into a wire cradle. His body collapses, his hands remain suspended as though he were praying. Then his body drops clean away and only his hands with the stumps of his arms, shot off, now hang in the wire.
    The moment we are about to retreat three faces rise up from the ground in front of us. Under one of the helmets a dark pointed beard and two eyes that are fastened on me. I raise my hand, but I cannot throw into those strange eyes; for one mad moment the whole slaughter whirls like a circus round me, and those two eyes alone are motionless; then the head rises up, a hand, a movement, and my hand-grenade flies through the air and into him.
    We make for the rear, pull wire cradles into the trench and leave bombs behind us with the strings pulled, which ensures us a fiery retreat. The machine-guns are firing from the next position.
    We have become wild beasts. We do not fight, we do not defend ourselves against annihilation. It is not against men that we fling our bombs, what do we know of men in this moment when Death is hunting us down...

Jan 12, 9:22pm Top

Well summarized, well stated.

Jan 12, 10:08pm Top

>115 lyzard: >122 lyzard: Fantastic reviews!

Jan 13, 3:51am Top

>122 lyzard: must go back to that at some point. Excellent book. I didn't know about his life, thank you for that.

Jan 13, 6:22am Top

>99 rosalita: Awwwww!

>107 lyzard: Excellent review Liz and I think that needs to be added to the work page for the complete edition.

>108 lyzard: Exactly what >111 kac522: Kathy said.

>122 lyzard: Another excellent review. I started to try to read that but bounced off - I'd like to read it one day because it's an important book but at the same time I don't exactly want to read it.

Jan 13, 9:05am Top

>118 lyzard: Ah, well. That changes everything!

>122 lyzard: I am determined to finally read this classic this year. Thanks for all the background info on the author. The context will be helpful!

Edited: Jan 13, 12:44pm Top

>122 lyzard: Great review of All Quiet on the Western Front, Liz. I'll thumb it. What an excerpt; perfect example of the book's power.

P.S. Oops, if you post the review on the book page, I'll thumb it.

Jan 13, 3:36pm Top

Thank you, everyone. :)

>125 Helenliz:

I'm glad you found that useful, Helen.

>126 souloftherose:

I think that's a bit chatty for the reviews page; maybe a cutdown version? (Oh, irony! - the edited version??)

It isn't a book you read to enjoy, that it's one that should be read.

>127 rosalita:

It certainly did! :D

She may have chickened out, or she may have felt that it was one of those things a female author shouldn't be writing about. (She left that sort of thing to Walter Scott.)

As I said to Heather, it's one of those books you do need to get to, and I'm glad I finally did.

>128 jnwelch:

Done, thank you!

Jan 13, 4:59pm Top

Finished The Medusa Touch for TIOLI #15.

Now reading Initials Only by Anna Katharine Green.

Jan 13, 5:31pm Top

>129 lyzard: Ditto, thanks!

Edited: Jan 13, 5:54pm Top

The Labours Of Hercules - His curiosity piqued by a conversation with a classicist friend, Hercule Poirot sits down to read the mythological "Labours of Hercules", only to turn away disgusted by the discovery that his almost-namesake is all brawn and no brains; and, in his opinion, a criminal rather than a hero. But then he begins to ponder a new set of labours, one fit for a modern Hercules: an intellectual Hercules... This 1947 short story collection by Agatha Christie finds both the lady and Hercule Poirot himself having a little fun, as the former mocks her detective's frequently declared but invariably abortive "retirements", and the latter picks and chooses amongst his potential clients to construct for himself twelve modern labours that fit the parameters of their ancient models. Of course this requires a little thinking outside the box---for example, the "Nemean Lion" turns out to be an intelligent Pekingese called Augustus. But if the framework for this collection is (Augustus should pardon the expression) something of a shaggy dog, the cases themselves are serious enough, as Poirot tackles murder, madness, extortion, drug trafficking, political scandal, art theft, a dangerous cult, a mysterious disappearance, and - ulp! - dog-napping. The Countess Vera Rossakoff puts in a welcome appearance; while the collection's high-point may be Miss Amy Carnaby, a gentle and charming middle-aged lady with a distinct penchant for crime.

    These gods and goddesses---they seemed to have as many aliases as a modern criminal. Indeed they seemed to be definitely criminal types. Drink, debauchery, incest, rape, loot, homicide and chicanery---enough to keep a juge d'Instruction constantly busy. No decent family life. No order, no method. Even in their crimes, no order or method!
    "Hercules indeed!" said Hercule Poirot, rising to his feet, disillusioned.
    He looked round him with approval. A square room, with good square modern furniture---even a piece of good modern sculpture representing one cube placed on another cube and above it a geometrical arrangement of copper wire. And in the midst of this shining and orderly room, himself. He looked at himself in the glass. Here, then, was a modern Hercules...

Edited: Jan 13, 5:58pm Top

Augustus, the literary critic:

    "As for Augustus, we have taught him a new trick. We say, 'Die for Sherlock Holmes, die for Mr Fortune, die for Sir Henry Merrivale, and then die for M. Hercule Poirot', and he goes down and lies like a log---lies absolutely still without moving until we say the word!"
    "I am gratified," said Poirot.

Edited: Jan 13, 7:34pm Top

The Mystery Of The Cape Cod Tavern - Miss Elspeth Kay Adams is almost out of the country when she is summoned urgently to Cape Cod by her nephew, Mark. She arrives at Prence's Tavern, which is run as a writer's colony, to find the guests standing in shock around the motionless figure of the establishment's owner, Eve Prence, who is lying at the foot of the stairs. Eve is not dead, as first feared; but when she regains consciousness it is to announce that this was one of several recent attempts upon her life---and to accuse her step-sister, Anne Bradford, the girl Mark Adams hopes to marry. Kay is sceptical, to say the least: Eve has a long history of inventing scandal and drama as a way of advertising her inn; but the truth of Eve's assertions is proved in the worst way when she is found stabbed to death, the only "witness" the blind, ill son of one of the guests... The fourth entry in Phoebe Atwood Taylor's Asey Mayo series finds the "Codfish Sherlock" once again teaming up with a middle-aged, female sidekick---in this case, the well-known explorer and former golf and swimming champion, Miss Kay Adams. (She and Asey agree early on not to mention each other's headlines.) And in this case, Asey will need all the help he can get. Like many American crime dramas of this period, The Mystery Of The Cape Cod Tavern takes political and legal corruption absolutely for granted; but it also goes one step further, giving us "elected officials" known to be up to their eyeballs in organised crime, and willing to stop at nothing to exploit the murder to their own ends. When Anne is arrested in spite of the medical evidence, Asey and Kay likewise vow to stop at nothing... Though an attractive, intelligent woman, capable of generosity and kindness, Eve Prence also had a ruthless streak which hurt others and made her enemies; while her habit of self-dramatisation makes it difficult for the investigators to know how far to trust her word about anything. When Asey and Kay unearth a terrible secret from Eve's life, it opens up a vista of suspects beyond the guests at the inn; but still the case seems to boil down to opportunity: who could have killed Eve upstairs in the inn and then slipped away, without being "seen" by anyone but the unfortunate Norris Dean? And when Asey discovers that Eve was killed with a blade concealed within one of a pair of antique dueling pistols, which are mounted upon the wall at the murder scene, the question becomes---who knew the pistols' secret?

    "You the one, sister? Give you five minutes to get your things together for a little trip to jail."
     I think it was the cocksure briefness of his command which made me completely realise for the first time the enormity of what was to come. Quigley's reaction was exactly what we had expected, but none of us, not even Asey, had expected him to react quite so abruptly.
    "Ain't you," Asey's voice had a purring note, "ain't you even goin' t' ask a few questions, Mr Quigley?"
    Quigley guffawed. "Questions? You may have needed 'em, Sherlock, but I don't."
    "Just the samey," Asey persisted, "ain't it pos'ble you might be takin' a leetle mite too much for granted, mebbe?"
    He spoke with a far broader Cape Cod accent than I had heard him use before. Quigley noticed it and shook with laughter. "Mebbe," he said, mimicking Asey's tones, "mebbe 'tis. Mebbe 'tain't. I'll ax a couple, Sherlock, effen it'll help you any."
    Asey's eyes gleamed. "So do," he said, seating himself. "So do."
    I wondered what his purpose was in egging Quigley on, but when he looked at me, casually, and then at the clock, I knew. He was playing for time...

Jan 13, 7:42pm Top

>134 lyzard: I am pretty sure the first one in the series is in my TBR list. Perhaps I'll eventually get to it.

Jan 13, 7:47pm Top

>132 lyzard: I am sure that I have read that one previously, but it has been so long ago now I can no longer remember it. I shall have to dig out dear Agatha soon!

Jan 13, 8:10pm Top

>135 thornton37814:

Hi, Lori! It's a fun series; I only wish the books were more readily available here.

>136 alcottacre:

How nice to see you here, Stasia!

The only thing more fun than reading Agatha is re-reading her. :)

Jan 13, 9:02pm Top

Ashton-Kirk: Criminologist - When society man Thomas Burton is murdered at the home of his grown children, Frank and Mary, Bat Scanlon is visited by the actress, Nora Cavanaugh---Burton's long-estranged wife. Nora tells Bat the story of her unhappy marriage; the early disillusionment and separation; her reluctance to divorce, in spite of everything; and Burton's manipulation of her and periodic demands for money, amounting to payment for staying away. She asks him to go to the scene of the murder, to find out if he can what is happening with the investigation; he agrees, taking his friend, the detective Ashton-Kirk, with him. At Stanwick, the two men meet their acquaintance, the police detective Osborne, and learn that Tom Burton was beaten to death. Frank tells the police that he was putting Mary, an invalid, to bed upstairs when the murder was committed, and that they know nothing. When, later, the news breaks that Frank has been arrested, Nora comes to see Bat and Ashton-Kirk, insisting upon the young man's innocence and begging for their help... The final novel in John T. McIntyre's short series is, alone of the Ashton-Kirk stories, a straightforward mystery; although "straightforward" may not be the right word, as what starts out looking like a domestic tragedy takes several more twists, the more that is discovered about the disreputable Burton. Though never himself caught in any illegal enterprise, there was little Burton would not stoop to, and he certainly had criminal acquaintances. The case takes a new turn when Nora admits that, on the night of his murder, Burton called upon her and, when she refused him money, stole her diamonds: diamonds that are now missing... Ashton-Kirk's investigation of the scene reveals that, whatever was going on inside the Burton house on the night of the crime, several people were apparently lurking outside it---one of them a woman. The detective's questioning of Frank has an unexpected outcome when the young man abruptly confesses to the crime. Ashton-Kirk sees this for what it is, an attempt to shield someone---and begins to wonder whether the seemingly frail Mary could have found the strength to kill her father. Bat's own suspicions, however, are running in a different direction; and as he observes Nora's increasingly strange behaviour, a terrible fear grips his heart...

    "I've just been with Ashton-Kirk to see a man of the name of Quigley---a sort of pawnbroker." His eyes were upon her, but she continued to regard him steadily without any change of expression. "A necklace had been taken to him to-day by a woman---a diamond necklace." Her eyes wavered at this, and an expression of fear came into her face. There was a pause, and then Bat leaned forward and said in a lowered voice: "What made you say that you had put your jewels away in a vault?"
    She arose and went to his side. "Bat," she said, "I felt sure your friend Mr Ashton-Kirk would find me out. I knew from the first that I was not cunning enough to conceal anything from him."
    "Nora," said Scanlon, as he, too, arose, "why did you try?" Again there was a pause, and again the big athlete broke the silence. "As I have told you more than once," said he, "I believe in you; nothing can shake me from that. There are a great many things you have said and done that I do not understand; others of them I see through, though you did not intend that I should. Why was all this? Why didn't you tell me the facts as they stood?"
    "Bat," she said, "I didn't dare; I was afraid."
    "Afraid? Of what?" He looked down at her; her face was pale; her gloved hands were clasped, tremblingly. "That night when Tom Burton came here, he struck you. We saw the mark, but you said it was caused by something else. He also stole your jewels, but you said nothing. Nora, was there any good reason why you should have misled us like that?"

Jan 13, 9:36pm Top

>135 thornton37814: >137 lyzard: I agree with Liz; it's quite a fun series. I've just a few left to read, I think. Her Leonidas Witherall series is good, too, but more madcap.

Jan 13, 9:41pm Top

And I still have two blog-posts to write; but otherwise I am done to the end of November.

{*feeble cheer*}

November stats:

Works read: 15
TIOLI: 15, in 10 different challenges

Mystery / thriller: 9
Classic: 2
Contemporary romance: 1
Contemporary drama: 1
Historical drama: 1
Horror: 1

Re-reads: 1
Series works: 8
Blog reads: 0
1932: 0
1931: 0
Virago / Persephone: 0
Potential decommission: 1

Owned: 7
Library: 3
Ebook: 5

Male authors : female authors: 9 : 6

Oldest work: The Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter (1809)
Newest work: Abomination by Guy N. Smith (1986)


YTD stats:

Works read: 185
TIOLI: 185, in 129 different challenges, with 25 shared reads and 1 sweep

Mystery / thriller: 103 (55.7%)
Contemporary drama: 20 (10.8%)
Classic: 18 (9.7%)
Young adult: 13 (7.0%)
Historical romance: 7 (3.8%)
Contemporary romance: 5 (2.7%)
Historical drama: 5 (2.7%)
Non-fiction: 4 (2.2%)
Humour: 3 (1.6%)
Short stories: 2 (1.1%)
Horror: 2 (1.1%)
Science fiction: 1 (0.5%)
Western: 1 (0.5%)
Fantasy: 1 (0.5%)

Re-reads: 26 (14.1%)
Series works: 113 (61.1%)
Blog reads: 7 (3.8%)
1932: 9 (4.9%)
1931: 13 (7.0%)
Virago / Persephone: 3 (1.6%)
Potential decommission: 7 (3.8%)

Owned: 48 (25.9%)
Library: 55 (29.7%)
Ebook: 82 (44.3%)

Male authors : female authors : anonymous authors: 101 (52.1%) : 92 (47.4%) : 1 (0.5%)

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

Jan 13, 9:44pm Top

What's the cutest time of all?


Jan 13, 9:45pm Top

>139 harrygbutler:

I still have a lo-oo-ng way to go, so I'm not even thinking about Leonidas yet!

Jan 13, 9:51pm Top

>142 lyzard: When you get there, there are a handful of surviving radio episodes based on the series, too. I think all (or at least all that are readily available) can be had via archive.org: https://archive.org/details/TheAdventuresofLeonidasWitherall

Jan 13, 9:55pm Top

Thanks for that! :)

Jan 13, 9:59pm Top

>144 lyzard: Oh, you're welcome! :-)

By the way, I'll finally be starting The Key, as it came in at the library and I've finished the mystery I had started before it arrived (Vintage Murder).

Jan 13, 10:27pm Top

>141 lyzard: SLOTH!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jan 13, 10:45pm Top

>145 harrygbutler:

I have my ILL and will be starting soon too.

>146 rosalita:


Jan 14, 2:44am Top

>141 lyzard: hungry sloth. hurrah.

Jan 14, 8:43am Top

>141 lyzard: Woot for sloth!

Jan 14, 2:58pm Top

>148 Helenliz:, >149 souloftherose:

...and now for December, so we can have another one!

{*girds loins*}

Edited: Jan 14, 4:20pm Top

Gold Of The Gods - My belated return to the Craig Kennedy series by Arthur B. Reeve provided me with a clear reminder of why I baulked and dropped it in the first place. Published in 1915, this fifth work in the series is Reeve's first novel---sort of. Gold Of The Gods is an expansion of one of Reeve's short stories, but a short story that appeared a year after the long-form version, making up the last three chapters of The Social Gangster (which is really another short-story collection, but masquerades as a linear narrative). Comparison of the two suggests that Reeve should have stuck to the shorter format. Unlike Agatha Christie, who used short stories to try out ideas that later became the nucleus of her novels, Reeve has nothing to say in Gold Of The Gods that he didn't say in the short story, but nevertheless manages to drag his narrative out to about five times its original length. Both tales deal with the battle for possession of a rare Incan artefact, a three-sided dagger; Gold Of The Gods opens with its theft being reported by archaeologist Allan Norton, a colleague of Kennedy's at the university (unnamed here, but it was Columbia in the early stories). The theft is striking chiefly because nothing else was taken, though a mass of South and Central American artefacts lay all around it. Kennedy has barely returned to his laboratory before he is called out to the scene of a murder: that of Luis de Mendoza, a prominent Peruvian businessman. At the scene, Kennedy learns from the dead man's daughter, Inez, that her father was found the night before by a Mr Lockwood, his American partner in a mining operation. As with the theft of the dagger, there was no sign of a break-in---in this case suggesting that Mendoza knew and admitted his killer. The medical examiner, Dr Leslie, tells Kennedy that he is uncertain about Mendoza's cause of death: though he was stabbed, in his opinion the wound alone would not have killed him. The autopsy later reveals that the weapon used upon Mendoza was a three-sided dagger---but that he died of poisoning with curare, in which the weapon was coated. Inez de Mendoza speaks wildly of "The Curse of Mansiche", a reference to an ancient Incan ruler held, by tradition, to have concealed an enormous cache of gold. Betrayed by the Spaniards, Mansiche placed a death-curse upon any Incan who revealed the whereabouts of the gold, and any Spaniard who discovered it...

    From a book entitled New and Old Peru, which fell with the pile, slipped a plain white envelope. Kennedy saw it before either of us, and seized it.
    "Here's one for me," he said, tearing it open. Sure enough, in the same rude printing on a quarter sheet were the words: "BEWARE THE CURSE OF MANSICHE ON THE GOLD OF THE GODS."
    We could only stare at each other and at that tell-tale sign of the Inca dagger underneath. What did it mean? Who had sent the warnings?
    Kennedy alone seemed to regard the affair as if with purely scientific interest. He took the four pieces of paper and laid them down before him on the table. Then he looked up suddenly. "They match perfectly," he said quietly, gathering them up and placing them in a wallet which he carried. "All the indentures of the tearing correspond. Four warnings seem to have been sent to those who are likely to find out something of the secret."
    Norton seemed to have gained somewhat of his composure now that he had been able to talk to some one. "What are you going to do---give it up?" he asked tensely.
    "Nothing could have insured my sticking to it harder," answered Craig grimly.

Edited: Jan 15, 3:28pm Top

A Footman For The Peacock - Rachel Ferguson's 1940 novel is a difficult and discursive, but ultimately rewarding work: one controversial at the time of its publication, and which remains shocking in some respects even today. Overtly it is a study of the upper-class Roundelay family, an extended ménage gathered at the country estate, Delaye; and there is both humour and compassion in Ferguson's sketching of the conflicting personalities gathered under the family roof: from household head, Sir Edmund Roundelay, secretly certain that he was given his knighthood by mistake, to the two elderly sisters who haven't spoken to each other for more than forty years, to the hyper-sensitive younger daughter whose heightened perceptions create a barrier between herself and the rest of her family and place her under a constant emotional strain. But with the coming of WWII, A Footman For The Peacock takes on a vicious satirical edge. The looming crisis brings into focus the complacent entitlement of the Roundelays, one buttressed by centuries of privilege and power - and the abuse of power: the family's main reaction to the coming of war and the necessary preparedness is a profound sense of personal grievance---as if the war was arranged simply to make their lives more difficult. Some truly outrageous material follows, from the entire district's determined resistance to the coming of London evacuees - the Roundelays avoid taking anyone in by convincing the necessary official that their senile old nurse is both mentally ill and dangerously violent - to an explosive outburst against Jewish refugees as simply too depressing to be borne with. (The family is relieved to learn that far from wanting a refuge, daughter Margaret's old schoolfriend, a mention of whom provoked this protest, is staying in Germany and joining the Hitler Youth Movement.) This aspect of the novel makes for an acutely uncomfortable read---not just because Ferguson jolts us into laughing at things that shouldn't be funny, but because, as with all good satire, we feel the unwelcome truth behind the mockery. However, Ferguson's scalpel-edged dissection of class privilege is not the only challenging part of A Footman For The Peacock: as she did in her better-known 1931 novel, The Brontës Went To Woolworths, Ferguson surprises the reader with the intrusion of the apparently supernatural into an otherwise realistic narrative. One of the novel's many subplots involves the historical tale of a servant who died in the house, his personal tragedy scratched into the window-glass: Heryn I dye, Thomas Picocke. 1792. The young man who gasped away his short life in an upstairs room was a "running footman", whose task was literally to run ahead of the carriage of the lord of the manor, to clear the way and announce his coming; these unfortunates "dropped like flies", as Sir Edmund observes complacently. This sad incident of the past is subtly interwoven with modern, overtly comic scenes involving the peacock which struts the Roundelay lawn, aggressive to everyone except maidservant Sue Privett and the sensitive Angela. Over time, however, what began as funny takes on a distinctly malevolent edge, as Angela comes to believe that the peacock is the reincarnation of the long-dead footman, and that the bird is plotting a belated revenge upon the Roundelays...

    It had been a queer day. And that recurrent number eleven had cropped up again in this war, after twenty-five years. The Armistice: the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. And now an ultimatum which expired at eleven o'clock.
    "From eleven o'clock this morning we have been at war with Germany. " "Some peace which came at the eleventh hour." No. That wasn't either of the wars. It was what Basil Winchcombe had said about that top room with writing on the window-pane...
    There was moonlight on the lawn. Angela, pressed against the window of the room, waited, strained with listening. But there was no more eldritch laughter. Yet he came.
    Round the corner from the shrubbery the peacock swept, taking the stage as she watched. Slowly, deliberately - or were peacocks always leisured in the process? - he displayed himself and paraded the lawn, sometimes pausing to look up at the sky.
    Waiting? Listening? The exact word eluded her until it came with an impact of incredulity and a dismay that was not lessened by her own self-ridicule.
    Guiding. No. Signalling. Pitting his wit against the silent mass of Delaye, moving with the moon's light that his betraying colours might be seen at their most glittering. Where there were peacocks there was human life. Where there was life there could be death. And he knew it.
    Heryn I dye, Thomas Picocke...

Edited: Jan 15, 4:01pm Top

Well, well. Wonderful what you learn when you (accidentally) ask the right questions.

Our State Library is not a lending library, but a lot of its material may be accessed by ILL. It is a vital resource for me, due to its holding of older / more obscure books.

However, it does have certain restrictions in place: as its ILL policy states, it will only lend books (i.e. editions) "published after 1960".

So I was on the phone to them the other day, trying to find out (i) whether they might lend a book published in 1960*, and (ii) what they do about books that don't seem to carry an edition date**.

(*Dark Laughter by Sherwood Anderson, next up in the Banned In Boston challenge; **The High Adventure, next up in Jeffery Farnol's Jasper Shrig series.)

Fortunately, as it turned out, the librarian I first spoke to couldn't answer my questions, so he put me through to Document Delivery. After some explanation and mutual catalogue examination, the librarian there assured me that there shouldn't be a problem about either book, and then proceeded to drop a bombshell: namely, that the ILL policy applies only to material held by and in the State Library; it does NOT apply to books in the Joint Fiction Reserve, a storage facility managed by the library, which holds superseded works removed from the public library system. They will, I was informed with astonishing casualness, lend pretty much anything in the JFR.

And of course, that's nearly everything I want, and am likely to want.

When I think of the hours I've spent pinning down the edition dates of various books---and all the books I haven't bothered to request because they were "too old"---and all the times I went to the trouble of travelling to the library to read a book on the premises---

Ah, well. Nothing like a good old-fashioned fit of hysterics to clear the air...

Edited: Jan 24, 4:50pm Top

Now, Voyager - Charlotte Vale has grown up in the shadow of her domineering mother, fighting and losing emotional and psychological battles all her life. When Charlotte suffers an hysterical collapse at a family gathering, her newly-widowed sister-in-law, Lisa, steps in. Waving aside the elderly Mrs Vale's bitter animadversions about the shame of such a thing, Lisa arranges for Charlotte to be placed in the care of the psychiatrist, Dr Jacquith. After months of therapy at the country retreat of the wise and compassionate doctor, Charlotte is a new person; but one who must now face the world on her own. Not ready to go home and face her mother, Charlotte takes a cruise, and finds herself drawn to fellow-passenger J. D. Durrance: a married man with serious problems of his own... The basis for perhaps the definitive Bette Davis film, this 1942 novel by Olive Higgins Prouty is one of an interlocking series about the Vales of Boston, each one focused upon a different member of the socially prominent family. Though overtly a doomed romance, its pivot the thwarted love-affair between Charlotte and Durrance, who has a neurotically demanding wife he will neither leave nor betray, Now, Voyager's real point and interest lie elsewhere. The novel's positive presentation of psychiatry was unusual for its time (the practice was viewed with great suspicion in the country until the demands of WWII began to change opinion); and it is forthright in its rejection of Mrs Vale's harsh, old-fashioned view of mental illness as something "shameful". Still more daring, however, is that ultimately this is the story of a woman accepting her single status---and nevertheless thriving. After trying and failing to bring herself to "marry respectably", and having accepted that she and Durrance can never be together, Charlotte sets about building for herself a life that is both productive and fulfilling, despite the absence of romantic love. Her battle for independence and the right of self-determination, and to hold her own ground against her mother's demand for submission and obedience (backed up by financial threats), occupies almost as much of the narrative as does the romantic plot. Where Now, Voyager wavers is in the relationship that develops between Charlotte and Durrance's youngest daughter, Tina: not so much because of the narrative's lapse here into a more conventional view of a woman's "needs" (its suggestion that adoption is quite as fulfilling as bearing a child was daring at the time too), but because this subplot brings into focus the overly-blatant parallels that underpin its central relationship: Durrance once had a nervous breakdown, just like Charlotte; Tina is a rejected, "late-life" child, just like Charlotte. However, when all is said and done, Now, Voyager is still a "romance"; and its contrivances can be forgiven in view of its numerous refusals to play by the prevailing rules.

    "I'm the master here, Charlotte. I make all the decisions. I am willing that you occupy your old room until I dismiss the nurse. She will occupy your father's room for the time being and perform a daughter's duties as well as a nurse's. That will give you a good chance to think over what I've said, and consider how you would like earning your own living."
    "I think I could do it, if I had to."
    "How? A woman of your age and inexperience?"
    "I've often thought about it," Charlotte went on amiably... "There are so many opportunities, if you're willing to do anything!"
    "And where would you propose to sleep and board?"
    "Oh, at the Y. W. C. A., or the Franklin Square House, or---"
    "That would be nice for the family's reputation her in Boston, wouldn't it?"
    "Well, if it would make less gossip I could go to New York." (New York and be in the same city with Jerry! She drew the kimono closer around her, pressing the camellias hard against her chest.)
    "You may think it's all very funny now, but I guess you'd be laughing out of the other side of your face if you found I actually did carry out my suggestion."
    "No, I don't think I would. I'm not afraid." She stopped abruptly. What had she said? She repeated it. "I'm not afraid," and then again, wonderingly, "I'm not afraid, Mother!"

Jan 15, 6:14pm Top

Finished Initials Only for TIOLI #1.

Now reading The Flickering Lamp by Netta Muskett.

Jan 15, 6:14pm Top

No Rick Springfield for me, alas! :D

Jan 15, 6:45pm Top

>157 harrygbutler: Nope. Jennifer Connelly, maybe?

Jan 15, 7:49pm Top

Yeah, I can see that! :)

Edited: Jan 15, 7:55pm Top

I've mentioned before how tired I am of 1930-ish British novels that start with their hero falling in love at first sight.

I'm equally tired of novels of the same period that judge a woman's worth by how far she does *not* fall in with the prevailing fashions: dress, makeup, smoking, etc.

Of course, the amusing thing (if you look at it the right way) is that Complaint A and Complaint B often apply to the same book: apparently only stuffy, old-fashioned guys fall in love at first sight...with girls who don't wear makeup...

(The fact that these women are invariably so stunning, they don't need makeup is of course beside the point...)

Edited: Jan 16, 6:18am Top

>153 lyzard: Oof. Better late than never, I guess?

>154 lyzard: Now I want to read the book AND see the movie.

Edited: Jan 15, 11:08pm Top

The tag line of "Brake Clubs and Bayonets," the complete novelette by E. S. Dellinger in the July 1933 issue of Railroad Stories, which I read today:

"Things Weren't So Quiet on the Western Front When the Railroaders Went into Action"

>153 lyzard: Just noticed this thanks to Julia's comment. Excellent news, if belated!

Jan 15, 11:27pm Top

>160 rosalita:, >161 harrygbutler:

I guess so, but oh my goodness, all those wasted opportunities!

>160 rosalita:

It was a strange one to read, being familiar with the movie: a lot of the latter is taken straight from the book, including a lot of the dialogue - and all the cigarette stuff! - but then at the same time they change a lot of the background details. Most of all, Durrance is completely American, which is jarring when you have Paul Henreid in your head. :)

(There's another change I won't mention: too spoileriffic!)

>161 harrygbutler:

Oh, tasteful! :D

Jan 15, 11:35pm Top

>153 lyzard: Good news, though of course one wishes that libraries wrote policies in a way that are as clear to their users they are to staff. Having been on the policy-writing end I can attest that this is hard. At least you know now.

Jan 16, 12:07am Top

>163 swynn:

It's technically correct, inasmuch as it is describing permitted usage of library material. It just doesn't specify that the JFR is not considered "library material"!

I was on the P&P committee of one of my previous jobs. They hated my pedantry, but... >:D

Jan 16, 5:11pm Top

Best-selling books in the United States for 1930:

1. Cimarron by Edna Ferber
2. Exile by Warwick Deeping
3. The Woman of Andros by Thornton Wilder
4. Years of Grace by Margaret Ayer Barnes
5. Angel Pavement by J. B. Priestley
6. The Door by Mary Roberts Rinehart
7. Rogue Herries by Hugh Walpole
8. Chances by A. Hamilton Gibbs
9. Young Man of Manhattan by Katharine Brush
10. Twenty-Four Hours by Louis Bromfield

Reading turned inwards in 1930, with domestic drama the dominant theme.

As usual there are outliers. Going from one extreme to the other, The Door is a one of Mary Roberts Rinehart's outright mysteries, built around the murder of a nurse; while Thornton Wilder's The Woman of Andros is about a cultured, dying courtesan in ancient Greece. (As with John Erskine's The Private Life Of Helen Of Troy, I suspect that readers turned to this one looking for sexy material that the book didn't deliver).

Louis Bromfield's Twenty-Four Hours follows the guests at a certain dinner-party as they face a series of personal crises. Katharine Brush's Young Man of Manhattan is about a young couple adjusting to marriage, and the strain created by the wife's career success. Hamilton Gibbs' Chances is a WWI-set drama about two brothers falling for the same girl. Warwick Deeping's Exile has its English heroine trying to make a life for herself in Italy, but is really about the long-term consequences of a disastrous early romance. J. B. Priestley's Angel Pavement may be regarded as an early Depression novel, being about the failure of a small business and its professional and personal impact on the employees.

Rogue Herries is the first volume in Hugh Walpole's historical drama series about the Herries family, which stretches from the 18th century to near-contemporary times. This one sets up the rest, via Francis 'Rogue' Herries marriage to a gypsy girl some thirty years his junior, the fallout from which will shape the family for generations.

Margaret Ayer Barnes' Years of Grace would be awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1931, but posterity has not been kind to it. A multi-generational saga about family conflict and changing mores (and we know how the Committee loves that stuff!), it is generally considered now that the novel's main worth lies in its background material, which describes the growth of Chicago during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

1930's best-selling book, however, was Edna Ferber's Cimarron, about the opening up of the Oklahoma Territory and the area's push to statehood.

Edited: Jan 16, 5:26pm Top

This is the second appearance by Edna Ferber, after her earlier novel, So Big, topped the best-seller lists of 1924, and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1925.

Edited: Jan 16, 6:54pm Top

Cimarron - The Venables of Kansas, a displaced Southern family, are dismayed when youngest daughter, Sabra, insists upon marrying the flamboyant and footloose Yancey Cravat; and outraged when, growing restless with domesticity, Cravat announces his plan to carry Sabra and their young son, Cimarron, away into the Oklahoma Territory. Though tricked out of the land allotment that he wanted during the Land Rush, Cravat settles for life in the frontier town of Osage, where he founds a newspaper which he intends will help him shape the future of the territory. Sabra, meanwhile, dismayed and frightened by the crudity and violence of life on the frontier - and by what she learns of her husband's past - determines to build a civilised existence for herself and her children... Based, evidently, not just upon the written records of the time but conversations with those who, in their youth, lived the founding of Oklahoma, Edna Ferber's Cimarron is a lengthy and sprawling account of the opening up of the American west and its inevitable consequence, the coming of civilsation---or "civilisation". Ferber's eye for the pivotal moments in history - not always, she implies, the ones which make the history books - her feeling for the land and the people who fight to make a living from it; and her ability to capture the changing ambitions, attitudes and mores that come with the passage of time are evident throughout. Ultimately, however, Cimarron is a book that is easy to admire but hard to like: not just because the central characters themselves are rather unlikeable, but because of the difficulty in deciding how Ferber intends us to take them---and indeed, the story that contains them. The novel is built around an enormous, overarching irony: the suggestion that the west was opened up by men desperate to escape domestic society, and to find adventure; and that the women dragged along, perforce, in order to protect themselves and their children, immediately set about turning the new society into a replica of the old. The narrative argues that the west was really "won" by its uncelebrated womenfolk; and there is much admiration expressed for them as "the real hewers of wood and drawers of water". However, while there is no question about the courage of the women in question, or the difficulties and dangers confronting them, what the reader sees is these women replicating not just society, over and over, but society's mistakes, over and over: its narrow-mindedness, its bigotry, and its moral cruelty. Against this backdrop, Yancey Cravat represents the unfulfilled potential of the frontier; Sabra, its hard-headed reality. Yancey is a dreamer, a man generous of spirit, with big ideas - many of them far ahead of their time, particularly with respect to race relations and the position of the repeatedly displaced Native Americans; but he is also a braggart and a blow-hard, a selfish, emotionally immature individual given to serial abandonment of his wife and children. Forced to take control of her own life, Sabra becomes a successful businesswoman and later a politician, the face of modern Oklahoma; but the reader is confronted throughout with her sense of entitlement, her prejudice, and her inability to understand or sympathise with those who differ from herself. The novel concludes with the discovery of oil in Oklahoma, and its stunning impact upon the previously hand-to-mouth dirt-farmers---and the natives (who, in a delicious irony, having been forced onto what the government considered a worthless plot of land, become the area's wealthiest residents). It also leaves us with a final irony: the unveiling of a statue modelled upon Yancey Cravat and representing "the spirit of the frontier": a statue standing in the midst of Sabra's hard, practical world, where dreamers like Yancey have no place.

    It was as though Osage and the whole Oklahoma country now stopped and took a deep breath. Well it might. Just ahead of it, all unknown, waited such years of clangor and strife as would make the past years seem uneventful by comparison. Ever since the day of the Run, more than fifteen years ago, it had been racing helter-skelter, devil take the hindmost; shooting into the air, prancing and yelping out of sheer vitality and cussedness. A rough roof over its head; coarse food on its table; a horse to ride; a burning drink to toss down its throat; border justice; gyp water; a girl to hug; mud roads to the edge of the sun-baked prairie, and thereafter no road; grab what you need, fight for what you want---the men who had come to the wilderness of the Oklahoma country had expected no more than this, and this they had got. A man's country it seemed to be, ruled by and for men. The women allowed them to think so.
    The word feminism was unknown to the Sabra Cravats, the Mrs Wyatts, the Mrs Hefners, the Mesdames Turket and Folsom and Sipes. Prim, good women and courageous, banded together by their goodness and by their common resolve to tame the wilderness. Their power was the more tremendous because they did not know they had it. They never once said, during those fifteen years, "We women will do this. We women will change that." Quietly, indomitably, relentlessly, without even a furtive glance of understanding exchanged between them, but secure in their common knowledge of the sentimental American male, they went ahead with their plans...

Edited: Jan 16, 7:00pm Top

Circumstances are giving me a break from the best-selling challenge during this month and next.

The same book topped the American charts in 1931 and 1932, Pearl S. Buck's Pulitzer Prize-winning The Good Earth, which I read not so long ago (indeed, the entire "House of Earth" trilogy). Consequently, I'll be skipping it.

I'll be paying for the break afterwards, however, because the best-selling book of 1933 was a MASSIVE chunkster...

Edited: Jan 16, 9:18pm Top

>167 lyzard: easy to admire but hard to like

Yes, precisely. Nicely put.

Jan 16, 10:41pm Top

I'm with you that it's one I can't imagine re-reading; though I suppose people must have.

I'd be easier in my mind if I could decide whether Ferber meant us to like either of them; if not, okay...

Yes, startling to discover that Richard Dix is actually reasonably close to written, isn't it?? I haven't seen the remake, but I'm struggling to imagine Glenn Ford in the role. (I wonder who decided that Ford was the go-to guy for big-budget remakes of hits from the 20s and 30s?)

Jan 16, 11:08pm Top

>153 lyzard: Hooray for getting access to the books you want!

Great reviews, as usual.

Jan 17, 5:05pm Top

I remember trying to read a Ferber novel for a book report once. I couldn't get into it and had to ask my teacher to let me switch to a different book. That one was her Alaska book. I kind of wonder how my tastes changed over the years, but I doubt I'll try to pick it up.

Jan 17, 5:27pm Top

>171 rretzler:

Thank you, Robin! :)

>172 thornton37814:

Hi, Lori!

Ice Palace, is it? I've read one or two others by Ferber, away from our best-seller challenge, but not that one. What I find with Ferber is that while her history is impeccable, her people are problematic. I think the reason So Big stands out amongst her books is that it has a protagonist you can stick with.

Jan 17, 5:33pm Top

>173 lyzard: That was the one. I really could not get into it. Maybe if I want to try her, I should start with So Big.

Jan 18, 3:55pm Top

Finished The Flickering Lamp for TIOLI #4.

Now reading The Key by Patricia Wentworth.

Jan 18, 4:06pm Top

...which I'm equally happy and dismayed to note was re-released as part of both our ongoing Terribly Boring Covers series:

...and our Nice People Doing Nice Things That Have Nothing To Do With Anything series:

And as usual, the pulp reissue makes everything much more enticing:

Edited: Jan 18, 4:12pm Top

This is the cover of the copy I'm reading.

I've gotten started, but not very far yet. I'm beginning to think that she's not very good at beginnings, as they frequently don't entice me to go further.

Jan 18, 4:15pm Top

The first two are, umm, colourful. As a set they offer 3 quite different interpretations of the contents. I'm imagining a game show host "So, which story are you reading today: Is it number one, with a dastardly chemist who holds the key to pink slime. Is it number 2, where the picnic goes off smoothly until someone realises they dropped the front door key. Or is it number three where a man with a gun invades the privacy of a startled red head who forgot to lock the door with the key provided."
Have fun and do let us know if I'm at all close with any of those descriptions >;-)

Edited: Jan 18, 4:31pm Top

>176 lyzard: Even your boring cover is better than the one on my ebook:

(Also, on the pulp: "She knew too much to live" — wasn't the victim a man?!)

>177 harrygbutler: Harry, I made remark in my review that I was starting to think I'd picked up a non-series book by Wentworth when the story went on and on before Miss Silver finally showed up. She did that in some of the earlier books, too, and I find it a bit frustrating.

Jan 19, 9:57pm Top

I've read a few Patricia Wentworth books over the years but not that one. I think I prefer the pulp cover!

Jan 20, 9:53pm Top

>177 harrygbutler:, >179 rosalita:

Sad when my cover images are *not* the worst ones!

The artists evidently read just far enough to figure out that the victim was a scientist, and that a key had something to do with it...

>178 Helenliz:

(d) None of the above. :D

>179 rosalita:

In the world of pulp fiction, there is always a woman who is either the killer or the victim..or more rarely, both...even if she isn't...

I'd interpret that cover as a rendering of the climactic scene, except I'm sure the artist did NOT read that far!

I think we just have to accept that Maudie getting called in midway through is how things generally are. Since she is usually being asked to clear someone, it makes sense. I was also okay with it this time because of the espionage angle, where she's not going to be the first person called upon. I had more of a sticking point with the coincidence of it being Lamb and Abbott put on the case.

(It occurs to me that Patricia is much harsher on her police officers than Agatha ever was: Inspector Lamb is always wrong! It makes you wonder how he got promoted so high, and how many innocent people got convicted along the way...)

>180 thornton37814:

Agreed, Lori!

Jan 20, 9:54pm Top

So anyway...

Finished The Key for TIOLI #6.

Now reading Crooked House by Agatha Christie.

Jan 20, 9:56pm Top

BTW, I see I have a moral dilemma confronting me with our next Miss Silver, which wasn't published in the UK until three years after its American release, presumably because of post-war conditions.

Of course the two releases have different titles, but I can't really call the American one a "re-titling" this time, now can I?? :D

Jan 21, 10:53am Top

>181 lyzard: You're right, of course, about needing to come to terms with Maudie's late arrival in most of the books. I have to say that especially in this one I didn't mind too much, because the story was quite interesting even before she showed up. I agree with you about the coincidence of Lamb being the investigator again, though. Seems a little far-fetched.

Your "moral dilemma" made me chuckle. The re-titling shoe is on the other foot this time. Or something like that. We're tackling that one in March, right?

Jan 21, 3:43pm Top

>184 rosalita:

Being in the middle of Carolyn Wells' Fleming Stone books, wherein Stone has a nasty habit of showing up for the last chapter or two and solving the case in about ten minutes, has definitely reconciled me to Maudie's delayed entrances! :D

March it is, or should be: it looks like I may have some trouble getting hold of the next one, though as yet I've only searched under its right wrong alternate title.

Jan 21, 4:14pm Top

Finished Crooked House for TIOLI #9.

Now reading Ruth Fielding Down East; or, The Hermit Of Beach Plum Point by Alice B. Emerson.

Jan 21, 4:56pm Top

>185 lyzard: Oh dear! I hope you’re able to run it down. Keep us posted.

Edited: Jan 21, 5:57pm Top

Ruth Fielding At The War Front; or, The Hunt For The Lost Soldier - Published in 1918, this short Stratemeyer fiction by "Alice B. Emerson" is the central work in a triptych dealing with the war-time experiences of Ruth Fielding who, attached to the Red Cross, is stationed in an administrative capacity at a hospital near the front lines in France. As Ruth's circumstances become more extreme, an ever-greater tension develops between her heroic adventures and the perceived need for her to remain "properly" feminine; and if this is never really reconciled, at least these works offer insight into what was considered acceptable at the time for young female readers. The narrative of Ruth Fielding At The War Front solves an ongoing mystery, that of the "werewolf" seen haunting the district, and also presents Ruth with a new challenge when she comes to suspect that one of the sons of her new friend, the Countess Marchand, may be an enemy agent. However, the focus of the story is upon Ruth's deepening relationship with her "old chum", Tom Cameron. Having already suffered through a period when she believed that Tom had been seriously wounded, perhaps killed, Ruth is now confronted with something even more painful, when she discovers that he is being whispered about as a traitor... Through her connections, Ruth discovers that Tom has been entrusted with a dangerous mission behind enemy lines, posing as a young German officer and ingratiating himself with senior officers at a spa-town; but no sooner has she been reassured on this point than she learns that Tom has fallen under suspicion. Knowing that, as part of his cover, Tom was supposed to be on leave and awaiting the arrival of his sister, "Mina von Brenner", Ruth proposes to his command that they confirm his story by providing him with a sister---and finds herself on a dangerous and terrifying journey through No Man's Land and into Germany...

     A shower of flare rockets had erupted from the German trenches. They sailed up over No Man's Land and burst, flooding acres of the rough ground with a white glare.
    The major and Ruth lay flat upon the ground, and the girl knew enough not to move. Nor did she cry out. For five minutes the eruption lasted. Then all died down and there was no reply from the American side. Major Marchand chuckled.
    "That was most unexpected, was it not, Mademoiselle? But have no fear. The first patrol has already been across here to the German wire entanglements to-night, and found nothing stirring. It is not yet that we shall run into Germans."
    They arose, and the major led straight on again, slowly descending the easy slope of this hillside. Finally they reached a gaping hole. Ruth knew it must have been made by a shell. It was thirty feet or more across, and when they descended into it she found it to be fully twenty feet deep.
    "Now you may show a flash of your light, Mademoiselle," the Frenchman advised her. "Thank you. Remove that casque you wear. These would attract much attention upon the German side. Here is a German helmet to take the place of the other. I cached them on a former trip. So! Now, over this way. On hands and knees, Mademoiselle..."

Edited: Jan 21, 8:11pm Top

Ruth Fielding Homeward Bound; or, A Red Cross Worker's Ocean Perils - Ruth Fielding's war-service is abruptly ended when a bombing raid on her hospital leaves her with a fractured shoulder. When her superiors order her home, Ruth feels as though she is deserting her post; but she becomes reconciled when a letter from her great-uncle, Jabez Potter, informs her that his elderly housekeeper, Ruth's "Aunt" Alvirah, is seriously ill and yearning for her. Just prior to her departure, Ruth learns that a plane in which Tom Cameron was a passenger is missing; but she is distracted from her fears for him when she overhears an argument in German between a female passenger and one of the seamen on her ship. Ruth alerts the senior officers, but the ship's pompous captain will not listen. A explosion below decks forces the ship's evacuation, but Ruth is struck down and left behind. She regains consciousness to find herself alone except for one of the officers, Mr Dowd, who has a similar story to tell, and radio-man Rollife. When they realise the ship is not sinking after all, they are at first relieved; but then realise that an elaborate ruse has been carried out... Ruth Fielding Homeward Bound does something different in terms of its narrative, splitting its perspective between Ruth Fielding and Tom Cameron, and interleaving their various adventures. It does not do this particularly well, it must be said: the chronology is "off", so that we hear about Tom's danger and narrow escape from the crippled plane long after it actually happened, though without any need for this delay. However, the twin stories told are exciting enough, if not particularly credible. Ruth and her companions find themselves upon a ship in the process of being "stolen" by German agents, to be used as a contact ship and a cover for submarine activity; while Tom manages to transfer himself mid-air from the falling plane to the Zeppelin which shot it down. Taken prisoner, he discovers that the Zeppelin is on its way across the Channel to England, to carry out a bombing raid---and swears that he will prevent this, whatever the cost to himself...

    The young American had no idea at first that this was a German-manned steamship---that she had been boldly taken over on the high seas by a gang of German pirates. Yet he was sharp enough to realise almost at once that there was something wrong with her...
    This was his first chance of rescue, and he was not at all particular just then who the people were aboard the Admiral Pekhard, as he saw she was named. With that name and under that flag she must be a British ship. As he was drifting in a part of a German Zeppelin, he naturally expected to be taken aboard as a prisoner. Yet he did or said nothing to reveal his true identity for the time being. If they wished to think him a German at first, all right; explanations could come later...
    The Admiral Pekhard began to roll in the trough of the sea. As she rolled toward him Tom could better see her deck and upperworks. He marked a woman’s figure come out of the after companion on the upper deck. She stood there alone and shaded her eyes with her hand as she looked off at him...

Jan 21, 8:10pm Top

Finished Ruth Fielding Down East for TIOLI #4.

Now reading The Exploits Of Elaine by Arthur B. Reeve.

Jan 21, 9:57pm Top

The House Of The Whispering Pines - Lost in thought after suffering a bitter romantic disappointment, Elwood Ranelagh suddenly notices that his horse has carried him into the vicinity of the Whispering Pines golfing club---and that, despite the club being closed for the winter, there is smoke rising from one of the chimneys. As president of the club, Ranelagh feels he must investigate. He finds the front door open, and has just stepped into the darkness when he hears someone coming down the stairs. Concealing himself, he is able to see the intruder by the light of the candle she carries: it is Carmel Cumberland, the young sister of his fiancée, Adelaide; the girl he had hoped to elope with that very night. In a state of open terror, the girl flees into the night... In deep apprehension of what he might find, Ranelagh goes upstairs. He finds a fire where, evidently, papers were burnt; and he finds Adelaide's body. Wild thoughts of suicide pass through his mind, until he sees the marks upon her throat... This fifth book in the series by Anna Katharine Green featuring young New York police detective, Caleb Sweetwater, is an unusual and interesting work---if not without the features, not to say faukts, found in most of Green's novels: namely, that it is highly melodramatic, with a plot that turns on various suspects all being at a crime scene at about the same time, and in which coincidence plays a starring role. Where The House Of The Whispering Pines differs from many of Green's works is in the characterisation at its heart. As she often does, Green has her story told chiefly from the perspective, not of her detective, but of someone who finds himself mixed up in murder. Where this novel differs, however, is that Elwood Ranelagh is not at all a nice person. Handsome a popular, but also selfish and reckless, and careless of other people's feelings; having made a concerted effort to lure his fiancée's seventeen-year-old sister to run away with him; it is not until Ranelagh is confronted, in short order, with Adelaide's murder, Carmel's possible guilt, and his own arrest that he begins to take stock of himself; while the realisation that people who have known him all his life suspect him is a painful eye-opener. But it is of course the murder charge which takes precedence in his thinking---with Ranelagh needing to decide how far he is prepared to go to shield Carmel, with the gallows awaiting one of them... A close friend of Ranelagh's late father, the coroner, Dr Perry, wants to believe the young man innocent; and, more in hope than expectation, he sends for a police detective. Caleb Sweetwater (whose mentor, Ebenezer Gryce is name-checked here but not appear) finds himself handling a difficult case full of people at cross-purposes, none of whom are telling the entire truth. With marks of strangulation clear on Adelaide's throat, no autopsy was deemed necessary; but when Sweetwater discovers an empty phial hidden near the crime scene, an exhumation is ruled. Here the case takes not one, but two, bewildering turns: Adelaide was indeed given poison, but not enough to kill her; and her diamond engagement ring, which was on her hand at her last dinner but missing when Ranelagh found her body, is discovered in her coffin...

    Dead! Adelaide! the woman I had planned to wrong that very night, and who had thus wronged me! For a moment I could take in nothing but this one astounding fact, then the how and the why woke in maddening curiosity within me, and seizing the cushion, I dragged it aside and stared down into the pitiful and accusing features thus revealed, as though to tear from them the story of the crime which had released me as I would not have been released, no, not to have had my heart's desire in all the fullness with which I had contemplated it a few short hours before.
    But beyond the ever accusing, protuberant stare, those features told nothing; and steeling myself to the situation, I made what observation I could of her condition and the surrounding circumstances. For this was my betrothed wife. Whatever my intentions, however far my love had strayed under the spell cast over me by her sister,---the young girl who had just passed out,---Adelaide and I had been engaged for many months; our wedding day was even set.
    But that was all over now---ended as her life was ended: suddenly, incomprehensibly, and by no stroke of God. Even the jewel on her finger was gone, the token of our betrothal. This was to be expected. She would be apt to take it off before committing herself to a fate that proclaimed me a traitor to this symbol. I should see that ring again. I should find it in a letter filled with bitter words. I would not think of it or of them now. I would try to learn how she had committed this act, whether by poison or---
    It must have been by poison; no other means would suggest themselves to one of her refined sense; but if so, why those marks on her neck, growing darker and darker as I stared at them!

Edited: Jan 22, 5:28pm Top

I'm so excited!---

Because of a long-running dispute over rights, many of John Rhode's Dr Priestley mysteries have never been reissued (effectively, any that were not signed over to Penguin in the 30s and 40s). Only the original editions are available and, because of their increasing rarity, are often prohibitively expensive. The first book in the series, in particular, The Paddington Mystery, has become a collector's item, with rare copies going for US$1000 or more.

But the rights issues have finally been sorted out, and the Priestley books are beginning to be re-released in Kindle format.

That introduced a second wild-card here, as we are also subject to geographical rights issues: not everything released on Kindle is available to us. However, usually we do better with British releases, and that seems to be the case this time. Roll on June!

Jan 22, 6:40pm Top

For The Defence: Dr Thorndyke - Andrew Barton has a problem; several problems. Once an extremely handsome man, since suffering an accident in which his nose was crushed by a cricket ball Andrew has become self-conscious and overly sensitive---and inclined to suspect that his beautiful wife, Molly, no longer cares for him in the same way. Secondly, during a night-time walk, Andrew is inadvertently involved in a violent incident, in which a passenger in a car is shot. Thirdly, Andrew's cousin, Ronald, is again on the sponge, this time under the guise of seizing a business opportunity. Andrew is less concerned with the money, which he knows he will never see again, than with Ronald and Molly meeting: before Andrew's accident, the cousins closely resembled one another. To head off Ronald's threatened visit, Andrew concocts a business trip to the coastal town where Ronald lives, offering to meet him there. Though a laughing Ronald makes it clear that he sees through Andrew's reluctance to have him in his house, the meeting goes amicably, and ends with the cousins swimming and sunning in a tiny isolated cove. This peaceful interlude comes to a shocking conclusion when a large block of stone detaches from an overhanging cliff and falls upon Ronald, crushing is head beyond recognition. A horrified Andrew snatches up some clothes and redresses, intending to run back to the town to report his cousin's death. He becomes lost, however, and it is some hours later before he approaches the police station---where he discovers a 'wanted' poster accusing him of murder with respect to the car incident, and describing his telltale nose in painful detail... This 21st book in R. Austin Freeman's Dr John Thorndyke series is a complete shaggy-dog story---but one whose increasingly humorous working-out, including a deliciously funny courtroom climax, compensates for the outlandishness of the plot and, in particular, a protagonist whose behaviour makes it very difficult to warm up to him: not just because the choices he makes are so stupid, but rather because they are so selfish---culminating in his decision to fake his own death without telling Molly first. After that, it is only the degree to which Andrew's life spirals out of control, as each step he takes to free himself from the net of the law only enmeshes him more, that makes it possible for the reader to stick with him. Those who do so will be rewarded, however, not just with the story's clever and funny evolution, but with a rare chance to see John Thorndyke back in his wig and gown---"for the defence". In the panic of finding himself wanted for murder, and knowing he has no real alibi, Andrew becomes the last customer of a doctor specialising in what we would now call "cosmetic surgery". His business having failed, the doctor is on the verge of departing the country; but he is delighted to take on the challenge of Andrew's nose. A painful procedure involving paraffin wax follows; and it only when he looks into a mirror afterwards that Andrew realises that he is now a dead-ringer for Ronald... Becoming Ronald Barton seems at first like a safe escape route, but unbeknownst to his cousin, Ronald was involved in various criminal activities; and having eluded the law on his own account, Andrew finds himself arrested as Ronald and charged with fraud. Things then go from bad to exponentially worse when - also as Ronald - he is further charged with the murder of Andrew Barton. Held pending trial, Andrew's gentlemanly behaviour, helpless demeanour and failure to arrange a defence finally prompt the prison doctor to step in---which in turn brings John Thorndyke into the case. With Andrew finally persuaded to tell the entire, bizarre story, Thorndyke must undertake the tricky job of proving that his client couldn't have murdered Andrew Barton, because he is Andrew Barton...

    "In view," Thorndyke began, "of the mass of evidence that has been produced and of its remarkable and convincing character, it seemed almost unnecessary that I should address you. But this is a trial on a capital charge and the prisoner's life is forfeit if it should be held to have been proved against him. I cannot, therefore, take any risks of a miscarriage. I shall, however, occupy as little time as possible. You are sworn to give a true verdict according to the evidence; and I shall confine myself to an examination of that evidence and to pointing out what has actually been proved. The prisoner is indicted in the name of Ronald Barton for the murder of Andrew Barton. The words of the indictment, therefore, contain four affirmative propositions:
    "1. That a murder has been committed. 2. That the person who was murdered was Andrew Barton. 3. That he was murdered by Ronald Barton. 4. That the prisoner is Ronald Barton.
    "Now, in order that a verdict of guilty should be returned against the prisoner, it is necessary that each and all of those propositions should be proved to be true. If any one of them should be proved to be untrue, the case against the prisoner would fall to the ground..."

Edited: Jan 25, 4:53pm Top

The House Of Sudden Sleep - When David Ribbelsdale is found dead from no apparent cause, his business partner, Jimmy Armstrong, alerts his friend, Assistant District Attorney Rodney Colt. Though he hesitates over contacting his superior, who is on leave, Colt gives in to the temptation of handling a case himself. He is puzzled by what he finds at the scene: to all appearances, Ribbelsdale has simply fallen asleep and not woken up. Yet Colt notices a few suggestive points: signs that a glass was removed from the scene; a missing book; footprints outside the French doors... Most of all, however, Colt is struck by the fear and hostility he senses in the household, which includes Ribbelsdale's widow, Suzanne; her half-sister and -brother, Dorcas and Peter Wilder; David's mother, Edith; and Félicité Monot, nurse to the young Rbbelsdale children. Soon, Edith too will be dead, having seemingly just fallen asleep; while a third death looks like a suicide-confession---but is it...? This 1930 novel by "John Hawk" (Helen Kestner, also aka Sybil Norton) is almost a compendium of the faults which marred the second-tier of American mystery writing at this period---namely, an amateur protagonist convinced he has, sigh, "a flair for detective work"; underwritten characters who spend most of their time making emotional scenes; a complete lack of legal procedure for plot-purposes; and a good idea lost in a narrative that simply goes round and round in circles until it fills the necessary number of pages. Colt is one of those "hearty young man" types we're supposed to find charming for some reason, even as we are supposed to prefer his "intuitive" style over police methods---even though his blundering nearly lets a serial killer escape. (This would be a much better book if it was about not letting amateurs meddle, but oh well...) Meanwhile, far too much of the text consists of manly joshing between Colt and Armstrong, punctuated by even more manly hand-clasping. In fact, I wonder whether the latter was intended to conceal the author's real gender? - something which, to my way of thinking, is somewhat given away by the prominence in the plot of "twilight sleep", the drug-induced amnesia / analgesic used at the time during childbirth: I'm not sure that unmarried young men at the time were quite so well-informed about obstetric details as Colt turns out to be. However--- Perhaps the one really outstanding feature of The House Of Sudden Sleep is that it is yet another American mystery dealing with attempted family slaughter! (Seriously, America: what the heck was going on!?) The discovery of hidden letters indicating that David Ribbelsdale had had, and broken off, an affair brings to light a potential outside suspect; but when the cause of the deaths is determined, and the Ribbelsdales' doctor confesses that some drugs were stolen from his bag while he was attending Suzanne during the birth of her baby, Colt becomes convinced that the killer is one of the household: a suspect pool which, with the revelation that he and Dorcas are secretly married, expands to include Jimmy Armstrong...

    Colt knew genuine fear when he saw it, and Suzanne's, despite her effort at concealment, had been real. She was stumbling along in the dark just as he was. Feeling her way haltingly...and she'd been darn clever to see through the disguise of Cynthia's handwriting. Of course, if she'd been guilty she might have called that bluff of his to put him off the track. Every act of hers could be explained to fit guilt or innocence, except her fear. Her fear was real. Colt kept coming back to that. And it was a member of her own household whom she feared. That fitted only with innocence.
    Colt felt like a pygmy. He had expected to find clear sailing. His theories were all perfect, and he had faith in them. Some people, like Flynn, worked methodically, following clue by clue, inch by inch. But the dogged persistence of that method had no charms for him. He felt he had a flair for detective work, and if one had a flair for a thing, it come somehow easily and naturally.
    Could it be Dorcas? Or young Peter? Certainly he had been worried by Dorcas's shilly-shallying. She had avoided issues with consummate art, issues which Suzanne met frankly. But Jimmy's wife!
    Perhaps, Colt speculated, the motive lay in the fact that she was Jimmy's wife...

Jan 22, 9:28pm Top

>192 lyzard: Congrats on finally having access to a long-lost series! That must feel very satisfying! Have you already pre-ordered the first one?

Edited: Jan 22, 9:33pm Top

Thanks! In the interests of keeping a grip on my book-buying I'm not a big pre-orderer, but I might make an exception this time. :)

Jan 22, 9:37pm Top

I really think, in light of the circumstances, that you might make an exception. :-)

Plus, I've heard that publishers often use pre-order numbers to gauge interest in a series, so it could prompt the rest of the books to be released more quickly. Just sayin'...

Jan 22, 9:48pm Top

True!...and I can justify my 1-click in terms of the general good. :)

Jan 22, 9:52pm Top

Exactly so!

Jan 23, 3:31pm Top

Wow at all the Ruth Fielding books!

Edited: Jan 25, 4:53pm Top

>200 thornton37814:

Hi, Lori! Well, they're quick and easy reads (WWI notwithstanding), and because of their subtitles are often useful for slotting into challenges, too. :)

I'm just approaching an interesting point in the series, where the person hiding behind the "Alice B. Emerson" house-name changes. All the books to this point have been written by a man; I'll be interested to see whether you can tell when a woman takes over.

Jan 23, 4:33pm Top

Finished The Exploits Of Elaine for TIOLI #11.

Now reading The Secret Trail by Anthony Armstrong.

Edited: Jan 23, 5:14pm Top

>192 lyzard: Of course you should pre-order it. :-) I don't do that very often, but after a lull in my buying of many new books, and consequently missing out on some, I'm thinking I may start pre-ordering more often myself.

By the way, in one of the enjoyable mystery stories by Satyajit Ray in The Complete Adventures of Feluda I, the reward offered by one client is a set of books by Émile Gaboriau.

Jan 23, 8:41pm Top

>201 lyzard: It will be interesting to see.

Jan 24, 4:57pm Top

>203 harrygbutler:

Ooh, nice! I have it in my head that the Gaboriau books were the first "modern" detective series, which has the counterintuitive effect of making them last in my "evolution of the detective story" reading, rather than first in my series reading.

Edited: Jan 24, 6:18pm Top

With a raft of holds and ILLs becoming available all at once, as they do (despite being requested at two different libraries), I decided to make a day, or at least an afternoon, of it.

Things started poorly. In pursuit of a copy of Dorothy Sayers' In The Teeth Of The Evidence (held for some reason by the Conservatorium of Music library, instead of the main academic library) I ended up, thanks to a combination of inaccurate mapping and inadequate signage, on the wrong side of the complex and having a lengthy, unplanned walk through the Botanical Gardens in very hot conditions, in quest of the entrance.

Things got worse once inside, where it turned out that the copy held was not the complete work, but one of those "advanced reader" editions meant for people learning English---so that the Conservatorium of Music hold makes even less sense! Nor is there any overt indication in the catalogue that this is not the complete edition, though the information is in there if you search deeply enough (but why would you??).

By this time I was running late for a Rare Books appointment back at the main academic library, but after a slow bus ride across the city occupied by much fuming, I finally arrived and cooled down (physically and mentally) over the first third of Carolyn Wells' Anything But The Truth.

I also returned a book, and picked up four more (that's the usual exchange rate, right??).

Then it was back on the train and back down to the central library in my district to pick up another ILL. By this time I was even glad that I hadn't scored a copy of In The Teeth Of The Evidence, because between the new haul and the book I took along to read on the train, my backpack was getting a bit unmanageable...

Or to put it another way:


Edited: Jan 24, 6:17pm Top

>205 lyzard: I have several and pick up more when I can, but I don't know that I've ever actually read one.

>206 lyzard: Ugh, the disappointment of an abridged version! Sorry you had such a rough day pursuing books.

Or put yet another way: Nope, Mebbe, Yep!, Mebbe, Yes :-)

Jan 24, 6:25pm Top

>206 lyzard:

At least I haven't had to start thinking about that yet. The first one is available for free download, but that's as far as I've looked.

It was an uncomfortably hot day, which multiplied the aggravation; but yes, I don't think there's anything worse than concealed abridgements!


These are mostly challenge books, all but Derelicts:

Dark Laughter - Banned In Boston
Anthony Adverse - best-sellers (March)
Headlong Hall - C. K. Shorter list
The Story Of Dr Wassell - random reading 1940-1969

I'm planning on spending next month getting all my challenge reading up-to-date. Where are you with Jack O' Lantern? It will be a read-in-the-library book for me.

Jan 24, 8:21pm Top

Finished The Secret Trail for TIOLI #14.

Now reading The Crimson Circle by Edgar Wallace; still reading Anything But The Truth by Carolyn Wells.

Jan 24, 8:49pm Top

>208 lyzard: I read Jack O'Lantern a few years ago and am not eager to revisit it, so you're on your own for that one. But I might be up for re-reading Headlong Hall, if I can find my copy.

If I didn't have other books claiming my attention right at the moment, I would join you for The Crimson Circle, but unfortunately pushing to finish up The Key put me behind in some other reading.

Edited: Jan 24, 9:24pm Top

No worries and no worries; The Crimson Circle wasn't planned, just a TIOLI add-on. You're welcome for Headlong Hall. :)

Jan 24, 11:40pm Top

>176 lyzard: >177 harrygbutler: >179 rosalita: I have the same cover as Julia. But at least it matches many of the other covers I have of the Miss Silver series. I guess that's not as important with an ebook, but I always hate when I'm reading a series and they redesign the cover in the middle. I like all my covers to match. I have Dorothy Sayers entire Peter Wimsey series with the same cover design except for The Nine Tailors and it really bothers me.

Is there a Wentworth group read going on that I don't know about, or is it just a coincidence?

>192 lyzard: Preordered tonight. Thanks for sharing.

Jan 25, 1:23am Top

>212 rretzler:

I have that with my Anthony Trollope books: couldn't get the Penguin edition of a couple and it drives me nuts!

Harry, Julia and I are reading our way through Miss Silver, about one every two months. You're welcome to join us, if you like?

Thank YOU! :)

Jan 25, 9:14am Top

>212 rretzler: >213 lyzard: Yes, it annoys me when the covers don't all match, even on ebooks. And please, do join us, Robin! The more the merrier, I say.

Jan 25, 9:41am Top

>211 lyzard: I found Headlong Hall, so I'm set.

>212 rretzler: >213 lyzard: I like matching covers, and am gradually making that happen with, e.g., my Kipling and Scott, but I don't think we'll ever bother replacing the handful of stray Wodehouse hardcovers mixed in with the Overlook Press reprints.

And I'll add my voice to the invitation, Robin to join in the Wentworth reading. Next up is She Came Back (aka The Traveller Returns), in March.

Jan 25, 5:01pm Top

>215 harrygbutler:

I think that would make me a little crazy... :)

Edited: Jan 25, 5:50pm Top

Murder At Bridge - Promoted to the position of Special Investigator, attached to the District Attorney's office, James Dundee is called in when Nita Selim is found shot dead in her own bedroom, in the middle of hosting a bridge party for the social elite of Hamilton. The victim herself was an outsider, a former stage actress who had attracted notice as the director of annual play staged by the girls' school attended by the wealthy daughters of Hamilton: from this position, she was hired by Lois Dunlap to oversee the establishment of an amateur theatre. Her connection with Mrs Dunlap gave Nita a foot in the door of Hamilton society, where her beauty, charm and flirtatious manner won her both admirers and enemies. When Dundee arrives at the crime scene, he learns that two bridge tables had been made up for her female guests; that their male partners arrived one by one towards the end of the games; and that Nita was shot after leaving the room while she was "dummy". To the dismay and resentment of those present, in order to establish everyone's whereabouts at the time of the murder, Dundee makes the men re-enact their arrivals and movements afterwards, while the women replay what becomes known as "the death hand"... Anne Austin's third novel featuring young detective, James "Bonnie" Dundee, is a complicated and slightly overpopulated mystery, requiring much concentration upon who is who, and who was where, when: something I always struggle with (I'm a bit "spatially challenged"!). However, it is also a story that manages a nice balance between its mystery and its character scenes. As an outsider himself, facing hostility and resentment from the wealthy elite of the town of Hamilton, Dundee has an uphill battle on his hands as he investigates Nita Selim's murder. Another in a difficult situation is Penny Crain, the District Attorney's secretary, who, though forced to work after her father's business failure and subsequent abandonment of herself and her mother, grew up as a part of that same elite, and is still considered "one of them". Consequently, the murder investigation finds her torn between her lifelong friends and her new duties, as she is called upon for inside information. As the investigation develops, much is revealed about Nita's past: not just her own stage career, but her connection with various underworld figures. The pressure mounts on Dundee to pursue the murderer in that direction; but while the local chief of police obediently searches for outsider suspects, everything that Dundee himself discovers points straight at the "nice" people of Hamilton. There are many whispers about Nita and various married men, and her financial situation makes Dundee suspect that she was either being "kept", or resorting to blackmail; indeed, he comes to believe that she left New York specifically for that purpose. His ruffling of local feathers is interrupted when Chief Strawn is able to build a case against Dexter Sprague, one of Nita's New York friends - possibly her lover - who had followed her to Hamilton. The case falls to the ground, however, when Sprague, too, is murdered during a game of bridge---after leaving the room while dummy...

    "What does it mean?" Dundee repeated exultantly to himself. "It means...that anyone in Hamilton who had any interest in the matter believed Nita Leigh Selim was dead... The question is who read that story and gazed on that picture with exquisite relief?"
    Two hours before he had dismissed as impossible or highly impractical his impulse to investigate the eleven-year-old scandal on Flora Hackett, who was now Flora Miles, as told him by Gladys Earle of the Forsyte School. Even more difficult would it be to find out why Janet Raymond's mother had taken her abroad for a year. Of course---he had ruefully told himself---Nita Leigh might have been lucky---or unlucky enough to run across documentary proof of one of the scandals of which Gladys Earle had told her, or had dared to blackmail her victim by dark hints, as Miss Earle had unconsciously suggested to her.
    But this new development could not be ignored. A picture of Nita Leigh as a suicide had appeared eight years ago in a Hamilton paper, and the paper had either remained unaware of the error or had thought it not worth the space for a correction... Eight years ago!...
    Eight years ago in June three weddings had occurred in Hamilton! The Dunlap, the Miles, the Drake weddings. And within the last year and a half Judge Marshall, after proposing season after season to the most popular debutante, had married lovely little Karen Plummer...

Edited: Jan 25, 6:37pm Top

The Crime Without A Clue - When Basil Purcell dies suddenly in the middle of a garden-party, there is more dismay than grief---especially when his death is pronounced as due to poison. Weak and dissolute, and a heavy drinker, it was generally assumed that Basil would not live to hold the title of his childless uncle, Lord Redington, or would not hold it long; and that his far more popular cousin, Stephen, would inherit. To everyone's surprise, in recent times Basil had made some effort to pull himself together---and had even become engaged. Miss Cathcart did not attend the garden-party, however, and when it is learned that she had just broken the engagement, people are willing to believe that Basil committed suicide. Inspector Bedison, called in to investigate, cannot get past two points: the smashing of the glass in which Basil's last whiskey-and-soda was served, which must have been intentional, and the disappearance of the waiter who served it to him... Published in 1929, this first book in Thomas Cobb's series featuring Inspector Bedison is a weak and unsatisfying mystery---which, if you like, suffers from being too realistic, in that Bedison conducts a standard investigation, taking and testing statements, locating a missing witness, confirming a suspected motive, and finally identifying the guilty party. Some effort is made to fudge the point, by granting the most obvious motive to Stephen Purcell, whose future inheritance is threatened by Basil's pending marriage, and Elizabeth Dunlop, who has long though secretly been in love with Stephen. However (making for a clear contrast with my previous read, Murder At Bridge), it is fairly evident that, despite the case which Bedison builds against Elizabeth, who was with Basil at the last and who ordered the whiskey-and-soda, these "nice" people couldn't really have had anything to do with it. Consequently, Cobb must spin his wheels for some time, filling out his narrative with a love quadrangle involving visitor Digby Moulton, who has fallen in love with Mary Somers, whose mother is trying to push her into marriage with Stephen, and who therefore may also have desired Basil's death. It is not until the police locate the missing waiter (who was there for his own purposes, and disappeared accordingly) that Bedison is set upon the right track...

    "There's not the slightest question that if we were to produce Miss Cathcart as a witness and Gregory's servant the jury wouldn't hesitate to bring in a verdict of suicide."
    "Well, sir, I should still like to go my own way," said Bedison.
    "Where to, Inspector?" asked Radford.
    "There was a small group of people more or less in contact with Purcell on the day of his death," answered the inspector. "I felt bound as a matter of routine to start by following up the theory of suicide, but now I'm going to give a little attention to these four or five others---"
    "Who are they?"
    "Take those at Purcell's table," said Bedison. "Stephen Purcell, Miss Somers, Miss Dunlop, and Mrs Somers..."

Jan 25, 6:39pm Top

Mind you--- In spite of all its shortcomings, there is one notable thing about The Crime Without A Clue:

The butler did it!


Edited: Jan 25, 7:47pm Top

Murder On Wheels - Traffic chaos results when a dead body is found in the middle of a busy New York street: a body with a broken neck, and a noose around its neck. Though, in these post-Wall Street Crash days, suicides are "two-for-a-dime", in the words of Inspector Oscar Piper, this hanging victim doesn't seem to have been hanged from anything... Preliminary investigation reveals that traffic was already chaotic when the body was discovered due to a smash between a taxi and another car---which had no-one at the wheel. The taxi-driver swears that he saw the driver of the other car suddenly leap up and out of the vehicle. Piper is sceptical, to say the least, but he is forced to listen when he is joined at the scene by Miss Hildegarde Withers, who points out the still-smouldering cigarette lying on the body---and the unlikelihood of anyone hanging themselves in the middle of smoking... Murder On Wheels is the second book in the series by Stuart Palmer featuring Inspector Piper and his friend, sparring partner, and almost-fiancée, the schoolteacher Hildegarde Withers. (The first book, The Penguin Pool Murder, ends with Piper and Hildegarde impulsively running off to City Hall, to get married; this one begins with the revelation that, having been interrupted before the knot could be tied, they both had time for second thoughts.) Much of the appeal of this series lies in the by-play between the refined Hildegarde and the professionally callous Oscar - memorably translated to the screen by Edna May Oliver and James Gleason - while the crassness of the official attitude to crime and violent death, jolting in many American mysteries of this time, is here turned into the basis of some pitch-black humour. The book's matter-of-fact attitude also invades a subplot dealing with an unmarried pregnancy, which is treated with surprising casualness. Having decided, in the interim, that Hildegarde's success as a detective during the events of The Penguin Pool Murder was a fluke, mere beginner's luck, Piper makes the tactical error of lecturing her about "the trained detective mind"---which, naturally, has the effect of provoking her into making their new investigation a contest. Piper's interest focuses upon the family of the dead man, identified as Laurie Strait. It is a peculiar household, consisting of the victim's identical twin brother, Lew---the golden boy, while Laurie was the black sheep; the twins' grandmother, former opera-singer Mrs Roscoe Strait, who at ninety rarely leaves her room, but whose singing can be heard late at night; Hubert Strait, the twins' intelligent but introverted and nervous cousin; and an aunt, who acts as housekeeper. And then there is Dana Waverly, supposedly engaged to Lew but secretly in love with Laurie... Meanwhile, learning that Laurie spent the past summer at a dude ranch in Wyoming, and that, since coming home, he has seemed morose and withdrawn, Hildegarde begins to take an interest in a performing rodeo troupe recently arrived in New York, among whose many interesting talents is skill with a lariat...

    Miss Withers did not remain to observe the subjugation of the wild yearling steer, who was already bellowing in one of the farther pens. She was making a fast sneak for the exit, with a shapeless something bundled beneath her coat.
    Perhaps Mr Buck Keeley had done his last job of fancy roping. Tucked to her bosom the schoolteacher held the lariat which he was to have used...
    Once more her cotton umbrella had stood Miss Withers in good stead, for the crooken handle had been just long enough to snag a loop of the rope. The saddle did not matter, she had seen one like it before...decorated with the same silver mountings and blue working. It had been hanging on the wall of the room shared by Lew and Laurie Strait.
    She thought that she had seen a facsimile of the lariat, too. But that had not been in the room shared by Lew and Laurie...it had been wound firmly around the neck of a fair-haired young man who had leaped backwards into the air one evening at dusk...and had thereafter lain still. Laurie Strait had worn this for a cravat...

Jan 25, 9:35pm Top

Finished The Crimson Circle for TIOLI #14.

Now reading Gains And Losses: Novels Of Faith And Doubt In Victorian England by Robert Lee Wolff; still reading Anything But The Truth by Carolyn Wells.

Jan 25, 9:57pm Top

Happy Australia Day, Liz! I hope you're celebrating appropriately.

Edited: Jan 25, 10:41pm Top

Reading Edgar Wallace and watching Japanese science fiction, you mean? Yeah, pretty much; thanks for asking! :D

Edited: Jan 26, 5:38pm Top

Taken At The Flood (US title: There Is A Tide) - When wealthy Gordon Cloade is killed in the Blitz, shortly after his marriage to the much-younger Rosaleen, it is a devastating blow to his relatives, who he always encouraged to depend upon him financially. Gordon having died intestate, his fortune and property go entirely to Rosaleen; and though she is gentle and persuadable, her brother, David Hunter, is immovable---going out of his way to antagonise and insult the Cloades. Desperate, the Cloades begin to search for a way around the situation---and seize upon the rumour that Rosaleen's first husband did not die in Africa, as reported, but simply disappeared... When a man calling himself "Enoch Arden" arrives in Warmsley Vale, it sends a ripple of hope through the family---until Arden is found dead with a head injury in his room at the local inn. When Rosaleen swears solemnly that she has never seen the dead man before, it sends Rowley Cloade to London, to Hercule Poirot, to try and determine his true identity... Published in 1948, and set during the immediate post-war period, Agatha Christie's Taken At The Flood is a bleak and uncomfortable book. Hercule Poirot plays a comparatively minor role here, entering late a narrative that weaves its mystery into a consideration of "Austerity Britain": a world of rationing and deprivation, where both those who served and those who stayed home must struggle to readjust, where an atmosphere of hostility and violence - "ill will", as Christie puts it - still lingers---and where even "respectable" people may be capable of murder. What's one more death, after all...? Though the narrative of Taken At The Flood offers, seemingly, an overt villain in the aggressive and selfish David Hunter, most of Christie's focus is upon her dissection of the Cloades, who after years of financial dependency are incapable of fending for themselves: engaged couple Rowley Cloade and Lynn Marchont, estranged through her time in the WRENs and his enforced stay on the family farm; Mrs Marchmont, Lynn's mother, incapable of living within her income; Frances and Jeremy, faced with the imminent exposure of embezzlement; Kathie and Lionel, the latter's medical practice threatened by his drug addiction... His services engaged by Rowley Cloade, Hercule Poirot uses some inside knowledge to track down a Major Porter, who was once fond of telling the story of Rosaleen's first husband, Robert Underhay, and his mysterious and inconclusive "death". Summoned to give evidence at the inquest upon "Enoch Arden", Porter identifies the dead man as the long-lost Underhay. With David Hunter under arrest for murder, and Rosaleen's marriage to Gordon Cloade capable of being proved invalid, it seems that the Cloades' problems have been solved---until Major Porter is found shot dead, an apparent suicide...

    "The unexpected has happened, eh?"
    "On the contrary," Poirot corrected him. "It is the expected that has happened---which in itself is sufficiently remarkable."
    "You expected murder?" Spence asked sceptically.
    "No, no, no! But a wife remarries. Possibility that first husband is still alive? He is alive. He may turn up? He does turn up! There may be blackmail. There is blackmail! Possibility, therefore, that blackmailer may be silenced? Ma foi, he is silenced!"
    "Well," said Spence, eyeing Poirot rather doubtfully, "I suppose these things run pretty close to type. It's a common sort of crime---blackmail resulting in murder."
    "Not interesting, you would say? Usually, no. But this case is interesting, because, you see," said Poirot placidly, "it is all wrong... None of it is, how shall I put it, the right shape."
    Spence stared. "Chief Inspector Japp," he remarked, "always said you have a tortuous mind..."

Edited: Jan 26, 6:03pm Top

...and while those two unwritten blog posts hang around my neck like a pair of stinky albatrosses:

December stats:

Works read: 15
TIOLI: 15, in 7 different challenges, with 2 shared reads

Mystery / thriller: 8
Contemporary romance: 2
Young adult: 2
Contemporary drama: 1
Historical drama: 1
Humour: 1

Re-reads: 2
Series works: 11
Blog reads: 0
1932: 2
1931: 2
Virago / Persephone: 0
Potential decommission: 0

Owned: 1
Library: 5
Ebook: 9

Male authors : female authors: 7 (including 2 using a female pseudonym) : 8 (including 1 using a male pseudonym)

Oldest work: The House Of The Whispering Pines by Anna Katharine Green (1910)
Newest work: Taken At The Flood by Agatha Christie (1948)

Edited: Jan 26, 6:14pm Top

Final 2017 statistics:

Works read: 200
TIOLI: 200, in 136 different challenges, with 27 shared reads and 1 sweep

Mystery / thriller: 111 (55.5%)
Contemporary drama: 21 (10.5%)
Classic: 18 (9.0%)
Young adult: 15 (7.5%)
Contemporary romance: 7 (3.5%)
Historical romance: 7 (3.5%)
Historical drama: 6 (3.0%)
Non-fiction: 4 (2.0%)
Humour: 4 (2.0%)
Short stories: 2 (1.0%)
Horror: 2 (1.0%)
Science fiction: 1 (0.5%)
Western: 1 (0.5%)
Fantasy: 1 (0.5%)

Re-reads: 28 (14.0%)
Series works: 124 (62.0%)
Blog reads: 7 (3.5%)
1932: 11 (5.5%)
1931: 15 (7.5%)
Virago / Persephone: 3 (1.5%)
Potential decommission: 7 (3.5%)

Owned: 49 (24.5%)
Library: 60 (30.0%)
Ebook: 91 (45.5%)

Male authors : female authors : anonymous authors: 108 (51.7%) : 100 (47.8%) : 1 (0.5%)

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

Edited: Jan 26, 8:21pm Top

Some final thoughts on 2017:

I cracked 200 books read for the first time in 2017. While I was thrilled with this result, it had a downside in that it was a reflection of a difficult personal year, with a lot of retreating into reading. This can also be seen in the preponderance of "comfort reading", with my final figures dominated by mysteries and thrillers.

Conversely, my non-fiction writing dropped right away; so too (despite an up-turn mid-year) my blog reading---and writing. Both of these outcomes were disappointing, though not surprising under the circumstances.

Challenges ran amuck here in 2017 and helped me to do what I often try and fail to do, i.e. mix up my reading more. They were also a welcome opportunity for shared reads. In that respect I owe enormous thanks to Steve, in particular, for joining me for both the best-seller challenge and the new "Banned In Boston" challenge; and also to Harry, Julia and Heather, who helped make my mystery reading even more fun. I am also indebted to all participants in the group reads, which greatly enrich the reading experience.

Overall 2017 was a year of good and enjoyable, rather than great, reading; likewise, there weren't too many stinkers. After pondering the matter, here are my picks for the year---not necessarily "the best", but those reads which stayed with me, gave me more than I expected, and/or took me by surprise:

Mysteries / thrillers:



Agatha Webb by Anna Katharine Green (1899)
Colonel Gore's Third Case (aka "The Kink") by Lynn Brock (1927)
The Ellerby Case by John Rhode (1927)
The Barrakee Mystery by Arthur Upfield (1929)
Murder Gone Mad by Philip MacDonald (1931)
None Of My Business by David Sharp (1931)
Dr Thorndyke Intervenes by R. Austin Freeman (1933)
Death At The Opera by Gladys Mitchell (1934)
The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers (1934)
Rolling Stone by Patricia Wentworth (1940)

General reading:



Deerbrook by Harriet Martineau (1839)
The Mysteries Of London (Volume I) by G. W. M. Reynolds (1845)
The Duke's Children: First Complete Edition by Anthony Trollope (1880 / 2015)
One Wonderful Night by Louis Tracy (1912)
So Big by Edna Ferber (1924)
All Quiet On The Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (1929)
The Devil's Highway by Harold Bell Wright and John Lebar (1931)
A Footman For The Peacock by Rachel Ferguson (1940)
The Real Cool Killers by Chester B. Himes (1957)
The Madwoman In The Attic by Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar (1979)



He Knew He Was Right by Anthony Trollope (1869)
The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay (1918)
The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie (1943)
Towards Zero by Agatha Christie (1944)
The Hollow by Agatha Christie (1946)

(...and I'm pretty sure I did this the first time around, but I'm going to do it again:)

In a class of its own:

The Merrivale Mystery by James Corbett (1929)

As always with "best of" lists, and in the interests of not doubling up, there are any number of arbitrary choices here: for instance, how do you choose between The Nine Tailors, Gaudy Night and Busman's Honeymoon? It probably says more about me than the books, that I went for the non-Peter / Harriet one.

Also, while I rather wanted a Miss Silver novel on the list, I finally went for one of Patricia Wentworth's lesser known works---featuring not her angel of light, Maud Silver, but Maudie's dark sister, Maud Millicent Simpson.

My "noir" omnibus left me with an extremely difficult choice---finally leading me to set aside - just - The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith, Down There by David Goodis, and The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson, in favour of The Real Cool Killers, on the grounds of the latter being the furthest out of my comfort zone. (And while all of these could be classified as "thrillers", I consider them in a separate class from what I usually mean by that term.)

My re-reading was way down this year, which left Agatha to dominate. The unlucky book there is Sad Cypress, just missing out to The Hollow in the interests of one Poirot book only, and on the strength of the battle between Poirot and Henrietta Savernake.

And last, I feel compelled to clarify that The Devil's Highway missed being lumped in with The Merrivale Mystery by the barest of possible margins...

Edited: Jan 26, 8:14pm Top

...and after all that, I don't thik a single sloth will get the job done:

Jan 26, 8:14pm Top

>227 lyzard: I love that The Merrivale Mystery is in a category all its own! And deservedly som if you don't mind me saying. :-)

Seeing your Poirot review up there, it reminded me of something I wanted to mention after I finished Cards on the Table, but forgot. I had had a vague memory that when you wrote your review of that one last year you had mentioned that it was a spoiler for an earlier Poirot (thus reinforcing that the series should be read in order). After I finished it, I was puzzled because I hadn't spotted anything that referred to an earlier book in a spoilery way. So I went back to your threads from last year, searched and found your posts from when you were reading it, and discovered I had remembered it backwards: There is something in Cards that's a spoiler for a later book in the series. So I still have that to look forward to!

Edited: Jan 26, 8:21pm Top

>229 rosalita:

You're a trifle early, my dear: you might want to refresh the thread...

I don't mind at all! - on the contrary, I agree wholeheartedly. :D

The issue is that one of the not-guilty people in Cards On The Table shows up in a later book, and is therefore obviously not-guilty. Given the very restricted suspect list in the earlier work, it does literally spoil things if you read the later book first.

So I'm still reinforcing the "read-in-order" thing!

Jan 26, 8:31pm Top

>230 lyzard: SLOTHS!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, that's what I read when I dug back into your 2017 posts. It's too bad my memory is so terrible I couldn't just remember it.

And I AM reading them in order, dangnabit!

Jan 26, 8:42pm Top

...and I'm very proud of you! :D

Jan 26, 9:51pm Top

Thank you!


Jan 27, 4:14am Top

>230 lyzard: Two sloths! Hurrah.

Jan 27, 11:01am Top

>230 lyzard: Sloths - and hurrah for December reviews!

Jan 27, 9:45pm Top

>234 Helenliz:, >235 souloftherose:

So two sloths = two visitors? Hmm...

>235 souloftherose:

Thank you! I don't know HOW I got that far behind!?

(And now watch me get behind with January...!)

Jan 28, 5:48pm Top

This seemed like an opportune moment for a new thread, so here it is!

Hope to see you there. :)

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2018

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