lyzard's list: Provided with books for the 2019 journey - Part 5

75 Books Challenge for 2019

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lyzard's list: Provided with books for the 2019 journey - Part 5

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Edited: Aug 15, 2019, 5:50pm

For 2014 I almost went with a portrait-shot of a dancing bird of paradise, but my quest for the less obvious finally made me choose instead this image taken in the waters off Cape Town of swarming box jellyfish, which was a finalist in the 'underwater' category:

Edited: Nov 3, 2019, 3:12pm

If you have a book with you on a journey it is very possible that you may not look at it;---but how terrible a thing it is to come on a journey unprovided with any book!
---Anthony Trollope, The Duke's Children: The First Complete Edition (1880)



Currently reading:

Elsie's Kith And Kin by Martha Finley (1886)

Edited: Aug 14, 2019, 8:47pm

2019 reading:


1. The Road Back by Erich Maria Remarque (1931)
2. Shadows On The Rock by Willa Cather (1931)
3. Family Trouble by William McFee (1949)
4. Patty's Motor Car by Carolyn Wells (1911)
5. Dr Nikola's Experiment by Guy Newell Boothby (1899)
6. Tragedy At The Unicorn by John Rhode (1928)
7. Juliania; or, The Affectionate Sisters by Elizabeth Sandham (1800)
8. The Crime At The Noah's Ark by Molly Thynne (1931)
9. The Mother-In-Law; or, The Isle Of Rays by E.D.E.N. Southworth (1851)
10. The Monster Of Grammont by George Goodchild (1927)
11. The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas (1942)
12. The Stoneware Monkey by R. Austin Freeman (1938)
13. Cat Among The Pigeons by Agatha Christie (1959)
14. The Captain Of The Vulture by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (1862)
15. The Mystery Of The Peacock's Eye by Brian Flynn (1928)


16. Belinda by Maria Edgeworth (1801)
17. Tragedy On The Line by John Rhode (1931)
18. The Island Of Dr Moreau by H. G. Wells (1896)
19. Strange Fruit by Lillian Smith (1944)
20. Circus Parade by Jim Tully (1927)
21. The Crouching Beast by Valentine Williams (1928)
22. Eternity Ring by Patricia Wentworth (1948)
23. Charlie Chan Carries On by Earl Derr Biggers (1930)
24. The Adventure Of The Christmas Pudding by Agatha Christie (1960)
25. Broadway Melody Of 1999 by Robert Steiner (1993)
26. The Fallen Angel: Chastity, Class And Women's Reading, 1835-1880 by Sally Mitchell (1981)
27. Farewell, Nikola by Guy Newell Boothby (1901)


28. The Kellys And The O'Kellys; or, Landlords And Tenants by Anthony Trollope (1848)
29. Kenilworth by Walter Scott (1821)
30. The Two Elsies by Martha Finley (1885)
31. Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor (1944)
32. Number Seventeen by Louis Tracy (1915)
33. The Slip-Carriage Mystery by Lynn Brock (1928)
34. The Hardway Diamonds Mystery by Miles Burton (1930)
35. The Supernatural by Douglas Hill and Pat Williams (1965)
36. The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen (1894)
37. The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie (1961)
38. Rich In Love by Josephine Humphreys (1987)

Edited: Aug 14, 2019, 8:57pm

2019 reading:


39. Cone Of Silence by David Beaty (1959)
40. Orca by Arthur Herzog (1977)
41. Hands Unseen by Herman Landon (1924)
42. The Amazing Mr Bunn by Bertram Atkey (1911)
43. Miss Silver Comes To Stay by Patricia Wentworth (1948)
44. The Mirror Crack'd From Side To Side by Agatha Christie (1962)
45. Peril! by Sydney Horler (1930)
46. Mr Polton Explains by R. Austin Freeman (1940)
47. Murder By An Aristocrat by Mignon Eberhart (1932)
48. The King's General by Daphne du Maurier (1946)
49. Miss Parritt Disappears by Valentine Williams (1931)
50. Bread And Vinegar by H. A. Manhood (1931)
51. The Fox Prowls by Valentine Williams (1939)
52. The House Opposite by Elizabeth Kent (1902)
53. Murder In Amityville by Hans Holzer (1979)
54. Anna The Adventuress by E. Phillips Oppenheim (1904)
55. The House Opposite by J. Jefferson Farjeon (1931)
56. Who? by Elizabeth Kent (1912)


57. Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1796)
58. Home Port by Olive Higgins Prouty (1947)
59. The Clocks by Agatha Christie (1963)
60. The Complete Guide To Mysterious Beings by John A. Keel (1994)
61. The Miracle Of The Bells by Russell Janney (1946)
62. This'll Kill Ya: And Other Dangerous Stories by Harry Wilson (1991)
63. The Jacob Street Mystery by R. Austin Freeman (1942)
64. The Sicilian by "Gabrielli" (Elizabeth Meeke) (1798)


65. Emmeline, The Orphan Of The Castle by Charlotte Smith (1788)
66. The Big Fisherman by Lloyd C. Douglas (1948)
67. The Catherine-Wheel by Patricia Wentworth (1949)
68. A Caribbean Mystery by Agatha Christie (1964)
69. The Adopted by William McFee (1952)
70. Women, Letters, And The Novel by Ruth Perry (1980)
71. Why: The Serial Killer In America by Margaret Cheney (1992)
72. Serial Slaughter: What's Behind America's Murder Epidemic? by Michael Newton (1992)
73. Bracebridge Hall; or, The Humorists by Washington Irving (1822)
74. Patty's Butterfly Days by Carolyn Wells (1912)

Edited: Nov 3, 2019, 3:24pm

2019 reading:


75. The Handsome Young Men by Hulbert Footner (1926)
76. The Infidel Father by Jane West (1802)
77. The Three Clerks by Anthony Trollope (1857)
78. Sinuhe The Egyptian by Mika Waltari (1945 / 1949)
79. The Epicurean by Thomas Moore (1827)
80. The Go-Getter: A Story That Tells You How To Be One by Peter B. Kyne (1921)
81. Murdered But Not Dead by Anne Austin (1939)
82. The Maestro Murders by Frances Shelley Wees (1931)
83. Blind Corner by Dornford Yates (1927)
84. At Bertram's Hotel by Agatha Christie (1965)
85. The Sketch Book Of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. by Washington Irving (1820)
86. Keeper Of The Keys by Earl Derr Biggers (1932)


87. The Sands Of Windee by Arthur Upfield (1931)
88. The Brading Collection by Patricia Wentworth (1950)
89. The Clock Strikes by Leslie Ford (1935)
90. Third Girl by Agatha Christie (1966)
91. Gray Magic by Herman Landon (1925)
92. Many Ways by Margaret Pedler (1931)
93. The Cardinal by Henry Morton Robinson (1950)
94. Fabia by Olive Higgins Prouty (1952)
95. The Adventures Of Hajji Baba Of Ispahan by James Justinian Morier (1824)
96. The Social Life Of Fluids: Blood, Milk, And Water In The Victorian Novel by Jules David Law (2010)


97. The Eye In Attendance by Valentine Williams (1927)
98. Death Answers The Bell by Valentine Williams (1931)
99. The Shadow Of Death: The Hunt For A Serial Killer by Philip E. Ginsburg (1993)
100. Thaddeus Of Warsaw by Jane Porter (1803)
101. My Desert Friend And Other Stories by Robert Hichens (1931)
102. The de Bercy Affair by Louis Tracy (1910)
103. The Crime At Tattenham Corner by Annie Haynes (1929)
104. Who Killed Charmian Karslake? by Annie Haynes (1929)
105. From Here To Eternity by James Jones (1951)
106. Endless Night by Agatha Christie (1967)


107. The Maze by Philip MacDonald (1931)
108. The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni (1827)
109. La Guinguette à deux sous by Georges Simenon (1932)
110. The Crystal Beads Murder by Annie Haynes (1930)
111. Through The Wall by Patricia Wentworth (1950)
112. The Gold Comfit Box by Valentine Williams (1932)
113. By The Pricking Of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie (1968)
114. The Silver Chalice by Thomas B. Costain (1952)
115. The Come Back by Carolyn Wells (1921)
116. They Who Do Not Grieve by Sia Figiel (1999)


117. The American Caravan: A Yearbook Of American Literature by Van Wyck Brooks et al. (eds.) (1927)
118. Dracula's Guest And Other Weird Tales by Bram Stoker (1914)
119. The Mystery Of The Folded Paper by Hulbert Footner (1930)

Edited: Nov 3, 2019, 6:41pm

Books in transit:

Purchased and shipped:
Move Over by Ethel Pettit
Turmoil At Brede by Seldon Truss

Library books to collect:

On interlibrary loan / branch transfer / storage / Rare Book request:

Upcoming requests:
The Spectacles Of Mr Cagliostro (aka The Blue Spectacles) by Harry Stephen Keeler {CARM}
The Creaking Tree Mystery by L. A. Knight {JFR}
Ambrose Holt And Family by Susan Glaspell {JFR}

On loan:
**The Cardinal by Henry Morton Robinson (04/11/2019)
*Thaddeus Of Warsaw by Jane Porter (04/11/2019)
**The Adventures Of Hajji Baba Of Ispahan by James Justinian Morier (04/11/2019)
**The Social Life Of Fluids: Blood, Milk, And Water In The Victorian Novel by Jules Law (04/11/2019)
**The Bar On The Seine by Georges Simenon (06/11/2019)
Wilhelm Meister's Journeyman Years by Johann Goethe (07/12/2019 / 17/12/2019)
*From Here To Eternity by James Jones (14/12/2019)
*The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni (14/12/2019)
*The Silver Chalice by Thomas B. Costain (15/01/2020)

Edited: Nov 4, 2019, 6:57pm

Reading projects 2019:

Blog reads:
Chronobibliography: Leandro; or, The Lucky Rescue by James Smythies
Authors In Depth:
- Forest Of Montalbano by Catherine Cuthbertson
- Shannondale (aka "The Three Beauties; or, Shannondale: A Novel") by E.D.E.N. Southworth
- The Captain Of The Vulture by Mary Elizabeth Braddon / Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
- Ellesmere by Mrs Meeke
- The Cottage by Margaret Minifie
- The Old Engagement by Julia Day
- The Refugee In America by Frances Trollope
Reading Roulette: Pique by Sarah Stickney Ellis
Australian fiction: Louisa Egerton by Mary Leman Grimstone
Gothic novel timeline: Reginald Du Bray by 'A Late Nobleman'
Early crime fiction: The Mysteries Of London by G. W. M. Reynolds
Silver-fork novels: Sayings And Doings; or, Sketches From Life (First Series) by Theodore Hook
Related reading: Gains And Losses by Robert Lee Wollf / The Man Of Feeling by Henry Mackenzie / Le Loup Blanc by Paul Féval / Theresa Marchmont; or, The Maid Of Honour by Catherine Gore

Group / tutored reads:

Completed: Belinda by Maria Edgeworth (thread here)
Completed: The Kellys And The O'Kellys by Anthony Trollope (thread here)
Completed: Emmeline, The Orphan Of The Castle by Charlotte Smith (thread here)
Completed: The Three Clerks by Anthony Trollope (thread here)

Next up: The Bertrams by Anthony Trollope

General reading challenges:

America's best-selling novels (1895 - ????):
Next up: The Silver Chalice by Thomas B. Costain

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

Agatha Christie mysteries in chronological order:
Next up: Hallowe'en Party

The C.K. Shorter List of Best 100 Novels:
Next up: Wilhelm Meister by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe / The Adventures Of Hajji Baba Of Ispahan by James Morier / The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni / Lichtenstein by Wilhelm Hauff

Mystery League publications:
Next up: Turmoil At Brede by Seldon Truss

Banned In Boston!: (here)
Next up: American Caravan by Van Wyck Brooks, Alfred Kreymborg, Lewis Mumford and Paul Rosenfeld (eds.)

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

Random reading 1940 - 1969:
Next up: Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh / B.F.'s Daughter by John P. Marquand

Potential decommission:
Next up: Angels & Insects by A. S. Byatt

Potential decommission (non-fiction):
Next up: Faces In The Smoke by Douchan Gersi

Completed challenges:
Georgette Heyer historical romances in chronological order

Possible future reading projects:
- Georgette Heyer's historical fiction
- Nobel Prize winners who won for fiction
- Daily Telegraph's 100 Best Novels, 1899
- James Tait Black Memorial Prize
- Berkeley "Books Of The Century"
- Collins White Circle Crime Club / Green Penguins
- Dell paperbacks
- "El Mundo" 100 best novels of the twentieth century
- 100 Best Books by American Women During the Past 100 Years, 1833-1933
- 50 Classics of Crime Fiction 1900–1950 (Jacques Barzun and Wendell Hertig Taylor)
- The Guardian's 100 Best Novels
- Life Magazine "The 100 Outstanding Books of 1924 - 1944" (Henry Seidel Canby)
- "40 Trashy Novels You Must Read Before You Die" (Flavorwire)
- best-novel lists in Wikipedia article on The Grapes Of Wrath
- Pandora 'Mothers Of The Novel'
- Newark Library list (here)

Edited: Sep 18, 2019, 8:34pm

TBR notes:

Currently 'missing' series works:

Mystery At Greycombe Farm by John Rhode (Dr Priestley #12) {Rare Books}
Dead Men At The Folly by John Rhode (Dr Priestley #13) {Rare Books}
The Robthorne Mystery by John Rhode (Dr Priestley #17) {Rare Books / State Library NSW, held}
Poison For One by John Rhode (Dr Priestley #18) {Rare Books / State Library NSW, held}
Shot At Dawn by John Rhode (Dr Priestley #19) {Rare Books}
The Corpse In The Car by John Rhode (Dr Priestley #20) {CARM}
Hendon's First Case by John Rhode (Dr Priestley #21) {Rare Books}
Mystery At Olympia (aka "Murder At The Motor Show") (Dr Priestley #22) {Kindle / State Library NSW, held}
In Face Of The Verdict by John Rhode (Dr Priestley #24) {Rare Books / State Library NSW, held}

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

Secret Judges by Francis D. Grierson (Sims and Wells #2) {Rare Books}

The Platinum Cat by Miles Burton (Desmond Merrion #17 / Inspector Arnold #18) {Rare Books}

The Double-Thirteen Mystery by Anthony Wynne (Dr Eustace Hailey #2) {Rare Books}

The Black Death by Moray Dalton {CARM}


Ambrose Holt And Family by Susan Glaspell {ILL / JFR}
The Creaking Tree Mystery by L. A. Knight {ILL / JFR}
The Murderer Invisible by Philip Wylie {Rare Books}
The Back-Seat Murder by Herman Landon {Rare Books}
One-Man Girl by Maisie Greig {Mitchell Library}
Cameos by Octavus Roy Cohen {State Library NSW}

The Matilda Hunter Murder by Harry Stephen Keeler {Kindle}

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

NB: Rest of 1931 listed on the Wiki

Completist reading:

The Spectacles Of Mr Cagliostro (aka The Blue Spectacles) by Harry Stephen Keeler (#3) {CARM}
The Bertrams by Anthony Trollope (#7) {owned}
XYZ by Anna Katharine Green {Project Gutenberg}
The Circular Staircase by Mary Roberts Rinehart {Project Gutenberg}
The White Cockatoo by Mignon Eberhart

Shopping list:


The Amber Junk (aka The Riddle Of The Amber Ship) by Hazel Phillips Hanshew (Cleek #9)
The Hawkmoor Mystery by W. H. Lane Crauford
Dead Man's Hat by Hulbert Footner
October House by Kay Cleaver Strahan (Lynn MacDonald #4)
The Double Thumb by Francis Grierson (Sims and Wells #3)
The Mystery Of The Open Window by Anthony Gilbert (Scott Egerton #4)
The Mystery Of The Creeping Man by Frances Shelley Wees (Michael Forrester #2)
The Shadow Of Evil by Charles J. Dutton (Harley Manners #2)
The Seventh Passenger by Alice MacGowan and Perry Newberry (Jerry Boyne #4)
The Daughter Of The House by Carolyn Wells (Fleming Stone #19)
The Pelham Murder Case by Monte Barrett (Peter Cardigan #1)
Prove It, Mr Tolefree (aka "The Tolliver Case") by R. A. J. Walling (Philip Tolefree #3)
The Hanging Woman by John Rhode (Dr Priestley #11)

Edited: Nov 4, 2019, 7:02pm

A Century (And A Bit) Of Reading:

A book a year from 1800 - 1900!

1800: Juliania; or, The Affectionate Sisters by Elizabeth Sandham
1801: Belinda by Maria Edgeworth
1802: The Infidel Father by Jane West
1803: Thaddeus Of Warsaw by Jane Porter
1807: Corinne; ou, l'Italie by Madame de Staël
1809: The Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter
1812: The Absentee by Maria Edgeworth
1814: The Wanderer; or, Female Difficulties by Frances Burney
1815: Headlong Hall by Thomas Love Peacock
1820: The Sketch Book Of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. by Washington Irving
1821: The Ayrshire Legatees; or, The Pringle Family by John Galt / Valerius: A Roman Story by J. G. Lockhart / Kenilworth by Walter Scott
1822: Bracebridge Hall; or, The Humorists by Washington Irving
1824: The Adventures Of Hajji Baba Of Ispahan by James Justinian Morier
1827: The Epicurean by Thomas Moore / The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni
1836: The Tree And Its Fruits; or, Narratives From Real Life by Phoebe Hinsdale Brown
1845: Zoe: The History Of Two Lives by Geraldine Jewsbury / The Mysteries Of London (Volume I) by G. W. M. Reynolds
1846: The Mysteries Of London (Volume II) by G. W. M. Reynolds
1847: Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë / The Macdermots Of Ballycloran by Anthony Trollope
1848: The Kellys And The O'Kellys by Anthony Trollope
1851: The Mother-In-Law; or, The Isle Of Rays by E.D.E.N. Southworth
1857: The Three Clerks by Anthony Trollope
1859: The Semi-Detached House by Emily Eden
1860: The Semi-Attached Couple by Emily Eden
1869: He Knew He Was Right by Anthony Trollope
1873: Had You Been In His Place by Lizzie Bates
1877: Elsie's Children by Martha Finley
1880: The Duke's Children: First Complete Edition by Anthony Trollope / Elsie's Widowhood by Martha Finley
1881: Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen / The Beautiful Wretch by William Black
1882: Grandmother Elsie by Martha Finley
1883: Elsie's New Relations by Martha Finley
1884: Elsie At Nantucket by Martha Finley
1885: The Two Elsies by Martha Finley
1886: Elsie's Kith And Kin by Martha Finley
1894: Martin Hewitt, Investigator by Arthur Morrison / The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen
1896: The Island Of Dr Moreau by H. G. Wells
1897: Penelope's Progress by Kate Douglas Wiggin
1898: A Man From The North by Arnold Bennett / The Lust Of Hate by Guy Newell Boothby
1899: Agatha Webb by Anna Katharine Green / Dr Nikola's Experiment by Guy Newell Boothby
1900: The Circular Study by Anna Katharine Green

Edited: Aug 14, 2019, 10:05pm

Timeline of detective fiction:

Things As They Are; or, The Adventures Of Caleb Williams by William Godwin (1794)
Mademoiselle de Scudéri by E. T. A. Hoffmann (1819); Tales Of Hoffmann (1982)
Richmond: Scenes In The Life Of A Bow Street Officer by Anonymous (1827)
Memoirs Of Vidocq by Eugene Francois Vidocq (1828)
Le Pere Goriot by Honore de Balzac (1835)
Passages In The Secret History Of An Irish Countess by J. Sheridan Le Fanu (1838); The Purcell Papers (1880)
The Murders In The Rue Morgue: The Dupin Tales by Edgar Allan Poe (1841, 1842, 1845)

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

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

Female detectives:
The Diary Of Anne Rodway by Wilkie Collins (1856)
Ruth The Betrayer; or, The Female Spy by Edward Ellis (!862-1863)
The Female Detective by Andrew Forrester (1864)
Revelations Of A Lady Detective by William Stephens Hayward (1864)
The Law And The Lady by Wilkie Collins (1875)
Madeline Payne; or, The Detective's Daughter by Lawrence L. Lynch (Emma Murdoch Van Deventer) (1884)
Mr Bazalgette's Agent by Leonard Merrick (1888)
Moina; or, Against The Mighty by Lawrence L. Lynch (Emma Murdoch Van Deventer) (sequel to Madeline Payne?) (1891)
The Experiences Of Loveday Brooke, Lady Detective by Catherine Louisa Pirkis (1893)
When The Sea Gives Up Its Dead by Elizaberth Burgoyne Corbett (Mrs George Corbett)
Dorcas Dene, Detective by George Sims (1897)
- Amelia Butterworth series by Anna Katharine Grant (1897 - 1900)
Hagar Of The Pawn-Shop by Fergus Hume (1898)
The Adventures Of A Lady Pearl-Broker by Beatrice Heron-Maxwell (1899)
Miss Cayley's Adventures by Grant Allan (1899)
Hilda Wade by Grant Allan (1900)
Dora Myrl, The Lady Detective by M. McDonnel Bodkin (1900)
The Investigators by J. S. Fletcher (1902)
Lady Molly Of Scotland Yard by Baroness Orczy (1910)
Constance Dunlap, Woman Detective by Arthur B. Reeve (1913)

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

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

Edited: Nov 4, 2019, 7:03pm

Series and sequels, 1866 - 1919:

(1866 - 1876) **Emile Gaboriau - Monsieur Lecoq - The Widow Lerouge (1/6) {ManyBooks}
(1867 - 1905) **Martha Finley - Elsie Dinsmore - Elsie's Friends At Woodburn (13/28) {Project Gutenberg}
(1867 - 1872) **George MacDonald - The Seaboard Parish - Annals Of A Quiet Neighbourhood (1/3) {ManyBooks}
(1878 - 1917) **Anna Katharine Green - Ebenezer Gryce - The Mystery Of The Hasty Arrow (13/13) {Project Gutenberg}
(1896 - 1909) **Melville Davisson Post - Randolph Mason - The Corrector Of Destinies (3/3) {Internet Archive}
(1893 - 1915) **Kate Douglas Wiggins - Penelope - Penelope's Postscripts (4/4) {Project Gutenberg}
(1894 - 1898) **Anthony Hope - Ruritania - Rupert Of Hentzau (3/3) {Project Gutenberg}
(1894 - 1903) **Arthur Morrison - Martin Hewitt - Chronicles Of Martin Hewitt (2/4) {Roy Glashan's Library}
(1895 - 1901) **Guy Newell Boothby - Dr Nikola - Farewell, Nikola (5/5) {Roy Glashan's Library}
(1897 - 1900) **Anna Katharine Green - Amelia Butterworth - The Circular Study (3/3) {Project Gutenberg}
(1898 - 1918) **Arnold Bennett - Five Towns - Anna Of The Five Towns (2/11) {Sutherland Library}
(1899 - 1917) **Anna Katharine Green - Caleb Sweetwater - The Mystery Of The Hasty Arrow (7/7) {Project Gutenberg}
(1899 - 1909) **E. W. Hornung - Raffles - Mr Justice Raffles (4/4) {Project Gutenberg}
(1900 - 1974) Ernest Bramah - Kai Lung - Kai Lung: Six / Kai Lung Raises His Voice (7/7) {Kindle}

(1901 - 1919) **Carolyn Wells - Patty Fairfield - Patty's Social Season (11/17) {Project Gutenberg}
(1901 - 1927) **George Barr McCutcheon - Graustark - Beverly Of Graustark (2/6) {Project Gutenberg}
(1903 - 1904) **Louis Tracy - Reginald Brett - The Albert Gate Mystery (2/2) {ManyBooks}
(1905 - 1925) **Baroness Orczy - The Old Man In The Corner - Unravelled Knots (3/3) {Project Gutenberg Australia}}
(1905 - 1928) **Edgar Wallace - The Just Men - Again The Three Just Men (6/6) {Roy Glashan's Library}
(1906 - 1930) **John Galsworthy - The Forsyte Saga - To Let (5/11) {Project Gutenberg}
(1907 - 1912) **Carolyn Wells - Marjorie - Marjorie's Vacation (1/6) {ManyBooks}
(1907 - 1942) R. Austin Freeman - Dr John Thorndyke - The Jacob Street Mystery (26/26) {Roy Glashan's Library}
(1907 - 1941) *Maurice Leblanc - Arsene Lupin - The Hollow Needle (3/21) {ManyBooks}
(1908 - 1924) **Margaret Penrose - Dorothy Dale - Dorothy Dale: A Girl Of Today (1/13) {ManyBooks}
(1909 - 1942) *Carolyn Wells - Fleming Stone - The Daughter Of The House (19/49) {expensive}
(1909 - 1929) *J. S. Fletcher - Inspector Skarratt - Marchester Royal (1/3) {Kindle}
(1909 - 1912) **Emerson Hough - Western Trilogy - 54-40 Or Fight (1/3) {Project Gutenberg}
(1910 - 1936) *Arthur B. Reeve - Craig Kennedy - The Adventuress (10/24) {ILL}
(1910 - 1946) A. E. W. Mason - Inspector Hanaud - The House In Lordship Lane (7/7) {Roy Glashan's Library}
(1910 - 1917) ***Edgar Wallace - Inspector Smith - Kate Plus Ten (3/3) {Project Gutenberg Australia}
(1910 - 1930) **Edgar Wallace - Inspector Elk - The Joker (3/6?) {ManyBooks}
(1910 - 1932) *Thomas, Mary and Hazel Hanshew - Cleek - The Amber Junk (9/12) {AbeBooks}
(1910 - 1918) **John McIntyre - Ashton-Kirk - Ashton-Kirk: Criminologist (4/4) {Project Gutenberg}
(1910 - 1931) Grace S. Richmond - Red Pepper Burns - Red Pepper Returns (6/6) {Internet Archive}
(1910 - 1933) Jeffery Farnol - The Vibarts - The Way Beyond (3/3) {Fisher Library storage /}
(1910 - 1928) **Louis Tracy - Winter and Furneaux - The Postmaster's Daughter (5/9) {Project Gutenberg}

(1911 - 1935) G. K. Chesterton - Father Brown - The Scandal Of Father Brown (5/5) {branch transfer}
(1911 - 1937) Mary Roberts Rinehart - Letitia Carberry - Tish Marches On (5/5) {Kindle}
(1911 - 1919) **Alfred Bishop Mason - Tom Strong - Tom Strong, Lincoln's Scout (5/5) {Project Gutenberg}
(1911 - 1940) *Bertram Atkey - Smiler Bunn - The Smiler Bunn Brigade (2/10) {rare, expensive}
(1912 - 1919) **Gordon Holmes (Louis Tracy) - Steingall and Clancy - The Bartlett Mystery (3/3) {ManyBooks}
(1913 - 1934) *Alice B. Emerson - Ruth Fielding - Ruth Fielding In The Far North (20/30) {expensive}
(1913 - 1973) Sax Rohmer - Fu-Manchu - The Bride Of Fu-Manchu (6/14) {interlibrary loan / Kindle}
(1913 - 1952) *Jeffery Farnol - Jasper Shrig - The High Adventure (4/9) {State Library NSW, JFR / Rare Books}
(1914 - 1950) Mary Roberts Rinehart - Hilda Adams - Episode Of The Wandering Knife (5/5) Better World Books}
(1914 - 1934) Ernest Bramah - Max Carrados - The Bravo Of London (5/5) {Roy Glashan's Library}
(1916 - 1941) John Buchan - Edward Leithen - Sick Heart River (5/5) {Fisher Library}
(1915 - 1936) *John Buchan - Richard Hannay - The Thirty-Nine Steps (1/5) {Fisher Library / Project Gutenberg / branch transfer / Kindle}
(1915 - 1923) **Booth Tarkington - Growth - The Magnificent Ambersons (2/3) {Project Gutenberg / Fisher Library / Kindle}
(1916 - 1917) **Carolyn Wells - Alan Ford - Faulkner's Folly (2/2) {owned}
(1916 - 1927) **Natalie Sumner Lincoln - Inspector Mitchell - The Nameless Man (2/10) {AbeBooks}
(1916 - 1917) **Nevil Monroe Hopkins - Mason Brant - The Strange Cases Of Mason Brant (1/2) {Coachwhip Books}
(1917 - 1929) **Henry Handel Richardson - Dr Richard Mahony - Australia Felix (1/3) {Fisher Library / Kindle
(1918 - 1923) **Carolyn Wells - Pennington Wise - The Luminous Face (5/8) {Project Gutenberg}
(1918 - 1939) Valentine Williams - The Okewood Brothers - The Spider's Touch (6/?) {Roy Glashan's Library}
(1918 - 1944) Valentine Williams - Clubfoot - The Spider's Touch (7/8) {Roy Glashan's Library}
(1918 - 1950) *Wyndham Martyn - Anthony Trent - The Mysterious Mr Garland (3/26) {CARM}
(1919 - 1966) *Lee Thayer - Peter Clancy - The Key (6/60) {expensive / Rare Books}
(1919 - 1921) **Octavus Roy Cohen - David Carroll - The Crimson Alibi (1/3) {Rare Books / HathiTrust}

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

Edited: Oct 27, 2019, 11:14pm

Series and sequels, 1920 - 1927:

(1920 - 1939) E. F. Benson - Mapp And Lucia - Trouble For Lucia (6/6)
(1920 - 1948) *H. C. Bailey - Reggie Fortune - Case For Mr Fortune (7/23) {State Library NSW, JFR}
(1920 - 1952) William McFee - Spenlove - The Adopted - (7/7)
(1920 - 1932) *Alice B. Emerson - Betty Gordon - Betty Gordon At Bramble Farm (1/15) {ManyBooks}
(1920 - 1975) Agatha Christie - Hercule Poirot - Hallowe'en Party (35/39) {owned}
(1920 - 1921) **Natalie Sumner Lincoln - Ferguson - The Unseen Ear (2/2)
(1920 - 1937) *H. C. McNeile - Bulldog Drummond - Bull-Dog Drummond (1/10 - series continued) {Project Gutenberg / Fisher storage}

(1921 - 1929) **Charles J. Dutton - John Bartley - Streaked With Crimson (9/9)
(1921 - 1925) **Herman Landon - The Gray Phantom - Gray Magic (5/5)

(1922 - 1973) Agatha Christie - Tommy and Tuppence - Postern Of Fate (5/5) {owned}
(1922 - 1927) *Alice MacGowan and Perry Newberry - Jerry Boyne - The Seventh Passenger (4/5) {Amazon}
(1922 - 1931) Valentine Williams - Inspector Manderton - Death Answers The Bell (4/4)
(1922 - 1961) Mark Cross ("Valentine", aka Archibald Thomas Pechey) - Daphne Wrayne and her Four Adjusters - The Adjusters (1/53) {rare, expensive}

(1923 - 1937) Dorothy L. Sayers - Lord Peter Wimsey - In The Teeth Of The Evidence (14/14) {interlibrary loan}
(1923 - 1924) **Carolyn Wells - Lorimer Lane - The Fourteenth Key (2/2) {eBay}
(1923 - 1931) *Agnes Miller - The Linger-Nots - The Linger-Nots And The Secret Maze (5/5) {unavailable}
(1923 - 1927) Annie Haynes - Inspector Furnival - The Crow's Inn Tragedy (3/3)

(1924 - 1959) Philip MacDonald - Colonel Anthony Gethryn - The Wraith (6/24) {ILL / JFR}
(1924 - 1957) *Freeman Wills Crofts - Inspector French - The Sea Mystery (4/30) {Rare Books / State Library NSW, JFR / ILL / Kindle}
(1924 - 1935) * / ***Francis D. Grierson - Inspector Sims and Professor Wells - The Smiling Death (6/13) {AbeBooks, expensive}
(1924 - 1940) *Lynn Brock - Colonel Gore - The Dagwort Coombe Murder (5/12) {Kindle}
(1924 - 1933) *Herbert Adams - Jimmie Haswell - The Crooked Lip (2/9) {Rare Books}
(1924 - 1944) *A. Fielding - Inspector Pointer - The Charteris Mystery (2/23) {AbeBooks / Rare Books / Kindle, Resurrected Press}
(1924 - 1928) **Ford Madox Ford - Parade's End - No More Parades (2/4) {ebook}
(1924 - 1936) *Hulbert Footner - Madame Storey - Easy To Kill (7/14) {Roy Glashan's Library}

(1925 - 1961) ***John Rhode - Dr Priestley - Death In The Hopfields (25/72) {HathiTrust / State Library NSW, held}
(1925 - 1953) *G. D. H. Cole / M. Cole - Superintendent Wilson - Poison In A Garden Suburb (6/?) {State Library NSW, JFR}
(1925 - 1932) Earl Derr Biggers - Charlie Chan - Keeper Of The Keys (6/6)
(1925 - 1944) Agatha Christie - Superintendent Battle - Towards Zero (5/5)
(1925 - 1934) *Anthony Berkeley - Roger Sheringham - The Second Shot (6/10) {academic loan / Rare Books}
(1925 - 1950) *Anthony Wynne (Robert McNair Wilson) - Dr Eustace Hailey - The Double-Thirteen Mystery (2/27) (aka "The Double Thirteen") {AbeBooks / Rare Books}
(1925 - 1939) *Charles Barry (Charles Bryson) - Inspector Lawrence Gilmartin - The Smaller Penny (1/15) {AbeBooks / Amazon}
(1925 - 1929) **Will Scott - Will Disher - Disher--Detective (aka "The Black Stamp") (1/3) {AbeBooks, expensive}
(1925 - 1927) **Francis Beeding - Professor Kreutzemark - The Seven Sleepers (1/2) {Roy Glashan's Library / State Library NSW, interlibrary loan}

(1926 - 1968) * / ***Christopher Bush - Ludovic Travers - Murder At Fenwold (3/63) {Rare Books}
(1926 - 1939) *S. S. Van Dine - Philo Vance - The Kennel Murder Case (6/12) {}
(1926 - 1952) *J. Jefferson Farjeon - Ben the Tramp - Murderer's Trail (3/8) {interlibrary loan / Kindle}
(1926 - ????) *G. D. H. Cole / M. Cole - Everard Blatchington - Burglars In Bucks (aka "The Berkshire Mystery") (2/6) {Fisher Library}
(1926 - 1936) *Margery Lawrence - The Round Table - Nights Of The Round Table (1/2) {Kindle}
(1926 - ????) *Arthur Gask - Gilbert Larose - The Dark Highway (2/27) {University of Adelaide / Project Gutenberg Australia}
(1926 - 1931) *Aidan de Brune - Dr Night - Dr Night (1/3) {Roy Glashan's Library}

(1927 - 1933) *Herman Landon - The Picaroon - The Picaroon Does Justice (2/7) {Book Searchers / CARM}
(1927 - 1932) *Anthony Armstrong - Jimmie Rezaire - The Trail Of The Lotto (3/5) {AbeBooks}
(1927 - 1937) *Ronald Knox - Miles Bredon - The Body In The Silo (3/5) {Kindle / Rare Books}
(1927 - 1958) *Brian Flynn - Anthony Bathurst - The Five Red Fingers (5/54) {expensive}}
(1927 - 1947) *J. J. Connington - Sir Clinton Driffield - Tragedy At Ravensthorpe (2/17) {Murder Room ebook / Kindle}
(1927 - 1935) *Anthony Gilbert (Lucy Malleson) - Scott Egerton - Mystery Of The Open Window (4/10) {expensive}
(1927 - 1932) *William Morton (aka William Blair Morton Ferguson) - Daniel "Biff" Corrigan - Masquerade (1/4) {expensive}
(1927 - 1929) **George Dilnot - Inspector Strickland - The Crooks' Game (1/2) {AbeBooks / Amazon}
(1927 - 1960) **Mazo de la Roche - Jalna - Jalna (1/16) {State Library NSW, JFR /}
(1927 - 1949) **Dornford Yates - Richard Chandos - Perishable Goods (2/8) {State Library, JFR / Kindle}

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

Edited: Nov 3, 2019, 3:27pm

Series and sequels, 1928 - 1930:

(1928 - 1961) Patricia Wentworth - Miss Silver - The Ivory Dagger (19/33) {}
(1928 - 1936) *Gavin Holt - Luther Bastion - The Garden Of Silent Beasts (5/17) {academic loan / State Library NSW, held}
(1928 - ????) Trygve Lund - Weston of the Royal North-West Mounted Police - The Vanished Prospector (6/9) {AbeBooks}
(1928 - 1936) *Kay Cleaver Strahan - Lynn MacDonald - October House (4/7) {AbeBooks}
(1928 - 1937) *John Alexander Ferguson - Francis McNab - Murder On The Marsh (2/5) {Internet Archive / Rare Books / State Library NSW, held}
(1928 - 1960) *Cecil Freeman Gregg - Inspector Higgins - The Murdered Manservant (aka "The Body In The Safe") (1/35) {rare, expensive}
(1928 - 1959) *John Gordon Brandon - Inspector Patrick Aloysius McCarthy - The Black Joss (2/53) {State Library NSW, held}
(1928 - 1935) *Roland Daniel - Wu Fang / Inspector Saville - Wu Fang (2/6) {expensive}
(1928 - 1946) *Francis Beeding - Alistair Granby - Pretty Sinister (2/18) {academic loan}
(1928 - 1930) **Annie Haynes - Inspector Stoddart - The Crystal Beads Murder (4/4)
(1928 - 1930) **Elsa Barker - Dexter Drake and Paul Howard - The Cobra Candlestick (aka "The Cobra Shaped Candlestick") (1/3) {AbeBooks / Rare Books}
(1928 - ????) Adam Broome - Denzil Grigson - Crowner's Quest (2/?) {AbeBooks / eBay}

(1929 - 1947) Margery Allingham - Albert Campion - The Case Of The Late Pig (8/35) {interlibrary loan / Kindle /}
(1929 - 1984) Gladys Mitchell - Mrs Bradley - The Devil At Saxon Wall (6/67) {interlibrary loan / Kindle}
(1929 - 1937) Patricia Wentworth - Benbow Smith - Down Under (4/4) {Kindle}
(1929 - ????) Mignon Eberhart - Nurse Sarah Keate - Dead Yesterday And Other Stories (6/8) (NB: multiple Eberhart characters) {expensive / limited edition} / Wolf In Man's Clothing (7/8) {Rare Books / Kindle}
(1929 - ????) ***Moray Dalton - Inspector Collier - ???? (3/?) - Death In The Cup {unavailable}, The Wife Of Baal {unavailable}
(1929 - ????) * / ***Charles Reed Jones - Leighton Swift - The King Murder (1/?) {AbeBooks}
(1929 - 1931) Carolyn Wells - Kenneth Carlisle - The Skeleton At The Feast (3/3) {Kindle}
(1929 - 1967) *George Goodchild - Inspector McLean - McLean Of Scotland Yard (1/65) {State Library NSW, held}
(1929 - 1979) *Leonard Gribble - Anthony Slade - The Case Of The Marsden Rubies (1/33) {AbeBooks / Rare Books / re-check Kindle}
(1929 - 1932) *E. R. Punshon - Carter and Bell - The Unexpected Legacy (1/5) {expensive, omnibus / Rare Books}
(1929 - 1971) *Ellery Queen - Ellery Queen - The Roman Hat Mystery (1/40) {interlibrary loan}
(1929 - 1966) *Arthur Upfield - Bony - Wings Above The Diamantina (3/29) {Fisher Library}
(1929 - 1931) *Ernest Raymond - Once In England - A Family That Was (1/3) {State Library NSW, interlibrary loan}
(1929 - 1937) *Anthony Berkeley - Ambrose Chitterwick - The Piccadilly Murder (2/3) {interlibrary loan}
(1929 - 1940) *Jean Lilly - DA Bruce Perkins - The Seven Sisters (1/3) {AbeBooks / expensive shipping}
(1929 - 1935) *N. A. Temple-Ellis (Nevile Holdaway) - Montrose Arbuthnot - The Inconsistent Villains (1/4) {AbeBooks / expensive shipping}
(1929 - 1943) *Gret Lane - Kate Clare Marsh and Inspector Barrin - The Cancelled Score Mystery (1/9) {Kindle}
(1929 - 1961) *Henry Holt - Inspector Silver - The Mayfair Mystery (aka "The Mayfair Murder") (1/16) {AbeBooks}
(1929 - 1930) *J. J. Connington - Superintendent Ross - The Eye In The Museum (1/2) {Kindle}
(1929 - 1941) *H. Maynard Smith - Inspector Frost - Inspector Frost's Jigsaw (1/7) {AbeBooks, omnibus}
(1929 - ????) *Armstrong Livingston - Jimmy Traynor - The Doublecross (1/?) {AbeBooks}
(1929 - 1932) Clemence Dane and Helen Simpson - Sir John Saumarez - Re-Enter Sir John (3/3) {Fisher Library storage}
(1929 - 1940) *Rufus King - Lieutenant Valcour - Murder By The Clock (1/11) {AbeBooks, omnibus / Kindle}
(1929 - 1933) *Will Levinrew (Will Levine) - Professor Brierly - For Sale - Murder (4/5) {AbeBooks}
(1929 - 1932) *Nancy Barr Mavity - Peter Piper - The Body On The Floor (1/5) {AbeBooks / Rare Books / State Library NSW, held}
(1929 - 1934) *Charles J. Dutton - Professor Harley Manners - The Shadow Of Evil (2/6) {expensive}
(1929 - 1932) *Thomas Cobb - Inspector Bedison - Inspector Bedison And The Sunderland Case (2/4) {unavailable?}

(1930 - ????) ***Moray Dalton - Hermann Glide - ???? (3/?) {see above}
(1930 - 1932) Hugh Walpole - The Herries Chronicles - Vanessa (4/4)
(1930 - 1932) Faith Baldwin - The Girls Of Divine Corners - Myra: A Story Of Divine Corners (4/4)
(1930 - 1960) ***Miles Burton - Desmond Merrion - The Platinum Cat (17/57) {Rare Books}
(1930 - 1960) ***Miles Burton - Inspector Henry Arnold - The Platinum Cat (18/57) {Rare Books}
(1930 - 1933) ***Roger Scarlett - Inspector Kane - In The First Degree (5/5) {expensive}
(1930 - 1941) *Harriette Ashbrook - Philip "Spike" Tracy - The Murder Of Sigurd Sharon (3/7) {Rare Books}
(1930 - 1943) Anthony Abbot - Thatcher Colt - About The Murder Of The Night Club Lady (3/8) {AbeBooks / serialised}
(1930 - ????) ***David Sharp - Professor Fielding - I, The Criminal (4/?) {unavailable?}
(1930 - 1950) *H. C. Bailey - Josiah Clunk - Garstons (aka The Garston Murder Case) (1/11) {HathiTrust}
(1930 - 1968) *Francis Van Wyck Mason - Hugh North - The Vesper Service Murders (2/41) {Kindle}
(1930 - 1976) *Agatha Christie - Miss Jane Marple - Nemesis (13/13) {owned}
(1930 - 1939) Anne Austin - James "Bonnie" Dundee - Murdered But Not Dead (5/5)
(1930 - 1950) *Leslie Ford (as David Frome) - Mr Pinkerton and Inspector Bull - The Hammersmith Murders (1/11) {AbeBooks / Rare Books}
(1930 - 1935) *"Diplomat" (John Franklin Carter) - Dennis Tyler - Murder In The State Department (1/7) {Amazon / Abebooks}
(1930 - 1962) *Helen Reilly - Inspector Christopher McKee - The Diamond Feather (1/31) {Rare Books}
(1930 - 1933) *Mary Plum - John Smith - The Killing Of Judge MacFarlane (1/4) {AbeBooks / Rare Books}
(1930 - 1945) *Hulbert Footner - Amos Lee Mappin - The Death Of A Celebrity (2/10) {mobilereads / omnibus}
(1930 - 1940) *E. M. Delafield - The Provincial Lady - The Provincial Lady In Wartime (4/4)
(1930 - 1933) *Monte Barrett - Peter Cardigan - The Pelham Murder Case (1/3) {Amazon}
(1930 - 1931) Vernon Loder - Inspector Brews - Death Of An Editor (2/2)
(1930 - 1931) *Roland Daniel - John Hopkins - The Rosario Murder Case (1/2) {unavailable?}

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

Edited: Oct 12, 2019, 11:48pm

Series and sequels, 1931 - 1955:

(1931 - 1940) Bruce Graeme - Superintendent Stevens and Pierre Allain - Satan's Mistress (4/8) {expensive}
(1931 - 1951) Phoebe Atwood Taylor - Asey Mayo - Sandbar Sinister (5/24) {AbeBooks, expensive}
(1931 - 1955) Stuart Palmer - Hildegarde Withers - Murder On The Blackboard (3/18) {Kindle}
(1931 - 1951) Olive Higgins Prouty - The Vale Novels - Fabia (5/5)
(1931 - 1933) Sydney Fowler - Inspector Cleveland - Arresting Delia (4/4)
(1931 - 1934) J. H. Wallis - Inspector Wilton Jacks - The Capital City Mystery (2/6) {Rare Books}
(1931 - ????) Paul McGuire - Inspector Cummings - Daylight Murder (aka "Murder At High Noon") (3/5) {academic loan / State Library NSW, held}
(1931 - 1937) Carlton Dawe - Leathermouth - The Sign Of The Glove (2/13) {academic loan / State Library NSW, held}
(1931 - 1947) R. L. Goldman - Asaph Clume and Rufus Reed - Murder Without Motive (2/6) {Wildside Press}
(1931 - 1959) E. C. R. Lorac (Edith Caroline Rivett) - Inspector Robert Macdonald - The Murder On The Burrows (1/46) {rare, expensive}
(1931 - 1935) Clifton Robbins - Clay Harrison - Methylated Murder (5/5)
(1931 - 1972) Georges Simenon - Inspector Maigret - L'Ombre chinoise (12/75) {ILL}
(1931 - 1934) T. S. Stribling - The Vaiden Trilogy - The Store (2/3) {Internet Archive / academic loan / State Library, held}
(1931 - 1935) Pearl S. Buck - The House Of Earth - A House Divided (3/3)
(1931 - 1942) R. A. J. Walling - Garstang - The Stroke Of One (1/3) {Amazon}
(1931 - ????) Francis Bonnamy (Audrey Boyers Walz) - Peter Utley Shane - Death By Appointment (1/8) {AbeBooks / Rare Books}
(1931 - 1937) J. S. Fletcher - Ronald Camberwell - Murder In The Squire's Pew (3/11) {Kindle / State Library NSW, held}
(1931 - 1933) Edwin Dial Torgerson - Sergeant Pierre Montigny - The Murderer Returns (1/2) {Rare Books)
(1931 - 1933) Molly Thynne - Dr Constantine and Inspector Arkwright - Death In The Dentist's Chair (2/3) {Kindle}
(1931 - 1935) Valentine Williams - Sergeant Trevor Dene - The Clock Ticks On (2/4) {Roy Glashan's Library}
(1931 - 1942) Patricia Wentworth - Frank Garrett - Pursuit Of A Parcel (5/5) {Kindle}

(1932 - 1954) Sydney Fowler - Inspector Cambridge and Mr Jellipot - The Bell Street Murders (1/11) {AbeBooks / Rare Books}
(1932 - 1935) Murray Thomas - Inspector Wilkins - Buzzards Pick The Bones (1/3) {AbeBooks, expensive}
(1932 - ????) R. A. J. Walling - Philip Tolefree - Prove It, Mr Tolefree (aka The Tolliver Case) (3/22) {AbeBooks}
(1932 - 1962) T. Arthur Plummer - Detective-Inspector Andrew Frampton - Shadowed By The C. I. D. (1/50) {unavailable?}
(1932 - 1936) John Victor Turner - Amos Petrie - Death Must Have Laughed (1/7) {Rare Books}
(1932 - 1944) Nicholas Brady (John Victor Turner) - Ebenezer Buckle - The House Of Strange Guests (1/4) {Kindle}
(1932 - 1932) Lizette M. Edholm - The Merriweather Girls - The Merriweather Girls At Good Old Rockhill (4/4) {HathiTrust}
(1932 - 1933) Barnaby Ross (aka Ellery Queen) - Drury Lane - Drury Lane's Last Case (4/4) {AbeBooks}
(1932 - 1952) D. E. Stevenson - Mrs Tim - Mrs Tim Flies Home (5/5) {interlibrary loan}
(1932 - ????) Richard Essex (Richard Harry Starr) - Jack Slade - Slade Of The Yard (1/?) {AbeBooks}
(1932 - 1933) Gerard Fairlie - Mr Malcolm - Shot In The Dark (1/3) (State Library NSW, held}
(1932 - 1934) Paul McGuire - Inspector Fillinger - The Tower Mystery (aka Death Tolls The Bell) (1/5) {Rare Books / State Library, held}
(1932 - 1946) Roland Daniel - Inspector Pearson - The Crackswoman (1/6) {unavailable?}
(1932 - 1951) Sydney Horler - Tiger Standish - Tiger Standish (1/11) {Rare Books}

(1933 - 1959) John Gordon Brandon - Arthur Stukeley Pennington - West End! (1/?) {AbeBooks / State Library, held}
(1933 - 1940) Lilian Garis - Carol Duncan - The Ghost Of Melody Lane (1/9) {AbeBooks}
(1933 - 1934) Peter Hunt (George Worthing Yates and Charles Hunt Marshall) - Allan Miller - Murders At Scandal House (1/3) {AbeBooks / Amazon}
(1933 - 1968) John Dickson Carr - Gideon Fell - Hag's Nook (1/23) {Better World Books / State Library NSW, interlibrary loan}
(1933 - 1939) Gregory Dean - Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Simon - The Case Of Marie Corwin (1/3) {AbeBooks / Amazon}
(1933 - 1956) E. R. Punshon - Detective-Sergeant Bobby Owen - Information Received (1/35) {academic loan / State Library NSW, held / Rare Books}
(1933 - 1970) Dennis Wheatley - Duke de Richlieu - The Forbidden Territory (1/11) {Fisher Library}
(1933 - 1934) Jackson Gregory - Paul Savoy - A Case For Mr Paul Savoy (1/3) {AbeBooks / Rare Books}
(1933 - 1957) John Creasey - Department Z - The Death Miser (1/28) {State Library NSW, held}
(1933 - 1940) Bruce Graeme - Superintendent Stevens - Body Unknown (2/2) {expensive}
(1933 - 1952) Wyndham Martyn - Christopher Bond - Christopher Bond, Adventurer (1/8) {rare}
(1934 - 1936) Storm Jameson - The Mirror In Darkness - Company Parade (1/3) {Fisher Library}
(1934 - 1949) Richard Goyne - Paul Templeton - Strange Motives (1/13) {unavailable?}
(1934 - 1941) N. A. Temple-Ellis (Nevile Holdaway) - Inspector Wren - Three Went In (1/3) {unavailable?}
(1934 - 1953) Carter Dickson (John Dickson Carr) - Sir Henry Merivale - The Plague Court Murders (1/22) {Fisher Library}
(1934 - 1968) Dennis Wheatley - Gregory Sallust - Black August (1/11) {interlibrary loan / omnibus}
(1934 - 1953) Leslie Ford (Zenith Jones Brown) - Colonel Primrose - The Strangled Witness (1/17) {Rare Books}
(1934 - 1975) Rex Stout - Nero Wolfe - Fer-de-Lance (1/?) {Rare Books / State Library NSW, JFR / Kindle}
(1935 - 1939) Francis Beeding - Inspector George Martin - The Norwich Victims (1/3) {AbeBooks / Book Depository / State Library NSW, held}
(1935 - 1976) Nigel Morland - Palmyra Pym - The Moon Murders (1/28) {State Library NSW, held}
(1935 - 1941) Clyde Clason - Professor Theocritus Lucius Westborough - The Fifth Tumbler (1/10) {unavailable?}
(1935 - ????) G. D. H. Cole / M. Cole - Dr Tancred - Dr Tancred Begins (1/?) (AbeBooks, expensive / State Library NSW, held / Rare Books}
(1935 - ????) George Harmon Coxe - Kent Murdock - Murder With Pictures (1/22) {AbeBooks}
(1935 - 1959) Kathleen Moore Knight - Elisha Macomber - Death Blew Out The Match (1/16) {AbeBooks / Amazon}
(1936 - 1974) Anthony Gilbert (Lucy Malleson) - Arthur Crook - Murder By Experts (1/51) {interlibrary loan}
(1936 - 1952) Helen Dore Boylston - Sue Barton - Sue Barton, Student Nurse (1/7) {interlibrary loan}
(1936 - 1940) George Bell Dyer - The Catalyst Club - The Catalyst Club (1/3) {AbeBooks}
(1936 - 1956) Theodora Du Bois - Anne and Jeffrey McNeil - Armed With A New Terror (1/19) {unavailable?}
(1937 - 1953) Leslie Ford (Zenith Jones Brown) - Grace Latham - Ill Met By Moonlight (1/16){Kindle}
(1938 - 1944) Zelda Popkin - Mary Carner - Death Wears A White Gardenia (1/6) {Kindle}
(1939 - 1942) Patricia Wentworth - Inspector Lamb - The Catherine-Wheel (10/?) {}
(1939 - 1940) Clifton Robbins - George Staveley - Six Sign-Post Murder (1/2) {Biblio / rare}
(1940 - 1943) Bruce Graeme - Pierre Allain - The Corporal Died In Bed (1/3) {unavailable?}
(1941 - 1951) Bruce Graeme - Theodore I. Terhune - Seven Clues In Search Of A Crime (1/7) {unavailable?}
(1947 - 1974) Dennis Wheatley - Roger Brook - The Launching Of Roger Brook (1/12) {Fisher Library storage}
(1948 - 1971) E. V. Timms - The Gubbys - Forever To Remain (1/12) {Fisher Library / interlibrary loan}
(1953 - 1960) Dennis Wheatley - Molly Fountain and Colonel Verney - To The Devil A Daughter (1/2) {Fisher Library storage}
(1955 - 1956) D. E. Stevenson - The Ayrton Family - Summerhills (2/2) {interlibrary loan}
(1955 - 1991) Patricia Highsmith - Tom Ripley - Ripley Under Ground (2/5) {interlibrary loan / Kindle}
(1957 - 1993) Chester B. Himes - The Harlem Cycle - For Love Of Imabelle (aka "A Rage In Harlem") (1/9) {interlibrary loan / Kindle}

*** Incompletely available series

Edited: Aug 15, 2019, 1:36am

Unavailable series works:

John Rhode - Dr Priestley
The Hanging Woman (#11)

Moray Dalton - Inspector Collier {NB: some now available in Kindle}
>#3 onwards (to end of series)

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

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

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

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

Roger Scarlett - Inspector Kane {NB: Now available in paperback, but expensive}
>#4 onwards (to end of series)

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

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

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

Inspector Bedison - Thomas Cobb
Inspector Bedison And The Sunderland Case (#2)
Inspector Bedison Risks It (#3)
Who Closed The Casement? (#4)

Edited: Oct 23, 2019, 6:04am

Books currently on loan:



Edited: Nov 4, 2019, 6:56pm

Reading projects:




Other projects:



Edited: Aug 15, 2019, 2:33am

Ruminations, etc.

WHY do things always go bung around here just when I have decided to start a new thread, hmm??


I feel a little at a loose end at the moment. My reading is ticking along (if not always my review-writing), and the most recent group read is coming to a close without even any plans for the next one!

Things have actually been a bit difficult in that respect, with people's commitments and situations making it difficult to have a real group project, which is unfortunate.

Hopefully things will sort themselves out going forward. In any event, though there has been no discussion at all so far, the next Trollope read should be his 1859 novel, The Bertrams. I do also have genuine intentions of getting back to the Virago Chronological Read Project proper; while Heather has expressed some interest in reading more of Charlotte Smith, after making a start with her Emmeline, The Orphan Of The Castle.

Challenge-wise, things are generally going well except for my need to gird my loins and just buy a copy of Turmoil At Brede. I have finally put a proper dent in The American Caravan, and have real hopes of finally getting it wrapped up. (Yes, I know I say that every thread; but this time I mean it!).

I am also getting disturbingly close to the end of my Agatha Christie challenge, enough so to begin pondering where on earth I go from there: it has been my companion for so long, I'll hardly know what to do without it!

Also, I have nearly made it through that shortlist of almost-completed series I posted a while back, which is pleasing.

I guess all that adds up to progress!

Edited: Aug 15, 2019, 2:33am

...and that will do (at last!).

Please come on in...

Aug 15, 2019, 3:55am

Happy new thread, Liz!
As to future group reads, I'm in if I can get them from the library, so a little notice is useful. The library claims to have a copy of The Bertrams, but it's made several such claims in the past and been found lacking.

Here's to lots of ticking off lists.

Aug 15, 2019, 7:25am

Happy new thread!

Aug 15, 2019, 8:44am

Happy New Thread, Liz!

I didn't know there was such a thing as box jellyfish, but that certainly is an intriguing photo of them swarming.

The end of your Agatha Christie challenge: she's one of my top authors for re-reads, so you could just start all over again. :-)

Aug 15, 2019, 2:00pm

I'm gonna miss Rainbow Lizard from your last thread topper, but the jellyfish picture is lovely.

I think you should consider doing a chronological read of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe novels once you've polished off Dame Agatha's oeuvre. They are perhaps my very favorite mystery series of all time.

Aug 15, 2019, 2:09pm

Happy new thread! Cool pic up top!

Edited: Aug 15, 2019, 6:46pm

>20 Helenliz:, >21 figsfromthistle:, >22 jnwelch:, >23 rosalita:, >24 drneutron:

Hi, Helen, Anita, Joe, Julia and Jim - thank you all for dropping in! :)

>20 Helenliz:

At the moment I'm still hoping that our stragglers will check in for The Three Clerks! I don't have any definite ideas about The Bertrams but it wouldn't be for a couple of months at least. If you have a preferred timeslot, please let me know.

Nothing beats the satisfaction of ticking something off a list! :D

>22 jnwelch:

They're actually quite dangerous and the photographer must have taken some risks to get his shot. But like him, I love the translucent light effects you get with jellyfish!

you could just start all over again

Oh, that's just sadistic! :D

>23 rosalita:

Maybe I'll upload Mr Lizard to my general photos and keep him around. :)

Noting with shame that the Nero Wolfe series isn't even on my lists yet! - his 1934 starting-date is all the excuse I can offer. I suspect I'll end up tackling some of the shorter or more gap-pluggy challenge options listed at the bottom of >7 lyzard: first, but when I feel up for another life-commitment...

Aug 15, 2019, 10:00pm

Perhaps Mr. Rainbow Lizard could be another marker for hitting a goal, a la the Messieurs Sloth, Marmoset, and Lemur?

Knocking off some of your shorter-term goals is a good idea. I'll be here to patiently nudge you about Nero now and again, don't worry. :-)

Edited: Aug 15, 2019, 10:49pm

>26 rosalita:

Ah, yes! - nice, I'll have to think about a proper occasion. Perhaps I could use him as a general header for completed challenge reading each month?

I'll be expecting your elbow... :D

Edited: Aug 15, 2019, 11:16pm

All your lists are daunting to me. Wowzers.

I note you are a mere 20 books ahead of my 72 reads so far. Better watch your back; I'm closing the gap fast.

Or not.

Aug 18, 2019, 11:58pm

Happy New List, Liz--er, new thread, I mean!

Aug 19, 2019, 12:53am

Happy new thread, Liz! BTW, I finally finished The King's General, and so have finally read your comments on it. I agree that the spoiler in the introduction to the Virago edition is in seriously bad form -- fortunately I didn't read from the Virago edition, and only found that detail in the postscript, precisely as I should have done. Sheesh, some people shouldn't be allowed to write introductions.

Aug 19, 2019, 7:03pm

Happy new thread, Liz!

Aug 20, 2019, 3:56am

Happy new thread, Liz.

>18 lyzard: I can associate with your comments, Liz. I do feel a bit of a disconnect this year. Maybe my personal life weighing me down a bit or just a little bit of thread fatigue!

Aug 20, 2019, 6:41pm

>28 weird_O:

Hi, Bill, thanks for visiting!

I think I'm the only one who needs to find my lists intimidating...

Come at me, bro! :D

>29 ronincats:

More list-jabbing?? You people are very hurtful... :D

Aug 20, 2019, 6:47pm

>30 swynn:

Thanks, Steve!

Oh, I know, it's outrageous! Whenever we're doing a group read, one of the baseline instructions I always give is, "Don't read the introduction until you've finished the book." But at least in the context of an OUP or other scholarly edition you're more or less forewarned: THAT comes out of blue and pretty much ruins the book, since it's impossible not to let it colour every aspect of the narrative.

Anyway, well done for ticking another of the list! I wish I could say that you're going to be rewarded for your progress, but... :D

(I just got done with another crusher...and there's yet another up ahead, although this time I doubt my complaint will be, "Too much religion"...!)

Edited: Aug 20, 2019, 6:52pm

>31 FAMeulstee:

Thanks, Anita!

>32 PaulCranswick:

Thanks, Paul! Yeah, it's all been a bit strange and fuzzy lately, but hopefully the end of winter will see things pick up.

Aug 20, 2019, 6:51pm

Finished The Cardinal for TIOLI #3.

Now reading Fabia by Olive Higgins Prouty.

Edited: Aug 21, 2019, 5:55pm

Well...there hasn't been much book-writing around here lately, which might give away the fact that there has been some film-writing instead.

I have posted a review of Fritz Lang's last silent film, Frau im Mond (Woman In The Moon). Made in 1929, this science fiction / adventure story contains the first cinematic attempt at a realistic depiction of space travel (realistic enough for the Nazis to pull the film from circulation, when they embarked on their rocket program):

Just to keep things a little more booky, the film was based upon a novel by Lang's screenwriter (and then-wife), Thea von Harbou:

Aug 22, 2019, 5:52pm

Finished Fabia for TIOLI #2...and also FINISHED A SERIES!!

To mark this occasion, we have a buffy-tufted marmoset, also known as buffy tufted-ear marmoset and a white-eared marmoset, which highlights the fact that the colour of this species' face, cap and ear-tufts do tend to range from white to caramel (or "buffy") to brown.

Hopefully the variation in colour in this example will distract from the fact that it took me nine years to read this five-book series...

Aug 22, 2019, 5:56pm

Dear me.

This was pasted on the inside back cover the back of my ILL copy of Olive Higgins Prouty's Fabia, which was published in 1952, started out at Broken Hill Library (in the far west of NSW), got moved on to Ryde Library (in Sydney), and finally ended up in the Joint Fiction Reserve storage facility run by the State Library.

Hopefully all previous readers paid attention to Point 4...

Aug 22, 2019, 6:23pm

My completion of Fabia also marks my completion of that shortlist of almost-finished series which I posted some time ago, and have been concentrating on wrapping up since: an occasion which deserves to be marked somehow, I think; perhaps with a reappearance of the fan-throated lizard that graced my previous thread.

Although--- While that was a great photograph, it perhaps did not convey the full splendour of this species, which has a trick that makes it more appropriate as a celebratory symbol:

Looking through my lists, I do not really have another such handful of potential series wrap-ups; although I do have a couple where I am two books off finishing, and several other cases which are really a book and its sequel, both unread. I may may these my focus going forward, although by definition there will be more time and effort involved...

...and therefore less marmosets.


Aug 22, 2019, 6:25pm


Now reading The Adventures Of Hajji Baba Of Ispahan by James Justinian Morier.

Aug 22, 2019, 9:03pm

>38 lyzard: I never realized it until just now, but my goal in life is for someone — anyone! — to refer to me as "buffy-tufted". Must find a way to make this happen ...

>40 lyzard: Monsieur Lizard really knows how to celebrate finishing a series! Such a flashy fella he is. And I'm sorry to hear you've run out of low-hanging series fruit (which sounds like the perfect diet for a buffy-tufted marmoset, really) but we will patiently await the next appearance from our tufty little friend.

Aug 22, 2019, 9:26pm

>37 lyzard: Very interesting write-up, Liz! I've also seen the Kino version, which I found painfully long and silly. It hadn't occurred to me that this might have been film's first mad scientist; and the comparisons to Destination Moon were ones I hadn't considered.

Aug 23, 2019, 6:02pm

>42 rosalita:

It sounds like an insult from an old TV show: "YOU BUFFY-TUFTED BUNGLER!!"

low-hanging series fruit (which sounds like the perfect diet for a buffy-tufted marmoset, really)


Yes, I need to get more low-hanging series fruit into my diet...

>43 swynn:

Ooh, thanks for visiting!

Yes, the surrounding material is a trial; but my goodness, that central set-piece! What really struck mw is that I don't think Destination Moon really gives us anything more, 21 years later; it just does it in more detail, with more explanations.

There were arguably mad scientists from the very dawn of cinema; at least, there are quite a few scientists doing silly things that end in tears in the short films of Georges Méliès. There were also proto-models earlier in the feature-film era, but the first proper barking-mad scientist would be Rottwang in Metropolis; also Lang and von Harbou, whatever the significance of that. But Woman In The Moon gives us the first example of it placed in a real-world context where "mad" means "mental health issues".

Aug 24, 2019, 3:11am

Love the made-up creature again. >;-) And nice plumage, Mr Lizard, very flashy!

Aug 25, 2019, 5:07pm

You're just a sceptic. I bet you don't believe in the Easter bilby either. :D

Aug 28, 2019, 5:34pm

Finished The Adventures Of Hajji Baba Of Ispahan for TIOLI #13.

And another one---

This has been a rough month!

I don't know yet what I'm reading next. Right now I'm in that slightly stunned state that comes from finishing a grueling project. Something short and soothing, I should think; something that fits an empty TIOLI slot...

I shall ponder.

Aug 28, 2019, 5:58pm


The Adventures Of Hajji Baba Of Ispahan was for my C. K. Shorter 'Best 100 Novels' challenge---and while this is also feeding my 19th century 'Century And A Bit Of Reading' challenge, in that respect it's having the contradictory effect of taking me out of my comfort zone; in this case, from a piece of British Orientalism to an English translation of a 19th century Italian novel set in 17th century Milan:

#33: The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni (1827)

Aug 28, 2019, 8:25pm

I'm glad you've resurfaced after reading all those chunksters, Liz. I was afraid perhaps you were trapped beneath an open book, unable to get out from under.

Edited: Aug 29, 2019, 5:32pm

>48 lyzard: When my son was married in Italy, the magistrate gave him this book at the wedding (in Italian, of course). Sort of a "Welcome to Italy" present. According to my daughter-in-law, it was required reading in most Milan high schools when she was in school (20 years ago).

Edited: Aug 29, 2019, 5:42pm

>49 rosalita:

I was! - and the fact that it was a pocket edition with thin paper and tiny font only makes it worse. :D

I tell you this: I've learned a whole new appreciation of editors lately...

>50 kac522:

Hi, Kathy!

A reference I saw while I was discovering it was next on my list calls it "the most famous and widely read novel in the Italian language", but I have to admit to not being at all familiar with it.

But it sounds like something I *should* know, so I guess my challenges are doing their job. :)

My academic library has a recent translation of it which should probably be my choice, but I admit I'm rather tempted by an edition from 1890 which it is apparently also willing to loan.

Aug 29, 2019, 5:41pm

Anyhoo---not quite what I meant in the first place, but---

Now reading The Social Life Of Fluids: Blood, Milk, And Water In The Victorian Novel by Jules David Law.

Aug 30, 2019, 10:19pm

>52 lyzard: it interesting? I love reading about all things Victorian.

Sep 1, 2019, 12:27am

>53 bohemima:

Hi, Gail!

I wouldn't recommend this one: it makes some interesting points but the writing is very jargon / obscure term heavy, which makes it a struggle to read.

Sep 1, 2019, 12:28am

Speaking of which---

Finished The Social Life Of Fluids for TIOLI #6.

Now reading The Eye In Attendance by Valentine Williams.

Sep 1, 2019, 12:33am

Both original cover images for The Eye In Attendance made me laugh; this is the American one

And this is the British one:

Note that this was one book before Valentine Williams decided that his Inspector Manderton series wasn't going anywhere. :D

Sep 1, 2019, 12:29pm

>56 lyzard: As usual, I prefer the British.

Sep 2, 2019, 5:28pm

>57 thornton37814:

Hi, Lori!

Having read on I don't think either of them are particularly appropriate; I see what they're doing with the British one but it seems an odd moment from the narrative to choose.

Sep 2, 2019, 5:29pm

Finished The Eye In Attendance for TIOLI #5.

Now reading Death Answers The Bell, also by Valentine Williams.

Sep 2, 2019, 6:03pm

And some more film-blogging; this time I got to tackle an old favourite. :)

Them! (1954)

Sep 2, 2019, 7:08pm

Oh my lord.

I saw this with my Dad and brother in the movies when I was a very small girl. Mother worked nights and Dad would occasionally take us to the movies at night.

He kind of got in trouble when he took us to see “I Was a Teenaged Werewolf” starring Michael Landon in the title role. I had nightmares for three solid weeks.

There was a lot of, “Why? Why, Robbie?” heard around the house for a while.

Sep 3, 2019, 6:20pm


That's another one I really need to get back to! I used to have shocking nightmares so I'm on your mother's side here; though to be fair to your father the strangest and/or mildest things could provoke it, so it was really hard to predict. :D

Sep 4, 2019, 12:51pm


“Them” didn’t bother me at all, but my older brother was just horrified by it. So Dad never knew what would happen. Mum got over it after a while, probably when I did.

On another note, I’m meandering through The Cardinal and seeing so many, many things I missed the first time around. And they’re not helping me enjoy it.

And just finished The Saltmarsh Murders and am very conflicted. I think Mitchell is coming into her own as a storyteller now, and Mrs. Bradley’s attitudes are fine. But the townspeople...oh dear.

Edited: Sep 4, 2019, 5:58pm

For a film of its time and type, 'Them!' has a few genuinely shocking moments.

And they’re not helping me enjoy it.

Uh, yeah. :(

I think The Saltmarsh Murders is Mitchell's response to the idea that there was anything "quaint" about English village life.

Edited: Sep 4, 2019, 6:06pm

Finished Death Answers The Bell for TIOLI #1...which means that I have FINISHED A SERIES!!

Unfortunately, it also means that I have started a series: this is an overlap work introducing Valentine Williams' new series character, Sergeant Trevor Dene.

For this rare situation, we have a rare marmoset (one for which few clear images are available); this is also where we move classification groups, from our tufted little friends of the Callithrix genus (the "Atlantic forest" marmosets) to the smooth-haired and sometimes strangely marked Mico genus, the "Amazonian" marmosets. This is the Rio Acari marmoset:

Sep 4, 2019, 6:08pm

Now reading The Shadow Of Death: The Hunt For A Serial Killer by Philip E. Ginsburg.

Sep 4, 2019, 8:17pm

>65 lyzard: Ay yi yi, Rio Acari is muy guapo!

Well done on finishing AND starting a series all with one book, Liz. You are such a multitasker. :-)

Sep 5, 2019, 1:39am

>65 lyzard: Someone's been in the chocolate jar and missed their mouth!
Well done on finishing a series - I'm going to celebrate that success and ignore the new series.

Sep 5, 2019, 6:14am

>68 Helenliz: Ha! That's exactly what he looks like, Helen! I knew it looked familiar but I couldn't quite place it.

Sep 6, 2019, 7:54pm

>67 rosalita:

Gracias! :D accidental multitasker, anyway...

>68 Helenliz:


To me with that smooth coat and pointy tail he looks a bit like an otter.

Sep 6, 2019, 7:55pm

Finished The Shadow Of Death: The Hunt For A Serial Killer for TIOLI #3.

Now reading Thaddeus Of Warsaw by Jane Porter.

Sep 6, 2019, 8:18pm

>56 lyzard: Loved those billboard style book covers, Liz.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Sep 8, 2019, 5:57pm

>72 PaulCranswick:

Thanks, Paul!

Two birds with one stone, I guess. :)

Sep 8, 2019, 6:41pm

Fabia - In her fifth and final novel featuring the prominent Vale family of Boston, Olive Higgins Prouty brings her narrative full circle by reintroducing as her protagonist Fabia Vale, whose rocky and ultimately doomed relationship with working-class medical student, Dan Regan, was the subject of the first novel in the series, White Fawn. Though published in 1952, Fabia is set in 1941; meaning that its events overlap those of the previous entry, Home Port, and that the reader is therefore privy to details that the characters are not. Already having turned her back on her privileged upbringing by working as a nurse, Fabia has by now almost completely separated herself from her family, taking a small apartment in New York supposedly for its convenience for her job. In fact, Fabia is involved in a "platonic affair" with a married man, Dr Oliver Baird, a situation which has slowly but inexorably taken over her life. When her mother discovers her secret, Fabia is forced to confront the futility of her involvement with Baird, who will not leave his family for her; and to face also the extent to which she has given herself over to fantasy and dreams. However, it will take the upheaval of America's entry into WWII before she is able to take her life back into her own control... Like all of Prouty's novels, Fabia is less about plot than about the psychological states of the characters as they confront a personal crisis; most of the action is internal. There is a welcome matter-of-factness in the novel's treatment of sex, albeit that the social ramifications are granted much more weight than we might now feel is valid; while there is also considerable psychological acuteness in Fabia and Baird, having withstood temptation together while their secret was a secret, defiantly becoming lovers once other people start to interfere in their relationship; as there is in the revelation about the Baird marriage that becomes the straw that breaks Fabia's emotional back. Ultimately, however, there is a lack of freshness about this novel's plot, with too much echoing of situations seen also in the earlier series entries: Fabia having a non-physical affair, just like her mother in Lisa Vale; Baird refusing to leave his neurotic wife, just like Durrance in Now, Voyager; and so on. This approach is one that carries right through to the resolution of the novel, with Fabia taking the drastic step of enlisting as an army nurse---a decision that has the unintended consequence of reuniting her with Dan Regan...

    Did she regret the few occasions of shared reality now? No! Particularly not now! What right would she have to be jealous or feel outrage or even injury if her relationship with Oliver had consisted simply of day-dreams and wishful thinking? Often during the last six weeks Fabia had asked herself if fulfillment had had the effect she had feared. She had felt no added guilt, nor taint of lost virtue, but had it robbed their meetings of a certain subtle, provocative quality? Had it destroyed their joy in the beauty of their surroundings and in mental companionship? She didn't know. There had been too little time before their reunions for the meticulous preparations that gave her such delight, and too little time after he came to waste the flying minutes lingering over a dainty repast, reading aloud or basking in the aesthetic effect of firelight, flowers and classical music. Too little time even for talk, for pledges or for vows.
    Oliver had never made her a pledge, or a vow, or a promise; had never assured her of fidelity. She had respected his reticence about Irma and had drawn her own conclusions, unconsciously shrinking, she supposed, from imagining possibilities destructive to her fantasy-life with him. He was not to blame if her conclusions had been naive and unrealistic...

Sep 8, 2019, 7:13pm

Many Ways - Despite its title, there is a deadening sameness about most of the contents of this 1931 collection of short stories by Margaret Pedler. The outstanding, or anti-quality, of this book is its pervasive class-snobbery. All of the stories are set amongst the landed gentry and up, socially speaking, and reveal - rather against Pedler's intentions, we feel - a stifling, narrow-minded and bigoted world where appearances are more important than any internal quality and the worst epithet you can apply to anyone is the c-word..."common". In fact, so insistent is this volume about the privileges and perfections of the British upper classes that it is hard not to feel that the lady is protesting too much: that Pedler in fact saw this world beginning to come to an end during the years between the wars, and was desperately trying to capture something that was passing away---and on the evidence of this book, good riddance. Amongst this unabashed celebration of being born with lots of money, living in a big house, going to the right school and speaking with the right accent, only a couple of stories stand out for their unexpected bucking of this trend: The Retirement Of My Gregory - the only story not set in that milieu - about an elderly appraiser for a firm of antiques, who after many years of searching rediscovers a particular piece of jewellery, and its history during the intervening years; and, in particular, The Force Of Nature, in which an unhappy nobleman realises that his much-younger wife's iconoclastic attitude to life might be the right one...even if she is a little common...

    As the discomforted man slunk away, Allegra sank into a chair a trifle breathlessly.
    "I suppose," she said slowly, "I suppose you're horribly shocked?"
    Timothy looked at her with questioning eyes. "Why did you come here?" he asked quietly.
    "I came---like you---to be myself." She gave an odd little laugh that was half a sob. Then she burst out passionately: "I couldn't bear it any longer---the dreadful daily grind! Your mother, with her eternal parrot cry, the 'proper thing to do.' The servants---like so many blocks of wood---the whole deadening convention of it! I couldn't bear it, Timothy. Oh! I'm common, I suppose---at least, your mother says I am---just a common human being. And I want to live like one, and laugh when I like, and cry when I like, and not go through life 'considering my position'!"

Sep 11, 2019, 6:09pm

More film-blogging!

I don't know what was going on in 1954, but---well, it is true, I suppose, that where you find one ant, you're bound to find another:

The Naked Jungle (1954)

Edited: Sep 12, 2019, 6:17pm

So what's been up with the editing?? :(

Edited: Sep 12, 2019, 6:39pm


Finished Thaddeus Of Warsaw for TIOLI #10.

(It avoids my crushed-by-a-book logo, but only just...)

And that is book #100 for the year! This puts me behind schedule for my target of 150, which is disappointing but not surprising given the number of crushing chunksters I have encountered so far, and with another one on the way...

It was also my 1803 selection for my Century Of Reading challenge. Looking over the possibilities for 1804, Amelia Opie's Adeline Mowbray seems the most significant work; however, I admit to being tempted by The Unexpected Legacy by Rachel Hunter, another author found inadvertently hilarious by Jane Austen (whose recommendations in that respect I have learned to trust!).

Sep 12, 2019, 6:24pm


Now reading My Desert Friend And Other Stories by Robert Hichens.

Sep 12, 2019, 7:21pm

The Go-Getter: A Story That Tells You How To Be One - This 1921 publication is a standalone short story by Peter B. Kyne from his series featuring self-made lumber and shipping magnate, Alden "Cappy" Ricks. Cappy has retired, but still takes a hand from time to time in the management of his former businesses. When his son-in-law and successor struggles to find the right man to fill an important position in their Shanghai office, Cappy shows him how to judge a man's character and commitment. The object of his experiment is William Peck, a one-armed veteran who has struggled to find employment since returning from active service... There's an uncomfortable underlying vibe to this supposedly uplifting story about not judging books by their cover and giving second chances. William Peck is initially given a series of difficult sales jobs, at which he succeeds (although, despite the story's subtitle, we are not in fact shown or told how in any detail), but these give way as the narrative focuses upon Cappy's last, private test: a task deliberately designed to be all-but impossible to complete, by which Cappy is able to judge the lengths to which a man will go to get the job done---or conversely, at which point he quits. While overtly the account of Peck's ever-more desperate efforts to fulfill his mission is amusing, the take-home message here is one about an employer's right to own his employees body and soul, outside of work hours as well as in; that a "good" employee is one grateful to be so owned; and that anyone who feels differently must be a Communist...

    Bill Peck entered and slumped wearily down on the settee. "So it was a plant?" he cracked, and his voice trembled with rage. "Well, sir, you're an old man and you've been good to me, so I do not begrudge you your little joke, but Mr Ricks, I can't stand things like I used to. My leg hurts and my stump hurts and my heart hurts---"
    He paused, choking, and the tears of impotent rage filled his eyes. "You shouldn't treat me that way, sir," he complained presently. "I've been trained not to question orders, even when they seem utterly foolish to me; I've been trained to obey them---on time, if possible, but if impossible, to obey them anyhow. I've been taught loyalty to my chief---and I'm sorry my chief found it necessary to make a buffoon of me. I haven't had a very good time the past three years and---and---you can--pa-pa-pass your skunk spruce and larch rustic and short odd length stock to some slacker like Skinner---and you'd better---arrange---to replace---Skinner, because he's young---enough to---take a beating---and I'm going to---give it to him---and it'll be a hospital---job---sir---"
    Cappy Ricks ruffled Bill Peck's aching head with a paternal hand. "Bill, old boy, it was cruel---damnably cruel, but I had a big job for you and I had to find out a lot of things about you before I entrusted you with that job..."

Sep 21, 2019, 7:11pm

Blergh! - what a week; culminating in some water leakage from a bad storm. :(

But I did manage to get some reading done around that:

- Finished My Desert Friend And Other Stories by Robert Hichens for TIOLI #5.

- Finished The de Bercy Affair by Louis Tracy for TIOLI #10.

- Finished The Crime At Tattenham Corner by Annie Haynes for TIOLI #11.

- Finished Who Killed Charmian Karslake? for TIOLI #9.

...all which happened because I couldn't get to the library to pick up the next monstrous chunkster I ought to have been reading, and goodness knows if I'll be able to get through it and my other commitments before the end of the month!

But anyhoo---

Now reading From Here To Eternity by James Jones.

Sep 21, 2019, 7:28pm

>48 lyzard: The Betrothed is one of the few books that make an appearance on your thread that I've actually read!

Sep 21, 2019, 8:01pm

>82 SandDune:

Hi, Rhian!

So, typically, it would be a book I really hadn't heard of before! :D

(I gather that I should have, but oh well...)

Sep 21, 2019, 8:07pm


In between all the other upheaval I did manage a bit more film-blogging, polishing off something I've been trying to get through for ages.

And if you think my previous efforts were way too long, you ain't seen nothing yet. :D

Jaws (1975)

Sep 21, 2019, 11:00pm

>84 lyzard: That is a magnificent review, Liz! I didn't give a thought to how long it was while I was reading it, which tells you it was just the right length. I saw Jaws when it first came out, when I was 11 years old. Surprisingly, I don't remember having nightmares about it — of course, growing up in the middle of rural Illinois, there wasn't an ocean to be seen for thousands of miles in any direction, so no worries about an accidental encounter of my own. :-)

Sep 22, 2019, 5:41pm

Thank you, my dear! - that's a lovely compliment. :)

The scary thing is, I could easily have banged out another 5000 words or so. :D

I grew up with beach swimming and beach holidays and yet I have no memory of ever being shark-conscious. Rip-conscious and dumper-conscious, yes.

Sep 22, 2019, 6:47pm

Time for me to learn a new word: Dumper?

Sep 22, 2019, 7:03pm

The tight, powerful waves you get near the shoreline when the tide is going out: they tend to suck you in and slam you down, which (if / when you successfully extricate yourself) usually ends in a retreat from the water with the sad explanation, "I got dumped."

It isn't a pleasant experience. :D

Edited: Sep 22, 2019, 11:01pm

Ah, now I know! Sounds terrifying.

Sep 26, 2019, 8:52pm

Murdered But Not Dead - James Dundee is lured by reporter Kay Loring into attending an appearance-in-person by Hollywood stars, Yola Conova and Clinton Risher. His professional instincts are roused by Kay's mutterings about blackmail, and he soon agrees with her frightened observation that Yola is at the end of her emotional tether. Kay herself is turned away from Yola's dressing-room, despite the message of remembrance she sends in; but so too is her husband, stage-actor Geoffrey Arundel. Later, Kay and Dundee witness an encounter between Yola and a rough individual, who thrusts up one sleeve of her coat as if searching her arm for something. Kay begins to tell Dundee about Yola's past and about a letter threatening blackmail, but they are interrupted. Dundee discovers that the rough-looking man is "Dink" Garnet who, some years before, married a young woman who had worked for the wealthy Kenyon family; according to rumour, was paid to do so. After the ceremony, the woman vanished... Dundee is then notified that Yola has disappeared from her hotel suite, and learns that her dresser, Louise Patton, is actually a nurse hired to watch her after she displayed suicidal tendencies. News then comes that a car taken by Yola from the hotel garage has been found abandoned on a bridge at the edge of town. At the scene, Dundee finds Yola dead, apparently having hanged herself from the edge of the bridge---yet to his trained eye, there are indications that her death may be murder... The fifth and final entry in Anne Austin's series featuring special investigator James 'Bonnie' Dundee is a mixture of the author's strengths and weaknesses. In particular, Austin has a rather melodramatic style of writing, with much emphasis upon (what always are) the overwrought emotional states of her characters; and in a rather lengthy work like this (long for a Golden Age mystery, anyway) it all gets a bit much; as does the author's apparent belief that people suffer dramatic collapses at the drop of a hat. However, the mystery itself is both unusual and complex, as Dundee must pick apart the contradictory threads of Yola Conova's hidden past in order to determine whether, after several failed attempts, she succeeded in killing herself---or whether someone took advantage of her known issues to dispose of her; but if so, who and why? Dundee allows the suicide story to be propagated by the press, with only Kay Loring privy to his belief that Yola was murdered. Geoffrey Arundel is an obvious suspect, both because of her plans to divorce him and marry Clinton Risher - so Risher says, anyway - and because he was the beneficiary of Yola's one million dollar life insurance policy. Except, as Risher explains, the policy had lapsed; but did Arundel know that? Meanwhile, Kay Loring reveals her belief that Yola Conova and the young servant who, years before, worked for her own family and for the wealthy Kenyons were one and the same. Kay is unable to remember the girl's real name, which was "long and foreign", only that her own step-mother forced upon her the moniker "Madge Smith". It seems also that the rumours may have been true: that the scion of the Kenyon family got Madge "into trouble"; that Mr Kenyon intervened, separating the pair and paying Dink Garret to marry Madge; and that she bore a child who, though carrying Dink's name, was really a Kenyon... And even that goes nowhere near teasing out the various threads of this complicated mystery, which in that respect is a good example of Anne Austin's ability to build twist upon twist. It isn't quite clear whether Austin intended to finish her series with Murdered But Not Dead, or whether circumstances intervened; though there are a couple of loose ends here that suggest she may have been tired of it. First, the romance that develops between Dundee and Kay is left unresolved; and second, and much more importantly, the fate of the child, which over the second half of the novel becomes a vital aspect of the narrative, is simply left hanging.

    "Pretty good show, eh, Cap?" sneered Garnet. "but did you notice he hasn't denied my 'charges', as Dundee calls 'em? And why not? For a damned good reason! He knows they are true! But listen to me, you Broadway ham!" he turned with sudden snarling venom upon the actor. "You ain't gonna cheat me out of my share of the Conova estate, by pinning murder on me! Think you're pretty damned smart, don't you? But it takes more'n your say so to turn suicide into murder. It ain't my fault if she was yellow, if she couldn't face the music, if she's rather die than fork over---than give me custody of the kid, I mean," he corrected himself.
    Dundee was studying Arundel with more interest than he was giving Garnet. A greenish pallor had again spread over the actor's thin face. Again the man seemed about to faint, when normally---Dundee thought---his reaction should have been an upsurge of fighting anger...
    "The whole thing is quite clear now," he said slowly, in a shallow, tired voice. "I remember about you now. When we were engaged Yola told me that a crook or a nut---she didn't know then which one you were---had made a fantastic effort to blackmail her, on the grounds that she was his former wife and the mother of his son. We laughed at the episode. Every motion picture star has more than one 'double'---"
    "Arundel," Dundee cut in, "can you say definitely, from personal knowledge, whether or not there is any truth in Garnet's contention that Yola Conova and Madge Smith, once Madge Smth Garnet, were one and the same person?"
    As the detective posed the question he watched the actor intently. If Arundel was in on the amazing secret which Yola Conova's clothes had betrayed to Dundee, then he was indeed perched precariously upon the twin horns of dilemma. And the slightest accident might disturb his painful balance. If he was innocent of all knowledge of that secret, but not so innocent of the dead girl's murder---

Edited: Sep 27, 2019, 5:51pm

The Maestro Murders - Published in 1931, this was the first novel by American-born, Canadian-bred author, Frances Shelley Wees, who went on to become one of the first (perhaps the first?) to write mysteries set wholly in Canada. However, The Maestro Murders is a thriller rather than a straight whodunit, and it pitches to its presumed audience by being set in an unnamed American city. Its plot concerns the machinations of a criminal mastermind nicknamed "the Maestro" who, after a series of daring jewel robberies committed in England some years back, seems to have transferred his activities to the US. The utter lack of success of the police in solving the thefts and identifying the Maestro causes District Attorney John Forrester to think the unthinkable: that either Police Commissioner Davies or Inspector Grey, both of whom were in England at the time of the Maestro's first appearance, are in league with his gang---if indeed one of them is not actually the Maestro... Forrester contemplates bringing in his son, Michael, a lawyer, as an unofficial and independent investigator, but as it happens Michael manages to involve himself in the case without being asked when Theresa "Tuck" Torrie, a public stenographer with an office in the same building as himself, is burgled twice - once at work, once at home - and her papers ransacked, though nothing is taken. The key document turns out to be one Tuck is still carrying with her, in which its author - oblivious to the implications - mentions seeing in an antique shop one of the items taken in a recent Maestro robbery. When the author is murdered, Michael realises that the shop must somehow be linked to the Maestro, and determines to begin his own investigation---one that will be conducted with the assistance of Miss Tuck Torrie, whether Michael likes it or not... Ultimately The Maestro Murders is both engaging and exasperating, with both its young investigators repeatedly putting themselves stupidly in danger---but with each of them contributing equally to the solving of the case, too, despite the ongoing attempts of Michael and his father to convince Tuck that unmasking the Maestro isn't "women's business", an assertion she treats with the contempt it deserves. One interesting touch here is the character of Dr Adrian, a psychologist who works with the police, who is almost a proto-profiler. With her criminal mastermind and his high-society gang, Wees seems to have been influenced by Edgar Wallace (just compare the plot of The Maestro Murders to that of The Fellowship Of The Frog!), but she lacks Wallace's masterful way with an improbable storyline. As well, the developing relationship between Michael and Tuck intrudes a bit too much on the main plot; while the reader will almost certainly be well ahead of the characters as far as the identity of the Maestro is concerned. However, despite its faults this remains an entertaining read---as well as one of the better Mystery League publications.

    "It's a rotten thing we're up against. It's like an octopus, a dirty wriggling thing with long arms that reach out in every direction. We've got to get at the body, at the heart of the thing, and we're fighting something with no morals and great cunning."
    "What do you think of the Maestro idea?"
    His father glanced at him sharply. "Well, I wouldn't just say," he answered slowly. "It may be the Maestro, if there ever was such a person; or it may be a smart crook taking over his bag of tricks."
    Michael got up and strolled over to the window. "What does the Commissioner really think of that idea?"
    There was a little pause. "The Commissioner's fair daft," said his father in the speech of his boyhood, whereby Michael knew that his mind was not entirely on what he was saying. "The man's driven."
    Michael swung around, "Dad---what do you think of Inspector Grey? It seems to me---the man talks too much, for one thing. Why doesn't he do something? He was right on the ground at the Merriwells'. He saw the layout of the place. He knows who was there."
    His father rose. "It's no use talking about what other people don't do, son. You get your material together and we'll have a talk with Adrian, very quietly, and perhaps this king spider you talk about will get jolted out of his cosy web..."

Sep 27, 2019, 5:49pm

>91 lyzard: Wait, what? A Mystery League book that isn't dreadful? Are they allowed to do that?

Sep 27, 2019, 5:53pm


It happens occasionally. This was a case of picking up a young author's first novel cheap, rather than picking up - cheap - a book by an established author that no-one else wanted.

Edited: Sep 27, 2019, 7:21pm

Blind Corner - In the French countryside, Richard Chandos overhears a vicious argument in English that ends with one man knifing the other in the back. The killer catches sight of him, but Chandos manages to evade him. He then approaches the dying man, admitting that he overheard the argument over "the Wagensburg treasure" and promising to care for the man's dog. The other urges Chandos to "look in her collar"... Though he removes and secretes the collar, it is not until he is back in England that Chandos thinks to examine it. Prior to dining out with his friend, George Hanbury, Chandos drops in at his club to examine the papers for news of the murder in France, and is relieved to find nothing. When he goes to leave, he finds that his coat - with the collar in the pocket - is missing. It is merely a mistake, however, with the item returned by another club member, Jonathan Mansel---who asks about the date engraven upon the collar. Chandos makes up his mind to trust Mansel and, when alone with him and Hanbury, tells his story. Mansel then reveals that the number on the collar is not a date, but the code number of a former Secret Service agent: "A crook, but a very good man." Cutting open the collar, the three men find within a map of a remote area of Austria, and a statement concerning the hiding of a great treasure in the grounds of Wagensburg Castle nearly two hundred years before... Published in 1927, Blind Corner is the first in a series of mysteries and thrillers by "Dornford Yates" (Cecil William Mercer) featuring one or more of the young men introduced here (with, I gather, the focus character changing from book to book). It is also yet another of the seemingly endless series of "treasure hunt" novels published in England between the wars, a subgenre that I don't particularly care for---not least because something they invariably have in common is a distinct lack of moral qualms amongst the treasure-hunters, as they fight to appropriate something they have no legal - or indeed, any other - right to. Such is certainly the case here, with Chandos, Hanbury and Mansel waging a literal war against the gang led by "Rose" Noble and the killer, Ellis, for possession of a cache of jewels. The central trio are the usual derring-do British types, who all went to the right schools and therefore have an hereditary right to kill nasty foreigners for fun and profit. Also as usual, we're left to ponder whether the blatantly homoerotic undertones in the friendship between the three men, and particularly in Chandos' worshipful attitude towards Mansel, were intentional or not. The most interesting aspect of Blind Corner is the logistical problem presented by the hiding-spot constructed under the orders of "Axel the Red": an underground cavern, at one side barred, at the other at the end of a sloping shaft climbing up from the bottom of a deep well, which rapidly refills itself from a spring and so keeps the entrance submerged. As the friends ponder how to crack this architectural puzzle, they find themselves under attack by the gang, whose initial guerilla warfare eventually escalates until, trapped within the abandoned Wagensburg Castle, the three men find themselves in a literal state of siege...

    "Quit that line," the other said sharply. "And tell me---what do you know?"
    "Yes, I see the fire-arm," said Mansel. "But it doesn't faze me. Unless I misjudged you, you're not going to make the mistake which was made not far from Chartes three weeks ago."
    "How long are we going to stand this?" Ellis cried. "Put it across the ------ once for all. Shove the cards on the table. I'm sick of being chewed."
    Noble disregarded him. "You drew on me," he said quietly, "by the side of the railway line. You made a hole in my car."
    "Two," said Mansel. "Two holes, counting the petrol tank."
    The other lighted his cigar. "Two holes," he said slowly. "And Punter was knocked down. And in spite of all that I'm going to give you your choice." He threw away the match and folded his arms. "Give us your map or plan or note or whatever it is; give up possession quietly; give me your word to keep out of Austria for the next six months, and I'll let the three of you go."
    "I see," said Mansel. "What's the alternative?"
    "We take possession," said Rose Noble, "here and now; you will stay as our guests until the treasure is found. How long that period will be will depend upon your ability to withstand the inclination to drink. When it has been found, and we are gone, your future will depend upon how long it is before somebody passes this way..."

Edited: Sep 28, 2019, 5:03pm

Finished From Here To Eternity for TIOLI #6.

I have a theory: that every editor in America met a grim fate during WWII. There certainly weren't any working in the years immediately after the war.

I have another theory: that the coming of television and the consequent battle for people's 'entertainment time' eventually put an end to these needless monsters and ushered in a new era of concise writing.


Sep 28, 2019, 5:00pm


Now very gratefully reading Endless Night by Agatha Christie.

Sep 28, 2019, 5:20pm

Seriously, American readers of the 1940s and 1950s!? SERIOUSLY!!??

So it works like this, then?---



Edited: Oct 2, 2019, 6:40pm

Finished Endless Night for TIOLI #4, and in under the wire for September.


I don't like reading under pressure (not even self-imposed pressure!), and my week-plus battle with From Here To Eternity has left me feeling wrung out and even a bit reading-shy.

Though...I guess that may be due to my foreknowledge that this month too holds a few difficult selections---including yet another religiously-themed best-seller. (Hey, America! - it's just the same story from another perspective, do you REALLY need to read it a third time??)

The temptation is to hole up with some soothing mysteries for a week or so, but I don't want to take the risk of leaving myself short of time, which is what happened here: I was late getting to the library and late starting my challenge read.

I shall ponder...and in the meantime my potential reading list looks something like this:

The Silver Chalice by Thomas B. Costain {best-seller challenge}
The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni {'Best 100 Novels' challenge}
By The Pricking Of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie {chronological challenge}
Through The Wall by Patricia Wentworth {shared read}
The Maze by Philip Macdonald {TIOLI / series work}
The Crystal Beads Murder by Annie Haynes {TIOLI / series work}
The Bar On The Seine by Georges Simenon {TIOLI / series work}
The Gold Comfit Box by Valentine Williams {TIOLI / series work}
Mystery At Greycombe Farm by John Rhode
They Who Do Not Grieve by Sia Figiel {TIOLI / potential decommission}
Faces In The Smoke by Douchan Gersi {TIOLI / potential decommission}

Sep 30, 2019, 7:07pm

>98 lyzard: I remember having to battle it out with that one too, Liz.

Oct 1, 2019, 5:18pm

>99 PaulCranswick:

Hi, Paul!

It's an ugly story, which is one thing; but then it's an ugly story written into the ground. As I said to Dejah (who unwisely decided to join me for a shared read), I never wanted bombs to start dropping so bad in my life! :D

Edited: Oct 2, 2019, 6:40pm

So---after fighting through one gruelling reading experience, naturally I decided the best thing was to jump straight into another...

I'm still wrestling with The American Caravan for the 'Banned in Boston' challenge. I have been having trouble finding afternoons to devote to travelling in to work at it, but on top of that I went through a phase of not being able to get access: it's a storage book which has to be brought to the library from offsite, and for about three weeks it went missing "in transit" (put aside somewhere by accident, I should think). Then when I requested it, I kept being told that someone was in the queue for it ahead of me...even though that person was obviously ME. (No-one else ever wants the books I want!)

But yesterday I finally got both access and time again:

Hoboken Blues; or, The Black Rip van Winkel by Michael Gold: - a play written in dialect and set in Harlem; as its subtitle suggests, it features its central character going to Hoboken in search of a job and coming home to discover that it is twenty-five years later and the world has not changed for the better... {Banned in Boston? - goodness, where do I start? - profanity, sexual references, constant criticism of the treatment of people of colour by white people, references to slavery and lynching, police brutality, criticisms of American society in general and capitalism in particular, people of colour being disrespectful to white people, an insistence that heaven is desegregated and worst of all the suggestion that one day there could be a BLACK PRESIDENT!!!!??}

Sonnets by Edna Louise Smith: - four poems with themes of love, loss and death.

Penance by Margery Latimer: - a short story about a woman whose memories of her first marriage are poisoning her new relationship. {Banned in Boston? - references to illicit sexual relationships}

I Was A Maiden by Marion "Clinch" Calkins: - a strange poem about a deadly woman; Calkins began using her androgynous nickname when she submitted this poem to the Nation's poetry competition, so the judges wouldn't know it was written by a woman. She won a prize but the poem was deemed "too avant garde" for publication. {Banned in Boston? - sexual references}

And I had to break off in the middle of Mildred's Thoughts by Gertrude Stein, a weird stream-of-conscious short story that I'm not sure I'm understanding at all...

(pg 662 / 833)

Oct 1, 2019, 6:42pm

And after all that---

Now reading The Maze by Philip Macdonald, which is giving me the same sorts of issues that I have with some of Patricia Wentworth's books, in that it managed to get published in America first - and of course under an altered title.

The odd thing is that apparently the American first edition, published as Persons Unknown, carries a note stating that the British title is "The Maze"...even though the American edition appeared in 1931 and the British not until 1932.

Oct 1, 2019, 9:09pm

>102 lyzard: the American first edition, published as Persons Unknown, carries a note stating that the British title is "The Maze"...even though the American edition appeared in 1931 and the British not until 1932.

It's a message from The Future!

Edited: Oct 11, 2019, 9:40pm

>102 lyzard:


Macdonald went through a ridiculously prolific period from about 1930 - 1932, just churning out books and even using a pseudonym to publish more, and I suspect his British publishers may have decided to hold this one back a bit.


Begging the dreaded question of "in order", since this seems to have had the result of mixing up the publication order of this series---which is consequently different in Britain and America.

The Maze, or rather Persons Unknown, is copyright late 1930 in America which indicates it was supposed to precede the actual 1931 books, but appeared in Britain after at least three others in the Anthony Gethryn series, The Choice (aka 'The Polferry Mystery' aka 'The Polferry Riddle'), The Wraith and The Crime Conductor. There is also Rope To Spare, from 1932.


ETA2: And just to be really helpful, Collins seem to have published The Choice as The Choice in 1931, reissued it as The Polferry Mystery in 1932 and 1934, and then changed it back to The Choice in 1938!...while it was always The Polferry Riddle in America.

To reiterate:


ETA3: And a quick bit of research now would indicate that the usual series listing is wrong and that The Wraith was published before The Choice.

One more time!---


Oct 2, 2019, 5:52pm

Oh, honestly. Now those publishers are just being jerks for the sake of being jerks.

Oct 2, 2019, 5:54pm

That's what I think too!---although to be fair it looks like Philip MacDonald wrote nine books just in 1931, so perhaps it was just natural confusion??

Oct 2, 2019, 9:03pm

Good grief, Phil. Nine books in one year? I don't know whether to be appalled or impressed.

Oct 3, 2019, 5:27pm

I'm inclined to blame him - INDIVIDUALLY - for my ongoing inability to escape from 1931... :D

Oct 3, 2019, 5:28pm

Anyhoo---finished The Maze for TIOLI #1, so that's one off the list!

Now reading The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni.

Oct 4, 2019, 6:18am

Some people don't know when to stop. Comment could apply to errant publishers or over enthusiastic authors. With 9 books in one year, dare one suggest that even the author probably didn't know what order they were written in.

Oct 11, 2019, 7:20pm

>110 Helenliz:

I'm surprised his publishers let him get away with it (even if they did eventually insist upon a pseudonym for a couple of standalones). "Flooding the market" doesn't begin to describe it. :D

Oct 11, 2019, 7:32pm

You suck, life. :(

It even sucks in the realm of books! I have finally battled to the end of The Betrothed, which (like Thaddeus Of Warsaw) avoids a crushed-by-a-book image, but only just; this was for my own challenge, but I may yet move it... (Funny how often that happens!)

This was for my 'C. K. Shorter challenge', which is now presenting me with an unexpected problem: I'm struggling to get access to a copy of the next work on the list, Lichtenstein by Wilhelm Hauff. Apparently the only time it was ever translated into English was in 1839; and while that version is on Gutenberg, I'm hesitant to resort to that, as I'm well aware that British translations of that era had a nasty tendency to alter works to suit (perceived) British tastes. But it's looking like I may not have a choice.

It hadn't occurred to me before that one of the 'Best 100 Novels' might be so hard to get hold of!

Meanwhile, I had meant to make a start on Thomas Costain's The Silver Chalice, this month's best-seller, but I'm not going to make it to my academic library in time to collect it---and apparently there's no way of getting the collection date extended over the weekend. (Something to keep in mind going forward.) So I'll have to request it all over again, and it won't be available probably for another week.

I'm also appalled to realise just how far behind I am with my review writing.

So I don't know what I'm reading; but I do know I should be writing...

Oct 11, 2019, 8:48pm

The Maze (US title: Persons Unknown) - Published in 1931, the fifth entry in Philip MacDonald's series featuring amateur detective, Colonel Anthony Gethryn, was written in response to the author's annoyance with what he considered an increasing tendency for British mysteries to "cheat": that is, to not play fair with readers, by withholding information that would allow them to solve the mystery. In The Maze, Gethryn (who is on holidays with his wife and young son) is consulted at a distance by Scotland Yard, who have been unable to solve the murder of the wealthy Maxwell Brunton, found dead in his study---a room at the end of a corridor in which all the other main bedrooms of his house are also situated; while three servants - the butler, his cook-housekeeper-wife, and a maidservant - had rooms upstairs. On the same floor as the study, rooms were occupied by Brunton's wife, Enid; his son, Adrian; his daughter, Claire Bayford; Peter Hargreaves, her friend; the actress Mary Lamort, the Bruntons' guest; and Sydney Harrison, Brunton's secretary. Any one of them could have done it; but which one did? All Gethryn has to go on are the depositions given at the inquest into Brunton's death, which concludes with a verdict of, Murder by person or persons unknown... As far as playing fair with the reader goes, The Maze is a success: other than the introductory explanation of the case from the Assistant Commissioner of Scotland Yard, we, like Gethryn, have only the witnesses' recorded statements to go upon, and must judge for ourselves the truthfulness, or otherwise, of these statements, the personalities of the people making them, and how far each might have had motive. Like Gethryn, we must sift the available information carefully, searching for an inconsistency which might point the way to the truth. So far, so good. The problem with The Maze is that none of these people is very interesting, or very likeable---which includes the hot-tempered, serial womanising victim. The resistance of each to being questioned in detail leads to much repetition which, while no doubt realistic, isn't very engaging to read. (I also object to the attempt to render the speech idiosyncrasies of the witnesses, which I'm sure real depositions don't do, and which is tiresome to read.) The small, questionable statement which Gethryn eventually extracts from the statements is indeed a point of fair play; but the solution to the mystery turns on a couple of psychological deductions that I found unconvincing. Overall, The Maze is a book that works better in theory than in practice.

    There were, besides the murdered man, ten people sleeping in the house on the night of his death. One of them must surely have done it! But it has proved quite impossible for us to fix upon this one person. This doesn't look good for the police. Moreover, it is intensely annoying to any person of intelligence. Having been with the case since it began a few weeks ago---which seem like ten years---I can most earnestly vouch for this...
    What we want you to do is to look at the papers we have on the case and just see if you can spot anything which we may have overlooked. I think it is hopeless. But I also think---knowing you as I do---that the chance is worth taking even at the risk of drawing down upon myself a sulphurous rebuke.
    I had originally intended to write this letter and ask your permission to send you the papers (verbatim report of inquest, etc.). On maturer thought, however, I have decided to enclose copies of these herewith, for it has struck me that your answer to a request as to one might send papers would be useless, whereas your reaction to a bundle of papers might well be one of sufficient curiosity at least to make you read them through. And if you do read them through I am convinced that the sheer complexity of an apparently simple business will decoy you into spending thought upon it...

Oct 11, 2019, 8:53pm

There's a funny little in-joke at the opening of The Maze, when the AC tells Gethryn that the murder occurred, "Near Kensington Gore of all unlikely places!"

The following year, under his pseudonym, "Martin Porlock", Philip MacDonald would write an standalone novel called Mystery In Kensington apparently it wasn't as unlikely as Sir Egbert Lucas thought.

Possibly MacDonald liked the contrast of respectability with murder and mayhem; although my suspicion is that Kensington Gore is where he was living during this outrageous burst of productivity.

Oct 11, 2019, 9:37pm

Very entertaining discussion on American titles and British titles and the screwing up of publication orders. As another completist, I will always want to read series books in order and I do get miffed when it goes awry.

Have a splendid weekend, Liz.

Oct 12, 2019, 9:15am

Speaking of 9 books in a year, publishers seem to thrive on it nowadays, even if it's only attaching the name to a book. Just how many new books come out with James Patterson's name in a year? I'd guess at least one per month. Most are "James Patterson and CO-AUTHOR," and we all know the co-author is doing the actual work, but James Patterson's name is what sells the book.

Oct 12, 2019, 4:56pm

>115 PaulCranswick:

Hi, Paul - thanks! :)

Oh, that kind of thing drives me CRAZY! I'm always sure it shouldn't it shouldn't be this difficult to work this stuff out, but here we are again...

>116 thornton37814:

Hi, Lori!

I suppose nine books a year are easier when nine different people are doing the work and one is just getting the credit? Personally I don't understand why such an arrangement should be popular, but as you point out, it obviously is.

Oct 12, 2019, 5:24pm


Now reading La Guinguette à deux sous by Georges Simenon.

Oct 13, 2019, 12:05am

Finished La Guinguette à deux sous for TIOLI #13.

Now reading The Crystal Beads Murder by Annie Haynes.

Edited: Oct 16, 2019, 7:15pm

Finished The Crystal Beads Murder for TIOLI #6...and FINISHED ANOTHER SERIES!! - although only a four-book one...

Nevertheless, it's worth a marmoset! - a silvery marmoset, in fact, an Amazonian species notable not just for its fur colour, but because of the rather adorable "tufts" we've been seeing, its ears are often completely naked!

Oct 16, 2019, 7:15pm

Now reading Through The Wall by Patricia Wentworth.

Edited: Oct 16, 2019, 7:26pm


I've been taking a look at some of the immediate cinematic consequences of Jaws:

A low-budget made-for-TV movie with a stock footage menace, Shark Kill (1976) is notable only for being the first post-Jaws shark film.

Much more worth your time (if you like this sort of thing) is Grizzly (1976), an hilarously blatant Jaws rip-off that for a while was the most profitable independent film ever made (so I guess quite a lot of people do like this sort of thing!):


Oct 16, 2019, 8:59pm

>120 lyzard: Why they didn't just name that adorable critter the "naked-eared marmoset" I'll never know ...

>121 lyzard: Uh-oh. Have i once again failed to notice the opening of another Miss Silver reading window? I really need to keep better track of these things! Off to the library ...

Oct 16, 2019, 9:25pm

>123 rosalita:

You can't use words like NAKED!!!! - gasp!!

Yes! - it got mentioned on the TIOLI thread but maybe not here properly? Sorry!

Oct 16, 2019, 9:53pm

>124 lyzard: NakedNakedNakedNakedNakedNakedNakedNakedNakedNaked​. The more you type it the sillier it looks!

No worries. I'm not doing TIOLI this year so didn't see it there. But it was available at the library so I've already downloaded it. :-)

Edited: Oct 16, 2019, 11:00pm

>125 rosalita:


Yes, I've missed you around the traps this year. Are you thinking in or out next year (at the moment)?

ETA: BTW I remembered and have already switched the series order of Through The Wall (which is next) and The Ivory Dagger.

Oct 17, 2019, 12:58am

>120 lyzard: That marmoset looks a bit bemused, maybe he can't believe Liz has finished yet another series. And maybe lost. Looks more like camoflauge for the arctic than the jungle. Although those ears wouldn't survive for very long in the arctic, they'd want the tufts the relations sport to keep them warm.

Oct 17, 2019, 4:49pm

>127 Helenliz:

It certainly an unusual colour for a jungle animal!

Oct 17, 2019, 4:57pm

Finished Through The Wall for TIOLI #7 (at the moment).

Now reading The Gold Comfit Box by Valentine Williams.

Oct 17, 2019, 8:24pm

>126 lyzard: I'm leaning toward not having my own thread again, instead lurking about and popping up annoyingly on other people's threads. :-)

Oct 18, 2019, 4:56pm

Selfish! :P

Oct 18, 2019, 8:34pm

>131 lyzard: That's me! Selfish to the bone.

Oct 18, 2019, 9:37pm

>104 lyzard: Ahhhhh! My head hurts. 9 books in a year....

>122 lyzard: Grizzly...I know that was supposed to be a scary movie, but the poster makes me laugh.

: )

Oct 20, 2019, 6:38am

>133 Berly:

Hi, Kim - thanks for visiting!

Mine hurts too, but that's probably because I'm trying to read them!

Well...Grizzly doesn't take itself too seriously so you're probably okay. :D

Oct 20, 2019, 7:27pm

Finished The Gold Comfit Box for TIOLI #10.

Now reading By The Pricking Of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie.

Oct 20, 2019, 9:45pm

My Desert Friend And Other Stories - This 1931 publication by Robert Hichens consists of the title novella plus five short stories. In My Desert Friend, an Englishman travelling in Algeria becomes fascinated by a mysterious Frenchman, who lives in almost total isolation at the edge of the desert: a brilliant, cultured individual; so what terrible secret has driven him from civilisation? In The Under-Man, a doctor tells a disturbing story of two men, one a cynic, one an idealist, who clash over the latter's attempts to demonstrate the truth of his beliefs by reforming a criminal... In the Surgeon's Story, a medical student is unable to get over his lover leaving him for, and marrying, his best friend. Fate gives him a chance for revenge when his former friend ends up on his operating table... In Dreams Fade, a young man arrogantly makes a major that he can ingratiate himself with a beautiful but reclusive woman, only to find himself genuinely drawn to her... In Prescott-Smith's Victim, a petty feud between a clergyman and his organists escalates into a war that splits a small village... In Little Marguerite, an actress suffering from a throat condition when she is due to open a new play hires an understudy capable of "keeping the part warm", but who offers no threat to her own pre-eminancy...or so she thinks... This collection offers a good insight into a number of areas of Robert Hichens' specific personal interest, including the Middle East (where he travelled extensively, and which fascinated him) and medicine, particularly psychology. Unfortunately it highlights a number of his weaknesses, too, particularly a tiresome tendency to blame all men's problems on women, without requiring the men to take responsibility for their own actions. Though overall the stories reflect a rather cynical outlook, with happy endings thin on the ground, one striking thing about this volume is that despite the overt Britishness of its various protagonists and narrators, there is an interest in, and an openmindedness about, foreign lands and peoples not usually found in English writing of the period, and which is very refreshing.

    Pigeons were flying about near the village. A yellow and emaciated dog lay sleeping in the dust. Now and then I heard the dry tap of a date falling on the sun-dried ground. A boy in a long white robe, playing softly on a flute of reed, disappeared between the brown walls of palm gardens, walking barefooted beside a runlet of yellow brown water. I saw a negro climbing a palm trunk by his unfolded turban, which he used as a rope. The bray of a donkey sounded in the distance, grew violent, died away in a series of penetrating gasps. The shine of the air---so I thought of it---was like a bright and light robe folded around me. I seemed to hear the silence of the enfolding desert.
    "Yes, it is strange that he lives here!" I thought, looking at the brown dome among the palms. "The Agha is right. What can the reason be?"
    I went on into the palm gardens. Now and then in the distance I saw glimpses of the desert, with its scattered crystals gleaming in the sun. A girl, unveiled, with a tattooed forehead, and tattooed bracelets round her fine brown wrists, went by me holding herself very erest and looking at me with large grave glittering eyes under level brows.
    "Women! Yes, that man has loved women. The Agha reads a man, as Arabs do, though one hears no turning of pages. But then---why?"
    And I was held in wonder about Monsieur de Longueville...

Oct 20, 2019, 9:46pm

>136 ronincats:

Aww, thank you, Roni! :)

Oct 21, 2019, 5:49pm

At Bertram's Hotel - When Miss Jane Marple is offered a holiday by the Wests, she surprises them by choosing a trip to London to stay at Bertram's Hotel, an establishment she remembers fondly from her early years. Finding the Edwardian luxuriousness of Bertram's so exactly as her memory retained it, Miss Marple is at first quite delighted---and then suspicious... As she enjoys her holiday, Miss Marple watches the drama unfolding around the young heiress, Elvira Blake. It is evident to her that Elvira, unbeknownst to her guardians, is involved with professional racing-car driver, Ladislaus Malinowski, who gossip links with Elvira's estranged mother, the notorious society figure, Bess Sedgwick. Meanwhile, Miss Marple is able to assist the police in the strange case of an absent-minded clergyman, who walks out of Bertram's one night and simply disappears. The sense that there is something wrong at Bertram's comes to a head when the hotel's doorman, Michael Gorman, is shot dead defending Elvira Blake when someone makes an attempt upon her life... There is almost a meta-quality to this 1965 publication by Agatha Christie, which thematically is very much about time not standing still, and change coming whether we like it or not. Those critics who like to posit Christie's Miss Marple as the poster-girl for cosy village mysteries might be surprised to find Jane not only in 'Swinging 60s' London, but ensconced in a narrative that includes casual references to adultery and abortion, and an off-colour joke about a clergyman (you can imagine what kind). People themselves don't change, however; and when murder and a disappearance become mixed up with an ongoing police investigation into a recent spate of daring robberies, it is Miss Marple's sharp observations - and her talent for being at the right place at the right time - that is able to set Chief-Inspector Davy on the trail of the guilty parties... At Bertram's Hotel is one of those Christie mysteries in which, so to speak, a public crime and a private crime get entangled, the threads of both having to be picked apart before either can be solved. In this respect, it stands up well to re-reading, since it can be tricky keeping the parallel plots straight in your memory. My main criticism of it is that coincidence plays too large a part in Jane's acquisition of useful information. This is a sad book in many ways - certainly in the resolution of its murder plot - and we can only mourn along with Jane at the inevitable passing of Bertram's---for what it once was, and what it still seemed to be.

    Bertram's Hotel. So many memories... The past fused itself with the present. A French phrase came back to her. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. She reversed the wording. Plus c'est la même chose, plus ça change. Both true, she thought.
    She felt sad---for Bertram's Hotel and for herself. She wondered what Chief-Inspector Davy wanted of her next. She sensed in him the excitement of purpose. He was a man whose plans were at last coming to fruition. It was Chief-Inspector Davy's D-Day.
    The life of Bertram's went on as usual. No, Miss Marple decided, not as usual. There was a difference, though she could not have defined where the difference lay. An underlying uneasiness, perhaps?
    "All set?" Davy inquired genially...
    Miss Marple rose to her feet. She cast a glance around her and murmured: "Poor Bertram's."
    "What do you mean---poor Bertram's?"
    "I think you know quite well what I mean."
    "Well---looking at it from your point of view, perhaps I do."
    "It is always sad when a work of art has to be destroyed..."

Edited: Oct 21, 2019, 5:55pm

The usual boring, no-effort image from Collins (above) excepted, At Bertram's Hotel offers little in the way of wacky cover art: guns, keys, lobbies and dead men in uniform abound; it seems as if for once, there was no way of getting this one really wrong.

So I'll offer up a rare example of a cover I like---not so much for itself, but because it proves that the person who designed it read the book:

Oct 21, 2019, 6:33pm

The Sketch Book Of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. - The work that established the literary reputation of Washington Irving began life as a series of essays, character sketches and short stories, chiefly recording Irving's observations, as an American, on England and the English way of life; though in some cases presenting America to England, too. Though written in England, these were first published in America across 1819 and into 1820, before being collected together for re-release; while the British publisher, John Murray, also produced a two-volume edition during 1820. Written as by Irving's alter-ego, Geoffrey Crayon, The Sketch Book achieved great success in both countries, becoming one of the first American works to be widely read and praised in Europe. (It should perhaps be noted that the first American novel was not written until 1789.) Though Irving's English sketches were greatly appreciated at the time, to the modern reader his sympathetic portraits of the Native American are probably more interesting---though like most 19th century writers, he takes it for granted that it is only a matter of time before the indigenous population is exterminated. (Not for want of trying, we might observe.) However, posterity has decided that the real importance of The Sketch Book lies elsewhere: in two short stories presented as collected by Irving's other alter-ego, the fictional Dutch historian, Diedrich Knickerbocker: Rip Van Winkle and The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow, both of which achieved individual and lasting success as standalone works and via frequent anthologising. Meanwhile, a series of five interlocking short stories, in which "Geoffrey Crayon" reflects upon the meaning Christmas and describes an old-fashioned Christmas in the English countryside, were immensely popular in that country, to the extent of being extracted and republished as Old Christmas. The success of the latter prompted Irving to follow The Sketch Book with Bracebridge Hall; or, The Humorists (read earlier this year and reviewed here), in which Geoffrey Crayon revisits the family with whom he enjoyed his Christmas, this time for a wedding.

    It was a fine sunny morning when the thrilling cry of “land!” was given from the mast-head. None but those who have experienced it can form an idea of the delicious throng of sensations which rush into an American’s bosom, when he first comes in sight of Europe. There is a volume of associations with the very name. It is the land of promise, teeming with everything of which his childhood has heard, or on which his studious years have pondered.
    From that time, until the moment of arrival, it was all feverish excitement. The ships of war, that prowled like guardian giants along the coast; the headlands of Ireland, stretching out into the channel; the Welsh mountains towering into the clouds;---all were objects of intense interest. As we sailed up the Mersey, I reconnoitred the shores with a telescope. My eye dwelt with delight on neat cottages, with their trim shrubberies and green grass-plots. I saw the mouldering ruin of an abbey overrun with ivy, and the taper spire of a village church rising from the brow of a neighboring hill;---all were characteristic of England...

Edited: Oct 21, 2019, 7:41pm

Keeper Of The Keys - Sadly, Earl Derr Biggers died prematurely in 1933, bringing to an unplanned conclusion his series of mysteries featuring the Honolulu-based Chinese police detective, Charlie Chan. It is unlikely, I think, that Biggers would have chosen to end his series with Charlie not just away from home, but in an environment as different from his own stomping-ground as can be imagined. However---it is precisely because the he has never been in the mountains before - he has never seen snow - that Charlie accepts an assignment that might seem beneath his professional powers. He is hired by the wealthy but lonely Dudley Ward to oversee a strange business: his attempt to discover whether his marriage, many years before, to opera-singer Ellen Landini produced a child; a son he did not know existed, until recent events suggested the possibility. Charlie is bemused when he discovers that Ward has invited to his home on the shores of Lake Tahoe not only himself, but Ellen Landini's three other husbands: mining magnate, John Ryder; throat specialist, Dr Frederic Swan; and her current partner, conductor Luis Romano, who she is in the process of trying to trade in for young musician, Hugh Beaton. It is Ward's belief that if his son exists, one of these men must know something that will put him on the trail; and he wants Charlie, an experienced interrogator, to oversee his questioning of them. Ward's plans are disrupted when he learns that Ellen is in Reno in pursuit of another divorce: without explaining why, he invites her to the house, along with Beaton and his sister, Leslie, the latter of whom hopes to prevent the proposed marriage. Also on the premises is "the one that got away", chauffeur and pilot, Michael Ireland, who eloped with Ellen's maid, Cecile, in preference to marrying her mistress. And in the midst of all this history, passion and resentment---it is perhaps not surprising that Ellen Landrini is found murdered... Keeper Of The Keys is a complicated mystery, very much of the "who was where, when" variety---and only more complicated by the fact that all the main suspects appear to have an alibi, as they are all together when a shot is heard. Charlie's investigation, rather than clarifying anything, only seems to open up the field of possibilities---while he must fit into their correct places further puzzle-pieces including a second gun, a scarf of the wrong colour, an attempt at blackmail, and the troubles of a frightened little dog... Like all of Earl Derr Biggers' novels, Keeper Of The Keys pays almost as much attention to the surroundings in which its mystery is playing out as to the mystery itself; and there are many rapturous descriptions of the scenery around Lake Tahoe, as seen through Charlie's delighted eyes. In stark contrast, there are also unflattering descriptions of Reno, already established as a "gambling town", and just gaining a reputation as a "divorce town". (This was interesting to me in the wake of reading Arthur Train's High Winds, which deals with the shutting down of the possibility of the "Paris divorce" for Americans; after which Reno came into its own.) This is also a very character-based narrative, giving time to the situation of the young local sheriff, Don Holt, who takes over from his legendary father when the latter's eyesight fails, and who in trying to stand ni his shoes tends to end up in shadow. However, the most important character, surprisingly in some ways yet typically for this particular series, is Dudley Ward's elderly Chinese servant, Ah Sing, who has been with the Ward family all his life, and who turns out to be - both literally and figuratively - the "keeper of the keys"...

    Holt ran down off the porch and disappeared toward the road in the rear. Chan retired inside, leaving the door open, and moved on into a large living-room. A pleasant place this must be, he thought, on summer nights, with its splendid view of the lake. He removed a sheet from a large chair and, placing the latter in what seemed the safest corner, dropped into it. Then he shut off his light, and put it in his pocket.
    The rain beat against the house, the wind roared, and Charlie thought back over this wintry case upon which he, detective of the semi-tropics, was now so unexpectedly engaged. First of all he thought of people: of Sing, whose beady little eyes even Chan could not read; of Cecile, jealous and angry last night when she heard the airplane over the lake; of Ireland, clumsy and uneasy when out of his plane, but so expert when in it. He considered Romano, broke and according to his own confession, desperate---but now come into money through Landini's sudden passing. Hugh Beaton, sick of the bargain he had made; his sister, jealous as Cecile, but in a different way---a high-strung, impetuous girl. Dinsdale---since he was including them all---evidently so aloof from all this—but an old friend of the singer, none the less. Ward, who had started it all and encountered two tragedies. Ryder, with the scornful blue eyes above the blond beard, and Swan---dead now in that room above. Had it been, after all, attempted blackmail that led to Swan's death? How young Hugh Beaton had raged at the doctor last night after the murder---and how Michael Ireland and Swan had snarled at each other...

Oct 21, 2019, 7:56pm

July stats:

Works read: 12
TIOLI: 12, in 12 different challenges, with 1 shared read

Mystery / thriller: 6
Classics: 4
Historical drama: 1
Short stories: 1

Re-reads: 3
Series works: 6
Blog reads: 0
1932: 1
1931: 1
Virago / Persephone: 0
Potential decommission: 0

Owned: 2
Library: 4
Ebooks: 6

Male authors : female authors : 8 : 4

Oldest work: The Infidel Father by Jane West (1802)
Newest work: At Bertram's Hotel by Agatha Christie (1965)


YTD stats:

Works read: 86
TIOLI: 86, in 76 different challenges, with 9 shared reads

Mystery / thriller: 39
Classics: 15
Contemporary drama: 11
Non-fiction: 7
Historical drama: 6
Short stories: 3
Young adult: 3
Humour: 1
Horror: 1

Re-reads: 14
Series works: 37
Blog reads: 4
1932: 2
1931: 8
Virago / Persephone: 2
Potential decommission: 3

Owned: 19
Library: 32
Ebooks: 35

Male authors : female authors : 51 : 36

Oldest work: Emmeline, The Orphan Of The Castle by Charlotte Smith (1788)
Newest work: The Complete Guide To Mysterious Beings by John A. Keel (1994)

Edited: Oct 21, 2019, 7:58pm


No wonder this sloth is hiding its face...

Oct 21, 2019, 8:33pm

>139 lyzard: At Bertram's Hotel has always been one of my favorite Miss Marples. I think it was one of the very first ones I read, which no doubt is partially the reason, along with the fact that it really made staying at a chi-chi London hotel seems so posh!

>140 lyzard: My old mass-market paperback had this cover, which is fairly lackluster:

I saw lots of red double-decker buses in the cover gallery as well, which I don't remember buses figuring particularly prominently in the story — trains, sure. Maybe the bus was just shorthand for "this book's set in London, folks!"

That yellow beauty you picked out, though, is the cover on my current ebook. It's quite good, considering most ebook covers tend to be fairly boring. Perhaps it's a pickup up from a current paperback release.

Oct 21, 2019, 8:40pm

>145 rosalita:

I think it was one of the very first ones I read

Me, too!

I believe Jane sets out on her shopping and eavesdropping adventures by bus, then gets tired and resorts to taxis; but you're right, it's mostly about shorthand for 'London'.

I like that cover chiefly because there's so much emphasis in the narrative on all the scrummy things to eat at Bertram's! :D

Oct 21, 2019, 9:23pm

>146 lyzard: Indeed! One of the main reasons I wanted to go stay there for a week when I was 12. I still do, actually.

Oct 22, 2019, 1:00am

>147 rosalita: I think Bertrams is one of the places that you can imagine wantng to be. I've always found St Mary Mead to be rather stiffling, in the way of small villages. Bertrams does well by contrast, I think.

I grew up in a small (ish) village where people did know each other's business and what was going on and all your misdemeanors made it back to your parents... I left at the first opportunity.

Oct 22, 2019, 5:02am

Hi Liz! I am hoping to make up for my terrible track record this year by joining in with By the Pricking of My Thumbs this month.

I found that one of the sloth rescue centres (Toucan Rescue Ranch) are holding a sloth Ironman contest in honour of international sloth day and thought you might appreciate this. Here's the link to the video of the first event, the 1-metre dash (half the sloths don't make it out of the starting position).

Oct 22, 2019, 5:22am

>148 Helenliz: Yes, I totally agree, Helen!

>144 lyzard: How did I miss this SLOTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Edited: Oct 22, 2019, 11:16am

I always enjoy your Agatha Christie reviews, and this one of Bertram's Hotel is no exception. This Miss Marple is one that stands up well to re-reads, as you say, and you've tempted me to re-read it again.

Oct 22, 2019, 3:57pm

>147 rosalita:

"Me, too!" to that, too! :D

Oct 22, 2019, 3:59pm

>148 Helenliz:

It's interesting to find Jane out of her comfort zone again (albeit in a very comfortable non-comfort zone!)

I guess opportunities for leaving are better than they once were. Of course that sort of change is one of the main themes in this series.

Oct 22, 2019, 4:09pm

>149 souloftherose:

Hi, Heather! How lovely to see you here again. I hope things have settled down a bit for you?

I have just finished By The Pricking Of My Thumbs and was planning on putting it in Morphy's category challenge: does that work for you as a shared read?

Aww, thank you so much for that video! Aurora is the sloth for me!! :D

Oct 22, 2019, 4:10pm

>150 rosalita:

He was hiding! I told you!! :D

>151 jnwelch:

Hi, Joe - thanks! :)

Oct 23, 2019, 4:49am

Saw this and thought of you, Liz, but I don't suppose you need persuading!

Oct 23, 2019, 6:05am

>156 CDVicarage:

No, you're pretty much preaching to the choir but thank you just the same! :D

Oct 23, 2019, 6:08am

So I finally managed to pick up my storage copy of The Silver Chalice today.

Don't know what I was so worried about: it's only 527 pages...

Oct 23, 2019, 6:10am

So, yeah:

Finished By The Pricking Of My Thumbs for TIOLI #9.

Now reading The Silver Chalice by Thomas B. Costain.

Oct 26, 2019, 5:41pm

Just catching up here. I've missed your various historical readings, even though I rarely know the names of the authors. But COSTAIN! I haven't heard anyone read his work in decades. When I was in high school, I must have read all his titles, some of which were quite scary in their portrayal of cruelty. But there was something about the romance of the times he wrote of that kept me reading.

Oct 26, 2019, 6:03pm

The Sands Of Windee - The second entry in Arthur Upfield's series featuring the half-Aboriginal police inspector, Napoleon Bonaparte (the nuns at the mission had a funny sense of humour), was first published in Britain in 1931, but shamefully couldn't find an Australian publisher until 1958. Possibly this was because while the first book in the series, The Barrakee Mystery, saw "Bony" mostly from the outside, this story is told from his perspective and spends much of its time deep within his consciousness. It is not always a comfortable place to be, not least because, painfully enough, Bony tends to share his society's view of himself as naturally inferior, on account of his mixed blood---even though he tries to console himself with the thought that he has inherited the best of both his parents. Bony's personal hang-ups, and the overweening professional pride with which he (over-)compensates for his perceived shortcomings, are equally the driving forces of The Sands Of Windee, which finds the detective out of his Queensland jurisdiction and in the far west of New South Wales, re-investigating a case which was at first written off as death by misadventure. It is Bony who finds reason to believe that murder has been committed; it is Bony who insists of reopening the case, though no body was ever found; it is Bony who invests a great many resources in the case...and it is Bony who must finally face his superiors and account for his conduct... Two months previously, a man called Luke Marks arrived in the tiny outback town of Mount Lion, where he announced his intention of calling upon Jeffrey Stanton, the owner of Windee, a sprawling sheep station. After lunching with Stanton, Marks set out for Broken Hill---and was never seen again. Six days later, his car was found some ninety yards off the road at the junction to Broken Hill, but of Marks no sign could be found despite the efforts of two native trackers; not surprisingly, perhaps, as there had been windstorms in the area. Sergeant Morris, the local police officer, was of the opinion that having drunk rather too much at lunch, Marks fell asleep at the wheel and drove off the road, then panicked when he woke up in the dark and lost himself in the bush. Bony, however, thinks differently. He is aware, for one thing, that "Luke Marks" was really a retired police detective called Green, whose country background had made him an experienced bushman. But it is the photographs of Green's car, taken by Sergeant Morris, that to Bony's mind prove murder: he points out to Morris a totem made of bleached sheep-bones placed in a tree at the site by one or more of the local natives: a totem that tells of evil spirits, and the killing of a white man... The Sands Of Windee is a long and rather leisurely mystery, devoting as much time to descriptions of the bush and of life on Windee Station as to Bony's mental processes as he tries to determine what really happened to the man who called himself Marks. There is also a powerful interlude when Windee, its people and its sheep are threatened by a raging bushfire. The descriptions here are often disturbing, as are lengthy passages in the novel devoted to the two station hands with the dirty job of keeping down the local kangaroo population. And there are other aspects of The Sands Of Windee which, while not intended to be so at the time, readers may well find uncomfortable today. This is particularly so regarding the back-story of Jeffrey Stantion, who has a horrifying secret in his past which the novel and its characters alike treat far too casually. In addition, disappointingly but not surprisingly, there are issues with some of the language used and the depiction of the novel's indigenous characters: though these were clearly not meant unkindly, it is still hard not to wince. However, the actual mystery at the heart of The Sands Of Windee, Bony's efforts to find any sort of physical evidence of the murder he is certain was committed and the understanding of the outback that shape his search, and his assumption of a variety of positions at Windee, from boundary-rider to cook, in order to stay close to his suspects, together make up a highly satisfying narrative.

    "The photograph, however, is the crowning point, the basis of my conviction that Marks was murdered, not by the bush, but by some white man."
    "And you arrive at that theory from my photo of the car?" exclaimed Morris in amazement.
    "Precisely," Bony said slowly. "When you photographed the car you also photographed evidence of murder which to me is almost irrefutable."
    With obvious delight Bony watched the effect of this bomb. No less than his illustrious prototype did he revel in dramatic situations and startling denouements. His expression then was one of amused satisfaction. He went on:
    "This is a case, Sergeant, worthy of my attention. I start my inquiries two months after the crime was committed. Nature has obliterated all tracks, and has had ample time to bury all clues deeply in the sand. There is no corpse as a fingerpost to the murderer, as there is in nine hundred and ninety-nine cases in a thousand. Even if I find a corpse, the ants and crows will likely enough have picked the bones nice and clean. There will be no fingerprints; no autopsy is possible; and, because of all this, Bony is going to have a really enjoyable time."
    "But the photograph?" interjected Sergeant Morris.
    "I have studied all the famous cases of murder," Bony proceeded gaily. "Murders committed in Australia, Great Britain, France and America during the last hundred years. My wide, who like myself is an educated half-caste, reads and enjoys dozens of crime mysteries, expounded in modern novels---"
    "The photograph---"
    "In real life and in fiction as well as in stage plays, there is always a fresh corpse lying around for the detective to work on. All so sordid and all so simple to a man of my intelligence! I shall be shocked and disappointed and disillusioned if Luke Marks is still living..."

Oct 26, 2019, 6:16pm

>160 ffortsa:

Hi, Judy! I haven't actually read any Costain before, so I'm glad to have that gap plugged---albeit in yet another overlong, religious-themed novel, of which I've had a surfeit this year! I gather that his focus was medieval times and that The Silver Chalice is something of a anomaly in his career?

Edited: Oct 27, 2019, 2:07pm

>160 ffortsa: I recall more adventuring and colonial action than religion, but it was a long time ago that I read any of his.

You may have given me a BB if i can find The Barrakee Mystery here.

eta: Oops, that's two r's.

Oct 27, 2019, 3:55pm

>163 ffortsa:

Yes, that was my impression.

I believe The Barrakee Mystery was also published as Lure Of The Bush in some territories

Oct 27, 2019, 4:21pm

Finished The Silver Chalice for TIOLI #12...

...which escapes my crushed-by-a-book logo purely by virtue of being a bit shorter, and a bit easier to read, than the rest of its Overlong Religious-Themed Best-Seller ilk.

Speaking of which---the good news is that, in 1953, Twentieth-Century Fox released the first ever Cinemascope production, an adaptation of Lloyd C. Douglas's The Robe.

Why is that good news? - because the film brought the book roaring back up the best-seller charts, all the way to #1...and since I've already read it (for 1942), I'M HAVING A MONTH OFF!! :D

(But yes, that does technically mean yet another Overlong Religious-Themed Best-Seller. Seriously, America, give it a rest!)

Oct 27, 2019, 4:22pm

Now resting my brain with The Come Back by Carolyn Wells.

Edited: Oct 27, 2019, 6:04pm

The Brading Collection (US title: Mr Brading's Collection) - Miss Maud Silver is consulted by Lewis Brading, who is known for his collection of jewellery pieces that have a connection to historical crime. Mr Brading explains to her his complicated arrangements for protecting his collection, which he keeps in a secure annex at the end of a permanently-lit, glass-enclosed walkway, the latter leading into what was once his house, but which has since been converted into a hotel and country club. Brading then reveals that, in spite of his arrangements, he feels that some danger is in the air---probably to his collection, perhaps to himself. When Miss Silver hears that Mr Brading is keeping his secretary and assistant, James Moberly, in line with threats to reveal a damaging secret from his past, she declines to have anything to do with his situation. Soon, however, it is apparent that whatever danger Lewis Brading sensed around himself and his collection was only too real: he is found shot dead in one of his rooms in the annex... Once we can get at it, The Brading Collection has a decent mystery at its heart; but this is one of Patricia Wentworth's novels where she lets her surrounding material get out of hand. The cast of supporting characters is unnecessarily large, and in particular the inevitable romantic subplot is tiresomely intrusive, with neither party to it being either likeable or interesting, and the female half, Stacy Mainwaring, illustrating Wentworth's peculiar but apparently sincere belief that women are prepared to believe the worst of their men on the flimsiest of evidence. (Their situation is only interesting inasmuch as it has led to a divorce, a sign of how the world was changing.) As for the mystery itself, it is a matter of who could have penetrated Lewis Brading's sanctum sanctorum, and at what time the crime was committed: a surprising number of people having made their way along the glass corridor on the afternoon in question. It seems that Brading must have admitted his killer; unless of course it was Moberly, who alone had a key... As for Miss Silver, she is brought into the case she initially refused in an unnerving way: she receives a letter from Lewis Brading asking her to reconsider her decision - and to name her own fee - on the same morning his murder is reported in the newspaper. Moreover, as she realises, writing and sending that letter must have been almost the last thing he did... After consulting the local Chief Constable - and her former pupil - Randal March, Miss Silver contacts Charles Forrest, Brading's cousin and executor - and perhaps his heir - and learns that Brading had spoken of her to him---"In case anything should happen." From Forrest, Miss Silver learns that Brading had just become engaged to a much-younger woman, Maida Robinson, and had written a hasty will in her favour. Ashes found in a tray on the desk over which Brading was found slumped dead suggest that the document has been destroyed, possibly by the murderer---which, Forrest points out wryly, makes him the prime suspect...

    "Look here, what I’ve got to know is, how do you stand with regard to the police? If they go on thinking that it isn’t suicide, there’s going to be quite a lot of suspicion flying about. I’d like to know where I am. Do I talk to you in confidence, or does everything I say get handed on? I want to know where I am.”
    Miss Silver looked at him. “I am glad that you should have raised the point. I could not, in a murder case, be a party to concealing any material evidence from the police. I could not come into a murder case to serve any private interest. I have been engaged in many such cases and have worked in harmony with the police, but it is not my practice to work for the police. In a murder case, as in any other, I can have only one object, the bringing to light of the truth. It is only the guilty who have to fear this, the innocent are protected.”
    There was again that characteristic lift of the eyebrow. Forrest said: “You find it as simple as that?”
    “Fundamentally, yes. What appears to obscure the fact is that so many people have something to hide, and an enquiry in a murder case has this in common with the day of judgment, that the secrets of all hearts are apt to be revealed. It is not everyone who can contemplate this with equanimity. It is not only the murderer who tries desperately to conceal his thoughts and actions. And now, Major Forrest, are you going to tell me why the police think that this may be a case of murder?”
    Still frowning, Charles said, “Yes, I’ll tell you.”
    He had been sitting easily, his hand on the wheel. He leaned back now into the angle between the driving-seat and the door. Something had been happening in his mind. The dowdy little governess out of a family photograph-album sat there in the opposite corner, her hair very neat, her old-fashioned hat a little crooked, her hands in their black thread gloves folded primly upon a shabby bag with a tarnished clasp. There she was, and that was what she looked like. Yet he was feeling the impact of an intelligence which commanded respect. If that had been all, he would have found it surprising enough. But it was by no means all. He was conscious of an integrity, a kindness, a sort of benignant authority...

Edited: Oct 27, 2019, 7:14pm

The Brading Collection has collected (so to speak) a range of uninspired covers; perhaps this time I should blame the book rather than the artists.

I note, though, that while it has been released as part of the This Has Nothing To Do With Anything series (left), the people on the People Looking Worried series (right) actually look less randomly worried than usual. (Perversely, given the people dancing together, they ought to look worried, or at least unhappy.)


Definitely my favourite, though, is this absurd, Gothicked-up re-release cover:

Oct 27, 2019, 7:15pm

The Clock Strikes (reissue title: The Supreme Court Murder) - Misinformation led me to believe that this novella was the first entry in the series by "Leslie Ford" (Zenith Jones Brown) to feature Colonel John Primrose and his friend, the widow Grace Lathom; but as it turned out, it isn't either of those things: it doesn't feature Mrs Lathom at all, and it is the second to feature Colonel Primrose; quelle horreur! Fortunately, however, this short work is sufficiently standalone-ish for it not to matter in a series sense; though I need to get The Strangled Witness read ASAP... First published in The American in 1935, The Clock Strikes finds Colonel Primrose attending a session of the Supreme Court, thereby becoming witness to an extraordinary incident: the shooting death of attorney, Thomas Pomeroy, as he addresses the Court. Primrose, a government special investigator, takes charge of the situation. He determines that the shot was fired by automation, via a device within the courthouse clock, which was set to go off at 12:45pm. This means of murder indicates that the killer was someone with access to the regions behind the courtroom proper, who understood court procedure, and who knew Pomeroy would be addressing the court from the speaker's desk at just that time... The Clock Strikes is an unusual work, cramming a great deal of detail about both the workings of the Supreme Court and contemporary aviation into a short space. The story is explicitly set during the time when the Court was still situated within the Capitol Building, and the geography of that original setting is fundamental to the case. Meanwhile, it is Primrose's temporary attachment to the the postal service that brings him to the scene: he is in charge of the inquiry into the crashing of a mail-plane---during a flight that, it turns out, was just missed by Thomas Pomeroy and his daughter, Anne; begging the question of whether the crash was really an accident...

    It was 12:44, and the minute hand of the clock was inexorably moving, not figuratively, but literally and actually, toward sudden death.
    Then it happened, suddenly and simply. There was a deafening report, a spurt of flame from the centre of the gallery. A circling cloud of bluish smoke rolled gently up to the ceiling. A woman screamed.
    Sergeant Buck sprang to his feet, and Colonel Primrose, rising slowly, saw Thomas Pomeroy clutch both hands to his heart, lurch forward onto his desk, and slide heavily off it to the floor.
    Before the instant of appalled and deadly silence had come to an end Colonel Primrose was halfway to the bench...

Edited: Oct 27, 2019, 8:50pm

Third Girl - Hercule Poirot is consulted by a young woman about "a murder she might have committed"; but when she sees him, she blurts out that he cannot help her: he is too old... His feelings wounded, Poirot sets out to prove her wrong; although for this he requires the assistance of his friend, the mystery novelist Ariadne Oliver, who turns out was the one who mentioned Poirot to the girl. The two find out as much as they can about Norma Restarick, trying to catch a hint of a suspicious death. They learn that lives and works in London, where she is a "third girl", sharing a flat with two others; and that she does not get along with her young step-mother---who was recently hospitalised with was gossip says was a case of poisoning... Poirot infiltrates the country home of the Restaricks, posing as an admirer of the accomplishments of old Sir Roderick Horsefield, Norma's great-uncle. There, he also has an unexpected encounter with Norma's boyfriend, the flamboyant David Baker, of whom her family disapproves. Mrs Oliver follows up Norma's London life, finding a way to meet her flatmates, Claudia Reece-Holland - also Andrew Restarick's secretary - and Frances Cary, who works at a gallery as well as modelling. She also sees Norma with David, who she mentally nicknames 'the Peacock', and hurriedly summons Poirot to the scene. Catching Norma alone, Poirot persuades her to talk to him and learns a great deal about her unhappy life---and her fear that she is going mad... There is a certain wry humour to Norma Restarick's ageist dismissal of Hercule Poirot: published in 1966, Third Girl is very much a "generation gap" novel, with Poirot and Mrs Oliver out to prove - chiefly to themselves - that they are by no means past it, whatever the younger crowd might think; we suspect that Agatha Christie was writing from fellow-feeling. And certainly, the detectives are required to negotiate an unfamiliar world as they try to determine whether there could be any substance to Norma Restarick's conviction that she has killed someone. Third Girl is a peculiar book in many ways---its real mystery being what, exactly, its mystery is; and while this elusive quality can occasionally be frustrating, it also places the reader in the position of Poirot and Mrs Oliver as they try to piece together the slightest of clues in what becomes a race against time, as they shift from viewing Norma as a potential criminal to fearing that she is someone's victim... The two finally do catch word of recent death in Norma's vicinity, with a woman who lived in the same apartment building, a Louise Charpentier, who fell to her death from a window. Learning of this, Poirot cannot help but recall Norma's passing reference to someone called 'Louise' while lamenting the hate that seems to consume her. Then Norma disappears---and when the detectives see her again, she is standing over the dead body of David Baker with a knife in her hand...

    "You could go to a doctor entirely on your own behalf if you liked," said Poirot. "You can go and say the things to him you have been saying to me, and you may ask him why, and he will perhaps tell you the cause."
    "That's what David says," replied Norma. "That's what David says I should do but I don't think---I don't think he understands. I'd have to tell a doctor that I---I might have tried to do things..."
    "What makes you think you have?"
    "Because I don't always remember what I've done---or where I've been. I lose an hour of time---two hours---and I can't remember. I was in a corridor once---a corridor outside a door, her door. I'd something in my hand---I don't know how I got it. She came walking along towards me---but when she got near me, her face changed. It wasn't her at all. She'd changed into somebody else... I picked up the revolver. It was lying there at my feet---"
    "In a corridor?"
    "No, in the courtyard. She came and took it away from me."
    "Who did?"
    "Where was your stepmother then?"
    "She was there, too--- No, she wasn't. She was at Crosshedges. Or in hospital. That's where they found out she was being poisoned..."

Oct 28, 2019, 2:37pm

>154 lyzard: Yes, Morphy's challenge works for me! It is so nice to have my evenings and non-working day back again :-)

Oct 28, 2019, 4:06pm

>171 souloftherose:

That's great, thank you.

And it is so nice to have you back on the threads! :)

Oct 28, 2019, 4:51pm

Finished The Come Back for TIOLI #2.

Now reading They Who Do Not Grieve by Sia Figiel.

Oct 28, 2019, 5:09pm

>167 lyzard: Ah, Liz, you've put your finger on all the reasons I thought Mr. Brading's Collection fell a bit short of the high quality of the last few Miss Silvers. The romantic duo were both so annoying! Also, and this is probably just me and my lousy spatial sense, I could not keep the layout of the house/club/annex/glass passage arrangement straight in my head! I eventually just gave up trying to follow along and waited patiently until all was revealed in the end. :-)

>168 lyzard: That gothic cover is a real pip! If I picked up a book with that cover at a used bookstore, I would be very disappointed at what I found inside. Ha!

Here's the cover on my current e-dition from the library. It's a bit on the nose, but not bad:

Oct 28, 2019, 7:35pm

>174 rosalita:

I struggle with spatially-based mysteries too; even when they provide a map it doesn't help! (The Maze was interesting in that respect: the point of its map was to illustrate that literally anyone could have dunnit!)

Yes, far too many supporting characters with not enough to do with it. I thought Through The Wall did a much better job of integrating its elements (besides having a romantic lead who for once isn't an obnoxious alpha male!).

They re-released almost everything as a Gothic suspense novel in the 60s, but that one is particularly ridiculous! :D

I'm okay with that cover...except for the unnecessary retitling, of course...

Oct 28, 2019, 8:55pm

>175 lyzard: besides having a romantic lead who for once isn't an obnoxious alpha male

Yes, although the tendency for all these Wentworth couples to be struck instantly in love at first sight is getting a bit tiresome. I guess it's a convenient way not to have to waste time building up the romance angle when there's a murder plot to be hatched.

At least the retitling this go-round is in the same general vicinity as the original title — in fact I'm not sure I even noticed they were different until you mentioned it. A Brading here, a Brading there — it all comes out in the wash. :-)

Edited: Oct 29, 2019, 4:09pm

>176 rosalita:

Well, I cut this one a little slack because of the way it's presented: that first attraction might have come to nothing if dramatic circumstances hadn't intervened. In this case, plot-wise, I think it's more about introducing the threat of marriage (if I can put it like that!).

Edited: Oct 30, 2019, 5:52pm

Gray Magic - Published in 1925, this was the fifth and final entry in Herman Landon's exceedingly silly series featuring the reformed master criminal known as "the Gray Phantom". Written rapidly and carelessly for serial publication, this is a series that used up all its best material in the first couple of stories, and simply spun its wheels thereafter---basically retooling the same narrative, in which the Phantom, aka "Cuthbert Vanardy" (no, really), is framed for some crime or other, and must evade the police - in the form of the irritatingly idiosyncratic Lieutenant Culligore, who never learns anything from his successive encounters with the Phantom - while hunting down the real perpetrators. Gray Magic follows this formula, although it mixes it up a bit via a substituted body in a car wreck and by, in effect, being written backwards, throwing all sorts of things at the reader at the outset and not explaining them until much later in the novel. It all begins dramatically enough, with a man and a woman speeding through a violent storm and suffering a car accident. The man, introduced to us as "Allison Wyndham", wakes to find himself on an island in a lake in Maine, suffering some injuries and an impaired memory. He learns that he is really Allan Hoyt, an escaped convict who must therefore remain in strict hiding. However, as his memory returns, the man knows that he is the Gray Phantom, and that his carer / captor must know it too; so why the elaborate charade...? Meanwhile, having survived the car accident, Helen Hardwick believes like the rest of the world that the Gray Phantom is dead. Grief-stricken, she nevertheless sets her mind upon completing the dangerous task that was interrupted by their tragic accident: that of gathering evidence against a man called Marcus Rude, whom the Phantom believed to be behind a series of baffling deaths. In each case, after being threatened by a disembodied voice, a wealthy individual was found dead of indeterminable causes on the day before their birthday... Gray Magic offers all the usual absurdity of this series, with the narrative consisting of a mix of narrow escapes and melodramatic declamation, and a plot that revolves around one of the "untraceable poisons" so beloved of thriller writers at the time, and which also features a spooky grey mist that talks, lots of sliding doors and secret chambers, and a sealed room in which hissing, venomous reptile called "the molorus" lurks... Even in this final book, the Phantom and Helen come no closer to doing anything about their desperate mutual passion; but at least this time Culligore ends up working with the Phantom instead of hindering him at every turn by repeatedly trying (and invariably failing) to arrest him. And that's about as much as we get by way of "character development" in the entire series...

    "I know what you are thinking," Helen whispered. "You ought to know you can't hide your thoughts from me, Phantom Man. It's the end, isn't it?" She snuggled a little closer to him. "If it must come, I'm glad it is coming like this, with you and me together."
    He repressed a groan as he thought of her fresh loveliness subjected to the terrors of this hideous room. The tremors of her shoulder as it rested against his added to the agonising spell of the moment. They had been close companions, sharing untold perils, ever since the day she had first come into his life, joyously vivacious, with a fresh and warm colouring in her face, eyes that were frank and radiant and yet had a touch of shyness in them, a clear and vibrant laugh attuned to the rhythm of lifeand youth, and a smile that was at once tender and a little roguish. He saw her with windblown hair---there always seemed to be a breeze cavorting around her---and he recalled how the mere touch of her hand had filled him with a tingling ecstasy such as The Gray Phantom in his wildest triumphs had never experienced.
    And now? A choking despair seized him. Was this to be the end of their little hour of terror and rapture? The fearful hissing sounds, now drawing closer, now receding again, suggesting the savage glee of some evil monster circling around its prey, its silken sibilations making the flesh creep with shudders and the nerves writhe in torment, were like the premonitory whisperings of fate...

Edited: Oct 30, 2019, 6:28pm

Best-selling books in the United States for 1950:

1. The Cardinal by Henry Morton Robinson
2. Joy Street by Frances Parkinson Keyes
3. Across the River and into the Trees by Ernest Hemingway
4. The Wall by John Hersey
5. Star Money by Kathleen Winsor
6. The Parasites by Daphne du Maurier
7. Floodtide by Frank Yerby
8. Jubilee Trail by Gwen Bristow
9. The Adventurer by Mika Waltari
10. The Disenchanted by Budd Schulberg

There is more variety about the Top Ten list for 1950 than we've been seeing recently, though certain themes still dominate.

Mika Waltari's The Adventurer is a sprawling novel about the upheavals of 16th century Europe, with its naive Finnish protagonist getting caught up in most of the major events. Frank Yerby's Floodtide is another messy narrative set in the pre-Civil War South, with its protagonist involved in resistance fighting and abolitionism. Gwen Bristow's Jubilee Trail is a feminist western about two very different women whose friendship sees them through the challenges of rebuilding their lives in early California.

Ernest Hemingway's Across the River and into the Trees focuses upon an elderly man reflecting on his WWI experiences and the woman he loved, but typically is really about mortality and the best way to face it. John Hersey's The Wall is a powerful portrait of life in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Frances Parkinson Keyes' Joy Street is about a young married couple struggling with the expectations and prejudices of Bostonian society. Kathleen Winsor's Star Money is a semi-autobiographical work in which a neurotic novelist is isolated by her professional success. Daphne du Maurier's The Parasites is about three charming but selfish artistic siblings, and their impact on those around them.

Budd Schulberg's The Disenchanted is about a young writer collaborating on a screenplay with a formerly successful novelist at the end of his career---notoriously, a thinly veiled portrait of F. Scott Fitzgerald.

However, the best-selling book of 1950 was Henry Morton Robinson's The Cardinal, about a young American priest who rises through the hierarchy of the Catholic church.

Edited: Oct 30, 2019, 6:43pm

Henry Morton Robinson was born in Boston in 1898. As a young man he delayed his education for service during WWI, but eventually graduated from Columbia where he then secured a post teaching English literature. Subsequently, he rose to become a senior editor at Reader's Digest.

Robinson was an eclectic though not prolific writer. Over a span of thirty-six years he published several volumes of poetry, and historical fiction and biography, as well as co-authoring A Skeleton Key To Finnegan's Wake with Joseph Campbell.

However, undoubtedly Robinson's greatest success was his 1950 novel, The Cardinal. Based partially upon the life of Francis Spellman, this lengthy work describes the rise of a young American priest from his poor, working-class roots in Irish-Catholic Boston to the heights of the Catholic church.

Edited: Oct 30, 2019, 8:16pm

The Cardinal - Born into a working-class Bostonian family, Stephen Fermoyle is aware early in his life of his calling towards the church. His successes throughout his early studies mark him for higher things, and he is sent to the North American College in Rome for special training. During his four years in Italy, Stephen conceives a deep love of the country, and of Rome and its ways; so that his return to Boston comes as something of a shock to his sensibilities. Stephen's attainments do him no favours with Cardinal William Monaghan. Having climbed the hard way himself, Monaghan resents his new curate's opportunities and education, and determines to either make him or break him by assigning him the most thankless tasks the Church has to offer---reckoning neither with Stephen's stubborn spirit nor the depth of his faith... In his preface to The Cardinal, Henry Morton Robinson declares that the purpose of his 1950 novel was to describe "a gifted but very human priest"; the problem is that the finished work gives us too much "gift" and not enough "human". The perfections of Stephen Fermoyle as he surmounts obstacle after obstacle on his climb to the higher reaches of the Catholic church make him a wearisome companion who, if he never succeeds without struggle and difficulty, never fails at anything; who likes nothing better than to deliver extempore lectures about the Church; and whose rare mistakes generally end in someone else paying the price. One cruel plot-thread, for instance, deals with Stephen's ruthless separation of his young sister from the Jewish boy she loves; he's sorry afterwards - when it's too late - but the consequences for Monica are far-reaching and ugly... The Cardinal is one representative of a sudden upsurge in "American Catholic novels" which occurred post-WWII (the reasons for which some of us discussed my previous thread); and as far as "explaining" the workings of the Church to outsiders goes, it does a pretty effective job; while its sections dealing with the workings of the Vatican were probably informative even to Catholics in America. But despite the comprehensiveness (to say the least) of its material, no-one should come to this novel expecting a balanced presentation, still less any admission of actual failings on the part of the Catholic church (whose only shortcoming, apparently, is an underappreciation of American Catholics; something put right by the end, of course). Inevitably the novel's perspective and that of the individual reader will dictate reaction to it; yet even allowing for that, ultimately I found (as I tend to do with such novels as this) its general air of smug self-congratulation even harder to take than its more contentious material---at least up to a point. At the time of its publication, The Cardinal was controversial for its handling of such matters as sex, abortion and birth control; subjects which probably would have seen the novel falling foul of the censor (particularly in Boston!) had it not of course taken the Church's own hard-line stance. This in itself is not the issue, but rather what I have to call the dishonesty of the presentation of this material, with everything working itself out so as to self-evidently support the position of the Church and its celibate male priests.

    "We've always differed about the part the Church should play in human affairs. I think I know why." Stephen chose his words carefully. "You, as a layman, see the problems in terms of this world. I, as a priest, see it in terms of the next. You're interested in the cure of social disorders; I'm interested in the cure of man's immortal soul."
    "Can't the two programmes be combined?" asked George.
    "Some hard thinking has been done on the subject by Catholic theologians. The outlook is hopeful. But get this, George." Stephen was teaching now. "It's not the mission of the Church to work out practical methods by which the just state is brought into being. The function of the Church is to form men who will. Men of Christian conscience and moral purpose, who believe that human beings have a right to live on the plane of morality, dignity, and security intended by God."
    Stephen hammered out the final link---part definition, part apology---in his argument. "When you accused me of being blithe a moment ago, it stung. I had to tell myself, and I have to tell you now, that a priest is not a sociologist or politician or labour organiser. He is simply a mediator between God and man..."
    Then, in summation, Stephen Fermoyle stated the priest's reason for being. "Only poets can write poetry; only women can bear children. Only a priest can remind men that God forever was, is now, and---come hell, high water, or technology---always will be."

Oct 31, 2019, 8:15pm

This did get tiresome, didn’t it?

There was quite a bit of hellfire in that era of US Catholicism which never seems to be addressed. While Stephen is adamant, he’s never rough or curt; he’s that iron hand in the velvet glove sort of priest.

And yes: impossibly perfect as both a priest and a man.

I loved this in my late teens or early twenties. Now, I enjoyed the portrait of some parts of the Church, but quickly saw through the rhetoric to the rather unflinching cruelty.

One does age.

Oct 31, 2019, 8:23pm

Not to take over your thread...

Frances Parkinson Keyes was a prolific author of what I guess are romances with tons of local color. Her settings, mostly New England, Virginia, D.C., or Louisiana, are vividly, if lengthily described.

In her books, illicit (that is, between people who aren’t married to one another) sex is heavily punished, whether by death or disabling accidents. The consequences are played out down the generations.

This sounds like I didn’t like her books. On the contrary, I loved them. They were far removed from my reality, they provided soothing escapism, and of course underlined the “lessons” we learned in Sunday School and church.

Keyes was an adult convert to Catholicism, by the way.

Hmm. I seem to be slightly too well-informed about Mrs. Keyes.

Nov 1, 2019, 5:30am

>182 bohemima:

The Rome parts were interesting because they were telling us something we didn't already know, but too much of the rest was just piling on. Not surprising, when you're describing "an ideal" instead of a real person.

>183 bohemima:

Please feel free!

Hmm. So what you're saying is...STILL MORE 1950s AMERICAN CATHOLICISM!!?? :D

I haven't read Keyes, though she does keep popping up on the best-seller lists. Dinner At Antoine's would seem to be where she's most likely to cross my path, since its a mystery as well as a "local colour" novel.

I just learned that her name is pronounced KYES not KEEYS, so that's my contribution! :)

Nov 1, 2019, 4:30pm

Finished They Who Do Not Grieve for October TIOLI #14.


Finished The American Caravan for November TIOLI #4.

Which is a case of---

---but also of:

I began reading The American Caravan on the 8th of April; I finished it yesterday.

Getting this project wrapped up was a struggle for more reasons than just my chronic disorganisation: twice it somehow got lost in transit at the library's end, meaning that my tiny windows of opportunity kept slamming in my face.

When I finally arranged for access again, I made up my mind I was just going to sit down and FINISH THE DAMN THING. I thought it would take about two hours, but it ended up needing a three-hour twenty-minute session that left me eye-sore and a bit headachey, but mightily relieved to have the monkey off my back. :D

Although I'm now gripped by a terrible fear that the later volumes of The American Caravan were also Banned In Boston...

Edited: Nov 1, 2019, 5:06pm

My final session with The American Caravan consisted of the following:

Mildred's Thoughts by Gertrude Stein: - a fractured, stream-of-consciousness short story; I'm not at all sure was the take-home message was, although it may have been autobiographical (there was certainly an Alice in it).

Four Poems by Babette Deutsch: - poems with themes of disillusionment and the regaining of faith.

Keramik by Louise Bogan: - a short story about an elderly man accustomed to using and dismissing women finally getting a dose of his own medicine. {Banned in Boston? - irregular sexual relationships}

Reply From The Citadel by Jean Starr Untermeyer: - a poem about love and faith.

Three Poems by Josephine Strongin: - poems dealing with humankind's connections to the natural world.

Prothalamion by Robert Hillyer: - a poem in which a man on the eve of his wedding communes with the night.

The Happy Episode by Robert Hillyer: - a novella, magic realism-y and ultimately Arthurian, about a mortal man's involvement in a conflict between elemental beings.

Two Poems by Joseph Warren Beach: - poems with themes of love and hate.

Black by Herbert J. Seligmann: - a disturbing poem overtly about a marionette but also about race relations.

Three Poems by Edwin Morgan: - odd poems dealing with isolation, identity and grasshoppers.

Two Poems by Florence Becker: - two powerful poems, one about life under Jim Crow, the other about a woman addressing the child she refuses to conceive. {Banned in Boston? - both would have been considered unacceptable for their themes}

Blackflies Notwithstanding by J. Brooks Atkinson: - a descriptive short story about two men hiking, climbing and bird-watching in the Appalachians.

Four Poems by Maurice Lesemann: - poems dealing with passion and its passing and human relationships. {Banned in Boston? - sexual allusions}

Essays In Intimacy by Jennings Tofel: - a poem analysing love and the subjective nature of perfection. {Banned in Boston? - sexual references}

Four Poems by David Rosenthal: - short, experimental poems using invented portmanteau words (rather like Gerard Manley Hopkins).

On Living With Pictures by Thomas Craven: - an essay deploring the debasement of the arts generally, but specifically painting, through over-familiarity and "domestication".

Poems by Richard R. Kirk: - a series of semi-humorous short poems and couplets.

Two Poems by Allen Tate: - two rather obscure poems, one dealing with the Confederate dead, the other an obituary.

The Prolegomenon To Dryasdust: or, The Scholar's Vade Mecum by F. B. Kaye: - a meta-joke in short story form: a scholar is celebrated not for his work as such, but for his contributions to research technique, editing and footnotes.

Kentucky Mountain Farm by Robert Penn Warren: - a poem about the hardship and struggle of farm life.

Ave Maria by Hart Crane: - a poem about the terrors and faith of the early explorers (possibly from the point of view of Columbus).

Lazarus Laughed by Eugene O'Neill: - a incomplete version (first act only) of O'Neill's play dealing with the consequences of Lazarus' rise from the dead.

(pg 833 / 833)

Edited: Nov 1, 2019, 5:45pm

Banned in Boston:

My short reports on The American Caravan (posted here, here, here, here, here, here, and here, as well as above) will serve as my review.

From those reports I have extracted my notes on the entries that together would have upset the censors; including a few (marked with asterisks) that would have been enough on their own to get the volume banned:

**Supper For The Dead by Paul Green: - a short play set amongst a poor black community on the Cape Fear River. A bereaved mother consults a conjure-woman after her daughter dies under mysterious circumstances. {Banned in Boston? - incest, rape, suicide, black magic}

Six Poems by Wallace Gould: - just that: six pieces of poetry whose main themes include mythology, authorship and sex. And cats. {Banned in Boston? - sexual references}

Lowing In The Night by Alter Brody: - a play, but in the form of dialogue only. A Jewish couple talk through the night, revealing the root cause of their unhappy marriage. {Banned in Boston? - sex, pregnancy, obstetrical issues}

**The Temptation Of St. Anthony by Isidore Schneider: - a long "narrative poem" about the clash between a solitary atheist and the citizens of a nearby, conventionally religious township. {Banned in Boston? - atheism, sex, hyposcrisy, censorship}

Shore Ways by John Riordan: - a short story about three young men trolling for girls at the seaside on the Labor Day holiday. {Banned in Boston? - much thought of sex, if no activity}

From: A Folded Skyscraper by William Carlos Williams: - a fragment combining poetry and prose, notable for marking the author's break from the Imagist movement and in particular Ezra Pound. {Banned in Boston? - some sexual / biological terminology}

Galahad by Edmund Wilson: a short story about an upright young man who devotes himself to clean living and morality...until the sexually experienced sister of a friend puts other ideas in his head. {Banned in Boston? - a constant consciousness of sex and a facetious attitude about it}

Penance by Virginia Moore: a poem about an illicit relationship. {Banned in Boston? - probably too obscure to bother}

Ballad Of A Strange Thing by H. Phelps Putnam: a poem that reworks the story of Pan and Syrinx. {Banned in Boston? - sexual allusions}

**The Centaur Plays Croquet by Lyle Saxon: a bizarre short story about a woman in Louisiana who discovers and becomes involved with a centaur (called Horace). {Banned in Boston? - paganism, intimations of bestiality, general disrespect of religion}

Bravo by George O'Neil: a short story about a crumbling marriage, told from the perspective of the couple's young son. {Banned in Boston? - adultery, insanity, violence}

The Soul Of Man Under Bolshevism by Avrahm Yarmolinsky: subtitled Being an un-platonic dialogue whereof the persons are drawn from life, a satirical dialogue-play involving a conversation amongst an unlikely gathering of detainees in post-revolutionary Moscow. {Banned in Boston? - disrespectful attitude to American as well as Russian institutions}

Lines To A Lady by John Dos Passos: a poem about the transience of life, love and passion. {Banned in Boston? - sexual references including to an interracial relationship and venereal disease}

Fire Sequence by Yvor Winters: a series of short poems set amongst immigrants and the poor (and poor immigrants) in a mining community. {Banned in Boston? - some sexual imagery and other explicit language}

**City Love by Eric Walrond: a short story, written in dialect, about an unmarried black couple - that is to say, not married to each other - trying to find somewhere to have sex. {Banned in Boston? - everything about it!}

Amuck In The Bush by Morley Callaghan: an unnerving short story about a man, fired from his job, who attempts an ugly revenge. {Banned in Boston? - planned kidnapping, description of an assault}

**Hoboken Blues; or, The Black Rip van Winkel by Michael Gold: - a play written in dialect and set in Harlem; as its subtitle suggests, it features its central character going to Hoboken in search of a job and coming home to discover that it is twenty-five years later and the world has not changed for the better... {Banned in Boston? - goodness, where do I start? - profanity, sexual references, constant criticism of the treatment of people of colour by white people, references to slavery and lynching, police brutality, criticisms of American society in general and capitalism in particular, people of colour being disrespectful to white people, an insistence that heaven is desegregated and worst of all the suggestion that one day there could be a BLACK PRESIDENT!!!!??}

Penance by Margery Latimer: - a short story about a woman whose memories of her first marriage are poisoning her new relationship. {Banned in Boston? - references to illicit sexual relationships}

I Was A Maiden by Marion "Clinch" Calkins: - a strange poem about a deadly woman; Calkins began using her androgynous nickname when she submitted this poem to the Nation's poetry competition, so the judges wouldn't know it was written by a woman. She won a prize but the poem was deemed "too avant garde" for publication. {Banned in Boston? - sexual references}

Keramik by Louise Bogan: - a short story about an elderly man accustomed to using and dismissing women finally getting a dose of his own medicine. {Banned in Boston? - irregular sexual relationships}

Two Poems by Florence Becker: - two powerful poems, one about life under Jim Crow, the other about a woman addressing the child she refuses to conceive. {Banned in Boston? - both would have been considered unacceptable for their themes}

Four Poems by Maurice Lesemann: - poems dealing with passion and its passing and human relationships. {Banned in Boston? - sexual allusions}

Essays In Intimacy by Jennings Tofel: - a poem analysing love and the subjective nature of perfection. {Banned in Boston? - sexual references}

Nov 1, 2019, 6:05pm

...and because no good deed goes unpunished, it turns out that the next book in my 'Banned in Boston' challenge, Move Over by Ethel Pettit, is unavailable here and I'll probably have to import a copy if I want to read it.

(Although noting that not a single copy of this book is yet listed on LT, I guess this isn't so surprising, just HUGELY annoying...)

Nov 1, 2019, 6:06pm


Now reading Dracula's Guest And Other Weird Tales by Bram Stoker.

Nov 2, 2019, 4:33am

>185 lyzard: Congratulations!

>189 lyzard: I saw you'd listed Dracula's Guest on the TIOLI challenge and I am tempted but also not sure if all the books with this title would definitely have the same set of stories in. Could I be a pain and ask which stories are in your edition?

Edited: Nov 3, 2019, 6:42pm

Thank you! - it was a relief! :D

No trouble at all. :)

The 'correct' edition has nine stories:

- Dracula's Guest
- The Judge's House
- The Squaw
- The Secret Of The Growing Gold
- The Gipsy Prophecy
- The Coming Of Abel Behenna
- The Burial Of The Rats
- A Dream Of Red Hands
- Crooken Sands

Edited: Nov 2, 2019, 7:50pm

Hmm. I seem to be counterintuitively celebrating my completion of The American Caravan and my month off from the best-seller challenge by constructing an untenable reading list for November.

So far it's looking like this:

Hallowe'en Party by Agatha Christie {chronological challenge}
The Mysteries Of London: Volume II by G.W.M. Reynolds {early detective fiction / blog}
Faces In The Smoke by Douchan Gersi {potential decommission / non-fiction}
Angels & Insects by A. S. Byatt {potential decommission / fiction}
B. F.'s Daughter by John P. Marquand {random reading}
Wilhelm Meister's Travels by Johann Goethe {blog}
The Mystery Of The Folded Paper by Hulbert Footner {series read}
Inspector Frost's Jigsaw by H. Maynard Smith {series read}
The Strangled Witness by Leslie Ford {series read}
Elsie's Kith And Kin by Martha Finley {series read}
Bulldog Drummond by H. C. McNeile {series read}
Dracula's Guest And Other Weird Tales by Bram Stoker {TIOLI}

I'm quite sure I'm not going to get through all of that, so if anyone out there is interested in any shared reads from this list, please let me know: it will help me narrow it down.

Edited: Nov 2, 2019, 9:08pm

La Guinguette à Deux Sous (translation title: The Two-Penny Bar; reissue titles: The Bar On The Seine, Maigret And The Tavern By The Seine, Maigret To The Rescue, A Spot By The Seine) - Inspector Maigret must undertake the grim task of informing a convicted prisoner that his appeal has been rejected, and he is to be executed. The man responds with a confession of sorts, telling Maigret about "another" who deserves the same fate: that years before, he and a friend blackmailed an individual who they saw disposing of a body; that they later lost sight of him; but that recently, he, the prisoner, saw the murderer again at a tiny bar on the banks of the Seine called 'La Guinguette à Deux Sous'... Following up on this information, Maigret locates the bar in question and begins observing its regular customers. He learns that the bar has almost been taken over by a group of Parisians of the business class, who have weekend villas nearby and use it as their social base. Disconcertingly, if conveniently, Maigret finds himself warmly welcomed by the regulars, permitting him to pursue his investigation more or less under cover---and also placing him on the scene when one member of the social group is shot by another... The 11th entry in Georges Simenon's series featuring Inspector Maigret is a strange book with a bleak tone, populated by characters who devote most of their energies to the pursuit of pleasure, but rarely find it. It also has an insistently depressing view of marriage, which seems the main source of everyone's unhappiness and discontent. (The immaculate Madame Maigret is safely out of Paris for this one.) Maigret himself forms a strange friendship with perhaps the most unhappy of the group, an Englishman called James, whose intelligence only heightens his cynicism and disappointment with life. La Guinguette à Deux Sous is, self-evidently, a divided work, with Maigret's "cold case" investigation interrupted and almost taken over by the immediate matter of Marcel Basso, who is found standing over the body of the man with whose wife he had been having an affair; although he swears he did not kill him. The new case takes an awkward turn when Basso escapes police custody and must be hunted down. Meanwhile, Maigret becomes convinced that his cold case is the murder of a notorious money-lender, whose body was pulled from a canal some six years earlier. So far Maigret's informant was correct---meaning that he must look for his killer amongst his new friends...

    "They're a good bunch," James suddenly murmured, as if following his own line of thought.
    "All of them. They have such boring lives. But what can you do about that? Everyone's life is boring."
    It was ironic, for as he lolled back in the boat with the sun glinting off his bald pate, he looked supremely content.
    "Is it true you're a policeman?"
    "Who told you that?"
    "I can't remember. I heard someone mention it. Hey, it's just a job like any other."
    James tightened the sail, which had caught a breath of wind. It was six o'clock. The Morsang clock was striking, and was answered by the one at Seine-Port. The bank was obstructed by reeds, which were teeming with insects. The sun was beginning to turn red.
    "What do you---"
    James' question was cut short by a short crack. Maigret leapt to his feet, almost overturning the boat.
    "Look out!" his companion shouted. He threw his weight over to the other side, then grabbed an oar and started rowing. His brow was furrowed, his eyes wide with anxiety. "It's not the hunting season yet."
    "That came from behind the guinguette!" said Maigret.

Nov 2, 2019, 9:28pm

Finished Dracula's Guest And Other Weird Tales for TIOLI #1.

Now reading The Mystery Of The Folded Paper by Hulbert Footner.

Nov 2, 2019, 9:30pm


Oh, well. Sauce for the goose.

As some of you would know, I'm given to complaining about what I call the 'unnecessary retitling' of British mysteries in America.

Now I've just found out that Hulbert Footner's The Mystery Of The Folded Paper was published in Britain as The Folded Paper Mystery. :D

Nov 2, 2019, 11:01pm

>195 lyzard: I never know what to make of those re-titles that are barely different. Although it's nice that it's going the other way this time. :-)

Nov 2, 2019, 11:47pm

>196 rosalita:

I know! The only thing I can think of in this case is that it's shorter: maybe it fit on the cover better or something like that?

Nov 3, 2019, 3:58am

>197 lyzard: maybe (like my thesis) they had to pay for the title by the letter. I managed to reduce my supervisor's 3 line suggestion to 5 words. >;-)

Nov 3, 2019, 3:28pm

>198 Helenliz:

That sounds right. Well done, you! :D

Nov 3, 2019, 3:28pm

Finished The Mystery Of The Folded Paper for TIOLI #3.

Now reading Elsie's Kith And Kin by Martha Finley.

Edited: Nov 3, 2019, 4:58pm

The Adventures Of Hajji Baba Of Ispahan - James Justinian Morier was born in Smyrna and, after being educated in England, returned to that country to work in his father's business. Through the influence of his uncle, he then entered the British diplomatic service, subsequently spending six years in the Middle East, chiefly in Iran. Upon his return to England he published two non-fiction accounts of his travels, then produced a fictional work that caught the prevailing British taste for "Orientalism", created by the translation of The Thousand And One Nights. Published in 1824, The Adventures Of Hajji Baba Of Ispahan is a lengthy picaresque novel which offers itself as an insider's view of Persia, and does indeed reflect Morier's detailed observations of Persia and its people. In fact, a large measure of this work's contemporary success can be attributed to its very lack of fantasy elements which previously had almost defined Middle Eastern literature, with a focus instead upon the real and even prosaic aspects of day-to-day existence. These are presented to the reader both directly, via the first-person account of his life from its protagonist, and indirectly via that apparently unavoidable adjunct of the "rogue's biography", the interpolated narrative. The Adventures Of Hajji Baba Of Ispahan tells the story of the son of a barber who, instead of following his father's trade, sets out to better himself. Along the way he finds success, failure and danger, and occupies a wide range of positions within his society, turning himself into everything from a merchant to an executioner to a mullah, as circumstances and his own ingenuity demand... James Morier's novel self-evidently owes a significant debt to Alain René Le Sage's The Adventures Of Gil Blas Of Santillane---with one critical difference: while Le Sage's protagonist is invariably punished for his own misdeeds, here Hajji generally escapes by the skin of his teeth while someone else is left to pay the price. Hajji's quick thinking and adaptability, and his capacity to recognise and seize opportunity, keep the reader engaged in his adventures, but his habit of throwing his friends and allies under a bus makes him hard to like. Of course---to an extent this is Morier's point: the novel in its entirety is a comprehensive satire of Persian society at all levels, depicting a backward, dog-eat-dog world where greed, selfishness, cruelty and decadence are all excused under the twin guises of "religion" and "fate". In such a context, Hajji's honest dishonesty, if we can call it that, makes him the one-eyed man amongst the blind. The problem - both in terms of the narrative, and in terms of the novel - is that the world depicted by Morier is a cultural cul-de-sac. Hajji's cyclical adventures ultimately get him nowhere, because there is literally nowhere to go; a point made at unnecessary and ultimately rather tedious length.

    During my confinement, I had time to reflect upon my situation. I determined to leave Meshed, for I felt that I had entered it at an unlucky hour. Once my back had been sprained, and once I had been bastinadoed. I had managed to collect a small sum of money, which I kept carefully buried in a corner near my room; and with this I intended to make my way to Tehran by the very first caravan that should be on its departure...
    It was agreed that I should put on the dress of a dervish; and having made my purchases, in the bazaar, of a cap, some beads, and a goat's skin, which I slung across my shoulder, I was ready to begin my journey at a moment's warning.
    On making inquiries about the departure of caravans for Tehran, I was delighted to meet my friend Ali Kâtir, the muleteer, who had just arrived at Meshed, and was then making a bargain with a merchant to convey merchandise, consisting of the lambs' skins of Bokhara, to the capital. As soon as he saw me, he uttered an exclamation of delight, and immediately lighted his nargil, or water pipe, which he invited me to smoke with him. I related all my adventures since we last parted, and he gave me an account of his. Having left Meshed with a caravan for Ispahan, with his mules loaded partly with bars of silver, and partly with lambs' skins; and having undergone great fears on account of the Turcomans---he reached his destination in safety. That city was still agitated with the recollections of the late attack of the caravanserai, of which I have given an account; and the general belief was, that the invaders had made their approach in a body, consisting of more than a thousand men; that they had been received with great bravery, and that one Kerbelai Hassan, a barber, had, with his own hand, wounded one of the chiefs so severely, that he had escaped with the greatest difficulty.
    I had always kept this part of my adventures secret from everybody; so I hid any emotion that might appear on my face from the muleteer, by puffing out a sufficient volume of smoke in his face...

Edited: Nov 4, 2019, 3:28pm

The Social Life Of Fluids: Blood, Milk, And Water In The Victorian Novel - This 2010 publication by Jules Law is an odd, unbalanced work, but not one without interest. This is one of those non-fiction studies that obviously (and Law admits it) had its origin in some other project---in this case, Law's research into breast-feeding practices and taboos in Victorian England. This background shows itself in the emphasis upon "milk", as opposed to "water" and, in particular, "blood"; but in spite of the resulting sense of an artificially constructed work, The Social Life Of Fluids still offers an interesting take upon both Victorian literature and the society that produced it. Law places his fluids in their contexts and shows how surrounding concerns about sanitation, disease transmission, and the loss of class and cultural boundaries were expressed by these means. In addition to considering various non-fiction works dealing with these issues, including Henry Mayhew's groundbreaking London Labour And The London Poor, Law examines the overt and covert presentation of fluids and fluidity in a number of novels: beast-feeding and wet-nursing in Dickens' Dombey And Son, and the pervasive water imagery of Our Mutual Friend; themes of "flow" and "mingling" in the works of George Eliot, particularly The Mill On The Floss and Daniel Deronda; and an unnerving comparison of breast-feeding with vampirism, via George Moore's Esther Waters and Bram Stoker's Dracula. While all of this was interesting, the section of The Social Life Of Fluids which I found most informative was the background offered to Daniel Deronda, in which Law makes the point - obvious to Victorian readers, not at all obvious today, least of all in its specifics - that the novel is set against the undertaking of the massive London Embankment project, which literally restructured the entire face of the city and irrevocably changed, if not completely destroyed, a way of life for those living along the water's edge which had existed almost unaltered for hundreds of years. While this awareness also impacts our understanding of Our Mutual Friend, it adds an entire extra level of richness to the numerous river scenes and their underlying implications in Daniel Deronda.

    This is not a book about fluids in general (for instance, it does not look in any sustained way at Victorian representations of alcohol, saliva, sperm, tears or urine), but about three particular fluids (water, blood, and milk), each of which had a special role in the Victorian conceptions of the relationship between the individual and the social.
    These three fluids represent a spectrum from the least to the most personal of those fluids that were understood to pass through the envelope of the human form and on behalf of which various claims of proprietorship and control were regularly made. For the Victorians, water was the fluid object par excellence of social technology: it was understood to exist both in and out of the body---thus linking the welfare of the individual to the welfare of the collective---and to possess few if any occult qualities that might resist or discourage social or technical manipulation. Blood, on the other hand, was still popularly represented as an occult fluid, containing within it the secret of character, ethnicity and temperament. Its conservation and its purity were not only of medical but of social value. Yet in the absence of any reliable or sustained technology for exchanging blood, discourses about its social itinerary were bound to be largely metaphorical and symbolic...
    Between the traffic in fluids and the sacralised conservation of them lay the idea of a licit but limited circulation---a circulation imagined as natural yet transpersonal. The chief emblem of this, I argue, was milk, and particularly (though not exclusively) human milk. Milk is imagined by the Victoriand as a necessarily transindividual fluid, a fluid whose telos---unlike that of blood---is to pass out of the body, and into the body of another...

Nov 3, 2019, 6:51pm

August stats:

Works read: 10
TIOLI: 10, in 8 different challenges, with 1 shared read

Mystery / thriller: 5
Contemporary drama: 3
Non-fiction: 1
Classic: 1

Re-reads: 1
Series works: 6
Blog reads: 0
1932: 1
1931: 2
Virago / Persephone: 0
Potential decommission: 0

Owned: 3
Library: 5
Ebooks: 2

Male authors : female authors : 5 : 5

Oldest work: The Adventures Of Hajji Baba Of Ispahan by James Justinian Morier (1824)
Newest work: The Social Life Of Fluids: Blood, Milk, And Water In The Victorian Novel by Jules David Law (2010)


YTD stats:

Works read: 96
TIOLI: 96, in 84 different challenges, with 10 shared reads

Mystery / thriller: 44
Classics: 16
Contemporary drama: 14
Non-fiction: 8
Historical drama: 6
Short stories: 3
Young adult: 3
Humour: 1
Horror: 1

Re-reads: 15
Series works: 43
Blog reads: 4
1932: 2
1931: 10
Virago / Persephone: 2
Potential decommission: 3

Owned: 22
Library: 37
Ebooks: 37

Male authors : female authors : 56 : 41

Oldest work: Emmeline, The Orphan Of The Castle by Charlotte Smith (1788)
Newest work: The Social Life Of Fluids: Blood, Milk, And Water In The Victorian Novel by Jules David Law (2010)

Edited: Nov 3, 2019, 6:58pm

August done!?

Yup, I am just racing along now!---

Nov 3, 2019, 8:08pm

GO, SLOTH, GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nov 3, 2019, 9:42pm

>202 lyzard: I'm not sure my interest could be piqued sufficiently to get me through a whole book on that topic, Liz. Well done for finishing that one!

Nov 3, 2019, 10:10pm

>205 rosalita:

We're both going as fast as we can!

>206 PaulCranswick:

Hi, Paul! It's not a long book so it doesn't outstay its welcome, and of course it offers a rather unusual perspective on Victorian literature. :)

Nov 4, 2019, 2:27pm

>202 lyzard: What an odd book. Still, worth it for the angles on D.D. and OMF.
Sometimes these little weird things can be helpful in unexpected ways.

Nov 4, 2019, 4:17pm

>208 bohemima:

It is very strange and very jargon-heavy; but when it sticks to talking about the novels and their context, it does offer a fresh perspective.

Nov 5, 2019, 4:16am

>191 lyzard: Thank you for posting the stories. I think the Penguin Classics edition has those plus The Lair of the White Worm so I will read along with the short stories.

>204 lyzard: Go sloth!

Nov 5, 2019, 3:02pm

>211 lyzard:


Hmm, that begs the question of whether the Penguin edition is the same work. Naughty of them to be using the same title if they've altered the contents.

Nov 5, 2019, 4:46pm

Well. Since there are only a few weeks left of 2019 (eep!), I wasn't going to bother with a new thread.

Then I remembered I still have four months of reviews to get written...

New thread!