harrygbutler's Tomes and Trifles in 2017, Part 6

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harrygbutler's Tomes and Trifles in 2017, Part 6

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Nov 6, 2017, 11:53am

End papers from Tom Swift in the Caves of Ice

Hello, I’m Harry, and this is my second year in the 75 Books Challenge. By training I'm a medievalist, by occupation an editor; my taste in reading runs to Golden Age and earlier mysteries, pulp detective and adventure fiction, Late Antique and medieval literature, and westerns, among others. I also have a fondness for collections of cartoons and comic strips. A fairly recent discovery for me is the appeal of late nineteenth and early twentieth century popular fiction. I usually have a few books going at once.

My wife Erika and I live in eastern Pennsylvania with three cats — Elli, Otto, and Pixie — and a dog, Hildy. Our pets occasionally make an appearance in my thread. My other interests include model railroading, gardening, and birding, so you'll sometimes see something related to them as well.

I try to provide some sort of comment on the books I read, but they aren't really reviews.

Nov 6, 2017, 11:54am

Books completed in the first quarter of 2017

1. Why Shoot a Butler?, by Georgette Heyer
2. The Exeter Book Riddles, trans. by Kevin Crossley-Holland
3. Bear Island, by Alistair MacLean
4. The Annals of Flodoard of Reims, 919-966, ed. and trans. by Bernard S. Bachrach and Steven Fanning
5. Murder in Maryland, by Leslie Ford
6. Kate Carnegie, by Ian Maclaren
7. Babylonian Literary Texts in the Schøyen Collection, by A. R. George
8. The Destroying Angel, by Norman Klein
9. Sweet Danger, by Margery Allingham
10. Rudder Grange, by Frank R. Stockton
11. Best Cartoons of the Year 1943, ed. by Lawrence Lariar
12. Norse Romance I: The Tristan Legend, ed. by Marianne E. Karlinke
13. The Footsteps at the Lock, by Ronald A. Knox
14. Proverbs of Ancient Sumer, by Bendt Alster
15. Solomon Kane, by Robert E. Howard
16. Hägar the Horrible: The Epic Chronicles: The Dailies 1983 to 1984, by Dik Browne
17. The Case Is Closed, by Patricia Wentworth
18. Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology, ed. by Milton J. Davis and Charles R. Saunders
19. Ava's New Testament Narratives: "When the Old Law Passed Away", by Ava
20. The Blackout, by Constance and Gwenyth Little
21. Local Saints and Local Churches in the Early Medieval West, ed. by Alan Thacker and Richard Sharpe
22. Early Medieval Rome and the Christian West: Essays in Honour of Donald A. Bullough, ed. by Julia M.H. Smith
23. Lonesome Road, by Patricia Wentworth
24. Gray Dusk, by Octavus Roy Cohen
25. East of Samarinda, by Carl Jacobi
26. Partners in Crime, by Agatha Christie
27. The Crock of Gold, by James Stephens
28. The Eye in the Museum, by J. J. Connington
29. The Life of Bishop Wilfrid, by Eddius Stephanus
30. League of the Grateful Dead and Other Stories, by Day Keene
31. The Black Stallion Returns, by Walter Farley
32. The History of Leo the Deacon: Byzantine Military Expansion in the Tenth Century, by Leo the Deacon
33. Galusha the Magnificent, by Joseph C. Lincoln
34. The Riddle of the Yellow Zuri, by Harry Stephen Keeler
35. The Amazing Adventures of Letitia Carberry, by Mary Roberts Rinehart
36. The Dain Curse, by Dashiell Hammett
37. The Sherlock of Sageland: The Complete Tales of Sheriff Henry, Volume 1, by W. C. Tuttle
38. The Mysterious Mr. Quin, by Agatha Christie

Nov 6, 2017, 11:54am

Books completed in the second quarter of 2017

39. Tam O' the Scoots, by Edgar Wallace
40. The Shepherd of Hermas (in 1173782::Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2) (anonymous)
41. Einstein Simplified: Cartoons on Science, by Sidney Harris
42. Santorini, by Alistair MacLean
43. Danger Point, by Patricia Wentworth
44. Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle
45. Prince Valiant, Vol. 8: 1951-1952, by Hal Foster
46. The End of Time: A Meditation on the Philosophy of History, by Josef Pieper
47. The Land of Hana: Kings, Chronology, and Scribal Tradition, by Amanda H. Podany
48. The Ghosts’ High Noon, by Carolyn Wells
49. All Creatures Great and Small, by James Herriot
50. Epics of Sumerian Kings: The Matter of Aratta, trans. by Herman Vanstiphout
51. The Mummy Moves, by Mary Gaunt
52. Son of the Black Stallion, by Walter Farley
53. Juliet Dies Twice, by Lange Lewis
54. The Murder at the Vicarage, by Agatha Christie
55. Punch in the Air: A Cartoon History of Flying, ed. by David Langdon
56. The Chronicle of Ireland, trans. by T. M. Charles-Edwards
57. The Ahhiyawa Texts, by Gary Beckman, Trevor Bryce, and Eric Cline
58. Torchy, by Sewell Ford
59. The Chinese Shawl, by Patricia Wentworth
60. Ugaritic Narrative Poetry, trans. by Mark S. Smith, Simon B. Parker, Edward L. Greenstein, Theodore J. Lewis, and David Marcus; ed. by Simon B. Parker
61. The House Opposite, by J. Jefferson Farjeon
62. Gone North, by Charles Alden Seltzer
63. Hittite Myths, by Harry A. Hoffner, Jr.
64. The Lacquer Screen, by Robert van Gulik
65. Epigrammes and The Forest, by Ben Jonson
66. The Island Stallion, by Walter Farley
67. Heart Throbs
68. A Bullet in the Ballet, by Caryl Brahms and S. J. Simon
69. Partisans, by Alistair MacLean
70. The Ruin of Britain and Other Works, by Gildas
71. Death in the Tunnel, by Miles Burton
72. Sources for the Study of Nisibis, trans. by Adam H. Becker
73. The Bellamy Case, by James Hay, Jr.
74. Joseph Redhorn, by J. J. Bell
75. Mesopotamian Chronicles, by Jean-Jacques Glassner
76. The Holy War Made by King Shaddai upon Diabolus, To Regain the Metropolis of the World, by John Bunyan
77. The Black Stallion and Satan, by Walter Farley
78. The Billiard Room Mystery, by Brian Flynn
79. A Tale of Two Saints: The Martyrdoms and Miracles of Saints Theodore "the Recruit" and "the General", trans. by John Haldon
80. Ted Key’s Phyllis, by Ted Key
81. The Fifth Latchkey, by Natalie Sumner Lincoln
82. The Loudwater Mystery, by Edgar Jepson
83. Blind Date with Death, by Cornell Woolrich
84. Walt Disney's Donald Duck: "The Ghost Sheriff of Last Gasp", by Carl Barks
85. Grubstake Gold, by James B. Hendryx
86. Murder in Room 700, by Mary Hastings Bradley
87. Seeds of Murder, by Van Wyck Mason
88. The Spy Paramount, by E. Phillips Oppenheim
89. Wigamur, ed. and trans. by Joseph M. Sullivan
90. The Good Humor Book, ed. by Robert Rango

Nov 6, 2017, 11:54am

Books completed in the third quarter of 2017

91. Pax Hethitica: Studies on the Hittites and Their Neighbours in Honour of Itamar Singer, ed. by Yoram Cohen, Amir Gilan, and Jared L. Miller
92. The Corpse on the Bridge, by Charles Barry
93. Iron Age Hieroglyphic Luwian Inscriptions, by Annick Payne
94. Leave It to Psmith, by P. G. Wodehouse
95. Tumblin' Creek Tales, by Richard M. "Pek" Gunn
96. The Merrivale Mystery, by James Corbett
97. The Blood Bay Colt, by Walter Farley
98. Wolfville Folks, by Alfred Henry Lewis
99. The Black Cap, ed. by Cynthia Asquith
100. Deathblow Hill, by Phoebe Atwood Taylor
101. Oh, Money! Money!, by Eleanor H. Porter
102. Nuzi Texts and Their Uses as Historical Evidence, by Maynard Paul Maidman
103. Legacy of Death, by R. A. J. Walling
104. The Satan Bug, by Alistair MacLean
105. No. 17, by J. Jefferson Farjeon
106. The Student Body: Great Cartoons from the Kappan, ed. by Carol Bucheri
107. The Libyan Anarchy: Inscriptions from Egypt's Third Intermediate Period, by Robert K. Ritner
108. The Case of the Black Twenty-Two, by Brian Flynn
109. The Poems of Blathmac, Son of Cú Brettan, Together with the Irish Gospel of Thomas and a Poem on the Virgin Mary, ed. by James Carney
110. Finger-Prints Never Lie!, by John G. Brandon
111. Four Corners, Volume 1, by Theodore Roscoe
112. The Island Stallion's Fury, by Walter Farley
113. The Sign of Evil, by Anthony Wynne
114. "Keep on Laughing": Tennessee Folk Lore, by Richard M. "Pek" Gunn
115. Letters from Early Mesopotamia, by Piotr Michalowski
116. Step-Sons of France, by P. C. Wren
117. The Gododdin of Aneirin: Text and Context from Dark-Age North Britain, ed. by John Thomas Koch
118. Death of a Ghost, by Margery Allingham
119. A Princess of Mars, by Edgar Rice Burroughs
120. Favorite Haunts, by Charles Addams
121. German Romance, Volume I: Daniel von dem Blühenden Tal, by Der Stricker
122. Celtic Hagiography and Saints' Cults, ed. by Jane Cartwright
123. Murder in the Tomb, by Lucian Austin Osgood
124. Emar: The History, Religion, and Culture of a Syrian Town in the Late Bronze Age, ed. by Mark W. Chavalas
125. The Laugh Round-Up
126. Letters from the Hittite Kingdom, by Harry A. Hoffner, Jr.
127. Cape Cod Stories, by Joseph C. Lincoln

Edited: Dec 30, 2017, 10:20pm

Books completed in the fourth quarter of 2017

128. Miss Silver Intervenes, by Patricia Wentworth
129. Old Irish Wisdom Attributed to Aldrith of Northumbria: An Edition of Bríathra Flainn Fhína maic Ossu, ed. and trans. by Colin A. Ireland
130. The Curse of Doone, by Sydney Horler
131. Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves, by P. G. Wodehouse
132. Vampire's Honeymoon, by Cornell Woolrich
133. The Wrong Letter, by Walter S. Masterman
134. The Blaft Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction, trans. by Pritham K. Chakravarthy and ed. by Rakesh Khanna
135. The Black Stallion's Filly, by Walter Farley
136. Murderer's Trail, by J. Jefferson Farjeon
137. The 65 Lakh Heist, by Surender Mohan Pathak
138. Silly Business: A New Collection of Cartoons from the Saturday Evening Post, ed. by Marione R. Derrickson and John Bailey
139. The Clock Strikes Twelve, by Patricia Wentworth
140. Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: "The Lost Crown of Genghis Khan", by Carl Barks
141. Night Without End, by Alistair MacLean
142. Flowers for the Judge, by Margery Allingham
143. Death in a Bowl, by Raoul Whitfield
144. The Black Smith, by Constance Little and Gwenyth Little
145. Limits and Renewals, by Rudyard Kipling
146. Lovey Mary, by Alice Hegan Rice
147. Death of a Busybody, by George Bellairs
148. Mandrake the Magician: The Hidden Kingdom of Murderers, by Lee Falk and Phil Davis
149. The Crime at the "Noah's Ark", by Molly Thynne
150. Riley Songs of Home, by James Whitcomb Riley
151. The House of Sudden Sleep, by John Hawk
152. The House of Fear, by Ibn-e Safi
153. Roads, by Seabury Quinn
154. Much Obliged, Jeeves, by P. G. Wodehouse
155. Murder of a Lady, by Anthony Wynne

Nov 6, 2017, 11:56am

Next one's yours!

Nov 6, 2017, 12:35pm

Mine? Wow!

I like the OP picture, of course, but I'll miss seeing The Black Stallion and his family there.

Nov 6, 2017, 12:51pm

Yep, you're first!

I almost went with the endpapers from one of the Albert Payson Terhune dog books, but the scan didn't really look very good.

Did you have any luck in your search for Bull prints?

Nov 6, 2017, 1:07pm

Happy new one, Harry. Stellar posting year continues.

Nov 6, 2017, 1:17pm

>9 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul! I don't think I'll ever manage the 30 (!) threads you've gone through so far this year. It's a good thing you chose a thread-topper theme that allows for many images!

Nov 6, 2017, 1:37pm

Happy new thread!

Nov 6, 2017, 1:50pm

>11 drneutron: Thanks, Jim!

Nov 6, 2017, 4:21pm

>8 harrygbutler: not the one I want, but I had a blast looking at all the books he illustrated!

He and Paul Bransom...ahh, nice.

Nov 6, 2017, 4:31pm

>13 fuzzi: Indeed! You might try contacting John Gunnison at Adventure House (http://www.adventurehouse.com/). He might be able to get you a line on sellers of prints of pulp covers, or at least might be able to find you a copy of the issue with the cover in question.

Nov 6, 2017, 5:51pm

Happy new thread, Harry!
How are Hildy and the cats doing?

Nov 6, 2017, 7:08pm

Happy new thread!

Nov 6, 2017, 7:49pm

>14 harrygbutler: thank you, I have emailed John.

Nov 7, 2017, 7:18am

>15 FAMeulstee: Thank you, Anita! The animals are all doing well. I should take some up-to-date photos.

Nov 7, 2017, 7:20am

>16 thornton37814: Thanks, Lori! I've been reading a good deal, but chiefly in collections of academic essays, so I haven't actually finished many books recently.

Nov 7, 2017, 7:23am

>17 fuzzi: I've been buying pulp reprints he produces (including issues of his reprint magazine, High Adventure, as well as replica reprints of old pulps) for several years, and last Saturday I bought some actual pulps from him.

Nov 7, 2017, 7:32am

The Detective Club has posted its planned lineup for the first half of 2018. Plenty to get.

Nov 7, 2017, 7:45am

>21 harrygbutler: one of them published in 1868? Wow.

Nov 7, 2017, 3:39pm

>21 harrygbutler:

Actually, it seems a bit odd to me that they'd bother with The Moonstone in this series - it's not like it's ever been out of print! I suppose, though, they're doing a "roots of the genre" thing, and I'd be the last person to criticise that!

On the other hand, I'm completely staggered by the appearance on the list of The Paddington Mystery (and inclined to say, "I'll believe it when I see it.") Don't tell me the rights issues around the Rhode estate have finally been sorted!?

Nov 7, 2017, 4:15pm

>23 lyzard: I assume The Moonstone made an early appearance in the Collins series.

As for Rhode, they've already published Death at Breakfast, which seems a good sign.

Edited: Nov 7, 2017, 6:14pm

True: there are a few Rhodes-es around, but it's all so erratic and piece-meal. For instance, Mystery At Olympia aka "Murder At The Motor Show" (#22 in the series) showed up on Kindle quite out of the blue a couple of years ago; just that, at the time, and nothing more. I'd love to think we were finally going to get a regular re-release.

Nov 7, 2017, 6:08pm

I guess we shall see. I'm presuming there's a good chance HarperCollins can reprint any that were originally part of the Collins Crime Club, but I don't know what that means in terms of available volumes.

Nov 7, 2017, 6:13pm

Happy New thread, Harry. Like the Tom Swift topper. No bird activity today at all on the route and nothing at the feeders when I got home. Must be some kind of weather shift, because my feeders have been hopping.

Nov 7, 2017, 6:28pm

As I mentioned in my previous thread, I've decided to spread out my reading of the pulp magazines I bought this past Saturday. For this week, I'll be reading through the March 25, 1948, issue of Short Stories. I'll review the issue at the end of the week, but I wanted to give a little introduction now.

Short Stories was a successful and long-lived pulp magazine. It originated in 1890 and was converted to a pulp in 1910. From 1921 to 1949, the magazine was published twice a month. The last of more than 1,100 issues was published in 1959 (though the magazine's last few years were not spent as a pulp). Australia, Canada, and Great Britain had reprint editions at various times as well.

Nov 7, 2017, 6:30pm

>27 msf59: Thanks, Mark! I didn't really watch the feeders today. It was cool and rainy here, so there was probably less casual activity.

Nov 7, 2017, 6:38pm

Hi Harry and happy new thread.

I've been seeing Carolina Chickadees at my feeders - even had one at the suet feeder today! I've never seen that before. I'm resolved to get some hot pepper suet to make sure the squirrels don't invade.

Nov 7, 2017, 6:40pm

>30 karenmarie: Thanks, Karen!

We haven't really had chickadees around, at least this year. I heard one a month or so ago, but only for one day. I'll be happy if we get some woodpeckers during the winter months.

Nov 8, 2017, 7:50am

Good morning, Harry!

I want to see woodpeckers, too, this winter. My feeders are pretty dead right now. Too much good stuff in the wild.

Nov 8, 2017, 8:20am

>14 harrygbutler: THANK YOU! John said he had a high resolution scan of the cover, and I'll be getting a print of it!

What a great resource.

Nov 8, 2017, 8:30am

>32 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! My feeders are dead this morning because I need to refill them. :-) But we haven't been seeing anything unusual.

Nov 8, 2017, 10:08am

>33 fuzzi: That's great, fuzzi! I'm glad it worked out.

If you're interested in sampling old pulp fiction, his reprints are a great way to go. In fact, I think his anthologies and High Adventure magazine were among my first recent introductions to pulps (though I'd of course read some reprints before, in paperback book form).

Nov 8, 2017, 11:41am

128. Miss Silver Intervenes, by Patricia Wentworth

This Miss Silver mystery was a pleasant surprise. I almost set it aside after the first chapter, as that opening, combined with the unfortunate cover, promised even more of a romance plot than usual. However, it turned into a good mystery with some effective red herrings (even if at least one suspect seemed to be dealt with rather too perfunctorily). Recommended.

Nov 9, 2017, 6:39am

Morning, Harry. Sweet Thursday. I am off the weekend, so I plan on attending 2 organized bird walks and I hope I can spend some time watching my own feeders, in the daylight.

Nov 9, 2017, 7:08am

>37 msf59: Nice, Mark! We've got a train show and some antiquing lined up for the weekend, so any birds we'll see will likely be accidental or at our feeders.

Nov 9, 2017, 7:38am

Hi Harry!

>36 harrygbutler: I need to read her. I have two on my shelves. You mention red herrings in your comments. We've been watching Midsomer Murders recently. I was raised on mysteries and it's been my favorite genre for 54 years (Nancy Drew when I was 10), but husband has never read any mysteries. So there was a series of puns on red herrings and blue herrings, which I understood. It finally occurred to me that my husband didn't get them at all, so I explained. It was an Ah, ha! moment for him.

It sounds like a lovely weekend planned. I hope you have a wonderful time.

Nov 9, 2017, 9:15am

>39 karenmarie: Hi, Karen!

It might be true that mysteries are my favorite genre, but I'm not sure. I find it hard to make those sorts of decisions. It might be westerns or adventure, or epic poetry, or medieval romance. :-) I do know I read quite a few mysteries, and it probably is my favorite genre of movie (sadly all but extinct). My mom is a big fan of Midsomer Murders, but I think I've only seen a few episodes.

I'm hopeful that the Miss Silver books will see the mystery take on a greater role in the story going forward. A couple of us, lyzard and rosalita, are reading them slowly in order. This month is The Clock Strikes Twelve. I'm sure we'd welcome another reader when we get to one of those you own.

Thanks re the weekend. If the weather cooperates, we may manage antiquing trips on both days, but we'll see.

Nov 9, 2017, 9:22am

129. Old Irish Wisdom Attributed to Aldrith of Northumbria: An Edition of Bríathra Flainn Fhína maic Ossu, ed. and trans. by Colin A. Ireland

King Aldfrith of Northumbria (ruled AD 685 – 704/5), son of King Oswiu of Northumbria and an Irish princess named Fín, was not originally destined for the throne, but rather was trained for a career in the church. Upon his half-brother Ecgfrith’s death at the Battle of Nechtansmere, Aldfrith was called from the Isle of Iona, site of a prominent monastery, to rule. He was noted for his learning.

The Bríathra Flainn Fhína maic Ossu is a collection of proverbs or maxims attributed to the wise King Aldfrith (Flann Fína, son of Oswiu). This example of wisdom literature survives in Middle Irish, organized chiefly around the first word or words of each group of saws. Recommended.

First line of the text: “Ad·cota sochell saidbres.” (“Generosity engenders wealth.”)

Nov 9, 2017, 9:22am

>36 harrygbutler: Yes, that first chapter of Miss Silver Intervenes was a bit of misdirection, wasn't it? And is that the cover of your copy? Even worse misdirection! But I'm glad you ended up liking it in the end, as did I. It feels like Wentworth is hitting her stride regarding how she wants to structure the series, and while I don't mind a romantic subplot or two, I'm glad that the mysteries are starting to take center stage.

>39 karenmarie: Yes, indeed! We'd love to have read along with us, Karen. The more, the merrier!

Nov 9, 2017, 9:37am

>42 rosalita: Hi, Julia! Yes, that is the cover of my copy. Then, when I started the book, I thought, Oh, no! Will there even be a mystery? :-)

I'm happy to have romance in my mysteries, indeed sometimes I'm disappointed when there isn't, but I definitely want them to be mysteries.

Edited: Nov 9, 2017, 12:46pm

>40 harrygbutler: I have never been a big fan of mysteries, though in the last 20+ years I've come to enjoy several series.

I remember watching Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes in the PBS series "Mystery!". Now that I've read all the original books, plus the Laurie R. King Russell/Holmes pastiche, I think he was perfect in the role.

And I loved the opening animation for Mystery!, too!


Nov 9, 2017, 1:23pm

>44 fuzzi: That is an excellent intro!

Brett is Erika's favorite Holmes. I grew up on Basil Rathbone, however, and while I can appreciate others in the role (and have seen plenty, both older and newer), and can acknowledge the liberties taken with the characters in the Universal films (and the radio show, which I've only listened to in recent years), he's still my favorite.

Nov 10, 2017, 8:22am

Hi Harry and happy Friday to you.

Thank you for the offer re Patricia Highsmith - I don't have any of the Miss Silver series and only the first Tom Ripley. The only other one of hers I have is The Price of Salt. I'll start keeping an eye out for them, but with a TBR of 1,791 books and way too many purchased recently, I may have to pass for a while on new ones. Of course I just got a book bullet on my own thread - streamsong mentioned A Chrismas Memory by Truman Capote. I've heard of it, and decided I just had to have it. Sigh. 1,792.

Nov 10, 2017, 11:48am

>46 karenmarie: Thanks, Karen!

It looks like we were talking of two different authors: Patricia Wentworth (author of the Miss Silver books) and Patricia Highsmith (author of the Tom Ripley). I haven't read anything by Highsmith that I can recall, as the Tom Ripley books don't sound appealing.

I avoid worrying about my TBR list by not keeping track. :-) But my book wish lists do keep growing, too. I just finished an anthology of short Tamil works in translation and liked them well enough that I'll be getting the succeeding volumes at some point. And over on her thread Gail (bohemima) mentioned a book that sounded good, so I'll be looking out for the works of George Bellairs now, too.

Nov 10, 2017, 11:55am

Yikes. Okay, regroup Karen.

I don't have any Wentworth. Still applies - I'll keep an eye out for her.

Nov 10, 2017, 6:25pm

Speaking of adding books to one's collection, I dropped off a box full of books to the only used book store in town, and came home with eleven replacements, argh.

harrygbutler, I found a bunch of Black Stallion books in paperback, so I grabbed ones I did not own and are coming up on the challenge:

The Black Stallion's Sulky Colt
The Island Stallion Races

and one that's not in the series, but I recall being a good read:

The Horse Tamer

And seven westerns by Elmer Kelton.

No Alistair MacLean :(

Nov 10, 2017, 6:47pm

>49 fuzzi: Some good finds! Too bad about the lack of MacLeans, though.

I'm not sure whether I'll find any books over the weekend. We're going to go to one antique mall, but it is a return trip to a place we visited quite recently, to check on a single item. If we manage a stop at a second shop I may have some luck.

Nov 10, 2017, 7:45pm

>50 harrygbutler: good hunting!

Nov 10, 2017, 10:55pm

>51 fuzzi: Thanks!

Nov 11, 2017, 8:34am

Morning, Harry! Happy Saturday. Getting ready to head out on an organized bird walk. I better bundle up first, it is COLD out there. I hope the birds show up.

Enjoy your day.

Nov 11, 2017, 8:45am

Hi Harry and happy Saturday to you. I hope you have a great time with the train show and antiquing.

Nov 13, 2017, 9:14am

>53 msf59: Thanks, Mark!

>54 karenmarie: Thanks, Karen! The train show was good, if rather too crowded. The antiquing was a bit of a bust for both of us. Oh, well. Next time!

Nov 13, 2017, 10:47am

130. The Curse of Doone, by Sydney Horler

Secret agent Ian Heath heads to Dartmoor to investigate mysterious goings-on that threaten a young woman whom he has met and already once saved from death in a crowded street. A failed attempt on his own life gives him a chance to fake his death and assume a false identity (which he does more than once), but his ruse and disguises seem to fool no one. Indeed, perhaps all that makes the inept Heath successful in thwarting the Teutonic villains, who are after a valuable invention, is their even greater incompetence. The story moved along reasonably well, but it isn’t very good — it lives down to the level of the Mystery League books. Not recommended.

Nov 13, 2017, 2:05pm

Weekly Pulp Reading #1: Short Stories, March 25, 1948 (Vol. 203, #6)

  • “The Shooter’s Corner” (column)

  • “Story About a Cat” (novelette)

  • “Flash Flood”

  • “Curioddities” (column)

  • “Your Bones in the Brush” (serial, part two of four)

  • “Men Who Wouldn’t Die” (column)

  • “Too Much Water”

  • “Bush Rookie”

  • “A Turn Over for Tony” (a complete novel)

  • “The Letter of Deception”

  • “Homeward Bound with Death”

  • “The Story Tellers’ Circle” (column)

  • “The Ends-of-the-Earth Club” (column)

As I mentioned in a previous post, Short Stories was one of the preeminent pulp magazines, publishing weekly for much of its run. It thus seemed a good choice to start with as I begin my project of tackling a pulp issue a week.

This issue, for the week of Sept. 25, 1948, is from nearly the end of the weekly run of the magazine, but it still delivers a solid lineup. The columns were an interesting mix: the first, “The Shooter’s Corner,” dealt with telescopic sights; “Curioddities” was an illustrated trivia column à la Ripley’s Believe It or Not; “Men Who Wouldn’t Die” an account of a man who survived more than one industrial accident; “The Story Tellers’ Circle” contained tidbits from authors in the issue; and “The Ends-of-the-Earth Club” was essentially a pen pal column. “Story About a Cat” gets the issue off to a solid start, with a story of crooks muscling in on a disabled veteran’s business, and how their plot is thwarted by the joint efforts of the man whose life the veteran had saved and his girlfriend; sadly, the title is misleading, and the cat actually plays very little part in the story. “Flash Flood” is a story of flood waters threatening a railroad and a special train traveling the line. “Too Much Water” and “The Letter of Deception” are both westerns, the former a tale of a man framed for murder and bank robbery, marred a bit by an unrealistic escape, the latter one of a series dealing with unconventional range detectives Smoky Smith and Dug Evans, which was serviceable but unremarkable. The serial novel, “Your Bones in the Brush,” whose second part appears in this issue, also appears to be a western, but I’ve deferred reading it until I manage to accumulate all the parts. “Bush Rookie” is a slight, dated story of a hunt for a fugitive murderer in Australia. “A Turn Over for Tony” was a pleasant surprise to me; it’s a boxing story, and I’m not a big fan of boxing or of boxing fiction, but this example, with a focus on a villainous manager getting his comeuppance, kept me interested throughout. “Homeward Bound with Death” is the tale of an investigation of suspicious deaths at sea; it is probably the weakest story in the issue, with an abrupt ending.

All in all, I was quite pleased with this issue, and I’m looking forward to continuing with the rest of the pulp magazines I got at Pulp Adventurecon. This week I’m reading the September 1932 issue of Railroad Stories, and so far I’m enjoying it.

Nov 14, 2017, 5:47am

Good morning, Harry, and happy Tuesday to you.

Sorry the antiquing was a bust. Were you on a particular mission, or just out and about to see fun things?

Nov 14, 2017, 6:44am

Morning, Harry. Hope the week is off to a good start. I will be wrapping up One More Warbler today. It is a good memoir on an esteemed/beloved birder, but I could never afford these kind of exotic birding adventures but a guy can dream, right?

Nov 14, 2017, 7:43am

>58 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! The antiquing was a combination of both — a return to a couple shops for things we'd seen before and were considering, and a more general visit to an antiques mall we'd not visited in a while. We'll do some more generalized searching at more distant shops this coming weekend, where we'll be more likely to find something appealing (since we've not been to them more than once).

Nov 14, 2017, 7:44am

>59 msf59: Good morning, Mark! Birding tours do seem like they might be fun, but there are so many other contenders for vacationing that it's unlikely we'll ever go on one, either.

Nov 15, 2017, 8:17am

131. Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves, by P. G. Wodehouse

Bertie Wooster finds himself embroiled once again with the Bassett family, back again at Totleigh Towers, scene of previous misadventures, as he endeavors to ensure that his friend Gussie remains engaged to Madeline Bassett despite her enjoining vegetarianism, so that he himself isn’t dragged into matrimony by the woman, who is convinced Bertie pines with love for her. Complicating matters are the scheming of Stiffy Byng, who is intent on getting her fiancé a vicarage and having Bertie right an imagined wrong, and the presence of a cook willing to offer Gussie the food he is being denied. A pleasant assortment of mishaps, with Jeeves on hand to help sort things out. Recommended.

First sentence: “I marmaladed a slice of toast with something of a flourish, and I don’t suppose I have ever come much closer to saying ‘Tra-la-la’ as I did the lathering, for I was feeling in mid-season form this morning.”

Nov 15, 2017, 7:22pm

>62 harrygbutler: I LOVE Wodehouse, especially Jeeves and Wooster! Good reading!

Karen O.

Nov 15, 2017, 7:51pm

>63 klobrien2: Hi, Karen! Thanks for stopping by! I've been reading the series in order and have just a couple more to go. It has been a fun trip.

Nov 16, 2017, 10:22am

132. Vampire's Honeymoon, by Cornell Woolrich

My Halloween-oriented reading in October was this collection of four stories by Cornell Woolrich. The stories, originally published in various pulp magazines, ranged from horror to weird menace. The title story, “Vampire’s Honeymoon,” falls squarely in the former camp, a grim tale of doom. The second story, “Graves for the Living,” is a weird story of crime told by a protagonist suffering from fear of premature burial. “I’m Dangerous Tonight” is an account of a demonic dress that drives its wearer to betray and to kill, finally thwarted by a disgraced detective and the woman who rescues him from self-destruction. The final story, “The Street of Jungle Death,” involves killings blamed on an escaped leopard, though a police detective thinks there’s a human being behind the attacks. Recommended.

Nov 16, 2017, 6:24pm

Hi Harry!

>62 harrygbutler: I don't think I've ever heard 'marmaladed' before. It's striking, and the sentence as a whole is a joy.

Hope you've had a good Thursday.

Edited: Nov 16, 2017, 6:33pm

>65 harrygbutler:

The Street Of Jungle Death is the basis for the Val Lewton-produced film, The Leopard Man, yes?

Nov 16, 2017, 8:20pm

>66 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! That was a new verb for me, too. :-)

Wodehouse's work is filled with such exquisite sentences, and short passages, that I always look forward to getting back to his novels and stories.

Nov 16, 2017, 8:24pm

>67 lyzard: I believe you're right, Liz! I didn't realize it at the time, though I found it reminiscent of something. And that reminds me I should revisit all the Lewton pictures again. My dad saw The Cat People in a theater as a young boy and still recalls how effective it was.

Nov 17, 2017, 7:04am

Morning, Harry. Happy Friday. I am still looking for pepper suet. The only one I found here was 5 bucks a block. That is ridiculous. My daughter found another place that sells it much cheaper but it is quite a distance away. I will persevere...

Nov 17, 2017, 7:15am

>70 msf59: Wow, that's pricey. One variety we've gotten in the past is C & S Hot Pepper Delight, for under $2 apiece, which we've been able to find at Lowe's, Home Depot, and Walmart. I know there are other varieties available, but I can't recall which we may have tried.

Nov 17, 2017, 8:14am

Good morning, Harry!

There are some good hot pepper suet options on Amazon, but you have to buy a 12-pack to get the benefit, otherwise they're from $3 to $6/each.

Nov 18, 2017, 7:12am

>72 karenmarie: Thanks for the tip, Karen! We usually buy our suet in quantity so that we're not constantly heading to the store to get more during the times when it goes quickly.

Nov 18, 2017, 4:30pm

Today I managed to catch the tail-end of a book sale that spans multiple days. It was bag sale day -- a large bag for $10. What was left was rather picked over (most of the remaining vintage books were in terrible shape, for example), but I did manage to come up with 21 books to bring home. Some were definitely "bag sale books" that would have remained behind had I been buying each book separately, but there were others that I would have bought at regular price at the sale.

First Come, First Kill, by Richard Lockridge
Tragedy at the Unicorn, by John Rhode
When a Man Marries, by Mary Roberts Rinehart

Louis L’Amour short story collections
The Collected Short Stories of Louis L'Amour: The Frontier Stories: Volume One, by Louis L'Amour
The Collected Short Stories of Louis L'Amour: The Frontier Stories: Volume Two, by Louis L'Amour
The Collected Short Stories of Louis L'Amour: The Frontier Stories: Volume Three, by Louis L'Amour
The Collected Short Stories of Louis L'Amour: The Adventure Stories: Volume Four, by Louis L'Amour

Adventure (including western)
Silvertip's Strike, by Max Brand
Gunsmoke Bonanza, by Weston Clay
Message from Málaga, by Helen MacInnes
Armageddon, by Leon Uris

Silly Business: A New Collection of Cartoons from the Saturday Evening Post, ed. by Marione R. Derrickson & John Bailey
Dennis the Menace—I Done It My Way, by Hank Ketcham

Children’s Books
The Launch Boys' Cruise in the Deerfoot, by Edward S. Ellis
The Battleship Boys in the Tropics; or, Upholding the American Flag in a Honduras Revolution, by Frank Gee Patchin

Horses' Heads in Oils and Pastels, by Don Schwartz

Science Fiction
Fire Time, by Poul Anderson
Janissaries, by Jerry Pournelle

Riley Songs of Home, by James Whitcomb Riley

Paying Guests, by E. F. Benson
Limits and Renewals, by Rudyard Kipling

Nov 18, 2017, 6:06pm

>74 harrygbutler: nice bag, especially the Louis L'Amour collections. Are they in hardcover or paperback?

Nov 18, 2017, 6:29pm

>75 fuzzi: Thanks! They're hardcover, but two different sizes, so not exactly a matching set. :-) I had seen stray individual volumes around but hadn't bothered with them because I have nearly all his books in the Bantam leatherette edition (just four more to go). At effectively free, though, I couldn't pass them up. :-) I know there are a few more volumes, so I'll probably get them when I run across them.

Nov 18, 2017, 7:24pm

>64 harrygbutler: Wodehouse...I'm reading Jeeves and Wooster chronologically, too--I'm on the huge book of short stories called The World of Jeeves (hmm...must get back to that sometime).

Have I asked you before if you've seen the TV version with Hugh Laurie and Steven Fry? Those two seem like the perfect pair to play Wooster and Jeeves.

Karen O.

Nov 18, 2017, 7:46pm

>77 klobrien2: Hi, Karen! I don't have that volume, but it seems like something to watch for. We got most of the Collector's Wodehouse books put out by Overlook Press, save for a few we already had in nice hardcover editions, so I'll probably tackle one of the stand-alone novels, or one of the Blandings or Psmith books, before I go back to Jeeves & Wooster.

I have seen the Laurie and Fry version (though not all of the episodes). They are indeed quite good as the characters.

Edited: Nov 19, 2017, 5:32am

TRAGEDY AT THE UNICORN!!!! Man, that one is really rare!

ETA: Is 'The Battleship Boys' a Stratemeyer series? It sounds like one from the double-barrelled title / subtitle.

Nov 19, 2017, 5:22am

>79 lyzard: So that was a decent find for a bag sale? :-)

The Battleship Boys belongs to a competitor, Henry Altemus. Here's a site on that publisher: http://www.henryaltemus.com/

I'm guessing that that title style was simply a popular one for children's books, perhaps thanks to Stratemeyer's success.

Nov 19, 2017, 6:28am

>76 harrygbutler: I just own the Frontier ones, though I've read the others.

Did you see that Louis L'Amour's estate has published a volume of unfinished manuscripts, Louis L'Amour's Lost Treasures: Volume 1: Unfinished Manuscripts, Mysterious Stories, and Lost Notes from One of the World's Most Popular Novelists? I need to request it at the library.

Nov 19, 2017, 7:04am

Hi Harry and happy Sunday to you.

>74 harrygbutler: Bag days are always fun, and it sounds like you picked up some great things. It's easy to stuff a bag with things you might not necessarily get otherwise.

Nov 19, 2017, 9:35am

Morning Harry! Happy Sunday. There was an organized bird walk I would have liked to have attended but I would of had to be out of the house before 7 and I did not feel it and plus it is only in the low 30s out there at the moment.

Enjoy your day.

Nov 19, 2017, 3:13pm

>80 harrygbutler:

You could say so, yes. :)

I don't think I've read any of the Altemus series. They seem more boy-centric than the Stratemeyers. (Which is merely an observation, not an explanation: I grew up on the Willard Price "Adventure" series and the Three Investigators!)

Nov 21, 2017, 8:43am

>82 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! Thanks. Yep, bag sales are great for getting books to try.

>83 msf59: Hi, Mark! Winter birding can certainly be a challenge. I've spent some frigid mornings being buffeted by winds coming over icy marshland while looking for ducks and other fowl.

>84 lyzard: Hi, Liz! I haven't read much in the way of older juvenile series. I had the full Automobile Girls set for some time but never read any of the volumes.

Nov 21, 2017, 8:45am

We were on the road Sunday and Monday, but we were able to break up our trip a bit with some antiquing stops. The pickings were slim, but I did pick up a few books, which I'll add to LT once I have the chance.

Nov 21, 2017, 9:16am

>84 lyzard: Oh, I loved the Three Investigators! That junkyard seemed like a magical place, didn't it?

Nov 21, 2017, 9:32am

For my second weekly pulp magazine reading, I went with the September 1932 issue of Railroad Stories. Founded as The Railroad Man's Magazine in 1906, as one of the first (if not the first) specialized pulps, the magazine merged with Argosy in 1919 but was revived at the start of the 1930s. Its title was later simplified to Railroad,. It survived in this form until 1979, when it was merged with Carstens Publications' Railfan to form Railfan & Railroad, which is still published today, by White River Productions.

This issue is an interesting mix. There are several instances of short fiction, including tales of disasters and humorous stories. There is a part of a serial, which I began reading before realizing it was only a portion of a novel, which was easily the worst-written of the fiction, so I didn't mind having to skip it.

Aside from the fiction, there was some nonfiction content, including a capsule biography of Jesse James, of interest for the magazine's readers because of his role as a train robber. There was also more railfan-type material, such as a list of locomotives on one of the railroads. And then there was surprisingly a whole section devoted to model railroading — very early in the history of the hobby, when nearly everything needed to be built by the hobbyist.

I have several other issues of the magazine, and I'm looking forward to reading more because of my interest in railroads, but I don't know that it would have much appeal for a general fiction reader.

Nov 22, 2017, 9:04am

Hi Harry and happy Wednesday to you!

Any special plans for Thanksgiving?

Nov 22, 2017, 9:21am

>89 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! We'll be spending Thanksgiving with my parents. As usual, my Dad and I will take care of the turkey and the stuffing, but this year we'll probably handle most of the rest of the meal as well. A fair amount of reading is likely to get done.

Nov 22, 2017, 7:34pm

>90 harrygbutler: Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 23, 2017, 7:12am

Happy Thanksgiving, Harry. Enjoy the holiday, my friend.

Nov 23, 2017, 7:13am

Happy Thanksgiving, Harry! Yay to good food and a fair amount of reading!

Nov 23, 2017, 9:27am

Nov 23, 2017, 10:46am

Travels took us to some new or rarely visited antique stores, and so far I've managed to find a few books.

Mystery and Crime
Wings of Fear, by Mignon G. Eberhart (1945)
The Blue Talisman, by Fergus Hume (1925)
Bodies in Bedlam, by Richard S. Prather (1952; a Shell Scott paperback)
The Soul Scar, by Arthur B. Reeve (1919; a Craig Kennedy novel)

Historical Adventure
Bird of Freedom, by Hugh Pendexter (1928)

Sky-Pilot Cowboy, by Walt Coburn (1937)

Georgie and the Magician, by Robert Bright (1966; perhaps my favorite series for small children)

Nov 23, 2017, 12:19pm

Wishing a Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating it today.

Nov 23, 2017, 12:19pm

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

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

I am thankful that you are part of this group.

I am thankful for this opportunity to say thank you.

Nov 23, 2017, 12:29pm

>97 PaulCranswick: Thank you, Paul! I'm grateful for the people I've come to know thanks to LT and this group.

Nov 23, 2017, 12:29pm

133. The Wrong Letter, by Walter S. Masterman

The murder of a prominent politician sees the involvement of both Scotland Yard and a noted criminologist. There is no shortage of suspects, and though the police and the private investigator seem cooperative, each withholds some information as they race toward a solution to the mystery, which may involve an apparently unrelated master blackmailer’s activities. A fairly effective twist leads to a climactic chase, marred by a deus ex machina end to the pursuit. A feature of the edition I had was a foreword by G. K. Chesterton. Mildly recommended.

First sentence: “The telephone bell rang on the table of Superintendent Sinclair of Scotland Yard.”

Nov 23, 2017, 4:22pm

>87 rosalita:

Oh, hell, yes! :D

>95 harrygbutler:

Another great haul!

Nov 23, 2017, 7:49pm

>96 harrygbutler: I hope you had a good Thanksgiving!

Nov 24, 2017, 7:25am

Good morning, Harry! and echoing fuzzi, hope you had a good Thanksgiving.

Nov 24, 2017, 9:20am

>100 lyzard: Thanks, Liz! I'm hoping for decent book-hunting luck this weekend. It is possible I'll manage a visit to the Mechanicsburg Mystery Bookshop (https://www.mysterybooksonline.com/), where I've had some luck finding older mysteries in the past.

Nov 24, 2017, 9:23am

>101 fuzzi: Thank you, and I hope the same was true for you! Ours was a good time.

>102 karenmarie: Good morning, Karen! It was good, thanks.

Nov 25, 2017, 7:38pm

We didn't have too much luck finding antique malls that fit our travel plans yesterday and today, but a visit to one yesterday netted me a Captain Heimrich mystery by the Lockridges, Foggy, Foggy Death, and one of the volumes I still needed for the Mystery League challenge I'm pursuing with lyzard: Van Wyck Mason's Spider House.

Today we stopped in at the Mechanicsburg Mystery Bookshop in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania (https://www.mysterybooksonline.com/). They had a Small Business Saturday event going on, so I ended up with three books (two of them new) for the price of one: Death of a Busybody, by George Bellairs; Serpents in Eden: Countryside Crimes, ed. by Martin Edwards; and Merlin's Furlong, by Gladys Mitchell. I was particularly happy to get the latter two for free, as I didn't really like Edwards' editorial selections in Resorting to Murder and would likely have skipped Serpents in Eden, and I'm still uncertain enough about whether I actually will like Gladys Mitchell's Mrs. Bradley mysteries that I would probably have balked at buying Merlin's Furlong.

Nov 25, 2017, 9:52pm

>105 harrygbutler: I see you nabbed some TBSL books!

Nov 26, 2017, 9:34am

Hope that you will have a great Sunday to round off the long holiday weekend, Harry.

Nov 26, 2017, 10:37pm

>106 fuzzi: Yep! I've had some good fortune in finding them.

>107 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul! It was a quiet day, but I got some good reading time in.

Nov 27, 2017, 6:56am

134. The Blaft Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction, trans. by Pritham K. Chakravarthy and ed. by Rakesh Khanna

A huge volume of popular fiction has been published in Tamil, with weekly magazines in abundance and incredibly prolific authors such as Rajesh Kumar, who as of 2008 had written more than 1,250 novels and more than 2,000 short stories. In that year, Chennai-based Blaft Publications brought out its first anthology of Tamil stories in English translation. The collection contains works ranging from the 1960s (a story with the popular detective Shankarlal) to 2007, with crime and detective fiction predominating, though science fiction, fantasy, and romance are also represented. Not all were equally appealing, but I enjoyed enough of them that I'll be picking up the other two anthologies Blaft has issued to date. Recommended.

Nov 27, 2017, 7:52am

Morning, Harry. I hope you had a nice holiday weekend. It looks like it will be upper-50s here today. No complaints from me.

Nov 27, 2017, 8:42am

>110 msf59: Good morning, Mark! It is supposed to be in the 50s pretty much all week here, with the warmest day on Wednesday.

Nov 27, 2017, 9:39am

Hi Harry! Happy Monday to you.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend.

>109 harrygbutler: I love that cover art!

Nov 27, 2017, 10:07am

>112 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! I think the cover may show one of the detectives from a story series with an example included, but I'm not sure. The anthology also included plenty of images of covers of the many Tamil story and novel magazines, some in full color.

Nov 28, 2017, 7:32am

Argosy was one of the major pulp magazines from the Frank A. Munsey Co. Indeed, it is credited with kicking off the pulp era in 1896. A weekly for much of its pulp run, it changed to a slick-paper magazine in World War 2 and lasted in that form, with changes in content, until 1978. As was common with many pulps, it was merged with others, including The All-Story, which is notable, among other things, as the venue for the first appearance of Tarzan and John Carter of Mars. Throughout the 1920s the magazine was published as Argosy All-Story Weekly, and the issue I read this past week dates from this period of its history.

The January 26, 1929, issue is likely typical of the time: Serials make up much of the content, which renders it difficult to get full value out of a single issue. Still, the title novelette, "Whirlwind Walsh," by J. Allan Dunn, is an effective northern adventure. "The Golden Tornado," by Bertrand L. Shurtleff, is an OK story of a traveling show and disaster striking the horse tent. James W. Egan's "The Ghost of Gamblin' Dan" is a slight but amusing western. The final story, "Poachers' Paradise," wasn't good. Better was the very brief "true" ghost tale, "The Haunted Forest of Classis."

I'll withhold judgment on the issue as a whole until I'm able to read the serials, but I was pleased enough with the contents to order a bunch of other issues of Argosy All-Story Weekly from Adventure House, a dealer in pulps and publisher of pulp reprints. I'm hoping I'll be able to read at least one of the serials completely fairly soon.

Nov 28, 2017, 8:23am

>114 harrygbutler: We'll look forward to seeing your reaction to other serials.

Nov 28, 2017, 8:39am

Morning, Harry. Let's hope our mild weather continues. Fingers crossed. I have the day off but not sure I will go for a hike.

Nov 28, 2017, 9:04am

>115 thornton37814: Hi, Lori! There's more to come!

>116 msf59: Hi, Mark! I'm enjoying the mild weather as well, though I don't expect to do much hiking about in it.

Nov 28, 2017, 9:07am

Hi Harry and happy Tuesday to you!

Was it Argosy or some other magazine that had pinup girls? Not naked Playboy types, but definitely provocative.

Nov 28, 2017, 9:17am

>118 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! That might indeed have been Argosy toward the end of its run (1960s and 1970s), but there's nothing like that in the pulp era of the magazine, at least in what I've seen.

Nov 28, 2017, 8:33pm

Nov 28, 2017, 9:06pm

>120 fuzzi: Next up is an issue of Ranch Romances from 1945: so far, so good.

Nov 29, 2017, 4:31am

>114 harrygbutler: It's funny to see you posting about Argosy now, Harry. I just re-read The Green Mile, and the evil prison guard always has an issue of Argosy in his back pocket. I seem to recall they were one of Stephen King's first publication credits, so no surprise he pays homage to them in his novels now and again.

Nov 29, 2017, 6:24am

Good morning, Harry, and happy Wednesday to you.

The Green Mile is a good'un. Have you read it? I finally just got rid of a bunch of unread Stephen King's early books (It, The Tommyknockers, etc.) but like books since about Duma Key just fine.

Nov 29, 2017, 8:06am

>122 rosalita: Hi, Julia! I'm not sure how much of an homage giving the publication to the evil guard would be. :-) I wonder if he felt he was poorly handled by the publication.

>123 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! I've not read The Green Mile. I stopped reading King around the time editors seemed to stop curbing his logorrheic tendencies. I'll take the recommendation into consideration should I run across a copy, though.

Nov 29, 2017, 8:11am

135. The Black Stallion's Filly, by Walter Farley

In one of the best entries in the Black Stallion series, Henry at last has a horse of his own: Black Minx, the first daughter of the Black. A poor showing in her first race makes it possible for Henry to buy her, but he must undo her prior poor training and mistreatment if he hopes to make her into a viable racehorse — and he has his sights set on her running in the Kentucky Derby. Well-crafted and consistently absorbing. Highly recommended.

First sentence: “The following sports column written by Jim Neville appeared in newspapers throughout the United States on November 14th.”

Nov 29, 2017, 12:47pm

>125 harrygbutler: woo! You finally got to it!

I'm keeping my copy of The Black Stallion's Filly for yet another reread in the future. I love Minx, and enjoy reading how Henry goes through retraining her.

Nov 29, 2017, 3:57pm

Hi, Harry.

Speaking of The Argosy, I'm (theoretically) in the process of wrapping up John McIntyre's Ashton-Kirk series at the moment. However, there was a final Ashton-Kirk story called "Struck Down" that was never published in book form, but only serialised in The Argosy in 1918. I was wondering if you'd encountered it at all? (I don't know if your Argosy-s are that old.)

Nov 29, 2017, 4:16pm

>126 fuzzi: Yep! It really was a good novel. I don't think I'll get to The Black Stallion Revolts before the end of the month, though I've begun Night Without End.

Nov 29, 2017, 4:49pm

Hi, Liz! Unfortunately, I have not. The issues I just ordered this week are all from 1928 and 1929. I'll keep an eye out for 1918 issues, though I don't expect I'll be at another pulp convention until next November. (There's a bare chance I'll make it to one next summer, but I don't really expect to go to that one.)

Nov 29, 2017, 5:06pm

It's not important: I'm not so taken with the series I feel the need to hunt down this stray story, though of course the fact that there is one out there is bugging my OCD.

Certainly don't go looking for it, though if you find anything along the way, well, that would be different... :)

Nov 29, 2017, 5:13pm

Sure. I've felt that way about a few series myself. :-) But I guess it must be fairly long, longer than a short story, as it was serialized over five issues. The odds of my running into that many in a row are slim.

Nov 29, 2017, 9:18pm

>128 harrygbutler: I'll go dig out Night Without End, then!

Nov 29, 2017, 9:56pm

>132 fuzzi: I'm about 50 pages in and quite enjoying it. I would have gotten farther this evening but ended up finishing up an issue of Ranch Romances instead.

Nov 30, 2017, 5:35am

Good morning, Harry!

Nov 30, 2017, 6:37am

Morning, Harry. Sweet Thursday. I hope the work week is going smoothly.

Nov 30, 2017, 9:26am

>134 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! You were posting early today.

>135 msf59: Good morning, Mark! We're wrapping up a big project today and kicked off another yesterday, so the work week is going fairly well.

Nov 30, 2017, 9:27am

>136 harrygbutler: Yup. I was tired so went to bed early last night, got 7 1/2 hours of sleep, and got up at 4:30. Coffee and books called. I don't panic any more when I'm up early because I know I can take a nap if I want to. *smile*

Nov 30, 2017, 9:34am

>137 karenmarie: I can understand that, though I still have work to get in the way of napping. :-)

Nov 30, 2017, 9:36am

>138 harrygbutler: I hesitated whether to gloat write about napping, but figured you wouldn't mind too terribly.

Nov 30, 2017, 9:55am

>139 karenmarie: Nah, it doesn't bother me. Snooze away! :-)

Dec 1, 2017, 2:32pm

136. Murderer's Trail, by J. Jefferson Farjeon

Murderer’s Trail is another good entry in J. Jefferson Farjeon’s Ben the Tramp series. Fleeing a murderer after stumbling over the body of the victim, Ben takes refuge in a docked ship. An unexpected and unlikely ally saves his life, but Ben soon discovers that the murderer is aboard, tangled up with others in a larger criminal plot. The action moves to the coast of Spain, with captures, kidnappings, killings, and more — including a rather nice ending. Recommended!

Dec 2, 2017, 7:04am

Morning, Harry. Happy Saturday. We will enjoy our last mild weekend of the year, (the averages are with me). Things turn winter like next week.

Dec 3, 2017, 6:56pm

>142 msf59: Thanks, Mark! It has been a good weekend. We should have mild temperatures through Wednesday, but then more seasonal weather is expected to move in.

Dec 3, 2017, 6:56pm

137. The 65 Lakh Heist, by Surender Mohan Pathak

Prolific Indian writer Surender Mohan Pathak has three notable novel series to his credit: two starring detectives and the third featuring a “good” criminal, Vimal. The fourth entry in that series, originally published in Hindi as Painsatth Lakh ki Dacoity in 1977, was published in English translation by Chennai-based Blaft Publications in 2009. Vimal is coerced into helping out with a bank robbery, and a double-cross puts him on the road to vengeance, while also racing against other criminals in pursuit of the loot. Though not exactly good, Vimal is better, or at least more sympathetic, than the other criminals. The novel features a fair amount of violence, though the author doesn’t linger on it, and the account of the aftermath of the caper was effective. The whole reminded me to some extent of the 1967 Lee Marvin movie Point Blank. I’ll likely pick up the other volume in the series that has been translated, and I’ll certainly be on the lookout for examples of the other series. Moderately recommended.

Dec 3, 2017, 7:07pm

>144 harrygbutler: You do turn them up, Harry.

Never heard of him actually but I will look out for him now!

Dec 3, 2017, 7:11pm

>145 PaulCranswick: harrygbutler is an expensive friend to have...I'm now hooked on the Prince Valiant series he recommended, and they're not cheap! ;)

Dec 3, 2017, 7:33pm

>145 PaulCranswick: He was new to me, too, Paul. Blaft has put out two of his books in English translation, along with English translations of other Indian detective and crime novels. I'm glad to be able to at least sample such a sizeable popular literature.

>146 fuzzi: :-)

Dec 4, 2017, 7:12am

Hi Harry, and happy Monday to you!

>141 harrygbutler: Ah, ya got me! I just bought the first in the Ben the Tramp series, No. 17 for my Kindle.

Dec 4, 2017, 9:49am

>148 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! No. 17 definitely betrays its origins as a play, and it has some dated elements, but I have found Ben a tremendously sympathetic character. I'll almost certainly read the next in the rather short series this month sometime.

Edited: Dec 13, 2017, 7:58pm

The latest in my weekly pulp magazine reading was a pleasant discovery. Ranch Romances was a successful and long-lived pulp blending romance and western, with a 47-year run (more than 860 issues) ending with a final issue in November 1971. For nearly half its existence, from 1929 to 1953, it was edited by Fanny Ellsworth, who also edited the detective pulp Black Mask during the late 1930s.

Leading off the biweekly issue published as the First December Number for 1945 (with an issue date of November 30) is a well-done western novel, “Hacienda Hide-Out,” in which Dave Laramie investigates the murder of his foster father, possibly at the hands of those backing Travis Frane in his campaign for mayor, which Keith Thorpe had opposed. Conny Archer, daughter of a neighboring rancher, helps Dave, and finds her interest in him growing, though it has long been expected that Dave will marry Gail Marland, Thorpe’s niece, in accordance with Thorpe’s wishes. Action-packed and effective.

The short stories were a mixed bag. “Trouble Comes Riding,” by Joseph Chadwick, was solid, but “Rangeland Partner,” by L. Lindley Mulkey, had a bit too much crammed into its brief length. In “The Real Cupid,” Yuna Trawl saves her friend Bernie Collins from a lynching and then investigates in an effort to clear him of a framed-up murder charge. This was perhaps my favorite of the short stories, though the explanation of the title was a little silly. “Pepper for a Buckaroo,” the fourth short story, was the only one by an author whose name I already knew, Wayne D. Overholser. It was by far the weakest of the stories; I certainly hope Overholser’s novels are better.

The issue also has parts of two serials, which I skipped until I can read them in their entirety. Other features include “Know Your West, a Quiz,” which I found educational; “Out of the Chutes,” with news on rodeos and stampedes, including, but not limited to, the famous Calgary Stampede; a column for readers seeking pen pals; and an astrology column, “Whom Shall I Marry?”

Though quite popular during its long run, Ranch Romances is not a particularly collectible pulp today, and issues can be had for quite reasonable prices. I got this issue for just a dollar, and I’ll certainly be seeking out more. Highly recommended!

Dec 4, 2017, 6:07pm

>150 harrygbutler: I wonder if Louis L'Amour was published in Ranch Romances? I know he wrote under different pseudonyms and for a variety of pulp magazines.

Dec 4, 2017, 6:24pm

>151 fuzzi: According to the The Western & Frontier Fiction Magazine Index (http://www.philsp.com/homeville/wfi/s304.htm#A4284), he had only one short story in Ranch Romances as an original, in the First September Number of 1952 (http://www.philsp.com/homeville/wfi/t245.htm#A6052), but a few other stories were reprinted in later issues of Ranch Romances. He had a couple in Rodeo Romances, too.

Dec 4, 2017, 6:31pm

>152 harrygbutler: wow, that was fast detective work, thanks!

Dec 4, 2017, 6:34pm

Hi, Harry. I hope your Monday work-load went smoothly. We are going to feature Louis L'Amour on the AAC, next year. Just sayin'...

Dec 5, 2017, 4:29am

Good morning, Harry, and happy Tuesday to you.

Interesting bit about Ranch Romances, and I love the title Sage in My Soul.

Dec 5, 2017, 7:10am

>128 harrygbutler: did you finish Night Without End? I started it a couple days ago, finished it up late last night.

Dec 5, 2017, 8:04am

>153 fuzzi: Luckily I recalled that there were indices at the same site that has all the pulp covers, and one happened to be an index for western pulp fiction.

>154 msf59: That's good to know, Mark. I'll watch for it when it comes around.

Dec 5, 2017, 8:07am

>155 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! Sage in My Soul is the serial that started in this issue, so I haven't read it yet, but it is a good title. There seem to be quite a few issues available, so maybe I can put together a run to let me read it after the first of the year.

Dec 5, 2017, 8:11am

>156 fuzzi: Good morning! Yep, I read it over a span of four days. Very well done, I thought — I was really kept interested.

Dec 6, 2017, 9:23am

138. Silly Business: A New Collection of Cartoons from the Saturday Evening Post, ed. by Marione R. Derrickson and John Bailey

This is a fairly entertaining collection of cartoons. Many of the cartoons are topical, dealing with familiar scenes of World War II and its immediate aftermath, but others are more universal, and a few are dated. Mildly recommended.

Dec 6, 2017, 10:04am

Morning, Harry. Lots of sun and blue sky out there, but it is cold. At least, that dreadful wind stopped gusting.

My daughter picked me up a few blocks of the pepper suet. I am anxious to give it a go. Another couple of days, with my current block, before I switch it out.

Dec 6, 2017, 10:30am

>161 msf59: Hi, Mark! It is starting to clear up here, after a rainy day yesterday.

I hope the pepper suet works out for you. We have a bigger issue with large birds than with squirrels with our suet here, so it wouldn't help us out at present and we stick with regular stuff.

Dec 6, 2017, 10:44am

>159 harrygbutler: I hit the MacLean jackpot on Ebay, found a bunch and won them fairly cheap!

Fear is the Key
Ice Station Zebra
Breakheart Pass
The Way to Dusty Death
San Andreas
Caravan to Vaccares

I'd like to warn you that there are books for sale that are not written by Alistair MacLean but listed as his, but in small letters on the cover it says "written by Alastair MacNeill". Hmmph.

Edited: Dec 7, 2017, 9:26am

>163 fuzzi: Good score!

Thanks for the warning, too. I know I ran into a book or two with a cover that said something like "Alistair MacLean's such and such" that had a different author.

Dec 7, 2017, 9:27am

The back cover of the February 1941 issue of The Blue Book Magazine, which I'm reading this week, is a house ad for the stories in the March issue:

Dec 10, 2017, 11:58am

>163 fuzzi: Fuzzi will come in handy for the BAC next year as Alistair MacLean is up in one of the months.

Have a great weekend, Harry.

Dec 10, 2017, 8:04pm

>166 PaulCranswick: what is the BAC?

Dec 11, 2017, 6:34am

>166 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul. It was a good weekend.

>167 fuzzi: That's the British Author Challenge.

Good to know about MacLean appearing on the list, Paul. I'll keep that in mind. I've not actively participated in the past — I've sampled a couple others but found the challenge thread didn't really work for me — but I may give it a go.

Dec 11, 2017, 6:46am

>165 harrygbutler: LIKE!

Morning, Harry. I hope you had a good weekend. We have spotted squirrels still dangling from the suet feeder. Not sure if this chubby fellow is immune to the pepper or not. I haven't been able to monitor it as close as I hoped. We will see.

Dec 11, 2017, 6:50am

Our first snow of the season on Saturday meant some beautiful scenes. We visited the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in search of snowy owls. Though we had no success in spotting these visitors, there were many birds to see: dowitchers galore; many ducks, including mergansers, northern shovelers, and the terrific buffleheads; Canada geese and brants; song sparrows; and more. Highlights were a couple hunting raptors: a northern harrier, with the distinctive white patch at the base of its tail, and a peregrine falcon, which I saw actually make its strike on its lunch, a gull or dowitcher in flight (I hadn't paid close attention to the victim before the hit and so can't say with certainty). We got good views of the falcon having its meal, though the snow and distance made it impossible to get a photo of the falcon during its pauses to look around.

Edited: Dec 11, 2017, 6:53am

This message has been deleted by its author.

Dec 11, 2017, 6:52am

>169 msf59: Good morning, Mark! It was a good weekend, thanks, with some birding (see >170 harrygbutler:), but no snowy owls.

I hope the pepper suet works for you!

Dec 11, 2017, 6:53am

139. The Clock Strikes Twelve, by Patricia Wentworth

At a New Year’s Eve family gathering, James Paradine announces that a member of the family has committed a crime. He says that he knows the identity of the culprit and gives the person until midnight to confess, promising that there will be punishment. But Paradine seems in a strangely good mood despite the betrayal, greeting the people who seek him out that evening with humor and kindness. Yet sometime around midnight, James Paradine is pushed over a parapet to his death. Fortunately for those who are innocent but likely suspects, Miss Silver is staying nearby and is brought into the case. Tangled up with the investigation is the resolution of the circumstances for an estranged married couple. I found the identity of the murderer fairly obvious but some other aspects of the mystery engaging. Mildly recommended.

First sentence: “Mr James Paradine leaned forward and took up the telephone receiver.”

Dec 11, 2017, 6:58am

Good morning, Harry, and happy Monday!

>170 harrygbutler: So many varieties of birds. It sounds like a wonderful outing.

>173 harrygbutler: "Mildly recommended." I like that.

Edited: Dec 11, 2017, 11:11am

>166 PaulCranswick: >168 harrygbutler: I'll make a note of the BAC, then, for a Alistair MacLean read or two, or three...

harrygbutler, speaking of MacLean, you are hijacking my efforts to NOT buy more books. I just ordered my 4th Prince Valiant book. Argh.

We were inundated with rain, rain, rain, and did not get snow, or ice (thankfully!) but the temps dropped overnight and my car was frozen shut. I had to do the "hip bump-bump" in order to break it open.

Winter birds showed up at the feeders this weekend, probably due to the storm. The "snow birds" (Juncos) were busy below my feeders, and I saw White-breasted nuthatches, Myrtle warblers, White-throated sparrows, and Brown thrashers, all which I don't see until winter is here.

Dec 11, 2017, 11:09am

>174 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! It wasn't a bad outing, though the wind and snow, and being somewhat out of practice, made it hard to ID some of the birds specifically.

I borrowed "mildly recommended" from someone else, but I can't recall whom at the moment.

Edited: Dec 11, 2017, 11:22am

>175 fuzzi: :-)

The roads got slick Saturday evening, especially where they hadn't been salted, but cleared rapidly yesterday and today, I think. No ice otherwise.

I saw a white-throated sparrow or two at Forsythe, but I haven't noticed any around our feeders yet. The juncos are here, though. No other unusual birds for us.

Edited: Dec 11, 2017, 11:22am

>179 Your cover for that one is much more exciting than mine, Harry! The killer was rather obvious, but I enjoyed the book anyway.

Dec 11, 2017, 11:32am

>177 harrygbutler: Hi, Julia! Yes, it was very clear which characters were not intended to be sympathetic, and that certainly narrowed the options down. :-) I thought the book was enjoyable enough, but I have since been reading others that I have found better or more engaging, which doubtless tempered my recommendation.

Dec 12, 2017, 4:14am

Hi Harry! Happy Tuesday to you.

I saw a White-Throated Sparrow at my sunflower feeder about 2 weeks ago, but just the one so far this fall.

Dec 12, 2017, 7:26am

>180 karenmarie: Good morning, Karen! You visited early.

We don't seem to get too many white-throated sparrows, so it is harder for us to tell when the arrive and leave than it is for the juncos.

Edited: Dec 12, 2017, 7:27am

140. Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: "The Lost Crown of Genghis Khan", by Carl Barks

Another in the fine series of reprints of Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge comics by Carl Barks, Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: "The Lost Crown of Genghis Khan" offers up the usual enjoyable mix of adventure and comedy, often with a fantastic or science-fictional element. Recommended.

Edited: Dec 12, 2017, 12:11pm

>182 harrygbutler: Wow, that takes me back. I used to love reading the Walt Disney and Golden comics digests.

Dec 12, 2017, 12:49pm

>183 fuzzi: I'm sure Fantagraphics Books would love for you to expand your library. :-)

I don't really recall those digests. I was more of a Harvey Comics reader, I think, and then later western and war comics. But I'm making up for missing the Disney stuff in my reading now.

Dec 13, 2017, 7:20am

Good morning, Harry! Happy Wednesday to you.

I loved reading daughter's Hanna Barbera and Disney story books when she was coming up. I also expanded my Dr. Seuss repertoire beyond The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham.

Edited: Dec 13, 2017, 8:48am

>185 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! We had a few Dr. Seuss books around, I think, though I believe most may have been for my younger brother. The only Disney books I can recall were the books in this four-volume set:

I can still remember that my favorite story at some point was about how Dumbo's friend Timothy Mouse made himself a house. A particularly memorable image for me showed part of the result, with inter alia a fireplace made of a sardine can (with fish above the mantle) and half a walnut shell holding wood, with a piece of an old single-bladed razor used as a hatchet.

I don't remember having much in the way of Hanna-Barbera books, if anything, though I now have a few, including Huck and Yogi Jamboree and Huckleberry Hound, Newspaper Reporter.

Dec 13, 2017, 8:55am

141. Night Without End, by Alistair MacLean

A passenger airliner goes down near a weather research base in frigid Greenland, and the scientists there face two challenges: ensuring the survival of ill-clad, ill-prepared people despite insufficient resources, and discovering who was responsible for murder aboard the plane. Night Without End is a gripping adventure. I was kept keenly interested in the struggle against foes both human and natural. Recommended.

First sentence: “It was Jackstraw who heard it first—it was always Jackstraw, whose hearing was an even match for his phenomenal eyesight, who heard things first.”

Dec 13, 2017, 9:30am

>186 harrygbutler: You are bringing back memories of my childhood and my nephew's childhood, spent watching Saturday morning cartoons. I don't think they show those in the United States any more. Such a shame!

Dec 13, 2017, 10:09am

>188 thornton37814: I haven't looked at Saturday morning programming in a long time, Lori, but I think you're right. I wonder whether anything is available via the streaming services. I'll have to check Amazon Prime.

Dec 13, 2017, 11:06am

Oh, you are pushing memory buttons for me!

We had a large Disney treasury book, with lots of the movies in readable format.

Aha, here it is!

Walt Disney's Treasury: 21 Best-loved Stories

Dec 13, 2017, 11:07am

>187 harrygbutler: I agree, that was a good one!

Dec 13, 2017, 12:04pm

>190 fuzzi: I don't think the books we had really retold the movies, but I may just not be remembering those parts. I think they are still around at my parents' house, so maybe I'll take a look next time I visit.

>191 fuzzi: Do you want to pick one for next month? I don't think I'll have time to fit one in before the end of the year.

Dec 13, 2017, 12:27pm

>192 harrygbutler: sure. I want to do one of my ROOT books, though (older than one year, unread).

I have Circus, Floodgate, or The Golden Gate that fit the bill, do you have any of those?

Dec 13, 2017, 12:52pm

>193 fuzzi: I have all three, so take your pick!

Dec 13, 2017, 7:48pm

The inside back cover of The Blue Book Magazine for February 1941 is another house ad. This one touts the contents of the February issue of the magazine Redbook, which is still published today. At the time, Redbook's circulation was about 1.25 million, after more than doubling its audience during the 1930s. A slick magazine, rather than a pulp, at the time it featured a good deal of fiction.

The ad promotes several items:

  • “The Case of the Muted Violin,” by Rufus King

  • “No Truce with Time,” by Alec Waugh (novel)

  • “You Can’t Beat Beauty,” by Philip Wylie (a serial, though not mentioned in the ad)

  • “Before We Get Afraid,” by Gladys Hasty Carroll

  • “That Ye Be Not Judged,” by Putnam Fennell Jones

  • “Manhattan Mother,” by Noel Pierce

  • and the first part of a new serial by Pearl S. Buck, “A Man’s Daily Bread”

A check online reveals the issue contains more, including part of yet another serial: http://www.philsp.com/homeville/fmi/t/t5182.htm#A114155

Dec 15, 2017, 7:56am

Good morning, Harry!

>195 harrygbutler: Are there any magazines that you know of, excepting literary journals and the like, that publish fiction these days?

Dec 15, 2017, 8:44am

>196 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! I don't think there are many. The New Yorker still has stories, I think, and The Atlantic may, probably of the literary fiction type. Other than that, I think it's mostly just genre outlets: a couple mystery digests and The Strand Magazine (a quarterly mystery magazine); a couple science fiction digests and some newer indie entries in that area (I've sampled some of those); children's magazines; maybe a few others.

Edited: Dec 15, 2017, 7:16pm

142. Flowers for the Judge, by Margery Allingham

Paul Brande, a member of the family publishing firm Barnabas Limited, is found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning in the company’s strong room, under circumstances that indicate murder. Suspicion and official interest attach themselves to Mike Wedgwood, a cousin who is in love with Paul’s wife Gina, and who visited the strong room at a point when Paul must have been in there dead, and the case seems headed for trial followed by the gallows. But Mike has a friend in Albert Campion, who intervenes in an effort to uncover the actual guilty party.

Flowers for the Judge was more of a mystery than the other Campions I’ve encountered in my reading them in order. It is hampered a bit by a fairly limited pool of suspects. A bright spot for me was a development reminiscent of a couple scenes in the Charlie Chan movie Dead Men Tell, though here in a more serious context than in the film. Recommended.

First sentence: “The story of the little man, sometimes a stockbroker, sometimes a tea merchant, but always something in the City, who walked out of his surburban house one sunny morning and vanished like a puff of grey smoke in a cloudless sky, can be recalled by nearly everyone who lived in Greater London in the first years of the century.”

Dec 15, 2017, 8:30pm

The Blue Book Magazine was another of the major pulps, with a variety of adventure-oriented stories and a large circulation. The February 1941 issue was the latest in my weekly reading of pulp magazines I got back in November, and it was quite impressive: a whopping 192 double-column pages, with 7 short stories, a novelette, a book-length novel, part of a serial novel, a historical essay, and a few “real-life experiences.”

The issue opens with the historical essay, “Our War in the Mediterranean,” a look at the events leading up to the war with the Barbary Coast pirates in the early days of the Republic. Next a pointed bit of historical fiction (in the context of early 1941): H. Bedford-Jones’ “A France Forever!” recounts an episode after Britain’s King Henry V had triumphed in the Hundred Years’ War and all seemed lost for the nation of France. Francis Cockrill’s “Rogues’ Holiday” is a lighthearted romance in which a trickster is tricked, and Fulton Grant’s “The Invisible Wife” is more of a drama, one that recounts how a family was reunited. The novelette, “Heat of Battle,” by Georges Surdez, was a well-written tale of the Foreign Legion during the Dardanelles campaign of World War I — probably the best story in the issue, and one that grabbed my interest at the beginning and held me to the end.

“Plums for Zion” is another piece of historical fiction with a touch of romance, set amid the travails of the Martin Handcart Company on its grim trip to Utah. (I had never heard of the Mormon handcart companies, or if I had, I had forgotten them.) Beatrice Grimshaw’s “January Girl,” set in the South Seas, was the weakest tale, and it was followed by the strangest — “Uncle Elmer and the Wolf,” by Chandler Whipple, the cover story for the issue, was something like a fairy tale set in early Michigan. I still don’t know quite what to make of it. I didn’t care much for “Hero Hater,” by Richard Howells Watkins, about a ship captain who goes too far in showing gratitude to the sailor who saved his life.

“Mooney’s in a Jam,” the novel-length story, is one of a series by author Kerry O’Neil about private eye Jerry Mooney, who seems to be a bit in the vein of a Boston Blackie or Lone Wolf. The story worked well enough, despite some formulaic aspects, including the detective’s relationship with the police. Of the three “Prize Stories of Real Experience,” the best was a tale of Balkan bandits.

I skipped the serialized novel, F. Draco’s “Anything Might Happen”; I’ll wait to read it until I have all the parts.

All in all, well worth the time, and I’ll definitely be picking up more issues of the magazine when I can.

Dec 16, 2017, 7:09am

Morning, Harry! Happy Saturday. Nothing to report on the birds, either at home or on the route. It has been quiet. The pepper suet does seem to be working, although the squirrels still have to climb up and inspect. Grins...

Dec 16, 2017, 7:55am

>200 msf59: Good morning, Mark! I'm glad to hear the positive results for you. Our squirrels don't seem to have much interest in the suet, perhaps because it is easier to get at the seed.

Dec 16, 2017, 8:05am

Good morning, Harry!

>197 harrygbutler: And of course most of it's online now anyway.

>201 harrygbutler: I have a suet feeder that the squirrels could get to, but they gave up on the squirrel-proof feeder on the front porch after many attempts; that's where the suet feeder is now, so for now no squirrels are eating suet here.

Dec 16, 2017, 5:15pm

>202 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! Right. I think there's a lot of short fiction sold on the Kindle, though I haven't really looked.

Our suet feeders aren't seeing a lot of action at the moment.

Dec 17, 2017, 5:56pm

143. Death in a Bowl, by Raoul Whitfield

Hans Reiner, a famed conductor and brother of movie director Ernst Reiner, is murdered on stage during a concert at the Hollywood Bowl. The shooting, apparently by two people on different sides of the amphitheater, occurred as a low-flying plane buzzed the event. Who killed the maestro, and why? Ernst Reiner had quarreled with writer Howard Frey, who had threatened to get back at the director after a violent quarrel, and both men had sought out private eye Ben Jardinn before the concert to retain the detective and present their sides of the quarrel. Could Frey have killed Hans Reiner to injure his brother? Or could there be a more personal reason? Did movie star Maya Rand have it in for the conductor? Jardinn sets out to unravel the mystery, dealing with another death as well as betrayal in his office during the investigation.

Death in a Bowl is a well-paced, hard-boiled mystery, albeit some of the twists are a little far-fetched and the ending somewhat disappointing. Still, I enjoyed it well enough. Recommended.

First sentence: “Frey shrugged his broad shoulders, gestured helplessly with spread hands, palms upturned.”

Dec 17, 2017, 7:33pm

>187 harrygbutler: I reckon that will be the MacLean I will revisit for the BAC next year.

>175 fuzzi: Would be great to have the both of you join in periodically. I rather aim for the challenge to be one to hop in and out of if anything takes your fancy rather than being a completist chore.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday, Harry.

Dec 17, 2017, 7:45pm

>204 harrygbutler: Never heard of either that book or that author, but your review is enticing, Harry!

Dec 17, 2017, 8:48pm

>204 harrygbutler:

I read that one a couple of years ago. (1931: of course I did!) I'm not a big fan of the hard-boiled genre, but I found that one interesting in its geographical detail, if rather far-fetched story-wise.

Dec 17, 2017, 9:59pm

>205 PaulCranswick: a link to the BAC would be very much appreciated. :)

Dec 18, 2017, 6:55am

Morning, Harry. Hope you had a good weekend. I took the dog on a hike yesterday. The birds were sparse but I did see a Belted Kingfisher. I also saw some beautiful ducks, white bodies, black head, but still trying to nail down what they were, especially from a long distance.

Dec 18, 2017, 7:30am

Good morning, Harry, and happy Monday to you.

My suet feeder isn't getting much action, either.

Dec 18, 2017, 8:10am

>205 PaulCranswick: Hi, Paul! Sunday was good, but quiet. I'll likely not decide on my MacLean for the BAC until it actually comes around. :-)

Edited: Dec 18, 2017, 8:17am

Speaking of birds, I had a special visitor to the birdbath on Sunday, a Hermit thrush!

I've not seen one in about 20 years, last time in South Carolina.

My big camera was not "handy", so I snapped a few pictures through the kitchen window with my little Ricoh, and they were good enough to ID it. Here is a link to the best of the photos: (http://www.librarything.com/topic/243848#6283852)

Dec 18, 2017, 8:31am

>206 rosalita: Hi, Julia! Whitfield was an important contributor to Black Mask. The book is not without its flaws, but the hectic pace carries the reader past at least some of them.

>207 lyzard: Yes, there certainly were some implausible aspects to the story, not least the easy placement of a spy and also the identity and motive of the culprit. I'm likely a bigger fan of hard-boiled stories in general, so those aspects weren't a detraction for me. :-)

Dec 18, 2017, 8:58am

>209 msf59: Good morning, Mark! Congrats on the kingfisher. No birding this past weekend for us, but there's a Carolina wren piping away on our porch railing right now.

>210 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! The birds are fairly busy this morning, but there's nothing much out of the ordinary for us, save the wren.

>212 fuzzi: Woohoo! Congrats on the rare visitor!

Dec 19, 2017, 6:31am

144. The Black Smith, by Constance Little and Gwenyth Little

When Judith Onslow takes the job of head nurse at a small private hospital, she finds herself in the midst of very strange goings-on, including outright hostility between the founder of the hospital and his son, a new switchboard operator who appears to be aping the appearance of the founder’s daughter, the disappearance of a patient, and more. Murder of course rears its ugly head as well. This late entry from the Littles was a little tired but still fairly entertaining. Recommended.

First sentence: “Judith Onslow looked anxiously around the little country railroad station in search of a taxi.”

Dec 19, 2017, 7:06am

145. Limits and Renewals, by Rudyard Kipling

Limits and Renewals is a late collection of stories by Rudyard Kipling, with poems interspersed as well. All are well-crafted, though their interest varies. I think the story I enjoyed most was “The Woman in His Life,” which relates how a dog helps a man deal with PTSD. “Dayspring Mishandled,” the opening story of the collection, might have some appeal for those of a literary bent, involving as it does a faked fragment of Chaucer. “Aunt Ellen” recounts a humor-filled night of driving, and “A Naval Mutiny” involves a tall tale about ships’ parrots. Recommended.

Dec 19, 2017, 7:20am

>216 harrygbutler: One I haven't come across before. Handsome cover too.

Dec 19, 2017, 7:45am

Good morning, Harry! Happy Tuesday to you.

>216 harrygbutler: I have never read any Rudyard Kipling, Harry, but you tempt me. I have The Jungle Books and Kim on my shelves. I'm not usually a fan of short stories, but they sound good.

Dec 19, 2017, 9:23am

>217 2wonderY: Hi, Ruth. That was a new collection for me as well. Most (all?) of what I've read has been earlier.

I've been gradually replacing my various editions of Kipling with copies with this cover.

>218 karenmarie: Thanks, Karen! I think Kipling is stronger in his short stories than in his novels, so you might want to start with The Jungle Book, though I thought Kim a good novel. I recall Traffics and Discoveries being in some ways the most interesting collection of stories, including "Wireless" and the poignant " 'They'," and something like Plain Tales from the Hills or The Phantom Rickshaw might give you a better sense of strengths. I found Puck of Pook's Hill fairly engaging as well.

Dec 19, 2017, 9:44am

My favorite short story by Kipling is an odd one - science fiction - With the Night Mail.

Oy! His author page is a mess - 1,631 works, mostly Disney adaptations. Yeuch.

Dec 19, 2017, 10:07am

>220 2wonderY: I recall that one, Ruth — it is quite good. "Wireless" is science fiction as well, and I suppose " 'They'" could be considered fantasy.

I think one would be hard-pressed to find out just what books he wrote based on that author page!

Dec 19, 2017, 11:47am

“A Thanksgiving to God for His House”
by Robert Herrick

Lord, thou hast given me a cell
     Wherein to dwell;
A little house, whose humble roof
     Is weather-proof;
Under the spars of which I lie
     Both soft and dry;
Where thou, my chamber for to ward,
     Hast set a guard
Of harmless thoughts, to watch and keep
     Me while I sleep.
Low is my porch, as is my fate;
     Both void of state;
And yet the threshold of my door
     Is worn by th’ poor,
Who thither come, and freely get
     Good words or meat.
Like as my parlour, so my hall
     And kitchen’s small;
A little buttery, and therein
     A little bin,
Which keeps my little loaf of bread
     Unchipt, unflead;
Some brittle sticks of thorn or briar
     Make me a fire,
Close by whose living coal I sit,
     And glow like it.
Lord, I confess too, when I dine,
     The pulse is thine,
And all those other bits that be
     There placed by thee;
The worts, the purslane, and the mess
     Of water-cress,
Which of thy kindness thou hast sent;
     And my content
Makes those, and my belovèd beet,
     To be more sweet.
’Tis thou that crown’st my glittering hearth
     With guiltless mirth,
And giv’st me wassail bowls to drink,
     Spiced to the brink.
Lord, ’tis Thy plenty-dropping hand
     That soils my land,
And giv’st me, for my bushel sown,
     Twice ten for one;
Thou mak’st my teeming hen to lay
     Her egg each day;
Besides, my healthful ewes to bear
     Me twins each year;
The while the conduits of my kine
     Run cream, for wine:
All these, and better, thou dost send
     Me, to this end,
That I should render, for my part,
     A thankful heart;
Which, fired with incense, I resign,
     As wholly thine;
But the acceptance, that must be,
     My Christ, by Thee.

“Kneeling with Herrick”
by James Whitcomb Riley

Dear Lord, to Thee my knee is bent,—
     Give me content—
Full-pleasured with what comes to me,
     Whate’er it be:
An humble roof—a frugal board,
     And simple hoard;
The wintry fagot piled beside
     The chimney wide,
While the enwreathing flames up-sprout
     And twine about
The brazen dogs that guard my hearth
     And household worth:
Tinge with the ember’s ruddy glow
     The rafters low;
And let the sparks snap with delight,
     As fingers might
That mark deft measures of some tune
     The children croon:
Then, with good friends, the rarest few
     Thou holdest true,
Ranged round about the blaze, to share
     My comfort there,—
Give me to claim the service meet
     That makes each seat
A place of honor, and each guest
     Loved as the rest.

Dec 19, 2017, 6:32pm

146. Lovey Mary, by Alice Hegan Rice

This is a tale of an orphan teen who runs away from a home with an even younger waif abandoned there by his mother, a former inhabitant of the orphanage who had gone wrong. The title character finds a welcome among the impoverished denizens of the Cabbage Patch, including especially the kindly Mrs. Wiggs. Lovey Mary finds a job as well, and matures, learning responsibility and forgiveness. Some sorrow is included in the mix, but the chief characteristic of the narrative is an inner joy.

Lovey Mary is a sequel of sorts to Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch. That book had taken the #2 spot among bestsellers in the U.S. in 1902, and Lovey Mary was nearly as popular, reaching the #4 spot in 1903.


First sentence: “Everything about Lovey Mary was a contradiction, from her hands and feet, which seemed to have been meant for a big girl, to her high ideals and aspirations, that ought to have belonged to an amiable one.”

Dec 19, 2017, 6:55pm

147. Death of a Busybody, by George Bellairs

I was looking forward to trying Death of a Busybody, the first of the Inspector Littlejohn mysteries that are being reprinted in the British Library Crime Classics series, particularly as the length of the series — more than 50 books — held the promise of a good deal of reading to come. Unfortunately, however, I found this tale of the investigation into the killing of an unpleasant woman (the busybody of the title) rather lacking. Littlejohn himself was fine, if a bit of a cipher, and the mystery itself was OK, but the narrative voice was off-putting. The predominant attitude toward all the characters struck me as a sort of smirking contempt, and so I never warmed to the style. For me it was another book where the editors of the British Library Crime Classics failed to impress in their book selections. Not recommended.

First sentence: “The September morning which greeted the Rev. Ethelred Claplady, M.A. (Cantab.), incumbent of Hilary Magna (and Parva for that matter), made him want to leap and shout.”

Dec 20, 2017, 6:42am

Morning, Harry. Happy Hump Day. I hope the week is flying along for you.

Dec 20, 2017, 6:52am

Though I found Death of a Busybody disappointing, it did have one passage likely to appeal to birders:

During that meal, Cromwell succumbed to the charm of a delightful old man, who talked of past events and of the present affairs of his friends, the birds. They got on so well together, that the detective left not only with a small book on The Birds in My Garden, by Edwin Titmuss, but also a pair of field-glasses and two standard works on ornithology. Thus, Cromwell of Scotland Yard turned bird-watcher, ceased to model his life on that of his more famous namesake, and became himself. Henceforth, his holidays were spent between certain spots haunted by birds and the back garden of "Chamonix," Trentrbridge. The work, Birds of the Backyard and Beyond, by Titmuss and Cromwell, is highly thought of among amateur ornithologists...

Dec 20, 2017, 6:53am

>225 msf59: Thanks, Mark! The week is going well. I hope your package load isn't too burdensome.

Dec 20, 2017, 7:07am

Hi Harry, and happy Wednesday to you!

>219 harrygbutler: I'll keep it in mind and thanks for the thoughts about The Jungle Books vs Kim.

>226 harrygbutler: Nice passage.

Edited: Dec 20, 2017, 7:13am

>222 harrygbutler: I'm not much "into" poetry, but those were touching. Thank you.

>216 harrygbutler: that's one I've not read, either. Nice.

>218 karenmarie: I have to say The Jungle Book (singular) is probably a good place to start with Kipling. It's not children's literature, though many of us read his stories as children. There are deeper themes, nuances when they are read by an adult.

Dec 20, 2017, 7:54am

>223 harrygbutler: Nice find! I do appreciate Mrs. Wiggs and her ilk. In fact, I should probably round up a collection. There are other authors whose characters make it a point to live upbeat and joyful lives. Rice does it with such humor. I try to tag these books 'right living.'

Dec 20, 2017, 8:06am

>228 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! Kipling is well worth a try.

When I got to that spot in Death of a Busybody, I thought, Well, here's something I can salvage. :-)

Dec 20, 2017, 8:12am

>229 fuzzi: Thanks! I've been reading a volume of James Whitcomb Riley's poems and finding them appealing. When I came to that one, the verse pattern really struck a chord. Fortunately the title made it easy to find the Herrick poem as well.

Dec 20, 2017, 8:27am

>230 2wonderY: I have a couple more by Rice on hand somewhere, and I have seen others at one of the local bookstores but haven't gotten them yet.

Maybe I'll have a look through your library to see what else garners that tag, Ruth. Thanks for letting me know!

Dec 20, 2017, 8:33am

148. Mandrake the Magician: The Hidden Kingdom of Murderers, by Lee Falk and Phil Davis

This volume contains several adventures drawn from the Sunday strips of Mandrake the Magician originally published in 1935–1937. They were fairly entertaining, as Mandrake foils evil plots and brings young sweethearts together, if in some respects dated. I thought the colors were rather washed out, perhaps because of the source material Titan Comics used for the book. I’d be happy to read more, but I likely won’t actively seek them out if they are published (this first volume came out in 2016, and it appears nothing came out this year or has been announced for next). Mildly recommended.

Dec 20, 2017, 9:00am

>233 harrygbutler: You'll find a lot of other materials as well, under that tag. Just a warning.

But it was a topic on TBSL a while back:

Dec 20, 2017, 9:05am

>235 2wonderY: Good to know! :-) I'll definitely take a look at that TBSL thread.

Dec 20, 2017, 9:14am

Dec 20, 2017, 10:17am

>226 harrygbutler: Nice excerpt. That is a cute sort of inside joke to make the name of the fictional author of the fictional bird book Titmuss. My understanding is that's the way many British accents pronounce "titmouse," as in the bird species. (I first learned that fact reading Dick Francis' The Edge, wherein the narrator goes undercover as a waiter on a cross-Canadian train and takes the name Titmouse as his alias, which gets written down by the railroad man as Titmuss).

Dec 20, 2017, 12:58pm

>238 rosalita: Hi, Julia! Thanks for the interesting tidbit of info. I had noticed that Mr. Titmuss was named for a bird, but I didn't give much thought to pronunciation.

Dec 20, 2017, 5:59pm

Dec 20, 2017, 9:30pm

>232 harrygbutler: I recall one poem by James Whitcomb Riley from my childhood, The Raggedy Man. Here's the first stanza from that work:

O the Raggedy Man! He works fer Pa;
An' he's the goodest man ever you saw!
He comes to our house every day,
An' waters the horses, an' feeds 'em hay;
An' he opens the shed -- an' we all ist laugh
When he drives out our little old wobble-ly calf;
An' nen -- ef our hired girl says he can --
He milks the cow fer 'Lizabuth Ann. --
Ain't he a' awful good Raggedy Man?
Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

Dec 21, 2017, 6:43am

>240 thornton37814: I'm glad I don't edit that sort of book. :-)

Dec 21, 2017, 6:45am

>241 fuzzi: I was more familiar with James Whitcomb Riley as the name of a New York Central Railroad passenger train than with his work as a poet, but I've enjoyed what I've read so far. I hadn't encountered "The Raggedy Man" before — thanks for sharing! Maybe it will be in Riley Child Rhymes, which is the other volume of his poetry that I have at present.

Dec 21, 2017, 6:46am

Adventure magazine was one of the major pulps, consistently publishing good adventure stories. Founded in 1910, it lasted until 1971, though it changed format in the early 1950s and its last two decades were lackluster. For my weekly pulp magazine, I read the February 1938 issue — 144 pages, including ads.

Leading off the issue was a Foreign Legion story, the novelette “Gentlemen Pay,” by Georges Surdez. This was a grim tale of vengeance on a blackmailer who drives a Legion junior officer to his doom. “The Old Wart” relates how a young sailor, potential officer material, masters the situation despite conflicting influences. “Hunting Trouble” is a western in which a young miner tracks down a murderer. In “Harness Bull,” two brothers, rival law enforcement officers, help put the kibosh on a gang of bank robbers. Lumber country is the setting for “Saginaw,” in which a famed logging crew boss thwarts the efforts of those trying to stop his new boss from shipping out logs to meet a contract. Then to the South, as in “Bayou Booty” a few old men, including a priest, rescue a young woman kidnapped by an escaped convict. A serial rounds out the fiction in the issue, but I skipped it as I lack the rest of the parts.

There were a couple nonfiction features: “Traditions of the Deepwatermen,” an illustrated page of tidbits of seafaring lore, and “Why I Quit the Indian Army,” relating the costs for an officer in that service.

Rounding out the issue were the columns: “Lost Trails,” in which readers could seek the whereabouts of missing friends or relatives; “The Camp-Fire,” an excellent letter column; and “Ask Adventure,” in which experts answered queries from readers.

I enjoyed the stories, albeit “Gentlemen Pay” wasn’t really to my taste, as well as the nonfiction features and columns. I’ll definitely be seeking out more issues.

Dec 21, 2017, 7:02am

>237 harrygbutler: LIKE!

Morning, Harry. Getting read to head to work. Cloudy and 40. I can handle it.

Dec 21, 2017, 8:37am

Hi Harry, and happy Thursday to you.

>237 harrygbutler: I like that one!

Dec 21, 2017, 9:36am

>245 msf59: Good morning, Mark! That's pretty close to our forecast as well, but Saturday is supposed to be appreciably warmer. A white Christmas is looking unlikely at this point.

>246 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! I ran across that cartoon a couple months ago but thought of it again yesterday and decided to share it.

Dec 21, 2017, 9:36am

149. The Crime at the ‘Noah's Ark’, by Molly Thynne

Severe winter snows strand a disparate group of travelers, many bound for a high-tone resort, including Angus Stuart, a newly successful novelist; two old ladies traveling together; the wealthy Mrs. van Dolen, who owns a famed emerald girdle; an unpleasant major; a gigolo; a widow with a secret; Dr. Constantine, a renowned chess player; and more. On hand also is Soames, a commercial traveler already at the inn where the storm leads the others to shelter. Suspicious activities begin almost immediately, with a masked man creeping about the inn in the night, and murder and robbery soon follow. The local constable takes a hand, but Dr. Constantine, Soames, and Stuart conduct their own investigation as well.

The Crime at the ‘Noah’s Ark’ was fairly entertaining, though some of its appeal to me may have depended on its immediately following the disappointing Death of a Busybody. The mysteries here aren’t particularly deftly handled, and there’s a good deal of running about that doesn’t seem to advance the plot much. I thought at least part of the solution a cheat as well. Still, I liked it OK, and I’ll probably pick up the other two Dr. Constantine mysteries. Mildly recommended.

First sentence: “The snow had begun in the second week of December.”

Edited: Dec 21, 2017, 11:31am

>243 harrygbutler: It is! That's my favorite Riley collection. My ancient neighbor gave me her copy when I was a child and I too memorized those poems.

Little Orphant Annie... (An’ the Gobble-uns ‘at gits you
Ef you

An' the Squidgicum-Squees 'at swallers the'rselves...

Waitin' Fer The Cat To Die...

It was a Jolly Miller lived on the River Dee...

You will so enjoy!

Dec 21, 2017, 1:30pm

>249 2wonderY: oh, I remember that one, Little Orphant Annie!

Edited: Dec 21, 2017, 1:32pm

>249 2wonderY: Cool! I'll be looking forward to it.

>250 fuzzi: I just found on YouTube a recording of James Whitcomb Riley reciting "Little Orphant Annie," with the YouTube version illustrated with photos from an old coin-op machine series based on the poem:


He's somewhat hard to understand, especially at the beginning.

Dec 21, 2017, 3:19pm

Happy Yule Book Flood!

Dec 21, 2017, 3:21pm

Dec 21, 2017, 3:26pm

>253 harrygbutler: Hope your stocking overflows.

Dec 21, 2017, 3:29pm

>253 harrygbutler: I'm hopeful; books usually loom large among the gifts I receive. A merry bookish holiday to you as well!

Dec 21, 2017, 3:39pm

It most surely has been. Today is the holiday I celebrate and my boyfriend, one sister, and multiple friends have bestowed (entirely unnecessary but always welcome) books on me. In fact I need *fewer* of them so I can avoid the gravitic apocalypse I sense approaching.

Dec 21, 2017, 3:54pm

>256 richardderus: Nice! And I certainly understand; I'm thinking we should reinforce our floor joists given the load they have to bear.

Dec 21, 2017, 4:46pm

Heh. Luckily for me I live directly on the slab of my 5-story 110-year-old building. Among the reasons I plumped for a ground-floor room.

Dec 22, 2017, 8:35am

>259 harrygbutler: Sound planning!

Edited: Dec 23, 2017, 6:08pm

150. Riley Songs of Home, by James Whitcomb Riley

My 150th book for the year was a collection of poetry. James Whitcomb Riley was a popular American poet of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, noted for frequent use of dialect and pastoral and nostalgic themes. Riley Songs of Home reveals these features, and more. I was quite taken with the poems in this collection. Perhaps my favorite was “Kneeling with Herrick,” which I posted up-thread (in >222 harrygbutler:), but others, such as “Writin’ Back to the Home-Folks” and “As My Uncle Used To Say,” were good as well, and even slighter pieces, such as “Honey Dripping from the Comb,” had appeal. Recommended.

Dec 22, 2017, 8:37am

Morning, Harry. Happy Friday. Planning on getting a hike in later on with my daughter and her dog, as long as it stays dry. Hope your work day goes smoothly.

Dec 22, 2017, 8:53am

>261 msf59: Good morning, Mark! Thanks for stopping by. A walk seems like a good activity; I hope the rain holds off for you.

Dec 23, 2017, 12:15pm

>260 harrygbutler: I guess "50" is just a typo ;-)
Congratulations on 2 x 75, Harry!

Edited: Dec 23, 2017, 6:09pm

>263 FAMeulstee: Yep. Fixed now, Anita. :-)

Thank you!

Dec 23, 2017, 9:43pm

The Archive, in Lansdale, Pa., had another sale today, with all the unsorted books on the second floor just $1 apiece, and with books on the main floor half-price. I found 29 books upstairs, and just one (the Kipling volume) on the first, for a total of 30.

Mystery (including crime and espionage)


  • The Blue Moon: A Tale of the Flatwoods, by David Anderson (1919)

  • King of the Khyber Rifles, by Talbot Mundy (1916)

  • The Typhoon's Secret, by Sol N. Sheridan (1920)





Dec 24, 2017, 8:03am

Hi Harry!

Congratulations on reaching 150!

Wishing you and yours all good things this holiday season.

Edited: Dec 24, 2017, 8:07am

^Have a great holiday with the family, Harry.

Dec 24, 2017, 10:53am

What a great book haul, Harry! If it wasn't such a cliche I'd say Christmas came early for you.

Dec 24, 2017, 2:32pm

>266 karenmarie: Thanks, Karen! It's quite a bit shy of last year's total, but I'm happy enough with it.

A merry Christmas to you as well!

Dec 24, 2017, 2:32pm

>267 msf59: Thanks, Mark! A nice birding greeting! Have a great Christmas, too!

Dec 24, 2017, 2:35pm

>265 harrygbutler: Oh wow. Oh my.

I hate you with extreme thoroughness.

Dec 24, 2017, 2:37pm

>268 rosalita: Hi, Julia! I was pleasantly surprised by what I found, as I didn't expect much new stock and anticipated only getting a few old magazines instead, as they were also on sale, albeit with a lesser price break.

Dec 24, 2017, 2:46pm

>271 richardderus: I'm fortunate to have a couple bookstores not too far away that are good sources for older popular fiction, though we lost a third not too long ago. The Archive in particular has come through with a lot of miscellaneous finds — and during their sales, it is easy to grab things just to try.

Edited: Dec 24, 2017, 9:03pm

To all my visitors, I hope you have a merry and blessed Christmas!

Dec 24, 2017, 3:00pm

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

Dec 24, 2017, 8:54pm

>275 ronincats: Thank you, Roni! Merry Christmas to you as well!

Dec 24, 2017, 9:12pm

>273 harrygbutler: ...while I live in a city of 33,000 that has ZERO (0) bookstores...

Dec 24, 2017, 10:30pm

Wishing you all good things this holiday season and beyond.

Dec 24, 2017, 11:12pm

>277 richardderus: Neither of the two bookstores I frequent most is in a large city. I won't be particularly surprised when or if either closes; I just hope that I am aware of the inevitable closing sale when that time comes.

Dec 24, 2017, 11:13pm

>278 PaulCranswick: Thank you, Paul!

Dec 26, 2017, 8:12am

>265 harrygbutler: Oh good haul! I'm envious.

A. E. W. Mason and the Williamsons are always great reads. I've had The Lightning Conductor Discovers America on my wishlist for some time.

Merry reading holidays!

Dec 26, 2017, 7:10pm

>281 2wonderY: Thanks, Ruth! I knew The Lightning Conductor Discovers America was a sequel (as I already have The Lightning Conductor), but I didn't realize it was third in the series. I'll have to keep an eye out for The Lightning Conductress.

Dec 26, 2017, 7:11pm

151. The House of Sudden Sleep, by John Hawk

When David Ribbelsdale is found dead in his study, his business partner, Jimmy Armstrong, insists it was murder, and he recruits pal Rodney Colt, an assistant district attorney, to investigate. Suspects include the widow and her siblings, who also live in the house, as well as the governess and even Jimmy himself. A long, dull plot ensues, as Colt seemingly dithers and the investigation appears to go nowhere, until the culprit is identified — which leads to a race to save someone from becoming another victim. The House of Sudden Sleep was probably the worst of the Mystery League books I’ve read during this shared read challenge. Not at all recommended.

First sentence: “The cold shower was turned on full when there came a knock at the bathroom door.”

Edited: Dec 31, 2017, 8:59am

152. The House of Fear, by Ibn-e Safi

In the first novel in Ibn-e Safi’s long-running Imran series, The House of Fear, the seemingly buffoonish detective solves the puzzle of bodies found in a semi-abandoned building that is home to a holy man’s grave and in so doing breaks up a gang as well. And in a second short novel also translated in this volume, Shootout at the Rocks, Imran sets out to thwart a threat against a man with information on the dreaded criminal gang Li Yu Ka. Although the stories were decent, Imran’s repeated assumed idiotic comments and behavior were wearying, and though I applaud Random House India for bringing out work by a major popular writer in translation and I was happy to sample it, I’ll probably give the additional entries in the series a miss. I’ll be glad to sample Ibn-e Safi’s other major mystery series, the Jasoosi Duniya series, starring Colonel Ahmad Kamal Faridi and Captain Sajid Hameed, however.

First sentence of The House of Fear: “Imran was standing in front of the mirror trying to knot his tie.”

First sentence of Shootout at the Rocks: “Colonel Zargham was restlessly pacing up and down his room.”

Dec 27, 2017, 6:42am

Morning, Harry. I hope your week is off to a good start. Not much to report on the birding front, especially with these arctic temps. Just the hardy juncos at the feeders.

Dec 27, 2017, 7:05am

>285 msf59: Good morning, Mark! Back to work today after a leisurely Tuesday. Cold weather here, too, and the one warmer day over the weekend was rainy, so not a good day to go after birds.

Dec 27, 2017, 7:08am

153. Roads, by Seabury Quinn

I reread this slim volume on Christmas Eve and enjoyed it once more. My comments from last year:
Seabury Quinn’s novella, Roads, first published in the January 1938 issue of the pulp magazine Weird Tales, is the story of Santa Claus. It tells of how an ex-gladiator from Germania, Claudius (Claus), first saves a young family from Herod’s soldiers during the Massacre of the Innocents and is told that he has a destiny serving the infant. In the second episode, a little more than three decades later, Claus is present during the Cruxifixion and rescues a courtesan trapped in an earthquake — and the two learn that they have a shared destiny. The third portion of the story extends over time and includes their encounter with and befriending of the elves. An interesting pulp take on Santa’s origins, and a quick read for Christmastime. Recommended.

First sentence: "Piles of blazing thornbush crackled in the base-court of the sari, camels grunted discontentedly in their kneeling places, horses munched dry grass."

Dec 27, 2017, 8:34am

Good morning, Harry!

I neglected to comment on your wonderful haul in >265 harrygbutler: above. You inspire me to check out our local used book store, Circle City Books to see if they're having a sale. I do still have $15 in store credit there. Maybe tomorrow. Today I simply must finish another book for my peace of mind and 100-book goal and get caught back up on my year-long Bible as Literature read. 10 pages a day is all I need.

I hope your shortened work week goes well.

Dec 27, 2017, 8:47am

>288 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! Thanks! Store credit can be a tricky thing. I've been left with outstanding credit when a bookstore closed, so now I'd probably aim to use up the credit as quickly as possible if I traded in books.

Good luck with the reading!

Dec 27, 2017, 8:48am

You're right, of course, although I've never been left holding the bag on store credit yet. But I will treat myself tomorrow, I think. And depending on what he has, won't necessarily limit myself to the store credit.

Dec 27, 2017, 8:55am

>282 harrygbutler: The Lightning Conductor books can be read online, but that is not a comfortable option for me.

Dec 27, 2017, 8:55am

>290 karenmarie: Enjoy the shopping tomorrow!

Dec 27, 2017, 8:59am

>291 2wonderY: I don't care for e-texts myself. I have a few I've downloaded because they aren't otherwise available, but I never get around to reading them.

Edited: Dec 27, 2017, 10:58am

A small book haul for Christmas, but a good one:

Mystery in the Channel, by Freeman Wills Crofts

Gold Brick Island, by J. J. Connington

Murder of a Lady, by Anthony Wynne

Prince Valiant, Vol. 14, by Hal Foster

I also got a very helpful tool for shopping at book sales and in used bookstores, which frequently are ill-lit: a small LED light bar (about the size of a penlight, but with a bigger light).

Dec 27, 2017, 8:52pm

>265 harrygbutler: What a nice haul you had at the sale!

>294 harrygbutler: Your Christmas haul looks great and the light bar sounds nice.

Dec 28, 2017, 6:32am

>295 thornton37814: Thanks, Lori! The Archive is one of the stores where the new light bar will come in very handy. Their second-floor sale room has very poor lighting, and many of the books on lower shelves are in shadow.

Dec 28, 2017, 6:53am

The December 1932 issue of Railroad Stories seemed a marked improvement in terms of fiction over the September issue I read last month. In particular, the cover story, "Engine Failure," about sabotage, and a novelette in the King Lawson series, E. S. Dellinger's "Landslide," were well-crafted tales of adventure, and "By Whose Hand?" was an entertaining, if slight, mystery. A reader's anecdote seems to have inspired the humorous Thanksgiving story "The Turkey Trick," in which a carload of turkeys causes mayhem. The model railroad section's highlight probably was the story of an impressive large-scale locomotive built by Canadian National locomotive fireman A. G. Catrano over a period of five weeks while he was laid off; the 5-foot long locomotive was built of salvaged tin cans, wire, tubing, part of a flashlight and of a rouge case, clothes hangers, and similar materials.

Dec 28, 2017, 7:35am

Good morning, Harry! Brrrr for you! Makes my weather look balmy (25F now going up to 34F).

>294 harrygbutler: I remember sitting on the living room floor on Sundays reading Prince Valiant. It was my favorite comic then.

Dec 29, 2017, 7:18am

>298 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! I've really enjoyed reading these Prince Valiant reprints from the beginning. They're very well done.

Dec 29, 2017, 7:19am

I still have at least one review to write, and a book or two I might finish before next Monday, so I'll be posting here, but I have set up my new 2018 thread as well: http://www.librarything.com/topic/279399.

Dec 29, 2017, 7:33am

Good morning, Harry! Happy Friday to you.

Dec 29, 2017, 7:59am

>301 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! Thanks, and I hope yours is a good one as well.

Dec 29, 2017, 11:00am

>275 ronincats: very nice :)

Edited: Dec 29, 2017, 11:05am

>294 harrygbutler: up to #14 already? Whew...

>298 karenmarie: beware! harrygbutler got me hooked on the books, of which I've read four already. I'm waiting to read #5, as I've not found a copy for less than $100 (it's out of print). I loved reading the series as a child, but never read from the beginning before.

Dec 29, 2017, 11:06am

>304 fuzzi: I've only read up to #8; I'll likely be tackling #9 in January. I think they've now published up through #16.

Dec 29, 2017, 3:03pm

>294 harrygbutler: Would you mind posting particulars of your LED light bar? There's a bewildering array of the darn things and I can't always spare the charge to use the phone as a flashlight.

Dec 29, 2017, 4:12pm

>306 richardderus: Sure, Richard! It's a Nevo Larry, and it is plenty bright. It has a magnetic swivel clip, so it could be placed temporarily on steel shelves while browsing (for example) or stored on a refrigerator door. The light spreads fairly wide, so I might just try clipping it to a shirt pocket and see whether that works well enough for most purposes.

I checked, and there's a newer version out, called the LiL Larry, which looks to be about the same size but even brighter.

Dec 29, 2017, 4:19pm

Got it! Literally. Went to Ammy, carted it.

Dec 29, 2017, 5:57pm

Fast work! I'm looking forward to giving mine a tryout, maybe this weekend. Time to check Booksalefinder.com.

Dec 30, 2017, 8:19am

154. Much Obliged, Jeeves, by P. G. Wodehouse

The penultimate Jeeves and Wooster book by P. G. Wodehouse was another fun romp, with Bertie heading down to his Aunt Dahlia’s house to savor the food of Anatole and help out an old friend, Ginger Winship, by canvassing for votes. Unfortunately, Roderick Spode (now Lord Sidcup) and Madeline Bassett are on hand, as is the fishy former manservant Bingley. It did feel a bit much of a reunion, with assorted familiar characters putting in fairly brief appearances, but was enjoyable nonetheless, and the style remains as amusing and clever as ever. Recommended.

First sentence: “As I slid into my chair at the breakfast table and started to deal with the toothsome eggs and bacon which Jeeves had given of his plenty, I was conscious of a strange exhilaration, if I’ve got the word right.”

Dec 30, 2017, 8:45am

Hi Harry and happy Saturday to you!

>304 fuzzi: Warning duly noted, fuzzi!.

I have a flashlight app on my cell phone that I should start using at the local second hand book store and the Thrift Shop. I always carry my cell phone in my back pocket, so just remembering to use it should be relatively easy.

Dec 30, 2017, 9:35am

Hi, Karen!

I've thought about using the phone that way — and have in a pinch — but I use the LT app constantly while shopping to make sure I'm not acquiring duplicates, and I'd probably find switching back and forth tedious. I've been keeping a penlight in the car, and now I'll probably swap in the LED light bar.

Dec 30, 2017, 10:30am

Ah. I didn't think of checking the LT app at the same time. Good idea for the light bar, then. I don't think I'm looking for so many obscure or erudite things as you are, either.

Dec 31, 2017, 12:25am

It hasn't been such a great year on my part, Harry. I let you and a lot of others walk past me without my saying hello, asking how you're doing. I've just now skimmed the tail of your thread and see I've missed out.

But the year is drawing to a close, thank goodness, and I for one any ready to move on. Buh-bye 2017...

So Happy New Year, Harry.

I'll be trying this reading business anew in 2018, hoping to do better both in numbers (just...just...well, uh....a half-dozen more would be satisfying) and in being more social (getting around the threads, tipping the hat, sharing a smile). See you on the other side, my friend.

Edited: Dec 31, 2017, 10:03am

>314 weird_O: Wishing you a much better 2018, Bill! Happy New Year!

Dec 31, 2017, 10:03am

>313 karenmarie: Right, Karen. If you're mostly picking up books with highly visible titles on the spines of either book or dust jacket, or shopping in well-lit book stores and sales, then the light bar would be less useful. But I'm often in rather dim locations — book stores or antique stores — trying to read faded dark lettering on a faded dark spine. :-)

Dec 31, 2017, 10:04am

155. Murder of a Lady, by Anthony Wynne

A manipulative old woman is found brutally murdered behind a locked door, with the windows of the room also bolted, despite the oppressive heat of the night. Noted amateur detective Dr. Eustace Hailey is staying in the area, but ambitious Inspector Dundas wants no help from the good doctor. Motives seem obvious: her nephew, on the brink of ruin because of gambling debts, stood to inherit a good deal, and with her hatred of gambling his aunt would not have lent the money willingly; moreover, her nephew’s wife hated the woman, who had made her life in the Duchlan household a misery and was clearly trying to separate husband and wife. The impossibility of the crime, however, proves a stumbling block, as without an explanation of how the murderer left the locked room, a conviction seems unlikely. Dundas confesses himself beaten and looks to Dr. Hailey for help. And then comes a second murder….

Murder of a Lady was a solid mystery, with some surprising twists. Recommended.

First sentence: “Mr. Leod McLeod, Procurator Fiscal of Mid-Argyll, was known throughout that country as ‘the Monarch of the Glen.’”

Dec 31, 2017, 10:12am

Morning, Harry! Happy Sunday! My bird feeders have really been hopping this A.M. Mostly juncos and sparrows. The busiest I have seen it in awhile.

Edited: Dec 31, 2017, 10:15am

>318 msf59: Hi, Mark! Our feeders were that way yesterday. It seems a snowfall really brings them out. We even got a chance to see the male downy woodpecker at one of the suet feeders (previously I'd only spotted a female).

Dec 31, 2017, 2:31pm

Argosy delivered an interesting issue for August 1, 1936. I didn't get to sample the novel featured on the cover, "Brave Men Die Hard," as I don't have the rest of the parts of the serial yet. But I did check out the so-called Dogieville Laugh-Fest, "When History Hit Dogieville," which described the comic misadventures of four cowboys who came to town and were persuaded to take part in the town's first Fourth of July celebration, to include both a historical pageant (with but loose understanding of history) and a hot-air balloon ascent. Funny on the whole.

Richard Wormser's novelette "Money in the Ashes" (tag line: "Horses and hamburgers don't mix") was an entertaining, if a bit compressed, story of a veteran horse trainer who takes in hand a badly trained race horse and triumphs over a wealthy and underhanded rival with the assistance of his daughter and an ex-newspaperman.

In "The Man of Peace," a peaceable German trader in the South Seas is driven to the breaking point by murderous kidnappers. "The Size of a Man" sees big and brawny Hugh Baldwin learn "how small a man can be" in the face of a blizzard, and with the humility also comes a lesson in friendship. Finally, in "The Diamond Pit," a miner foils a killer.

Of the serials, I think I'd particularly like to get the rest of the parts of "The Golden Knight," a novel by Richard Challis concerning Richard the Lionheart that concluded in this issue.

Dec 31, 2017, 3:10pm

Hi Harry!

Peace, Health, and Happiness in 2018

Dec 31, 2017, 3:25pm

>321 karenmarie: Thank you, Karen!

Dec 31, 2017, 5:01pm

The last book of the year arrived today: Katzenjammer: A Selection of Comics. It will likely be one of my first reads in the new year.

2017 was a good year for our home library; per LT's statistics, it looks like we added more than 500 books this year. We're closing in on 7,000.

Thanks for a great year, everyone! Please join me in my new thread: http://www.librarything.com/topic/279399