lyzard's list: Provided with books for the 2019 journey - Part 6

Talk75 Books Challenge for 2019

Join LibraryThing to post.

lyzard's list: Provided with books for the 2019 journey - Part 6

This topic is currently marked as "dormant"—the last message is more than 90 days old. You can revive it by posting a reply.

Nov 5, 2019, 3:04pm

For 2013 I have chosen one of the shots that won a Canadian photographer a 'portfolio' award, that of a swooping barred owl taken in British Columbia:

Edited: Dec 29, 2019, 12:04am

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:

Tracks In The Snow: Being The History Of A Crime by Godfrey Rathbone Benson (1906)

Edited: Nov 5, 2019, 3:11pm

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: Nov 5, 2019, 3:17pm

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 5, 2019, 3:20pm

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)

Edited: Dec 30, 2019, 3:19pm


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)
120. Elsie's Kith And Kin by Martha Finley (1886)
121. Angels & Insects by A. S. Byatt (1992)
122. B. F.'s Daughter by John P. Marquand (1946)
123. The Lake Of Killarney by Anna Maria Porter (1804)
124. To Let by John Galsworthy (1921)
125. Bulldog Drummond by H. C. McNeile (1920)
126. Hallowe'en Party by Agatha Christie (1969)
127. The Mysteries Of London: Volume II by George W. M. Reynolds (1846)


128. Move Over: A Novel Of Our "Better Classes" by Ethel Pettit (1927)
129. Not As A Stranger by Morton Thompson (1954)
130. Serial Killers: The Insatiable Passion by David Lester (1995)
131. Lichtenstein by Wilhelm Hauff (1826 / 1839)
132. The Ivory Dagger by Patricia Wentworth (1950)
133. Turmoil At Brede by Seldon Truss (1931)
134. Passenger To Frankfurt by Agatha Christie (1970)
135. The Impenetrable Secret, Find It Out! by Francis Lathom (1805)
136. Asta's Book by Barbara Vine (1993)
137. The Sleuth Of St. James's Square by Melville Davisson Post (1920)
138. Chaste As Ice, Pure As Snow by Charlotte Despard (1874)
139. Tracks In The Snow: Being The History Of A Crime by Godfrey Rathbone Benson (1906)

Edited: Dec 29, 2019, 4:28pm

Books in transit:

Purchased and shipped:

Library books to collect:

On interlibrary loan / branch transfer / storage / Rare Book request:
The Creaking Tree Mystery by Leonard Knight {ILL / JFR}
Ambrose Holt And Family by Susan Glaspell {ILL / JFR}
Gains And Losses by Robert Lee Wolff {Fisher storage}
The White Monkey by John Galsworthy {Fisher storage}

Upcoming requests:
Close Quarters by Michael Gilbert {JFR}
Poison In The Garden Suburb by George and Margaret Cole {JFR}
The Spectacles Of Mr Cagliostro (aka The Blue Spectacles) by Harry Stephen Keeler {CARM}
The High Adventure by Jeffery Farnoll {JFR / Rare Books}
The Back-Seat Murder by Herman Landon {Rare Books}

On loan:
**The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni (14/12/2019)
**The Silver Chalice by Thomas B. Costain (16/01/2020)
Wilhelm Meister's Travels by Johann Goethe (05/03/2020 / 15/03/2020)
The Last Of The Mohicans by James Fenimoore Cooper (13/03/2019)
Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk (13/03/2019)
Oil! by Upton Sinclair (13/03/2019)

Edited: Dec 24, 2019, 3:48pm

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
- 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: Wilhelm Meister's Travels by Johann Goethe / 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: Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk

Virago chronological reading project:
Next up: Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

Agatha Christie mysteries in chronological order:
Next up: Nemesis

The C.K. Shorter List of Best 100 Novels:
Next up: Wilhelm Meister by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe / Lichtenstein by Wilhelm Hauff / The Last Of The Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper

Mystery League publications:
Next up: Death Walks In Eastrepps by Francis Beeding

Banned In Boston!: (here)
Next up: Oil! by Upton Sinclair

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 / Close Quarters by Michael Francis Gilbert

Potential decommission:
Next up: Disordered Minds by Minette Walters

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:
- Agatha Christie uncollected short stories
- 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)
- "The Story Of Classic Crime In 100 Books" (here)

Edited: Nov 5, 2019, 3:36pm

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: Dec 29, 2019, 12:05am

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
1804: The Lake Of Killarney by Anna Maria Porter
1805: The Impenetrable Secret, Find It Out! by Francis Lathom
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
1826: Lichtenstein by Wilhelm Hauff
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
1874: Chaste As Ice, Pure As Snow by Charlotte Despard
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: Dec 27, 2019, 10:51pm

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)
Miss Madelyn Mack, Detective by Hugh C. Weir (1914)

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

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

Edited: Dec 24, 2019, 3:37pm

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)
(1896 - 1909) **Melville Davisson Post - Randolph Mason - The Corrector Of Destinies (3/3)
(1893 - 1915) **Kate Douglas Wiggins - Penelope - Penelope's Postscripts (4/4)
(1894 - 1898) **Anthony Hope - Ruritania - Rupert Of Hentzau (3/3)
(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)
(1897 - 1900) **Anna Katharine Green - Amelia Butterworth - The Circular Study (3/3)
(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)
(1899 - 1909) **E. W. Hornung - Raffles - Mr Justice Raffles (4/4)
(1900 - 1974) Ernest Bramah - Kai Lung - Kai Lung: Six / Kai Lung Raises His Voice (7/7)

(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)
(1905 - 1925) **Baroness Orczy - The Old Man In The Corner - Unravelled Knots (3/3)}
(1905 - 1928) **Edgar Wallace - The Just Men - Again The Three Just Men (6/6)
(1906 - 1930) **John Galsworthy - The Forsyte Saga - The White Monkey (6/11) {Fisher storage / Sutherland stack}
(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)
(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)
(1910 - 1917) ***Edgar Wallace - Inspector Smith - Kate Plus Ten (3/3)
(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)
(1910 - 1931) Grace S. Richmond - Red Pepper Burns - Red Pepper Returns (6/6)
(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)
(1911 - 1937) Mary Roberts Rinehart - Letitia Carberry - Tish Marches On (5/5)
(1911 - 1919) **Alfred Bishop Mason - Tom Strong - Tom Strong, Lincoln's Scout (5/5)
(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)
(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)
(1914 - 1934) Ernest Bramah - Max Carrados - The Bravo Of London (5/5)
(1916 - 1941) John Buchan - Edward Leithen - Sick Heart River (5/5)
(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: Dec 29, 2019, 12:57am

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 - The Black Gang (2/10 - series continued) {Roy Glashan's Library}

(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)
(1923 - 1924) **Carolyn Wells - Lorimer Lane - The Fourteenth Key (2/2)
(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) {Kindle}
(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: Dec 28, 2019, 12:36am

Series and sequels, 1928 - 1930:

(1928 - 1961) Patricia Wentworth - Miss Silver - Anna, Where Are You? (20/33) {}
(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)
(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)
(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) {Kindle}
(1929 - ????) * J. C. Lenehan - Inspector Kilby - The Tunnel Mystery (1/?) {Kindle}
(1929 - 1936) *Robin Forsythe - Anthony Algernon Vereker - Missing Or Murdered (1/5) {Kindle}

(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) {Kindle / 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: Dec 27, 2019, 11:35pm

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)

(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) {Kindle / 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}
(1934 - 1935) Vernon Loder - Inspector Chace - Murder From Three Angles (1/2) {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: Dec 20, 2019, 4:10pm

Unavailable series works:

John Rhode - Dr Priestley
The Hanging Woman (#11) {rare, expensive}

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)

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

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

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

Edited: Dec 20, 2019, 2:13am

Books currently on loan:


Edited: Dec 23, 2019, 4:42pm

Reading projects:




Other projects:



Edited: Nov 5, 2019, 4:43pm

Ruminations, group reads, etc.

I'm sure the move towards the end of the year ought to bring a sense of completion, rather than one of panic, but...

This has been a difficult year in a number of ways, which has made proper participation across LT difficult likewise. I'm disappointed by my own failure to socialise and join in, though I'm objectively aware that there were good reasons for it.

But I know I haven't been alone in this respect (far from it). One place where this has shown itself is the group reads, where it was hard to get the steady participation and input that can make such ventures so rewarding.

However, this time of year also brings with it the sense that everything is going to be magically better next year, so naturally I'm already contemplating new projects...

Chronologically, the next work in my Trollope project is The Bertrams; and as this is a standalone novel which several people have expressed interest in tackling, I'm hopeful we can gather a good and active group for it. My immediate thought is to try this early in the new year, when energies are usually high.

I also need to resurrect the Virago project, which went off the rails for a variety of reasons---one of them purely selfish, but also because the core group got diverted into examining some important works by female authors which do not happen to be Virago reissues.

One of these was Charlotte Smith, an author I'd like to study in more depth. Since there was some interest expressed in this (hi, Heather!), this is a thread I'd like to follow up; though it may be more as a shared read than a group project.

Meanwhile, theoretically next up in the Virago project is Mary Elizabeth Braddon's Lady Audley's Secret. The selfish reason for my putting it off is that I'm working through Braddon's novels chronologically at my poor neglected blog, and I'm not quite up to it yet. Knuckling down in this area is something I very much want to focus on, however, and I am hopeful that I can bring these two projects together.

If anyone has any interest in these works as group reads, or any other books they would like to suggest, please let me know!

Edited: Nov 5, 2019, 4:43pm

That should do---so please come on in!

Edited: Nov 5, 2019, 4:44pm

And, oh yes---

Finished Elsie's Kith And Kin for TIOLI #14.

Now reading Angels & Insects by A. S. Byatt.

Nov 5, 2019, 4:52pm

Happy new thread, Liz!

>1 lyzard: Beautiful picture of the flying owl at the top.
>2 lyzard: Mr Trollope was completely right.

Nov 5, 2019, 5:07pm

Happy new thread, Liz! I agree with Anita — that's quite a striking owl photo.

Nov 5, 2019, 5:19pm

Happy new thread, Liz.

Nov 5, 2019, 6:36pm

Lovely new thread, Liz.

The Bertrams and Lady Audley’s Secret both sound good to me.

This may, of course, last for this week only, but I feel as though I’m getting better control of my reading.

She said doubtfully.

Nov 5, 2019, 7:37pm

That owl! What a beauty. Kudos to the photographer.

Looking forward to four months of reviews appearing in the next six weeks. Why, that's less than one month's reviews per week! Easy-peasy. ;-)

Nov 5, 2019, 8:51pm

>19 lyzard: I would be very likely to join in on both The Bertrams and Lady Audrey’s Secret as group reads.

Nov 5, 2019, 9:41pm

Happy new thread! While normally I would be eager to read either Trollope or Braddon, I read both of those titles within the last few years. Great reading: enjoy!

Nov 5, 2019, 9:46pm

Happy new one!

Nov 5, 2019, 10:53pm

Happy new thread, Liz! I'm up for Trollope and/or Braddon, whenever you are.

Nov 6, 2019, 1:21am

Happy New thread. That owl is quite startling.
My library has copies of both The Bertrams and Lady Audley's Secret, so I'd be up for both of those.

Nov 6, 2019, 9:45am

Happy new thread!

Nov 6, 2019, 10:10am

Staggered by your lists, your organization. My hat is off to you. March on!


Nov 6, 2019, 11:33am

Happy new thread, Liz! Love the owl pic. This weekend on a late-night run with Buddy (my mixed-breed Terrier walking/running buddy and finder of all things chaseable) we somehow snuck up on a barn owl perched in the brush along our trail. It took flight when we were quite close, right across our path. It was a had-to-be-there moment, but a memorable one. They're really quite impressive.

Nov 6, 2019, 3:08pm

Ooh, visitors, how lovely!

Thank you dropping in, Anita, Harry, Paul, Gail, Julia, Jennifer, Ninie, Anita, Kathy, Helen, Jim, Bill and Steve!

Phew!! :)

Edited: Nov 6, 2019, 3:24pm

>22 FAMeulstee:

Owls are another of my favourites; I had them exclusively as my thread-toppers a couple of years ago.

I'm sure none of us would contemplate doing such a thing! :)

>23 harrygbutler:

It was hard (as always) to pick one photo but that one really stood out.

By the way, Harry, I meant to tell you (you may have seen up-thread), I unexpectedly managed to snag a copy of Turmoil At Brede, so I won't need to impose on you for that after all; thank you for the offer, though! I'm be glad to get these variously stalled challenges rolling again! :)

>25 bohemima:

She said doubtfully.


I would love to have you along for both, Gail! I wish I shared your feeling, if only for a week...

>26 rosalita:

Ehhhh, shaddup, Miss No Thread! :P

>27 japaul22:

That would be excellent, Jennifer!

>28 NinieB:

That's a shame from the group's point of view, but I hope you might feel like lurking and commenting?? :)

>30 kac522:

That's great, Kathy!

>31 Helenliz:

I'm very glad you feel inclined for a second venture into Trollope, Helen. :)

>33 weird_O:

Don't let the lists fool you, I only LOOK organised! :D

>34 swynn:

How fabulous! I have never seen an owl around here but there is a colony of powerful owls living in the bush quite near my house. One insomniac night I did manage to hear one, and was amused that they actually do say 'Hoo-hoo'. (Low and drawn out, though: hoooo-hoooo.)

Nov 6, 2019, 3:44pm

I'm very pleased with this response to my suggestions of The Bertrams and Lady Audley's Secret. At the moment I am thinking of either January or February for the former, whichever suits participants best.

I think one of the take-home messages from this year is not to schedule these projects without a proper break between, so that would mean March or April for the Braddon---which ought to give me time to catch up my hindering personal project. I've been trying to get The Captain Of The Vulture blogged for forever, and I have one other book, Ralph The Bailiff, And Other Tales, to get through before I will let myself tackle Lady Audley's Secret.

Like I said...that OUGHT to work...

Nov 6, 2019, 4:20pm

Happy Newish Thread, Liz. I love the owl photo up top.

Nov 6, 2019, 5:25pm

>38 jnwelch:

Hi, Joe! Thanks for visiting; glad you like her. :)

Nov 6, 2019, 9:18pm

>36 lyzard: I did adore Lady Audley's Secret, so yeah, I may well be in the peanut gallery!

Nov 7, 2019, 8:31am

>36 lyzard: You found Turmoil at Brede? Oh, no — now I'll have to find some other sucker avid reader to foist it on! :-)

Nov 7, 2019, 3:52pm

>40 NinieB:

Looking forward to it! :)

>41 harrygbutler:

Yeah, sorry about that---but look on the bright side: you know there's a avid reader born every minute... :D

Edited: Dec 12, 2019, 3:55pm

The Eye In Attendance - Rising politician Basil Stanismore is a man used to getting what he wants---even when that is another man's wife. Armed with the knowledge that Frankie Barleston cheated during the game of cards that led to a young man's ruin and suicide, Stanismore makes Barleston the most dishonourable of propositions... Late one night, during a house party, Alix Barleston slips out of Node House, on the Isle of Wight, to meet Basil Stanismore in the isolated old tower in the grounds. She has steeled herself to do what she can to help the husband she cannot love or respect; but when Stanismore tells her that the suggested "arrangement" was Frankie's own idea, Alix berates him and flees into the night... Ronald Dene, seeing the light in Alix's room and knowing that her husband is away, gives in to impulse and goes to her---declaring his love for her and pleading that she divorce Frankie and marry him. To their horror, the two are almost caught together by Frankie, who was supposed to be in London. Ronald manages to slip away, not knowing that he has been seen leaving Alix's room... A furious scene follows between Frankie and Alix---until the former tells his wife that he must spend the night in her room---and why... This third entry in Valentine Williams' series featuring Inspector Manderton of Scotland Yard is an interesting but ultimately frustrating work, more engaging as a straight novel than as a mystery. That is---the mystery surrounding Basil Stanismore's murder is fine, but its solution is inadequately prepared for and ultimately unsatisfactory. Manderton himself is in transition here: previously in the series he was an outsider rather than an identification figure, a man with a harsh, abrasive manner who was often wrong in his conclusions and thus a threat to the characters from whose perspective their stories were told. This time, we are given a different Manderton: a quiet but intensely watchful detective (the title alludes to his increasingly ominous presence at Node), who draws correct deductions from his observations and shows the bullying side of his nature only as a deliberate ploy. Meanwhile, compensating for its flaws as a mystery, The Eye In Attendance offers an unusually clear glimpse of the dark underbelly of "polite society", at a time (the novel was published in 1926) when most writing of this kind still took it pretty much for granted that the upper classes were just inherently better than the rest of us. Not so here: Basil Stanismore and Frankie Barleston are a pair of unmitigated skunks, the one, a lecherous blackmailer, the other a drunkard and a sharper, holding his wife purely so he can live off her, and both of them consummate liars. Even the "good" characters transgress, with Ronald's visit to Alix's bedroom leading to passionate kissing and a mutual declaration of love; while her knowledge of this interlude leaves Isobel in no doubt that the two are having an affair. Though they are not, being forced to confront her feelings leads Alix to contemplate divorce; but for all she wants to be free of Frankie, the prospect of him being hanged for murder is too much. She is therefore persuaded to give her husband a false alibi; an alibi that Ronald Dene, for one, knows is false... Perhaps the most interesting aspect of The Eye In Attendance is the ambiguity around Frankie Barleston: whether he is guilty of murder, or whether he has in fact told his wife an outrageous lie in order to secure her support. Either way, Alix's own lie has rolling consequences, for Ronald in particular, since Alix actually is his alibi, and cannot say so. Meanwhile, Frankie torments Alix by insisting that Ronald will be arrested for murder; though it soon seems evident that it is Alix herself upon whose Manderton's suspicion has fallen...

    "I mean this," Frankie hissed. "Manderton's made up his mind that Dene is the murderer. And I think that Manderton's right."
    "Your prejudice against Ronnie is turning your brain, I believe," Alix said coldly. "Why do you say things you know to be untrue?"
    "You can take it from me," was the curt retort, "that Manderton's out after Dene. And he's going to get him if he can."
    She had been striving to restrain her growing agitation, but now it carried her away. She sprang to her feet and faced him.
    "If this is true," she said, "then it's your doing. Oh," - she stamped her foot - "I might have known how it would be. You've always let me down. Just when I thought you were a man I could respect you must do this craven thing. But you'd better take care," she added passionately. "I've put up with a good deal for your sake, Frankie. Don't drive me too far. I don't mind what it costs me, but I warn you, if they arrest Ronnie, I shall speak the truth."
    He was looking at her fixedly, leaning back against the seat. His silence was so prolonged, his gaze so strangely meditative, that presently her anger left her and a cold fear descended.
    At last he spoke.
    "And what if you don't know the truth...?"

Nov 7, 2019, 5:45pm

>42 lyzard: I'm sure that's what the proprietor said when I started piling up books over the weekend and then staggering out to my car under the load: "Ah, here's another avid reader." :-)

Nov 7, 2019, 8:35pm

Edited: Nov 8, 2019, 1:08am

Finished Angels & Insects for TIOLI #7.

Now reading B. F.'s Daughter by John P. Marquand.

Nov 8, 2019, 1:07am

Death Answers The Bell - On the night of her Court presentation, Aline Innesmore promises to drop in at the end of the night upon Barrasford Swete, who occupies standalone rooms in the grounds of Frant House, the London home of Sir Charles and Lady Rossway, her hosts. Aline is attracted to the much-older Swete, flattered by his tantalising manner towards her and intrigued by his reputation as a lady's man. However, she secretly suspects that there is something between him and Geraldine, the Rossways' daughter-in-law, who is staying with them while her estranged husband, their eldest son, Sholto, is travelling on the Continent. Though it is very late when she returns, Aline sees that Swete's light is still on and keeps her promise. However, as she rings the doorbell, the light inside is suddenly switched out. Annoyed, Aline hurries away, almost slipping down the stairs. As she returns to the car, she encounters Rodney, the second Rossway son---who exclaims in horror as he sees that her train and her shoes are covered in blood. Forcing the door, Rodney discovers Swete dead in what looks like suicide. He sends for the police and a doctor, the latter of whom declares that the gun still clutched in Swete's hand is not the one that fired the fatal shot... This was the fourth - and final - effort on the part of Valentine Williams to turn Inspector Manderton of Scotland Yard into a series character. At the same time, Death Answers The Bell marks the beginning of a different mystery series by the author, in that he uses this book to introduce Sergeant Trevor Dene, who would appear in three more novels without Manderton, and who is of historical interest to me since, as that contradictory object (contradictory in 1931, anyway), a gentleman-policeman, Dene may have influenced Patricia Wentworth's subsequent creation of Frank Abbott, and his relationship with his rougher superior, Inspector Lamb. Though officially a fingerprint expert, Dene's social background and education give him a perspective on the Rossway household - and the house itself - very different from his chief's; different likewise is his friendly manner, which encourages Aline, at least, to trust him. Though all the evidence found at the scene points to a woman as the murderer, the inspector's investigation is complicated by Aline's testimony that she saw a man slip out of Swete's rooms while she and Rodney were waiting for the doctor; a man, moreover, who must have been inside the house not only when the door was broken in, but - if he is the killer - for a full hour after the crime was committed. Meanwhile, with the Rossways closing ranks against the police, Rodney and Aline decide to turn amateur detective---only to wish they hadn't. It is Aline who finds the missing gun, which she turns over to Rodney, rather than Manderton; and it is Geraldine who identifies it as her own, given to her by her husband: adding that it was in her room before the murder, but missing the following morning---meaning that no outsider could have killed Barrasford Swete...

    "I don't want you to go repeating anything I tell you," Dene said with a touch of self-consciousness. "Don't run away with the idea I'm giving away police secrets, however; I'm not. But my Chief is what you'd call a realist---you've seen him, you can judge for yourself. He's a plodder, if you know what I mean. He believes that everything can be solved on perfectly straightforward, commonplace lines, if one plugs away at it hard enough... What I call the short circuit method never seems to appeal..."
    "And what just is the short circuit method?"
    "Cutting through all this tangle of piffling, timewasting inquiries by a bold stroke. Take this case, for instance. Instead of fiddling about trying to discover whether anybody saw Stranger No. 1 come out and Stranger No. 2 go in, why not assume straight away that things really are what they seem? In other words, that there's a means of access to the flat unknown to us."
    Aline looked past the young man's flaming poll at the drummer on the buttress. With a little air of suppressed excitement she said: "You mean a secret passage between this house and the flat?"
    He grinned up at her. "You mustn't call it that. It sounds much too melodramatic. Manderton thinks me a darned sight too melodramatic already. 'Dithyrambic' he called me the other day. Priceless, what? I don't suppose he knows for a moment the meaning of the word. But I got back at him. I said I was only dithyrambic in the banausic sense. That took the stuffing out of him..."

Nov 8, 2019, 8:49am

>47 lyzard: I love seeing these old covers!

Nov 8, 2019, 2:48pm

>48 thornton37814:

Hi, Lori - thanks for visiting! I always like to find a first-edition cover image if I can, but particularly for Death Answers The Bell, where the only alternative was the ebook cover consisting of a close-up of a doorbell! :)

Edited: Nov 8, 2019, 3:42pm

The Shadow Of Death: The Hunt For A Serial Killer - This true-crime study by Philip E. Ginsburg was published in 1993, approximately five years after the conclusion of a decade-long phase during which, by a cruel statistical anomaly, a quiet rural valley lying between Vermont and New Hampshire was terrorised by (as it turned out to be) two different serial killers and a random knife-wielding lunatic. Between 1978 and 1988, the bodies of nine women and three young girls were found either side of the Connecticut River. The details provided by a survivor brought one of these cases to a conclusion; a savage knife attack upon a heavily pregnant woman which, miraculously, both she and her baby survived, turned out to be an unrelated incident; the murderer of the other women has never been caught... This outcome makes The Shadow Of Death something of an outlier among the numerous works published in the early 1990s that deal with cases of serial-killing, many of them dwelling upon the twin burgeoning techniques of criminal profiling and forensic science. This one does too---but in a context of a scattered population, an isolated, wooded environment, a small police force, limited resources (financial and practical), a lack of witnesses, and an absence of conclusive physical evidence. The book's melancholy moral, that sometimes all the dedication in the world just isn't enough to get the job done, makes this an uncomfortable read in ways beyond the self-evidently ugly details of the murders; but it also offers a cogent reminder of realities not often dealt with in drama and fiction. The focus of Ginsberg's study is, finally, not the killer(s) but the people involved in this difficult and frustrating situation: the shifting band of police officers, forced to pick up and put down the case as their duties and their postings altered; a psychiatrist whose interest in the case began almost as a hobby, and which became an obsession; and the residents of the valley who were directly or indirectly impacted by the murders.

    In retrospect, the murder of Theresa Fenton, then the murder of another young girl, Caty Richards, and finally the capture of Gary Schaefer and the link backward in time to 1979 and yet another victim, Sheri Nastasia, had introduced the Valley to a new kind of horror.
    Eight years was a long time in the police business... The investigation in Springfield, a mere twenty-five miles south of where Barbara Agnew had been found, now seemed long ago and far away. Gary Schaefer had been in jail three years. And yet in some ways there was a straight line in time from the death of Sheri Nastasia to the gruesome discovery made by four strollers off Advent Hill Road.
    The Schaefer investigation had also introduced the police, LeClair and Estey and Halpin and their colleagues, to a new and terrible kind of responsibility in their profession. And in the end it prepared them for what they were facing now, a case that brought even the most conservative among the detectives a step closer to the conclusion that once again there was a serial killer on the hunt in the Connecticut River Valley...

Edited: Dec 12, 2019, 3:58pm

Thaddeus Of Warsaw - Walter Scott is now regarded by most as "the father of historical fiction", but there was a "mother" before him who actually created the modern version of the historical novel with 1809's The Scottish Chiefs (read in 2017 and reviewed here). And prior to that, Porter wrote a semi-historical work so radical it confused contemporary readers, who were unaccustomed to a fictional protagonist interacting with real historical figures and so misinterpreted her novel as a covert biography of Tadeusz Kościuszko. Thaddeus Of Warsaw does indeed devote the first of its original four volumes to the events of 1792 - 1795, which saw Poland invaded, its new reformist constitution overthrown, and ultimately the savage partitioning of the country between Prussia, the Austrian Empire, and the Russian Empire. However, its focus is the young Thaddeus Constantine Sobieski, a fictional descendant of John Sobieski, a 17th century king of Poland. (The family was extinct by this time, which is one reason Porter chose it; the other was her evident admiration of Sobieski as a model gentleman-soldier.) As Poland collapses, its defenders including Thaddeus' grandfather killed or captured, Thaddeus is compelled by his mother to flee and find refuge in England. It was only on the eve of war that his mother confided to Thaddeus the truth of his birth: that he was son of an English nobleman who married her under a false name, then treacherously repudiated his marriage and deserted his wife... Thaddeus loses everything in the fall of Poland, and arrives in England destitute and friendless: one more unwanted European refugee. But as he struggles for survival, circumstances win for Thaddeus new and unexpected friends, and finally the opportunity to discover and confront his father... Thaddeus Of Warsaw is, finally, a mixed novel. After the opening phase depicting the brutal war in its protagonist's homeland, it switches focus to become, simultaneously, a domestic novel depicting English society in the late 18th century, and a trenchant criticism of that society. Porter is particularly critical of Britain's inaction in the face of Poland's tragedy---the nation choosing, since the invaders and partitioners were its own allies, to do nothing---and clearly felt that the country had lost much of its morality and general standing as a consequence of that inaction. She uses the rest of the novel to show the reader England through the eyes of an outsider, and it is not a pretty picture. Concealing his identity for a variety of reasons, and calling himself "Mr Constantine", Thaddeus is faced with poverty, starvation and cruel indifference, and must work hard to win a slender income by teaching languages and selling his drawings; but his own qualities of character and spirit win friends for him, too, first amongst people as poor as himself, then some much higher in society. Thaddeus saves from a violent assault an elderly lady who turns out to be the Countess of Tinemouth, and who befriends and assists him. He also becomes an object of interest - and more than interest - to the lovely young heiress, Mary Beaufort, who struggles to reconcile the contradiction of his lowly position and what she senses of his true nature... Thaddeus Of Warsaw is finally a sprawling and rather uneven work, though one that holds the interest. Its switch from European warfare to English drawing-rooms is jolting, and it is hampered as much as helped by its improbably perfect hero and heroine. However, these idealised creations are placed against, and balanced by, a spectrum of extremely imperfect supporting characters (some of them, like a sexually "fragile" lady, rather surprising), via which Porter highlights what she felt to be the many failings of contemporary English society. Thaddeus' journey up the ladder of that society allows for some vivid pen-pictures of different aspects of English life at the turn of the 19th century; while his tentative romance with Mary Beaufort, which becomes one of the threads that holds the narrative together, has some unexpected touches to it. The other main subplot deals with Thaddeus' search for his father---a search, appears, which may be an instance of being careful what you pray for...

    "I want to learn," said Lady Tinemouth, "what you think of our English theatre?"
    "Prithee, don't ask him!" cried Miss Egerton, pouring out a glass of water; "we have seen a tremendous brother Pole of his, who I believe has 'hopped off' with all his spirits! Why, he has been looking as rueful as a half-drowned man all the night; and as for Lady Sara, and I could vow Miss Beaufort, too, they have been two Niobes---'all tears.' So, good folks, I must drink better health to you, to save myself from the vapours."
    "What is all this, Mr Constantine?" asked the countess, addressing Thaddeus, whose eyes had glanced with a ray of delighted surprise on the blushing though displeased face of Miss Beaufort.
    "My weakness," replied he, commanding down a rising tremor in his voice, and turning to her ladyship; "the play relates to a native of Poland, one who, like myself, an exile in a strange land, is subjected to sufferings and contumelies the bravest spirits may find hard to bear. Any man may combat misery; but even the most intrepid will shrink from insult. This, I believe, is the sum of the story. Its resemblance in some points to my own affected me; and," added he, looking gratefully at Lady Sara, and timidly towards Miss Beaufort, "if these ladies have sympathised with emotions against which I strove, but could not entirely conceal, I owe to it the sweetest consolation now in the power of fate to bestow."
    "Poor Constantine!" cried Sophia Egerton, patting his head with one hand, whilst with the other she wiped a tear from her always smiling eye, "forgive me if I have hurt you. I like you vastly, though I must now and then laugh at you; you know I hate dismals, so let this tune enliven us all!" and flying to her piano, she played and sang two or three merry airs, till the countess commanded her to the supper-table.
    At this most sociable repast of the whole day, cheerfulness seemed again to disperse the gloom which had threatened the circle. Thaddeus set the example. His unrestrained and elegant conversation acquired new pathos from the anguish that was driven back to his heart; like the beds of rivers, which infuse their own nature with the current, his hidden grief imparted an indescribable interest and charm to all his sentiments and actions.
    Mary now beheld him in his real character. Unmolested by the haughty presence of Miss Dundas, he became unreserved, intelligent, and enchanting. He seemed master of every subject talked on, and discoursed on all with a grace which corroborated her waking visions that he was as some bright star fallen from his sphere...

Nov 8, 2019, 7:05pm

Ah, yes:

Since, as I have remarked before, online books don't really lend themselves to reading in the bath, I am now also reading The Lake Of Killarney by Anna Maria Porter (Jane's sister).

Edited: Nov 9, 2019, 5:39pm

The de Bercy Affair - This is going to be more complaint than review; not that this is unprecedented, exactly. I've ranted before about the vagaries of Louis Tracy, who published in both Britain and the US, sometimes first in one and sometimes in the other; sometimes using a pseudonym, sometimes not: habits which make research difficult and accurate information a rarity. All of which goes some way to explaining how I ended up reading the first book in his series featuring Winter and Furneaux of Scotland Yard three years after I read the second. Bizarrely, Tracy published this very British book only in America, and under his pseudonym, "Gordon Holmes"; that, and the gap between books helped this one to slip completely through the cracks, so that (not to brag, or anything) I seem to be the first person to realise that The de Bercy Affair is a part of the Winter / Furneaux series. But better late than never... The French actress, Mademoiselle Rose de Bercy, is murdered in her rented apartments. Her maid, Pauline, insists hysterically that the wealthy Young American, Rupert Osborne, who was engaged to the actress, is the person who killed her. Preliminary investigations indicate that Osborne has a solid alibi, being at a meeting at his club at about the time of the murder; but Inspector Clarke, to whom the investigation has fallen, finds a taxi-driver who carried someone who, at least, looked like Osborne between the vicinities of the club and the murder scene and back again. The case is further complicated by the bizarre nature of the murder-weapon: a flint axe-head which, seemingly, could only have come out of a museum or a private collection; such as that owned by Osborne. Then again, why choose something so unique---and leave it at the scene? Superintendent Winter is secretly sure that Inspector Clarke is not up to the challenges of the de Bercy murder, and diverts him onto a case of suspected anarchists: consoling the aggrieved detective by insisting (falsely) on the importance of the work. In Winter's view, there is only one man for the de Bercy case: his frequent associate, Inspector Furneaux. It was Furneaux's extended and unexplained absence at the time of the murder that saw the case given to the officious Clarke in the first place; and once he is assigned, his increasingly bizarre behaviour, in particular his unreasonable persecution of Rupert Osborne, puts a terrible suspicion into Winter's mind... The de Bercy Affair is a strange novel in a number of ways---but most of all as a first book in a series. It relies for its effect upon the close relationship between Winter and Furneaux, personal as well as professional, and the reader's own recognition of Furneaux's anomalous behaviour; yet as a first book, neither of these factors can come into play as strongly as they should. In fact---in some respects I was advantaged by reading these books out of order; although conversely I was guarded from the trap that Louis Tracy presumably intended for novice readers, that of suspecting - as Winter is finally forced to do - that Furneaux himself is the murderer... While it offers an engaging if ultimately somewhat improbably mystery, The de Bercy Affair is very much a novel of its time - it was published in 1910 - in that it retains much of the melodrama and multiplying subplots that marked the 19th century sensation novel. In particular, it leaves the murder investigation to follow the increasingly unhappy fortunes of Rupert Osborne, who almost everyone comes to believe is the murderer, protected from arrest by his wealth and social standing. And as time passes, more evidence against Osborne emerges; evidence that wasn't there in the first place... As it works itself out, "the de Bercy affair" proves even more complicated than it appeared at first glance; though no-one is more surprised that Superintendent Winter when the case finally crosses paths with that involving Inspector Clarke and his anarchists...

    Half an hour afterwards Furneaux walked into Winter's quarters. His chief, writing hard, hardly glanced up, and for some time Furneaux stood looking at his one-time friend with the eyes of a scientist who contemplates a new fossil. "Well, I have Osborne safe," he said at last.
    "You have, have you?" muttered Winter, scribbling rapidly; but a flush of anger rose on his forehead, and he added: "It will cost you your reputation, my good fellow!"
    "Is that all?" cried Furneaux mockingly...
    Winter was thoroughly nonplussed. Everybody, everything, seemed to be mad. He was staring at Furneaux when Clarke entered. The newcomer's hat was tilted a little backward, and there was an air of business-like haste in him from the creak of his boot soles to the drops of perspiration shining on his brow. He contrived to hold himself back just long enough to say, "Hello, Furneaux!" and then his burden of news broke from him: "Well, I've got Janoc under lock and key all right."
    "Oh, you've got somebody, too, have you?" groaned Winter. "And on what charge, pray, have you collared Janoc?"
    "Why, what a question!" cried Clarke. "Didn't I tell you, sir---?"
    "So true," said Winter; "I had almost forgotten. You've grabbed Janoc, and the genius of Mr Furneaux is sated by arresting Mr. Osborne---"
    Clarke slapped his thigh vigorously, doubling up in a paroxysm of laughter. "Osborne! Oh, not Osborne at this time of day!" He leered at Furneaux in comic wonder---he, who had never dared question aught done by the little man, save in the safe privacy of his thoughts.
    "And I have arrested Pauline," said Winter in grim irony.
    "Who has?" asked Clarke, suddenly agape.
    "I, I say. Pauline is my prize. I wouldn't be left out in the cold." And he added bitterly: "We've all got one!---all guilty!---a lovely story it will make for the newspapers. I suppose, to keep up the screaming farce, that we each ought to contrive to have our prisoner tried in a different court!"

Nov 10, 2019, 5:52am

Happy new thread Liz! The photo of that owl is stunning.

>37 lyzard: Jan/Feb for The Bertrams and March/April for Lady Audley's Secret work for me. :-)

Nov 10, 2019, 6:53am

>54 souloftherose: I may also be up for group reads next year as I plan to plan less overreaching challenges and concentrate on the joy of reading.

Nov 10, 2019, 7:24am

Also wanted to say that I have been following the news about the bushfires in your part of the world and hoping you're keeping safe.

Nov 10, 2019, 10:52am

Dropping a star so I don't lose track of my favorite ever tutor! Hope all is well with you, Liz, Thanks for being so devoted to the TIOLI of my favorites pastimes! :D

By the way, the little kid who interrupted our tutored reads is now six years old. Imagine! Where did that time go?!

Edited: Nov 11, 2019, 5:32pm

>54 souloftherose:, >56 souloftherose:

Hi, Heather! Thanks for checking in. Sounds like we may have a plan. :)

Thanks for that too. There are two different outbreaks, one north from me (quite far) and one south (not so far). My area is so far unaffected but the weather is only getting hotter and dryer. There are also fires in Queensland.

Apparently yesterday was the first day since records were kept when there was no rain anywhere in the country. :(

>55 PaulCranswick:

That would be great, Paul, and also sensible, I think: trust me, no-one knows better than I do the feeling of being overloaded with challenges. :D

>57 SqueakyChu:

Hi, Madeline! How lovely to get a visit from you. :)

That's amazing (and a bit scary)! BTW, just say the word...

Nov 11, 2019, 6:21pm

>58 lyzard: Okay. Thanks. I'll keep your offer in mind.

Right now I'm trying to work my way through the over 450 books in my see which books to read and which to cull. One problem is that I constantly get donations to my Little Free Library so I even don't get to the library much these days.

One other fun problem I have is that two local publishers have been sending me their ARCS which are VERY good so I never want to refuse them. Life simply does not provide enough time to do everything one wants!

Nov 13, 2019, 4:14pm

>59 SqueakyChu:

I know how you feel: I'm trying, at least, not to accumulate more physical books than I can help, also to do some serious pruning but I don't feel like I'm making much headway! One issue here is the difficulty of finding a way of passing on books: there are less and less sales to donate too all the time, and most secondhand stores don't want "old stuff".

Nov 13, 2019, 4:15pm

Finished B. F.'s Daughter for TIOLI #8.

Still reading The Lake Of Killarney by Anna Maria Porter.

Edited: Nov 13, 2019, 8:49pm

Oh, dear. :)

I've had a pretty good run recently with my 'random reading' self-challenge, wherein I pick a random book off my wishlist that was originally published between 1940 - 1969: most hits have been fairly easily available via the library or ebook.

But I had a couple of stumbles this morning, picking a new book after finishing B. F.'s Daughter. The first pick, Unwilling Sinner by Jack Woodford, isn't available here and import copies are more than I want to pay for this game.

My next pick isn't available either and this one I'm devastated over...although not so devastated that I'm willing to pay between US $1000 - $1600 for a copy!

I think we have a case of "Mystery League Syndrome" here: it's not the book, it's the cover (and the title!):

Third time's the charm, though: I hit Michael Gilbert's Smallbone Deceased. Most of Gilbert's books are readily available here. However, as this is the fourth in his Inspector Hazelrigg series, I'll actually be reading the first, Close Quarters.

Edited: Nov 13, 2019, 9:02pm


I've been taking a look at the beginning of the resurgence of the Australian film industry in the early 70s...that is, the weird, interesting side of it, rather than the dull, government-sponsored side.

Homesdale (1971) was Peter Weir's first feature-film, a black comedy / horror story about the troubled guests as a resort where it's "kill or cure":

Meanwhile, adapted from the novel of the same name by Kenneth Cook, Wake In Fright (1971) is a disturbing film about the experiences of a city-bred schoolteacher stranded in a remote mining-town.

(Please note: if you're not familiar with Wake In Fright, it deals with some confronting material. Some of my images may be considered a bit offensive by some, though trust me, I left out the worst of it.)

Edited: Nov 13, 2019, 11:04pm

>60 lyzard: Don;t you have any Little Free Libraries where you are?

Check out this map:

I wish we were near to you, I could get my husband to build you one. Then all you'd have to do is put the books you want a new home for right into your Little Free Library! That's what I do. Mine is located on my front lawn. I also trade books with other BookCrossers as well as "book bomb" other Little Free Libraries. Believe it or not, by doing this, I'm only adding MORE books to my collection. As neighbors see what I'm doing, they knock on my door with bags of books to donate. I even have one neighbor who daily rides his bike to my Little Free Library to drop off at least three books...and some of them are so FAT! I get vintage books all the time. I love those. The only ones I won't offer are those with loose pages.

>62 lyzard: 1940 - 1969?!!! Liz, those books are so MODERN! :D

Edited: Nov 14, 2019, 12:16am

>64 SqueakyChu:

Not really near me, no; there are a few around but it would need a special trip. I suppose it might come to that. :)

I'm awkwardly situated, in a townhouse complex in an isolated spot down a long steep driveway, off the road, so it doesn't lend itself to me having one of my own.

those books are so MODERN!


If you must know, I do have some MUCH MORE MODERN books, but I tend to get to them via another self-challenge (one you should appreciate), my 'potential decommission' challenge; where my Little Free Library books would come from if I had one! :D

Edited: Nov 14, 2019, 10:11am

>65 lyzard: Then the only solution is to get someone near you, but not in your townhouse complex, to agree to build or buy and install one! That solves the problem! :D

Alternatively, if there were a more convenient location in your townhouse complex, perhaps ask, the homeowner's association if you could install one for the whole complex. I'm trying to get my friend in Catonsville to do that in her townhouse complex. She hasn't yet heard back from the homeowner's association.

I'd like to follow your "decommission challenge". How would I know which books those were? Are they in one of your collections? Is it the "Decommisioned" collection?

Edited: Nov 14, 2019, 3:23pm

>66 SqueakyChu:

Easy peasy!

If we were differently positioned it might be worth a try but being cut off from everyone but ourselves makes it a bit self-defeating.

My 'decommission challenge' isn't that formal; not all of the books are catalogued (so it's for that too). A while back I gathered up in bags all of my books I wasn't sure if I wanted to keep (plus all the rest that have been thrust upon me by others from time to time), and now I read about one a month by closing my eyes, rummaging in one particular bag, and picking something randomly. I'm boxing up what I don't want to keep, though I still have to figure out what to do with it.

I list the books for this up in my reading projects (>8 lyzard:) and by cover (>18 lyzard:). This month I read A. S. Byatt's Angels & Insects; next time it will be Asta's Book by Barbara Vine (Ruth Rendell).

I do this for my non-fiction too but there's a lot less of that.

Nov 14, 2019, 5:23pm

>67 lyzard: I'll keep a closer eye on what you;re reading for that challenge to see if we can overlap on any reads!

Nov 15, 2019, 12:33am

>68 SqueakyChu:

You are more than welcome but it's a very odd collection of books! :)

Edited: Nov 15, 2019, 12:35am

Finished The Lake Of Killarney for TIOLI #10; this doubles as my 1804 book for my 'Century Of Reading' challenge.

Now reading To Let by John Galsworthy.

Nov 15, 2019, 10:43pm

>70 lyzard: I do enjoy the Forsyte saga books and have read them all twice but I really do think that they were not sufficient of themselves to have justified giving Galsworthy the Nobel Prize.

Have a great weekend, Liz.

Nov 15, 2019, 11:12pm

>71 PaulCranswick:

I completely agree with that.

Actually I never felt it needed to be a 'saga': I think you can feel the strain as soon as it gets past the first, or at most second book; also it loses its point of looking back at the late Victorian age from a generation or more on.

I do like the books as books, though. :)

Nov 17, 2019, 4:03pm

Finished To Let for TIOLI #19.

Now reading Bulldog Drummond by 'Sapper' (Herman Cyril McNeile).

Edited: Nov 17, 2019, 4:32pm


A year ago I adopted my boys.

It was a difficult time. I had lost my previous cat, Kara, who was seventeen. I really didn't want another cat, but there was a hole in my life that wasn't getting any better. I decided that the best compromise was a rescue cat that needed help.

Which became two rescue cats who needed help.

It has not been easy. They do indeed have problems, one of them health-wise, the other emotional (stemming, I suspect, from a period of abuse). Some days they drive me to screaming point. Other days I can only marvel at how far we've all come in that year.

They came to me with shelter names, but after watching them for a time I redubbed them 'Spike' and 'Chester'. Any of you who watched the old Warners cartoons will get it. Of course, the original Spike and Chester were dogs; but the relationship developing between the two was so like that of their canine counterparts, it was hysterical.

The most striking thing, however, is that they are utterly different from one another in personality and behaviour. I don't think they could be more different.

I took these two photos the other day while we were sitting together on the couch. I think they sum up the situation rather well. That's Spike on the left, and Chester on the right.


Nov 17, 2019, 5:21pm

>74 lyzard: They're lovely, are they brothers?

Nov 17, 2019, 7:50pm

Thanks for sharing! They are really handsome boys!

Edited: Nov 17, 2019, 10:34pm

Very handsome man cats. The infinite variety of cat personalities is a joy.
Most of the time.

I read The Forsyte books and liked them all; but the first one will always be my favorite.

Nov 18, 2019, 7:11am

Aw, they are sweet-looking fellas. I'm glad they've got you taking care of them.

Nov 18, 2019, 2:55pm

>75 CDVicarage:

Hi, Kerry! Probably related, but probably not brothers: they were among a clutch of ginger toms rescued from a 'colony' by the shelter people.

It doesn't really show up in those photos, but Chester is a deep ginger while Spike is that much lighter shade they call ' champagne'.

>76 NinieB:

Hi, Ninie - thanks! :)

>77 bohemima:

Some of the time? :D

Yes, as I said to Paul, the first one was clearly written from a different impetus.

>78 rosalita:

I tell them that on pretty much a daily basis, in between bouts of tearing my hair out. :D

Nov 18, 2019, 7:43pm

>74 lyzard: Love the cat photos! Lately I've had 3 atop me that look more like the one on the right.

Nov 19, 2019, 12:50am

They are two lovely looking cats.

Nov 19, 2019, 10:21am

>74 lyzard: Oh, I LOVE them! So cute!

Nov 20, 2019, 3:07pm

>80 thornton37814:

Hi, Lori! Sounds like you're keeping warm, then? :)

>81 Helenliz:

We thank you, Helen!

>82 SqueakyChu:

Thanks, Madeline!

Nov 20, 2019, 3:28pm

Finished Bulldog Drummond for TIOLI #5.

Now reading Hallowe'en Party by Agatha Christie.

Nov 20, 2019, 9:19pm

>83 lyzard: Yes. Their body heat is wonderful!

Nov 21, 2019, 3:37pm

>19 lyzard: Over in the 2019 Category Challenge, japaul22 told us about your Trollope group reads. Please count me in for The Bertrams.

Nov 22, 2019, 6:05pm

>86 pamelad:

Hi, Pamela - you would be more than welcome to join us! It looks as if the group read will be happening early in the New Year: do you have a preference for January or February?

Nov 22, 2019, 7:54pm

I'd prefer February, but January would be no problem. Looking forward to it. Thank you.

Nov 22, 2019, 8:06pm

Thank you. :)

Edited: Nov 23, 2019, 10:46am

I finished Colin Watson’s delightful Snobbery with Violence this week. If you haven’t yet read it, I highly recommend it. It’s squarely in your Main Obsession Interest.
And humorously acerbic as well.

Nov 24, 2019, 8:01am

>74 lyzard: Beautiful boys - can definitely see the different personalities coming across :-)

Nov 26, 2019, 5:29pm

>90 bohemima:

Hi, Gail! I actually haven't, though (of course) it's On The List. From memory I had some trouble tracking down a copy; I'm sure I'll take another whack at it sooner or later.

>91 souloftherose:

Oh, yes: one extrovert, one introvert; one hyper, one who just wants to be left alone to sleep... :D

Nov 26, 2019, 5:30pm

Oops! - forgot to update:

Finished Hallowe'en Party for TIOLI #17.

And now - because I was too lazy and/or stupid to get it written up after I read it the first time - re-reading The Mysteries Of London: Volume II by George W. M. Reynolds.

Nov 29, 2019, 4:15pm

Finished The Mysteries Of London: Volume II for TIOLI #2, which will be it for November.

I will get the damn thing blogged this time...

Now reading Move Over: A Novel Of Our "Better Classes" by Ethel Pettit.

Nov 29, 2019, 4:27pm

My November reading worked out better than I was expecting; I didn't get to those works which required a trip to Rare Books, but otherwise it was a satisfactory month.

December has to be a month for getting things written up---reviews here, and definitely some blogging (if only to get some more lemurs around here!).

Reading-wise, it is shaping up as a challenge month---particularly since I finally managed to secure copies of Turmoil At Brede and Move Over, for my 'Mystery League' and 'Banned in Boston' challenges, respectively.

At the moment, my provisional reading-list looks like this:

Not As A Stranger by Morton Thompson {best-seller challenge}
Passenger To Frankfurt by Agatha Christie {chronological challenge
Move Over by Ethel Pettit {Banned in Boston challenge}
Turmoil At Brede by Seldon Truss {Mystery League challenge}
Lichtenstein by Wilhelm Hauff {C. K. Shorter challenge}
The Ivory Dagger by Patricia Wentworth {shared read}
Asta's Book by Barbara Vine {potential decommission / fiction}
Faces In The Smoke by Douchan Gersi {potential decommission / non-fiction}

Dec 1, 2019, 12:50pm

>95 lyzard: I will join you for Passenger to Frankfurt. I don't own a copy and the book description isn't jogging my memory so it's possible I may not have read this one before.

A question on Hallowe'en Party: when Poirot visits the Quarry Woods he remembers investigating a robbery of old family silver in Ireland 5 or 6 years previously. I've missed a few Poirot's in the reread but I can't place which book or short story this is referencing. Any ideas?

Dec 1, 2019, 5:04pm

>96 souloftherose:

Whoo!! :)

I haven't read it for ages. It's a strange, rather anomalous work and not much read at all these days.

I don't think that's a reference to another work, although I guess it could be to a stray short story. It's not from any of the obvious sources. (I'm planning to do a sweep of missing shorts when we stumble over the finish line for this, so we'll find out for sure eventually!)

Dec 1, 2019, 5:05pm

Finished Move Over for TIOLI #10.

Now reading Not As A Stranger by Morton Thompson.

Dec 1, 2019, 6:00pm

Move Over was for my 'Banned in Boston' challenge: a (mostly deservedly) obscure novel which, much to my annoyance, I had to buy and import.

But one extreme to another: next up in this challenge is Upton Sinclair's Oil! which - as I had not previously realised - was the basis for the film There Will Be Blood, and is consequently delightfully easy to get hold of---whoo!!

Dec 1, 2019, 6:14pm

Speaking of films...


I am still - as you may have noticed - not getting any reviews written, partly because I got diverted onto another film project (but also partly because I'm pondering how exactly to tackle George Reynolds very fragmented and extremely long The Mysteries Of London: Volume II).

In the meantime, I have unearthed and reviewed an almost-disaster-movie made in Yugoslavia in 1958: "almost" because it's based on a real tragedy and therefore not fun and therefore not a disaster movie; yet it employs the formula we're all familiar with:

H-8... (1958)

I have also added one more to my "consequences of Jaws" series---another "not fun" film which despite its batty plot offers up shark killing as entertainment while pretending to condemn it. (Nothing nasty in my screenshots, though.):

Mako: The Jaws Of Death (1976)

Edited: Dec 6, 2019, 12:09am

And at long last---


I have finally succeeded in getting the second volume of George Reynolds' monumental penny-dreadful, The Mysteries Of London, written up.

Warning: the two posts together comprise about 15,000 words...which I have to say I don't actually feel is excessive, in attempting to summarise well over 1000 pages of ever-multiplying plots! :D

The Mysteries Of London: Volume II (Part 1)
The Mysteries Of London: Volume II (Part 2)

Dec 6, 2019, 12:11am


My blogging seems to have caught this lemur off-guard...

Dec 6, 2019, 3:04am

Finished Not As A Stranger for TIOLI #11.

Now reading Serial Killers: The Insatiable Passion by David Lester.

Dec 6, 2019, 7:20am

>102 lyzard: That lemur has clearly been following U.S. politics, as that's the same facial expression I get when I listen to the news.

Dec 6, 2019, 12:06pm

>74 lyzard: Belatedly, may I say how charming your boys are? They are very fortunate to have found a home with you, Liz.

Dec 6, 2019, 3:27pm

>104 rosalita:

But the lemur isn't crying and/or eating a bucket of ice cream.

>105 Dejah_Thoris:

Aw, thank you, Dejah! - I will pass that on to them. :)

Dec 6, 2019, 5:53pm

>104 rosalita: I'd expect the lemur to have his head in his hands, or be crying into a beer. That's my current emotional response. I'd quite like to lock them all in a room, and throw away the key.

Dec 6, 2019, 6:48pm

>106 lyzard:, >107 Helenliz:

Well, that was unanimous! :D

Dec 7, 2019, 9:56pm

Finished Serial Killers: The Insatiable Passion for TIOLI #9.

Now reading Lichtenstein by Wilhelm Hauff.

Dec 11, 2019, 6:33pm


I have finished posting about Mary Elizabeth Braddon's 1862 historical romance / mystery, The Captain Of The Vulture (which I read in - ulp! - January).

Another two-parter, but I hope less intimidating than the last update:

The Captain Of The Vulture (Part1)
The Captain Of The Vulture (Part 2)

Dec 11, 2019, 6:35pm

My astonishment at finally getting this piece of blogging done can only be expressed via a tarsier:

Dec 11, 2019, 6:36pm

...and now I just have to get something done here...

Dec 12, 2019, 12:57am

>113 Helenliz: that does look surprised!
She is on my list of authors I feel I ought to read at least once. But with no copies in the county library catalogue, I keep putting it off.

Dec 12, 2019, 3:32am

I've been working through Braddon's novels - in order, of course - and I have a collection of short stories to get through before that project joins up with my 'Virago chronological read' project, for which there will be a group read of Lady Audley's Secret during the first half of next year - April? And there is also a possibility of Aurora Floyd later on. It would be great if you could join us! :)

Dec 12, 2019, 8:41am

>113 Helenliz: >114 lyzard: Lady Audley's Secret is totally worth reading. When I read it, I was very sorry I had waited so long. I also didn't understand why it isn't considered a very early detective story. Sure, there's no professional detective, but still . . . And the writing is exponentially better than that of East Lynne (by Mrs Henry Wood), one of the other top sensation novels from the same time.

I'm seriously considering joining the group even though it's a reread—just have to overcome my guilt about not using the time to read something new.

Edited: Dec 12, 2019, 2:35pm

As you may be aware, Ninie, a few years back there was a flurry of publications of "forgotten" 19th century works, each one claiming to be "the first modern detective story"---that is, one would be promoted as that, and then someone would find an earlier one.

My own nomination is Braddon's first novel, The Trail Of The Serpent, which actually *does* have a central detective figure as most of the rest do not (a policeman who becomes a private investigator). It's a sensation novel, so complicated and lots of subplots; but there is a central mystery plot which the detective finally solves.

I think Braddon is a very good writer but because of the genre she was working in and that she was chiefly writing to entertain (albeit usually with plenty of social criticism along the way), she doesn't really get her due.

One of my other ongoing projects is looking at the roots of detective fiction, and you are right that most of the progenitor novels don't have a detective---or alternatively (as in The Moonstone) they have a detective who doesn't solve the case. At the moment I am still in the 'penny-dreadful / crime and mystery but no detective' phase.

You would be very welcome to join us for Lady Audley's Secret. For the record I'm a great believer in re-reading---I think you rarely get everything a book has to give on a single read! :)

Dec 12, 2019, 3:27pm

Just checking in, Liz. I am currently reading The Ivory Dagger and I Have Thoughts, which I will try to remember when we discuss it later (in the fullness of time, as one of my university professors would always say).

The tarsier kinda creeps me out a little, even as I acknowledge his cuteness. I suspect it's the result of a still photograph capturing that perpetually non-blinking wide-eyed stare. In person I bet they are fairly adorable bouncing around.

Dec 12, 2019, 3:35pm

>117 rosalita:

Hi, Julia! I'm just about to start it so the time shouldn't be too full. Hmm, should I be worried??

Well, maybe, but they pretty much look like that all the time. :D

(There is much discussion out there on Teh Interwebz about Baby Yoda being based on a tarsier...!)

Dec 12, 2019, 3:36pm

So, yeah---

Finished Lichtenstein for TIOLI #1.

Now reading The Ivory Dagger by Patricia Wentworth.

Dec 12, 2019, 3:38pm

>118 lyzard: I didn't say they were Bad Thoughts!

Now that you mention it, I can see the Baby Yoda familial resemblance. :-)

Dec 12, 2019, 3:47pm

Dec 12, 2019, 7:46pm

>116 lyzard: So now I really need to track down a copy of The Trail of the Serpent! Thanks for the tip!

It just always bugs me that The Moonstone gets all the credit, when it's so late! And nowhere near as good as Lady Audley (or some of his earlier sensation novels).

Edited: Dec 12, 2019, 9:37pm

>122 NinieB:

It bugs me too, when Cuff fails so dismally. :)

The Trail Of The Serpent was re-released just a few years ago so hopefully you won't have trouble finding a copy. Meanwhile, *I* have to hunt up Ralph The Bailiff, And Other Tales as my next Braddon read.

Dec 14, 2019, 10:04am

I’m pretty sure I have The Trail of the Serpent on kindle. Sounds like a great read for next year.

Dec 14, 2019, 5:36pm

>124 bohemima:

Hi, Gail! I hope you enjoy it. :)

Dec 14, 2019, 6:00pm

Finished The Ivory Dagger for TIOLI #16.

Now reading Turmoil At Brede by Seldon Truss.

Edited: Dec 14, 2019, 7:50pm

The Crime At Tattenham Corner - When the body of a man is found in a ditch in Tattenham Corner, near Epsom, Inspector Stoddart is called to the scene to see whether he can provide identification. Though the victim was shot in the face, and afterwards lay face down in dirty water, Stoddart is able to confirm that he is Sir John Burslem, a prominent financier who was also active in the world of horse-racing. It is the latter that initially assumes prominence in the case, since Sir John's death means the automatic scratching of his horse, who was the heavily backed Derby favourite. The person who is likely to benefit from this situation is Sir Charles Stanyard, owner of the second favourite---and who was once engaged to Sophie Carlford, now Lady Burslem. Meanwhile, at Greystone Hall, Sophie Burslem waits in silent dread for her own terrible knowledge to become general---roused from her stupor only by the discovery of a smear of blood on the gown she wore the night before... The second of four novels to feature Inspector Stoddart of Scotland Yard, The Crime At Tattenham Corner illustrates both the strengths and the weaknesses of author, Annie Haynes. She creates a quite a complicated mystery, which blends a significant who-was-where-when component with various mysterious behaviours on the part of the cast of characters, including the victim. She also gives due weight to the tedious but necessary aspects of police work, such as surveillance and the dragging of the ditch in which the body was discovered. However, there is a certain "sameishness" about Haynes' novels and the way her mysteries are unraveled, in particular their "society" backgrounds and Stoddart's penchant for going undercover in order to extract information from servants and other working-class folk unwilling to talk to the police. A more serious irritation is Haynes' snobbishness: upper-class people who transgress - and there are some very serious transgressions (not to mince matters, crimes) committed in this novel - are excused to the point of being rewarded for their behaviour; but heaven help any lower-middle-class-or-below individuals who step out of line... Still, the central mystery in The Crime At Tattenham Corner holds the interest. In particular, Stoddart is at a loss to understand the movements of Sir John Burslem on the night of his death. After visiting Epsom to see his horse, late on the previous evening, Sir John and Lady Burslem took a rapid and unexpected trip back to his London house, where he made a new will leaving everything to the sole control of his young wife; he was next seen at a parking station in the south of London at around three o'clock in the morning---and never seen alive again. Also baffling is the ballistics evidence, which concludes that the gun found in the ditch, just at a distance from the body to which the killer may have thrown it, was not the weapon with which Sir John was killed. Moreover, Sir John's own overcoat is discovered, hidden in the cellar of the London house and stained with blood---and when Stoddart attempts to question the valet, Ellerby, about his master's movements and his change of clothing, it is discovered that he has disappeared---or worse...

    "No theory that I can form in any way fits the case," said Harbord. "Why should Sir John bring his wife home hurriedly, draw up a will, rush his car to that parking place, and then tear back to Hughlin's Wood and get himself murdered? It sounds quite mad, but I suppose it is what really happened."
    "Suppose!" the inspector echoed, looking at his young subordinate keenly. "Not much supposition about it. We know it happened. What bee have you got in your bonnet?"
    "Well, I suppose you will say it is worse than that... This case intrigues me more than I can say. I think of it all day and lie awake at night trying to think of some possible solution. Last night, like an inspiration, it flashed across me---impersonation... Suppose an appointment was made for that night of June 2nd at Hughlin's Wood. And supposing, just supposing for argument's sake, that the murderer assumed is victim's identity, drove the car back to town, forged the new will, and left the car in the parking place. On that theory alone can we explain certain happenings."
    "Can we explain them on that theory?" the inspector questioned, his face very grave. "Be careful, Harbord: do you realise what your words imply?"
    "I think so," Harbord answered, his face distinctly whiter, but his eyes like steel as he faced his superior squarely. "A man's nearest and dearest have conspired to get him out of the way before now; also a murderer has passed as his victim..."

Dec 14, 2019, 9:29pm

Excellent review!
And the book sounds pretty good, too. I usually try to leave lots of time between books by authors who, shall we say, have a limited repertoire of ideas. It helps me enjoy their work much more.

Dec 14, 2019, 10:18pm

>128 bohemima:

Thank you! Yes, I usually try to space series works out too but for several reasons I ended up reading Haynes' 2nd to 4th Inspector Stoddart books close together and it did no-one any favours.

Dec 15, 2019, 12:07am

Who Killed Charmian Karslake? - Having refused a great many flattering invitations, the celebrated American stage-actress, Charmian Karslake, surprises everyone by agreeing to attend a ball given by Sir Arthur and Lady Penn-Morton at their country house, to celebrate the marriage of the baronet's young brother, Richard, to an heiress. Both the party and its guest are a great success; certainly no-one is expecting the shocking discovery, made the next morning, that Charmian Karslake has been shot dead. Her famous sapphire necklace is missing; yet the idea that she was killed for it is offset by the fact that, after her death, someone took the trouble to lift her up onto her bed... The third of Annie Haynes' Inspector Stoddart mysteries, Who Killed Charmian Karslake? has most of the same strengths and weaknesses as its predecessor, The Crime At Tattenham Corner---particularly an exasperating tendency to excuse the upper classes their misbehaviour while coming down on the working-classes like a ton of bricks. At the same time, there is a little more clear-sightedness this time about class differences and privileges: everyone in Hepton knows everything about the Penn-Mortons, on whom they depend, but who in turn tend to think of the locals only as "our people", a faceless, homogenous mass; and it eventually emerges that, in her youth, Charmian married a "gentleman" who employed a false name for the occasion, and was soon glad to see the back of his lower-class wife. The main strength of Who Killed Charmian Karslake, however, is its an enjoyably complicated mystery which requires the inspector and his faithful sidekick, Harbord, to dig deep into the hidden past of the victim. Though generally known as an American, and having supposedly never been in England before, it seems that Charmian may in fact have been, not merely English, but from the same district in which Hepton Abbey is situated; perhaps explaining her acceptance of Lady Penn-Morton's invitation. It seems clear also that "Charmian Karslake" was not the actress's real name, but who she really was and what brought her to Hepton are mysteries which Stoddart must solve before he can begin to solve her murder. At length learning of Charmian's real identity, and the fact of her early marriage, Stoddart concludes that, deliberately or accidentally, Charmian encountered her husband at Hepton---perhaps, thereby, giving him more than sufficient motive. Through the evidence of a maidservant, Stoddart learns of Charmian's meeting with an unknown man whom she greeted as "Peter Hailsham", and that Paula Galbraith, a relative of the Penn-Mortons, must have overheard at least some of the scene that followed. Yet Paula, when questioned, denied any such knowledge; Paula, who has just become engaged to rising barrister, John Larpent, another guest at the ball. Nevertheless, suspicion begins to grow with respect to the recently married Dicky Penn-Morton---at least until his young bride is viciously struck down...

    "If it was a man who was guilty of the double tragedy---of which I have little doubt---we now have an opportunity of going through the rooms of the three men who were in the Abbey upon whom general suspicion has focused itself: Sir Arthur Penn-Morton, his brother, and John Larpent..."
    "It seems to me that lack of motive is the weak point with regard to any of the three," Harbord said reflectively, letting his cigarette go out while he pondered over the point.
    The inspector nodded. "Ah, we haven't come across that yet. My idea is that one of these three had been up to larks with the young Sylvia Gossett, who probably like her mamma was no better than she should be. How far matters may have gone we don't know, but far enough apparently to make it a matter of grave importance and the need for silence imperative. 'Charmian Karslake', I take it, was shot by accident or, at the most, with her own revolver in a fit of passion. The attack on Mrs Richard is a different thing altogether. Her possession of the sapphire ball evidently meant danger to someone; for all we know, there may have been something in the box that would have given the show hopelessly away..."

Dec 16, 2019, 6:48pm

Best-selling books in the United States for 1951:

1. From Here to Eternity by James Jones
2. The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk
3. Moses by Sholem Asch
4. The Cardinal by Henry Morton Robinson
5. A Woman Called Fancy by Frank Yerby
6. The Cruel Sea by Nicholas Monsarrat
7. Melville Goodwin, U.S.A. by John P. Marquand
8. Return to Paradise by James A. Michener
9. The Foundling by Cardinal Spellman
10. The Wanderer by Mika Waltari

The war and its aftermath dominated American reading in 1951, with religion - sometimes woven in and sometimes as a standalone - giving those themes a run for their money.

The only real outlier here is Frank Yerby's A Woman Called Fancy, another of his historical dramas, this one about an improbably perfect young woman in late 19th century New Orleans.

Henry Morton Robinson's The Cardinal is a holdover from the 1950 list, where it was #1 (reviewed here). Sholem Asch's Moses is a biblical / biographical novel offering a vivid portrait of the Jews before and during the Exodus (religion dominates, but there is a war allegory too). Francis Spellman's The Foundling is about a boy raised in a Catholic orphanage, whose musical aspirations are overwhelmed by the coming of war. Mika Walteri's The Wanderer is a 16th century historical drama about two brothers making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, but who are captured and sold into slavery by Turkish pirates.

James A. Michener's Return To Paradise is a mixture of essays and short stories about the nations and peoples of the South Pacific, but with the shadow of the war cast over several works in the collection. John P. Marquand's Melville Goodwin, U.S.A. is an examination of what happens to a professional soldier once a war is over. Nicholas Monserrat's The Cruel Sea is about the WWII naval conflict between Britain and Germany. Herman Wouk's The Caine Mutiny is about the growing unrest of the men of a minesweeper under a captain whose martinet ways may hint at mental instability.

The #1 book of 1951 also offered an extremely jaundiced view of military life, this time in a novel set prior to America's entry into WWII: James Jones' From Here To Eternity.

Edited: Dec 17, 2019, 11:47pm

James Ramon Jones was born in Illinois in 1921. During the Depression, his family lost all their money, Forcing Jones to make an unexpected decision about his future. He chose to enlist in the army, and spent the two years prior to America's entry into WWII at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii---where he was still stationed during the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Jones' subsequent combat experience was chiefly at Guadalcanal, where he was wounded. He was subsequently sent home and discharged in 1944.

Jones began writing during his time in combat, and these first efforts became From Here To Eternity. Published in 1951, this shocking expose of the peacetime American army, and the events leading up to Pearl Harbor, was an immediate success: it became America's best-selling book of the year, and also won 1952's National Book Award---although not without dissent and controversy. Jones' novel scandalised many with its profanity and scatological elements, as well as its scathing portrait of abuse of power in the military; an uncensored version of the text was not released until 2011.

After this staggering initial success, Jones' personal and professional lives took some odd turns. He was involved in the founding of the Hanby Writers' Colony, along with his then-mistress, Lowney Hanby, and her husband. He broke away seven years later, marrying and moving to Paris, where he and his wife, Gloria, became part of the second generation of "Americans in Paris". Eventually Jones turned to journalism, including covering the Vietnam War.

Success and celebrity seem to have interfered with Jones' artistic efforts, and although he wrote another seven novels, plus some short stories and non-fiction, he never came anywhere near replicating his first success. However, his further writings have since been reassessed, and his "war trilogy" - including 1962's The Thin Red Line and the posthumous Whistle (left unfinished, but completed from Jones' notes by Willie Morris) - is now considered a single overarching statement on "war and the human condition".

Edited: Dec 18, 2019, 12:43am

From Here To Eternity - Schofield Barracks, Oahu, 1941. When he is passed over for First Bugler of the special duty Bugle Corps, Robert E. Lee Prewitt stubbornly transfers out, even though it means demotion. He is accepted into G Company, a straight-duty rifle company under the command of Colonel Dana Holmes. Prewitt knows that he may be buying trouble: Holmes is the regimental boxing coach, and Prewitt is a talented boxer---but one who gave up fighting after he accidentally blinded his sparring partner. Prewitt concludes that Holmes can't force him to fight; but he fails to understand the degree to which Holmes' military standing is dictated, not by his men's performance as soldiers, but their success in the sporting arena. When Prewitt sticks doggedly to his refusal, he is subjected to an increasing brutal regimen known as "The Treatment". Eventually, however, he finds some escape from his troubles in the friendship of perpetual screw-up, Angelo Maggio, and an increasingly exclusive connection with a Honolulu prostitute called Lorene... Meanwhile, First Sergeant Milton Warden, who does the majority of the work involved in actually running G Company, becomes increasingly distracted from his duties by his torrid affair with his commanding officer's wife, Karen... Published in 1951, James Jones' debut novel was an immediate critical success---but a succès de scandale too, for its profanity and frank sexuality, and for its exposure of the worst that army life could dish out. It is very evident that Jones was writing from personal experience, and the novel captures both the camaraderie of the "dog soldier" and the parallel hostility between the ranks. However, the novel fails at a critical juncture, which is that it never succeeds in explaining Prewitt's "love of the army" or his decision to become "a thirty-year man", which - supposedly - give him the strength to get beyond both the individual rancor that the results in "The Treatment" and the varieties of incompetence and abuse of power that he encounters along the way. This is in fact a novel that is stronger away from its central plot-threads, in its shrewd characterisations of pugnacious New Yorker, Maggio, and cook extraordinaire, Mess Sergeant Maylon Stark, and in its understanding of Depression-era socioeconomics and politics, which saw so many young men (James Jones included) turn to the army for a place to call their own. Meanwhile, though Warden is clearly Jones' idea of what a "real soldier" should be, Prewitt's capacity to do the wrong thing at just the wrong moment makes him a problematic and often exasperating protagonist, particularly in a novel this long. Another issue is the novel's overt hostility towards women: it is no coincidence that its paired "heroines" are a prostitute and an adulterous wife. In the world of From Here To Eternity, women serve a single purpose, and anything beyond that is a trap which men must avoid or lose their souls. In perhaps the novel's most daring touch (which survives despite the censor's best efforts), some of the soldiers avoid the "woman problem" altogether and find sexual comfort and companionship - and in some cases, earn a few dollars on the side - amongst other men. From Here To Eternity is, quite deliberately, an often ugly work. This in itself is not an issue, but rather that Jones maintains his level of ugliness while writing his subject matter into the ground: this is one of the many post-war American novels that would have benefited from the services of a clear-sighted editor. As it stands, the novel is a physically, rather than emotionally, gruelling experience---even to the point (I hope I shall be excused this remark!) where you find yourself wishing for Japanese bombs to start dropping. The final section of From Here To Eternity, describing from personal experience the events of the 7th of December, 1941, has a vivid immediacy often lacking in the rest of the book. Be warned, however: these events occupy well under a quarter of the novel, so if you are reading for Pearl Harbor you would be better to look elsewhere.

    "SD men and jockstraps are all the same, fugitives from straight duty. They aint got what it takes so they ride the gravytrain."
    "And make life a hellhole for every one they can, like you."
    "I dont make life hell for nobody. I'm only the instrument of a laughing Providence. Sometimes I dont like it myself, but I couldnt help it if I was born smart."
    "We cant all be smart," Prew said.
    "Thats right," Warden nodded. "We cant. Its a shame too. You been in the army what now? Five years? Fiveanahalf? Its about time for you to get over bein a punk ree-croot and begin to get smart, aint it? That is, if you're ever goin to."
    "Maybe I'd ruther not be smart."
    Warden unfolded his arms and proceeded to light a cigaret, lazily, taking his time. "You had a soft deal as a bugler," he said, "but you toss it up because Queer Houston hurt your feelins. And then you turn Holmes down when he wants you for his boxing squad," he said, mincing the words. "You should of took him up, Prewitt. You wont like straight duty in my compny."
    "I can soljer with any man," Prew said. "I'll take my chances."
    "Okay," Warden said. "So what? Since when has bein a good soljer had anything to do with the Army?"

Dec 19, 2019, 5:46pm

Endless Night - Michael Rogers is - as he would be the first to admit - a bit of a waster, given to grandiose dreams but without any inclination for the hard work that might bring them to fruition. Employed for the moment as a chauffeur, Michael is kicking his heels one day in the village of Kingston Bishop, waiting to drive his current clients back to London, when he sees a bill of sale for a property called 'The Towers', but which he learns is known locally as 'Gypsy's Acre'---and which has a gypsy curse on it to go along with the name. Seeing the land in question, he is seized with an impossible dream of the house that might be built upon it... It is a momentous afternoon for Michael, despite the shadow thrown over it by a palm-reading which, in place of the usual fair fortune, comprises a warning to get out the district and stay out. It is that afternoon when he first meets Ellie... Though both are conscious of barriers between them, there is also an immediate connection between Michael and Ellie. The two continue to meet, and gradually Michael learns that his Ellie is Fenella Guteman, an American heiress of great wealth, who has briefly slipped away from the life of stifling control imposed upon her by her step-mother and trustees. It is also she who bought Gypsy's Acre... With the help of Ellie's au pair-turned-companion, Greta Anderson, Michael and Ellie marry without the knowledge of her family. The architect, Rudolf Santonix, an acquaintance of Michael's, takes on the task of building their dream home. But although Gypsy's Acre is everything the two have dreamed, in time it seems that the local belief in a curse upon the land is more than just a story... Endless Night is perhaps the strangest of all Agatha Christie's novels: an unclassifiable work that has elements of mystery and crime, but whose outstanding feature is its profound sense of melancholy. The sad and rather creepy poem by William Blake from which the novel takes is title is deployed throughout as a motif, and brings with it a sense of doom underscored by such details as the failing health of Santonix, who must race against time to complete the house at Gypsy's Acre. Michael Rogers is an usual protagonist for Christie, not least because of his working-class background. He is a young man very aware of, and sufficiently frank about, his own shortcomings; though there is also an understandable measure of denial in the way Michael rejects the condemnations of his shrewd but weary mother. Michael's own conviction, that there is more to him than his circumstances have allowed him to show, seems to find confirmation in his winning of the shy and gentle Ellie, and of the manifestation of his wildest dreams of success in their house. However, the happiness of the newlyweds comes under threat from outside forces: the disapproval and suspicion of Ellie's family, trustees and legal advisors, who look upon Michael as an unwanted interloper; several unpleasant incidents, which seem designed to try and drive the couple away from Gypsy's Acre; and the arrival upon the scene of Greta, who as a result of her assistance of the couple has lost her job. Greta is almost the antithesis of Ellie: tall, blonde and beautiful; cool and efficient; and from the start, Michael takes an instinctive dislike to her, resenting particularly her influence over Ellie. And indeed, Greta's arrival not only breaks up the couple's quiet happiness, but seems to set in motion a series of events that end in tragedy...

    "Somebody is trying to drive us away, Mike. To drive us away from the house we've built, the house we love."
    "We won't let them drive us away," I said. I added, "I'll take care of you. Nothing shall hurt you."
    Ellie looked again at Santonix. "You should know," she said, "you've been here while the house was building. Did anyone say anything to you? Come and throw stones---interfere with the building of the house?"
    "One can imagine things," said Santonix.
    "There were incidents, then?"
    "There are always a few accidents in the building of a house. Nothing serious or tragic. A man falls off a ladder, someone drops a load on his foot, someone gets a splinter in his thumb and it goes septic."
    "Nothing more than that? Nothing that might have been meant?
    "No," said Santonix, "no. I swear to you, no!"
    Ellie turned to me. "You remember that gypsy woman, Mike. How queer she was that day, how she warned me not to come here... We've built on Gypsy's Acre," said Ellie. "We've done what she told us not to do." Then she stamped her foot. "I won't let them drive me away. I won't let anyone drive me away!"
    "Nobody shall drive us away," I said. "We're going to be happy here."
    We said it like a challenge to fate...

Edited: Dec 19, 2019, 6:02pm

September stats:

Works read: 10
TIOLI: 10, in 8 different challenges, with 2 shared reads

Mystery / thriller: 6
Contemporary drama: 1
Historical drama: 1
Short stories: 1
Non-fiction: 1

Re-reads: 2
Series works: 5
Blog reads: 0
1932: 0
1931: 2
Virago / Persephone: 0
Potential decommission: 1

Owned: 3
Library: 3
Ebooks: 4

Male authors : female authors: 6 : 4

Oldest work: Thaddeus Of Warsaw by Jane Porter (1803)
Newest work: The Shadow Of Death: The Hunt For A Serial Killer by Philip E. Ginsburg (1993)


YTD stats:

Works read: 106
TIOLI: 106, in 92 different challenges, with 12 shared reads

Mystery / thriller: 50
Classics: 16
Contemporary drama: 15
Non-fiction: 9
Historical drama: 7
Short stories: 4
Young adult: 3
Humour: 1
Horror: 1

Re-reads: 17
Series works: 48
Blog reads: 4
1932: 2
1931: 12
Virago / Persephone: 2
Potential decommission: 4

Owned: 25
Library: 40
Ebooks: 41

Male authors : female authors : 62 : 45

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)

Dec 19, 2019, 6:04pm

Wore myself out doing that...

Dec 19, 2019, 6:52pm

>134 lyzard: I believe I've seen Endless Night described as a "fine late flowering" from Christie.

Dec 19, 2019, 8:43pm


I've toyed with the idea that I should read From Here to Eternity someday, but you've cured me of that notion, so thanks!

And Endless Night is not one of Dame Agatha's offerings that I've read yet. Must put it on the list once I've finished off Poirot ...

Dec 20, 2019, 1:57am

>137 NinieB:

It was probably the last book she finished before her health issues really kicked in and impaired her ability to write at her normal standard. It's a very dark book so perhaps she knew there were difficult times ahead. :(

>138 rosalita:


There are many who disagree with me (though Dejah, who read it with me, did not!), so you should probably give it a try sometime.

Do so by all means. Where are you up to with Hercule?

Dec 20, 2019, 5:15am

Hercule Poirot's Christmas was the last one I read, which I see in my catalog was way back in September! Time to add another one to the Up Next queue at the library!

Dec 20, 2019, 6:28am

>134 lyzard: I really must get to that one. Endless Night is one of better regarded of her books isn't it? I always enjoyed Poirot and Marple but the none-series stuff less so. Seems I should re-evaluate.

Have a wonderful weekend, Liz.

Edited: Dec 20, 2019, 5:55pm

>140 rosalita:

I see you have as much success timing your 'event' books as I do (i.e. Hallowe'en Party in November!).

So...assuming you've read Appointment With Death ... which you should have read before Hercule Poirot's Christmas :D ... next up would be Sad Cypress, which is another lesser-known one I really like.

>141 PaulCranswick:

Hi, Paul - thank you! Actually several of the standalones are among my favourite Christies. Perhaps because the Poirots and Marples get pushed at you, but the standalones you usually have to discover on your own.

Dec 20, 2019, 3:38pm

Finished Passenger To Frankfurt for (after some shuffling of my completed books) TIOLI #16.

Now reading (ahem) The Impenetrable Secret, Find It Out! by Francis Lathom.

Dec 20, 2019, 4:00pm

While I'm generally terrible at the ThingAversary book-buying tradition, this morning I had an unplanned (mini) Kindle shopping spree which I'm justifying as "a Christmas present to myself".

I went there in the first place to buy a copy of The Impenetrable Secret, Find It Out!, a Minerva Press Gothic novel revived by the thoroughly delightful people at Valancourt Books, which I am reading as the 1805 book for my 'Century Of Reading' challenge.

(Thus violating my own imposed rule of a significant book from each year. Technically I should probably be reading Maria Edgeworth's The Modern Griselda, and I wouldn't be surprised if conscience drove me back to it at some point.)

While at Amazon I had a very pleasant shock: Thomas Cobb's Inspector Bedison And The Sunderland Case was listed in my 'based on your previous purchases' section. I had previously written off the 2nd-to-4th books in this short series as unavailable, given the lapse in time after the appearance of the first, The Crime Without A Clue; but for some mysterious reason, the also delightful people at Black Heath have belatedly resurrected the rest of this short series. To be honest, I think their time might have been better spent - The Crime Without A Clue is pretty terrible, actually - but nevertheless this discovery made my completist's heart bound.

And I finally remembered another purchase I had meant to make, though in this case in the spirit of demonstrating that there is a demand out there. I very much enjoyed the three works I was able to find previously by "Moray Dalton" (Katherine Renoir), but the rest of her mysteries were unavailable: one of those cases of a better writer disappearing while inferior ones were reprinted. Then suddenly this year, the very definitely delightful people at the Dean Street Press reissued five of her books---unfortunately though not surprisingly the three I'd read (One By One They Disappeared, The Body In The Road and The Night Of Fear), but also two I hadn't, Death In The Cup and The Strange Case Of Harriet Hall.


Dec 20, 2019, 5:12pm

>144 lyzard: The Passing Tramp has been writing about Moray Dalton:

Dec 20, 2019, 5:23pm

>145 NinieB:

Ooh, lovely, thank you! :)

Edited: Dec 23, 2019, 5:16pm

I still have two and a half months of reviews to get written, so naturally I'm thinking about next year's reading. :)

Having received a mixture of 'January', 'February" and 'don't mind' responses, I'm thinking of beginning the group read of Anthony Trollope's The Bertrams midway through January, when the beginning-of-year madness has had time to settle down, and to take it through to the end of February.

We had trouble this year in keeping our reading groups together, with some people rushing through and others unable to keep up for various reasons, which naturally impairs conversation. I am hoping for more united ventures next year, though of course people's outside circumstances are always going to have an impact.

For myself---I know I say this every time, but I really do want to put more focus upon my blog, even if this means pulling back on my general reading. I want to get at least one blog post written per month, and really try for a minimum of two. I think the best way of encouraging myself to this is to construct a shortlist of potential reads each month, and then use TIOLI to make my choices.

Of course, the reading is one thing, the writing quite another. :D

I also feel that I want to put more focus on my 'C. K. Shorter' and 'Century Of Reading' challenges, which means a larger proportion of 19th century works.

To balance this out, I will try to be consistent in my 'random reading' and 'potential decommission' challenges, which bring at least some more recent material into my lists.

At the same time (as probably goes without saying!) the mystery reading will continue unabated. I would also very much like to progress more rapidly with my examination of early detective fiction---knowing that this will require knuckling down on the rest of George Reynolds' mammoth penny-dreadfuls: no light undertaking, as each individual volume - not even book! - represents about a week's reading! (Not to mention the subsequent blogging...)

I would also like to be better about making the time for at least one "read in the library" book per month. These books too are mostly mysteries, but not entirely.

Looking back over these notes, I'm rather painfully aware that I'm not going to be doing much to encourage conversation around here!...but hopefully my few but very much appreciated visitors will continue to bear with me. :)

Potential January reading:


The Bertrams by Anthony Trollope {group read}
Ralph The Bailiff, And Other Tales by Mary Elizabeth Braddon {blogging: Authors In Depth}
Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk {best-seller challenge}
Nemesis by Agatha Christie {chronological challenge}


Leandro; or, The Lucky Rescue by James Smythies {chronobibliography} or Pique by Sarah Stickney Ellis {reading roulette} or Reginald du Bray by 'a late nobleman' {Gothic novels} or Louisa Egerton by Mary Leman Grimstone {Australian fiction} or Wilhelm Meister's Travels by Johann Goethe {silver-fork novels}

Reading in the library:
Mystery At Greycombe Farm by John Rhode or The Back-Seat Murder by Herman Landon or One-Man Girl by Maysie Grieg

Century of Reading challenge: 1806:
The Wild Irish Girl by Sydney Owenson or Leonora by Maria Edgeworth or Zofloya; or, The Moor by Charlotte Dacre

C. K. Shorter challenge:
The Last Of The Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper

Banned in Boston challenge:
Oil! by Upton Sinclair

Mystery League challenge:
Death Walks In Eastrepps by Francis Beeding

Potential decommission:
Faces In The Smoke by Douchan Gersi

Dec 20, 2019, 7:19pm

So...assuming you've read Appointment With Death ... which you should have read before Hercule Poirot's Christmas :D

(After hastily checking my catalog ...) YES! I gave Appointment with Death 4 stars. It's been one of my favorites, mostly because the murder victim did so thoroughly deserve to be murdered!

And thanks for the info about what's next. The LT Series lists The Regatta Mystery and Other Stories as next up, but neither of my libraries has that one, so I was contemplating having to skip it. I've now got Sad Cypress on hold. :-)

Hooray for your Kindle bounty! You got as close as possible in the digital realm of the serendipity of discovering a much-sought-after book stuck on a back shelf in the used book store. So much fun!

Re: Your 2020 reading plans ... good luck, sister! I think you're going to need it. :-)

Dec 20, 2019, 8:29pm

>147 lyzard: I might join you on the Francis Beeding, Liz. I picked the book up a couple of years ago and it is due a read.

Edited: Dec 20, 2019, 8:37pm

>148 rosalita:

Excellent! - good girl. :)

The Regatta Mystery was only ever published in America, so some people {*cough, cough*} don't regard it as canon. It's one of those collections that features several detectives rather than focusing on one. I intend to chase up Christie's stray short stories when I have completed the novels, though, so I might get to it one day.

It was an exciting moment! - I love being able to delete books from my "unavailable series works" list.

Ha! - you speak truth, sister! :D

>149 PaulCranswick:

I'd love to have you, Paul! Death Walks In Eastrepps is a re-read for me, but I don't mind: it's one of the earliest serial-killer mysteries (not that the term is used, of course), and a very interesting book.

I'm not nailed down to January or February for that one, so let me know if you have a preference.

Dec 20, 2019, 8:55pm

>150 lyzard: I should be able to fit it into January, Liz. I always go into the new year with high and unfailingly high expectations.

Dec 21, 2019, 3:04pm

>151 PaulCranswick:

Know all about those New Year delusions! :D

Dec 21, 2019, 3:05pm

Finished The Impenetrable Secret, Find It Out! for TIOLI #7.

Now reading Asta's Book by Barbara Vine.

Dec 22, 2019, 6:34pm

I promessi sposi (translation title: The Betrothed) - First published in 1827, though undergoing subsequent revisions for reasons deeply entwined in its very purpose, Alessandro Manzoni's historical drama The Betrothed was almost immediately acclaimed as a masterpiece, and is now generally known as one of the greatest Italian novels. It is certainly a work of great historical accuracy (not always the case in this genre!). Set in northern Italy, chiefly in the Duchy of Milan and the Republic of Venice, during the early 17th century, The Betrothed is at its simplest the story of a devoted young couple's struggle to be together; more correctly, it is a depiction of ordinary people overwhelmed by history. The wedding of Lorenzo Tramaglino, a young silk-weaver, and the beautiful and devout Lucia Mondella is imminent when their priest, Don Abbondio, is approached by two bravos in the service of the powerful Don Rodrigo and warned not to perform the ceremony. The Spanish nobleman not only desires Lucia for himself, he has made a wager with his cousin that he will possess her; and it is his determination not to "lose face" that drives him in his increasingly violent attempts to get Lucia into his grasp. The frightened Don Abbondio tries to obey Don Rodrigo's edict, though his refusal to marry the young couple is in violation of his vows. Lucia sends a message to their former priest, Father Cristoforo, at his Capuchin monastery, begging for his guidance; while Renzo seeks a way to force or trick Don Abbondio into fulfilling his commitments. Both of these efforts backfire, and Renzo, Lucia, and Lucia's mother Agnese, are forced to flee their village to escape the violence of Don Rodrigo. Father Cristoforo arranges for Lucia to find a refuge in a convent in Monza; while Renzo is sent to Milan with a letter of introduction to the friars. However, before he can deliver his message, Renzo finds himself caught up in the bread-riots that are afflicting the impoverished city and, through a series of unfortunate misunderstandings, finds himself a hunted fugitive... Written against the European upheavals of the first half of the 19th century, and at a time before unification, when several Italian states were still under foreign rule, The Betrothed is a powerful examination of the sufferings of a people when their homeland becomes a political prize---or a political football---and, simultaneously, a protest and a cry for liberty. The novel's role in the burgeoning Italian struggle for independence is reflected in Alessandro Manzoni's agonising over what language, or dialect, to write his novel in---such that fifteen years after its initial publication, he rewrote the entire book in what we may now call "Italian", but which was then a literary language based upon the Tuscan dialect, spoken only in the upper classes of Florence: an act which significantly influenced the adoption of this dialect as "the" Italian language and made The Betrothed a focal point for the unification movement. (This 1842 edition is now considered the definitive text.) The novel also reflects Manzoni's re-embrace of Catholicism, with two of its most prominent characters being Father Cristoforo, a sinner in his youth whose submission to church discipline brings out the best in him, and Federico Borromeo, one of the novel's many real historical figures: the contemporary Archbishop of Milan, who Manzoni presents as a powerful yet saintly figure. This said, however, Manzoni was well aware that priests were just men; and the cowardly, self-serving Don Abbondio is treated with a certain indulgent humour. There is also the intriguing character called "The Unnamed" (based upon Francesco Visconti, a corrupt aristocrat turned brigand), who is brought to repentance and reformation by Cardinal Borromeo. Renzo and Lucia themselves are less memorable, although their enforced separation brings each of them into touch with important historical figures, and places them at the scene of critical events. The Betrothed depicts the Spanish rule of Milan, an aspect of the novel usually interpreted as a protest against contemporary Austrian rule. The novel dwells upon the helplessness of the local people in the face of the struggle for possession of the territory between the Spanish and the invading German armies, and the looting and pillaging of their mercenary forces. Lucia's time in the convent wins her an ambiguous friend in the form of "the Nun of Monza" (an embittered noblewoman forced to take the veil, and subsequently notorious for her very unholy behaviour); while Renzo is caught up first in the mob violence that was the local response to increasing famine, and later accused of being a foreign agitator hired to spread infection during an outbreak of plague. Its graphic and lengthy account of the Milanese plague of 1630 is perhaps the most powerful aspect of The Betrothed; yet despite his narrative being subsumed in the misery of war and famine, Manzoni never loses faith in his ordinary people, nor his belief in the importance of ordinary happiness; and he devotes the last section of his novel to the re-establishment of something like normality, and the resolution of the travails of Renzo and Lucia.

    "Listen now," said Father Cristoforo. "Today Father Felice, who is in charge of the lazaretto here, is taking away the few people who have recovered from the plague, to complete their period of quarantine elsewhere... Search for her there; and let your heart be full of faith, but also full of resignation to the will of Heaven. For you must remember that what you ask is not a small thing. You are asking the lazaretto to give up not the dead, but the living! You do not know how many times I have seen my poor folk here completely replaced by newcomers, how many I have seen carried away, how few I have seen walk out! Go, my son; but go prepared to make an offering of all..."
    "Yes, father, I understand," interrupted Renzo. His eyes began to roll strangely in his head, and his face took on quite a different look. "I understand as well as anyone could. I'll go; I'll look for her, up and down, and to and fro, all through the lazaretto, from end to end and from side to side. And if I don't find her...why...!"
    "What then?" said the friar, in a serious, questioning manner, and with an adminitory glance.
    But Renzo was beside himself with rage which the idea of not finding Lucia had rekindled in his heart. "If I don't find her," he went on, "there's someone else I'll look for. Whether it's in Milan, or in his cursed palace, or at the end of the world, or at the gates of hell, I'll find that swine who separated us; for if it wasn't for him Lucia would have been my wife these last twenty months, and, if we'd had to die, at least we could have died together. If he's alive, I'll find him and..."
    "Renzo!" said the friar, seizing him by the arm, and looking at him yet more severely.
    "And if I find him," said Renzo, now quite blind with rage, "if the plague hasn't already done justice on him...why, the time's past when a cowardly blackguard with a train of bravos at his back could reduce people to desperation and laugh at the consequences. It's a time now for men to meet each other face to face...and then justice will be done---by me!"

Edited: Dec 23, 2019, 4:31pm


Tell me, O my visitors (you know who you are!), is there a common term for the sort of book that divides its narrative between someone in the past and someone in the present? I know there have been a clutch of these lately but not whether there is a way such books are commonly described.

I've been using the obvious "divided narrative" but wondered if there was another descriptor?

Edited: Dec 27, 2019, 5:48pm

And yes, that does mean I've finished Asta's Book, for TIOLI #17.

I'm a bit stranded now. I do have one more book that would fit an open TIOLI slot, but otherwise find myself stumped: there is a definite lack of books on my lists dealing with winter, Christmas and/or snow. :D

I also think I've spent too long making my grandiose plans for next year, without thinking about how to wrap up this one.

I shall ponder...

Afterthought: I would give anything for a copy of Wilhelm Meister's Travels with snow on the cover...

Dec 23, 2019, 5:00pm

>155 lyzard: I've ended up with dual timeframe or dual timeline, but not sure that's any cleaner a description than you have invented. It is an interesting style to adopt and can lead to all sprts of plot twists if done well.
I can suggest you avoid Labyrinth by Kate Mosse as an example of this style that was not done well...

Dec 23, 2019, 5:07pm

>157 Helenliz:

Ah yes, thanks for that. I think "dual timeframe" expresses the situation better: "divided narrative" can mean you have two narrators, rather than two time periods.

Split timeframe? Something with "time" in it, anyway. :)

Thank you also for the warning. Asta's Book uses the approach rather well, in that the whole point is contemporary people trying to solve mysteries from a couple of generations back (one overt crime mystery, one very personal) by interpreting a set of diaries. I haven't read much of this sort of book but from the comments of others I gather that some of them fall into the trap of doing it just to do it?

I'm wondering now - Asta's Book is from 1993 - whether it would have been one of the first of this style?

Dec 23, 2019, 5:39pm


You know that thing where you assume something will be available as an ebook because everything else in the series is...and it isn't?


By convoluted channels, now reading The Sleuth Of St. James's Square by Melville Davisson Post.

Edited: Dec 23, 2019, 7:05pm

>158 lyzard: I am the opposite of an authority in this genre, but the earliest that comes to my mind is A.S. Byatt's Possession (1990), as I remember there being much comment at the time about the innovative narrative structure with contemporary and historical threads.

I expect the ur-example depends (as usual) on definitions, since there are probably plenty of time-travel stories that fit loose ones. John Barth's Chimera (1972) comes to mind, the first section of which -- and I may be misremembering this -- has threads that follow both the author in the present and Scheherazade in a probably mythical past. But I think that's not the sort of thing you have in mind, since the author and Scheherazade are able to communicate with each other.

Dec 23, 2019, 9:19pm

>160 swynn:

Hi, Steve - thanks for weighing in. Yes, that sounds about right; and it would place Asta's Book in the first wave, perhaps the first to build around the solving of an old mystery?

The French Lieutenant's Woman has just come to mind. I guess that isn't quite the same thing, but perhaps it was an influence?

And yes again, communication between the two times would place it in a different category. On the other hand it sounds as if a lot of these books founder on not sufficiently linking the two times.

Edited: Dec 23, 2019, 10:43pm

The Crystal Beads Murder - Young Harold Courtney confesses to his sister, Anne, that he is facing ruin---and worse. Desperate in debt, Harold first misappropriated funds, then forged a name on a bill in order to get a loan to cover them. Discovering the fraudulent use of his name, the ruthless Robert Sanderson is now threatening to prosecute. Knowing that Sanderson is very much attracted to Anne, Harold begs her to intervene for him, to which she reluctantly agrees. She and Harry are staying at Holford Hall, the estate of Lord and Lady Medchester, where until recently Sanderson, too, was a guest. Anne sends him a note asking him to meet her at night in the summer-house... When Robert Sanderson is found shot dead, Inspector Stoddart of Scotland Yard travels to Holford Hall, to assist the local man, Superintendent Mayer. The detectives soon learn that Sanderson had departed Holford Hall, and that his hosts were not expecting him back; his presence in the grounds suggests a secret meeting---or perhaps, given Sanderson's reputation as a ladies' man, an assignation. The only clue found at the scene are a small cluster of crystals beads, evidently from a woman's broken necklace, which are found in the dead man's pocket---and which Superintendent Mayer swears were not there when he first searched the body... The final entry in Annie Haynes short series featuring Inspector Stoddart was left uncompleted when the author died in 1929; the manuscript was later finished and published under Haynes' name by someone referred to in the novel's preface as "also a popular writer of this type of fiction" and as "she"---but who The Passing Tramp contends was Lucy Beatrice Malleson, aka "Anthony Gilbert". But whoever it may have been, we know for certain only that (i) she correctly deduced Haynes' guilty party; and (ii) she did a good job writing in Haynes' style, as there is no obvious point at which the text changes "voice". This is both a good thing and a bad thing, in that while it ensures that The Crystal Beads Murder is, as it should be, "an Annie Haynes' mystery", it also means that the novel exhibits most of the flaws that mark her writing, in particular an overt class snobbishness that (as we know from Haynes' earlier works) tends to dictate the identity of the guilty party, or parties. However, there are some compensations, too. While we are not surprised when a second murder occurs over the course of The Crystal Beads Murder, wholly unexpected is the identity of the second victim: Superintendent Meyer. The killing of a police officer is rare in the British crime fiction of this era (and in fact was discouraged by The Authorities), making this twist all the more shocking. Inspector Stoddart concludes, and rightly, that Mayer had come across a vital clue in the Sanderson case---but what was it? - and how did the killer know...? We are aware from surrounding documentation that the person who completed The Crystal Beads Murder pinned the crimes on the character that Annie Haynes, too, had in mind, and in that respect did a good job. However---the second author did not do quite so good a job coming up with the motive - or at least, we assume not - because, if you really think about the details of the narrative, it becomes apparent that the motive given did not exist at the time of Sanderson's murder...

    "As I see things, it must have been a woman who shot Sanderson---probably he had letters from her. He may have been holding them over her, for he seems to have been a tolerably bad hat where women were concerned. Then she searched his pocket---possibly she knew they were there, and the beads look as if they had been part of a chain, one of those long, dangling things..."
    "There a snag in your theory, Alfred---the beads were not there when the body was found."
    "According to Superintendent Mayer," Harbord corrected. "They were not in the bottom of the pocket, you know, sir. One of the links of the chain had hooked itself in the lining of the pocket. I think it would be quite easy to take papers or anything of that sort without feeling the beads."
    "Only the pocket-book and the papers were lying on the floor," the inspector objected. "No use trying to make facts fit your theory, Alfred. And don't make the mistake of underestimating the superintendent's intelligence. Because he is fat and ponderous and talks with the accent of Loamshire, you do not give him credit for the brains he possesses..."

Dec 24, 2019, 2:19am

Or in other words, Happy Christmas! And have a great New Year as well.

Dec 24, 2019, 2:45am

>163 SandDune:

Thank you so much, Rhian - you too! :)

Dec 24, 2019, 5:42pm

Happy Holidays, Liz!

Dec 25, 2019, 2:52am

Wishing you a Merry Christmas, Liz. May it be filled with esoteric books and love.

Dec 25, 2019, 9:04am

Merry Christmas, Liz!

Dec 25, 2019, 4:33pm

>165 jnwelch:, >166 Helenliz:, >167 harrygbutler:

Thank you, Joe, Helen and Harry! - I hope you guys are having a lovely time. :)

Edited: Dec 25, 2019, 6:32pm

Through The Wall - On one stunning day, Marian Brand learns that she is the sole legatee of an uncle she didn't even know - though he made it his business to know her - and is involved in a serious train accident. Though not injured, Marian is trapped for some hours in the dark, alone with a man called Richard Cunningham. By the time they are freed, Richard has made up his mind that he must see a great deal more of Marian... Under the terms of her uncle's will, Marian inherits both a significant income and a house in the country. Her first thoughts are for what this will enable her to do for her sister, Ina, who is unhappily married to the actor, Cyril Fenton, whose selfish behaviour impacts her already delicate health. Other considerations are less pleasant: Martin Brand's house is already occupied by a number of relatives and connections, who had cause to believe they would be his heirs, and who (as Martin satirically observes in a letter left for Marian) will be impossible to dislodge. Accepting the situation, Marian moves with Ina into one half of the house; the rest is occupied by Florence Brand, Martin's sister-in-law; her sister, Cassy Remington; Florence's step-son, Felix; and a connection of the family called Penny Halliday, who is in love with Felix. The two households are kept strictly separate, connected only by two doors which are always kept locked; almost always... Patricia Wentworth's Through The Wall is an interesting entry in her series featuring Miss Maud Silver. It is a longer work than usual, and more heavily "populated"; and it takes its time building to its inevitable case of murder. Furthermore, though there is, likewise, an inevitable romantic subplot, this is relegated to the edges of the narrative, which is all the stronger for it. And though the focus of Through The Wall is the dark passions building on both sides of the dividing wall at Cove House, this is balanced by a certain humour---most of it involving a domineering cat called Mactavish (the feline equivalent of Wentworth's delightful doggie character in Eternity Ring). Through The Wall finds Miss Silver working independently of her usual Scotland Yard colleagues, and instead going locking horns with the officious Inspector Crisp (and with Randal March caught in the middle). However, it is not murder that first occupies her professional talents, but blackmail. Miss Silver is in the vicinity of Cove House on her own account, holidaying with her niece, when she encounters the singer, Helen Ashton, who is just beginning to work again after straining her voice. Helen's arrival at Cove House has set the seal on everyone's discomfort. Felix Brand has given up composing to work as Helen's accompanist, and his obsession with her is evident to all; but though she toys with Felix's emotions, Helen is on the verge of marrying someone else for his money---or was, until the threats began. Determined to handle the matter without police involvement, Helen turns to Miss Silver... Meanwhile, Marian's delight with her new home, and her cautious happiness in her developing relationship with Richard, are tempered both by the bitter resentment of her housemates and the pressure brought to bear upon Ina by Cyril, who is furious that Ina was left nothing---but has also discovered that, should anything happen to Marian, half the estate would be hers. The other half, should she die without children, would be divided amongst the other relatives... Yet when murder comes to Cove House, it is not Marian who is the victim. On the contrary, the circumstances of the crime make her one of the prime suspects...

    Richard went on in the same quiet, even tone, "The door between the houses is locked on the far side, bolted on the nearer side. It is the same on all three floors. Marian did not go out again, but in the morning when Helen Adrian’s body was discovered this raincoat was down on the terrace from which Helen was pushed or fell. There is a seat there, and it was lying on the seat. But the scarf---"
    "The scarf, Mr. Cunningham?"
    "The blue and yellow square, which I had put back on the same peg, was still there, but it was badly crumpled and stained with blood."
    Miss Silver coughed. "And what deduction do you draw from that?"
    He made an abrupt movement.
    "It looks like an attempt to involve Marian. Her raincoat down on the terrace. It has her name inside the neckband. Her scarf, which everyone knows, messed up and put back on the peg. What else can it be? But it doesn’t tie up with Felix Brand. I can imagine him murdering Helen and swimming out to sea to drown himself afterwards. But I don’t see him taking Marian’s raincoat down to the terrace for one clue, and messing up her scarf and putting it back for another. Murder and suicide are compatible with a state of reckless passion, but not with this cold-blooded attempt to throw suspicion on somebody else. That’s the psychological difficulty. But there’s a physical one too. Those doors between the houses are kept locked on one side, bolted on the other. The outside doors and windows on the ground floor were all shut when we came in soon after seven. I am sure that the scarf and raincoat were still there when I went through the hall just before half past ten, because Marian was talking about the doors between the houses and I glanced along the passage. There was a good overhead light, and I am sure I should have noticed if her coat and scarf had not been there. Well then, how could Felix Brand have taken them? How could anyone in the other house have taken them? Or put the scarf back after it was stained?"

Dec 25, 2019, 6:27pm

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, some other tradition or none at all, this is what I wish for you!

Dec 25, 2019, 9:12pm

>170 ronincats:

Thank you, Roni - best to you and yours! :)

Dec 25, 2019, 9:23pm

Thank you for keeping me company in 2019.......onward to 2020.

Dec 25, 2019, 9:57pm

The Gold Comfit Box (US title: The Mystery Of The Gold Box) - Valentine Williams wrote himself into something of a corner with his novels featuring the terrifying Dr Adolf Grundt, aka "Clubfoot". These were very much of the time of their creation, pre- and post-WWI, when you could get away with writing all sorts of things about "the Hun", and when the state of Europe made it almost anything goes in terms of stories of espionage. It is not surprising, then, to find Williams pushing the re-set button over and over, not so much with respect to a (supposedly) first appearance by Grundt, but his "first encounter" with British agents...which, by my count, now number three. This time around our narrator is Philip Clavering, stationed pre-war in Brussels, and overseeing the thankless task of monitoring a series of potentially unreliable informants. He is therefore closest to the scene when the Berlin-Paris express crashes an hour from Brussels. On that train was a more senior British agent called Charles Forrest: Clavering is sent to the scene to determine whether or not Forrest has been killed and, if the latter, to secure at all cost the antique gold comfit box which he always carried with him. Clavering is bemused and obedient. At the scene he meets the head of the Belgian Secret Police, who tells him that the crash was no accident but, in any event, Forrest was murdered beforehand, and his gold box taken---possibly by a woman in whose company he was seen, and who now cannot be found. It is only when reporting to England that Clavering learns that Forrest was carrying a complete list of British agents working on the German coast: a list which at all cost must be kept out of German hands. Clavering in fact has a clue in his possession: as he was leaving his hotel, a woman involved in the crash arrived; he ventured to question her, but only drove her into a faint. Fortunately, her doctor was nearby - or a man who said he was her doctor - a huge, hirsute, threatening figure with a clubfoot... The Gold Comfit Box is a fair espionage thriller, full of the thrusts and parries and death-traps and narrow escapes at which Williams excelled. Its main flaw (aside from the familiarity of the material, not surprising under the circumstances) is the Clavering's obsession with the beautiful Madeleine Stafford, as he tries to decide who she is working for, and whether she can be trusted---or conversely, whether it was she who murdered Forrest. While this subplot is fair enough in context, Clavering's personal agonies as he starts to fall for Madeleine get tiresome. On the other hand, The Gold Comfit Box also features the brilliantly efficient Margaret "Garnet" Wolseley, secretary to the Chief of the Secret Service, a refreshing figure in this sort of literature...albeit that Williams - almost literally, and with a straight face - eventually has her take off her glasses, shake out her hair, and turn into A Real Woman. Sigh. Still---Grundt himself remains an impressive and convincingly threatening figure; and the back and forth as the characters each try to secure the precious list of names allows Williams to build some good suspense.

    Once seen, the Man with the Clubfoot could never be forgotten. With his barrel chest and mighty torso, his flail-like arms and, before all, his prodigious and repellent hirsuteness, he had left an ineffaceable impression of sheer animal strength upon my mind. But in the week that had elapsed since I first clapped eyes on him, on that night of storm in the lobby of that Brussels hotel, I seemed to have lost sight of the extraordinary atmosphere of menace he spread about him.
    No doubt my perceptive faculties were quickened by the peculiar circumstances of his untoward appearance---that twilit room, the dark and silent woods without, and at the open casement the curtains yet swaying to the terror-stricken haste of my visitor's departure---and by the instant realisation of the acute peril of my position. Whatever the reason, I found something unutterably sinister about this gigantic cripple as he lurked there, his massive head tilted forward and to one side as, with a spry, suspicious air, he sent his glance darting into every nook and cranny of the modest bed-chamber---something sinister and something inexorable, and I quailed.
    My scalp was prickling. I longed to get my hand on my pistol which was in my inside pocket. But this was no time for gun play: if he had followed Brandweis to the inn, he was not alone. My only chance was to bluff myself out of my desperate predicament...

Dec 25, 2019, 11:23pm

By The Pricking Of My Thumbs - As we have discussed before, Tommy and Tuppence Beresford were the only ones among Agatha Christie's bevy of returning characters to age naturally, or almost so; and this novel from 1968 finds them pushing into the territory known as "elderly". There are others older than themselves, however; and they pay a visit to Tommy's Aunt Ada, who is in a nursing-home. Finding that her presence provokes the old lady, Tuppence withdraws to a downstairs sitting-room. There she chats with another elderly resident called Mrs Lancaster---who suddenly makes Tuppence's blood run cold with her soft inquiries about the dead child behind the fireplace... Not long after this visit, Aunt Ada dies. While sorting through her effects, Tuppence is struck by a painting showing a country house by a canal and a bridge: she is certain she somehow knows the house. Learning that the painting was a gift from Mrs Lancaster, Tuppence feels that she should offer it back before keeping it, but learns that the old woman was unexpectedly taken away. Between conscience and curiosity, Tuppence follows this up---only to discover that Mrs Lancaster seems to have vanished altogether... With hindsight, it is difficult not to suspect that By The Pricking Of My Thumbs was written under the shadow of Agatha Christie's increasing health issues, which were significantly to hamper her work over the final decade of her life and career. This is a very dark book, quite different in tone from the other Tommy and Tuppence stories, dealing with a mystery with its roots some decades in the past, and including such issues as child murder and insanity---and the more prosaic but no less bleak subject of growing old, something even the perpetually young-at-heart Tuppence Beresford is finally compelled to face. Bored and lonely while Tommy is away working, in order to have something to do she takes on two nagging if seemingly trivial projects. First, she follows up the matter of Mrs Lancaster, only to discover no trace of her or her relatives at the forwarding address given---and, remembering the old ladies startling remarks about a dead child, begins to wonder if there is something sinister in it... Secondly, Tuppence tracks down the house in the painting, which she rediscovers near a village called Sutton Chancellor. She soon learns more than she really wished to about the history of the house and those who lived there, with her casual researches turning up again and again unnerving stories about dead children---a series of murders, with the killer never caught; a dead child whose grave cannot be found; a child's burnt doll in the rubble of an old fireplace... With a nagging sense that all these disparate threads are somehow connected, Tuppence decides on a day or two more in the district; but when several days pass with no word of her, a worried Tommy is forced into an investigation of his own---and learns that there have been deaths at Sunny Ridge which were not due to natural causes...

    Tuppence said: "My old aunt---or rather Tommy's old aunt, she wasn't mine---someone told her in the nursing home where she died---that there was a killer."
    Emma nodded her head slowly.
    "There were two deaths in that nursing home," said Tuppence, " and the doctor isn't satisfied about them."
    "Is that what started you off?"
    "No, it was before that... I can tell you very quickly."
    She proceeded to do so. "I see," said Emma Boscowan. "And you don't know where this old lady, this Mrs Lancaster, is now?"
    "No, I don't."
    "Do you think she's dead?"
    "I think she---might be."
    "Because she knew something?"
    "Yes. She knew about something. Some murder. Some child perhaps who was killed..."

Edited: Dec 26, 2019, 6:18am

>169 lyzard: I thought the central plot point of a house divided in two and shared by hostile forces somewhat of a stretch, and that colors my overall feelings about the book, I think. I did enjoy Mactavish and the roundabout way Miss Silver is drawn in (no random encounters on trains!).

Edited: Dec 29, 2019, 3:16pm

calm and I could use some friends over here in this new joint...

The 2020 Group is up!

Edited: Dec 26, 2019, 3:04pm

>172 PaulCranswick:

Belated thank you, Paul - we must have posted at the same time. Best wishes to you and yours!

>175 rosalita:

Well, it's mentioned at one point that the house was originally two properties, that is, semi-detached, but then bought and opened up into one...and then closed off again when the in-laws started moving in. :D

I was okay with that but I thought the handling of What Ina Knew was a bit strange.

But still...MACTAVISH!! (It was so nice to have (i) a proper cat character, and (ii) no harm coming to him!)

>176 drneutron:


Or to put it another way, I'll be right there! :D

Edited: Dec 27, 2019, 5:45pm

Best-selling books in the United States for 1952:

1. The Silver Chalice by Thomas B. Costain
2. The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk
3. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
4. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier
5. Steamboat Gothic by Frances Parkinson Keyes
6. Giant by Edna Ferber
7. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
8. The Gown of Glory by Agnes Sligh Turnbull
9. The Saracen Blade by Frank Yerby
10. The Houses in Between by Howard Spring
11. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

The Top Ten list for 1952 seems to mark something of a sea-change; it is also (perhaps not coincidentally) one of those years where eleven books made the cut.

However, historical fiction was still extremely popular, though we also find it blending into a more modern style of fiction.

Frank Yerby's The Saracen Blade is about a 13th century soldier-of-fortune and his adventures across Europe and Africa. Frances Parkinson Keyes' Steamboat Gothic is a three-generational story set between the post-Civil War era and WWI, about the children and grandchildren of a reformed riverboat gambler and a proper Louisiana widow. Agnes Sligh Turnbull's The Gown of Glory is about an ambitious minister and his wife, who arrive in small-town Pennsylvania in the 1880s expecting a short stay before he is called to "higher duties".

Howard Spring's The Houses in Between is set in Victorian Britain, in the years following the Great Exhibition and the opening of the Crystal Palace, and examines the failure of that era's promise. Daphne du Maurier's My Cousin Rachel is set in 19th century Cornwall, and concerns a young man's growing obsession with his cousin's widow, who may or may not have murdered him.

John Steinbeck's East of Eden is set in the Salinas Valley of California from the beginning of the 20th century to the end of WWI, and concerns two generations of a bitterly conflicted family.

Edna Ferber's Giant uses the struggle for control of the oil-fields to examine the nature of Texas and Texans. J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye is the story of a disaffected teenager and his conflicts with his world of post-WWII California.

Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea is a short allegorical novel about the battles of an elderly Cuban fisherman.

The two themes that have so far dominated America's post-WWII reading re-emerge at the top of the list. Herman Wouk's The Caine Mutiny, coming in at #2 for the second year in a row, is the only overt war novel; while religion makes it to #1 yet again, in Thomas B. Costain's The Silver Chalice.

Edited: Dec 26, 2019, 4:20pm

Thomas B. Costain was born in Ontario in 1885. His writing ambition developed early, and he wrote four novels before he graduated high school---all of which were rejected. He eventually had a mystery story accepted by a newspaper, and this paved the way, not for more writing, but a career first in journalism, and then as an editor. He eventually secured the position of fiction editor for the Saturday Evening Post; this required him to relocate to New York, and he became a naturalised American citizen in 1920.

Over subsequent decades, Costain also worked as an editor for Doubleday, and at 20th Century Fox as the head of their "Bureau of Literary Development" (i.e. the story department).

Despite all this, Costain's personal literary ambition had never subsided. He began writing again the 1940s, although by this time he was (as he put it) "enough of an editor" not even to bother to submit his first efforts. His abiding interest in history led him to plan a series of novels about fascinating yet forgotten historical figures. In 1942 - when Costain was 57 years old - his first published work, For My Great Folly, about the 17th century English pirate, Jack Ward, became a best-seller.

The success of his subsequent novels, Ride With Me and, in particular, The Black Rose (which made the Top Ten lists of 1945 and 1946), allowed Costain to retire from his other positions to write fulltime. He continued to publish both historical fiction and non-fiction, chiefly about English and religious history.

His 1952 novel, The Silver Chalice, about the designing of a chalice to hold the cup used by Christ at the Last Supper, became that year's #1 best-seller.

Edited: Dec 26, 2019, 5:48pm

The Silver Chalice - Wealthy but childless, the Antioch merchant Ignatius decides to adopt a boy. He chooses, unexpectedly, the youngest son of the poor pen-seller, Theron, in whom he has recognised certain qualities which he admires---in particular, a sensitive artistic talent. His name changed to Basil, the boy is nurtured by his adoptive parents, and the skills that Ignatius valued are encouraged. However, when Ignatius dies, Basil's life of privilege comes to a brutal end. Though named as his adoptive father's heir, Basil is challenged by Ignatius' resentful, avaricious brother, Linus, who succeeds in having the adoption declared invalid and Basil recognised, not as a son, but a slave. Sold to the owners of a small artisan shop, Basil spends two years i near confinement, with nothing to do or to think of but the honing of his exceptional skill. At the end of that time, however, his life is irrevocably altered when he is purchased by a man called Luke, and carried to the house of Joseph of Arimathea, in Jerusalem. Though surprised to find himself amongst members of the despised sect known as the Christians, Basil eagerly sets to work to demonstrate his talent. When his new companions are satisfied not only with that, but what they observe of his character, they broach to him the true nature of the task for which they have acquired his services: to create a chalice to hold what appears to be a simple drinking-cup, but which to the followers of Christ is their "Holy of Holies"... Inspired partly by the discovery of the so-called "Antioch chalice", and partly by his exasperation with what he called "all the Arthurian tripe" intertwined in the stories of the Holy Grail, in The Silver Chalice Thomas B. Costain set out to place a real grail in a real - or at any rate, biblical - context. The results are intermittently engaging, but also suffer from the usual faults of this genre: the novel is unnecessarily (I may say, gruellingly) long; in his efforts to keep his story "accessible", Costain slips frequently into anachronism; Basil himself is not very interesting, and nor is his romance with Joseph's granddaughter, Deborra; and, given that we know what must be the end of this particular story, there is an unavoidable sense of futility about the entire work: one only underscored by Costain's rather lame closing suggestion that the chalice is being "saved up" for the modern world. However, Costain's grasp of history and geography are sound, and he exercises both across the course of his narrative, which carries Basil all over what we would now call the Mediterranean and the Middle East, and finally to Rome. He also deigns to assign an actual motive for the hostility of the Jews, rather than just making them his automatic villains, as do too many writers in this area, with a deep chasm developing between those who would spread the word of Christ to the Gentiles with no conditions attached, and those demanding their simultaneous adoption of, and adherence to, Mosaic law. At this point in my reading, there was also a certain interest in being able to compare the differing approaches to Thomas Costain and Lloyd Douglas to much the same material---noting, for example, their very different conceptions of Peter. Basil's actual task is not merely to design a silver chalice to hold the cup used by Christ at the Last Supper, but to work upon it likenesses of Christ and the twelve apostles. For the latter, he must travel widely to meet those men who are still alive, and those who knew the others best; for the latter, he is told gravely that he must wait until his heart and soul are opened, and he "sees Christ" for himself... To complete his great work, Basil travels to Rome, where he finds himself in a world of escalating danger to the Christian faith, with the persecutions of Nero becoming greater and crueller by the day. But, as Basil realises, there is a second danger threatening the infant Christian faith, with a Samaritan called Simon the Magician making it his business to demonstrate that the miracles of Christ were no more than magic tricks...

    It was ovoid in shape and made of silver. The design was of the simplest, for the lip had been turned over with the hastiest workmanship and no attempt whatever at ornamentation. It had seen much service, obviously, for it was battered and marked, particularly on the lip.
    Joseph held it out for their inspection in hands that trembled with reverence and excitement. "This," he said in a whisper, "is the Cup from which Jesus drank and then passed to His devoted followers at the Last Supper."
    Joseph offered the Cup to Luke, and the latter, with tears streaming down his face, took it into his hands. "I have wondered so often," he said, "into whose keeping it had fallen. Or if it had been lost."
    He offered it in turn to Paul, but the latter, instead of accepting it, went down on his knees.
    "The bitterest blow that life has dealt me," said the great apostle, "is that I did not see Jesus. I have studied His words. I have sought earnestly to learn everything that is known about Him. I heard His voice on the road to Damascus. But I did not see Him." He reached out his hand and with the tips of his fingers touched the rim of the Cup. "It was here," he whispered, "that the lips of Jesus were pressed."
    Nothing more was said for several moments. They remained in rapt silence about this most sacred to relics. Luke, Joseph and Deborra were weeping without restraint. Although he did not allow his emotions to show to an equal extent, Paul's intent gaze never left the sacred Cup, and Basil could see that his hands were trembling.
    Standing behind them, Basil watched this demonstration of faith with surprise. "Truly," he thought, "they are a strange people..."

Dec 26, 2019, 4:44pm

>177 lyzard: Perhaps my confusion lies in having glossed over the "semi-detached" description, since that's not really used in the States. Where I live we would call that a "duplex" or more bafflingly to me, a "zero lot line". Doing that translating, it does make a bit more sense.

Edited: Dec 27, 2019, 6:50pm

>181 rosalita:

I don't know if you use the terms differently but here "duplex" usually means two properties on the same block but with no common walls, while "semi-detached" means there is a common wall---sometimes built that way and sometimes created by building a dividing wall within a larger house.

"Zero lot line" I've never heard before.

Dec 27, 2019, 4:16pm

>182 lyzard: A duplex here is two single-family residences in the same building with a shared interior wall (if side by side) or floor/ceiling (if on separate floors), but with separate entrances. There is no way to go from one unit to the other from inside.

And here's a page that defines zero lot line better than I ever could, since I've never really understood it myself: Defining a Zero-Lot-Line House

Edited: Dec 27, 2019, 4:23pm

>183 rosalita:

Ah, okay. I get it, but I didn't know there was a collective term for that sort of property, and I don't think it's used here. (I'm in a townhouse, which is one kind of zero-lot-line house.)

ANYWAY---the house in our novel was either a duplex or semi-detached in the first place, then had the doors built in on each floor to turn it into one house---and then had the doors locked and bolted to turn it back into two.

Dec 27, 2019, 6:34pm

Oh, score AGAIN!

I've just discovered that several if not all of Harriette Ashbrook's Philip 'Spike' Tracy mysteries are now inexpensively on Kindle (I love you, Black Heath!!), meaning I can finally get this long-stalled series moving again.

Dec 27, 2019, 8:26pm

Finished The Sleuth Of St. James's Square for TIOLI #2.

Now reading Chaste As Ice, Pure As Snow by Charlotte Despard.

Dec 28, 2019, 2:16am


(You need to imagine that being said as by an hysterical soccer commentator.)

I've been stalled on Carolyn Wells' Fleming Stone series for what feels like forever, due to the relative unavailability of The Daughter Of The House: "relative" because most of the rest are easily available, and quite a number free. But this one book is not only a bit pricey, but requires ridiculous shipping costs too.

Still...I was feeling myself beginning to crack, and searching to discover what was, at any rate, the least exorbitant total, when I discovered that it has become available as a free ebook just in the last couple of months.

And really, I think I'm going to have to say it again:


Dec 28, 2019, 3:02am

>185 lyzard:, >187 lyzard:, My goodness, it's like all your Christmasses have come at once! There must be more mildly obsessive people out there than there might at first appear. Enjoy!

Dec 28, 2019, 9:23am

What Helen said, Liz. You've gotten some tasty Christmas gifts in these days after Christmas. I reckon that may shake up your 2020 reading plans a bit?

Dec 28, 2019, 9:49am


I know that feeling of YEEEEESSSSSSS
after locating that special volume at a price that one can afford.

Let’s hope this indicates good things for 2020!

Dec 28, 2019, 4:45pm

Aw, thank you all! - though I don't think it's so much Santa as the always capricious Reading Gods. I must have caught them in a good mood. :)

>188 Helenliz:

I spend so much time thinking it is just me - I couldn't tell you how many books I've read where I'm the only LTer to have them listed! - that it's always a shock to discover that it isn't. :D

>189 rosalita:

Shaken up one-half of it, anyway. What I have to do now is not get distracted from my blog plans with all this "Ooh, shiny!"

>190 bohemima:

It's probably the most of a rush you can have while sitting on a couch with a computer in your lap. :)

Edited: Dec 28, 2019, 5:48pm

This is getting ridiculous! - although not on a par with my causes for celebration above, I have just discovered a couple of other previously unobtainable works now available free online: Francis Foster's Murder From Beyond, and Murder In The Cellar by Louise Eppley and Rebecca Gayton.

It looks as if the University of Michigan is making a bunch of its holdings available online, so this might even be the start of a little book-rush.

So, with apologies for the repetition, SCORE!!

Dec 28, 2019, 5:44pm

On the other hand---with The Daughter Of The House safely tucked away on my eReader, my hair-tearing attention switches to The Shadow Of Evil by Charles J. Dutton.

Some of you may recall me struggling through the frankly terrible series by Dutton featuring the smug private investigator John Bartley and his moronic sidekick / narrator, Pelt. From there Dutton went on to what is supposed to be a much better series of mysteries with a psychologist-detective. I did obtain the first book in the series, Streaked With Crimson, but copies of The Shadow Of Evil start at US$45, with one selling recently for US$475---for the dust-jacket, not the contents, obviously. :)

I hate skipping series works, but even with my recent string of unexpected successes I see no reason to be optimistic here.

It does tick me off, though, that Dutton's better books have been lost, while his bad ones are free to torment us all...or anyway, all of us silly enough to read the damn things...

Dec 29, 2019, 12:06am

Finished Chaste As Ice, Pure As Snow for TIOLI #5.

Now reading Tracks In The Snow: Being The History Of A Crime by Godfrey Rathbone Benson.

Dec 29, 2019, 5:25am

>144 lyzard: Woo hoo on your book purchases!

>147 lyzard: I will join you for The Bertrams and Nemesis and possibly Death Walks in Eastrepps.

And congratulations on all the SCORES! :-)

Unusually for me, I am really struggling to push myself through Passenger to Frankfurt. I'm pretty sure I hadn't read this one before and I don't feel like I was missing out... :-(

Dec 29, 2019, 11:02am

>192 lyzard: Whoa whoa whoa! Save some of the book-finding luck for 2020, young lady!

And how annoying that rare, non-classic books have such high price tags merely because of the dust jacket. Perhaps you could offer to send the seller a generic book to stick inside the dust jacket and they could send you the actual book, since they clearly don't plan to actually read it. :-)

Dec 29, 2019, 4:07pm

>195 souloftherose:

Hi, Heather!

Would you believe I had another SCORE last night?? I'm beginning to get a bit edgy, as if the universe is setting me up just to pull the rug out from under me...! :D

Some shared reads to start the year would be delightful! I hope you're okay with starting The Bertrams halfway through the month? That seemed like the best compromise.

Unfortunately that's very true, it's one of her very few failures. :(

>196 rosalita:

I think 2020 is now officially "OMG WHEN AM I GOING TO READ THEM ALL!!??"...which is fantastic. :D

I have plenty of old books I'd be happy to do that with! But if $45 is the going rate anyway, Mr or Ms $425 isn't really depriving me of anything, I guess.

And, oh! - I'm glad you're here, because I want your advice on a particular matter (see below).

Edited: Dec 29, 2019, 4:34pm

So, people, opinions:

Do you think DECLARING WAR ON AMERICA over a book title might be a leetle much??

You all know by now how I feel about book retitlings. I've conceded that sometimes, if a title is particularly regional or otherwise obscure, it can be understandable; but still, most of the time it seems like changing it just to change it.

Including my latest discovery, for George and Margaret Cole's Poison In The Garden Suburb, which for its American release had its title changed to...

...wait for it...

...Poison In A Garden Suburb.

My forehead is really sore from where I just slammed it against my keyboard...

Edited: Dec 29, 2019, 5:37pm

The Come Back - Three young friends, Peter Crane, Gilbert Blair and Christopher Shelby, make plans to rough it in the wilds of Labrador. Almost in spite of themselves, Peter's family are nervous about the trip---not just because of the natural, inherent dangers of the wilderness, but of what is almost a family legend. As Peter's sister, Julie, explains to her friend, Carlotta Harper, than many years before a fortune-teller predicted that Peter would one day go off on a long journey and die a terrible death---but nevertheless return to his family... Labrador gives the three young men all the adventure they were hoping for; although a certain tension develops when it becomes clear that each of them is interested in Carly Harper; although here, as Peter knows, he has the inside running. Towards the end of their holiday, conditions change drastically, forcing the friends and their guide to undertake a dangerous trek towards civilisation. Peter, bringing up the rear, stumbles and falls; and in the swirling white, no-one notices, nor hears his cries for help... Faced with the appalling task of breaking the news to Peter's parents, Blair and Shelby are stunned when they quietly reveal that they already knew it: that Mr Crane received word in a sitting with a medium, via a Ouija board... Published in 1921, this fourth entry in Carolyn Wells' series featuring private investigator Pennington "Penny" Wise and his teenage sidekick, Zizi, is a deeply peculiar book. It tackles head-on the upsurge in spiritualism and interest in the occult brought about by the carnage of WWI; and while Wells, via her characters, concedes that under the circumstances such a reaction was understandable, the book as a whole expresses not merely scepticism but contempt for the entire business and those who believe in it. More than half of The Come Back deals with the response of the Cranes to their loss, with Peter's parents becoming more and more reliant upon Madame Parlato, the medium who seems to be in contact with their son, and Mr Crane writing a book about their experiences in the séances, and the apparent fulfillment of the fortune-teller's prophecy about Peter's death and return. The rest of the book offers a more conventional mystery plot. When Gilbert Blair dies suddenly, his roommate, McClellan Thorpe, is arrested. It is revealed that the two men had recently had a falling out: both were striving for an important architectural prize, and Blair had confided to his friends his belief that Thorpe was stealing his ideas. Julie Crane, who is engaged to Thorpe, is passionately certain of his innocence; but Mr Crane, turning as always to Madame Parlato, receives another message from Peter suggesting otherwise. Caught, as he perceives it, between the beliefs of his two children, Mr Crane decides to hire a detective to investigate and expose the murderer---but between them, Penny Wise and Zizi end up exposing a great deal more than that...

    "Oh, Mr Wise," Mrs Crane said, "it does seem so strange that a clear-headed, deep-thinking man like yourself prefers to believe that Madame Parlato could get Peter's handkerchief and could produce it so mysteriously for you rather than the rational belief that Peter sent it himself."
    Zizi looked at the speaker with kindly eyes. "Dear Mrs Crane," she said, "what will hurt me most when we expose that medium's fraud is the fact of your disappointment."
    "Don't worry about that," smiled Benjamin Crane, "you haven't exposed her yet! Meantime, I shall incorporate this experience of the handkerchief in my next book."
    "Oh, don't!" cried Zizi, involuntarily. "You'll make yourself a laughing-stock---"
    She paused, unwilling to hurt his feelings. But so assured of his beliefs was Benjamin Crane that he shook his head and said: "No fear of that, child. I'll take all risks. Have you any idea how my book has been received? It's just gone into another big edition, and my publishers are clamoring for my second book, which is nearly finished. But to return to the case of McClellan Thorpe. Did Peter tell you---"
    "Yes," Wise said, "according to Madame Parlato, the spirit of your son said that Thorpe is the criminal, and it was as proof of identity that Zizi received the handkerchief."
    "Fine," said Crane, nodding his satisfaction, "I think I'll use that séance for the finale of my book, and get it in press at once."
    "Do, dear," said his wife, "as far as the handkerchief is concerned. But don't put in the book that Mac killed Gilbert."
    "Oh, no, certainly not. In the first place, we're all agreed that though Peter believes that, it is a mistake on his part; that is, it may be a mistake. Don't let it influence you too much, Mr Wise."
    Penny Wise laughed outright. He couldn't help it.
    "No, sir," he promised, "I won't!"

Edited: Dec 29, 2019, 6:58pm

They Who Do Not Grieve - This 1999 publication is the second work by Sia Figiel, the first Samoan female author; and it is a book deeply rooted in her cultural background. It takes as its central metaphor the malu, the ritual tattoo of Samoan women: according to the legends surrounding this ceremony, should the tattoo be left incomplete, the result will be a life likewise incomplete. This short novel is, rather, two connected novellas, touching but separate until the book's conclusion, when their disparate threads become woven together. Each of the two halves examines the life of a young Samoan woman striving to make her own way in the world under a variety of social and cultural pressures; both, in their different ways, are dominated by the figure of the absent mother, so that the young woman's major influence is a grandmother. In the first half of the book, the disappointments and losses of the elderly Lalolagi are visited upon the orphaned Malu, who is made to carry her mother's shame even as the reader learns about the many vagaries of Lalolagi's own life. In the second half, Tausi struggles with relocation from Samoa to New Zealand, trying to teach Alofa about her heritage as she in turn tries to find her way in the modern world. They Who Do Not Grieve calls upon Samoan mythology and tradition in its imagery, weaving legendary figures and beliefs in and out of its ruminations upon female lives and female interconnectedness - and, just as importantly, female independence - and its contrasting portraits of Samoan tradition and the outside forces that bear upon it---represented equally by Samoa's Caucasian residents, in but not of the main characters' world, and the "modernised" Samoans of Auckland. This is also very much a story about stories---about the stories we tell ourselves and others, of ourselves and others; stories told or withheld; and the rippling impact of words. Figiel's own language is poetic, but also rather opaque, with the allegorical aspects of her text sometimes overwhelming the narrative. Nevertheless, this is an important addition to the ranks of indigenous Pacific Island fiction, and all the more so for its underrepresented female voice.

    It always starts with the food. Potatoes. Pasta. Brown rice. And other food foreign to the saliva in our mouths. Whenever Grandma Tausi starts with the potatoes, I know she means something else. I know this but I wait only. Wait for the rest of the story to fly out as she always says a story does.
    A story is like a bird. Its feathers and colour are determined by its origin.
    If a story is happy and joyous, then the bird will have blue or green or yellow feathers.
    If a story is wise, it will have golden feathers.
    If a story is gentle, is peaceful, then the bird will have white feathers. Pure white feathers. Whiter than the flesh of bread. Whiter than lizard eggs. Pure like the beams of the moon.
    Grief is always a red bird. Bright red. Dark red. Half red. Completely red. Any shade of red. And it sits on the moa, the middle of a woman or a man or a child. Waiting...

Dec 29, 2019, 6:56pm

October stats:

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

Mystery / thriller: 7
Historical drama: 2
Contemporary drama: 1

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

Owned: 2
Library: 4
Ebooks: 4

Male authors : female authors: 5 : 5

Oldest work: The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni (1827)
Newest work: They Who Do Not Grieve by Sia Figiel (1999)


YTD stats:

Works read: 116
TIOLI: 116, in 102 different challenges, with 14 shared reads

Mystery / thriller: 57
Contemporary drama: 16
Classics: 16
Historical drama: 9
Non-fiction: 9
Short stories: 4
Young adult: 3
Humour: 1
Horror: 1

Re-reads: 18
Series works: 55
Blog reads: 4
1932: 4
1931: 13
Virago / Persephone: 2
Potential decommission: 5

Owned: 27
Library: 44
Ebooks: 45

Male authors : female authors : 67 : 50

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: Dec 29, 2019, 7:01pm

October done? I think I can, I think I c---

Actually...I'm not so sure about that...

Dec 30, 2019, 5:46am


I can't endorse declaring war on America over a book re-titling, Liz. For one thing, I'd like to visit Australia one day and I don't want to do it as a conquering enemy. ;-)

Didn't we see something very similar this past year, either in the Miss Silver series or your Agatha Christie reads? The only one I can come up with off the top of my head is The Traveller Returns which was changed to She Came Back, but I feel like there was one even more mundane.

Dec 30, 2019, 7:28am

>197 lyzard: Starting The Bertrams midway through the month works for me.

>197 lyzard: I think 2020 is now officially "OMG WHEN AM I GOING TO READ THEM ALL!!??"

I've been coping with 2019 by buying kindle books in the various sales and yeah....

>198 lyzard: I wonder if that was a case of someone misremembering the title rather than a deliberate change? I keep forgetting whether the title of a book I'm reading at the moment is The Unkindness of Ghosts or An Unkindness of Ghosts (it's the latter). It is frustrating how often the titles change though. My husband and I watched the Albert Finney version of Murder on the Orient Express over the Christmas break and were wondering why the American title was changed to Murder in the Calais Coach.

>202 lyzard: Sloth!

Dec 30, 2019, 9:22am

>198 lyzard: Do you think DECLARING WAR ON AMERICA over a book title might be a leetle much??

Hm. Do you think it might convince our current leadership to read a book?

No, me neither. Much more likely they'd decide that reading books is the Whole Problem. Probably not worth it.

Edited: Dec 30, 2019, 3:05pm

>203 rosalita:, >204 souloftherose:, >205 swynn:

Welllll... I guess it would only have been a war of words, anyway...

>203 rosalita:

I don't want to do it as a conquering enemy. ;-)

Don't flatter yourselves: we're vicious when we're roused. :D

There have been some shockers in both series, and I'm always struck when they change it to something dull and unmemorable (as in your She Came Back example); and I was recently very irritated by the change from The Brading Collection to Mr Brading's Collection because WHY??; also, Heather's example I find totally bizarre---I should imagine that 'Calais coach' was far less generally understood than 'Orient Express'.

Still, I really think we have a new champion!

>204 souloftherose:


UK cover:   US cover:

As I say, it would be one thing if (for example) Americans didn't use or understand the term 'garden suburb'; but this---!? WHHHHYYYYYYYY??????????

>205 swynn:

Yeah, you're right: next we'd have 'em buildings walls around libraries or some such...

Dec 30, 2019, 3:08pm

>203 rosalita:

Oh! - while you're here, Julia, was there anything else you wanted to say about Through The Wall? I think you started out saying you "had some thoughts about the ending" but then we got distracted onto points of architecture---can you remember?

Dec 30, 2019, 3:30pm

Finished Tracks In The Snow for TIOLI #5.

And that is me done for December, and done for 2019---yike!

This leaves me at 139 books for the year. I am a little disappointed at not cracking 150, but hardly surprised: 2019 was the year of the enforced chunkster, with nearly every month requiring me to knuckle down to at least one (over)long work.

Mind you, while I say I'm disappointed at not reaching 150, if I remotely stick to my professed reading / blogging plan next year I can expect my numbers to be significantly down as a consequence.

And I know, i's not about the numbers. And it's not. It's about OH MY GOD THERE ARE SO MANY BOOKS AND I WANT TO READ THEM AAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dec 30, 2019, 3:58pm

>206 lyzard: Yes! It was the Mr. Brading book that I was thinking of. That was just silly, although admittedly not as silly as your most recent example.

>207 lyzard: Oh yes! I did say I had thoughts about the ending, didn't I? I wonder what they were? :-) I'll have a think and see if anything bubbles up from the depths...

Dec 30, 2019, 5:52pm

>208 lyzard: Hate to disappoint you... but even with my numbers of books read the problem stays the same: sadly I can't read them all :-(

Edited: Dec 30, 2019, 6:04pm

>210 FAMeulstee:

Aw, don't tell me that!


Dec 30, 2019, 7:17pm

I'll just chime in to say that I really like Through the Wall. Train wreck, instant romance, nifty house, Mactavish - what more could you want?

Edited: Dec 30, 2019, 7:56pm

>212 Dejah_Thoris:

That's great to hear, Dejah! Not sure whether you got to The Ivory Dagger this month? - but either way, if you're up for more Maudie, Julia and I should be reading Anna, Where Are You? in February.

Dec 30, 2019, 8:45pm

>213 lyzard: No The Ivory Dagger for me - I requested it, but there was only a single copy in the entire, nearly statewide, system (Large Print, at that) and it's never even made it in transit to me.

I will definitely join in for Anna, Where Are You? in February - and I should be good for Nemesis in January as well.

Dec 30, 2019, 8:55pm

>214 Dejah_Thoris:

Oh, how frustrating. Do you do ebooks? I can help you out there if you do...

Brilliant! :)

Dec 30, 2019, 9:52pm

I definitely do ebooks - but I'm cheap, lol, so I often don't buy things I think I can get from the library. Project Gutenberg is my friend....

Dec 30, 2019, 11:21pm

Pssst... Check your DMs.

Dec 31, 2019, 6:54am

Liz, I have put aside my copy of Death Walks in Eastrepps and will probably get to it next week. Are you in?

Dec 31, 2019, 6:54am

Another resolution is to keep up in 2020 with all my friends on LT. Happy New Year!

Dec 31, 2019, 4:00pm

>218 PaulCranswick:

In! - I've just snagged a TIOLI slot for it. :)

>219 PaulCranswick:

Thanks so much, Paul! See you on the other side...

Dec 31, 2019, 4:02pm

I have set up my 2020 thread:


Thank you so much to those of you who visited and chatted and even shared reads with me in 2019: I appreciate your company and your comments more than I can say.

Happy New Year, all!