lyzard's list: Reading many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore in 2021 - Part 3

Talk75 Books Challenge for 2021

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lyzard's list: Reading many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore in 2021 - Part 3

Edited: Apr 7, 2021, 6:35 pm

The African golden cat is one of the rarest and most elusive of the lesser-known wild cats. Solitary and nocturnal, the species was originally classified only from pelts, and it is only comparatively recently that scientists have been able to observe them in the wild.

About twice the size of a domestic cat but far more muscular, African golden cats are found in the rainforests of West and Central Africa. They come in a range of colours from the deep russet that gives them their name to shades of brown and grey, and can have plain or spotted coats. They are classified as 'vulnerable' due to poaching and habitat destruction.

Most of what is now known about the African golden cat comes courtesy of an extensive camera-trapping program set up in 2010 by a Uganda-based conservation program---and by these means, in 2015 the first ever image of a golden cat kitten was captured:


Edited: Jun 8, 2021, 6:26 pm

Last year's thread title was taken from a relatively obscure poem by Edgar Allan Poe. It was some time later before it occurred to me that - duh - I had overlooked a perfectly apt line from Poe's most famous poem:

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore
    While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
        Only this and nothing more...”

Probably no-one needs this but just in case, the full text of The Raven may be found here.



Currently reading:

The Sea Mystery by Freeman Wills Crofts (1928)

Edited: Apr 27, 2021, 6:16 pm

2021 reading:


1. The Pelham Murder Case by Monte Barrett (1930)
2. Mystery At Lynden Sands by J. J. Conningtion (1928)
3. Dead Man Twice by Christopher Bush (1930)
4. Eight To Nine by R. A. J. Walling (1934)
5. The Secret Of The Old Clock by Carolyn Keene (1930)
6. The Van Diemen's Land Warriors, or The Heroes Of Cornwall by "Pindar Juvenal" (1827)
7. The Reviv'd Fugitive: A Gallant Historical Novel by Peter Belon (1690)
8. The Land Of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll (1980)
9. Patty Blossom by Carolyn Wells (1917)
10. Miracle Creek by Angie Kim (2019)
11. Fools' Gold by Dolores Hitchens (1958)
12. Beast In View by Margaret Millar (1955)
13. The Blunderer by Patricia Highsmith (1956)
14. Cause Of Death by Cyril H. Wecht with Mark Curridan and Benjamin Wecht (1993)
15. The Secret Of Terror Castle by Robert Arthur Jr (1964)


16. Orley Farm by Anthony Trollope (1862)
17. The Benevent Treasure by Patricia Wentworth (1953)
18. Patty--Bride by Carolyn Wells (1918)
19. Lost Boy Lost Girl by Peter Straub (2003)
20. Call For The Dead by John le Carré (1961)
21. 813 by Maurice Leblanc (1910)
22. Blanche On The Lam by Barbara Neely (1992)
23. The Autobiography Of Mark Rutherford by William Hale White (1881)
24. The Adventuress by Arthur B. Reeve (1917)
25. The Secret History Of The Four Last Monarchs Of Great Britain by "R. B." (1691)


26. The Source by James A. Michener (1965)
27. The Mystery Of The Stuttering Parrot by Robert Arthur Jr (1964)
28. Gray Dusk by Octavus Roy Cohen (1920)
29. Mr Jelly's Business by Arthur Upfield (1937)
30. Death Comes To Perigord by John Alexander Ferguson (1931)
31. Simon The Coldheart by Georgette Heyer (1925)
32. Patty And Azalea by Carolyn Wells (1919)
33. The Recess: A Tale Of Other Times by Sophia Lee (1785)
34. Anecdotes Of A Convent by Anonymous (1771)

Edited: Jun 9, 2021, 1:36 am

2021 reading:


35. The Observations by Jane Harris (2006)
36. Valley Of The Dolls by Jacqueline Susann (1966)
37. The Executor by Margaret Oliphant (1861)
38. The Rector by Margaret Oliphant (1861)
39. The Panama Plot by Arthur B. Reeve (1918)
40. Elsie And The Raymonds by Martha Finley (1889)
41. The Murder Of Sigurd Sharon by Harriette Ashbrook (1933)
42. The Wraith by Philip MacDonald (1931)
43. Poison In The Pen by Patricia Wentworth (1954)
44. President Fu Manchu by Sax Rohmer (1936)
45. Midnight by Octavus Roy Cohen (1922)
46. Sing Sing Nights by Harry Stephen Keeler (1927)
47. Missing Or Murdered by Robin Forsythe (1929)


48. The Arrangement by Elia Kazan (1967)
49. The Mystery Of The Whispering Mummy by Robert Arthur (1965)
50. The Doctor's Family by Margaret Oliphant (1863)
51. Beauvallet by Georgette Heyer (1929)
52. The Great Impersonation by E. Phillips Oppenheim (1920)
53. The Life Of Mansie Wauch, Tailor In Dalkeith by David Moir (1828)
54. Elsie Yachting With The Raymonds by Martha Finley (1890)
55. The Window At The White Cat by Mary Roberts Rinehart (1910)
56. The Case With Nine Solutions by J. J. Connington (1928)
57. The High Adventure by Jeffery Farnol (1925)
58. Winds Of Evil by Arthur Upfield (1937)
59. Six Minutes Past Twelve by Gavin Holt (1928)


60. Mr Fortune Wonders by H. C. Bailey (1933)
61. X Y Z: A Detective Story by Anna Katharine Green (1883)
62. Murder In A Library by Charles J. Dutton (1931)
63. Airport by Arthur Hailey (1968)

Edited: Jun 7, 2021, 6:56 pm

Books in transit:

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

On loan:
*The High Adventure by Jeffery Farnol (02/07/2021)
The Drums Of Fu Manchu by Sax Rohmer (16/07/2021)
The Sea Mystery by Freeman Wills Crofts (20/07/2021)
*Poison In The Pen by Patricia Wentworth (31/07/2021)
*Winds Of Evil by Arthur Upfield (31/07/2021)

Potential requests:

The Conqueror by Georgette Heyer {ILL}
McLean Of Scotland Yard by George Goodchild {JFR}
The Roman Hat Mystery by Ellery Queen {JFR / ILL}

The Picaroon Does Justice by Herman Landon {CARM}

Our Mr Wrenn by Sinclair Lewis {Fisher storage / Project Gutenberg}
From Man To Man by Olive Schreiner {Fisher Storage - 2 volumes}

Purchased and shipped:

Edited: Jun 8, 2021, 6:18 pm

Ongoing reading projects:

Blog reads:
Chronobibliography: Incognita; or, Love And Duty Reconciled by William Congreve
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 / The White Phantom by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
- Ellesmere by Mrs Meeke
- The Cottage by Margaret Minifie
- The Old Engagement by Julia Day
- The Abbess by Frances Trollope
Reading Roulette: Pique by Frances Notley / Our Mr Wrenn by Sinclair Lewis
Australian fiction: Louisa Egerton by Mary Leman Grimstone / Alfred Dudley; or, The Australian Settlers by Sarah Porter
Gothic novel timeline: Anecdotes Of A Convent by Anonymous
Early crime fiction: The Mysteries Of London by G. W. M. Reynolds
Silver-fork novels: Sayings And Doings; or, Sketches From Life (First Series) by Theodore Hook
Related reading: Gains And Losses by Robert Lee Wollf / The Man Of Feeling by Henry Mackenzie / Le Loup Blanc by Paul Féval / Theresa Marchmont; or, The Maid Of Honour by Catherine Gore

Group / tutored reads:

COMPLETED: Orley Farm by Anthony Trollope (thread here)
COMPLETED: The Executor / The Rector by Margaret Oliphant (thread here)
COMPLETED: The Doctor's Family by Margaret Oliphant (thread here)

Next up: The Struggles Of Brown, Jones And Robinson by Anthony Trollope

General reading challenges:

America's best-selling novels (1895 - ????):
Next up: Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth

Georgette Heyer: straight historical fiction:
Next up: The Conqueror

Patricia Wentworth's Miss Silver series (shared reads):
Next up: The Listening Eye

"The Three Investigators" (shared reads):
Next up: The Mystery Of The Green Ghost

Virago chronological reading project:
Next up: Aurora Floyd by Mary Elizabeth Braddon / Salem Chapel by Margaret Oliphant

The C.K. Shorter List of Best 100 Novels:
Next up: Richelieu: A Tale Of France by G. P. R. James

Mystery League publications:
Next up: The Gutenberg Murders by Gwen Bristow and Bruce Manning

Banned In Boston!: (here)
Next up: From Man To Man by Olive Schreiner

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 / The Foundling by Francis Spellman

Potential decommission / re-shelving:
Next up: Mind Hunter by John Douglas

Completed challenges:
- Georgette Heyer historical romances in chronological order
- Agatha Christie mysteries in chronological order
- Agatha Christie uncollected short stories

Possible future reading projects:
- Nobel Prize winners who won for fiction
- Daily Telegraph's 100 Best Novels, 1899
- James Tait Black Memorial Prize
- Berkeley "Books Of The Century"
- Collins White Circle Crime Club / Green Penguins
- Dell paperbacks
- "El Mundo" 100 best novels of the twentieth century
- 100 Best Books by American Women During the Past 100 Years, 1833-1933
- 50 Classics of Crime Fiction 1900–1950 (Jacques Barzun and Wendell Hertig Taylor)
- The Guardian's 100 Best Novels
- 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)
- Dean's Classics series
- "Fifty Best Australian Novels" (here)
- "The Top 100 Crime Novels Of All Time" (here)

Edited: Jun 3, 2021, 2:53 am

TBR notes:

Currently 'missing' series works:

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 / Internet Archive / Kindle}
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 / Internet Archive}
In Face Of The Verdict by John Rhode (Dr Priestley #24) {Rare Books / State Library NSW, held / Internet Archive}

The White-Faced Man (aka "The Praying Monkey") 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}


McLean Of Scotland Yard by George Goodchild {State Library NSW, JFR}

The Rum Row Murders by Charles Reed Jones {Rare Books}
The Murder Rehearsal by B. G. Quin {Rare Books}
Unsolved by Bruce Graeme {Rare Books}
The Crooked Lip by Herbert Adams {Rare Books / CARM}

The Picaroon Does Justice by Herman Landon {CARM}

The Matilda Hunter Murder by Harry Stephen Keeler {Kindle}

Death By Appointment by "Francis Bonnamy" (Audrey Walz) (Peter Utley Shane #1) {Rare Books}
The Click Of The Gate by Alice Campbell (Tommy Rostetter #1) {CARM}
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}

Storm by Charles Rodda {National Library, ILL?}

NB: Rest of 1931 listed on the Wiki

Series back-reading:

The Red-Haired Girl by Carolyn Wells {Rare Books}
Invisible Death by Brian Flynn {Kindle}
Murder At Fenwold (aka "The Death Of Cosmo Revere") by Christopher Bush {Kindle}
The Clifford Affair by A. Fielding {Kindle / Roy Glashan's Library}
Burglars In Bucks by George and Margaret Cole {Fisher Library}
The Case With Nine Solutions Nemesis At Raynham Parva by J. J. Connington {mobilereads}
Poison by Lee Thayer {AbeBooks / Amazon}

Completist reading:

Thieves' Nights by Harry Stephen Keeler (#5) {Rare Books}
The Mill Mystery by Anna Katharine Green (#6) {Project Gutenberg}
Where There's A Will by Mary Roberts Rinehart (#6) {Project Gutenberg}
The White Cockatoo by Mignon Eberhart {Rare Books}

Unavailable / expensive:

The Amber Junk (aka The Riddle Of The Amber Ship) by Hazel Phillips Hanshew (Cleek #9)
The Hawkmoor Mystery by W. H. Lane Crauford
The Double Thumb by Francis Grierson (Sims and Wells #3)
The Shadow Of Evil by Charles J. Dutton (Harley Manners #2)
The Seventh Passenger by Alice MacGowan and Perry Newberry (Jerry Boyne #4)
The Hanging Woman by John Rhode (Dr Priestley #11)
The Park Lane Mystery by Louis Tracy (Winter and Furneaux # 6)

Edited: Jun 3, 2021, 2:55 am

A Century (And A Bit) Of Reading:

At least one 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
1806: The Wild Irish Girl by Sydney Owenson
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
1823: The Two Broken Hearts by Catherine Gore
1824: The Adventures Of Hajji Baba Of Ispahan by James Justinian Morier
1826: Lichtenstein by Wilhelm Hauff / The Last Of The Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
1827: The Epicurean by Thomas Moore / The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni
1828: The Life Of Mansie Wauch, Tailor In Dalkeith by David Moir
1829: Wilhelm Meister's Travels by Johann Goethe / The Collegians by Gerald Griffin / Louisa Egerton; or, Castle Herbert by Mary Leman Grimstone
1830: Alfred Dudley; or, The Australian Settlers by Sarah Porter
1832: The Refugee In America by Frances Trollope
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 / The Mysteries Of London: Volume III by G. W. M. Reynolds
1848: The Kellys And The O'Kellys by Anthony Trollope
1850: Pique by Frances Notley
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 / The Bertrams by Anthony Trollope
1860: The Semi-Attached Couple by Emily Eden / Castle Richmond by Anthony Trollope
1861: The Executor by Margaret Oliphant / The Rector by Margaret Oliphant
1862: Orley Farm by Anthony Trollope
1863: Marian Grey; or, The Heiress Of Redstone Hall by Mary Jane Holmes
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 / The Autobiography Of Mark Rutherford by William Hale White
1882: Grandmother Elsie by Martha Finley
1883: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson / Elsie's New Relations by Martha Finley / X Y Z: A Detective Story by Anna Katharine Green
1884: Elsie At Nantucket by Martha Finley
1885: The Two Elsies by Martha Finley / Two Broken Hearts by Robert R. Hoes
1886: Elsie's Kith And Kin by Martha Finley
1887: Elsie's Friends At Woodburn by Martha Finley
1888: Christmas With Grandma Elsie by Martha Finley
1889: Under False Pretences by Adeline Sergeant / Elsie And The Raymonds by Martha Finley
1890: Elsie Yachting With The Raymonds by Martha Finley
1892: The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
1894: Martin Hewitt, Investigator by Arthur Morrison / The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen
1895: Chronicles Of Martin Hewitt by Arthur Morrison
1896: The Island Of Dr Moreau by H. G. Wells / Adventures Of Martin Hewitt by Arthur Morrison
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: Apr 7, 2021, 7:01 pm

Timeline of detective fiction:

An examination of the roots of modern crime and mystery 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 by Paul Feval (1844)
The Mysteries Of London by George Reynolds (1844 - 1848)
- The Mysteries Of London: Volume I
- The Mysteries Of London: Volume II
- The Mysteries Of London: Volume III
- The Mysteries Of London: Volume IV
The Mysteries Of The Court Of London by 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 (1862-1863)
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: May 27, 2021, 6:24 pm

Series and sequels, 1866 - 1919:

(1866 - 1876) **Emile Gaboriau - Monsieur Lecoq - The Widow Lerouge (1/6) {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)
(1894 - 1903) **Arthur Morrison - Martin Hewitt - The Red Triangle (4/4)
(1895 - 1901) **Guy Newell Boothby - Dr Nikola - Farewell, Nikola (5/5)
(1897 - 1900) **Anna Katharine Green - Amelia Butterworth - The Circular Study (3/3)
(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)

(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)
(1907 - 1942) R. Austin Freeman - Dr John Thorndyke - The Jacob Street Mystery (26/26)
(1907 - 1941) *Maurice Leblanc - Arsene Lupin - The Crystal Stopper (5/25) {Project Gutenberg}
(1909 - 1942) *Carolyn Wells - Fleming Stone - The Red-Haired Girl (21/49) {Rare Books}
(1909 - 1929) *J. S. Fletcher - Inspector Skarratt - Marchester Royal (1/3) {Kindle}
(1910 - 1936) *Arthur B. Reeve - Craig Kennedy - The Soul Scar (13/24) {Project Gutenberg}
(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 Twister (4/6) {Roy Glashan's Library}
(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 - 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 - 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 - 1973) Sax Rohmer - Fu-Manchu - The Drums Of Fu Manchu (9/14) {ILL / JFR}
(1913 - 1952) *Jeffery Farnol - Jasper Shrig - The Crooked Furrow (5/9) {Fisher Library}
(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)
(1915 - 1936) *John Buchan - Richard Hannay - The Thirty-Nine Steps (1/5) {Fisher Library / Project Gutenberg / branch transfer / 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}
(1918 - 1923) **Carolyn Wells - Pennington Wise - The Vanishing Of Betty Varian (6/8) {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 - Poison (7/60) {AbeBooks / Amazon}
(1919 - 1922) **Octavus Roy Cohen - David Carroll - Midnight (4/4)

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

Edited: Jun 1, 2021, 6:36 pm

Series and sequels, 1920 - 1927:

(1920 - 1948) H. C. Bailey - Reggie Fortune - Shadow On The Wall (9/23) {Internet Archive / State Library NSW, JFR}
(1920 - 1975) Agatha Christie - Hercule Poirot - Curtain (38/38)
(1920 - 1921) **Natalie Sumner Lincoln - Ferguson - The Unseen Ear (2/2)
(1920 - 1937) *"Sapper" (H. C. McNeile) - Bulldog Drummond - The Third Round (3/10 - 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)
(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)

(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 - 1927) Annie Haynes - Inspector Furnival - The Crow's Inn Tragedy (3/3)

(1924 - 1959) Philip MacDonald - Colonel Anthony Gethryn - The Choice (7/24) {Rare Books / CARM / Internet Archive}
(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 Clifford Affair (4/23) {Roy Glashan's Library}
(1924 - 1936) *Hulbert Footner - Madame Storey - The Casual Murderer (8/14) {Roy Glashan's Library}

(1925 - 1961) ***John Rhode - Dr Priestley - Dead Men At The Folly (13/72) {Rare Books}
(1925 - 1953) *G. D. H. Cole / M. Cole - Superintendent Wilson - Burglars In Bucks (aka "The Berkshire Mystery") (7/?) {Fisher Library}
(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 Hidden Kingdom (2/2)

(1926 - 1968) *Christopher Bush - Ludovic Travers - Murder At Fenwold (aka "The Death Of Cosmo Revere") (4/63) {Kindle / Rare Books}
(1926 - 1939) S. S. Van Dine - Philo Vance - The Kennel Murder Case (6/12) {}
(1926 - 1952) J. Jefferson Farjeon - Ben the Tramp - Ben Sees It Through (4/8) {interlibrary loan / Kindle}
(1926 - ????) *G. D. H. Cole / M. Cole - Everard Blatchington - Burglars In Bucks (aka "The Berkshire Mystery") (2/6) {Fisher Library}
(1926 - ????) *Arthur Gask - Gilbert Larose - The Dark Highway (2/27) {University of Adelaide / Project Gutenberg Australia / mobilereads}
(1926 - 1931) *Aidan de Brune - Dr Night - Dr Night (1/3) {Roy Glashan's Library}
(1926 - 1931) * / ***R. Francis Foster - Anthony Ravenhill - Anthony Ravenhill, Crime Merchant (1/?) {expensive}

(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) {CARM / AbeBooks}
(1927 - 1937) *Ronald Knox - Miles Bredon - The Body In The Silo (3/5) {Kindle / Rare Books}
(1927 - 1958) *Brian Flynn - Anthony Bathurst - Invisible Death (6/54) {Kindle}
(1927 - 1947) *J. J. Connington - Sir Clinton Driffield - Nemesis At Raynham Parva (aka "Grim Vengeance") (5/17) {mobilereads}
(1927 - 1935) *Anthony Gilbert (Lucy Malleson) - Scott Egerton - Mystery Of The Open Window (4/10) {Rare Books}
(1927 - 1932) *William Morton (aka William Blair Morton Ferguson) - Kirker Cameron and Daniel "Biff" Corrigan - Masquerade (1/4) {expensive}
(1927 - 1929) **George Dilnot - Inspector Strickland - The Crooks' Game (1/2) {AbeBooks / Amazon}
(1927 - 1949) **Dornford Yates - Richard Chandos - Blood Royal (3/8) {State Library, JFR / Kindle*}

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

Edited: Jun 7, 2021, 7:16 pm

Series and sequels, 1928 - 1930:

(1928 - 1961) Patricia Wentworth - Miss Silver - The Listening Eye (28/33) {SMSA /}
(1928 - 1936) *Gavin Holt - Luther Bastion - The Garden Of Silent Beasts (5/17) {academic loan / State Library NSW, held}
(1928 - 1936) Kay Cleaver Strahan - Lynn MacDonald - The Meriwether Mystery (5/7) {Kindle}
(1928 - 1937) John Alexander Ferguson - Francis McNab - The Grouse Moor Mystery (4/5) {HathiTrust}
(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 / JFR}
(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 - The Belgrave Manor Crime (5/14) {Kindle}
(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 / Internet Archive}
(1929 - 1966) *Arthur Upfield - Bony - The Bone Is Pointed (6/29) {SMSA}
(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) {Rare Books}
(1929 - 1943) *Gret Lane - Kate Clare Marsh and Inspector Barrin - The Cancelled Score Mystery (1/9) {Kindle}
(1929 - 1961) Henry Holt - Inspector Silver - The Necklace Of Death (3/16) {Rare Books}
(1929 - 1930) **J. J. Connington - Superintendent Ross - The Two Tickets Puzzle (2/2)
(1929 - 1941) *H. Maynard Smith - Inspector Frost - Inspector Frost In The City (2/7) {Kindle}
(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 Circle Of Death (4/6) {}
(1929 - 1932) Thomas Cobb - Inspector Bedison - Who Closed The Casement? (4/4)
(1929 - ????) * J. C. Lenehan - Inspector Kilby - The Tunnel Mystery (1/?) {Kindle}
(1929 - 1936) *Robin Forsythe - Anthony "Algernon" Vereker - The Polo Ground Mystery (2/5) {Kindle}
(1929 - 1931) */***David Frome (Zenith Jones Brown) - Major Gregory Lewis - The Murder Of An Old Man (1/3) {rare, expensive}

(1930 - ????) Moray Dalton - Hermann Glide - The Strange Case Of Harriet Hall (4/?) {Kindle}
(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 - Murder Among The Angells (4/5) {expensive}
(1930 - 1941) Harriette Ashbrook - Philip "Spike" Tracy - A Most Immoral Murder (4/7) {Kindle}
(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 - Miss Marple's Final Cases (14/14)
(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 Nation's Missing Guest (3/10) {CARM / NLA /}
(1930 - 1933) *Monte Barrett - Peter Cardigan - Murder Off Stage (2/4) {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?}
(1930 - 1961) *Mark Cross ("Valentine", aka Archibald Thomas Pechey) - Daphne Wrayne and her Four Adjusters - The Adjusters (1/53) {rare, expensive}
(1930 - ????) *Elaine Hamilton - Inspector Reynolds - Some Unknown Hand (aka "The Westminster Mystery") (1/?) {Kindle}
(1930 - 1932) *J. S. Fletcher - Sergeant Charlesworth - The Borgia Cabinet (1/2) { / Kindle}
(1930 - ????) *Carolyn Keene - Nancy Drew - The Hidden Staircase (2/?) {}

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

Edited: May 28, 2021, 7:29 am

Series and sequels, 1931 - 1932:

(1931 - 1940) Bruce Graeme - Superintendent Stevens and Pierre Allain - Satan's Mistress (4/8) {expensive / National Library of Australia, missing??}
(1931 - 1951) Phoebe Atwood Taylor - Asey Mayo - The Tinkling Symbol (6/24) {Rare Books / academic loan}
(1931 - 1955) Stuart Palmer - Hildegarde Withers - Murder On The Blackboard (3/18) {Kindle / Internet Archive, borrow}
(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 - ????) Carlton Dawe - Leathermouth - Crumpled Lilies (3/??) {Trove}
(1931 - 1947) R. L. Goldman - Asaph Clume and Rufus Reed - Murder Without Motive (2/6) {ordered}
(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 - Chez les Flamands (14/75) {ILL / Internet Archive}
(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 Clue Of The Rising Moon (4/4)
(1931 - 1942) Patricia Wentworth - Frank Garrett - Pursuit Of A Parcel (5/5)
(1931 - 1931) Frances Shelley Wees - Michael Forrester and Tuck Torrie - The Mystery Of The Creeping Man (2/2)

(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 - The Five Suspects (5/22) {Kindle / Rare Books / Internet Archive}
(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 - 1933) Barnaby Ross (aka Ellery Queen) - Drury Lane - Drury Lane's Last Case (4/4) {AbeBooks}
(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}

*** Incompletely available series

Edited: Apr 7, 2021, 7:23 pm

Series and sequels, 1933 onwards:

(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 - 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 - 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 - 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 - 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?}
(1936 - 1945) Charles Kingston - Chief Inspector Wake - Murder In Piccadilly (1/7) {Kindle}
(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}
(1938 - 1939) D. B. Olsen (Dolores Hitchens) - Lt. Stephen Mayhew - The Clue In The Clay (1/2) {expensive}
(1939 - 1942) Patricia Wentworth - Inspector Lamb - The Ivory Dagger (11/?) {}
(1939 - 1940) Clifton Robbins - George Staveley - Six Sign-Post Murder (1/2) {Biblio / rare}
(1939 - 1956) D. B. Olsen (Dolores Hitchens) - Rachel Murdock - The Cat Saw Murder (1/12) {expensive}

(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?}
(1945 - 1952) D. B. Olsen (Dolores Hitchens) - Professor Pennyfeather - Bring The Bride A Shroud (aka "A Shroud For The Bride") (1/6) {National Library}
(1947 - 1953) Michael Gilbert - Inspector Hazelrigg - They Never Looked Inside (2/6) {State Library NSW, JFR}
(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}
(1961 - 2017) - John le Carré - George Smiley - A Murder Of Quality (2/9) {Fisher Library / Blacktown Library}
(1964 - 1987) Robert Arthur Jr (and others) - The Three Investigators - The Mystery Of The Whispering Mummy (3/43) {freebooklover}
(1992 - 2000) Barbara Neely - Blanche White - Blanche Among The Talented Tenth (2/4) {Fisher Library / Kindle}

*** Incompletely available series

Edited: Jun 7, 2021, 7:18 pm

Non-crime series and sequels:

(1861 - 1876) **Margaret Oliphant - Carlingford - The Doctor's Family (3/7) {Project Gutenberg}
(1867 - 1905) **Martha Finley - Elsie Dinsmore - Elsie's Vacation And after Events (17/28) {Project Gutenberg}
(1867 - 1872) **George MacDonald - The Seaboard Parish - Annals Of A Quiet Neighbourhood (1/3) {ManyBooks}
(1893 - 1915) **Kate Douglas Wiggins - Penelope - Penelope's Postscripts (4/4)
(1894 - 1898) **Anthony Hope - Ruritania - Rupert Of Hentzau (3/3)
(1898 - 1918) **Arnold Bennett - Five Towns - Tales Of The Five Towns (3/11) {Fisher storage / Project Gutenberg / Internet Archive}

(1901 - 1919) **Carolyn Wells - Patty Fairfield - Patty And Azalea (17/17)
(1901 - 1927) **George Barr McCutcheon - Graustark - Beverly Of Graustark (2/6) {Project Gutenberg}
(1906 - 1930) **John Galsworthy - The Forsyte Saga - The Silver Spoon (8/12) {Sutherland stack /}
(1907 - 1912) **Carolyn Wells - Marjorie - Marjorie's Vacation (1/6) {ManyBooks}
(1908 - 1924) **Margaret Penrose - Dorothy Dale - Dorothy Dale: A Girl Of Today (1/13) {ManyBooks}
(1909 - 1912) **Emerson Hough - Western Trilogy - 54-40 Or Fight (1/3) {Project Gutenberg}
(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 /}

(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)
(1913 - 1934) *Alice B. Emerson - Ruth Fielding - Ruth Fielding In The Far North (20/30) {expensive}
(1916 - 1941) John Buchan - Edward Leithen - Sick Heart River (5/5)
(1915 - 1923) **Booth Tarkington - Growth - The Magnificent Ambersons (2/3) {Project Gutenberg / Fisher Library / Kindle}
(1917 - 1929) **Henry Handel Richardson - Dr Richard Mahony - Australia Felix (1/3) {Fisher Library / Kindle}

(1920 - 1939) E. F. Benson - Mapp And Lucia - Trouble For Lucia (6/6)
(1920 - 1952) William McFee - Spenlove - The Adopted - (7/7)
(1920 - 1932) *Alice B. Emerson - Betty Gordon - Betty Gordon At Bramble Farm (1/15) {ManyBooks}
(1923 - 1931) *Agnes Miller - The Linger-Nots - The Linger-Nots And The Secret Maze (5/5) {unavailable}
(1924 - 1928) **Ford Madox Ford - Parade's End - No More Parades (2/4) {ebook}
(1926 - 1936) *Margery Lawrence - The Round Table - Nights Of The Round Table (1/2) {Kindle}
(1927 - 1960) **Mazo de la Roche - Jalna - Jalna (1/16) {State Library NSW, JFR /}

(1928 - ????) Trygve Lund - Weston of the Royal North-West Mounted Police - The Vanished Prospector (6/9) {AbeBooks}
(1929 - 1931) *Ernest Raymond - Once In England - A Family That Was (1/3) {State Library NSW, JFR}

(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 - 1940) E. M. Delafield - The Provincial Lady - The Provincial Lady In Wartime (4/4)

(1931 - 1951) Olive Higgins Prouty - The Vale Novels - Fabia (5/5)
(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)
(1932 - 1932) Lizette M. Edholm - The Merriweather Girls - The Merriweather Girls At Good Old Rockhill (4/4) {HathiTrust}
(1932 - 1952) D. E. Stevenson - Mrs Tim - Mrs Tim Flies Home (5/5) {interlibrary loan}

(1933 - 1970) Dennis Wheatley - Duke de Richlieu - The Forbidden Territory (1/11) {Fisher Library}
(1934 - 1936) Storm Jameson - The Mirror In Darkness - Company Parade (1/3) {Fisher Library}
(1934 - 1968) Dennis Wheatley - Gregory Sallust - Black August (1/11) {interlibrary loan / omnibus}
(1936 - 1952) Helen Dore Boylston - Sue Barton - Sue Barton, Student Nurse (1/7) {interlibrary loan}

(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}

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

Edited: Apr 7, 2021, 7:29 pm

Unavailable series works:

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

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

Louis Tracy - Winter and Furneaux
The Park Lane Mystery (#6)

Moray Dalton - Inspector Collier
The Harvest Of Tares (#4)

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

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

Roger Scarlett - Inspector Kane {NB: Now available in paperback, but expensive}
Murder Among The Angells (#4)
In The First Degree (#5)

Charles J. Dutton - Harley Manners
The Shadow Of Evil (#2)

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: Jun 7, 2021, 12:29 am

Books currently on loan:



Edited: Jun 8, 2021, 6:18 pm

Reading projects:




Other projects:



Edited: Apr 7, 2021, 7:34 pm

Group read news:

We have begun the group reads of Margaret Oliphant's "Chronicles of Carlingford" - here.

This month we are only tackling the short stories, The Executor and The Rector, before moving on to the novella, The Doctor's Family, in May: so if you haven't read Oliphant before or you're not sure you want to commit, why not give these short works a try? :)

Meanwhile---our next Trollope group read will be The Struggles Of Brown, Jones And Robinson. We don't have a firm date yet, but July is likely.

Edited: Apr 7, 2021, 7:39 pm


Despite my previously declared intention of getting my challenges rolling again - those I can, under the current book restrictions - I feel a very mystery / series reading-heavy month coming on---possibly in response to an unusual lack last month, my reading having been taken over by a certain Mr Michener.

Writing remains an issue but at least I've wrapped up my due-back library books. My unwritten reviews aren't actually as bad as it looks from the absence of any monthly stats, more than four months into the year: I've been reviewing sporadically and have more done than it seems; I just need to knuckle down to one a day at least and get those gaps plugged.

Edited: Apr 7, 2021, 7:39 pm

Enough blather!---

Please come on in. :)

Apr 7, 2021, 8:21 pm

Happy new thread!

Apr 7, 2021, 9:14 pm

Happy New thread Liz!

Edited: Apr 7, 2021, 10:22 pm

>20 lyzard: I'm still waiting to learn whether Mansie Wauch is readable.

And I see Winds of Evil is on its way to you—I'd better get ahold of a copy.

Happy new thread!

Edited: Apr 7, 2021, 11:19 pm

>22 drneutron:, >23 swynn:, >24 NinieB:

Hi, Jim, Steve and Ninie---thank you! :)

>24 NinieB:

Yeah, I just keep being not in the mood. Though if I do overdose on old mysteries, I may suffer a reaction towards the end of the month. :D

Edited: Apr 7, 2021, 11:19 pm

Anyhoo--- It turns out that I can only read Elsie And The Raymonds online, so:

Also now reading The Panama Plot by Arthur B. Reeve.

Apr 8, 2021, 12:08 am

Happy new one, Liz.

Apr 8, 2021, 2:43 am

Happy new thread, Liz.

Apr 8, 2021, 6:33 am

Happy new thread, Liz!

>1 lyzard: And again you made me explore the www to find more about an animal that I didn't know existed :-)

Apr 8, 2021, 8:16 am

>1 lyzard: What I can see of this fella's face is intriguing — looks a little stripedy? Pretty!

Apr 8, 2021, 9:35 am

>25 lyzard: Oh, seriously, no rush. You can take comfort that you are restarting the Virago chronological read project. *big grin*

Apr 8, 2021, 11:59 am

Happy new thread, Liz. Love your toppers and think the cat in the first photo looks like it could use a good scratch between the ears. ;)

Apr 10, 2021, 5:31 pm

Hi, Paul, Helen, Anita, Julia and Micky---thank you! :)

>29 FAMeulstee:

That's the idea!

>30 rosalita:, >32 MickyFine:

There's a lot of variation in their colours and patterns, apparently, but they're so rarely seen that no-one is quite sure.

That stripedy head makes him look a little like one of my cats. The urge to skritch is overwhelming. :D

Apr 10, 2021, 5:32 pm

>31 NinieB:

Just as long as one boulder or the other is being pushed uphill, huh?? :D

Apr 11, 2021, 6:52 pm

Finished The Panama Plot for TIOLI #3.

Now reading The Murder Of Sigurd Sharon by Harriette Ashbrook; still reading Elsie And The Raymonds by Martha Finley.

Apr 12, 2021, 6:00 pm

Finished Elsie And The Raymonds for TIOLI #2.

Still reading The Murder Of Sigurd Sharon by Harriette Ashbrook.

Edited: Apr 12, 2021, 7:14 pm

Publication date: 1920
Genre: Mystery / thriller
Series: David Carroll #3
Read for: Series reading / TIOLI ('Mad About March')

Gray Dusk - David Carroll is horrified to learn that his close friend, Stanford Forrest, has been arrested for the murder of his wife, Mary---his bride of only three days. Summoning his assistant, Jim Sullivan, Carroll sets out for the small country town of Karnak, South Carolina, where the Forrests were spending their honeymoon in a cabin borrowed from another friend, author Franklin Furness. Upon arrival, Carroll is relieved to discover that the local sheriff, Potter, is a level-headed, dedicated man who wants the truth---no matter how high local feeling is running against Forrest. Permitted to see his friend, Carroll hears his story and realises that Forrest is in real trouble: he claims that he found Mary stabbed to death with an ice-pick, having left her alone in the cabin for a time while he fished the nearby river. He also admits to having received an ugly letter from Bennet Hemingway, Mary's former vaudeville backer, that insinuated an illicit relationship between the two of them; though he insists he didn't believe it, and knew that Hemingway was lying to try and spoil the new marriage. Carroll believes his friend as a matter of course; but who else could have had reason to kill the young bride...? This third entry in Octavus Roy Cohen's series featuring David Carroll sees the young private investigator far from his usual New York haunts, fighting for the truth and his friend's freedom in an alien and hostile environment---and dealing with a genuine and very personal tragedy, instead of the more usual case of a nasty, disposable victim. At the outset, it seems as if Gray Dusk is intended as a fairly savage take-down of its setting, and by extension the South generally: Carroll's first impressions of Karnak are uniformly negative, and the narrative is very free with expressions like "white trash". However, a more balanced tone emerges with the first appearance of Sheriff Potter, an intelligent and honest official of the kind rarely found in American mysteries of this era, let alone one set in a small town. Furthermore, Potter is smart enough to know his own limitations: determined to have the truth, he gives Carroll a free hand, focusing his own energies on protecting Stanford Forrest from the angry locals. Carroll's first suspicions fall naturally upon Bennet Hemingway, but when he proves to have an alibi the detective must start his investigation over again. With Jim Sullivan appointing himself to the painful role of devil's advocate, and local "swamp angel", the hulking, garrulous ne'er-do-well, Mart Farnum, acting as guide and oracle, Carroll sets himself to understand the local community---its connections and its passions. Most significantly, he learns that a man, an outsider, was apparently living in the cabin before the arrival of the Forrests; claiming to the locals that he bought the place from Furness, which Carroll knows isn't true. Who is this Conrad Heston? - why was he in Karnak under false colours? - and what, if anything, was his connection to Mary Forrest...?

    "I'm standing here," went on Carroll, intently; "I must have been very close to your body falls, we say, across my feet. I drop the ice-pick and lift you. Then I realise what I've done, become panic-stricken and turn to run..." He rose suddenly to his feet, whirled, seized the screen door with his right hand and jerked it open. As he did so and started through he narrowly missed hitting his head against the edge of the screen door. He went down the two steps, and ran off for a few feet in the general direction of the shrubbery to the eastward of the Lodge.
    Then he returned, forehead creased in thought. "Strike you all right, Jim?"
    "Just about. You think there was a gush of blood as her body hit the floor, that he walked in it, left stains on the soles of his shoes, which showed on the steps?"
    "That is undoubtedly what occurred insofar as the stains are concerned. At any rate, that's about as close as we can come to acting out the crime at this stage of the game. Now let's look around the rest of the house."
    They went over every foot of the dog-trot with meticulous care. Mary had evidently started in as an immaculate housekeeper. Save for the dust which had gathered since the day of the tragedy everything was in order. The same showed in the kitchen---save for the pathetic, partially-prepared meal on the range; some of it burned to a crisp, but other dishes remaining on the table where they had been placed ready to serve; a deep dish of lettuce with sliced tomatoes on top; the contents of a can of luncheon tongue on a small platter, the whole garnished with choice lettuce leaves; biscuits too much browned...a trifle scorched in fact. A bride's first cooking.
    The sight brought a lump to David Carroll's throat. Everything just as she had left it a few moments before meeting her death; everything betokening supreme happiness and a blissful ignorance of the ineluctable horror awaiting her a few feet away...

Edited: Apr 14, 2021, 5:59 pm

Publication date: 1931
Genre: mystery / thriller
Series: Francis McNab #3
Read for: Series reading / TIOLI (author's first name starts with 'J')

Death Comes To Perigord - On Guernsey, a feud erupts between an elderly woman, Mère Trouteaud, and the unpopular landowner, Hillaire de Quetteville, over a statue found in the local waters: in reality an old boat's figurehead, Mère Trouteaud believed the carving to be a holy figure; while some unknown locals gave it a third identity---setting it up over the gates of Perigord dressed up as de Quetteville and decorating it in a way to mock the latter's usury activities. The infuriated de Quetteville hides the offensive object in his own grounds, ignoring Mère Trouteaud's demand to have it back. Subsequently, de Quetteville's brooding demeanour and unstable behaviour prompt his avocat, M. Le Marinel, to request a medical examination. Young Dr Dunn, an English locum, finds de Quetteville a reluctant and difficult patient: he is in a state of extreme agitation though, apart from an elevated heat rate, his general health seems good. His mental health is another matter... When de Quetteville disappears, going into hiding somewhere on the island, Dunn finds himself blamed for not diagnosing the extent of his mental illness. With fears growing that de Quetteville may be suicidal - or even homicidal - and with his reputation on the line, Dunn sends for the crime analyst, Francis McNab... John Alexander Ferguson's Death Comes To Perigord is an unusual mystery novel, quite as much concerned with its atmospheric setting on Guernsey, and with the island community's history and blending of French and English cultures, as it is with the disappearance - and subsequent death - of Hillaire de Quetteville. The main drawback in this novel is the character of Dr Dunn, who is brash and rather unpleasant, and whose behaviour is often stupidly dangerous. These traits were also on display during Dunn's appearance in the first McNab novel, The Man In the Dark, but were less of an issue since he and the detective were on opposite sides of the case and naturally antagonistic. Their friendship seems an unlikely outcome; but the much more likable McNab responds to Dunn's call for help---showing up on Guernsey just when de Quetteville's body is pulled from the waters below a high cliff. Already under attack from local law officials and the coroner, Dunn must steel himself to argue that, in his opinion, de Quetteville has been dead for at least three days---that is, he was dead before the last reported sighting of him... For a novel of this time, Death Comes To Perigord is unusually explicit about forensic matters, with much physiological detail regarding time and cause of death. On the other hand, the exaggerated treatment of "insanity" is, at this distance, worrying and unconvincing---which is problematic when so much of the narrative rests on this point. In order to pursue their inquiry, McNab and Dunn must weave a careful line through local customs, legal procedures and general hostility. They learn that, though de Quetteville's money-lending made him many enemies, his most personal feud was with his brother-in-law, Caesar Brisson, who mocked him by calling his dockside wine-bar "Perigord", and whose daughter, Rachel, was his natural heir. De Quetteville, however, has made a practice of accumulating godchildren, and retaliated by threatening to leave his property to one or the other of them. It is discovered that de Quetteville had made a new will---but no-one knows where it is or its provisions. McNab must determine whether de Quetteville's death was accident, or suicide, or whether Brisson or one of the godchildren took matters into their own hands; and what part was played in the mystery by Mère Trouteaud's "holy figure"...

    "Look here," McNab said at length, "it seems to me the verdict may be suicide. This housekeeper---what's her name?"
    "Mrs Bichard."
    "Yes. Well, she will say that in consequence of his odd behaviour all that Thursday, his talking to people who were not there, and all that, she became alarmed and sent for a doctor. This will be corroborated by the parlour maid and Miss Blampied?"
    "And the lawyer Le Marinel can also testify to recent eccentricities?"
    "No doubt."
    "And the opinion you formed will substantiate all this, as well as Dr Sullivant's opinion when he was placed in possession of the facts?"
    "Yes, we agreed as to the man's insanity: our only difference was as to the acts to which his condition might lead."
    "Dr Sullivant suggested suicide; don't you think the verdict will be with him?"
    "Not if it can be avoided. Even in England they are unwilling to return a verdict of suicide, and on a small island like this they probably will be still more anxious to avoid the stigma. You'll see, they'll give an open verdict of 'Found Drowned', glad to find there's no direct evidence to justify any other."
    "No direct evidence?"
    "No; it's scarcely even presumptive evidence, since an insane person wandering about is no more immune from accident than anyone else; he may fall over the cliffs into the sea and be drowned like any one else."
    McNab took over his note book. "Yes," he said thoughtfully, "it looks all very simple."
    "Yet we know it is nothing of the sort," I said.

Apr 13, 2021, 7:49 am

>37 lyzard: So would you say Gray Dusk is worth reading?

>38 lyzard: I read Death Comes to Perigord a few years ago. While I don't remember much, I remember it being too long.

Apr 14, 2021, 5:57 pm

>39 NinieB:

Yes, though the opening stages are rough going, with Carroll's emoting on one hand and the book's attitude to the townspeople on the other. Once it settles down it's quite interesting and makes good use of what was an uncommon setting. Also, you know how I feel about law enforcement in American mysteries of this time so the positive characterisation of the sheriff was a big plus for me.

I don't think it's a matter of length so much as too much time with unpleasant people. McNab doesn't show up until about halfway through and by then I'd had quite enough of Dr Dunn & co. :D

Apr 14, 2021, 6:08 pm

Finished The Murder Of Sigurd Sharon for TIOLI #4.

Now reading The Wraith by Philip MacDonald.

Apr 14, 2021, 6:08 pm

Yes, that's my experience too... :D

Edited: Apr 14, 2021, 7:09 pm

Speaking of cats, I haven't posted any pictures of the boys for a while---I guess not since Chester had his surgery, which meant that Spike was missing out.

This series of the two of them realising that my lap isn't really big enough for both of them (at once) makes me laugh:

Apr 15, 2021, 12:00 pm

Such cuties.

Apr 16, 2021, 3:22 am

They are a pair of handsome cats.

Edited: Apr 16, 2021, 12:14 pm

>45 Helenliz: What Helen said. Not sure how you can tell them apart, though! I assume they are less alike in person than they look in photos.

Edited: Apr 19, 2021, 8:26 pm

>44 MickyFine:, >45 Helenliz:, >46 rosalita:

Aww, thank you! As I always tell them, Spike is a pretty boy, but Chester is more handsome than pretty. :D

Yes, they're quite different: it doesn't show so much in these because of the poor lighting. Technically they're both ginger tabbies, but Chester is a deep russet (rather like the golden cat up-top), while Spike is a much lighter, variegated colour that I believe is called 'champagne'.

Also Chester generally takes a good photo, whereas Spike seems to pull his goblin-face every time, as in the third one. :)

Edited: Apr 16, 2021, 5:08 pm

>42 lyzard:

Oh, dear.

It turns out my cover-joke was extremely ill-placed. The Wraith does involve cats; very dead cats. :(

In fact that tagline should read: "It began with murder, ended with far less distressing murder."

Designing that cover, apparently for the cat-crowd, and then serving up - that - is pretty unconscionable...

Apr 16, 2021, 6:48 pm

>47 lyzard: OK, so based on your description I'm going to say that in your >43 lyzard: photos, Spike is on the left and Chester on the right? The coloring difference (now that I know to look for it) is most noticeable to me in the last picture. But I stand by Helen's comment (can I do that? stand by someone else's comment?) that they are handsome fellows).

>48 lyzard: Oh dear, indeed! That makes you wonder if the only brief the cover artist got was that tagline. Surely if they'd read it ...

Apr 16, 2021, 6:50 pm

>47 lyzard: And Spike wears a white shirt, while Chester doesn't.

>48 lyzard: Oh, that is definitely unconscionable . . . !

Apr 17, 2021, 9:11 pm

>49 rosalita:, >50 NinieB:

Correct and correct! :)

>49 rosalita:, >50 NinieB:

The book seems to think we shouldn't be too upset by it so maybe the artist felt the same way. :(

Edited: Apr 17, 2021, 9:27 pm


Finished The Wraith for TIOLI #7.

Now reading Poison In The Pen by Patricia Wentworth.

Edited: Apr 19, 2021, 6:39 pm

There are cats in this book...

{*cringes in terror*}

Apr 19, 2021, 6:38 pm


Finished Poison In The Pen for TIOLI #9.

Now reading President Fu Manchu by Sax Rohmer.

Apr 19, 2021, 6:42 pm

Surely Maudie wouldn't let anything bad happen to cats?!

Apr 19, 2021, 6:47 pm

Any answer I could give would be a spoiler.

Get back to me when you've finished and we'll have a spoiler-tag-heavy conversation about it...

Edited: Apr 19, 2021, 7:09 pm

>56 lyzard: Deal! I probably won't get to it for a couple of weeks, but I'll be back then.*

*To discuss it, I mean. I'm sure I'll be back much sooner than that for the usual general badinage. :-)

Apr 19, 2021, 7:14 pm

>57 rosalita:

I hope so! :D

Edited: Nov 7, 2021, 6:23 pm

Publication date: 1925
Genre: Historical romance
Read for: Georgette Heyer historical fiction challenge / TIOLI (Linda's 60th: historical fiction)

Simon The Coldheart - A boy presents himself at the stronghold of the Earl of Montlice, demanding employment. Between his own physical prowess and the good offices of young Alan, the heir, the boy is allowed into the presence of Lord Fulk, known as "the Lion" for his size and personality. Questioned, he gives his name as Simon of Beauvallet---a name he has chosen for himself, being the illegitimate son of Geoffrey of Malvallet. Between his dislike of Geoffrey and his reluctant admiration of Simon's audacity, Fulk takes the boy into his service... Simon grows into a man strong, straightforward and hard---winning love from those who know him well, but giving little of himself in return. Rejecting his father, he means to win a name and a place by the strength of his own arm, and achieves the first part of his aim through service to the king, Henry IV. But it is as a soldier under Prince Hal in his war against Normandy that Simon wins glory---and more... The second of Georgette Heyer's straight historical fictions, Simon The Coldheart is an improvement over The Great Roxhythe but still a problematical work. Though their settings are quite different, with the court of Charles II giving way to the battlefields of the Glyndŵr Rising and the Hundred Years War under Henry IV and Henry V, the two novels suffer from some of the same faults. Heyer is at her best in the actual history, sketching 15th century domestic life amongst the English nobles and the siege-centred battles of the war with Normandy with equal ease and accuracy (albeit crediting Simon with a few military triumphs and honours actually won by others, which she notes and apologises for in a footnote). At the same time, her characterisations remain stiff and somewhat unconvincing; and again, her period jargon makes her conversations jerky and unnatural (though far less so here than in Roxhythe). Simon himself is perhaps the book's main shortcoming. While his ambition, his directness and his determination are in many ways the point of the narrative, what this gives us is a protagonist who never really grows or changes or learns anything. The only thing Simon is ever wrong about is, of course, his conviction that he will never fall in love. This changes when he is tasked by Henry V with capturing the walled city of Belremy, in Normandy, which is ruled by the beautiful and imperious Lady Margaret... If Simon doesn't change enough over the course of this novel, we might be justified in complaining that Margaret changes too much. The relationship between the two is a predictable example of the they-hate-each-other-therefore-they-must-be-in-love school of romance writing; while the fluttering damsel of this novel's latter stages bears little resemblance to the supposed "Amazon" and "tigress" and "she-devil" who once (safely prior to her appearance in the narrative) donned armour and led her people into battle.

    "Ye grow discourteous, milor'. Be sure the Comtesse desires not your life. Her terms are that if ye will withdraw your men from Belremy, swearing never to return, she will deliver Sir Alan of Montlice into your care as soon as you have left the town."
    "I thank Madame la Comtesse!" Simon's voice grated. "But she is over-proud, me thinks."
    "In a word, milor', you refuse?"
    "I ignore."
    The clear voice from the throne spoke again. "Tell him, my cousin, to consider well. If he refuse my terms, then will I send to dispatch Sir Alan of Montlice right speedily, and will send him the same road."
    Simon stood silent, and a gleam of triumph came into the Chevalier's eyes. "That gives food for thought, milor'?"
    Simon heeded him not, but looked at the Lady Margaret. "That is your last word, Madame?"
    "My last word," she answered haughtily.
    Then Simon moved. In a flash he had torn his sword from the scabbard and was upon the dais, holding the weapon shortened, the point touching the Comtesse'd white breast.
    There was a horrified cry; the men sprang forward, but stopped short as Simon drew his arm back to thrust. His left hand gripped the Countess's wrist; he looked over his shoulder at the room.
    "One step more and your mistress dies," he said softly...

Apr 20, 2021, 7:24 pm

Publication date: 1980
Genre: Horror
Read for: Potential decommission / TIOLI (looking for in New Year)

The Land Of Laughs - Having come together over a tussle for possession of a rare first edition by famed children's author, Marshall France, Thomas Abbey and Saxony Gardner decide to work together on Thomas's planned biography of the author. They make plans to visit Galen, the small town in Missouri where Marshall France lived, worked and died; but before they set out, Thomas calls upon David Louis, France's editor and one of the few people the reclusive author communicated with. Louis warns Thomas that if he's going to get anywhere with his biography, he will need the cooperation of France's daughter, Anna---and that she is not, to put it mildly, an easy person to get along with. When Thomas and Saxony arrive in Galen, they find themselves the subject of more than ordinarily intense small-town scrutiny. Although they have agreed to keep their mission a secret at the outset, to Thomas's intense annoyance Saxony blurts it out at a public gathering. However, the results are positive: Anna France proves surprisingly open to Thomas's proposals; while the rest of the townspeople begin to warm up to the newcomers. However, as Thomas and Saxony settle to their work, it soon becomes clear to them that Galen is no ordinary small town---and that their acceptance there may come at a price; a very high price... Jonathan Carroll's debut novel is almost impossible to classify. Overarchingly, it may be described as horror, or fantasy, or magic realism; but The Land Of Laughs is also a book about books: about the impact of books upon our lives, and their ability to create worlds more real than reality; while its perverse triumph is the way in which it manages to take the passion of the devoted reader and turn it into something deeply sinister. The novel's main flaw, or at least the main thing for the reader to overcome, is that Thomas Abbey is an unappealing protagonist---and not least because as first-person narrator, all his flaws are right there for us to see. We are familiar with his daddy-issues and his tendency to self-pity and selfishness before his arrival in Galen; once there, his growing obsession with Anna France and his consequent treatment of Saxony complete the unattractive package. Thomas is, however - somewhat to his own surprise - a talented writer; and between his genuine passion for the man's writing, the quality of Saxony's research and the insights granted him by Anna, he manages from the outset to "capture" Marshall France. Even so, he is hardly prepared for the way his draft first chapter sets the town of Galen alight... Jonathan Carroll's writing in The Land Of Laughs displays a remarkable balance: we are deep in the novel before anything overtly strange happens, yet throughout there is a growing sense of tension and unease---placing the reader in the position of (as it were) waiting for the first shoe to drop. Several strange incidents, including Thomas literally seeing one of the townspeople as a Marshall France character, or becoming convinced that his landlady's dog, a bull terrier called Nails, is speaking to him, might be imagination or hallucination; but the bizarre behaviour of the residents of Galen - celebrating in the face of tragedy - cannot be so easily dismissed. However, by the time Thomas realises that his writing has set something terrifying in motion, it is already too late...

    They were ecstatic. They hugged and kissed each other as if it was the end of the war. Mrs Fletcher looked at me and her eyes were brimming with tears. The whole thing was crazy.
    "You must be the one, Tom. Now it's all going right again." Her face was radiant. Her dog had just been killed and her face was radiant.
    "Can I give you a kiss, Mr Abbey? I mean, only if it's okay with you."
    Carolyn gave me a hot peck on the cheek and then twittered away, back out into the fog. I didn't know if it was creepier out there or in here.
    Mrs Fletcher gave me another delighted look. "Ever since you started work on his book, Tom, everything here has gone right. Anna knew what she was doing with you, boy." She shook my hand and held it in both of hers.
    "But what about Nails, Mrs Fletcher? He was just run over. He's dead."
    "I know. I'll see you in the morning, Tom." She waved once when she got to the top of the stairs, and then she closed the door that separated her world from ours.
    I went back into our apartment and silently closed the door behind he. Nails was dead. The dog that had talked to me was dead. That was bad enough (or good enough, depending on how you looked at it), but then the joy on both women's faces when Carolyn gave the news...
    I didn't understand anything, but on the other hand I remembered a section from The Land Of Laughs where the Queen of Oil says to one of her children: The questions are the danger. Leave them alone and they sleep. Ask them, awake them, and more than you know will begin to rise...

Apr 20, 2021, 8:22 pm

Publication date: 1958
Genre: Mystery / thriller
Read for: TIOLI (3.5+ rating)

Fools' Gold - Skip and Eddie, two boys with a history of delinquency, begin to plan a robbery; or rather, Skip begins to plan it, while Eddie, a self-confessed "follower", allows himself to be taken along for the ride. Skip is cultivating Karen Miller, a pretty but inexperienced girl who attends the same night school. Karen has told Skip all about her lonely, unhappy home-life as live-in housekeeper for her guardian, Mrs Havermann. Skip cares nothing about that---but he does care about another of Karen's stories involving the visits of Mrs Havermann's ex-son-in-law, and the money he hides somewhere in her house... Dolores Hitchens' 1958 crime novel is an interestingly blended work that in some ways was ahead of its time. On the face of it, Fools' Gold is one of its era's numerous juvenile delinquency stories, apparently designed to make adults despair over "these kids today"; but halfway through it switches gears, turning subtext into text and showing how pathetic and comparatively harmless its "delinquents" are when set against genuine adult evil. That said, the sociopathic Skip is a danger to himself and even more so to others: the way in which the weak-natured Eddie and the well-intentioned but lonely Karen allow themselves to be led and manipulated by the stronger personality is both exasperating and believable; and by the time the two of them sensibly turn their eyes from Skip and to each other, it is already too late. The muted sympathy that Fools' Gold expresses for its damaged young people is woven into a taut heist narrative, which begins to unfold when, in a rare moment of misjudgement, Skip confides Karen's story about the hidden money to his Uncle Willy, a two-time loser still dreaming of the big time. Deciding that the job is too big for Skip and his loser friend, Eddie, to handle, Willy sells the information to an experienced criminal known as Big Tom, in exchange for a cut of the proceeds. Big Tom assumes that cutting out a punk like Skip will be simple enough, but in this he makes a misjudgement---with the furious boy determined to get in ahead of his adult rival by using Karen's detailed knowledge of the house to his advantage. The two parallel schemes are soon in motion---with neither Skip nor Big Tom aware that, though the hidden money is real, it is also more dangerous than either of them could imagine...

    Skip walked out to the car and approached it opposite the driver's seat. He heard Eddie say something, and Karen lifted her head and smoothed her hair; and a slight smile touched Skip's mouth, increasing the foxy look, narrowing his thin lips. He stood close to Eddie's door, and Eddie rolled down the glass.
    "I'm going back," Skip said.
    The two in the car looked out as if not understanding what he's said. Karen's wet eyes gleamed in the dimness. All at once Eddie caught on and said, "Crissakes, for why? You must be nuts."
    "Ah, I just..." Skip's manner was completely relaxed. "I just want one more chance. The dough's there. Got to be."
    "But she's dead in there," Karen said, leaning past Eddie, her voice shaking. "You can't go back!"
    "Yell a little louder," Skip encouraged. "I don't think they quite heard that in the diner."
    "Please! Please---let's not go back," she begged.
    "Like I say," he went on, "the money's in there, maybe lying some perfectly ordinary place we just forgot to look at, some place I'd notice right away if I went back..."

Apr 20, 2021, 11:52 pm

>60 lyzard: That one sounds appealing, unappealing protagonist and all.

Apr 21, 2021, 3:58 am

>59 lyzard: I think that the romance thing doesn't work well because it's all about Margaret giving in to Simon, there's no reciprocity. Having said that, it's a good enough read, lots of action & adventure to keep the thing moving along.

Edited: Apr 21, 2021, 6:42 pm

>62 swynn:

Ha! - Missouri. Yes. :D

Absolutely it is, yes. Don't misunderstand me: Thomas is written that way intentionally and for a reason; we need to see things through his eyes. It's just that the first-person narrative means there's a lot of him to deal with.

>63 Helenliz:

Yes, it's "I need you to be this way" and she is; when given her own background, she ought to be as unyielding as him: it should be 50/50 or an implosion. This is why, as I say, the matter of her going into battle is kept off-stage: it doesn't fit at all with her later attitude.

But generally the shift to history and action from character scenes makes for an effective work, agreed.

Edited: Apr 22, 2021, 12:53 am

Publication date: 1955
Genre: Mystery / thriller
Read for: TIOLI (set within 21 years of my birth)

Beast In View - Estranged from her mother and brother, thirty-ish Helen Clarvoe lives an isolated existence in a suite in a downtown hotel. Though she is wealthy, Helen's is a lonely, unhappy life---and it becomes worse when she becomes the target of harassment by Evelyn Merrick. Despite their differences, shy Helen and popular, outgoing Evelyn were once the best of friends - Helen tries not to think about the time she overheard her disappointed parents wishing she could be "more like Evie" - but their ways fell apart---only for them to be unexpectedly reconnected when Evelyn married Helen's brother, Douglas: a marriage that quickly ended in annulment... Frightened by Evelyn's abusive and obscene phone-calls, Helen turns to Paul Blackshear, a friend of her late father who has been handling her investments, for advice. Though Helen resists his counsel of getting out in the world more, Blackshear finds himself interested enough to try and track down Evelyn and see what it is she wants---and if she can be bought off. Helen, meanwhile, tries to protect herself via a new, unlisted number and by isolating herself even more than usual; but Evelyn is angry with her---and when Evelyn is angry, she is not so easily stopped... Margaret Millar won the 1956 Edgar Award for Best Novel for Beast In View; but while those aspects of her story that most surprised and shocked readers at the time have lost some of their impact today - not least because they have been so often copied since - in some ways this novel is even more effective now, because our better understanding makes it clear how far ahead of her time Millar was with her depiction of harassment and stalking---and how such situations can end in tragedy. In some other respects, Beast In View is less successful. The characterisations of both the repressed Helen and the unhappy Douglas, with his secret life, are a bit too much of their time; and while we can believe in Dougie's blundering exit, Paul Blackshear's growing personal interest in Helen, and her hesitant responsiveness, are both unconvincing. However, these are minor faults when set against Millar's terrifyingly credible portrait of Evelyn Merrick. A narcissist and a psychopath, Evelyn feeds on the feeling of power than comes with hurting others; while anyone who crosses her must be punished. Her preferred weapon, at first, is simply her words: she knows perfectly how to find an individual's most vulnerable point, and to strike at it; how to wound someone with lies, or better yet, with the truth; but when Helen, her preferred target, cuts off her access with her unlisted number, Evelyn's rage causes her to escalate to physical violence...

    She began to dial, shaking with excitement like a wild evangelist. The word must be spread. Lessons must be taught. Truth must be told.
    "The Monica Hotel."
    "I'd like to speak to Miss Helen Clarvoe, please."
    "I'm sorry, Miss Clarvoe has had a private telephone installed in her suite."
    "Could you tell me the number?"
    "The number's unlisted. I don't know it myself."
    "You filthy liar," Evelyn said and hung up. She couldn't stand liars. They were a bad lot.
    She called Bertha Moore, but as soon as Bertha recongised her voice, she slammed down the receiver.
    She called Verna Clarvoe again. The line was busy.
    She called Jack Terola's studio, letting the phone ring for a full minute in case he was busy in the back room, but there was no answer.
    She called the police and told them that a man had been stabbed with a scissors in the lobby of the Monica Hotel and was bleeding to death.
    It was better than nothing. But it wasn't good enough. The power and excitement were rotting away inside her like burned flesh, and her mouth was lined with grey fur the the tomcat's in the alley...

Apr 22, 2021, 3:00 am

Finished President Fu Manchu for TIOLI #10.

Now reading Midnight by Octavus Roy Cohen.

Apr 22, 2021, 6:37 pm

Finished Midnight for TIOLI #17...and FINISHED A (short) SERIES!!

Still...I think it warrants a marmoset!

This is the gold-and-white marmoset (also known as the golden-white tassel-ear marmoset). It is found only in a restricted rainforest area of the Amazon, and its status and ecology are still poorly understood:

Apr 22, 2021, 7:14 pm

Now reading Sing Sing Nights by Harry Stephen Keeler.

Edited: Apr 22, 2021, 8:18 pm

Publication date: 1956
Genre: Mystery / thriller
Read for: TIOLI (picked by someone else)

The Blunderer - Four years into his marriage to Clara, Walter Stackhouse realises he no longer loves her; in fact, rather more than that. There had been mention of divorce before, but it evaporated in the face of Clara's threat of suicide. Since then, she has returned to her usual behaviour---refusing to find enjoyment in anything, driving a wedge between Walter and his friends, and picking fights to show her power over him. One of Walter's compensations is his series of "essays", observatory notes about human relationships; though he has never analysed his own. He finds himself growing increasingly fascinated by a newspaper clipping about a savage murder---and by what it does not say. Concluding - as he assumes the police have also - that the woman's husband is the killer, he even goes so far as to visit the man's book-shop and place an order, just to see what a murderer looks like. Meanwhile, as things with Clara go from bad to worse, Walter finds himself falling in love with Ellie Briess, who accompanied a work colleague to one of the Stackhouses' very rare parties. His feelings for Ellie bring matters to a head: Clara must go, one way or another... This 1956 psychological thriller by Patricia Highsmith is a brutal and disturbing work---and all the more so because I'm not altogether certain we're supposed to take it that way. Female author or not, this is a deeply misogynistic tale, focused upon two very different but equally awful wives and suggesting that murder is a perfectly reasonable response to their behaviour. Violence, physical and psychological, pervades every aspect of this novel, from its depiction of the marriages in question, to the unconscionable behaviour of the police detective in charge of the murder investigations, whose "interrogation" methods amount to torture. The Blunderer, indeed, opens with a detailed, rub-the-reader's-nose-in-it description of the hands-on murder of Helen Kimmel by her husband; and this imagery hangs over the narrative that unfolds, as Walter Stackhouse contemplates the disposal of his own wife. It is not for planning - and for going some way towards committing - Clara's murder that this novel criticises Walter: it is, rather - as the title suggests - because he makes such a total mess of things... When Clara is called away to the bedside of her dying mother, Walter cannot help but think that history is repeating itself: Helen Kimmel, too, was leaving town on a bus; her body was found some way away from a rest-stop---and surely she would only have stepped away from the safe, lighted area with someone she knew? Having followed Clara's bus to a suitable rest-stop, Walter tries to steel himself for the ordeal ahead; but he cannot find Clara amongst the other disembarked passengers. Part frustrated, part relieved, he returns home---only to be informed the next day that Clara's body has been found at the base of a cliff near the rest-stop...

    What kind of courage did it take to commit a murder? What degree of hatred? Did he have enough? Not simply hatred, he knew, but a particular tangle of forces of which hatred was only one. And a kind of madness. He thought he was entirely too rational. At least at this moment. If it had been a moment like some, when he wanted to strike her. But he had never struck her. He was always too rational.     Even now when he was following her on a bus, and the conditions were ideal. It was like the dream he had had.
    He'd go no farther than the first rest stop, he thought. He would go up to Clara and say what he had said in the dream. What Melchior Kimmel might have said. Clara, I have to talk to you. Come with me. Then he would only walk with her a few yards, and the bitter words spoken at the bus terminal would repeat themselves; she would make a taunt about Ellie, call him a fool for driving all this distance out of his way, and he would walk back to the bus, with his nerves at the cracking point...
    He tried to imagine what would happen if he did do it. First, he would have no alibi. And there was the danger that he would be seen by someone at the bus stop, that Clara's "Walter!" would be heard the instant she saw him, that people would remember both of them, walking off on the highway.
    And Ellie would despise him.
    He kept on, speeding after the fleeing bus...

Apr 23, 2021, 7:58 am

>67 lyzard: MARMOSET!!! That's a pretty critter — the tassel-eared varieties have all been quite winsome.

Oh, and congrats for finishing another series!

Apr 23, 2021, 5:47 pm

>67 lyzard: EVIL!

Sorry ... I've spent too much time in Saxrohmerland.

Apr 24, 2021, 8:21 am

Been a while since I didn't lurk so I'll jump in to wish to a great weekend, Liz.

Apr 25, 2021, 5:52 pm

>70 rosalita:

In that order, of course. Thank you!

>71 swynn:

Aw, c'mon, this is clearly the marmoset who is pure of heart and there to set things right. Or at least, his colouring is about as subtle as Rohmer's writing.

>72 PaulCranswick:

Hi, Paul - thank you! :)

Apr 26, 2021, 6:02 pm


Apr 26, 2021, 6:59 pm

>74 lyzard: We read you loud and clear, over! :-D

I just started Poison in the Pen and you know it made me smile when we start right out with Frank and Maudie hanging out drinking tea.

Apr 26, 2021, 7:24 pm

>75 rosalita:

Phew! :)

But there was an intermittent issue with the site, yes?

Enjoy it: it's not a Frank-heavy entry (though he bookends the story).

Apr 26, 2021, 7:34 pm

>76 lyzard: Yes, I kept getting a message about failure to read the database or some such. I assumed it was an intervention by my boss to make me focus on work for the last 45 minutes of the work day. :-)

Apr 26, 2021, 7:41 pm

>77 rosalita:


No, that's an injustice...THIS time...

Apr 26, 2021, 7:41 pm

Finished Sing Sing Nights for TIOLI #17.

Now reading Missing Or Murdered by Robin Forsythe.

Apr 27, 2021, 2:55 am

>77 rosalita: >:-o How very dare they!!!!

>74 lyzard: 'tis traditional to prove you can count after saying that.

Apr 27, 2021, 6:09 pm

Edited: Apr 28, 2021, 5:22 pm

Publication date: 1993
Genre: Non-fiction: forensic science / true crime
Read for: Potential decommission

Cause Of Death - This non-fiction work by forensic pathologist, Cyril H. Wecht, in association with his son and colleague, Benjamin, and lawyer / journalist, Mark Curriden, addresses some of the most controversial medico-legal cases in recent American history---devoting the majority of its attention to the biggest case of all, and the one that brought Dr Wecht to national prominence as an expert witness: the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Naturally enough, Cause Of Death is heavily focused upon physiology and the science of forensic investigation; although, being published in 1993, there is a natural absence of the reliance upon DNA and various scientific techniques that we now take for granted, and conversely an assumption of the ignorance of the reader. Ultimately, we can only wonder what some of the verdicts would have been had those modern techniques been available at the time. For some of the cases described, Wecht was personally involved---in the original investigation, in reviewing the evidence, or as a witness; in others, his attention is caught by some unusual factors. In the opening section of Cause Of Death, Wecht traces his own involvement in the investigation of JFK's death, the mishandling of the evidence from the very first moments, the agendas of the numerous individuals and organisations that involved themselves, and his own conclusions (two shooters, Lee Harvey Oswald probably not one of them). From here, sadly, Wecht is able to segue into the assassination of Bobby Kennedy, where his findings again contradict the official verdict. A third section, on Teddy Kennedy and Chappaquiddick, seems intended chiefly to counterbalance the pro-Kennedy tone of the first half of the book, and is used as an illustration of what can go wrong when law enforcement is influenced by celebrity (in this case, everything). The second half of Cause Of Death recounts several high-profile cases, including the death of Elvis Presley (in its medical malfeasance, horribly prescient of the death of Michael Jackson); the death of Sunny von Bulow and the trial of her husband, Klaus; and the conviction of Jeffrey MacDonald for the murder of his wife and two young children. The other incidents described, which caught Wecht's attention if not the headlines, include that of a strange death in an isolated farming community, and the tragic case of a young man found dead at the bottom of a staircase on his college campus.

    Before I continue, you must know my opinion of the Warren Commission report: it is absolute nonsense! Libraries should move the report to the fiction section. From a purely scientific standpoint, the finding that this one bullet passed through the president and then hit Governor Connally is an asinine, pseudo-scientific sham at best, and, very possibly, a deliberate attempt to cover up the truth about what really happened. Putting aside the fact that this shooting involved the president of our country and the governor of a state, it is quite possibly one of the worst investigations of a homicide I have ever come across. Putting science aside and simply using reasonable common sense, much of the panel's rationalisations are downright silly.
    Keep this thought in mind: I have always approached the assassination of President Kennedy no differently than I have approached the thousands of other homicide cases I have investigated during my three decades as a forensic pathologist---and that is from a purely scientific, objective, evidence-based perspective.
    "Quincy" I am not! Nor are most murders solved in an hour. Nor do I go looking for incredible, incriminating evidence that clears one person, implicates another, and ends with a suspect confessing. That is not how forensic pathology works.
    As a forensic pathologist, I examine the physical evidence. What does the autopsy show? What are the angles, trajectories, and range of the bullet wounds? Do photographs of the crime scene show anything? Which bullet caused the fatal injuries? What was the sequence of the shots? What was the position of the assailant? The answers to all these questions are derived solely from the physical evidence...

Edited: Apr 28, 2021, 5:22 pm

And THAT brings us, very belatedly and by circuitous paths, to the end of my January reviewing... the end of April.

(It's not all bad: I haven't finished February but I have finished March.)

January stats:

Works read: 15
TIOLI: 15, in 12 different challenges, with 1 shared read

Mystery / thriller: 9
Young adult: 2
Classic: 2
Non-fiction: 1
Horror: 1

Series works: 7
Re-reads: 3
Blog reads: 2
1932: 0
1931: 0
Virago / Persephone: 1
Potential decommission: 2

Owned: 5
Library: 1
Ebooks: 9

Male authors : female authors: 9 : 6

Oldest work: The Reviv'd Fugitive: A Gallant Historical Novel by Peter Belon (1690)
Newest work: Miracle Creek by Angie Kim (2019)

Edited: Apr 27, 2021, 7:18 pm

...which brings us to the year's first sloth, likewise belated; sorry!---

Apr 27, 2021, 7:24 pm

>84 lyzard: Did the first person who saw a sloth shout, "It's a space alien!"?

Edited: Apr 28, 2021, 7:49 am

>84 lyzard: SLOTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sloth pics are always welcome no matter how tardy. I mean, they ARE sloths, after all!

Apr 27, 2021, 11:45 pm

>85 NinieB:

Apparently the first person looked at them and saw only a deadly sin. Moron. :D

>86 rosalita:

Working on a couple more! :)

Apr 28, 2021, 5:07 am

Yay! Sloth!!
I can't help think when I see one that they look more like a stuffed animal than a real one.

Apr 28, 2021, 5:46 pm

>88 Helenliz:

That one certainly looks made up! :)

Apr 28, 2021, 5:58 pm

So here we are.

I was hoping to get another book or two done this month; maybe one more might get squeezed in...

I have been indulgent with mysteries this month, so I'm planning on more general reading in May, including biting the bullet and restarting another couple of stalled challenges.

At the moment my likely reads are as follows (and yes I know the list starts with a mystery, but technically it's there as a shared read!):

The Mystery Of The Whispering Mummy by Robert Arthur {shared read}
The Doctor's Family by Margaret Oliphant {group read}
The Arrangement by Elia Kazan {best-seller challenge}
Beauvallet by Georgette Heyer
The Life Of Mansie Wauch by David Moir {C. K. Shorter challenge} (yo, Ninie!)
The Foundling by Francis Spellman {random reading}
1811 read?? {A Century Of Reading}

I am still stuck on my Mystery League and Banned In Boston challenges as these require material only available through my academic library, which shows no sign yet of a general reopening.

I have been holding off on Mansie Wauch in hopes of a hard copy from the same source, but I can proceed via ebook.

Baulking at going on with the 'Century Of Reading' because I can't get hold of my chosen 1810 book (ibid.) is stupid because I'm just plugging gaps there anyway, but that's the way my brain works.

I'd like to add a blog read or two to this list but I have GOT to get some writing done first...

Apr 28, 2021, 6:18 pm

>90 lyzard: Looking forward to the Mansie review! :)

I am planning to participate in a 1900-1950 readathon. I now have my copy of Winds of Evil (1937)!

Apr 28, 2021, 7:13 pm

>91 NinieB:

Yes, I saw all about that and am desperately resisting! :D

Apr 28, 2021, 7:50 pm

>92 lyzard: Probably wise, since you are resuming some existing challenges!

Apr 29, 2021, 3:07 am

With a bit of notice I'll try and join you in Beauvallet.

Apr 30, 2021, 5:38 pm

>94 Helenliz:

Thank would be great, Helen! I am hoping to get to it this month but it will depend how the rest plays out (and I can already tell that The Arrangement is going to be a road-block).

Apr 30, 2021, 6:10 pm

Finished Missing Or Murdered for TIOLI #4, and that is it for April. I had hoped to get to another book or two, TIOLI-wise, but it was not to be.

Now reading The Arrangement by Elia Kazan, and, ugh...

You know how I described Saul Bellow's Herzog as a "middle-aged white man stares at navel for 400 pages, author wins awards" book?

This one is of that genre, right down to the 400 pages, only the protagonist's gaze is fixed a few inches lower...

Apr 30, 2021, 6:59 pm

>96 lyzard: Ugh. Sounds like Kazan suffered from PRS (Philip Roth Syndrome). My sympathies to you.

Apr 30, 2021, 9:02 pm

>96 lyzard: I've never heard of that book--how could it be a bestseller?

Apr 30, 2021, 11:15 pm

>98 NinieB:

Let's just say it was of its time.

Seriously, must have been one of the first mainstream novels to use / get away with explicitly crude sexual language. So far I have discovered nothing else notable about it (other than the protagonist's total self-absorption but that goes with the territory).

Edited: May 1, 2021, 7:51 am

>99 lyzard: Hah. I really like the Pauline Kael review in Published Reviews.

ETA. And this should convince you not to read "40 Trashy Novels You Must Read Before You Die".

May 1, 2021, 6:17 pm

>100 NinieB:

I'll save that up for a treat when I'm finished.

Hey, you know me, moth to the flame... :D

May 1, 2021, 6:19 pm

>101 lyzard: Admittedly, I have at least one of the books from that list--Peyton Place--on my shelf . . .

May 1, 2021, 8:42 pm

>102 NinieB:

Peyton Place knows what it is and doesn't pretend otherwise; it's these trashy books that pose as Great Literature that I can't stomach.

May 2, 2021, 6:40 pm

The thread is up for the second of our Margaret Oliphant group reads, the novella The Doctor's Family---


As always, all welcome!

May 4, 2021, 7:02 pm

Finished The Arrangement for TIOLI #12.


Well. After that, I think I need a palate-cleanser. Something more intellectually challenging, of a higher literary standard---

Now reading The Mystery Of The Whispering Mummy by Robert Arthur.

May 4, 2021, 7:14 pm


May 4, 2021, 7:19 pm

If you didn't laugh, you'd cry...

May 5, 2021, 2:46 am

>105 lyzard: Not a class act then?

May 5, 2021, 5:52 pm

>108 Helenliz:

"Classy" isn't the first word that comes to mind, no.

May 5, 2021, 6:22 pm

>109 lyzard: Oh, come on! A gold Rolls Royce isn't classy enough for you?

May 5, 2021, 7:04 pm

>110 rosalita:

I don't think that's the particular work of literature that Helen was referring to... :D

Edited: May 5, 2021, 7:11 pm

>111 lyzard: Oh. Nevermind. :-)

May 5, 2021, 7:16 pm

But speaking of gold Rolls-Royces!---

Finished The Mystery Of The Whispering Mummy for TIOLI #9.

Now reading The Doctor's Family by Margaret Oliphant.

May 9, 2021, 7:02 pm

Finished The Doctor's Family for TIOLI #8.

Now reading Beauvallet by Georgette Heyer.

May 12, 2021, 6:13 pm

Testing (again).

May 12, 2021, 6:15 pm

Testing (1,2,3...)

May 12, 2021, 6:17 pm

And a 1, and a 2...

May 12, 2021, 6:25 pm

Coming through loud and clear, Captain!

(Also, after >117 lyzard: I will always hear your posts in the voice of Lawrence Welk.)

Edited: May 12, 2021, 6:31 pm

>118 rosalita:

Thanks. I guess. :D

I am particularly afflicted by whatever bug has struck LT and am constantly having to log in and log out and re-test, sigh.

Edited: May 12, 2021, 6:32 pm

But while I can---

Finished Beauvallet for TIOLI #3.

Now reading The Great Impersonation by E. Phillips Oppenheim.

May 12, 2021, 6:33 pm

>119 lyzard: I'm lucky to be avoiding it so far, but I'm on a Mac using Safari. I hope they track down what's going on soon — it does seem like a lot of people are having trouble. Most of them I don't care if they ever get to post again, but I need my Liz fix on the regular. :-)

May 12, 2021, 6:46 pm

>121 rosalita:

Awww... {*blush*}

May 13, 2021, 4:04 am

>120 lyzard: message received and understood. I have 1 to finish and 2 more, so should be on for that in May.

I've *touch wood* been OK since the weekend, but it was certainly several days before that of having to use Edge (which I just don't like) instead of Firefox (which I've got used to)

May 13, 2021, 5:59 am

I’ve been having a lot of problems as well using Safari on my iPad. Seems to be getting marginally better now.

May 13, 2021, 10:14 am

>120 lyzard: Odd coincidence. About once a week I pull a random title out of the Someday Swamp to remind myself of things I want to read. The Great Impersonation surfaced a couple of weeks ago, and actually sounded pretty appealing. Not that I'll get to it any sooner, mind ....

Edited: May 13, 2021, 5:54 pm

>123 Helenliz:

That's great, Helen, thanks!

>123 Helenliz:, >124 SandDune:

Fingers crossed, things seem to have settled down with Firefox now.

>125 swynn:

A month or so ago I pulled the 1935 adaptation out of my my movie version of the Someday Swamp - decided to read it first (of course) - downloaded it - and then ran out of time.

However this month I needed a replacement work for my own TIOLI challenge, having shifted The Arrangement to yours :D

I'm about halfway through and so far it's doing a pretty good job of making the German spy the sympathetic character---a branch of English war-writing I've always found both bizarre and fascinating. Speaking of which, have you seen The Spy In Black?---which may have been inspired by The Great Impersonation, now that I think of it.

May 13, 2021, 6:10 pm

>126 lyzard: I haven't seen the Spy in Black, and I don't think I'm familiar with any other works in the branch you describe. In my library's shared catalog, though, there's a record for a novel with that title, described as a "classic World War I thriller from Scottish author J. Storer Clouston," so that's probably the source for that film.

By the way: Valley of the Dolls. Ugh.

May 13, 2021, 6:28 pm

>127 swynn:

Do if you can, it's very good. I will look into the Clouston novel, thanks for the heads-up.

Oh, yeah? The Arrangement: UGH.

Apparently the whole 'trash novel' thing was a case of "Be careful what you pray for". :D

Edited: May 14, 2021, 11:11 am

>128 lyzard: I'll try to keep in mind that not only could it get worse, but that it probably will.

May 16, 2021, 12:00 am

>127 swynn:
>128 lyzard:
>129 swynn:

I have now finished Valley of the Dolls and would like to change my "Ugh" to a bewildered and grudgingly admiring "WTF?"

May 16, 2021, 6:47 am

>130 swynn:

I have to say, I think that's a fairer reaction. Though I'll be interested to see whether we think so for the same reasons.

Edited: May 16, 2021, 6:56 pm

Finished The Great Impersonation for TIOLI #7

Now reading The Life Of Mansie Wauch, Tailor In Dalkeith by David Moir.

(Yo, Ninie!)

May 16, 2021, 9:50 pm

So Liz--I was able to buy a book today that you had previously added to LT, Murder Steps In by Charlotte Murray Russell! You can check out the fun cover:

May 19, 2021, 5:56 pm

>133 NinieB:

Oh, brilliant! Where did you find that?

Edited: May 19, 2021, 6:08 pm

>134 lyzard: At a library book sale, for 25 cents.

Edited: May 19, 2021, 6:11 pm

>135 NinieB:

{*raging jealousy*}

May 19, 2021, 7:09 pm

Finished The Life Of Mansie Wauch, Tailor In Dalkeith for TIOLI #4.

Now reading Elsie Yachting With The Raymonds by Martha Finley.

Edited: May 19, 2021, 7:24 pm

My completion of Mansie Wauch marks a rare instance of me actually doing what I planned to do---in this case, getting on with my long-stalled 'C. K. Shorter Best 100 Novels' self-challenge.

Despite everything, I really have no-one to blame but myself for this particular brick wall: this novel is freely available as an ebook, but I kept holding off in the knowledge that my academic library held a 19th century edition that they were willing to lend. But after the library being closed altogether, and closed to the general public, for well over a year, and with no sign of the latter restriction being lifted, I finally did grit my teeth and push on.

Hopefully with that psychological block overcome, I can now make some regular progress---perhaps helped in the next instance by the fact that my next scheduled read is only available to me as an ebook. (The issue there would seem to be, am I up for reading the 1829 first edition online??)


#34: Richelieu: A Tale Of France by G. P. R. James (1829)

This was the first publication by George Payne Rainsford James, who went on to write over 100 novels, many of them works of historical fiction.

Clement Shorter obviously had a liking for the genre, and his list (in which he chooses only one book per author) highlights who was working in this area other than Walter Scott.

May 19, 2021, 8:57 pm

>36 lyzard: My fairy godmother was looking out for me.

>37 lyzard: Woohoo!

>38 lyzard: Congratulations on continuing the Shorter challenge!

May 21, 2021, 6:15 pm

>139 NinieB:

Thank you, hopefully I can keep it ticking along now. :)

May 21, 2021, 6:15 pm

Finished Elsie Yachting With The Raymonds for TIOLI #13.

Now reading The Window At The White Cat by Mary Roberts Rinehart.

Edited: May 21, 2021, 6:18 pm

Question for my American friends (with some 19th century knowledge):

Was something in particular going on between the US and Britain during the late 1880s? Because the last two Elsie books have basically been nothing but Finley banging on about Britain's iniquities, under the guise of history lessons.

Did something specific provoke this, or was she just more than usually out of plot ideas?

May 21, 2021, 6:26 pm

>142 lyzard: I can't think of anything in that time period, but it's admittedly not a particular interest area of mine. Would there have been anything heating up between Britain and Ireland at that time? I know that in other time periods the Brits were quite vexed at the influence the vast Irish diaspora in the US had on financing various and sundry rebellions against the Crown, but off the top of my head I don't know if anything was brewing in that area in the late 19th century, I tend to think more of 1798 and of course 1916 on as the particular hot spots.

Edited: May 21, 2021, 6:50 pm

>142 lyzard: Hunh. How odd. Nothing comes to mind. This period of American history is all about lots of people making lots of money, under a series of mostly Republican presidents. It's the time period when impoverished British peers started importing wealthy American brides.

Updated to add: After the US Civil War, the US sought millions in reparations against Britain for the "Alabama claims". The Alabama was a Confederate raiding ship outfitted in Britain.

May 21, 2021, 6:33 pm

>144 NinieB: Some information on this time period from the US Dept of State:

Edited: May 21, 2021, 6:48 pm

>143 rosalita:, >144 NinieB:, >145 NinieB:

Thanks! I couldn't think of anything but unless it was "big" I probably wouldn't. I thought there might have been some sabre-rattling going on over something---perhaps a trade or territory dispute, or some such. There are a couple of points in that link but nothing outstanding.

Oh, my dear, get with the program: it isn't lots of people making lots of money, under a series of mostly Republican presidents; it's "the most deserving country in the world being blessed by God's bounty". {*eye-roll*}

May 21, 2021, 6:52 pm

>145 NinieB: I added a note above about the Alabama claims.

May 21, 2021, 6:54 pm

>147 NinieB:

Thanks for that: that's interesting and the kind of thing I had in mind, though it seems a bit early to be influencing Finley here (1889 and 1890).

May 21, 2021, 7:19 pm

>148 lyzard:
For Americans, the British would always have been the redcoats. In the American view, the War of 1812 was a life-or-death struggle for the US against Britain. And British-American hostility didn't end with the W of 1812. For example, the walls of the city of Quebec were partly constructed in the 19th century because of fear of American invasion. So hostility against the British in the aftermath of the Civil War would have reinforced negative attitudes in the US. It also looks like the trade ambitions of the US in the late 19th century caused diplomatic conflicts with Britain over Venezuela, Panama, and Hawaii in the later years.

May 21, 2021, 7:25 pm

>149 NinieB:

And that's exactly how this is being presented. But it's so over-the-top and relentless that you feel there must have been provocation (or at least "provocation").

OTOH I'm perfectly fine with the "Finley was completely out of ideas" theory. :D

May 22, 2021, 6:59 pm

Anyway---while all this is in my head:

Edited: May 22, 2021, 7:28 pm

Publication date: 1889
Genre: Young adult
Series: Elsie Dinsmore #15
Read for: Series reading / TIOLI (girl's name in title)

Elsie And The Raymonds - This 15th entry in Martha Finley's series starts out with a flurry of Dinsmore-Travilla activity, with the extended clan gathering to celebrate Elsie's 50th birthday, and Zoe and Edward Travilla adding to the family numbers via the birth of twins. (So I guess Zoe finally found out where babies came from, which she didn't seem to know for some considerable time after her marriage.) However, as is now often the case with this series, a bait-and-switch follows, with the bulk of the narrative dealing with Captain Levis Raymond travelling west to look into some property holdings, in company with his two eldest children, Max and Lulu. While we do get a glimpse into the American frontier of the late 1880s, far more of this short novel is given over to the Raymonds' new acquaintance with two British tourists, father and son, and in particular to the unfortunate young Albert Austin being subjected to a barrage of lectures from Max about America's various naval victories over Britain, with that nation's blunders, failures and iniquities, and conversely America's general superiority in every aspect of life, pointed out in relentless detail. Albert takes this treatment with astonishing patience---something attributed not to his very good manners, but rather to either being compelled to admit that Max is right, or to not being as well-informed as the American children about the history of his nation and therefore unable to argue back. All this is set against the 4th of July celebrations conducted by the small western town that the Raymonds are staying in, and is plot-relevant only inasmuch as Max is making up his mind to follow in his father's footsteps and join the navy. The other thing passing here for plot is the re-emergence of something that reared its head much earlier in the series: anti-Mormonism. Discovering that their Christian landlady and her daughter have been deserted by their husband and father (tacitly because of the promise of polygamy, although Finley doesn't come out and say so), Captain Raymond takes up their cause via another series of lectures---these punctuated by his confident assertions that the American government will do the right thing and outlaw Mormonism any day now...

    "Yes," said Max. "But wasn't it a crazy idea that this great big country should go on being ruled by that little one across the sea? Most absurd, I think."
    "At the beginning of the trouble between them it must have looked like great folly for the thirteen weak colonies to go into the fight with England," remarked Albert.
    "Particularly to the English, who didn't know how in love with liberty, and determined to keep her, the Americans were," said Max. "Papa says we triumphed at the last because our cause was the cause of right, and God guided our counsels and gave success to our arms."
    "I don't believe I'm as well-read on the subject as you are," remarked Albert. "I presume I would naturally take less interest in it than you would."
    "Yes, I suppose so," replied Max. "I've studied the history of the United States, my native land, a great deal, especially in the last year or two, and have had many talks with papa about the events, and especially the doings of the navy; they interested me more than any other part; first, because papa was a naval officer, and then because I'm hoping to go into tlie navy myself."
    "And those studies didn't increase your love for us, the English, I mean?" said Albert interrogatively.
    "No, not a bit," returned Max with a slight laugh. He paused a moment, then went on more gravely, "The treatment they gave the Americans they took prisoners, was simply barbarous; unworthy of a civilised not to say Christian nation."
    "Yes, perfectly dreadful!" chimed in Lulu.
    "Now I really don't remember any such barbarity," remarked Albert, rather apologetically. "But you know the Americans were considered rebels, and I suppose the British officers may have thought it a duty to refrain from coddling them."

Edited: May 22, 2021, 8:02 pm

Publication date: 1890
Genre: Young adult
Series: Elsie Dinsmore #16
Read for: Series reading / TIOLI (series work)

Elsie Yachting With The Raymonds - It is evident that from very early in this series, Martha Finley was writing under publisher (and possibly financial) pressure and didn't really have any fresh ideas; so that quite a few entries have very little you could call 'plot', and have to find some other way of filling out their pages. Even so, I was hardly prepared for Elsie Yachting With The Raymonds, in which about 90% of its content is not just lectures on American history (as per Elsie And The Raymonds), but literally someone else's non-fiction history of the Revolutionary War paraphrased and quite often quoted verbatim. Finley is quite upfront about this, so I suppose we can't call it plagiarism: the work in question is historian George Bancroft's ten-volume The History Of The United States Of America From The Discovery Of The Continent---and believe me, it feels as if the entire ten volumes are being read into the record. I can only imagine that Finley's publisher held the rights to Bancroft's works, as I can't imagine anyway else it could have been permitted. The plot of Elsie Yachting With The Raymonds, such as it is, finds the Raymonds travelling back from the west via Saratoga (lecture, lecture); Levis Raymond buying a yacht and taking the clan on board---sailing with them around Rhode Island (lecture, lecture) and then into Boston Harbor (lecture, lecture, lecture, lecture); before those who care to visit West Point (lecture, lecture, lecture, lecture), and Lexington and Concord (lecture, lecture, lecture, lecture, lecture, lecture). And while we may have thought that British iniquities got a workout in the previous series entry, it turns out that was merely a tiny taste of what was to follow here...and, by the way, I can't begin to tell you how infuriating it is to hear repeatedly about Britain's "enslavement" of America from people who actually used to be slave-owners. (Finley has been desperately retconning that since very early in proceedings.) As for Elsie, she's a very minor figure here, though she occasionally relieves Levis Raymond in reading out Bancroft's history, and also takes a moment to support a young sailor in his struggles with his faith. As far as actual plot goes, we have Max being accepted to Annapolis and separating from his family; while elsewhere, family history begins queasily to repeat itself. Since Lulu Raymond found Jesus and reformed, her relationship with her father has been getting a little creepily touchy-feely---just like the young Elsie's used to be with her father; and now what to we find but a friend of Levis Raymond eyeing off the thirteen-year-old Lulu as his potential future bride?---just like Edward Travilla. Ew.

    "Now, Papa, the next thing is to tell us about the battle of Bunker Hill,---isn't it?" Lulu said with a bright, coaxing look up into his face.
    "I suppose so," he replied, with an indulgent smile. "But first let us look at these cannon,---the 'Hancock' and the 'Adams'; you will readily understand for whom they were named. They belonged formerly to the Ancient and Honourable Artillery Company. This one---the 'Adams'---you see is not sound; it was burst in firing a salute. You also see that they bear an inscription, which I shall read aloud for the benefit of the company:---
    "'Sacred to Liberty. This is one of four cannons which constituted the whole train of field-artillery possessed by the British colonies of North America at the commencement of the war, on the nineteenth of April, 1775. This cannon and its fellow, belonging to a number of citizens of Boston, were used in many engagements during the war. The other two, the property of the government of Massachusetts, were taken by the enemy. By order of the United States in Congress assembled, May nineteenth, 1788.'"
    "What strong faith in God and the righteousness of their cause they must have had, to begin a war with Great Britain with only four cannon in their possession!" remarked Grandma Elsie.
    "Yes," responded the Captain; "and it was by His good help that they conquered in spite of the seemingly insurmountable obstacles in their way. It was a fearful struggle, but with God and the armies of heaven on their side they could not fail.
    "The events of that ever-memorable 19th of April were speedily heralded over the whole land, from the scenes of their occurrence down to South Carolina and Georgia, west to the first settlers of Kentucky, and north to Montreal and Quebec.
    "It electrified its hearers, and with one impulse they of the colonies---soon to become States---sprang to arms. As Bancroft says, 'With one spirit they pledged themselves to each other to be ready for the extreme event.' With one heart the continent cried, 'Liberty or death!'"

May 23, 2021, 5:56 pm

Finished The Window At The White Cat by Mary Roberts Rinehart.

Now reading The Case With Nine Solutions by J. J. Connington (1928)

Edited: May 23, 2021, 7:41 pm

Publication date: 1931
Genre: Mystery / thriller
Series: Colonel Anthony Gethryn #6
Read for: 1931 reading / series reading / TIOLI (two-word title, "The ----")

The Wraith - Shortly after the end of the war, trying to settle to a new career as a writer, Anthony Gethryn isolates himself in the village of High Fen. There, he becomes acquainted with a number of the locals, and is invited to dinner at the estate of John Manx, a well-known scientist. Mystery intrudes itself when Gethryn is witness to a strange and disturbing scene: the eccentric, usually reclusive Alfred Georgius Höst, who rents the lodge of the Manxes' estate, staggering down the main street of High Fen with a very dead cat in his arms... Later, Gethryn learns that several of Höst's cats have been found dead and mutilated, something he is convinced is related to the research being conducted by John Manx, though the scientist denies it. A double tragedy follows, with Manx found shot dead in a cottage in his grounds. A gun found nearby is traced to Höst, though the man himself is missing: in a letter left behind he makes a full confession, and his suicide - a determined plunge into the Blackmarsh, a dangerous fen beyond the village - is witnessed by two people unable to stop him. It seems an open-and-shut case; perhaps a little too open-and-shut; at least, some people think so... The sixth entry in Philip MacDonald's Anthony Gethryn series is (like the preceding entry, The Maze) something of an experimental work, playing games with the established mystery format and rejecting most of the usual conventions. Its premise is a three-way conversation between Gethryn, his wife, Lucia, and their friend, Toller, an author of mysteries. The latter is deploring a dearth of ideas, and pleads with Gethryn to tell of one of his own cases. Gethryn eventually responds with the story of what we take to be his first involvement in murder---a story therefore told in retrospect, with hindsight; one full of interruptions, speculations and protests, and occasionally doubts over Gethryn's absolute truth, as Toller is presented with the facts that Gethryn had to work with. For the mystery reader, however, probably the most unexpected thing is that the killer is effectively revealed about halfway through the narrative, with the story thereafter not a whodunit, but a howdunit---with a focus upon the question of how the crime is to be brought home to those behind it. As a mystery The Wraith has a good deal to recommend it, but for some readers - including this one - it may be hard to get past the matter of the cat mutilations---which are described in terms unusually explicit for this era. At first this looks like animal abuse as a symptom of psychosis (Philip MacDonald was ahead of his time in his understanding of aberrant psychology, being one of the first crime writers to deal with serial killing in the modern sense), but in fact it turns out to be something even worse. The overriding problem is that, clearly, we're not supposed to be particularly upset about this aspect of the book: grossed out, yes, but not emotionally affected; they're "just cats", after all. The capper here is that Gethryn himself does something truly awful in the course of the narrative---and again, obviously, we're only expected to be mildly disturbed---rather than completely disgusted with this book's "hero". Consequently, engaging with the plot of The Wraith requires the capacity to put all this to one side---if you can... After the suicide of Höst, Gethryn is taken aback to be consulted by Penelope Marsh, John Manx's sister, who despite learning of the apparent explanation for the murder has doubts about its motive. She confides to Gethryn a number of family secrets including the state of the Manxes' marriage, the constant battling over money---and her fear that John Manx's declared intention of providing for her may when he made his new will may have enraged the venal Joan Manx. For Gethryn, having already noticed several points in the "open-and-shut case" that to him to not add up, the question then becomes---could Höst have been persuaded, tricked or manipulated into committing someone else's murder...?

    Toller looked at him. "I can't see," he said, "that that cat trick did you much good. All it's done for for my mind is to eliminate---possibly only---Grimsdale as an accomplice."
    "Exactly!" said Anthony. "That's what it did for me. You know, you mustn't forget that although I've told you that Penelope Marsh was right about William and Joan, I didn't know she was right at the time. I was certainly working on that assumption because I've got rather a trick of working from the wrong end of a thing and also I didn't like either the lady Joan or her brother. But I didn't know. I was fumbling. You know and so you oughtn't to criticise me."
    "I know! I know!" said Toller. "As I see it, it seems incredible to me to have Höst an accomplice of Joan and William. Yet, if he wasn't an accomplice, how did they make him their tool for the murder of John Manx? Even knowing that the man was a crank, they couldn't know that by murdering his cats they could make him, in turn, murder. Nor, it seems to me, could they have done much---holding no communication with Höst whatsoever---to induce the thought that the cat murderer was Manx, and yet, as I know they are concerned in the murder of John Manx and wanted to bring about the murder, I know they must have been certain of making Höst kill Manx...
    "Still, I'm damned if I can see anything in this mess. I think on the whole it's made it more difficult, being told about Joan and William..."
    "Oh, come!" said Anthony. "Oh, come!... Tell you what! suppose I go over with you, now, my thoughts on walking home, solitary, from that inquest..."

May 23, 2021, 9:14 pm

Publication date: 1929
Genre: Historical romance
Read for: Georgette Heyer historical fiction challenge / TIOLI (set in country starting with a vowel)

Beauvallet - A clash on the high seas between a Spanish galleon and an English privateer ends with the Santa Maria in flames, its captain and his surviving crew put overboard in long-boats, and Spanish treasure in English hands: treasure that turns out to include Don Manuel de Rada y Sylva, the former governor of Santiago, who was being transported back to Spain, and his lovely daughter, Dominica... Though considered a pirate by the Spanish, Sir Nicholas Beauvallet, captain of the Venture, is a chivalrous man; and when he discovers that Don Manuel is dying, he promises to land him and Dominica in Spain, despite the danger of the enterprise. By the time that they reach the end of their journey, Sir Nicholas and Dominica have fallen in love. Though they must part, Sir Nicholas promises Dominica that they will meet again: that he will reach the very heart of Spain to find her... Though usually classed with Georgette Heyer's "straight" historical fiction, Beauvallet is much closer in spirit to her better-known romances, particularly some of her adventure-romances such as The Talisman Ring, and is all the better for it. (Typically, too, Sir Nicholas is descended from other of Heyer's characters, the leads of Simon The Coldheart.) Heyer is more relaxed here, with this novel lacking the stiffness and artificiality that mark her earlier historical works. This is not to say that Beauvallet is without flaws: Sir Nicholas himself is somewhat over-written, particularly his habit of literally laughing at danger; the romance is a bit perfunctory; and there is a rare instance of Heyer showing her research, in the lengthy descriptions of elaborate Elizabethan dress (though that said, the descriptions are of course correct in their detail). However, this is still a rousing adventure, full of danger and hair's-breadth escapes. Indeed, you can't help but think it would have been a lot easier if Sir Nick had just "abducted" Dominica in the first place...but where would be the fun in that...? Beauvallet is set during the 16th century, before the time of the Spanish Armada when, prior to a formal declaration of war, English privateers harried Spanish galleons across the world's oceans. Sir Nicholas has earned a particularly notorious reputation, his recklessness and luck leading the Spanish to believe that he is literally in league with the devil. But even "El Beauvallet" has never before undertaken a mission so fraught with danger as seeking Dominica in the very heart of Madrid. An encounter with a young French nobleman provides Sir Nicholas with both a false identity and a passage into the court of Philip of Spain where, rather than shy away from danger, he courts it in his usual reckless way---making himself a prominent member of society under the very eyes of the excited but frightened Dominica. But even El Beauvallet's luck can only be pushed so far---and when a Spanish captain previously humiliated by, and since obsessed with, his English rival returns unexpectedly to Madrid, it seems that it has finally run out...

    Above the sound of the rebecks, above the subdued chatter of guests gathered in the hall, sounded the steward's voice. There was a stir at the door. "M. de Chevalier de Guise!" called the steward, and bowed in the late arrival.
    Dominica looked towards the door, wondering who the Frenchman might be. A knot of gentlemen standing there parted to let the newcomer pass. There was a quick, decided step; no Frenchman came in, but Sir Nicholas Beauvallet, as though upon his own quarter-deck.
    Dominica almost let fall her fan; the breath caught in her throat; she stood staring, first pale, then red, and through the riot in her brain ran only one clear thought: He has come! He has come! He has come!
    Across the hall he came, with that graceful, careless step she knew so well. He was brave in silk and velvet, with a neat, small ruff such as he had always worn clipping his throat about. He had a hand laid lightly on his sword-hilt, and his eyes looked straight at Dominica. She saw them fearless, with a kind of mocking challenge in their blue depths, as though they would signify "Well, did I not say I would come?" Everything in her responded to the daring of him...

Edited: May 23, 2021, 10:40 pm

Best-selling books in the United states for 1966:

1. Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
2. The Adventurers by Harold Robbins
3. The Secret of Santa Vittoria by Robert Crichton
4. Capable of Honor by Allen Drury
5. The Double Image by Helen MacInnes
6. The Fixer by Bernard Malamud
7. Tell No Man by Adela Rogers St. Johns
8. Tai-Pan by James Clavell
9. The Embezzler by Louis Auchincloss
10. All in the Family by Edwin O'Connor

By 1966, the "trash" best-seller was beginning to come into its own; though American reading generally was dominated by historical writing with an ever-broader range of topics and settings.

The contemporary outsiders are Allen Drury's Capable of Honor, which deals with media influence in politics; Edwin O'Connor's All in the Family, a more domestic story about a family destroyed by taking up politics; and Adela Rogers St. Johns' Tell No Man, about a Korean War veteran and stockbroker undergoing a crisis and emerging as a man of God.

The remaining books are set either in the past or across decades leading up to contemporary times. James Clavell's Tai-Pan, set in mid-19th century China, about the 'Tai-Pan' (supreme leader) of the European trading community. Bernard Malamud's The Fixer is about a Jew in Czarist Russia who is falsely accused of the murder of a child. Louis Auchincloss' The Embezzler deals with financial and stock manipulation in the lead-up to the Crash and the Depression.

Robert Crichton's The Secret of Santa Vittoria is set during WWII and finds the residents of a small Italian village hiding their one asset, one million bottles of wine, from their German occupiers. Helen MacInnes' The Double Image is a post-war thriller set against the war-crimes trials, and involves the sighting of a supposedly dead Nazi officer.

Trash rules supreme, however. Harold Robbins' The Adventurers, about a group of amoral friends lying, cheating and sleazing their way to success, made it to #2---only to be beaten to the top spot by Jacqueline Susann's Valley of the Dolls.

Edited: May 23, 2021, 11:14 pm

Jacqueline Susann was born in Philadelphia in 1918. Her first ambition was to be an actress, and after graduating high school she relocated to New York. After several years spent training and auditioning, Susann landed one of smaller roles in Clare Boothe Luce's play, The Women, which ran on Broadway for over 600 performances.

Susann appeared in other stage productions through the 1940s, and was finally bitten with the play-writing bug herself; although she struggled to find success in this new venture. She continued to act, and moved to television work during the late 40s. She appeared in a variety of shows and eventually headlined Jacqueline Susann's Open Door, a reality show (to use an anachronistic term) in which people in hardship were helped to find work. She began appearing in commercials, and eventually took charge of her own career in this area, writing and producing her appearances, but became - and remained - best known as "the Schiffli girl" after becoming spokesperson for the Schiffli Lace and Embroidery Institute.

Discouraged that her acting career had run into what she perceived as a dead alley, Susann turned to writing fiction. Her first attempt, the science fiction novel, Yargo, was published only posthumously; while her first published work, Every Night, Josephine!, written about her poodle (who was a minor celebrity too, having appeared on TV with Susann) was a surprise success.

Meanwhile, Susann was working on a semi-autobiographical novel about sex, celebrity and drug abuse. Published in 1966, Valley Of The Dolls went on to become that year's best-selling book despite almost uniformly negative reviews.

Susann followed Valley Of The Dolls with two other scandal-novels, The Love Machine and Once Is Not Enough---and became the first author to have three consecutive works top the New York Times' best-seller list.

Susann was a cancer survivor, undergoing a mastectomy for breast cancer early in the 1960s. In 1973, however, she was diagnosed with a form of lung cancer that may have been secondary to her original condition. Her health declined rapidly, and she died in 1974 at the age of 56.

Jacqueline Susann has since been recognised as perhaps the first truly "critic-proof' author, her success demonstrating that, promoted in a certain way, books could circumvent the usual pathways of review and criticism and reach the public anyway. Valley Of The Dolls was not simply a best-seller: it stayed on the charts for 65 weeks. By the time of the author's death, it had entered the Guinness Book Of Records for its sales, which are now estimated at over 30 million copies.

In 2003, Valley Of The Dolls was reissued in a Virago edition.

Edited: May 24, 2021, 5:48 pm


Edited: Nov 7, 2021, 6:42 pm

Publication date: 1966
Genre: Contemporary drama
Read for: Best-seller challenge

Valley Of The Dolls - Just after the end of WWII, Radcliffe graduate Anne Welles rejects her seeming destiny of marriage and small-town life and moves to New York to pursue a career. She finds a small apartment and a new friend in Agnes Ethel O'Neil, an aspiring young stage performer, and a job working for Henry Bellamy, an entertainment lawyer. Anne finds sudden, unwanted fame when she becomes the fixation of millionaire, Allen Cooper; but her romantic fate is sealed when Lyon Burke returns to the agency after his war service... Henry Bellamy represents Helen Lawson, a stage-performer with whom he was once involved. Trying for a comeback, the ageing star forces Bellamy to dismiss a young actress whose talent threatens her. Anne manoeuvres to have Agnes - now calling herself "Neely O'Hara" - hired for the open role, thus setting her on the path to success and fame... Another, smaller role in the Broadway show is filled by Jennifer North. Jennifer is under no illusions about her talent; but as even as she sets herself to earning a living by exploiting her physical attributes, she dreams of finding a man who wants her for more than her body... Jacqueline Susann's Valley Of The Dolls is an amusingly calculated scandal-novel, destroying its characters with enthusiasm and rubbing its readers' noses in such controversial material as illicit sex (straight and otherwise), abortion, and of course substance abuse; all of it peppered with casual profanity. Set across two decades post-WWII and following Peyton Place as a then-rare, female-focused trash-novel, there is a tendency these days to read Valley Of The Dolls as "feminist", but for me that's a bridge too far: it is, rather, a this-is-why-we-need-feminism story. For one thing, perhaps because of the novel's autobiographical tendencies, its female characters lack both options and imagination: they are offered the choice of "celebrity" or "domesticity", with nothing in between despite Anne's job---which, like her subsequent career as a model and television personality, is clearly just a stop-gap until she can catch the elusive Lyon Burke. Jennifer, meanwhile, parlaying her body from Broadway to the European art-houses, likewise dreams of marriage and children. Neely, though she marries twice and gives birth to twins, is the only one of the three to truly desire fame---and her pursuit of it turns her into a monster. Furthermore, though the novel was and is sold as the story of three female friends sticking together no matter what, there is very little real friendship in this book. Anne's devotion to Neely is mostly built on a feeling of obligation (you can take the girl out of Radcliffe...); while Neely repays her by exploiting and betraying her. Anne and Jennifer have a more equitable relationship, but in fact they spend little time together and never confide in one another. Overall, however, the most striking thing about Valley Of The Dolls is how it contradicts itself at almost every turn. On one hand, it excoriates the celebrity business for the way it chews up and spits out women; but it also devotes chapters to age- and fat-shaming some of its characters. It uses viciously homophobic language; but at the same time (and extraordinarily so for its era), is almost shruggingly accepting of sexual variance and the vagaries of sexual desire. It finds "weak" men pathetic and disgusting; but it also makes it very clear that strong men will inevitably screw you over and toss you aside. It highlights society's often disgraceful treatment of the mentally ill; but hey, let's all point and stare at the mentally ill people. And so on. This tendency to have it both ways extends even to the novel's drug-subplot: despite appearances, this isn't a story about drug abuse or lives destroyed by drugs, so much as a somewhat shrewder look at how drugs can become first a tool, then a crutch, then a replacement for what's missing from someone's life. And perhaps in the end, this split-vision approach is the secret to the enormous popularity of Valley Of The Dolls: whatever you happen to think yourself about any of its topics, at some point you'll probably find the book agreeing with you, or the other way around. Meanwhile, the crashing and burning of most of the characters has the sick fascination of a slow-motion train-wreck. The term wasn't invented in 1966, but in summing up this book it's hard to go past the phrase hot mess.

    Neely sent the dinner tray back untouched. Might as well skip a meal. She had weighed a hundred and three that morning. Besides, the dolls always worked faster on an empty stomach. She took two red and one yellow. Then she poured half a glass of Scotch. The wonderful, relaxed drowsiness began…
    Perspiration made her neck damp and trickled down her back---she felt clammy. She stumbled out of bed and changed her pajamas. Dr Mitchell was right---she was building up a tolerance to the pills. Maybe one more yellow… No, then she’d be groggy and hungover in the morning, and she had to learn those lyrics. Jesus. Today she had needed three green dolls just to get through the morning shooting. She poured a full glass of Scotch. Maybe one more red pill…yeah, they wore off faster. She swallowed it quickly. And she wouldn’t drink all that Scotch, just sip at it until the pills worked. Maybe she should read, that always made her drowsy. Anne had sent her another of Lyon’s books. This was the arty type again. She skimmed the pages. It had gotten good reviews---but what good were reviews? The book wasn’t selling...
    Suddenly she wished Anne was with her. Anne always knew what to do. It was a shame Anne had made it so big on TV. If she hadn’t she could send for her. Give her a couple hundred a week to be a personal secretary. Geez, wouldn’t that be dreamy? But Anne must be making a fortune. You couldn’t turn on the television without seeing Anne demonstrating hairspray or lipstick. But why shouldn’t she have made it, especially if those rumours were true about her and that Gillmore guy. But even so, Anne had class. Not like Jennifer. Imagine---the trades said Hollywood was bidding for her, and she was turning them down! That broad was making a fortune by showing her fanny and tits in those French pictures. The darling of the art houses. Art houses shit! If Hollywood made pictures like that they would just be dirty pictures…

Edited: May 24, 2021, 11:46 am

>158 lyzard: I never read Valley of the Dolls but I was well aware of it because I remember hearing my mom and her friends talking about that scandalous Jacqueline Susann (not in a disapproving way but more in a "can you believe what some people get away with?" sort of way). So that was in my mind somewhere in the early 1970s when I found Every Night, Josephine! in the house. The fact that it was tucked in a dresser drawer in my mom's room and not out on the shelves in the living room intrigued me, as well as the suggestive title and what I remembered hearing about the author. I thought for sure I was in for an eye-opening scandalous read! So disappointing to find out it was about a dog — although it all made sense when I remembered that when we adopted a stray dog who followed me home from the bus stop in kindergarten, my mom suggested we call her Josie. I had always thought we named her after my Aunt Josie. :-)

May 24, 2021, 5:41 pm

>161 rosalita:

I already knew about the other three but not the dog book, so shame on me I guess. :D

May 24, 2021, 5:55 pm

>162 lyzard: I mean, you're one of those cat people, so perhaps not of paramount interest to you. :-)

May 24, 2021, 5:59 pm

>163 rosalita:

A quick search determines that there are only two library copies of it in this country and they're both in Queensland, so I'll offer that as my excuse.

May 24, 2021, 6:17 pm

>160 lyzard: It had not occurred to me that the book's habit of committing the sins it condemns might be a strategy for appealing to all readers. With a little more thematic consistency and some better prose it might have been .... well, whatever it might have been it wouldn't have been Valley of the Dolls, would it?

>164 lyzard: Wow, my University library has a copy so I do not have that excuse. And I am a dog person. And I find myself seriously considering another Jacqueline Susann novel.

May 24, 2021, 6:50 pm

>165 swynn: If it helps, Steve, Every Night, Josephine! is not a novel. It's nonfiction (I guess what we might call a memoir today) about Susann's real life with her producer hubby and her glorious standard poodle. I remember loving it, but then I was maybe 10 or 11 years old, so if you hate it don't blame me. :-)

May 24, 2021, 6:54 pm

>165 swynn:

Maybe I'm over-interpreting but surely it can't have been that confused by accident?

Yes, it's one of those things that probably wouldn't have done as well if it had been better.

Meanwhile, I find myself considering Yargo (aka "The Space Station"). A dog book I can handle but science fiction - and as a first attempt at fiction - has me intrigued.

ETA: And it turns out to be available by ILL. (Also my academic library has a copy, sigh.)

May 25, 2021, 6:43 pm

Finished The Case With Nine Solutions for TIOLI #2.

Now reading The High Adventure by Jeffery Farnol.

May 27, 2021, 6:35 pm

Finished The High Adventure for TIOLI #10.

Now reading Winds Of Evil by Arthur Upfield.

May 27, 2021, 6:49 pm

You know the worst thing about group reads?

That after talking about a book for a month, you can sometimes forget that you haven't reviewed it...

Edited: May 27, 2021, 8:01 pm

Publication date: 1862
Genre: Classic
Read for: Anthony Trollope completist reading / group read

Orley Farm - When Sir Joseph Mason dies, it is discovered that his will has a codicil separating Orley Farm from the rest of his property and bequeathing it to the infant son of his second marriage. Declaring that his father always promised that the property would not be divided, Joseph Mason brings suit against the young widow, insisting that the codicil was forged. A bitter legal struggle follows, with the jury ruling in Lady Mason's favour and Joseph retreating to Yorkshire to brood... More than twenty years later, Lucius Mason returns from his studies and travels to take control of his inheritance. Lucius is a self-assured young man, and over his mother's advice he evicts from a tenant-farm Samuel Dockwrath, who has held it for many years. Enraged and insulted, Dockwrath plots revenge and believes he has the means to it: formerly clerk to Sir Joseph Mason's solicitor and married to his daughter, Dockwrath has possession of his late father-in-law's papers---and finds amongst them a document suggesting that the codicil may be a forgery. This he carries to Mason, who immediately institutes legal proceedings. Finding herself in the public spotlight and facing a desperate fight for her liberty and reputation, Lady Mason turns to two friends: the barrister Mr Furnival, who represented her in the first case, and whose interest in his lovely client may be more than professional; and the elderly Sir Peregrine Orme, a local landowner and dignitary, who champions her cause---only to discover that in doing so he is risking his own reputation... Anthony Trollope's 1862 standalone novel is simultaneously an entertaining legal drama and a vehicle for several of Trollope's personal concerns---one of them the contemporary state of British fiction. Trollope was dismayed by the growing popularity of so-called "sensation fiction", as represented by the works of Wilkie Collins and Mary Elizabeth Braddon---deploring the genre's tendency to exploit crime, immorality and mystery, and feeling that the last violated the contract between author and reader. Having long declared that he did not believe in "keeping secrets" from his readers - to the extent of sometimes giving away his endings - in Orley Farm Trollope gives us, in effect, a sensation novel without sensation---that is, a sensation plot used as the basis of a domestic drama, by means of which he explores the state of the British legal system, the gap between public reputations and private lives, and the status of women in society and under the law. The latter aspect of Orley Farm is curiously presented, as if Trollope was saying more than he meant or even wanted to. The two central female characters in Orley Farm, Lady Mason herself and Mrs Orme, Sir Peregrine's widowed daughter-in-law, have each led lives of almost total isolation, rarely leaving their homes and without any close friends---yet considered by their closest male relatives to have everything a woman could want. Aware of the social gulf between them, Lady Mason has always held herself aloof from the Ormes, until her increasing need for help and support makes her respond to their new overtures. An intense friendship develops between the two lonely women---one which becomes only more defiantly strong as the court case brought by Joseph Mason draws near, gossip about the grounds for his suit begins to spread, and those involved begin to see that there is indeed the possibility that Lady Mason may be guilty... Orley Farm is in may ways a novel of contradictions. Though he was always willing to believe in an honest solicitor, throughout his work Anthony Trollope displays a deep distrust of the British legal system, and in particular of the conduct of barristers---men willing for payment to "swear black is white", to destroy honest witnesses on the stand if necessary, and in short to go to any lengths to defend their client, be he - or she - guilty or innocent. But at the same time, no-one was more conscious than Trollope of the dramatic possibilities of a legal plot---or of a courtroom scene. In Orley Farm he has it both ways, using the character of Felix Graham, an oxymoronic "honest barrister", as the mouthpiece of his concerns, exposing the manoeuvring of the legal advisors on both sides of "the Orley Farm case"---and letting off the leash Mr Chaffenbrass, a recurring character originally created specifically to express Trollope's distaste for the worst of the so-called "justice system". Between them, Mr Furnival, Mr Chaffenbrass, the attorney Solomon Aram and an increasingly reluctant Felix Graham plot strategy for Lady Mason's defence; while in private, Lady Mason struggles to hold herself together in the face of increasing and intolerable pressures...

    The day of the trial was now quickly coming on, and the London world, especially the world of lawyers, was beginning to talk much on the subject. Men about the Inns of Court speculated as to the verdict, offering to each other very confident opinions as to the result, and offering, on some occasions, bets as well as opinions. The younger world of barristers was clearly of opinion that Lady Mason was innocent; but a portion, an unhappy portion, was inclined to fear, that, in spite of her innocence, she would be found guilty.
    The elder world of barristers was not, perhaps, so demonstrative, but in that world the belief in her innocence was not so strong, and the fear of her condemnation much stronger. The attorneys, as a rule, regarded her as guilty. To the policeman's mind every man not a policeman is a guilty being, and the attorneys perhaps share something of this feeling. But the attorneys to a man expected to see her acquitted. Great was their faith in Mr Furnival; great their faith in Solomon Aram; but greater than in all was their faith in Mr Chaffanbrass. If Mr Chaffanbrass could not pull her through, with a prescription of twenty years on her side, things must be very much altered indeed in our English criminal court.
    To the outer world, that portion of the world which had nothing to do with the administration of the law, the idea of Lady Mason having been guilty seemed preposterous. Of course she was innocent, and of course she would be found to be innocent. And of course, also, that Joseph Mason of Groby Park was, and would be found to be, the meanest, the lowest, the most rapacious of mankind...

Edited: May 27, 2021, 10:53 pm

With that out of the way - albeit that I still have two reviews to go to wrap up, sigh, February - I am contemplating June.

My big hope here is to restart another self-challenge, this time my 'Century of Reading', stalled because I was unable to get hold of my chosen book for 1808---and because of course I was unable to just let it go... But I have now found an e-copy so it's all good!


Airport by Arthur Hailey {best-seller challenge} (should have been a bit more careful about what I prayed for, when it comes to trash novels)
Richelieu by G. P. R. James {C. K. Shorter challenge}
The Marquise Of O. by Heinrich von Kleist {A Century of Reading challenge}
The Listening Eye by Patricia Wentworth {shared read}
The Drums Of Fu Manchu by Sax Rohmer {ILL}

The Foundling by Francis Spellman {random reading / fiction} (still trying to motivate myself for this one)
Elsie's Vacation by Martha Finley (trying to keep these ticking at one a month, but ditto)

The Sea Mystery by Freeman Wills Crofts {TIOLI?}
Crumpled Lilies by Carlton Dawe {TIOLI?}

Meanwhile - say it with me now! - I have got to get some blogging done. I am running into the State Library tomorrow to do some research on another nomination for 'first Australian novel' - Mary Leman Grimstone's Louisa Egerton - and hopefully that will get things moving again.

May 27, 2021, 11:27 pm

>172 lyzard: Arthur Hailey was able to turn airport operations into a pageturner. You could do worse.

May 28, 2021, 1:55 am

>173 NinieB:

Own it, read it; though chiefly I admit due to my fixation on the film (and disaster movies generally).

It suffers from the same afflication as many of its genre, i.e. most of the characters are hateful. :D

May 28, 2021, 6:45 am

>174 lyzard: I've read both Airport and Valley of the Dolls, many many years ago, and I would pick Airport to reread over the other any day.

May 28, 2021, 7:30 am

>175 NinieB:

The dagger or the cup of poison!? :D

May 29, 2021, 6:37 pm

Yesterday I finally managed to take a run into the State Library to do some blog research, and to make a start on an in-the-library read of Gavin Holt's Six Minutes Past Twelve, the first in his series featuring Professor Luther Bastion. I had previously read a couple of the later Bastion books, before working out how to get access to the first few.

I usually use the main, modern reading room of the library, but this time I went to the original one in the Mitchell Library, which has recently been refurbished and restored, although with all mod cons:

As I say, I was just there to read and take some photos; but I really need to find out if there's public access to those bookcases...

Edited: May 29, 2021, 6:51 pm

Meanwhile---I may have found my soulmate:

A single wasp flew in a straight line from the neighbourhood of a blue lupin with obvious threat at the person of the said companion. Major Kettering-Bevis, D. S. O., made no movement, unless a lazy puff at his pipe is to be described as a movement. He knew not his peril; saw not the winged foe poised a foot or two from his monocle. Major Kettering-Bevis had no learned tome upon his knee. He was not above reading a novel. He had recently given so much attention to mining reports that he was glad to get away from a madding crowd of ores and alluvial deposits and take his ease in the pleasant garden of Roselea Cottage. His lanky frame slung comfortable in a canvas chair, he wandered mentally through the Victorian vales of Barsetshire, with one Anthony Trollope for guide; and the problem that concerned him just now was this: who should be Dean of Barchester?...

And later:

"When we took this cottage for the summer," he said, "it was agreed that we should live in strict retirement. I brought down with me from London fourteen volumes of Trollope, to say nothing of the works of Miss Austen..."


The first week had gone off admirably. Bastion had got through a weighty volume on Australian aborigines, also a paper of the habits of red cross-bills and fire-crested kinglets in the Balearic Isles. Bevis had read The Warden and Mansfield Park...

May 29, 2021, 6:53 pm

Meanwhile meanwhile---

Finished Winds Of Evil for TIOLI #3.

In addition to Six Minutes Past Twelve, I am also now reading Mr Fortune Wonders by H. C. Bailey; but since I'm having to read that online, I still need to choose a portable book...

May 29, 2021, 8:27 pm

>177 lyzard: Great picture!! Beautiful library.

>178 lyzard: What book?

>179 lyzard: Looking forward to your review of Winds of Evil! I read that one this month as well.

Edited: May 30, 2021, 1:42 am

>180 NinieB:

Apparently they brought back most of the original furniture and tried to make it look the way it did when the library was first founded. The stained glass was never touched, thankfully.

Those quotes are from the first few pages of Gavin Holt's Six Minutes Past Twelve: Professor Bastion and Major Kettering-Bevis are supposed to be having a quiet retreat in the country but it gets interrupted first by a social gathering (which the Major rightly protests) and then - of course - by murder.

Yes, I'm sure you won't have to wait any time at all for my review of that... :D

May 30, 2021, 7:26 am

>181 lyzard: Major Kettering-Bevis is after my own heart, as well--better pack extra books just in case!

May 30, 2021, 7:34 am

>177 lyzard: I want to go to there! Beautiful library.

May 30, 2021, 5:39 pm

>182 NinieB:

My reaction was---only fourteen volumes?? :D

>183 rosalita:

I'm back in today to (hopefully) finish my book, if I have time I might take a few more shots.

Edited: May 30, 2021, 7:20 pm

I was so enamored by the library photo that I forgot to say what I came here to say! I've never read Airport but I have vivid memories of reading another Hailey novel, The Moneychangers at what was undoubtedly an inappropriately young age (as evidenced by the fact that the most vivid memory that has stuck with me is a prison rape scene). I think that book might have been the one that sparked my penchant for reading "behind the scenes logistics" sorts of books. If only it had sparked a desire to become a rich, ruthless baker instead. Alas.

I should also add that perhaps I can't claim to have read it, since I actually read the Reader's Digest Condensed Books version. Then again, maybe that was for the best, given the doorstopper nature of Hailey's work!

Looking at the LT page for that book, I have zero memory of the other books condensed in that volume: The Massacre at Fall's Creek, Mrs. 'arris Goes to Moscow, and Collision. Perhaps Hailey traumatized me so much I just gave up on the rest. :-)

May 31, 2021, 6:37 pm

>185 rosalita:

We had a set of Readers Digest Condensed Books when I was very young---young enough, that is to say, not to realise the significance of 'condensed' (or 'digest' for that matter: quite the redundancy; you can't say they didn't warn you!). I remember perfectly the first time I read the full version of Pride And Prejudice and having a Wait a minute...I don't remember this! moment of shocking realisation.

Note though that even our RDCBs were classics and highbrow stuff: no Arthur Haileys for us! I was doomed from the outset!! :D

May 31, 2021, 6:55 pm

I managed to return to the State Library yesterday and did take a few more photos while I was there: the main entrance; a shot down the length of the reading room; and the near wall from where I was sitting

May 31, 2021, 6:58 pm

>187 lyzard: Card catalogs!!!

May 31, 2021, 7:01 pm

So, yes---

Finished Six Minutes Past Twelve for TIOLI #1, in under the wire for May.

Still reading Mr Fortune Wonders, so not under the wire for May, but fortunately it fits TIOLI for June so it's all good.

May 31, 2021, 7:03 pm

>188 NinieB:

I was just thinking exactly that as I was posting that picture. :D

Because I was there to finish a book with limited time, I didn't get a chance to poke around. However I suspect that the card catalogues might be for the material stored in those marvellous bookcases. I must make a time for going back for a more exploratory visit and find out for sure!

Edited: May 31, 2021, 7:23 pm

This has been part of a couple of minor projects - ever known me without a project?? - gap-plugging on one hand, and (what is much harder for me) moving on, on the other.

The gap-plugging is another thing stalled by the ongoing library situation: I have many wishlisted books only available locally through the Rare Books section of my academic library, and have been forced to put all of them aside for what I am still desperately calling "the time being".

However I also have a second list of books that are available through the State Library, but only for onsite reading. It's a big time commitment with the travelling, but nevertheless I want to make a better effort at accessing those works.

In the case of Six Minutes Past Twelve, I was going back to the first work in the Luther Bastion series by "Gavin Holt"---the pseudonym of Australian author, Charles Rodda. Some of this series is available via other sources, but the first two books are not, and originally I skipped them; only for my OCD finally to catch up with me.

I used to be better at skipping if I had to---and I want to make a better effort now at moving on when I really can't access a particular series work. I have managed this with John Rhode's Dr Priestly series, skipping the impossibly rare The Hanging Woman and moving on to Mystery At Greycombe Farm. (Only to then stall again on 'Rare Books', but hey...) There are several others where a particular book just can't be had; and I need to be better at putting them aside---still in the hope of future access, of course, but not doing my current "stall for literally years" trick.

Edited: May 31, 2021, 9:27 pm

Publication date: 1910
Genre: Mystery / thriller
Series: Arsène Lupin #4
Read for: Series reading / TIOLI (a '4' in the number of pages)

813 - Four years after a bitter defeat and the death of the woman he loved, Arsène Lupin makes a spectacular return to the public eye when he forces himself into the affairs of diamond magnate, Rudolf Kesselbach. This time, however, public sentiment swings violently against Lupin, when not only Kesselback but a floor-waiter, Gustave Beudot, and Kesselbach's secretary, Edward Chapman, are all found murdered within the Palace Hotel in Paris. Lupin finds an unexpected ally in M. Lenormand, head of the detective-service, who points out that the burglar has never taken a life, and that there was no need for him to do so in this case: he had already successfully manoeuvred to empty Kesselbach's safety-deposit box at his bank. As a result of his early investigation of the crimes, Lenormand argues that the killer and Lupin were after the same thing: to understand and profit from a secret scheme of Kesselbach's---one involving a missing man called Pierre Leduc, the mysterious letters, 'APO ON', and the number 813... This fourth entry in Maurice Leblanc's series featuring gentleman-burglar, Arsène Lupin, is an improvement over its predecessor. Though it seems we are never to have again the lighthearted Lupin of the earliest works (for reasons I touched on when I reviewed The Hollow Needle), at least 813 re-establishes him as an anti-hero of sorts, winning public sympathy for the cleverness of his schemes and his sheer audacity---at least once M. Lenormand has taken up the cudgels for him and proved him innocent of the Palace Hotel murders. However, far from the relative trivialities of jewel theft and outwitting the police, 813 deals literally with the fate of nations. The secret possessed by Rudolf Kesselbech - so much more valuable than diamonds - turns out to involve the long-lost heir to a certain Grand Duchy, and in particular a bundle of letters written by Frederick III involving secret treaties which, if made public, will mean disaster for Europe---and which finds the professional criminal, Arsène Lupin, forming an uneasy alliance with the Kaiser himself... There is, indeed, a painful quality to much of 813, which - published in 1910 - involves the balance of power between France and Germany, the struggle for the long-disputed territory of Alsace-Lorraine, and desperate efforts to avert war. In order to enjoy it, the reader is required to set aside all knowledge of actual history, and focus on an increasingly bewildering plot involving multiple impersonations, kidnappings, captures and escapes, an escalating death-toll---and a battle with a secret adversary so ruthless that Lupin is driven to the very brink of madness...

    Lupin leant forward and, as though seeking his words, as though putting an imaginary case, said: "Let me suppose that two great countries are divided by some insignificant question - that they have different points of view on a matter of secondary importance - a colonial matter, for instance, in which their self-esteem is at stake rather than their interest... Is it inconceivable that the ruler of one of those countries might come of his own accord to treat this matter in a new spirit of conciliation - and give the necessary instructions - so that---"
    "So that I might leave Morocco to France?" said the stranger, with a burst of laughter.
    The idea which Lupin was suggesting struck him as the most comical thing that he had ever heard; and he laughed heartily. The disparity was so great between the object aimed at and the means proposed!
    "Of course, of course!" he resumed, with a vain attempt to recover his seriousness. "Of course, it's a very original idea: the whole of modern politics upset so that Arsène Lupin may be free! The plans of the Empire destroyed so that Arsène Lupin may continue his exploits! Why not ask me for Alsace and Lorraine at once?"
    "I did think of it, Sire," replied Lupin, calmly.
    The stranger's merriment increased. "Splendid! And you let me off?"
    "This time, yes."
    Lupin had crossed his arms. He, too, was amusing himself by exaggerating the part which he was playing; and he continued, with affected seriousness: "A series of circumstances might one day arise which would put in my hands the power of demanding and obtaining that restitution. When that day comes, I shall certainly not fail to do so. For the moment, the weapons at my disposal oblige me to be more modest. Peace in Morocco will satisfy me..."

May 31, 2021, 11:17 pm

Publication date: 1881
Genre: Classic
Read for: Century of Reading challenge / TIOLI (Victorian)

The Autobiography Of Mark Rutherford - The religious novel was a major aspect of Victorian literature, but as the 19th century wore on a smaller but no less important sub-genre emerged: the novel of religious doubt. The most famous work in this area is probably Mary Humphry Ward's Robert Elsemere---which despite its protagonist's doubts never steps outside the mainstream of English life. In William Hale White's The Autobiography Of Mark Rutherford, however, we have something very different: Rutherford, like Hale, was raised a Dissenter; and when his faith fails him, he becomes the outsiders' outsider. Such is the premise of this strange and uncomfortable book. Hale himself, despite times of great difficulty, seems finally to have achieved both success and happiness; but in fashioning this semi-autobiographical work, he has drawn only upon the most difficult and unhappy periods in his life. Born into a small Midlands town, Mark Rutherford at first takes the narrowness of his life and the rigid demands of his religion for granted. At fourteen, however, when he is expected to undergo conversion and be fully accepted as a member of his church, he finds himself beginning to question much that he has simply accepted---and all the more so when he is accepted, despite knowing himself no different for his professed "conversion". When Mark's parents decide upon the ministry as his career, he is sent away to a Dissenting College, where he undergoes a painful course of realising everything that is missing from the form of religion being taught, and where his most significant revelation comes after an encounter with Wordsworth's Lyrical Ballads. Despite his struggles and doubts, Mark graduates and is given a small ministry; though the rote nature of his duties and the pettiness of the social life of the Dissenting community nearly drives him to despair. An attempt to infuse new life into his sermons only frightens and angers his flock, and a series of clashes with a self-satisfied deacon, Mr Snale, leads to his expulsion... The Autobiography Of Mark Rutherford is a difficult and often painful work, though one not without a certain grim humour. It resembles Robert Elsmere in that it is not so much about a loss of faith in God, as a recognition of the inadequacies, and even cruelties, of the church and some of its dogma. While deploring the bleak and narrow tenets that are passed on as "religion", White also has a scathing eye for the pettiness and hypocrisy that are the the bedrock of his church's community---its worst aspects personified in the repulsive Mr Snale, who is treated with blistering though often subtle satire. The second half of The Autobiography Of Mark Rutherford is, however, largely without even this sour form of relief, dealing bleakly with Mark's struggles with poverty, his attempts to support himself as a writer, his few friendships, and his continual self-questioning in matters of religion and faith, and his striving for belief. This section of this novel also contains one touch that now boasts a new significance, when Mark is offered the chance to board with his publisher, and that man's niece: characters now recognised as sketches of William Hale White's own publisher, john Chapman, and one of Chapman's sub-editors, Mary Ann Evans---better known as George Eliot.

    “Sorry to see that attack upon you in the Sentinel. I suppose you are aware it was Snale’s. Everybody could tell that who knows the man.”
    “If it is Mr Snale’s, I am very sorry.”
    “It is Snale’s. He is a contemptible cur and yet it is not his fault. He has heard sermons about all sorts of supernatural subjects for thirty years, and he has never once been warned against meanness, so of course he supposes that supernatural subjects are everything and meanness is nothing. But I will not detain you any longer now, for you are busy. Good-night, sir.”
    This was rather abrupt and disappointing. However, I was much absorbed in the morrow, and passed on.
    Although I despised Snale, his letter was the beginning of a great trouble to me. I had now been preaching for many months, and had met with no response whatever. Occasionally a stranger or two visited the chapel, and with what eager eyes did I not watch for them on the next Sunday, but none of them came twice. It was amazing to me that I could pour out myself as I did---poor although I knew that self to be---and yet make so little impression. Not one man or woman seemed any different because of anything I had said or done, and not a soul kindled at any word of mine, no matter with what earnestness it might be charged. How I groaned over my incapacity to stir in my people any participation in my thoughts or care for them!
    Looking at the history of those days now from a distance of years, everything assumes its proper proportion. I was at work, it is true, amongst those who were exceptionally hard and worldly, but I was seeking amongst men (to put it in orthodox language) what I ought to have sought with God alone...

May 31, 2021, 11:29 pm

February stats:

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

Mystery / thriller: 5
Classic: 3
Young adult: 1
Horror: 1

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

Owned: 2
Library: 4
Ebooks: 4

Male authors : female authors: 7 : 3

Oldest work: The Secret History Of The Four Last Monarchs Of Great Britain by "R. B." (1691)
Newest work: Lost Boy Lost Girl by Peter Straub (2003)


YTD stats:

Works read: 25
TIOLI: 25, in 22 different challenges, with 2 shared reads

Mystery / thriller: 14
Classic: 5
Young adult: 3
Horror: 2
Non-fiction: 1

Series works: 13
Re-reads: 4
Blog reads: 3
1932: 0
1931: 0
Virago / Persephone: 1
Potential decommission: 2

Owned: 7
Library: 5
Ebooks: 13

Male authors : female authors: 16 : 9

Oldest work: The Reviv'd Fugitive: A Gallant Historical Novel by Peter Belon (1690)
Newest work: Miracle Creek by Angie Kim (2019)

Edited: May 31, 2021, 11:30 pm

It's progress of sorts, I guess...

Jun 1, 2021, 2:54 am

>195 lyzard: SLOTH!
Love the library pictures. I've not been anywhere that exciting in a very long time.

Jun 1, 2021, 8:33 am

>186 lyzard: My uncle had a subscription to those Condensed Books when I was a kid and I devoured them. I don't think I realized what they really were, either, but I loved them.

>187 lyzard: Oh, that's gorgeous!

Jun 1, 2021, 12:03 pm

>195 lyzard: SLOTH!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love how they hang upside down. They look even cuter/goofier in that pose.

Edited: Jun 1, 2021, 7:29 pm

>196 Helenliz:

Likewise, I assure you! :D

>197 scaifea:

Hi, Amber! Thanks so much for visiting. :)

I suppose they were a good gateway but it rather horrifies me now!

Yes, they've done a fabulous job with the restoration.

>198 rosalita:

Noted for future reference...

Edited: Jun 1, 2021, 7:18 pm

Aww, you've all been so nice. Perhaps I can find an excuse...

Edited: Jun 1, 2021, 7:29 pm

...such as the fact that without realising it, I've finished my March reviewing. :D

(Except for two unwritten blog-posts, of course, but we're not going to talk about them...)

March stats:

Works read: 9
TIOLI: 9, in 9 different challenges, with 1 shared read

Mystery / thriller: 3
Young adult: 2
Classic: 2
Historical romance: 1
Historical drama: 1

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

Owned: 1
Library: 3
Ebooks: 5

Male authors : female authors: anonymous authors: 5 : 3 : 1

Oldest work: Anecdotes Of A Convent by Anonymous (1771)
Newest work: The Source by James A. Michener (1965)


YTD stats:

Works read: 34
TIOLI: 34, in 31 different challenges, with 3 shared reads

Mystery / thriller: 17
Classic: 7
Young adult: 5
Horror: 2
Historical romance: 1
Historical drama: 1
Non-fiction: 1

Series works: 18
Re-reads: 6
Blog reads: 5
1932: 0
1931: 1
Virago / Persephone: 1
Potential decommission: 2

Owned: 8
Library: 8
Ebooks: 18

Male authors : female authors: anonymous authors: 21 : 12 : 1

Oldest work: The Reviv'd Fugitive: A Gallant Historical Novel by Peter Belon (1690)
Newest work: Miracle Creek by Angie Kim (2019)

Edited: Jun 1, 2021, 7:31 pm

A little research suggests that the Choloepus sloths do the hanging-upside-down thing much more frequently than the Bradypus species; perhaps because the lankier frame of the latter lets them twist around more.

Still...when a Bradypus does hang upside down, it goes all out---

Jun 1, 2021, 7:35 pm


Finished Mr Fortune Wonders for TIOLI #6.

Now reading Murder In A Library by Charles J. Dutton; but because I have to read that online, also reading X Y Z: A Detective Story by Anna Katharine Green.

Jun 1, 2021, 9:19 pm

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

He looks so happy and not at all as if all the blood is rushing to his head! Or ... maybe that's why he's smiling. :-)

Jun 2, 2021, 1:57 am

>204 rosalita:

It possibly helps to have not much brain in there. :D

Jun 2, 2021, 2:59 am

>204 rosalita: I echo the remarks of the previous exclaimer. SLOTH!!!!

>202 lyzard:, ohh, headrush. Or should that be anti headrush.

Jun 3, 2021, 2:44 am

>207 lyzard:

A rush, anyway: that's clearly a case of, "Whoa, dude...!" :D

Jun 3, 2021, 2:48 am

Finished X Y Z: A Detective Story for TIOLI #3.

Still reading Murder In A Library by Charles J. Dutton; I will need to select another portable book (possibly The Spider's Touch by Valentine Williams).

Jun 4, 2021, 7:16 pm

I have that panicky feeling that comes with (mentally) over-committing myself on TIOLI; I feel like a list might help.

When did a list ever not help?


X Y Z: A Detective Story by Anna Katharine Green {#3 standalone capital}
Mr Fortune Wonders by H. C. Bailey {#6 Bingo card}
Murder In A Library by Charles Dutton {#12 author's 1st name alphabetically before 2nd}


The Sea Mystery by Freeman Wills Crofts {#1 water on cover}
The Spider's Touch by Valentine Williams {#4 tag-mash}
Crumpled Lilies by Carlton Dawe {#5 flower in title}
The Kennel Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine {#7 Morphy's birthday}
The Soul Scar by Arthur B. Reeve {#8 two words starting with same letter}
Airport by Arthur Hailey {#9 title shorter than author's name}
The Drums Of Fu Manchu by Sax Rohmer {#11 The xxx of yyyy}
The Vanishing Of Betty Varian by Carolyn Wells {#13 double letters title and author}


The Listening Eye by Patricia Wentworth {#12?}
The Marquise Of O. by Heinrich von Kleist {#3?}
The Foundling by Francis Spellman {#9 / #12?}
Richelieu by G. P. R. James {#4?}
Elsie's Vacation by Martha Finley {#6?}


Panicky feeling entirely justified.

I doubt very much I'm going to get through all that, so I'd better knuckle down to my absolute commitments...

Jun 4, 2021, 7:17 pm

And in that spirit---

Finished Murder In A Library for TIOLI #3.

Now reading Airport by Arthur Hailey.

Jun 5, 2021, 4:24 am

>209 lyzard: I know that feeling. And a list always helps.
The trouble with TIOLI is it's far to easy to get swept up in adding books to each challenge, forgetting that you actually need to read them - and in a month!

Jun 5, 2021, 7:24 am

You might be interested in this article, Liz: Retirement home for sloths

Jun 5, 2021, 8:16 am

When did a list ever not help?

Never. Just absolutely never.

Jun 5, 2021, 9:41 am

>213 scaifea: I’m with Amber on this one.

Edited: Jun 5, 2021, 5:54 pm

>211 Helenliz:

It occurs to me that numerically, I have enough books listed for a sweep. I don't have something for four of the current categories immediately to hand, though I can probably hunt them down if I try. OTOH there are challenges to move on with and series to (nearly) complete, which is probably a better use of my reading time.

>212 CDVicarage:

Awww, thanks, Kerry! :)

>213 scaifea:, >214 PawsforThought:

I dunno about this particular list: it helped to crystalise my panic, I guess! :D

Jun 5, 2021, 6:54 pm

Best-selling books in the United States for 1967:

1. The Arrangement by Elia Kazan
2. The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron
3. The Chosen by Chaim Potok
4. Topaz by Leon Uris
5. Christy by Catherine Marshall
6. The Eighth Day by Thornton Wilder
7. Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin
8. The Plot by Irving Wallace
9. The Gabriel Hounds by Mary Stewart
10. The Exhibitionist by Henry Sutton

1967 gives us a very mixed bag of books, though history and politics dominate the list.

William Styron's The Confessions of Nat Turner is historical fiction of an unusual kind: based upon his trial-confession, this is the story of the slave Nat Turner and the Virginia revolt of 1831.

Both Catherine Marshall's Christy and Chaim Potok's The Chosen are based upon personal family history: in the former, drawing upon the lives of Marshall's parents, a devout young woman accepts a teaching-post deep in the Appalachians, and must fight against poverty, ignorance and prejudice; while the latter, set in Brooklyn during the 1940s, is the story of two young Jewish friends, one Orthodox, one Hassidic, and their struggles to reconcile their faith with their life choices. Thornton Wilder's The Eighth Day, meanwhile, opens with a murder in an Illinois mining town, then travels back decades to examine the background and lives of killer and victim.

Mary Stewart's Middle-East-set thriller, The Gabriel Hounds, finds two cousins of privileged background encountering each other in Damascus, and deciding to force a visit to their eccentric great-aunt, who lives a reclusive existence in the mountains of Lebanon. Ira Levin's Rosemary's Baby finds a young, married New York couple falling victim to sinister forces.

Leon Uris' Topaz is a Cold War thriller about international espionage built around the Cuban missile crisis; while Irving Wallace's The Plot finds an unlikely alliance of outsiders stumbling over a conspiracy that may mean nuclear war.

The Exhibitionist, by "Henry Sutton" (David R. Slavitt) may have been a cynical exercise in outdoing Valley Of The Dolls - Jacqueline Susann thought so - offering a sex-and-scandal-soaked narrative of a young woman's climb to the top in the film industry.

The year's best-selling novel, however, was another sex-and-scandal-soaked work: Elia Kazan's The Arrangement.

Edited: Jun 5, 2021, 7:43 pm

Elia Kazantzoglou was born in Istanbul in 1909, to Cappadocian parents; the family emigrated to the United States in 1913, settling in New Rochelle, New York, and shortening their name. After attending Williams College and Yale, Kazan studied acting at Julliard and then becoming involved the Group Theatre, where he met such important figures as Lee Strasburg and Clifford Odets, and began to direct as well as act.

Through the 30s and 40s, Kazan forged a career that earned him many plaudits, peaking with his productions of Death Of A Salesman and A Streetcar Named Desire. He also founded the Actors' Studio, later headed by Lee Strasburg and famous for "the Method".

In the mid-40s, Kazan moved into film-making, finding an even greater measure of success and tackling controversial subjects such as antisemitism and racial prejudice. However, in 1952 Kazan testified as a friendly witness in the HUAC hearings, with devastating consequences for those named. His subsequent career was marked by ongoing controversy and condemnation.

In 1962, Elia Kazan published America, America, based upon the life of his immigrant uncle, who was the first of his family to forge a new life in the US; he adapted his own work for the screen in 1963.

Kazan followed this work with The Arrangement, another semi-autobiographical nove about an executive undergoing a midlife crisis and breakdown. Though the critics were severely divided, the novel became the best-selling book of 1967. However, the film version, directed by Kazan two years later, was a failure.

Kazan continued to write, producing half a dozen more novels and several non-fiction / biographical works over the following two decades. He died in 2003, still a divisive figure.

Edited: Jun 5, 2021, 11:51 pm

Publication date: 1967
Genre: Contemporary drama
Read for: Best-seller challenge

The Arrangement - Eddie Anderson - born Evangelos Arness, and also known as Evans Arness, under which name he writes muckraking magazine articles - is nearly killed in a car accident that he isn't quite sure wasn't a suicide attempt. As he slowly recovers, he considers what may have brought him to that point... The child of Greek immigrant parents, Evangelos grows up in the shadow of his violent, domineering, rug-merchant father, who takes it for granted his son will enter the family business---even after the family loses all its money in a bank default. With the help of his sad, silent mother, Evangelos breaks away, working his way through college, serving in the war, and emerging in the new, post-war, commercially-focused America as advertising executive, Eddie Anderson - "Indispensable Eddie" - the man who can fix anything. Though having made a socially upward marriage to Florence, Eddie has a series of casual affairs---but when he gets involved with Gwen Hunt, things begin to change. Beyond his physical obsession with Gwen, Eddie fears that he may be developing real feelings for her. He finds himself contemplating a life with Gwen, though knowing that taking such a step will cost him everything: his marriage to Florence - and her money; their adopted daughter, Ellen; their comfortable, socially prominent life on the fringes of Hollywood; his career. When Florence finds out about Gwen, it triggers a major crisis: she forgives Eddie, but insists the two withdraw into themselves and work on their marriage. For a time it seems as if Florence's program has been successful: the Andersons even become known in their circle as "the Golden Couple", so happy do they appear. Then comes the car crash... Elia Kazan's semi-autobiographical novel is an example of surely the most tiresome genre of literature - and be very sure that we are supposed to consider this "literature" - the male midlife-crisis novel. It is also an example of another exasperating branch of such writing, the male-focused narrative in which we are, apparently, supposed to stick with the protagonist over hundreds of pages and hope for his success, whatever form that might take, despite the fact that he is completely hateful. (Hello, Anthony Adverse.) In this case, we are dealing with a man who thinks of his wife as "poor thing" and his mistress as "that bitch", which almost tells us everything we need to know about him as a human being; not that that will spare us over 400 pages of self-analysis. To be fair, in The Arrangement, Eddie Anderson's hatefulness - or rather, his recognition of his own hatefulness - is more or less the point. We are expected to forgive Eddie his transgressions, at least once he has this epiphany, and sympathise with his struggle for self-actualisation, because he becomes subsequently honestly hateful---as opposed to the false hatefulness of society at large - the pretence, the hypocrisy, the conspiracy of blindness that covers a selfish, rapacious, destructive way of life - everything that Eddie comes to think of as "the arrangement"... As Eddie's life implodes, spiralling him down from a pinnacle of social success through professional failure, personal humiliation, criminal arson, the courts and finally a mental hospital, all of it described in the most minute introspective detail, The Arrangement becomes a savage attack upon American materialism and false values, in which Eddie's newly acquired honesty makes him a misfit and an outcast; an embarrassment. The problem is, though---I'm not sure this novel really says anything that The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit didn't say a decade earlier; except that Sloan Wilson didn't pepper his deconstruction of America's failures with sex scenes. In this, The Arrangement resembles another best-seller of a decade earlier, By Love Possessed, which likewise poses as "literature" while enticing the reader on with regular doses of, for the time, daring sexual content. The Arrangement, meanwhile, must have been one of the first mainstream works to get away with crudely explicit language and detailed sexual descriptions. It is difficult not to think that this didn't have quite as much to do, if not more, with the novel's popular success as its social criticisms---though I'm sure we aren't supposed to consider this mere exploitation. On the contrary: this is the sort of novel in which the protagonist can spend literally pages talking about his penis, and we're supposed to consider it "art"---instead of what it is, a tedious wank. (Also literally, at some points.) In fact, the more The Arrangement preens itself upon its "honesty", the more intolerable it becomes---and quite frankly, to the point of feeling dishonest. For all of Eddie / Evans / Evangelos' search for his identity (don't miss the subtle symbolism there, will you?), the one touch in this novel that genuinely rings true is a moment towards the end when he and Gwen decide to make a life together---reflecting, and rightly, that the two of them are so loathsome, no-one else could possibly put up with them.

    I stood , looking at my naked self.
    I don't remember being so aware of my body since the day I noticed the pubic hairs.
    I had a pot. It was sizeable. Not small, sizeable! My head protruded from my shoulders. I was not sure the angle was one intended by nature. I looked as though I were about to do something confidential.
    Clearly, clothes were important for me. I didn't look right without them.
    My ass was dewlapped. I looked in the buttocks like a figure out of Crannach. My biceps, when relaxed, hung like those of an old woman, the kind Weegee used to photograph on the strand at Coney Island. My tits looked all right---till I bent over. Then I saw that the crepe had started there.
    I got a chair, placed it in front of the mirror and placed myself on it. My pot, sitting, was bigger. My penis disappeared between my legs. The cigar was the most impressive thing about me.
    I realised that for years I had been avoiding looking into the mirror. It had made life easier.
    I turned the chair so I was confronting the image directly. All that trouble, I thought, all those hysterics, near suicides, cries in the nights, fits and accusations of betrayal, all those declarations of passion, all that thunder and lightning---for that?! For what I was looking at in the mirror?!

Jun 5, 2021, 9:57 pm

>218 lyzard: All those 400+ pages—for that?!

Jun 5, 2021, 10:23 pm

>219 NinieB:


I don't think I was the target audience.

I suppose if I'd been reading it secretly under the covers in 1967, I might have felt differently.

Edited: Jun 7, 2021, 6:03 pm

Okay---this is both perfect and hilarious.

Still overloading myself on TIOLI, I went looking for a book for Paul's "65" challenge. For my list, I decided to use my own reading list from my first full year in the 75ers, which was 2011.

Turns out that book #65 that year was---

Grey Mask by Patricia Wentworth. :D

Jun 6, 2021, 7:24 pm

>221 lyzard: Ha! Are you going to start all over at the beginning?

Edited: Jun 7, 2021, 12:15 am

>222 rosalita:


Not quite: it's reading book with a title / author word in common with the #65 book, so I think I'm safe.

(Was a little bit horrified to realise how long Maudie had been going on, though it is quite a lengthy series.)

Jun 7, 2021, 9:40 am

>223 lyzard: I knew I hadn't been reading them with you for that long, so I checked my catalog. I read the first three in February 2017, which I'm guessing was to "catch up" to where you were in your Maudie Sessions, as after that they are reliably every other month.

So, did you read the first in 2011 and the second soon after and then had a long break until 2017? Or were they more spread out than that? I'm glad you didn't breeze right through them when you first started, or I would have missed out altogether!

Jun 7, 2021, 6:13 pm

>224 rosalita:

I would have been reading sporadically across those years. I can't remember when I decided I had so many started series, I really needed to write down what they were and the next book along; but once I'd done that, between that and TIOLI it became easier to keep things ticking. Though at that point I was still doing it all by ILL, so that would have been a delayer.

While we're on this subject---

I've been meaning to ask you if, once we are finished with Maudie - *sob* - you'd be interested in taking up another series? I know we're reading The Three Investigators, but that's not exactly a huge time commitment; and I thought we might adopt another detective.

If so, it would be for you to say what kind of series you would prefer---if you had a preference for British / American, amateur / private detective / police, male / female, etc.

If you had general preferences rather than anything specific in mind, I could certainly offer some appropriate choices. Your ability to access the books will have to be looked into, too.

I mention this now because, as with Maudie, you might need to catch up a few books at the outset.

If you don't feel like another round, that's fine of course; though doing this has been a huge help (as well as a lot of fun) so I'd love to keep it going if possible.

Edited: Jun 7, 2021, 7:11 pm

Hmm. A little research seems in order...

My current list of potential starters includes the Inspector Poole series by Henry Wade. I have baulked at this one previously because there seems to be contradictory information about what the first book in the series actually is.

I began to look into this earlier, and came away with the idea that the actual first book, The Missing Partners, was reissued the following year under a different title, The Duke Of York's Steps. There's an online synopsis that makes it clear something important happens at the Duke of York's Steps, in The Missing Partners---which is what made me believe they were probably the same book.

However, if you look around, you can find reissues of both works under their separate titles. Maybe Henry Wade just really liked the Duke of York's Steps as a setting? Maybe he thought afterwards he could put them to even better use?

As it turns out, the State Library holds reissue copies of both---The Missing Partners from 1970 and The Duke Of York's Steps from 1971. So the simplest thing is probably to request both and go and see for myself.


Jun 7, 2021, 7:27 pm

>225 lyzard: You've reminded me how hard it was to keep track of series order before LT. I was constantly skipping books inadvertently and having to double back. The not-so-good old days!

And I do not want to think about leaving Maudie behind, but I would definitely be interested in doing it again with a different series. Let me have a think on what kind of series, and I'll get back to you.

Jun 7, 2021, 10:06 pm

>227 rosalita:

Except of course that we wouldn't need most of that series tracking without LT, soooo.... :D

That would be great, thanks!

Edited: Jun 8, 2021, 6:13 pm

Finished Airport for TIOLI #9.

Well! I don't know if it speaks to the standard of the reading I've been doing lately, but I rather enjoyed that.

Perhaps things are looking up on the best-seller front? I'll just browse ahead and see what's up for next m---



{*slams forehead on keyboard*}

Jun 8, 2021, 6:25 pm

>229 lyzard: How many times have I told you: Never look ahead on the bestseller list!

Edited: Jun 8, 2021, 6:31 pm

{*rubs forehead; whimpers*}

I do it purely for practical purposes, in case I need an ILL. In this case, I am unreasonably aggrieved to discover that the book is on the 1001 Books list (!!!!), and therefore curated by my local library.

Jun 8, 2021, 6:32 pm

Anyway...I was going to read something with a bit more substance, but now I feel in need of comfort:

Now reading The Sea Mystery by Freeman Wills Crofts.

Jun 8, 2021, 6:51 pm

>230 rosalita: >231 lyzard: What rosalita said. Do you need some ice for your forehead?

Jun 8, 2021, 6:52 pm

>232 lyzard: Oh, that book does sound comforting . . .

Edited: Jun 9, 2021, 12:17 am

>233 NinieB:, >234 NinieB:

Hey, I'm the victim here! :D

No more ice, thanks: it's quite icy enough here today*! In fact, I think I'm going to take my comforting book and have a soak in a hot bath...

(*Yes, yes: icy by Australian coastal standards...)

Jun 9, 2021, 2:20 am

awww, poor Liz.
*provides a cold compress and strokes hand in a comforting way*

I like how she turns to a murder for some light relief. That says a lot about a person.

Although part of me is now wondering what book is comming up next and why it might provoke that sort of reaction.

Jun 9, 2021, 2:56 am

>236 Helenliz:

Stop offering me cold things, it's freezing here!! :D

Not just murder but a decomposing corpse! Very soothing...

I've added the offender to the lists and scans above, if you really want to know. :)

Jun 9, 2021, 7:01 am

>192 lyzard: We’re currently watching Lupin on Netflix in which the Arsène-Lupin books feature strongly. I was wondering what the originals were like.

Jun 9, 2021, 7:23 am

>235 lyzard: I will never get accustomed to your suffering through icy winter weather at the same time yesterday's temperature topped out at 92F/33C here.

Jun 9, 2021, 8:20 am

I have been forced to step out *just this once* from my Year of Dedicated Librarything Lurking to offer my sympathy on your upcoming bestseller read.

In many, many of this author’s books his anatomy is the terribly boring focus of his work. That’s never more true than here. Perhaps you could try viewing it as a satire rather than the actual mess that it is. Or maybe...Oh, I don’t know. You’ll need steadfastness to get through it.

Jun 9, 2021, 8:23 am

Jun 9, 2021, 8:35 am

>238 SandDune:

Hi, Rhian!

'Weird' would be the short answer:

In the first couple Lupin is basically a comic character who has fun outwitting the police and becomes a popular anti-hero because he's so clever.

Then, apparently, Maurice Leblanc and someone else wrote a play about Lupin but placed him in the centre of a tragic melodrama---pretty much rewriting the character altogether.

I'm just now in the books after that, which are all over the place tonally. The last one zig-zagged back and forth between Lupin pulling off outrageous impersonations and fooling everyone, and more tragic melodrama.

So my best guess for you would be, "They didn't actually adapt the books." I don't see how anyone could, though granted I'm relative early in a long series.

I'd be interested in a report on the series, though, when you get a feel for it?

Jun 9, 2021, 8:40 am

>239 rosalita:

I'd just about kill for 33C at the moment.

Granted, it isn't cold by your standards - 9C when I was complaining about it this morning, what's that, about 48F? - nighttime now and 6C / 43F-ish - but it's colder than usual for here and I do not do cold well. :(

(This is why I get cranky when Americans do summery TIOLI topics!)

Jun 9, 2021, 8:44 am

>240 Matke:


Oh, I know! And I just finished a male-anatomy book! Honestly, fellas, IT'S NOT THAT INTERESTING!!!!

Still---if that book has flushed you out - and I use the word "flush" advisedly - I guess it can't be all bad, right?? :D

Thanks so much for de-lurking, it's great to hear from you. :)

Jun 9, 2021, 8:46 am

>241 Helenliz:

Yuh-huh. :(

Now you understand the bruised forehead...

Jun 9, 2021, 8:53 am

This user has been removed as spam.

Jun 9, 2021, 9:16 am

>243 lyzard: Oh gosh, 48F sounds pretty great right about now. Although if that's colder than usual in Sydney I may need to adjust my retirement plans to include locations outside the US. :-)

When I scrolled up to see which bestseller was causing you to apply desk to forehead (and oof, I do not envy you tackling that one) I had a scroll through your series lists to see if anything caught my eye as a possible successor to our Maudie. And Ellery Queen jumped out at me — I've read a few but not in any coherent or consistent way and a chronological read would be fun. They are readily available here as ebooks as well, which is nice. I note that is a series you haven't started yet, so I'm wondering if it's one that maybe isn't as easy to acquire in Oz?

Anyway, it's just a preliminary thought — I don't have my heart set on it but I thought I'd throw it out there to get your reaction.

Jun 9, 2021, 1:12 pm

>235 lyzard: I do think Inspector French is comforting. It's such a sane, safe world that he lives in. The trains run on time and everything. No sarcasm intended, really. And I totally pity you having that book crop up in your awesome march through American popular fiction, especially after Kazan.

As someone who lived in southern California most of her life, I know how cold temperatures in the 40s will feel. The coastal climate exacerbates this. In Los Angeles, on the rare occasions it gets down to 50 or so, everyone puts on their ski jackets because they don't have winter coats (or any cold weather clothes, really) and weather, rather than traffic, becomes the small talk of the day. Those who live in the Northeast, where I live now, think this behavior is hilarious, but they just don't get it.

Jun 9, 2021, 6:08 pm

>247 rosalita:, >248 NinieB:

Thank you for your sympathy, ladies, I'll add it to how sorry I'm feeling for myself. :D

Jun 9, 2021, 6:10 pm

>248 NinieB:

Yes! - thank you!! There's an extra bite in the cold that's so unpleasant---but hard to convey to anyone who hasn't felt it. It's like the cold equivalent of humidity vs heat.

Mind you---right now they're having cyclonic winds and lots of destruction in Melbourne, so I should probably quit my bitching.

No, no, I know you weren't being sarcastic: neither was I---a nasty anonymous corpse is one of the things that separates the Inspector French books from most other Golden Age series, and why---

(---oh, smooth segue!---)

---it was one of the series I was going to suggest to Julia---

Edited: Jun 9, 2021, 8:20 pm

>247 rosalita:

You're ready to have this conversation, then? I have of course already picked out about half a dozen options---and I will admit that Ellery Queen was amongst them---although to be honest I was hoping that doing this would help me to get on with a series I'd already started, rather than make me start another! :D

Anyway---I was trying to pick out a range of series, to cover all the different types of Golden Age mystery, so you could see what appealed most:

Since we're here, as I say, I had thought of the Inspector French series by Freeman Wills Crofts. It was really the first police procedural series: not as hardcore as some later ones, but much more realistic than most. (For e.g. in The Sea Mystery we have an unidentified corpse dumped in a Welsh bay and no suspects.)

While at the other end of the spectrum we have Gladys Mitchell's Mrs Bradley series, which is completely whackadoodle.

Arthur Upfield's Bony series is pretty much unique in its settings and approach, and of course we would have the bonus of Ninie's company . (I know, not officially!)

And the other one I thought of in context is Stuart Palmer's Hildegarde Withers series---about a schoolteacher turned detective: sound familiar?? (Interestingly she turned up between Grey Mask and the later Maudie books, so it's hard to know who, if anyone, was influencing whom.)

Those are all series I've started. the two I was looking at and haven't were Rufus King's Lieutenant Valcour series, which I believe has the first policeman-hero in American mysteries; and, yup, the Ellery Queen series.

I don't know where you might be with any of these series. I also don't know what their availability might be for either of us---although as a general rule here, British books are still more readily available than American ones; of course you're vice-versa.

I guess the other point is the length of these series---and I notice I haven't picked too many short ones; so maybe it comes down to how long you're prepared to do this?? :D

ETA: I'm going to move over to a new thread today, so please ponder for a bit, and we'll pick up the conversation over there. :)

ETA2: I just remembered that I was also going to mention John Dickson Carr's Henri Bencolin series, another I haven't started: it does locked-room and impossible-crime stories, if you like that sort of mystery, and it also has the virtue of being short! :D

Edited: Jun 10, 2021, 2:16 am

Okay! - new thread is up; please do bring the conversation over here. :)