lyzard's list: Borrowing surcease of sorrow from books in 2022 - Part 4

Talk75 Books Challenge for 2022

Join LibraryThing to post.

lyzard's list: Borrowing surcease of sorrow from books in 2022 - Part 4

Edited: Jul 1, 2022, 7:46 pm

The tasselled wobbegong is found around coral reefs on the northern coasts of Australia and up to New Guinea. It is a slow swimmer that rarely moves outside a small territory, relying instead upon its remarkable camouflage both for protection and for hunting: it is an ambush predator with an expanding mouth that allows it it eat prey almost as big as itself. The species reaches approximately 2 metres in length and is aplacental viviparous, or ovoviviparous, meaning that its eggs develop and hatch inside the female's body. Otherwise, little is known about its life history.

There are numerous reports of humans being bitten by the tasselled wobbegong, probably because divers don't see them and put their hands on them; but the species' reputation as a killer shark is (like most shark stories) very much exaggerated.


Edited: Aug 30, 2022, 5:32 pm

As was the case last time, my thread-title is taken from Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven (the full text of which may be found here).

I was really hoping that by the time 2022 rolled around, this wouldn't be an appropriate quote...but here we are:

    Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
    Eagerly I wished the morrow;---vainly I had sought to borrow
    From my books surcease of sorrow
---sorrow for the lost Lenore---
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore---
        Nameless here for evermore...


Currently reading:

The Covenant by James A. Michener (1980)

Edited: Jul 1, 2022, 7:50 pm

2022 reading


1. Tom Cringle's Log by Michael Scott (1833)
2. The Heroine; or, Adventures Of A Fair Romance Reader by Eaton Stannard Barrett (1813)
3. And Now Tomorrow by Rachel Field (1942)
4. The Island Of Fu Manchu by Sax Rohmer (1941)
5. The Mystery Of The Fiery Eye by Robert Arthur (1967)
6. Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach (1970)
7. Royal Escape by Georgette Heyer (1938)
8. The Gutenberg Murders by Gwen Bristow and Bruce Manning (1931)
9. The Box Office Murders by Freeman Wills Crofts (1929)
10. Wheels Within Wheels by Carolyn Wells (1923)
11. The Mystery Of The Burnt Cottage by Enid Blyton (1943)
12. Elsie At The World's Fair by Martha Finley (1894)
13. The Marquis Of Carabas by Elizabeth Brodnax (1991)
14. Hotel Bosphorus by Esmahan Aykol (2001)
15. Roseanna by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö (1965)
16. The Looking-Glass War by John le Carré (1965)


17. The Song Of The Lark by Willa Cather (1915)
18. Glenarvon by Lady Caroline Lamb (1816)
19. Mr Midshipman Easy by Frederick Marrat (1836)
20. Elsie's Journey On Inland Waters by Martha Finley (1895)
21. The Teeth Of The Tiger by Maurice Leblanc (1914)
22. Castle Skull by John Dickson Carr (1931)
23. Dancing Death by Christopher Bush (1931)
24. The Girl In The Cellar by Patricia Wentworth (1961)
25. Fer-de-Lance by Rex Stout (1934)
26. Dangerous Cargo by Hulbert Footner (1934)


27. The Perpetual Curate by Margaret Oliphant (1864)
28. The Tunnel Mystery by J. C. Lenehan (1929)
29. Elsie At Home by Martha Finley (1897)
30. My Lord John by Georgette Heyer (1974)
31. Centennial by James A. Michener (1974)
32. The Mystery Of The Silver Spider by Robert Arthur (1967)
33. Rally Round The Flag, Boys! by Max Shulman (1957)
34. A Man Could Stand Up by Ford Madox Ford (1926)
35. The Casino Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine (1934)
36. Sir John Magill's Last Journey by Freeman Wills Crofts (1930)
37. Rory O'More by Samuel Lover (1837)
38. The Puzzle Of The Pepper Tree by Stuart Palmer (1933)

Edited: Jul 1, 2022, 7:54 pm

2022 reading:


39. From Man To Man; or, Perhaps Only... by Olive Schreiner (1926)
40. The Red-Haired Girl by Carolyn Wells (1926)
41. Ragtime by E, L. Doctorow (1974)
42. Harrington by Maria Edgeworth (1817)
43. Elsie On the Hudson And Elsewhere by Martha Finley (1898)
44. The Crooked Furrow by Jeffery Farnol (1937)
45. Nemesis At Raynham Parva by J. J. Connington (1929)
46. The Lost Gallows by John Dickson Carr (1931)
47. The Grey Rat by Ottwell Binns (1931)
48. Poison by Lee Thayer (1926)
49. Mr Fortune Objects by H. C. Bailey (1935)
50. Murder Makes Murder by Harriette Ashbrook (1937)
51. Ben Sees It Through by J. Jefferson Farjeon (1934)
52. A Murder Of Quality by John le Carré (1962)
53. When The Bough Breaks by Lewis Padgett (1944)


54. Jack Brag by Theodore Hook (1837)
55. The Mystery Of The Glass Bullet by Bertram Atkey (1931)
56. Dead Man's Music by Christopher Bush (1931)
57. Snowbird by Ottwell Binns (1931)
58. Trinity by Leon Uris (1976)
59. Elsie In The South by Martha Finley (1899)
60. Synnøve Solbakken by Bjornstjerne Bjornson (1857)
61. The Idea Of The Gentleman In The Victorian Novel by Robin Gilmour (1981)
62. The Mystery Of Villa Sineste by Walter Livingston (1931)
63. Murder In The Fisher Library by Stephen Knight (1980)
64. Burglars In Bucks by George and Margaret Cole (1930)
65. The Trailing Of The Picaroon by Herman Landon (1930)
66. The League Of Frightened Men by Rex Stout (1935)
67. The Video Nasties: Freedom And Censorship In The Media by Martin Barker (ed.) (1984)
68. The Mystery Of The Screaming Clock by Robert Arthur (1968)


69. Miss Mackenzie by Anthony Trollope (1865)
70. Nightmare Abbey by Thomas Love Peacock (1818)
71. Maid In Waiting by John Galsworthy (1931)
72. The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkein (1977)
73. Elsie's Young Folks In Peace And War by Martha Finley (1900)
74. The Crime Conductor by Philip MacDonald (1931)
75. Blanche Among The Talented Tenth by Barbara Neely (1994)
76. The Mystery Of The Twin Rubies by Armstrong Livingston (1922)
77. Baksheesh by Esmahan Aykol (2003)
78. Last Post by Ford Madox Ford (1928)

Edited: Aug 30, 2022, 5:33 pm

2022 reading:


79. Mosquitoes by William Faulkner (1927)
80. Chesapeake by James A. Michener (1978)
81. Fardorougha The Miser; or, The Convicts Of Lisnamona by William Carleton (1839)
82. Elsie's Winter Trip by Martha Finley (1902)
83. Mystery In The Channel by Freeman Wills Crofts (1931)
84. The Rubber Band by Rex Stout (1936)
85. For Love Of Imabelle by Chester B. Himes (1957)
86. Divorce Turkish Style by Esmahan Aykol (2007)
87. The Man Who Went Up In Smoke by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö (1966)
88. The Mystery Of The Moaning Cave by William Arden (1968)


89. The Matarese Circle by Robert Ludlum (1979)
90. Clue For Mr Fortune by H. C. Bailey (1936)
91. The Case Against Andrew Fane by Anthony Gilbert (1931)
92. Inspector Frost And Lady Brassingham by H. Maynard Smith (1930)
93. Little God Ben by J. Jefferson Farjeon (1935)
94. Death Of Mr Gantley by Miles Burton (1932)
95. Who Spoke Last? by John Victor Turner (1932)
96. The Man Who Killed Fortescue by John Stephen Strange (1928)
97. The Double-Thirteen Mystery by Anthony Wynne (1926)
98. Elsie And Her Loved Ones by Martha Finley (1903)
99. Wolf In Man's Clothing by Mignon G. Eberhart (1942)
100. The Vampyre by John William Polidori (1819)
101. Incognita; or, Love And Duty Reconcil'd by William Congreve (1692)

Edited: Aug 30, 2022, 5:37 pm

Books in transit:

To borrow:

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

Possible requests:
Sudden Death by Freeman Wills Crofts {ILL}
Murder By Nail by Jeffery Farnol {JFR}

On loan:
*The Case Against Andrew Fane by Anthony Gilbert (11/09/2022)
*Chesapeake by James A. Michener (20/09/2022)
*Mosquitoes by William Faulkner (20/09/2022)
Corrupt Relations by Richard Barickman (20/09/2022)
*Divorce Turkish Style by Esmahan Aykol (26/10/2022)
The Waxworks Murder by John Dickson Carr (26/10/2022)
*Mystery In The Channel by Freeman Wills Crofts (26/10/2022)
*The Man Who Went Up In Smoke by Maj Sjöwall and Pers Wahloo (26/10/2022)
With Fire And Sword by Henryk Sienkiewicz (28/10/2022)
*The Matarese Circle by Robert Ludlum (28/10/2022)
Don't Stop The Carnival by Herman Wouk (28/10/2022)
Flowering Wilderness by John Galsworthy (17/11/2022)
The Covenant by James A. Michener (17/11/2022)
*Incognita by William Congreve (17/11/2022)
The Harlem Cycle Vol. 1 by Chester Himes (23/11/2022)

Purchased and shipped:

Edited: Aug 6, 2022, 1:43 am

Ongoing reading projects:

Blog reads:
Chronobibliography: Incognita; or, Love And Duty Reconciled by William Congreve
Authors In Depth:
- Adelaide; or, The Countercharm 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
- Anecdotes Of The Altamont Family by "Gabrielli"
- 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: 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 reads:

COMPLETED: The Perpetual Curate by Margaret Oliphant {thread here}
COMPLETED: Miss Mackenzie by Anthony Trollope (thread here)

Next up: Miss Marjoribanks by Margaret Oliphant

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

General reading challenges:

America's best-selling novels (1895 - ????):
Next up: The Covenant by James A. Michener

Nobel Prize / fiction challenge:
Next up: With Fire And Sword by Henryk Sienkiewicz

The C.K. Shorter List of the Best 100 Novels:
Next up: The Life And Adventures Of Valentine Vox, The Ventriloquist by Henry Cockton

A Century Of Reading:
Next up: 1819 - The Vampyre by John William Polidori

Mystery League publications:
Next up: The Hunterstone Outrage by Seldon Truss

Banned In Boston!: (here)
Next up: Pilgrims by Edith Mannin

Rex Stout - Nero Wolfe series (shared reads):
Next up: The Red Box by Rex Stout

"The Three Investigators" (shared reads):
Next up: The Mystery Of The Talking Skull by William Arden

The evolution of detective fiction:
Next up: Clement Lorimer by Angus B. Reach

Random reading 1940 - 1969:
Next up: Don't Stop The Carnival by Herman Wouk

Potential decommission / re-shelving:
Next up: ????

Completed challenges:
- Georgette Heyer historical romances in chronological order
- Agatha Christie mysteries in chronological order
- Agatha Christie uncollected short stories
- Patricia Wentworth's Miss Silver series
- Georgette Heyer historical fiction

Possible future reading projects:
- 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)
- Haycraft Queen Cornerstones (here)

Edited: Aug 25, 2022, 7:11 pm

TBR notes:

Rare Books:
Secret Judges by Francis D. Grierson (Sims and Wells #2)
Dead Men At The Folly by John Rhode (Dr Priestley #13)
The Rum Row Murders by Charles Reed Jones
The Torch Murder by Charles Reed Jones (Leighton Swift #2)
The Crooked Lip by Herbert Adams (Jimmie Haswell #2)
Death By Appointment by Francis Bonnamy (Peter Utley Shane #1)
The Inconsistent Villains by N. A. Temple-Ellis {Montrose Arbuthnot #1)
The Unexpected Legacy by E. r. Punshon (Carter and Bell #1)
Rope To Spare by Philip MacDonald (Anthony Gethryn #9)

State Library NSW, held:
The White-Faced Man (aka "The Praying Monkey") by Gavin Holt (Luther Bastion #2)
Pitiful Dust by Vernon Knowles
The Brink (aka "The Swaying Rock") by Arthur J. Rees
The Black Joss by John Gordon Brandon
This Way To Happiness (aka "Janice") by Maysie Greig
The Top Step by Nelle Scanlan

Interlibrary loan:
McLean Investigates by George Goodchild {JFR}
The Solange Stories by F. Tennyson Jesse {JFR}
Captain Nemesis by F. Van Wyck Mason {JFR}
The Vagrant Heart by Deirdre O'Brien {JFR}
Jinks by Oliver Sandys {JFR}
Storms And Tea-Cups by Cecily Wilhelmine Sidgwick (Mrs Alfred Sidgwick) {JFR}
Pawns & Kings (aka "Pawns And Kings") by Seamark (Austin J. Small) {JFR}
The Agent Outside by Patrick Wynnton {JFR}

The Wedding March Murder by Monte Barrett (Peter Cardigan #2) {}
Gay Go Up by Anne Hepple {online; possible abridged? / Mitchell Library}
The Whisperer by J. M. Walsh {online; possibly abridged? / Mitchell Lbrary}
About The Murder Of A Night Club Lady by Anthony Abbot {serialised}

CARM / National Library / academic loan:
The Black Death by Moray Dalton {CARM}
The Click Of The Gate by Alice Campbell {CARM}
Storm by Charles Rodda {National Library}
The Trail Of The Lotto by Anthony Armstrong {CARM}

Series back-reading:
All At Sea by Carolyn Wells {Rare Books}
The Creeping Jenny Mystery by Brian Flynn {Kindle / ZLibrary}
The Net Around Joan Ingilby by A. Fielding {Rare Books}
Corpse In Canonicals (aka "The Corpse In The Constable's Garden") by George and Margaret Cole {Rare Books}
Alias Dr Ely by Lee Thayer {Rare Books}
Murder On The Bus by Cecil Freeman Gregg {Rare Books / Kindle}
The Case Of The Marsden Rubies by Leonard Gribble {Rare Books}
The Roman Hat Mystery by Ellery Queen {Rare Books / ILL / Internet Archive / ZLibrary}
A Family That Was by Ernest Raymond {State Library NSW, JFR}
The Cancelled Score Mystery by Gret Lane {Kindle}
Inspector Frost And The Waverdale Fire by H. Maynard Smith {Kindle}
Jalna by Mazo de la Roche {State Library NSW, JFR / ILL}

Completist reading:
Thieves' Nights by Harry Stephen Keeler (#5) {Rare Books}
The Forsaken Inn by Anna Katharine Green (#8) {Project Gutenberg}
The After House by Mary Roberts Rinehart (#8) {Project Gutenberg}
The White Cockatoo by Mignon Eberhart {Rare Books}

Edited: Aug 27, 2022, 5:57 pm

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
1808: The Marquise Of O. by Heinrich Von Kleist
1809: The Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter
1810: Forest Of Montalbano by Catherine Cuthbertson / Zastrozzi by Percy Bysshe Shelley / St. Irvyne; or, The Rosicrucian by Percy Bysshe Shelley
1811: Self-Control by Mary Brunton
1812: The Absentee by Maria Edgeworth
1813: The Heroine; or, Adventures Of A Fair Romance Reader by Eaton Stannard Barrett
1814: The Wanderer; or, Female Difficulties by Frances Burney
1815: Headlong Hall by Thomas Love Peacock
1816: Glenarvon by Lady Caroline Lamb
1817: Harrington by Maria Edgeworth
1818: Nightmare Abbey by Thomas Love Peacock
1819: The Vampyre by John William Polidori
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 / Richelieu: A Tale Of France by G. P. R. James
1830: Alfred Dudley; or, The Australian Settlers by Sarah Porter
1832: The Refugee In America by Frances Trollope
1833: Tom Cringle's Log by Michael Scott
1836: Mr Midshipman Easy by Frederick Marrat / The Tree And Its Fruits; or, Narratives From Real Life by Phoebe Hinsdale Brown
1837: Rory O'More by Samuel Lover / Jack Brag by Theodore Hook
1839: Fardorougha The Miser; or, The Convicts Of Lisnamona by William Carleton
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 / The Mysteries Of London: Volume IV by G. W. M. Reynolds
1850: Pique by Frances Notley
1851: The Mother-In-Law; or, The Isle Of Rays by E.D.E.N. Southworth
1856: Recollections Of A Detective Police-Officer by "Waters"
1857: The Three Clerks by Anthony Trollope / Synnøve Solbakken by Bjornstjerne Bjornson
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 / The Struggles Of Brown, Jones, And Robinson by Anthony Trollope
1863: The Doctor's Family by Margaret Oliphant / Marian Grey; or, The Heiress Of Redstone Hall by Mary Jane Holmes / Salem Chapel by Margaret Oliphant
1865: Miss Mackenzie by Anthony Trollope
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: The Mill Mystery by Anna Katharine Green / 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
1891: Elsie's Vacation And After Events by Martha Finley
1892: The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman / Elsie At Viamede by Martha Finley / Blood Royal by Grant Allen
1893: Elsie At Ion by Martha Finley
1894: Martin Hewitt, Investigator by Arthur Morrison / The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen / Elsie At The World's Fair by Martha Finley
1895: Chronicles Of Martin Hewitt by Arthur Morrison / Elsie's Journey On Inland Waters by Martha Finley
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 / Elsie On The Hudson And Elsewhere by Martha Finley
1899: Agatha Webb by Anna Katharine Green / Dr Nikola's Experiment by Guy Newell Boothby / Elsie In The South by Martha Finley
1900: The Circular Study by Anna Katharine Green / Elsie's Young Folks In Peace And War by Martha Finley

Edited: Jul 24, 2022, 6:49 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)
Hagar's Daughter by Pauline Hopkins (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)
Clara Vaughan by R. D. Blackmore (1864)

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: Jul 24, 2022, 8:04 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 Golden Triangle (8/25) {Project Gutenberg}
(1909 - 1942) *Carolyn Wells - Fleming Stone - All At Sea (22/49) {Rare Books}
(1909 - 1929) *J. S. Fletcher - Inspector Skarratt - Marchester Royal (1/3) {Kindle}
(1910 - 1936) *Arthur B. Reeve - Craig Kennedy - The Film Mystery (14/24) {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 (aka Riddle Of The Amber Ship (9/12) {rare, expensive}
(1910 - 1918) **John McIntyre - Ashton-Kirk - Ashton-Kirk: Criminologist (4/4)
^^^(1910 - 1928) **Louis Tracy - Winter and Furneaux - The Black Cat (8/9) {Rare Books}

(1911 - 1935) G. K. Chesterton - Father Brown - The Scandal Of Father Brown (5/5)
^^^(1911 - 1940) Bertram Atkey - Smiler Bunn - Arsenic And Gold (10/11) {Rare Books}
(1912 - 1919) **Gordon Holmes (Louis Tracy) - Steingall and Clancy - The Bartlett Mystery (3/3)
(1913 - 1973) Sax Rohmer - Fu Manchu - The Shadow Of Fu Manchu (11/14) {Rare Books / Internet Archive / ZLibrary}
(1913 - 1952) Jeffery Farnol - Jasper Shrig - Murder By Nail (6/9) {Rare Books / State Library NSW, JFR}
(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 Moving Finger (3/10) {ManyBooks / Kindle}
^^^^^(1916 - 1917) **Nevil Monroe Hopkins - Mason Brant - The Strange Cases Of Mason Brant (1/2) {expensive}
(1918 - 1923) **Carolyn Wells - Pennington Wise - Wheels Within Wheels (8/8)
(1918 - 1939) Valentine Williams - The Okewood Brothers - The Fox Prowls (5/5)
(1918 - 1944) Valentine Williams - Clubfoot - Courier To Marrakesh (7/7)
(1918 - 1950) *Wyndham Martyn - Anthony Trent - The Mysterious Mr Garland (3/26) {Rare Books / CARM}
(1919 - 1966) *Lee Thayer - Peter Clancy - Alias Dr Ely (8/60) {Rare Books}
(1919 - 1922) **Octavus Roy Cohen - David Carroll - Midnight (4/4)

^^^^^ Remainder of series unavailable
^^^ Incompletely available series
** Series complete pre-1931
* Present status pre-1931

Edited: Aug 25, 2022, 7:32 pm

Series and sequels, 1920 - 1927:

(1920 - 1948) H. C. Bailey - Reggie Fortune - Black Land, White Land (12/23) {Rare Books}
(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)
(1922 - ????) *Armstrong Livingston - Jimmy Traynor - The Doublecross (aka "The Double-Cross") (2/?) {AbeBooks}

(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 - Rope To Spare (8/24) {Rare Books}
(1924 - 1957) Freeman Wills Crofts - Inspector French - Sudden Death (8/30) {Rare Books / ILL}
^^^(1924 - 1935) *Francis D. Grierson - Inspector Sims and Professor Wells - Secret Judges (2/13) {Rare Books}
(1924 - 1940) *Lynn Brock - Colonel Gore - The Mendip Mystery (aka "Murder At The Inn") (5/12) {Kindle}
(1924 - 1933) *Herbert Adams - Jimmie Haswell - The Crooked Lip (2/9) {Rare Books}
(1924 - 1944) *A. Fielding - Inspector Pointer - The Net Around Joan Ingilby (5/23) {Rare Books}
(1924 - 1936) *Hulbert Footner - Madame Storey - The Richest Widow (10/11) {Roy Glashan's Library}
^^^^^(1924 - 1931) R. Francis Foster - Anthony Ravenhill - The Missing Gates (1/7) {unavailable}

(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 - Corpse In Canonicals (aka "Corpse In The Constable's Garden") (8/?) {Rare Books}
(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 / Internet Archive}
(1925 - 1950) *Anthony Wynne (Robert McNair Wilson) - Dr Eustace Hailey - The Mystery Of The Ashes (3/27) {Trove}
^^^(1925 - 1939) *Charles Barry (Charles Bryson) - Inspector Lawrence Gilmartin - The Detective's Holiday (2/15) {Rare Books / GooglePlay}
(1925 - 1929) **Will Scott - Will Disher - Disher--Detective (aka "The Black Stamp") (1/5) {HathiTrust}
(1925 - 1927) **Francis Beeding - Professor Kreutzemark - The Hidden Kingdom (2/2)
(1925 - ????) *Livingston Armstrong - Peter Creighton - On The Right Wrists (1/?) {AbeBooks}

(1926 - 1968) Christopher Bush - Ludovic Travers - Cut Throat (7/63) {Kindle / ZLibrary / Fisher Library storage}
(1926 - 1939) S. S. Van Dine - Philo Vance - The Garden Murder Case (9/12) {}
(1926 - 1952) J. Jefferson Farjeon - Ben the Tramp - Detective Ben (6/8) {interlibrary loan / Kindle / ZLibrary}
(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 Lonely House (3/27) {Roy Glashan's Library}
(1926 - 1931) *Aidan de Brune - Dr Night - The Green Pearl (2/3) {Roy Glashan's Library}

^^^(1927 - 1933) *Herman Landon - The Picaroon - The Picaroon: Knight Errant (7/8) {State Library NSW, JFR}
(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 - The Creeping Jenny Mystery (7/54) {Kindle / ZLibrary}
(1927 - 1947) J. J. Connington - Sir Clinton Driffield - The Boathouse Riddle (6/17) {Kindle / mobilereads / ZLibrary}
(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 / ZLibrary}

^^^^^ Remainder of series unavailable
^^^ Incompletely available series
** Series complete pre-1931
* Present status pre-1931

Edited: Aug 27, 2022, 3:23 am

Series and sequels, 1928 - 1930:

(1928 - 1961) Patricia Wentworth - Miss Silver - The Girl In The Cellar (32/32)
(1928 - 1936) *Gavin Holt - Luther Bastion - The White-Faced Man (aka "The Praying Monkey") (2/17) {academic loan / State Library NSW, held}
(1928 - 1936) Kay Cleaver Strahan - Lynn MacDonald - The Meriwether Mystery (5/7) {Kindle / ZLibrary}
^^^^^(1928 - 1937) John Alexander Ferguson - Francis McNab - Death Of Mr Dodsley (5/5) {unavailable}
^^^(1928 - 1960) *Cecil Freeman Gregg - Inspector Higgins - Murder On The Bus (3/35) {Rare Books / Kindle}
(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 - The Society Of The Spiders (1/6)
(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 - The Queen's Hall Murder (4/10) {Trove}
(1928 - 1931) **John Stephen Strange (Dorothy Stockbridge Tillet) - Van Dusen Ormsberry - The Clue Of The Second Murder (2/3) {GooglePlay / Rare Books}

(1929 - 1947) Margery Allingham - Albert Campion - The Case Of The Late Pig (8/35) {SMSA / 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 - 1954) Mignon Eberhart - Nurse Sarah Keate - Dead Yesterday And Other Stories (6/8) (NB: multiple Eberhart characters) {expensive / limited edition} / Man Missing (8/8) {Internet Archive}
^^^(1929 - ????) Moray Dalton - Inspector Collier - The Belgrave Manor Crime (5/14) {Kindle}
^^^(1929 - 1930) * / ***Charles Reed Jones - Leighton Swift - The Torch Murder (1/3) {Rare Books}
(1929 - 1931) Carolyn Wells - Kenneth Carlisle - The Skeleton At The Feast (3/3) {Kindle}
(1929 - 1967) *George Goodchild - Inspector McLean - McLean Investigates (2/65) {State Library NSW, JFR}
(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) {Rare Books}
(1929 - 1971) *Ellery Queen - Ellery Queen - The Roman Hat Mystery (1/40) {interlibrary loan / Internet Archive}
(1929 - 1966) *Arthur Upfield - Bony - The Mystery Of Swordfish Reef (7/29) {SMSA}
(1929 - 1937) *Anthony Berkeley - Ambrose Chitterwick - The Piccadilly Murder (2/3) {interlibrary loan / Internet Archive}
^^^^^(1929 - 1940) *Jean Lilly - DA Bruce Perkins - The Seven Sisters (1/3) {rare, expensive}
(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 And The Waverdale Fire (4/7) {Kindle}
(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) {Rare Books / Kindle / ZLibrary}
(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, JFR}
(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 Silecroft Case (2/?) {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 - Death At Low Tide (16/57) {Internet Archive}
^^^(1930 - 1960) Miles Burton - Inspector Arnold - Death At Low Tide (16/57) {Internet Archive}
(1930 - 1933) Roger Scarlett - Inspector Kane - Murder Among The Angells (4/5) {expensive}
(1930 - 1941) Harriette Ashbrook - Philip "Spike" Tracy - Murder Comes Back (6/7) {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) {}
^^^(1930 - 1933) *Monte Barrett - Peter Cardigan - The Wedding March Murder (2/3) {serialised}
(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 Grip Of The Four (1/53) {Rare Books}
^^^(1930 - 1937) Elaine Hamilton - Inspector Reynolds - Peril At Midnight (6/9) {Kindle}
(1930 - 1932) *J. S. Fletcher - Sergeant Charlesworth - The Borgia Cabinet (1/2) { / Kindle}
(1930 - ????) *Carolyn Keene - Nancy Drew - The Bungalow Mystery (3/?) {original text unavailable}
(1930 - 1937) John Dickson Carr - Henri Bencolin - The Corpse In The Waxworks (aka "The Waxworks Murder") (4/5) {SMSA / Fisher Library / State Library NSW, JFR}

^^^^^ Remainder of series unavailable
^^^ Incompletely available series
** Series complete pre-1931
* Present status pre-1931

Edited: Aug 21, 2022, 6:23 pm

Series and sequels, 1931 - 1932:

^^^(1931 - 1940) Bruce Graeme - Superintendent Stevens and Pierre Allain - Not Proven (5/8) {Trove}
(1931 - 1951) Phoebe Atwood Taylor - Asey Mayo - The Tinkling Symbol (6/24) {Rare Books / academic loan}
(1931 - 1955) Stuart Palmer - Hildegarde Withers - The Puzzle Of The Silver Persian (5/18) {Kindle / ILL / ZLibrary}
(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 - Leathermouth's Luck (4/??) {Trove}
(1931 - 1947) R. L. Goldman - Asaph Clume and Rufus Reed - Death Plays Solitaire (3/6) {Kindle}
^^^(1931 - 1959) E. C. R. Lorac (Edith Caroline Rivett) - Inspector Robert Macdonald - The Affair On Thor's Head (2/46) {State Library NSW, JFR}
(1931 - 1935) Clifton Robbins - Clay Harrison - Methylated Murder (5/5)
(1931 - 1972) Georges Simenon - Inspector Maigret - Le Port des Brumes (15/75) {ILL / ZLibrary}
^^^(1931 - 1942) R. A. J. Walling - Garstang - Murder At Midnight (2/3) {Rare Books}
(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 - He Dies And Makes No Sign (3/3)
(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)
(1931 - 1948) Alice Campbell - Tommy Rostetter - The Click Of The Gate (1/?) {CARM}
^^^(1931 - 1939) Roland Daniel - Inspector Walk - The Stool Pigeon (4/8) {Rare Books}

(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 Cat And The Corpse (aka "The Corpse In The Green Pajamas") (6/22) {Kindle / Internet Archive}
(1932 - 1962) T. Arthur Plummer - Detective-Inspector Andrew Frampton - Frampton Of The Yard! (3/50) {Rare Books}
(1932 - 1946) David Hume - Mick Cardby - Bullets Bite Deep (1/29) {Rare Books}
(1932 - 1936) John Victor Turner (David Hume) - Amos Petrie - Amos Petrie's Puzzle (3/7) {Kindle}
(1932 - 1944) Nicholas Brady (David Hume) - 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)
^^^(1932 - ????) Richard Essex (Richard Harry Starr) - Jack Slade - Slade Scores Again (2/?) {Rare Books}
(1932 - 1933) Gerard Fairlie - Mr Malcolm - Shot In The Dark (1/3) (State Library NSW, held}
(1932 - 1934) Paul McGuire - Superintendent Fillinger - Murder By The Law (2/5) {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}

^^^^^ Remainder of series unavailable
^^^ Incompletely available series

Edited: Aug 7, 2022, 7:05 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) { / Internet Archive}
^^^^^(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 (Jacob D. Posner) - 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 - The Denmede Mystery (3/8) {State Library NSW, JFR}

^^^^^(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 - The Red Box (4/?) {ILL / Internet Archive / ZLibrary}
(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) {Roy Glashan's Library}
(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) {HathiTrust}
(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) {ebook? / AbeBooks}
^^^(1935 - 1959) Kathleen Moore Knight - Elisha Macomber - The Tainted Token (6/16) {Rare Books}

(1936 - 1974) Anthony Gilbert (Lucy Malleson) - Arthur Crook - Murder By Experts (1/51) {Kindle / interlibrary loan}
(1936 - 1940) George Bell Dyer - The Catalyst Club - The Catalyst Club (1/3) {Rare Books}
^^^(1936 - 1956) Theodora Du Bois - Anne and Jeffrey McNeil - Death Dines Out (4/19) {Rare Books}
(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 / Internet Archive}
(1938 - 1944) Zelda Popkin - Mary Carner - Time Off For Murder (2/6) {Kindle}
^^^^^(1938 - 1939) D. B. Olsen (Dolores Hitchens) - Lt. Stephen Mayhew - The Clue In The Clay (1/2) {expensive}
(1939 - 1953) Patricia Wentworth - Inspector Lamb - The Vanishing Point (11/11)
^^^(1939 - 1940) Clifton Robbins - George Staveley - Death Forms Threes (2/2) {Rare Books}
(1939 - 1956) D. B. Olsen (Dolores Hitchens) - Rachel Murdock (check Stephen Mayhew) - The Cat Saw Murder (1/12) {Kindle / ZLibrary}

^^^(1940 - 1943) Bruce Graeme - Pierre Allain - The Corporal Died In Bed (1/3) {CARM}
(1941 - 1951) Bruce Graeme - Theodore I. Terhune - Seven Clues In Search Of A Crime (1/7) {Kindle / GooglePlay}
(1943 - 1961) Enid Blyton - Five Find-Outers - The Mystery Of The Disappearing Cat (2/15) {fadedpage}
(1945 - 1952) D. B. Olsen (Dolores Hitchens) - Professor Pennyfeather - Bring The Bride A Shroud (aka "A Shroud For The Bride") (1/6) {Rare Books / National Library}
(1947 - 1953) Michael Gilbert - Inspector Hazelrigg - They Never Looked Inside (2/6) {State Library NSW, JFR / ZLibrary}
(1955 - 1991) Patricia Highsmith - Tom Ripley - Ripley's Game (3/5) {SMSA}
(1957 - 1993) Chester B. Himes - The Harlem Cycle - The Crazy Kill (3/9) {on loan}
(1961 - 2017) - John le Carré - George Smiley - Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (5/9) {branch transfer / SMSA}
(1964 - 1987) Robert Arthur / William Arden - The Three Investigators - The Mystery Of The Talking Skull (11/43) {freebooklover / Internet Archive / ZLibrary}
(1965 - 1975) Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö - Martin Beck - The Man On The Balcony (3/10) {SMSA}
(1992 - 2000) Barbara Neely - Blanche White - Blanche Cleans Up (3/4) {ILL / Kindle / ZLibrary}
^^^^^(2001 - 2012) Esmahan Aykol - Kati Hirschel - Divorce Turkish Style (3/4)

^^^^^ Remainder of series unavailable
^^^ Incompletely available series

Edited: Aug 25, 2022, 7:33 pm

Non-crime series and sequels:

(1861 - 1876) **Margaret Oliphant - Carlingford - Miss Marjoribanks (6/7) {Fisher storage}
(1867 - 1905) **Martha Finley - Elsie Dinsmore - Elsie And Her Namesakes (28/28) {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 - Flowering Wilderness (11/12) {Fisher Library}
(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)
(1924 - 1928) **Ford Madox Ford - Parade's End - Last Post (4/4)
(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)
(1930 - 1937) *Nina Murdoch - Miss Emily - Miss Emily In Black Lace (1/3) {State Library, held}

(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)
(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}
(1989 - ????) Nancy A. Collins - Sonja Blue - Paint It Black (3/7) {Kindle / ZLibrary}

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

Edited: Jul 27, 2022, 6:58 pm

Unavailable series works (Part 1: series partially available):

Esmahan Aykol - Kati Hirschel
Istanbul Tango (#4) {untranslated}

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

Miles Burton - Desmond Merrion / Inspector Arnold
The Three Crimes (#2 Merrion / #1 Arnold) {rare, expensive}
The Menace On The Downs (#2 Arnold) {rare, expensive}
Fate At The Fair (#4 Merrion / #4 Arnold) {unavailable}
Tragedy At The Thirteenth Hole (#5 Merrion / #5 Arnold) {unavailable}
Death At The Cross-Roads (#6 Merrion / #6 Arnold) {unavailable}
The Charabanc Mystery (#7 Merrion / #7 Arnold) {unavailable}
To Catch A Thief (#8 Merrion / #8 Arnold) {unavailable}
The Devereux Court Mystery (#9 Merrion / #9 Arnold) {unavailable}
Murder Of A Chemist (#11 Merrion / #11 Arnold) {unavailable}
Where Is Barbara Prentice? (aka "The Clue Of The Silver Cellar") (#13 Merrion / #13 Arnold) {rare, expensive}
Death At The Club (aka "The Clue Of The Fourteen Keys") (#14 Merrion/ #14 Arnold) {unavailable}
Murder In Crown Passage (aka "The Man With The Tattoed Face") (#15 Merrion / #15 Arnold) {unavailable}

Natalie Sumner Lincoln - Inspector Mitchell
The Nameless Man (#2) {expensive}

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

John Alexander Ferguson - Francis McNab
Death Of Mr Dodsley (#5) {unavailable}

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

E. C. R. Lorac - Inspector Robert MacDonald
The Murder On The Burrows (#1) {unavailable}
The Greenwell Mystery (#3) {unavailable}

R. A. J. Walling - Garstang
Stroke Of One (#1) {unavailable}

T. Arthur Plummer - Inspector Frampton
Shadowed By The C.I.D. (#1) {unavailable}
Shot At Night (#2) {unavailable}

Bruce Graeme - Superintendent Stevens
Body Unknown (#?) {unavailable}

Charles Barry (real name: Charles Bryson) - Inspector Gilmartin
The Smaller Penny (#1) {expensive}

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

Cecil Freeman Gregg - Inspector Higgins
The Murdered Manservant (aka "The Body In The Safe") (#1) {HathiTrust/not accessible}
The Three Daggers (#2) {HathiTrust/not accessible}

Charles J. Dutton - Harley Manners
The Shadow Of Evil (#2) {rare, expensive}

Elaine Hamilton - Inspector Reynolds
Murder In The Fog (#2) {unavailable}
The Chelsea Mystery (#3) {unavailable}
The Green Death (Reynolds #4?) {unavailable}
The Silent Bell (Reynolds #5?) {unavailable}

Herman Landon - The Picaroon
The Picaroon Does Justice (#2) {CARM}
Buy My Silence! (#3) {rare, expensive}
The Picaroon Resumes Practice (#5) {unavailable}
The Picaroon In Pursuit (#6) {CARM}

Bertram Atkey - Smiler Bunn
The Smiler Bunn Brigade (#2) {rare, expensive}
Smiler Bunn, Man-Hunter (#3) {unavailable}
Smiler Bunn, Gentleman Crook (#4) {unavailable}
The Man With Yellow Eyes (#5) {unavailable}
Smiler Bunn: Byewayman (#6) {unavailable}
Smiler Bunn, Gentleman-Adventurer (#7) {unavailable}
Smiler Bunn, Crook (#8) {unavailable}
The House Of Clystevill (#11) {unavailable}

Charles Reed Jones - Leighton Swift
The King Murder (#1) {unavailable}
The Van Norton Murders (#3) {Complete Detective Novel Magazine}

Monte Barrett - Peter Cardigan
Murder Off Stage (aka "Knotted Silk") (#2) {expensive shipping}

Roland Daniel - Inspector John Walk
Dead Man's Vengeance (#1) {unavailable}
Ann Turns Detective (#2) {unavailable}
Ruby Of A Thousand Dreams (#3) {Ramble House} (NB: Wu Fang)

George Dilnot - Inspector Strickland
Crooks' Game (#1) {expensive}
The Black Ace (#2) {expensive}

Richard Essex (aka ) - Jack Slade
Slade Of The Yard (#1) {expensive}

Mark Cross aka Archibald Thomas Pechey aka Valentine - Daphne Wrayne and the Four Adjusters
The Shadow Of The Four (#1) {rare, expensive}

Bruce Graeme - Stevens and Allain
Satan's Mistress (#4) {unavailable}

Wyndham Martyn - Christopher Bond
Christopher Bond, Adventurer (#1) {unavailable}
Spies Of Peace (#2) {unavailable}

Clifton Robbins - George Staveley
Six Sign-Post Murder (#1) {expensive}

Edited: Jul 1, 2022, 9:06 pm

Unavailable series works (Part 2: series effectively unavailable):

R. Francis Foster - Anthony Ravenhill
The Missing Gates (#1) {unavailable}
Anthony Ravenhill, Crime Merchant (#2) {expensive}
The Music Gallery Murder (#3) {unavailable}
The Moat House Mystery (#4) {unavailable}
The Dark Night (#5) {unavailable}

David Sharp - Professor Fielding
When No Man Pursueth (#1) {unavailable}
I, The Criminal (#4) {rare, expensive}
The Inconvenient Corpse (#5 rare, expensive}
Marriage And Murder (#6)

Adam Broome - Denzil Grigson
Crowner's Quest (#2) {rare, expensive}
The Island Of Death (#3) {rare, expensive}
The Crocodile Club (#5) {unavailable}
The Black Mamba (#6) {rare, expensive}
Snakes And Ladders (#7) {unavailable}
The Red Queen Club (#8) {unavailable}
Flame Of The Forest (#9) {rare, expensive}

Roger Scarlett - Inspector Kane
Murder Among The Angells (#4) {expensive}
In The First Degree (#5) {expensive}

Alice MacGowan and Perry Newberry - Jerry Boyne
The Seventh Passenger (#4) {expensive}
Who Is This Man? (#5) {available, expensive shipping}

Roland Daniel - Wu Fang
The Society Of The Spiders (#1) {Ramble House}
Wu Fang (#2) {unavailable}
Ruby Of A Thousand Dreams (#3) {Ramble House}
Wu Fang's Revenge (#4) {unavailable}
The Son Of Wu Fang (#5) {Ramble House}
The Return Of Wu Fang (#6) {Ramble House}

The Hanshews - Cleek
The Amber Junk (aka "Riddle Of The Amber Ship") (#9) {rare, expensive}
The House Of Seven Keys (#10) {rare, expensive}
The Riddle Of The Winged Death (#11) {unavailable}
Murder In The Hotel (#12) {unavailable}

William Morton (aka William Blair Morton Ferguson) - Daniel "Biff" Corrigan / Police Commissioner Kirker Cameron
Masquerade (#1) {expensive}
The Mystery Of The Human Bookcase (#2) {expensive}
The Murderer (aka "The Pilditch Puzzle") (#3) {expensive}
The Case Of Casper Gault ????

Jean Lilly - DA Bruce Perkins
The Seven Sisters (#1) {rare, expensive}
False Face (#2) {rare, expensive}
Death In B-Minor (#3) {rare, expensive}
Death Thumbs A Ride (#4) {rare, expensive}

David Frome (Zenith Jones Brown) - Major Gregory Lewis
Murder Of An Old Man (#1) {rare, expensive}
In At The Death (#2) {rare, expensive}
The Strange Death Of Martin Green (#3) {rare, expensive}

John Franklin Carter (aka "Diplomat") - Dennis Tyler
Murder In The State Department (#1) {unavailable}
Murder In The Embassy (#2) {unavailable}
Scandal In The Chancery (#3) {unavailable}
The Corpse On The White House Lawn (#4) {unavailable}
Death In The Senate (#5) {unavailable}
Slow Death At Geneva (#6) {unavailable}
Brain Trust Murder (#7) {unavailable}

Murray Thomas - Inspector Wilkins
Buzzards Pick The Bones (#1) {unavailable}
Inspector Wilkins Sees Red (#2) {rare, expensive}
Inspector Wilkins Reads The Proofs (#3) {unavailable}

Roland Daniel - John Hopkins
The Rosario Murder Case (#1) {unavailable}
The Shooting Of Sergius Leroy (#2) {unavailable}

Roland Daniel - Inspector Pearson
The Crackswoman (#1) {unavailable}
The Green Jade God (#2) {unavailable}
White Eagle (#3) {unavailable}
The Crimson Shadow (#4) {expensive}
The Gangster's Last Shot (#5) {unavailable}
Murder At Little Malling (#6) {CARM}

Kathleen Moore Knight - Elisha Macomber
Death Blew Out The Match (#1) {expensive}
The Clue Of The Poor Man's Shilling (aka "The Poor Man's Shilling") (#2) {CARM / expensive}
The Wheel That Turned (#3) {expensive}
Seven Were Veiled (#4) {expensive}
Acts Of Black Night (#5) {expensive}

Peter Hunt (aka George Worthing Yates and Charles Hunt Marshall) - Alan Miller
Murders At Scandal House (#1) {expensive}
Murder For Breakfast (#2) {expensive}
Murder Among The Nudists (#3) {expensive}

Gregory Dean (aka Jacob D. Posner) - Benjamin Simon
The Case Of Marie Corwin (#1) {unavailable}
The Case Of The Fifth Key (#2) {unavailable}
Murder On Stilts (#3) {unavailable}

N. A. Temple-Ellis (aka Nevile Holdaway) - Inspector Wren
Three Went In (#1) {unavailable}
Dead In No Time (aka "Murder In The Ruins") (#2) {expensive}
Death Of A Decent Fellow (#3) {unavailable}

Richard Goyne - Paul Templeton
Strange Motives (#1) {unavailable}
Murder At The Inn (#2) {unavailable}
Produce The Body (#3) {unavailable}
Death By Desire (#4) {expensive}
Hanged I'll Be! (#5) {CARM}
Death In Harbour (#6) {unavailable}
Seven Were Suspect (#7) {unavailable}
The Merrylees Mystery (#8) {unavailable}
Who Killed My Wife? (#9) {unavailable}
Fear Haunts The Fells (#10) {unavailable}
Five Roads Inn (#11) {unavailable}
Murder Made Easy (#12) {unavailable}
Murderer's Moon (#13) {expensive}

Theodora du Bois - Anne and Jeffrey McNeill
Armed With A New Terror (#1) {unavailable}
Death Wears A White Coat (#2) {unavailable}
Death Tears A Comic Strip (#3) {expensive}

D. B. Olsen (aka Dolores Hichens) - Stephen Mayhew (overlaps with Rachel Murdock)
The Clue In The Clay (#1) {expensive}
Death Cuts A Silhouette (#2) {expensive}

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

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

Edited: Jul 10, 2022, 10:03 pm

Books currently on loan:




Edited: Aug 6, 2022, 1:44 am

Reading projects:




Other projects:



Edited: Jul 1, 2022, 9:16 pm

Group read news:

Having just wrapped the group read of Anthony Trollope's Miss Mackenzie, we will next be continuing our read of Margaret Oliphant's Miss Marjoribanks.

We do not yet have a fixed date for this, but probably September or October (at the moment there is a slight push for the latter).

Our next Trollope read will be The Belton Estate, at a time to be determined by the previous project (i.e. either December or January).

Edited: Nov 5, 2022, 5:41 pm

General comments:

I feel a bit more under control with my reading generally, but I am still getting myself into a miss via my inability to discipline myself to regular reviewing (one a day! it's not hard!), which starts to impact whether I "should" read a particular book, when I haven't reviewed its predecessor. It's silly, and entirely my own fault...but here we are.

Still, I'm mostly keeping my challenges ticking over, and that feels good. I'm also doing a bit better at not forcing reads if they're really not convenient---for example, though I have agreed within myself that I will read Henryk Sienkiewicz's With Fire And Sword for the Nobel Prize challenge, I'm not going to attempt it until a month where we also get a shorter best-seller (assuming such a thing exists: come back, Jonathan Livingstone Seagull!).

The other thing I need to do is re-start my book-blog: I have been lured away from that so far by my film-blog (which at least means I'm getting something done). But having now wrapped a silly project there which has been nagging at me for some time, I have hopes I might be able to make myself shift focus.

Edited: Jul 1, 2022, 9:26 pm


Come on in, and welcome!

Jul 1, 2022, 9:18 pm

>1 lyzard: That beast (in the lower photo) is exactly how I pictured the Sammead in Five Children and It by Nesbit.

Happy new thread, Liz!

Jul 1, 2022, 9:20 pm

Happy new thread, Liz

Jul 2, 2022, 3:42 am

Happy new thread, Liz!

>1 lyzard: I didn't know sharks could be so beautiful, I thought they only came in grey.

Jul 2, 2022, 8:23 am

Happy new one!

Jul 2, 2022, 3:49 pm

>1 lyzard: Do you mean to tell me that both of those critters are the same species? Also, hats off to the Australian who came up with "tasseled woebegone" for a name. Brilliant work!

Jul 2, 2022, 6:26 pm

>24 Matke:, >25 PaulCranswick:, >26 FAMeulstee:, >27 drneutron:, >28 rosalita:

Hi, Gail, Paul, Anita, Jim and Julia---thank you for stopping by! :)

>24 Matke:

Ha, yes!

>26 FAMeulstee:

Some sharks are beautiful, some sharks are silly. The tasselled wobbegong is both. :)

>28 rosalita:

Wobbegong, my dear---wobb-e-gong. :D

I feel a bit bad about using that second photo because it's not really representative of the species, more lie a photo of someone pulling a face. But on the other hand its evidence of just how weird these things can get!

Edited: Jul 3, 2022, 6:29 pm

Aw, heck. Now I feel like I've been mean. :D

So: on the left here is a spotted wobbegong, a much more common species (and another example of a coloured, patterned shark); and on the right is a much kinder shot of a tasselled wobbegong:


Jul 2, 2022, 7:58 pm

>29 lyzard: Dang autocorrect! Also, dang Julia for not proofreading before hitting "post".

I don't think you were mean to the wobbegong (that time autocorrect wanted to change it to "wobble ginger") but it just looks wildly different in the two photos, which is kind of cool.

Jul 3, 2022, 6:31 pm

>31 rosalita:

I did wonder! :D

(Though I did have a moment of scrambling to the top of the thread to check whether *I* had been autocorrected...)

Jul 3, 2022, 6:58 pm

Finished Mosquitoes for TIOLI #13.

Now reading Chesapeake by James A. Michener (although it's a hardback, so I may need to pick a bath book too).

Edited: Jul 3, 2022, 8:19 pm

Publication date: 1931
Genre: Mystery / thriller
Series: Colonel Anthony Gethryn #8
Read for: Series reading / TIOLI (set in London)

The Crime Conductor - Colonel Anthony Gethryn has barely finished articulating his sense that he is "a crime conductor" - that crime comes to him, rather than the other way around - when his dinner companion, his wife's cousin, Dr Travers Hoylake, is called away to a death in a nearby house. Hoylake is soon back, however, asking Gethryn for a second opinion... Theatrical impresario Willington Sigsbee is found dead in his bath, apparently having slipped, hit his head, and drowned; but Gethryn, like Hoylake, sees that the setting is all wrong: there is nothing in the room to suggest that Sigsbee was really getting ready to take a bath and, in the next room, his clothes are on a chair in the wrong order---as if someone else had taken them off him. The scene, in Gethryn's opinion, has been staged: fittingly enough, he soon concludes wryly, under circumstances where everyone involved seems to be acting... Philip MacDonald's The Crime Conductor has a fair mystery at its heart, but ultimately becomes rather annoying: MacDonald is often quite as intent upon "being clever" as writing an effective novel, but here the tendency gets out of hand, resulting in a book too pleased with itself to be really enjoyable. Nearly all the characters in The Crime Conductor are associated with the screen or the stage; and Gethryn never gets over his first impression that he is taking part in a bad play---or, more to the point, a poorly rehearsed play, where no-one seems quite sure of their role. He responds to this by treating the matter as a play---supported by his author, who uses such contrivances as scenes written out with with stage directions, people described as per a play-bill, their movements given as stage entrances and exits, and so on. MacDonald also includes quite a number of jibes at actors and their ways, and at the fans of movies in particular: ironic, given that in a year or two, he would be writing screenplays. (There's also a minor character who predicts the swift death of "the talkies".) All this is on top of a first-person narration by Gethryn, with long letters to his wife doing secondary duty as his case-notes, which allows his always annoying personality the spotlight, as it were. However, all of this is a matter of taste: a more serious criticism of The Crime Conductor is that it doesn't play fair with the reader, with the solution to what by then is two murders turning on a psychological point that I don't think is sufficiently prepared for in the text, whatever Gethryn says. The murder of Willington Sigsbee takes place in a house full of people: staying for the night are Lars Kristania, the latest screen sensation, who Sigsbee had triumphantly signed for his new stage production; Anne Massareen, the actress cast to appear opposite him; Oliver Prideaux, her intense lawyer-husband; Paul Vanescu, Sigsbee's former, now displaced, leading-man; actress Mary Wheelwright, who has likewise lost her position to Anne Massareen; the sculptor, Faith Congreve; and theatrical producer Montague Locke, and his American counterpart, Robert P. Cray; in addition to Sigsbee's wife, Donna, his secretary, George Fern, and his valet, Edward Vickers. Also added to the mix is Lovell Fox, a once-successful playwright since fallen victim to drink and drugs, who had a grudge against Sigsbee and somehow found a way into the house. Though Fox is the obvious suspect, and is arrested, almost all the other guests insist upon his innocence; while in Gethryn's opinion, various aspects of the crime required too much quick thinking and improvisation for someone in Fox's condition. Besides, Fox is not the only one with a grudge against Sigsbee - far from it - though it takes a second "accident" before Gethryn can see through the smoke and mirrors to the true motive...

Watson, please note that the Great Detective wasn't hidden behind the arras during the beginning of the scene, but has merely written this in out of his own imagination to make the playlet a rounded entity:

SCENE: The palatial sitting-room, upon the topmost floor of the Ritz-Carlton, Piccadilly, London, W.1., of Lars Kristania, the Prince of a Million Hearts or Laughing Preux-chevalier.

Discovered are Lars Kristania and Anne Massareen. They are seated at small table C. upon which are coffee cups and liqueur glasses. Kristania is, if possible, even more than usually resplendent in tails, with an entirely new shape of dress waistcoat recently named after him. There is a white, black-spotted orchid in his buttonhole. His hair gleams and so do his blue eyes. Anne Massareen, very small and very, very fetching, is in an evening gown of scarlet...
There is a knock upon the door R.C.U.
ENTER: Page boy.
PAGE BOY (advancing with salver on which reposes a slip of pasteboard): Gentleman to see you, sir.
KRISTANIA (picking up card): No... Damnation! P'raps I'd better see him. Where is he?
PAGE BOY: In the lounge on this floor, sir.
KRISTANIA (turning to Anne): Say, here's this Gethryn guy wants to see me. What'll we... (to Page Boy): All right. Ask the gentleman to step right along.
Enter R.C.U. in front of page boy, who again exits shutting door, Anthony Ruthvyn Gethryn.
KRISTANIA (coming forward with hand outstretched): Good-evening, Colonel. It's real good of you. (Turning to Anne) I don't think you've met Colonel Gethryn...Colonel Gethryn, Miss Anne Massareen.
A. R. G.: Good-evening!
ANNE: Good-evening!

Edited: Jul 23, 2022, 9:29 pm

Publication date: 2003
Genre: Mystery / thriller
Series: Kati Hirschel #2
Read for: Series reading / TIOLI (double letters in title)

Baksheesh - Kati Hirschel's life takes a turn for the worst when, on top of a threatened rent rise on her apartment that she can't afford, a fight with her lawyer-lover, Selim, looks like ending their relationship. Kati is bemused when a friend suggests she buy a new apartment, but learns from her of a system under which government-repossessed properties are sometimes made available under the radar---for a price... Deciding that drastic change is what she needs, Kati starts inspecting potential new homes from a list given to her by official, Kasim Bey, in exchange for a first payment. However, the one that seizes her imagination is occupied - possibly not legally - and when she tries to get a look inside, it leads to a confrontation between herself and the man in residence. A second clash follows, when the man tracks Kati to her bookstore, ending with a well-directed ashtray and a cut on his head---all of which causes something of a problem for Kati when the man is found murdered... Esmahan Aykol's second novel is an improvement on her first, Hotel Bosphorus, in most respects---albeit that it presents the same, most significant challenge to the reader. Kati Herschel remains a problematic protagonist, to say the least, with the novel dominated again by her self-satisfaction and self-centredness; and while much of this is obviously intended to be humorous, the first-person narrative doesn't leave much scope for distance or tacit criticism: Kati's view is the only view. However, this is counterbalanced by the fact that Baksheesh manages to blend its mystery into its detailed depiction of Istanbul society in a much more integrated and satisfying way: we follow Kati through a city in the grip of an economic downturn, where crime is on the rise and, in response to endemic corruption, a new Islamic political party is fighting for power; and where, both legally and illegally, the wheels are greased by baksheesh. Furthermore, and critically, the mystery in this novel is organic to the plot; while Kati does some real detective work, rather than just have people tell her things: and though that remains a component of her investigation, it happens on the back of Kati seeking out and ingratiating herself with - or intruding upon - people with information. When Osman Karakaş is found dead of a gunshot wound in his apartment, Kati is horrified to find herself a suspect; although this brings her back in contact with police detective, Batuhan, who still has a thing for her---and who still talks more than he should. Kati soon discovers a number of possible motives for Osman's murder, including a complicated love-life and his involvement, with his brothers, in organised crime. At the same time, as the head of his family, Osman was attempting to set up a construction business to employ his relatives, which brought him into contact with politicians of all stripes. The matter remains unresolved when an old woman is killed in the building across the way. Certain that the seeming senselessness of the crime must mean it is somehow connected to Osman's murder, Kati infiltrates the bereaved family's apartment by posing as a mourner, and discovers that the victim's favourite seat gave her a clear view of the entrance to Osman's apartment---meaning that she would have seen the killer enter and leave; while her own murder suggests that she recognised him. Or her...

    "So, what conclusion should we draw from all this?"
    "We think the son and daughter-in-law probably did it. Or one of them acting alone."
    That's how the police mind works. If someone is killed, they go straight for the nearest and dearest. If the victim is a woman they accuse the husband, and if it's a man they accuse the wife. They probably even have statistics to back this up. However, as a good crime-fiction devotee, I always suspect the involvement of a secret lover or someone with a murky past. I'm rarely wrong.
    I certainly didn't subscribe to the police theory that if an old woman is murdered, the killer is likely to be her son or daughter-in-law. My suspicions were leading me in a completely different direction.
    Actually, I never got tired of talking to Batuhan, especially about murder. I certainly didn't want him to stop talking about the Osman murder. Yes, I know, I'd only just decided to stop sticking my nose into things that didn't concern me, but listening to a murder-squad officer fishing around in the dark for ideas didn't really constitute being nosy, did it?
    "There's something I don't understand," I said, changing the subject. "How can a person die from a bullet wound in the leg? In films, people get shot in the leg as a threat. Then they appear in the next scene hobbling around with a wounded leg, not in a graveyard surrounded by a crowd of weeping mourners."
    He took hold of my leg to demonstrate. At least I hoped that was the reason.
    "An artery runs from here to here. The artery was lacerated by the bullet. If he'd been shot in the knee, or anywhere else in the leg, there would have been no danger, as you said... Anyway, now it's your turn. Why did you talk to Özcan?"
    "Well, I was a suspect in a murder case, wasn't I? So I had to collect evidence to clear my name."

Jul 5, 2022, 6:05 pm

If there's such a thing as the definitive James A. Michener sentence, this may be it:

To understand how Edmund Steed, gentleman, happened to accompany Captain John Smith on his exploration of the Chesapeake in 1608, it is necessary to go back more than a hundred years.

Of course it is, Jim...

Jul 5, 2022, 6:09 pm

>36 lyzard: It's times like this you wish books had a fast-forward button!

Edited: Jul 5, 2022, 6:15 pm

>37 rosalita:

I'm not a big fan of audiobooks but the option of going 2x playback speed is suddenly very attractive. :D

That quote actually raises a question in my mind about Michener's approach to his writing: did he genuinely believe that his readers wouldn't understand if he simply said "he was an English Catholic in the late 16th century", or could he just not resist the opportunity for a 15-page potted history of the Reformation?

Jul 5, 2022, 6:27 pm

>38 lyzard: When I was a journalist we called it "emptying the notebook" — when a reporter has done extensive research and interviews they want to cram everything they learned into the article, even if it's not helpful for the reader, because otherwise they feel like they wasted all that time and effort.

Clearly, Mr. Michener didn't have the benefit of a strong editor to rein in his excesses. :-)

Jul 6, 2022, 9:42 am

>38 lyzard: I'm not sure it's a question of belief or resistance. As you say, that's the definitive James Michener sentence. It's his brand.

Jul 6, 2022, 3:10 pm

>36 lyzard: I bet it isn't. Not if you tried.

>39 rosalita: there are far too many books that have that feel about them. I researched this and you're going to read it, regardless of it fits or not.

Edited: Jul 6, 2022, 6:54 pm

>39 rosalita:, >40 swynn:, >41 Helenliz:

Facing persecution in England as a Catholic, and with no wish to be a martyr, Edmund Steed joined Captain John Smith in his exploration of the Chesapeake.

There I fixed it.

Julia is correct, that's exactly the feel of everything with Michener. As I've said, it's not that it's not well written, or not interesting, it's that we have to go into detail about EVERYTHING.

But Steve is most correct of all: it's his brand. The question is how it got to be that way, something I would like to take up with his editor.

Though mind you, I've been complaining about unnecessarily long and insufficiently edited American novels since From Here To Eternity* (irony alert!). And I guess if these books kept hitting the top of the best-seller lists, no-one was going to intervene.

So I guess my gripe is really with American readers. :)

(*Yes, yes: it started with Anthony Adverse - OF COURSE IT DID - but it was post-war before it became a regular thing.)

Edited: Jul 6, 2022, 6:51 pm

In other news, I've figured out how I got the second and third of the Martin Beck series out of order:


Except it's not the third in the series at all---merely the third one to be translated into English.

The fact that The Man Who Went Up In Smoke was sent out there like this - even though it is clear from the first few pages of The Man On The Balcony, the real #3, that the reader is missing something - is mind-boggling.

Edited: Jul 7, 2022, 7:02 am

>42 lyzard: Yeah, when I was younger and thought I’d live forever I didn’t mind the enormous length of his books. Now I know my time is finite and could wish that he didn’t take up quite so much of it.

His earlier work (Tales of the South Pacific, The Bridge at Toko Ri) were much shorter. I think he just hit on a winning formula with Hawaii and The Source and the profits drove the (lack of) editing.

Incidentally it came out later that he farmed out a great deal of his research.

Jul 7, 2022, 8:53 am

>43 lyzard: That is so irritating! In Dutch they did it with the Inspector Banks series, starting somewhere in the middle, and later the real first books (and two still untranslated...).
At least the Martin Beck series is correctly in order here at LT.

Edited: Jul 7, 2022, 6:18 pm

>44 Matke:


I can't honestly say that I've reached that point but I do very much resent one book taking up 25% or more of a month's reading time.

Michener's books don't feel unedited the way that From Here To Eternity does - that's a real "everything I think I write" novel - but it is definitely a case of "Is this trip really necessary?"

Yes, I have heard that. Maybe that's the problem, it wasn't his research so he wasn't sure what he could safely cut??

Jul 7, 2022, 6:21 pm

>45 FAMeulstee:

I understand how the early, obscure series I read are sometimes out of order but it didn't even occur to me that I needed to check on something so recent and well-known. But then, unlike you, I don't read a lot of translated material, so I hadn't encountered this particular glitch before.

Anyway! - I dropped off The Man On The Balcony (unread) and picked up The Man Who Went Up In Smoke the other day, so it's back on track.

Edited: Jul 7, 2022, 6:31 pm

Copying this over before Michener eats me alive:

Potential July reading:

Chesapeake by James A. Michener {best-seller challenge: need to review The Silmarillion}
Mosquitoes by William Faulkner {Banned in Boston challenge}
Fardorougha The Miser; or, The Convicts Of Lisnamona by William Carleton {C. K. Shorter challenge: need to review Jack Brag}
The Hunterstone Outrage by Seldon Truss {Mystery League challenge: need to review The Mystery Of Villa Sineste}
The Rubber Band by Rex Stout {shared read: need to review The League Of Frightened Men}
The Mystery Of The Moaning Cave by William Arden {shared read: need to review The Mystery Of The Screaming Clock}
Elsie's Winter Trip by Martha Finley {I will get the damn things done: need to review Elsie In The South and Elsie's Young Folks In Peace And War}

Jul 7, 2022, 7:55 pm

Publication date: 1929
Genre: Mystery / thriller
Series: Sir Clinton Driffield #5
Read for: Series reading / TIOLI (middle letter in title is a letter in APRIL)

Nemesis At Raynham Parva - Sir Clinton Driffield is driving to his sister's house at Raynham Parva when he comes across two men fighting, apparently over a young woman. His arrival breaks up the fight, and encourages the girl not to go with either man. Noting that she has a suitcase with her, sir Clinton offers her a ride into the village, but she insists upon managing on her own. At his sister's house, Sir Clinton is disturbed to discover that, during his recent absence from the country on official business, his niece, Elsie, has met and married Vincent Francia, and is soon to depart with him for Buenos Aires. The next morning, Sir Clinton learns that one party to the fight, a Mr Quevedo, is dead, and the other, farmer's son Teddy Barford, has been arrested. Sergeant Ledbury, consulting Sir Clinton, explains that while he considers the arrest unjustified, his subordinate, Constable Peel, is still insisting it is a case of murder... Though it has its merits as a mystery, or rather a mystery-thriller, Nemesis At Raynham Parva also brings to the forefront all the most objectionable aspects of J. J. Connington's Clinton Driffield series. At the best of times these books are a vehicle for the classist and racist views of its time, though these are usually only allusions; but here, these views are the very basis for the plot, as Sir Clinton - having resigned as Chief Constable to become, in essence, landed gentry - takes on "the foreigners" who are running what is eventually revealed, shockingly for the time of writing, to be a sex-trafficking ring that sends young women into isolated areas of South America, from where they have no hope of escape. Still more shockingly, the head of the ring is revealed to be Vincent Francia, who has married Elsie either so she can act Judas goat for him, and/or as a means of carrying her into the wilds of Argentina; though the implication here is that if an Englishwoman rejects a thick-headed and boring but devoted young Englishman to marry a "foreigner", she almost deserves a fate described as "worse than slavery". While Sir Clinton starts out investigating the death of Pedro Quevedo - which does turn out to be murder, though Teddy Barford (the lower-class equivalent of Rex Brandon, Elsie's rejected suitor) is not the guilty party - his various discoveries soon reveal to him the shocking truth. The situation presents Sir Clinton with a terrible dilemma: he can only prevent Elsie from leaving the country by proving her husband's involvement in the conspiracy; yet his whole desire is to keep Vincent Francia's guilt from becoming common knowledge, to spare Elsie the humiliation. Matters become still more urgent when Francia is murdered---under circumstances that suggest that either Rex Brandon or Elsie herself is guilty...

    Putting things at their worst, the whole affair was clear enough. Francia had gone through a ceremony of marriage with Elsie. Whether that ceremony was genuine or not, Sir Clinton had no means of guessing. Francia might be a bigamist for all he knew. In any case, he had established himself as Elsie's husband, and had gained sufficient influence over her to control her movements. There was nothing unwarranted in a husband going back to his own country and taking his own wife with him.
    But, still putting things at the worst, other steps had followed. Francia had manouevred matters so as to get Estelle invited out to Buenos Aires. It had been done cleverly enough; the young bride had been used as a lure to bring the other girl into the net; no one would be likely to suspect anything. And the affair had not stopped there. The two Anstruther girls had also been involved and their suspicions calmed by putting Elsie to the front. Nothing could be more respectable or less likely to seem underhand...
    What could be done? Francia's guilt was no more than a matter of suspicion as yet. The whole thing might be quite above-board... Investigation? But, as Roca had told him, people of Francia's type had ostensible businesses which could stand examination. And an investigation which broke down would ruin him with Elsie just as effectively as a baseless charge. It was go good thinking of cabling inquiries to Buenos Aires, evidently.
    Yet if he allowed the party to leave the country, what guarantee had he against disaster? What had happened to Marcelle Barrère in the same case? It would merely be the landing of four "articles" instead of one. Sir Clinton set his teeth as he recalled Roca's picture of the landing of Marcelle and her transfer to an up-country inferno...

Jul 9, 2022, 12:11 am

Publication date: 1931
Genre: Mystery / thriller
Read for: 1931 reading / TIOLI (animal in title)

The Grey Rat (serialisation title: The Shuyler Mystery) - Hugh Millwarde and Tony Armitage are at the windows of their London club when their companion, an American called Radway, when a man is shot in the street outside from a speeding car. Rushing to the dying man, who he recognises as American government agent, Lincoln H. Shuyler, Millwarde is in time to hear his last, broken words: a name, du Chastaigny; a date, the 27th; a garbled place-name; and something about his rooms. Millwarde follows the last hint, but the only item that seems relevant is a book bearing on its fly-leaf the name 'Clotilde du Chastaigny'. Millwarde is then caught by two other searchers, one French, one German; but the arrival of the police allows him to escape. Catching up with his friends, Millwarde recounts his experiences; while Radway concludes that when he was killed, Shuyler was on his way to ask them for help---meaning that he was chasing something big, as he was known as a lone wolf. Attendance at a party in diplomatic circles introduces Millwarde to Clotilde du Chastaigny, to whom he breaks the news of Shuyler's death. Though she is disturbed, her response is guarded. Leaving the embassy, Millwarde is ambushed as he is entering a taxi, and forced at gun-point to participate in his own abduction... Ottwell Binns' The Grey Rat is a thriller written for newspaper serialisation, and suffers from all the expected faults---most significantly a plot that is more intent upon serving up action scenes and narrow escapes and cliffhangers than it is upon making sense. Its most egregious, and hilarious, touch, however - and so obscure is this novel, I'm going to TELL you, though it amounts to a spoiler - is that (as can be realised after the event) its triumvirate of heroes actually contributes nothing: that the climactic events would have played out exactly as they do even if Millwarde, Armitage and Radway had not involved themselves in what turns out to be an attempt to provoke war between Germany and Italy; and that someone else entirely is the story's actual hero. The only difference made to anything by their interference is that Hugh Millwarde falls in love at first sight (of course) with Clotilde du Chastaigny, who is (of course) "hauntingly beautiful". She is also the niece of M. Futrelle, whose stolen car was used in Shuyler's murder. A coincidence---or not? The first, vital clue to a dangerous conspiracy is found within Clotilde's book, on a fragment of paper apparently used as a bookmark, but which contains notes pencilled by Shuyler. There, to his astonishment, Millwarde discovers that he and the others are involved in a plot set in motion by three notorious agents provocateurs, and led by Pierre Girardot, a man known during the war as "The Grey Rat", and who Millwarde now recognises as M. Futrelle. But another man is also involved: Paul du Chastaigny, the father of Clotilde...

    Fritz Hermann B/X. Part compiler of Berlin Black Book. Suspect shot G. T. Geneva '17. Recently in Chicago.
    "The devil!" Millwarde said, and again was lost in thought.
    B/X he had known as repute as one of the most daring and unscrupulous of Teutonic agents, clever as the master spy whom he served, and ruthless as a shark. G. T. who had been shot in Geneva was Guy Tresham, one of the most brilliant of British Intelligence officers and a friend of his own...
    So that was the hard-faced fritz who had shot Shuyler with a brazen a daring as a Chicago gunman---part compiler of a huge blackmailing book, spy, and assassin... Then he considered the names again in bulk. The Grey Rat, B/X Fritz, and the woman of the Third International---plus Paul du Chastaigny, who might be anything. A pretty trinity, he reflected, plus an unknown quantity. Decidedly, in view of Shuyler's death and the manner of it, there was something pretty big in the wind. But what?
    He sat for a long time considering the problem, eyes closed, brow puckered in the effort of thought. When at last he opened his eyes, the room was lit with the grey light of dawn, and he was no nearer the solution than he had been at the beginning. Whatever it was that Shuyler had stumbled upon, and for knowing which he had been slain, was still a profound mystery. But, Millwarde thought, he had now threads in his hands which could lead to its elucidation, and with his brain refreshed by sleep he might find the clue hidden somewhere in this list and in Shuyler's dying words...

Edited: Jul 10, 2022, 7:55 pm

Publication date: 1926
Genre: Mystery / thriller
Series: Peter Clancy #7
Read for: Series reading / TIOLI (fewer than 100 LT members)

Poison - Peter Clancy's purchase of a country cottage introduces him to his elderly but energetic new neighbour, Mary Craig Brown: "Major Mary", as she is nicknamed locally; the two become friends over their love of fishing. This also brings Peter into contact with Mary's family, who live together in a large house called Craighurst: her son, Stockton, who has recently returned from the Far East; her brother, the arrogant Gifford Craig; his much younger second wife, Ilsa; and his granddaughter, Helen Field, who Peter knows of through his friend, Larry Druse. Peter is determined to keep his profession a secret from his new friends, but when Gifford Craig is taken seriously ill - and when he discovers that Major Mary believes her brother has been poisoned - he is drawn into the matter against his will... This seventh entry in Lee Thayer's series featuring young private investigator, Peter Clancy, is a fair mystery, though ultimately it suffers from a flaw that quite often plagues second-tier works such as this (and which I can't be explicit about, because of spoilers). It also takes a bit too much time with where it's going, with a few too many pages occupied by Peter musing over the same ground; and it suffers from the usual classist and racial ideas of its time: though the former, in this case, includes Peter's own belief that his profession puts him beyond the social pale, is in fact rather distasteful. Nevertheless, Poison remains an interesting take on the "country house" mystery, assembling a household of suspects who had reason to kill Gifford Craig, plus a few outsiders as well; while the motive might have been financial, or purely personal. The question, then, is not so much why someone would have wanted to kill Gifford Craig, but who had the opportunity? - that is, if he was deliberately poisoned. To his bemusement, when Peter arrives at the scene he finds Dr Druse trying to convince Major Mary that Craig is suffering from severe food poisoning, even though Mrs Brown insists that her brother never ate mushrooms. In Peter's eyes, the case is very like one he observed during the war of poisoning with pilocarpine: an observation supported by the local druggist's assistant, Swartz, who has been assisting Dr Druse and running his errands. That Craig himself suspects a member of his household is made clear when, sending everyone else out of the room, he tells Peter that, as an outsider, he can be trusted---and that he must find the hypodermic... When Gifford Craig dies, Peter resolves within himself to solve the case, but also that he will say nothing unless he can build an ironclad case. He already knows that shoals lie ahead---he has discovered many undercurrents in the case already: that Craig and Dr Druse were once rivals for Ilsa; that Stockton Brown is a drug addict; that Helen Field, a nurse, had access to pilocarpine; and, most damning of all, that the "antidote" used by Dr Druse in an attempt to save Gifford's life was an ineffective sugar pill. And why is the doctor so insistent about food poisoning? Bewildered amongst this conflicting evidence, Peter is then offered another theory when Ilsa Craig confides to him that Stockton Brown has become obsessed with her, and that she fears he may have brought home from his travels some little-known means of murder...

    After all, Gifford Craig's symptoms were---what they were---and what they most horribly continued to be. Poison of some sort. That was obvious. Necessarily the drug he had in mind? Well, of course, not necessarily. But Swartz had the same idea. Odd if they were both wrong. It didn't seem possible that anything else in God's world could produce the same effect. Druse said mushroom poisoning was like that, but admitted---Major Mary rather forced him to admit, Peter thought---that he knew Gifford Craig could never, under any conditions, be induced to touch any sort of mushroom. So that was that. Craig himself obviously was convinced that his condition was no result of accident. And if not an accident, then by whose design? Peter asked himself. Who would have the wish? The means? The opportunity?
    "Hypodermic,” Craig had said. His last word to Peter; spoken with an effort so intense that it seemed almost to wrench the man asunder. No mere babbled words of a wandering mind, Doctor Druse to the contrary notwithstanding.
    The wish? The means? The opportunity? A hypodermic---a violent poison---access to the victim---oh, God! It was filthy! Horrible! Peter flung about on his heel and swept his tumbled hair back from his forehead in a gesture full of impatience and disgust. A disgust of himself, as well as of conditions. Why was it always necessary for him to suspect---to probe...

Edited: Jul 10, 2022, 9:47 pm

Publication date: 1937
Genre: Mystery / thriller
Series: Philip "Spike" Tracy #5
Read for: Series reading / TIOLI (repeated word in title)

Murder Makes Murder - When the lovely young poet, Elise Culver, becomes engaged to her publisher, Hamish Hurd, it is a great occasion---not least since it is almost the first public appearance by Elise and her mother since, many years before, the millionaire Thaddeus Culver announced that he was marrying his housekeeper and adopting her young daughter. One reason for this, it is concluded, is that after her husband's death, Sarah Culver suffered a stroke that left her with a badly twisted face: when a photographer unexpectedly takes a picture, she faints. Though it is clear to Philip Tracy, a friend of Hurd's, that neither party is deeply in love with the other, he agrees to act as best man and joins the small group travelling to the island off Maine where Elise has spent much of her life, and where the wedding is to be held privately, away from the prying eyes of the press: on this subject, Mrs Culver is almost neurotic. But the wedding never happens: as a storm rises across the island, Elise Culver is found stabbed to death in her bed... Murder Makes Murder is a long and rather complicated mystery, which makes good use of its isolated island setting, and also of the fact that the ongoing storm has cut off travel between the island and the mainland, and thus also cut Spike Tracy off from the support he has unconsciously come to depend upon in his rather erratic career of amateur detective. Spike has tended in the past to underrate the standing provided to him by his brother's position as District Attorney in New York, and take for granted his capacity to draw upon police resources as needed; but now he finds himself bereft of any investigative assistance, and forced to make do with his own powers of observation and deduction. His examination of the crime scene reveals that someone entered Elise's bedroom via the window, suggesting an outsider; but the murder weapon seems to be a pair of scissors belonging to Annie Cleghorn, for many years Sarah Culver's housekeeper and mainstay, which conversely points toward a member of the household. Two obvious suspects are at hand: Florence Anson, the sister of Thaddeus Culver, and her son, Maxwell, who were disinherited when Culver married Sarah and adopted Elise; whose marital schemes subsequently came to nothing; and who inherit if Elise dies unmarried. Yet to Spike's eyes, the savagery of the murder suggests a crime of passion, not calculation. It is only after the police - and the press - are able to reach the island that it is discovered there is an outsider present: Tony Tavenner, a young engineer with whom Elise once had a brief, romantic fling. Tavenner isn't talking, but Powell, a reporter friend of Spike's does it for him---recalling a notoriously lurid love-triangle murder case from some fifteen years before; the unfortunate child dragged into the courtroom by his hysterical mother day after day; and the condemnation and execution of that boy's father. To Powell, the discovery of Tavenner's identity is merely an interesting slant on the case; but to Spike it is the first step on the road to discovering the true motive for Elise Culver's murder...

    The Culver house was low and widespread and rambling, and several of the bedrooms were on the ground floor. Four of them---two empty ones on one side of the hall, and directly opposite, the rooms of Mrs Culver and her daughter. At one end of the hall there was a staircase to the upper bedrooms where Mrs Anson and her son and Spike and Hamish were quartered. At the other end a passage led into the rear.
    Spike crossed the hall to the doorway opposite and unlocked it with a key he took from his pocket. He hesitated a moment before he turned the knob, steeling himself for the grim duty before him. Then he went in and closed the door behind him.
    Pale rose and green curtains at the windows; old ivory woodwork; quaint home-made hooked rugs on the floor; and at the far side---the bed. He crossed the room and forced himself to look.
    She was lying there on her back. There was very little blood. It had not even spotted the bed-clothes. There was no twisting or distortion. It was almost as if she had lain peacefully to receive the repeated blows of the stabber. Gingerly he felt the cold flesh, raised a stiffening arm. He wished he were a doctor and knew about times and hours and the onset of rigor mortis. He lifted the sheet that he had thrown back and gently covered what had once been so living and fair and lovely...

Jul 10, 2022, 11:50 pm

Publication date: 1934
Genre: Mystery / thriller
Series: Ben the Tramp #4
Read for: Series reading / TIOLI (title includes at least three one-syllable words)

Ben Sees It Through - As Ben's journey by water from Spain to England nears its end, he loses his cap overboard when he collides with a passenger, who is profuse in his apologies and insists upon taking Ben to buy a new one, once they land. He also inquires into Ben's circumstances and offers him a job which he says will be good pay for very little work: Ben's favourite kind. Though he takes the address written out for him, Ben remains suspicious, and only grows more so when the man rushes him through the streets of Southampton and into a taxi, and insists upon buying the new cap himself at a particular shop. When he has time to catch his breath, Ben insists upon writing a short letter to the companion of his Spanish adventures, Molly Smith, so that they can find each other when she arrives; cautiously, he adds the address to which he is being sent in London. However, when Ben returns to the waiting cab, he discovers that the young man has been murdered in his absence---and soon finds himself on the run again, from a dangerous Spanish criminal as well as from the police... The fourth entry in J. Jefferson Farjeon's series follows directly on from its predecessor, Murderer's Trail, with Ben the tramp and his young friend, Molly Smith, forced to separate, and Ben having to work his passage home from Spain. No sooner than he has set foot upon English soil again, however, than adventure piles upon adventure, as Ben finds himself mixed up in murder, conspiracy, kidnapping, and various other dubious enterprises; though fortunately he also reunites with Molly, who is unquestionably the brains of the outfit. As always, though a pursuit-thriller with plenty of crime mixed in, and its protagonists often in dire danger, Ben Sees It Through is also intended humorously---though some of that humour is a matter of taste (or at least the amount of it is), from Ben's chronic Cockneyisms, to the cowardly streak of which we hear so much, and which is at war with his feeling that he can't let Molly down, and his desire - though she is a reformed thief herself - to be a better person for her sake. (That said, their relationship is one of "pals" and not in the least romantic.) Finding each other again, it is a case for Ben and Molly of out of the frying pan, into the fire, as Ben's flight from the suspicion of murder leads him to the house on Wimbledon Common and a whole new set of dangers. It is some time before the two have a chance to catch their breaths and compare notes, but when they do, the strangeness of the business of Ben's cap strikes both of them. The object has been lost along the way during one of Ben's many dashes to (relative) safety, but he manages to retrieve it---and inside, he and Molly discover a clue that sets them on the track of a politician's abducted daughter...

    "Will you be quiet? Another word, and I'll clap the bracelets on you, do you hear?"
    "Orl right! And yer know wot'll 'appen?" cried Ben. "A gal will be murdered, and the chap wot's murdered 'er and wot's murdered a man, too, yus, and a dawg, 'e'll git away, and the Spaniard wot murdered the feller in Southampton'll git away, and they'll go on murderin'. Lummy, it ain't sife, and it'll be your blinkin' fault jest 'cos yer ain't the sense ter know the truth when yer met it and wouldn't go ter the 'ouse wot I could tike yer ter, and ter blow yer whistle ter git orl the hother bobbies wot's abart on the job, too, but instead yer lug me along wot ain't no good ter nobody 'cos I ain't done nothink, ter lock me up in a cell orl night while blood's runnin'---"
    He paused, panting. The policeman also paused. At last it seemed as though something beyond the mere capture of Ben was penetrating his conscientious and cautious mind...
    "If you're trying to pull my leg---" began the policeman slowly.
    "Yus! I look like it, don't I?" answered Ben.
    Once more the policeman threw his light full on Ben's face. The eyes that winked in it, framed in beads of sweat, winked with earnestness.
    "And you can take me to this house?" continued the policeman.
    "Ain't I tellin' yer?" replied Ben.
    "Where is it?" asked the constable, and Ben noticed that he was fingering his whistle.
    But neither Ben nor the constable noticed that a figure had crept out of a hedge and was now only a yard or two away; and before Ben could answer the constable's question, or the constable could bring his whistle to his lips, the figure leapt forward and dealt the constable a savage blow. He went down like a log...

Edited: Jul 11, 2022, 5:35 pm

Publication date: 1944
Genre: Short story: science fiction
Read for: TIOLI (connection to Star Trek)

When The Bough Breaks - Joe Calderon and his wife, Myra, are delighted to find a small apartment not far from the university where Joe works as a research physicist. They are not worried by the gossip that insists the place is "not haunted, exactly", but that tenants don't seem to stay long. However, they soon discover what the problem is when four tiny men arrive with the announcement that the Calderon's baby is a "super-baby", and that they have come from the future to educate him; and that Alexander himself - "practically immortal" - is the one who sent them back through time... This bizarre short story by Lewis Padgett begins humorously enough; and while it never loses that aspect, it grows increasingly disturbing until it reaches a rather horrifying climax. The humour of the story lies chiefly in the conduct of the strange little visitors, and the equally futile efforts of the Calderons to either make them go, or carry on as normal. But as Alexander's education progresses - and as his powers grow - things take a darker turn. When The Bough Breaks can possibly be interpreted as warning against inadequate parental discipline; but if you have a child that cannot be disciplined - who, if you annoy him, might teleport you somewhere else, or worse - what then?---a question that Joe and Myra are soon forced to ask themselves...

    Calderon went out to the kitchen and got milk. He poured himself another shot. This was like having relatives drop in suddenly---relatives you hadn't seen for ten years. How the devil did you act with a superchild?
    He stayed in the kitchen after supplying Alexander with his milk. Presently Myra's key turned in the outer door. Her cry brought Calderon hurrying.
    Alexander was vomiting, with the air of a research man absorbed in a fascinating phenomenon.
    "Alexander!" Myra cried. "Are you sick?"
    "No," said Alexander. "I'm testing my regurgitative processes. I must learn to control my digestive organs."
    Calderon leaned against the door. "Yeah. You'd better start now, too."
    "I'm finished," said Alexander. "Clean it up."

Jul 11, 2022, 2:18 am

April stats:

Works read: 15
TIOLI: 15, in 12 different challenges, with 3 shared reads

Mystery / thriller: 9
Contemporary drama: 1
Historical romance: 1
Historical drama: 1
Young adult: 1
Short story: 1
Classic: 1

Series works: 10
Re-reads: 0
Blog reads: 0
1932: 0
1931: 2
Virago / Persephone: 1
Potential decommission: 0

Owned: 0
Library: 7
Ebooks: 8

Male authors : female authors: 9 : 6

Oldest work: Harrington by Maria Edgeworth (1817)
Newest work: Ragtime by E. L. Doctorow (1974)


YTD stats:

Works read: 53
TIOLI: 53, in 47 different challenges, with 8 shared reads

Mystery / thriller: 26
Classic: 7
Young adult: 6
Contemporary drama: 4
Historical drama: 4
Historical romance: 2
Children's fiction: 1
Short story: 1
Fantasy: 1
Humour: 1

Series works: 34
Re-reads: 5
Blog reads: 0
1932: 0
1931: 5
Virago / Persephone: 3
Potential decommission: 0

Owned: 4
Library: 15
Ebooks: 33
Borrowed: 1

Male authors : female authors: 33 : 22

Oldest work: The Heroine; or, Adventures Of A Fair Romance Reader by Eaton Stannard Barrett (1813)
Newest work: Hotel Bosphorus by Esmahan Aykol (2001)

Edited: Jul 11, 2022, 2:19 am

Well! - I got through what remained of April quite quickly, so you get a bonus sloth---

Jul 11, 2022, 3:40 am

>56 lyzard: Yaya! double bubble sloths!

Jul 11, 2022, 6:19 am

>57 Helenliz: SLOTHS!!!!!!!!!

Big Sloth has very handsome coloring. Baby Sloth is just run-of-the-mill adorable.

Jul 11, 2022, 6:58 am

>56 lyzard: April is done, and we are treated on sloth with sloth baby. Thank you Liz! :-)

Jul 11, 2022, 5:33 pm

>57 Helenliz:, >58 rosalita:, >59 FAMeulstee:

You're all very welcome. :)

Edited: Jul 11, 2022, 6:35 pm

Publication date: 1837
Genre: Classic
Read for: C. K. Shorter 'Best 100 novels' challenge

Jack Brag - Theodore Hook wrote in many genres, but he found his greatest popular success writing so-called 'Silver-Fork Novels', which pandered to the curiosity, ambition and envy of a rising middle-class with respect to the aristocracy. It was in response to one of Hook's novels that a jeering critic gave this sub-genre of social novels its enduring nickname. Hook may have taken the criticism to heart, because his 1837 novel, Jack Brag, turns the Silver-Fork novel on its head, in a humorous tale of a low-born social climber desperately seeking to gain a foothold in high society. The son of a successful chandler, when his father dies Jack Brag takes his patrimony and, instead of reinvesting it in the business, uses the money to try and rise in the world---not through work, which he despises, but through contacts and marriage. Scraping an acquaintance with the careless Lord Tom Towzle through his skill with horses and on the hunting-field, Jack tries to parlay this into general social acceptance; but his inability to keep himself from boasting or from posing as an expert on everything proves his undoing... As a comic novel, Jack Brag is full of what we might now call "cringe humour", with Jack's ego writing cheques that his butt can't cash, and as a consequence Jack being repeatedly exposed as a fraud to the people he is most trying to impress. But though its humour is foregrounded, there are numerous supporting subplots comparing its protagonist with good and honest people, who succeed by being good and honest; and in the end, Jack Brag emerges as a story about---not being content where God placed you, exactly, but making the best of the hand you've been dealt. Jack, broke and humiliated, finally accepts his fate and retreats to the chandler's shop, where through hard work he becomes (that most beloved of 19th century signifiers) "respectable". While this is in keeping with the literary morality of the time, it is almost a direct contradiction of Theodore Hook's earlier novels; and it is finally hard not to see Jack Brag as a sort of mea culpa to the critics.

    "If you," said Brag, "had opportunities as I have of seeing the best society,---what I call skimming the cream, you would be in the secret; but without seeing it, as I said before, there's no believing it---eh!"
    "I am sure you are right," said the stranger. "I think Lord Ilfracombe has a son, hasn't he?"
    "To be sure he has," said Brag, "Lord Dawlish,---and a nice chap he is too; he married a Miss Linton, the daughter of a country gentleman in my lord's neighbourhood. I know all the facts from Lord Tommy. She is like a doll in a toy-shop window---waxy and winky-eyed---eh! You understand---money---the father sold the child to buy the title, and a pretty swop too. Lord bless you! they live like cat and dog. I can't bear her---mawkish---eh! Don't you take some more of this mixture?"
    "Not yet," said the stranger. "And does Lord Dawlish mix much in your sports?"
    "Why now," said Jack, "before you carry this on too far, I do think you ought to tell me why you ask. I don't think it fair, living with these people as I do, what you call hand-in-glove, and all that, to let out; you may, perhaps, have an interest in knowing particulars. I am sure you won't be offended, but I take it that you are in the mercantile line, and what people in the city call travelling on your own bottom---you want to know where credit may and where it mayn't be given---eh? I don't think I ought to commit my friends, old cocky---eh! all right and no mistake---don't you think so?"
    "Certainly." said the stranger; "I didn't know that Lord Dawlish was a friend of yours."
    "The whole clique," said Brag, looking very cunning; " and I can tell you this---they know I am rich, eh!---all snug, smug, and no mistake."
    "Well," said the stranger, "I am much obliged for the mixture of confidence in me, and the consideration of them, which regulates your communications..."

Jul 11, 2022, 6:53 pm

Jack Brag was read for my C. K. Shorter 'Best 100 novels' challenge.

Next up is another novel I hadn't heard of before: Shorter is doing sterling service in highlighting the unobvious!---

#44: Fardorougha The Miser; or, The Convicts Of Lisnamona by William Carleton (1839)

This is another regional novel (one of Shorter's favourite genres). William Carleton was the son of an Irish Catholic tenant farmer, one of fourteen children raised on a tiny property. He was educated chiefly at "hedge schools", though he had ambitions of a college education. He grew up surrounded by folklore and with a great belief in dreams, one of which finally saw him undertake a pilgrimage of sorts, and convert to Protestantism. After moving through a variety of jobs in rapid succession, Carleton began writing for various journals and magazines, before finding success and enduring fame with Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry, published in 1830. But although this is generally considered Carleton's best work, and though his novels are generally considered inferior to his sketches of Irish peasant life, the always idiosyncratic Shorter has nominated the novel, Fardorougha The Miser, which was serialised across 1837 - 1838, before being published in book form in 1839.

Jul 13, 2022, 7:17 pm

Finished Chesapeake for TIOLI #3.

(Gentle hint: if your readers find themselves repeatedly checking 'How many pages to go?', there is a chance your book is too long.)

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand having said all that, I've gone straight into a 468-page book; which I guess I can't exactly blame on my pal, Jim. :D

(Smaller pages, wider margins, tho'...)

Now reading Fardorougha The Miser; or, The Convicts Of Lisnamona by William Carleton.

Jul 13, 2022, 8:21 pm

>63 lyzard: Uh ... congratulations?

Jul 13, 2022, 8:21 pm

>63 lyzard: Congratulations! I just passed 50%, so it will be a few days yet ...

Jul 14, 2022, 6:41 pm

>64 rosalita:

Reading Masochism 101. :D

>65 swynn:

As always, not sorry to have read it, but not sorry to see the back of it either!

Edited: Jul 14, 2022, 8:28 pm

Publication date: 1931
Genre: Mystery / thriller
Series: Smiler Bunn #9
Read for: Series reading / TIOLI (read only one other book by the author)

The Mystery Of The Glass Bullet - "Smiler" Bunn and his friend and associate, Lord Fortworth, are out riding one afternoon near their rented country house when they are flagged down by a panicky gamekeeper, who tells them he has just found a man shot dead in a spinney. Sending the keeper for the police, Bunn examines the body of the young man: it is evident that the murder has only just occurred, yet he and Fortworth heard no shot. Bunn judges from his clothes that he is American, however his pockets have been emptied and all identification removed. He takes the victim's distinctive ring, and also what he finds at the scene: four scraps of paper, and two curious objects made of glass. Later examining these, Bunn concludes that one is a fragment of the murder weapon, the other an intact glass bullet... At its inception, Bertram Atkey's Smiler Bunn series was basically humorous, with the genial but criminally-inclined Bunn preying chiefly on other criminals - what are they going to do, call the police? - in a series of short-story comic adventures that sometimes had detective overtones. Whatever happened in between - and most of the intervening series entries are now unavailable - The Mystery Of The Glass Bullet is basically played straight, retaining the back-story of Bunn and his equally criminal friend and partner, but having Bunn turn outright amateur detective. The results are somewhat uneven, with a deadly struggle developing between Bunn and Fortworth and those responsible for the murder, but with the grim narrative studded with comic - or "comic" - interplay between the two old criminals; while the narrative unfortunately retains the casual racism and derogatory language that marked the earlier stories, most of it directed at the story's main villain, but almost as much at the protagonists' loyal Chinese servant (one wonders why he stays loyal). Meanwhile, Bunn's interference is justified to Fortworth (and the reader) in both sentimental terms, and more practical ones: he is convinced that the strange features of the case will be too much for country policemen, and that the murder won't be solved unless he takes a hand. To support his contention, Bunn shows Fortworth the glass bullet: a small, pointed object filled with a liquid he believes is poison, and the weapon of no common criminal. From the scraps of paper, Bunn discovers that a dark plot is afoot involving the wealthy American Vanesterman family, and a sum of money large enough to quell Fortworth's protests against getting involved... While the two are still at the scene of the murder, a car pulls up bearing Lady Cedar Blanchesson from nearby Maiden Fain Manor: she expresses only general shock but, watching her, Bunn is certain that she recognises the victim. He learns that the Manor has recently been purchased by the Vanestermans, and that Alison, the millionaire's daughter, is expected. But Miss Vanesterman and Lady Cedar are not the only newcomers in the district: there are also a Colonel Carnac, a retired soldier - or soldier of fortune - and his secretary, MacCorque, who has the eyes - and hands - of a strangler; while behind these two lurks an even more sinister figure, and a house full of secrets---and snakes...

    Left alone, Bunn took out the poison-laded glass bullet, the ring, and the scraps of paper and studied them again; then, after a few moments put them away.
    He was uneasy---and uneasiness was a new sensation. All his life he had lived dangerously on his wits---if not always crookedly, at least, most riskily---and yet, for all the scores of adventures he had faced and successfully borne up under, he could not recall an affair which he had confronted with greater unease and grimmer foreboding than this mystery which, he sensed, was closing in upon that charming little American girl, Alison Vanesterman. He believed that there were forces concerned in it that were deadly and uncannily swift and unspeakably cruel. Forces, or people, that were as swift to strike as tropical vipers, and as callously---though, possibly, with not quite the same appalling precision.
    People who struck at the merest suspicion that they were suspected of strange traffics. Twice that night, he and his partner and Sing had escaped an ugly death by no more than a hair-breadth---evaded traps that only failed because they obviously must have been most hurriedly conceived and arranged. Given a little time, the setters of those traps would inevitably "get" them.
    "If I haven't blocked their game---as I think I have---" said Mr Bunn to himself without much conviction. He stood up and looked at himself in a mirror---and he shook his head rather ruefully at what he saw.
    "Getting old. And a bit unwieldy... Still, something's got to be done, and I've got an idea that we haven't run up against the king-cobra of the piece yet.."

Jul 15, 2022, 6:28 am

This: As always, not sorry to have read it, but not sorry to see the back of it either! is a sentiment I can understand.

Jul 15, 2022, 7:19 am

>56 lyzard: Adorable!

It has been a while since I checked in on you, Liz, so I thought it was about time. Happy Friday! I hope it is a fantastic one for you.

Jul 15, 2022, 5:54 pm

>68 Helenliz:

Michener's books pretty much define 'too much of a good thing'. The upside is that in the nature of things, he won't be along with another one for a few (challenge) years. Now if we can just get Leon Uris to leave us alone... :D

>69 alcottacre:

Hi, Stasia! - thanks for dropping in. Friday ended in a nice Italian dinner with my brother, so yeah. :)

Edited: Jul 16, 2022, 2:23 pm

Hallo, Liz! Imagine my surprise when I was scrolling through my Twitter feed this morning and saw this:

Your wobbegong has gone viral, to the extent that has had to confirm its actual existence. Amazing.

P.S. In book news, I've just run to ground my paperback of The Rubber Band and will be starting that today.

Edited: Jul 17, 2022, 5:51 pm

>71 rosalita:

HA!! All our animals are real, they just don't look like it. :D

That does underscore my worry about not using a "fair" photo, though, not exactly representative, that!

I will be getting to The Rubber Band but probably towards the end of the month.

Jul 17, 2022, 7:47 pm

Publication date: 1931
Genre: Contemporary drama
Read for: 1931 reading / TIOLI (flying animal in the title)

Snowbird - Newly ordained minister Noel Sotheran is travelling by dog-sled to his first posting in the wilds of Canada when he and his companion, sled-driver Pierre Latour, are plunged into an icy river by the cracking of its ice. They and their dogs are saved, partly through their own exertions, but also, to Noel's astonishment, by the heroic efforts of a young woman passing on her own sled. She also builds a fire and makes coffee, by which Noel and Pierre recover from their ordeal, before agreeing to carry the Christmas presents intended for the orphanage run by the young local bishop, Dick Scarlet, to their destination. She proves reluctant, however, to reveal her name---saying that the local people know her as "the Snowbird"... Having rested, Noel and Pierre press on, only to come across the wrecked sled of another local minister, Mr Pennington, whom Noel is replacing: his body is sprawled in the snow, a bad wound across the forehead; there is gunshot damage to his sled; and Pierre finds at the scene a gold locket he knows belongs to the Snowbird... Ottwell Binns' 1931 adventure-romance is long on atmosphere and sentiment, but short on substance; though its biggest disappointment is that its heroine - real name: Helen Eythorn - is never the active force in the narrative that her dramatic first appearance suggests she will be. Instead, she becomes chiefly something for the men to fight over, and for Noel Sotheran to fall in love with; though she does take action to rescue herself when she is abducted by a dangerous man. Binns is, however, more interested in concocting a plot that allows its young protagonist to be both a devoted man of God and a two-fisted hero. He also makes the most of his setting, with many dramatic descriptions of the Canadian wilderness, and the struggles of its people against the elements. Though its framework is the efforts of Dick Scarlet and his devoted wife, Sheila, to establish a real community within their remote diocese, the main plot of Snowbird concerns an illegal smuggling ring which is transporting whisky and supplying it to the First Nations people of the district. It becomes evident that the unfortunate Mr Pennington had discovered evidence of who was behind the whisky-running, and was killed before he could reveal it to the authorities. Bravely, Noel Sotheran takes Pennington's place at an isolated trading-post, both as minister, and with respect to his determination to put a stop to the smuggling. However, he is faced with an increasingly difficult moral dilemma when he discovers, as Pennington did before him, that most of the evidence points towards a local trader, John Eythorn---the Snowbird's father...

    Sotheran glanced hastily around, The depression in which they stood was clearly a small lake set in the bosom of the hills, frozen many feet deep by the winter frost. The further shore of it, crowded with trees, seemed to be even less accessible than the side on which they had made their descent. He saw that in a glance, and spoke quickly.
    "This side! At the place where we came down."
    "Right! One of us must carry missy, and as I'm heaps the biggest---"
    "No!" answered Noel Sotheran, with an emphasis that brought an understanding grin to Firewater's face. "That's my right---and privilege."
    "Then I'll stamp the snow down in front a bit more. Just give me a minute's start, Mr Sotheran. It'll make things easier for you."
    He turned with the intention of breaking the trail a little more, but scarcely had he done so when something hit the cliff face above his head with a sharp---"Phut," and almost simultaneously the "crang" of a rifle set the echoes reverberating. He looked around in amazement and, as he did so, on the height of the further shore of the lake caught sight of a figure standing, clearly outlined against the snow-plastered trunks of the trees. Notwithstanding the distance between them he recognised the man instantly, and gave a great shout of warning.
    "Jake Endicott! Drop in the snow for yo'r life, sir!"
    And as he shouted he himself dropped down, burrowing desperately with his hands.
    With the sound of the rifle reverberating in the hills, and Firewater's warning in his ears, Noel Sotheran did not hesitate the fraction of a second. Dropping in the snow, in the deep place from which he had lifted Snowbird, he rolled the skin blanket round her and, placing her well below the level, he himself began to burrow. Even as he did so, the rifle crashed again...

Jul 18, 2022, 7:34 pm

Finished Fardorougha The Miser for TIOLI #16.

Now reading Elsie's Winter Trip by Martha Finley.

Jul 19, 2022, 9:54 am

>73 lyzard: So she rescues our hero from an icy death, and her next task is to make the coffee. Huh.

I feel like I've encountered Ottwell Binns, but none of the titles in his bibliography rings a bell with me.

Jul 19, 2022, 5:56 pm

>75 swynn:

Well, the coffee-making here is part of the whole rescue package so we'll let that slide this time. :D

Binns wrote a lot of adventure-romance novels with "colonial" settings (some of them as by "Ben Bolt"). Partly because he was busy in the early 30s and partly because a lot of his books got serialised here, he keeps ending up on my reading lists. I don't know if he would have been published in the US, though.

Jul 19, 2022, 7:19 pm

Publication date: 1931
Genre: Mystery / thriller
Read for: Mystery League challenge

The Mystery Of Villa Sineste - Jack Winant, a rising American architect, is hired to dissemble an Italian villa and relocate it to the US. He is assigned Irish-American photographer, Tim Delancey, as his assistant; learning to his surprise that, as 'Delanci', Tim is the author of a admired photographic study of Italian architecture. As the two fly between Milan and Florence, Tim amuses Jack with his superstitious reaction to a particular villa, which he swears has a dark history. Barely has he spoken than the plane develops engine trouble, and the pilot, war hero Captain Penza, must look for a place to land. Jack and Tim survive the landing with only minor injuries, but Penza and his co-pilot are badly hurt. To their astonishment, the men are collected by a medical team: the Americans are escorted into the main building, and the injured pilots to a sanitarium in the wooded grounds. Tim barely has time to urge Jack not to reveal any knowledge of the estate or its history, nor that he is 'Delanci', before the two meet their host: Vincenza di Ponari, a discredited surgeon with a reputation as dark as that of the Villa Sineste... Like his previous (Mystery League) novel, The Mystery Of Burnleigh Manor, Walter Livingston's The Mystery Of Villa Sineste is all set-up and no substance. This is disappointing since the narrative revolves around - not quite the mad science promised by its cover image - but rather mad medicine, with di Ponari conducting evil surgical experiments based upon those mysterious bodily adjuncts so beloved of mystery and thriller writers at this time, before their functions were fully understood, the ductless glands. Meanwhile, inside the Villa Sineste is another dark mystery: a "room of death", where tradition states that all occupiers will die of no apparent cause---and where di Ponari's wife is in fact wasting away... Astonishingly, Walter Livingston took all this promise and made it dull---by focusing his novel not upon its batty premise, but upon its very dull hero - Jack is somehow the hero, though Tim is entirely the brains of the outfit - and his inevitable romance with its equally dull heroine, di Ponari's step-daughter, Elaine, who is effectively held prisoner by her mother's mysterious wasting illness. Meanwhile, at this distance the novel's politics are rather unnerving, with di Ponari positioned as an anti-fascist and a squad of Mussolini's blackshirts eventually coming to the rescue. The narrative, such as it is, involves Jack and Tim playing dumb with di Ponari (not such a stretch for the former), while they try to find some means of escape for themselves and Elaine, once the latter's mother has fulfilled her manifest destiny. The situation takes on a new urgency when di Ponari drops his own disguise, and reveals to his unwilling guests the final aim of his work: discarding any pose of humanitarian aim, he cdecales his purpose of building an army of surgically altered soldiers who obey only his own will, created out of whatever raw material might come into his hands---for example, via a plane crash...

    Di Ponari's hands clenched and his lips formed a thin, red line as he mentioned "obstacles". Something in the combination impressed on his hearers the fact that this man's consecration to his idea, good or evil, was such that no rule---no human feeling could be powerful enough to stop or even retard him.
    "It is all so simple, gentlemen---so simple. Men prattle about the mind, and emotions. There are no such things! The soul---the desires that actuate us---we talk of them as if they existed when they are only the manifestation of the activity of a physical balance between---you are sneering, Mr Winant, but have you ever heard of the endocrine glands?"
    "No, and I---"
    "They are sometimes called the 'ductless glands' for they discharge directly into the blood stream, and my dear Mr Winant, those tiny glands can make of you just what they wish, much as you may dislike the thought. You are bad or you are good---you are passionate or you are cold---you are nervous or you are calm---you are a thief or you are honest---just as those glands dictate, irrespective of religion, education or upbringing."
    His burning eyes swept the table and he lowered his voice. "You may be a murderer just because one tint gland has changed and God Himself---if you happen to believe in such a thing---God Himself cannot change you!...
    "There are two men in your country who are hovering on the fringe of the idea, hampered by your foolish laws... What they may some day find out---I already know. I know why one man is a criminal and one is not, but more important than that I know how to make your murderer a normal man and your thief an honest man. With the surgeon's knife and certain medicines I can change a man almost before your eyes..."

Edited: Jul 20, 2022, 6:20 pm

The Mystery Of Villa Sineste was read for the Mystery League challenge.

Next up---

#20: The Hunterstone Outrage by Seldon Truss (only US edition: 1931; first UK edition: 1931, reissued 1934; also released in Spanish and German-language editions)

This is Seldon Truss's second appearance in this challenge, after Turmoil At Brede, an interesting though flawed thriller, which I read and reviewed in 2019.

The cover art this time is not by Gene Thurston, but by Arthur Hawkins, though working in Thurston's simple but dramatic style: we have seen Hawkins work before in this challenge, on the cover of Shelley Wees's The Maestro Murders, though here it is annoyingly accompanied by a distracting ad for the publisher's new "baffle" contest, in which readers were invited to supply their own solution to an outlined mystery appended to the book:

Jul 19, 2022, 7:43 pm

The Hunterstone Outrage is available to me, but only as an in-library read.

This is also the case for the next book up in the "Banned in Boston!" challenge, Pilgrims by Ethel Mannin.

I may need to build my August reading around the necessary travelling and in-house times.

Jul 19, 2022, 8:02 pm

Genre: Essay
Read for: TIOLI ('library' in title)

Murder In The Fisher Library - Seeking a book with 'library' in the title for a TIOLI challenge, I found instead this paper by Australian academic, Stephen Knight, published in the journal Australian Academic & Research Libraries in 1980. At that time, Knight was moved to justify significant resources of the Rare Books section of the University of Sydney being committed to the collection of mystery, crime and detective fiction, which he does chiefly upon sociological grounds. That it is now difficult to imagine anyone not seeing the value of such a collection is indicative of the foresight of the librarians who fought for this particular vein of research material (to whom, on my own behalf, I would like to offer a hearty three cheers!).

Crime fiction is plainly a major cultural phenomenon of our period. It has been estimated that in the 1960s a third of all books published in the US were crime fiction titles. Agatha Christie has sold over 500 million copies, in many languages, in many countries. Only the bible has outsold her in this century---and the gap is narrowing. The sociocultural status of crime fiction in our period is, in my view, a sufficient answer to those who consider that such a popular subject has no real place in a big library, or that the study of crime fiction has no real place in a university...

Jul 19, 2022, 11:43 pm

Finished Elsie's Winter Trip for TIOLI #6.

And after what has frankly been a brutal few reading weeks, I'm now going to relax with an old friend:

Now reading Mystery In The Channel by Freeman Wills Crofts.


Jul 20, 2022, 7:19 am

>80 lyzard: Yay for the collection that, I assume, you are now reaping the benefits from.

Jul 20, 2022, 6:11 pm

>82 Helenliz:

That's the one!

I've actually been thinking about contacting them about a possible donation of some of my old hardbacks, it would be nice if they went to such a good home.

Jul 20, 2022, 7:07 pm

Publication date: 1899
Genre: Young adult
Series: Elsie Dinsmore #24
Read for: Series reading / TIOLI (every word in the title starts with a different letter)

Elsie In The South - By "the south" this series entry means the characters take a winter yacht trip to Florida, and those of us who have slogged through it to this point know what THAT, means, namely more plagiarised history. Thus we suffer through an account of Spanish, French and English atrocities in the area, which terminates abruptly at the point where the Americans take over, with the Seminole Wars dismissed in a single sentence. We also get the usual chapters devoted to bible quotes, and more of Finley's painfully unfunny ventriloquism scenes. As far as plot goes, after milking the increasingly creepy relationship between Levis Raymond and his eldest daughter, Lucilla, for all it was worth over several books, Martha Finley concluded Elsie On The Hudson And Elsewhere with an absurdly rushed and unconvincing "romance" and engagement between Lucilla and Chester Dinsmore. So much for that. Captain Raymond isn't giving in without a fight, however, and much of Elsie In The South is devoted to Chester's unavailing attempts to get a wedding date set, while Lucilla continues to cling to her father and agonise in turn over how she can possibly leave him. In parallel with this, Finley continues her obsessive marrying off of her other, more minor characters, a habit that allows her to fill out her dwindling pages with descriptions of clothing and arguments over presents (all accompanied by solemn pronouncements over how these things don't matter to true Christians); and also conjures up an engagement between Max Raymond, graduated from Annapolis, and Evelyn Leland. Meanwhile, having finally consented to Lucilla's engagement, at least, Levis Raymond transfers his attentions to his second daughter, Grace, as she begins to attract suitors...and the Creepy Dad routine starts all over again...

    "Oh, Lu," said Grace as she pulled down her hair before the glass, "haven't we the best and dearest father in the world? I like Chester ever so much, but I sometimes wonder how you can bear the very thought of leaving papa for him."
    "It does not seem an easy thing to do," sighed Lucilla, "and yet---" But she paused, leaving her sentence unfinished.
    "Yet what?" asked Grace, turning an inquiring look upon her sister.
    "Well, I believe I'll tell you," returned Lucilla in a half-hesitating way. "I have always valued father's love oh, so highly, and once when I happened accidentally to overhear something he said to Mamma Vi, it nearly broke my heart---for a while." Her voice quivered with the last words, and she seemed unable to go on for emotion.
    "Why, Lu, what could it have been?" exclaimed Grace in surprise, and giving her sister a look of mingled love and compassion.
    With an evident effort Lucilla went on: "It was that she was dearer to him than all his children put together---that he would lose every one of them rather than part with her. It made me feel for a while as if I had lost everything worth having---papa's love for me must be so very slight. But after a long and bitter cry over it I was comforted by remembering what the Bible says, 'Let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself.' And the words of Jesus, 'For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh.' So I could see it was right for my father to love his wife best of all earthly creatures---she being but a part of himself---and besides I could not doubt that he loved me and each one of his children very, very dearly."
    "Yes, I am sure he does," said Grace, vainly trying to speak in her usual cheery, light-hearted tones. "Oh, Lu, I don't wonder you cried over it. It would just kill me to think papa didn't care very much about me."
    "Oh, Gracie, he does! I know he does! I am sure he would not hesitate a moment to risk his life for any one of us."
    "Yes, I am sure of it! and what but his love for you makes him so unwilling to give you up to Chester? I can see that Ches feels it hard to wait, but father certainly has the best of rights to keep his daughters to himself as long as they are under age."
    "And as much longer as he chooses, so far as I am concerned..."

Edited: Jul 20, 2022, 8:01 pm

Publication date: 1900
Genre: Young adult
Series: Elsie Dinsmore #25
Read for: Series reading / TIOLI (bingo card: out of my comfort zone)

Elsie's Young Folks In Peace And War - It seems rather tacky to be grateful for the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, but here it interrupts yet another relentless serving of regurgitated history, this time the Revolutionary War as touching upon Maine, where the characters are spending their summer. However, if I thought that a little thing like "war" would force Martha Finley into thinking up some plot, I was sadly mistaken: though she dispatches Max Raymond to the Philippines, to take part in the Battle of Manilla, and Drs Herbert and Harold Travilla to Cuba, as volunteers, the majority of this book is plagiarised from Willis J. Abbot's The Naval History Of The United States. Eventually Finley gets around to bringing the three home again unscathed---the latter two fetched by Levis Raymond in his yacht because it's just all too hard: this in the face of pages bemoaning the suffering of American soldiers due to the lack of doctors and medical supplies---and then we settle down into our usual boring round of bible quotes, ventriloquism, weddings and resistance to weddings. On one hand, this book concludes with the double-wedding of Chester Dinsmore and Lucilla Raymond, and Max Raymond and Evelyn Leland; on the other, its creepy-focus shifts to Grace Raymond, who is being pursued by Harold Travilla. Two touches here make this subplot sort of interesting. First, Grace is one of those improbably saintly children so beloved of 19th century didactic authors, a devout Christian but suffering chronic ill-health - "feeble" is the word repeatedly applied to her - and frankly, I've been waiting for her to die an appropriately saintly death ever since she first showed up. I certainly wasn't expecting her ever to grow up and get married. (Mind you, there's a couple of books to go, so it may yet happen.) Second, this is the first time anyone in this series reacts to the constant intermarrying amongst "the connection", as they call it, with Levis Raymond finding reason to object to Grace's marriage to Harold on the grounds of their relationship---which isn't one of blood, he being her step-mother's younger brother, but which will make Harold both Raymond's brother-in-law and son-in-law if it goes ahead (while he remains Grace's step-uncle and a few other things). However, this is only a smokescreen for the real reasons for Captain Raymond's objections, which are that, oh no, he couldn't possibly let his little girl go, she's far too young, she's far too feeble. Meanwhile, Grace herself - in typically creepy series terms - goes from thinking of the considerably older Harold as her uncle to him being "almost like a father" and then as being her future husband with disturbing promptitude...

    Grace noticed with pleasure that as the time of his leaving drew near his manner toward her grew more affectionate, till it seemed almost as tender as that of her father, and she thought it very nice that Uncle Harold should be so fond of her. She looked up to him as one who was very wise and good, and wondered that he should care particularly for her, as she was not really related to him at all. He was fond of Lucilla also, but Grace seemed to him the lovelier of the two. He had always been fond of her, but did not know until about to leave her for that dangerous field of usefulness that his affection was of the sort to make him long for her as the partner of his life. But so it was. Yet could it be? Would the captain ever consent to such a mixture of relationships? He feared not; and at all events it was quite certain that he would not be allowed to try to win his coveted prize for years to come---she being so young, and far from strong and well. Then as he was about to risk his life on battlefields, it would be cruelty to her to try to win her love before he went.
    He resolved to go without revealing his secret to any one. But he had never had an important secret from his mother; all his life he had been used to talking freely with her, telling of his hopes, aims, and wishes, his doubts and perplexities, and almost before he knew it he had said enough of his feelings for Grace to show to that mother's keen-sighted affection how the land lay.
    "Grace is very lovely, and a dear child," she said low and gently; "but, as you know, she is not well or strong. Also she is so young that her father would not hear of her marrying for years to come."
    "No, mother, nor would I advise it; unless," he added with a low, embarrassed laugh, "to a physician who would take special care of her health."
    "You refer to one physician in particular, I perceive," returned his mother, with a low, musical laugh, and laying her hand in his, for they were sitting side by side on the veranda. "Well, my dear boy. I advise you to wait till your return home before you say anything to either her or her father. But have you thought what a mixture of relationships such a marriage would make? Your brother-in-law would be also your father-in-law, and Grace aunt to her half-brother and sister."

Jul 20, 2022, 8:27 pm

>85 lyzard: Perilously close to "I'm My Own Grandpa"!

Jul 20, 2022, 9:00 pm

Publication date: 1902
Genre: Young adult
Series: Elsie Dinsmore #26
Read for: Series reading / TIOLI (set in winter)

Elsie's Winter Trip - Well, we have another nominee for "least plot ever" here, with the characters setting off on yet another yachting holiday, this one carrying them from Virginia to Bermuda, then to Jamaica and Trinidad, then to Puerto Rico and Cuba, and then (after a debate over mosquitoes) along the Brazilian coast before turning north to Louisiana. And at every point along the way, you better believe we get plagiarised history, geography and zoology---most of it plundered from Henry Walter Bates' Central America, the West Indies and South America, although the New International Encyclopedia (published in 1902 by - surprise! - Dodd, Mead, & Company) gets a mention too. This itinerary allows Finley to indulge her contemporary anti-Spanish feeling, which ties in nicely (nicely?) with the anti-Catholicism that has been expressed in this series from its earliest days. We also re-hash the Spanish-American War (because we didn't get nearly enough of that in the preceding book), and come away with the impression that Finley wasn't quite as certain about American intervention in Cuba and Puerto Rico as she would have us believe, given how very often she feels compelled to justify it. Oh! - and we hear again how terrible it was for the American servicemen in Cuba not to have enough doctors...from a doctor who ran out in the middle of the conflict. Plus we end up at Viamede, Elsie Dinsmore Travilla's property in Louisiana, where she used to be A SLAVE OWNER, as Finley has been trying desperately to make us forget for most of the series. Plot? you say. We open at the new house built for Chester and Lucilla Dinsmore and Max and Evelyn Raymond, which abuts the property owned by Levis Raymond, so that Lucilla can go home to her father about three times a day. There are a round of post-wedding parties, attended by the same people having the same conversations over and over. Elsie and Ned Raymond acquire pet squirrel monkeys, setting up yet another round of teeth-clenching ventriloquism scenes. And there are bible readings (are the end times upon us? perhaps, given the state of the world), and pages devoted to how Levis Raymond is the bestest man, husband, father - PARTICULARLY father - in the whole wide world. And while I don't suppose Martha Finley ever saw a psychiatrist about her Electra complex, my goodness she should have.

    Lucilla could never stay long away from her old home in her father's house; she was there every day and often two or three times a day.
    "Father," she said, on that first Saturday after taking possession of the new home, "mayn't we Sunnyside folks come over here and join your Bible class to-morrow evening?"
    "My dear child, it is just what I would have you do," he returned, with a gratified and loving smile. "Don't forget that Woodburn is still your home---one of your homes at least---and that you are always welcome and more than welcome to join us when you will. You are my own daughter as truly as ever you were."
    "And just as glad to be as ever I was," she exclaimed, with a bright, loving look and smile. "And to do your bidding at all times, father dear," she added.
    "Provided it does not interfere with Chester's," Max, who happened to be present, suggested a little mischievously.
    "Hardly any danger of that, I think," remarked his father, with a slightly amused look; "Chester is a reasonable fellow, and I have no intention of interfering with his rights."
    "And he thinks almost as highly of my father's wisdom as I do," said Lucilla.
    "But not more than Max and I do," said Evelyn, giving the Captain a very filial and admiring look...
    "What is to be the subject of to-morrow's lesson, Captain?" asked Mrs Elsie Travilla, sitting near.
    "I have not decided that question yet, mother, and should be glad of a suggestion from you," he replied in a kindly, respectful tone.
    "I have been thinking a good deal lately of the signs of the times," she said, "and whether they do not show that we are nearing the end of this dispensation..."

Edited: Jul 20, 2022, 9:07 pm

>86 NinieB:

Give it time (and a few more marriages)! :D

Jul 20, 2022, 10:17 pm

>84 lyzard:
>85 lyzard:
>87 lyzard:

Three Elsies in a row? Come up for air, Liz!

Jul 20, 2022, 10:23 pm

>89 swynn:

Three reviews in a row. It's impossible to keep them straight in your mind otherwise since absolutely nothing happens in them. :D

I haven't so far psyched myself up to reading more than one a month, though I am tempted to go bull-at-a-gate now and just get them DONE.

Edited: Jul 21, 2022, 1:18 am

Publication date: 1930
Genre: Mystery / thriller
Series: Superintendent Wilson #7
Read for: Series reading / TIOLI (by an author who shares their first name with a Shakespearean character)

Burglars In Bucks (US Title: The Berkshire Mystery) - Superintendent Wilson of Scotland Yard is summoned into Buckinghamshire by an acquaintance, Peter Gurney, who two years before purchased and began to restore Headingham Manor. The manor house was to be the scene of an elaborate costume party to mark the coming of age of Maura, Gurney's only daughter, and the house-guests had begun to gather; however, on the night before the party was to be held, it was discovered that a burglary had been committed and a number of the guests robbed of their jewellery. Wilson clears his arrival both at the Yard and with Sir William Flexnor, the Chief Constable, who warns him that the local man, Inspector Hunt, is slightly thin-skinned. When Wilson arrives he discovers two things: first that, though unimaginative, Hunt is dogged and persistent, and has already assembled a mountain of evidence in the form of maps of the house and grounds and statements of everyone's movements; and second, that the signs point to an inside job... Like Philip MacDonald - and this novel somewhat resembles The Crime Conductor, though the touch is much lighter here - George and Margaret Cole often liked to experiment with the format of their mysteries, presenting their narratives from different perspectives and/or in different forms. In Burglars In Bucks, they do both: the novel carries a preface in which Wilson's friend and occasional sidekick, Dr Michael Prendergast, persuades him to present a case just as the evidence came to him, no more, no less; the novel itself is therefore a mixture of witness statements, newspaper clippings, telegrams, one-sided telephone conversations, official meetings, personal observations, and so on---with one exception: the piece-meal narrative is supplemented by letters from one of the house-guests, Everard Blatchington, to his wife, giving a very different and very personal slant on events, including some information that only reaches Wilson later in the proceedings. The presence of Blatchington is something of a Cole in-joke: he and Wilson have met before, in The Blatchington Tangle, when Wilson (having resigned from the Yard due to the events of The Death Of A Millionaire) was called in as a private investigator in a matter of murder and jewel robbery, and found Blatchington up to his eyebrows in some extremely questionable business. The reaction of the two when they meet again over another jewel robbery - Wilson this time with the full power of the law behind him - may be imagined. (We get the feelings of both in their separate writings.) At the heart of the matter are the so-called Pallant emeralds, which became the focus of a legal brawl when their one-time owner, Roderick Pallant, willed them to an associate "for services rendered", rather than treating them as a family heirloom. Young George Pallant, otherwise too poor to fight the legal battle over the question of inheritance, has since waged a war of sorts, first against Sir Hiram Watkins, who inherited them, then against Peter Gurney, who bought them, over the question of their true ownership. When Wilson discovers that several of Pallant's friends, including his former fiancée, are among the house-guests, he begins to suspect a plot to secure the emeralds for their "real" owner; but the matter will prove more complicated than that, involving a faked burglary, a real burglary, a case of government corruption, a serious case of assault, and a medium with a tame a poltergeist...

    This went on till nearly lunch-time, and I was so fed up I was just going to eat humble pie to the Police and beg it to allow me to take a little walk if I left my studs in pledge, as it were, for my safe return, when I heard a car coming up the drive, and a voice with a sort of quiet I-get-what-I-want tone about it, asking for Mr Gurney. "Ha!" I said to myself. "Peter's super-sleuth arriving!" And it was, and who do you think it was? The very same Wilson who so nearly upset all our apple-carts that time at the Towers! A Scotland Yard man again now, I understand, but not a bit altered for that. Peter, of course, must needs rush me in to see him at once, and though he was very amiable, he couldn't help cocking an eye at me, I could see. And well he might, finding me mixed up again with a mysterious jewel-robbery, and having already discovered how well I can lie when I want to. "Oh!" said his eye. "You here, are you? And what discreditable game have you been up to this time?" I tried to look like a perfectly innocent goop, but I don't think it was a success. You see, having tried it once before when I wasn't was a bit of a handicap.
    But I like the fellow, you know. He's straight, and he's cool, and he's got a sense of humour, even if he did keep me from my lunch with his confounded questions. I never knew any living man ask such a lot...

Jul 21, 2022, 1:15 am

...and I really can't let this one go without highlighting one of my favourite retitlings: apparently the Coles' American publishers didn't know there was such a place as "Buckinghamshire". :D

Jul 21, 2022, 6:57 pm

Finished Mystery In The Channel for TIOLI #4.

Now reading The Rubber Band by Rex Stout.

Jul 21, 2022, 7:45 pm

Jul 21, 2022, 11:03 pm

>94 rosalita:


Since we're wooting over shared reads---

---and now that your reading slump is over---


---any sign of the Bony books on your horizon?? :D

Jul 22, 2022, 8:51 am

>95 lyzard: Yes! I have purchased the first one and I'm shooting for next month to read it. How many do I need to read to catch up to you?

Edited: Jul 22, 2022, 6:15 pm

>96 rosalita:

Well that deserves a WOOT! :D

I am up to, let me check, The Mystery Of Swordfish Reef, which is #7. So a way to go, but no hurry about that.

While we're having this conversation, can I push my luck and ask where you are with the Three Investigators? Technically I'm up for The Mystery Of The Moaning Cave this month (which is the point where the series changes authors, so We'll See).

ETA: Sorry, I'll stop bothering you in a minute! I see that there are two Nero Wolfe books from 1937, is The Red Box definitely #4?

Jul 22, 2022, 6:34 pm

>97 lyzard: Whew, when you check in, you really check in! :-D

I'll try to read a Bony every month until I get caught up, and then I assume we'll switch to the Miss Silver Model of every other month? The Bony books aren't available from my library, drat, so I'm buying each one, but the ebooks are pretty reasonable (about $6USD). I'm looking forward to getting started!

Much better news on The Three Investigators — I just finished The Mystery of the Screaming Clock a couple of days ago so we are on the same page finally. I might not get it in yet this month, but certainly early next month if not.

Too Many Cooks was published in 1938 -- at least that's what the copyright page in my edition says:

This is a screenshot from the ebook, but it's based on the paperback edition that I also have and the date is the same in that one.

Edited: Jul 22, 2022, 7:00 pm

>98 rosalita:

What were you saying about poking the bear?? :D

(Ugh, I've really got to get to The League Of Frightened Men!)

All that sounds great! Yes, I was envisioning the same pattern of one every two months when we start. Don't feel pressured about catching up, though: if it takes a bit longer, so be it. I'll be very interested to hear what you make of them.

Excellent news on the TIs! I will probably squeeze The Moaning Cave in this month, though I can leave it for a shared read next if you're TIOLIing (are you?).

Ah, no! - my mistake: Stout's second 1937 book was The Hand In The Glove, so we're good to go with The Red Box. (Won't we have fun alternating these with the Bony books??)

Edited: Jul 22, 2022, 7:01 pm

>99 lyzard: oh, right — that's got Dol Bonner as the detective, yes? I wondered if Stout was thinking of building a series around her but didn't for whatever reason. She does show up in a few of the Wolfe mysteries, though, lending a hand when Wolfe needs a female detective. Well, you'll see.

And yes — I think Bony and Wolfe will be a good pairing.

Jul 22, 2022, 7:08 pm

>100 rosalita:

I didn't know that, thanks! I might squeeze that in too, in that case. Do you know the first Wolfe book she shows up in?

Jul 22, 2022, 7:50 pm

*takes a deep breath*

OK, you might want to sit down for this.

First of all, Dol Bonner appears in the second Stout mystery featuring Tecumseh Fox, Bad for Business, published in 1940. (The first in that trilogy was Double for Death and the final book was The Broken Vase.)

She first shows up in the Wolfe series in the novella Too Many Detectives contained in the 1957 omnibus Three for the Chair. She also appears in the full-length If Death Ever Slept published later that year (spoiler: my introduction to the series), and the 1959 novel Plot It Yourself.

I'll hit "Post message" now and sit back to enjoy my mental image of you frantically scribbling additions to your various lists. :-p

Jul 22, 2022, 9:10 pm

>102 rosalita:

It's times like this I really need an eyebrow-lift emoticon. :D

Jul 22, 2022, 9:28 pm

>103 lyzard: At the risk of causing your eyebrow to become permanently lodged in the upright position ...

Stout actually rewrote the second Tecumseh Fox novel, Bad for Business, as a Nero Wolfe story for publication in American Magazine, also published in 1940. Stout novellas were often published in American Magazine before being collected into omnibus book editions, and apparently the magazine wanted the Fox story but offered Stout a lot more money if he would turn it into a Wolfe tale. So he did. Bitter End, as the Wolfe version was called, was never published in book form while Stout was alive, but it's part of the omnibus Death Times Three, published posthumously in 1985.

The other two novellas in Death Times Three were also re-workings: One is a rewrite of an earlier published novella (the rewrite later appeared in the Saturday Evening Post but not in book form until after Stout's death), and the other is the original version of a different Wolfe story. We can get into their provenance when we get to the last omnibus, if you haven't thrown up your hands in frustration before then. :)

Jul 22, 2022, 10:14 pm

>104 rosalita:

If you recall, this is almost exactly what I went through when I was trying to get Agatha wrapped up. I was chasing her stray short stories and discovered that a bunch of them had been rewritten with different detectives or the central plot-point made the basis of a novel.

Happy to guide you through all that if/when the time comes, and happy to have your guidance here. :D

Edited: Jul 23, 2022, 6:51 pm

Publication date: 1935
Genre: Mystery / thriller
Series: Nero Wolfe #2
Read for: Shared read / series reading

The League Of Frightened Men - Nero Wolfe is consulted by Andrew Hibbard, Professor of Psychology, though the story he tells involves not just himself but a group of friends, fraternity brothers of some twenty-five years before. Hibbard explains that, at that time, he and the others were responsible for a prank that left one of their number, Paul Chapin, injured for life. Subsequently they formed a "League of Atonement", paying Chapin's medical bills and doing whatever else they could to help; but though he accepted the assistance, Chapin showed no sign of forgiveness, but on the contrary grew ever more bitter and resentful and, in Hibbard's opinion, disturbed. At a recent reunion, one of the group died falling from a cliff: an accident, it seemed, except afterwards the rest each received a poem from Chapin obliquely taking responsibility. Some time later, a second death occurred, this one apparently a suicide---and a second poem followed. Learning the terms of the assignment - he is to stop Chapin, but not via the justice system - Wolfe declines it; but a fortnight later, Hibbard disappears... This second entry in Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe series takes a step up by giving the detective an adversary as eccentric as Wolfe himself, and by muddying its moral waters as much as possible---so that the reader's sympathies tend to lie, not with the men in fear of their lives, but with the individual who has brought them to that point. Though they come to Wolfe for protection against a killer who seems intent upon picking them off one by one, the former classmates are no innocents: it is made clear that what they still insist was "only a prank" was in fact a vicious piece of bullying that ended in grievous bodily harm and could have ended in manslaughter; and similarly, teeth-clenching as Archie Goodwin's insistence upon referring to him as "the cripple" is, it underscores the damage done to Paul Chapin---and which is clearly not just physical. Wolfe knows he must take Chapin's measure if he is to get to the bottom of things, and though the two do meet face-to-face, his true understanding of his adversary comes from reading his books---where, in effect, he finds the solution to the complex case. But such theorising means nothing to the group of men who turn to Wolfe for help: though heterogeneous in character, profession and their feelings towards Chapin - and Chapin's injury - they are united in their fear in the face of two ambiguous deaths and a disappearance. Curiously, however, it is a third death, in which there seems no doubt of Chapin's guilt, that gives Wolfe pause...

    Of a sudden Dr Burton left his chair, strode to the desk, and grabbed Chapin by the arm. He said to him: "Paul, for God's sake! Get out of here! This is terrible. Get out!"
    Drummond the florist put in, his cultured tenor transformed by intensity into a ferocious squeal, "This is the limit, Paul! After what we---after what I---you dirty murdering rat!"
    Others, breaking their tension, found their tongue. Wolfe stopped them. He said sharply, "Gentlemen! Mr Chapin is my guest!" He looked at Chapin, leaning on his stick. "You should sit down. Take a chair.---Archie."
    "No, thanks. I'll be going in a moment." Chapin sent a smile around; it would have been merely a pleasant smile but for his light-coloured eyes where there was no smile at all. "I've been standing on one foot for twenty-five years. Of course all of you know that; I don't need to tell you. I'm sorry if I've annoyed you by coming here; really, I wouldn't disconcert you fellows for anything. You've all been too kind to me, you know very well you have. If I may get a little literary and sentimental about it---you have lightened life's burden for me..."
    He turned to Wolfe. "That's how it is, you see. But I didn't come here to say that, I came to see you. I was thinking that possibly you are a reasonable and intelligent man. Are you?"
    Wolfe was looking at him. I was saying to myself, look out, Paul Chapin, look out for those half-closed eyes, and if you take my advice you'll shut up and beat it quick...

Jul 23, 2022, 6:44 pm

Finished The Rubber Band for TIOLI #9.

Now reading For Love Of Imabelle by Chester B. Himes.

Jul 23, 2022, 7:10 pm

>106 lyzard: These first four books of the series are never going to be my favorites. You can tell (if you've committed the cardinal sin of reading later books first) that Stout still didn't "hear" Wolfe's and Archie's voices yet. Although the whole Dora Chapin angle ranks near the top on the creepy meter for the whole series, I must say.

I'm champing at the bit for you to get to the good stuff! :-)

Edited: Jul 23, 2022, 7:50 pm

Publication date: 1984
Genre: Non-fiction
Read for: TIOLI (published in the 80s)

The Video Nasties: Freedom And Censorship In The Media - This book of essays was published at the height of the furor over the so-called 'Video Nasties', a subset of horror and action movies deemed, by the Thatcher government, to be the root cause of an upsurge in social unrest and violence in England (as opposed to the slashing of social services and the enforcement of trickle-down economics). Edited by Martin Barker, then senior lecturer in Communications at Bristol Polytechnic, it lays out the case against the push towards the passing of the Video Recordings Bill which, though posing as merely a tool in the fight against video violence, was in fact a backdoor means to some of the most extreme powers of government censorship possessed by any western nation (and the fact that the bill was being passed in 1984 escapes no-one). In the opening essay, Nasty politics or video nasties?, Barker spells out the political agenda of the campaign, the complicity of the press (hello, Rupert Murdoch), and how the 'nasties' were being used as a Trojan Horse. In a second essay, 'Nasties': a problem of identification, Barker watches some of the films and to try and figure out what a 'nasty' actually is. In Nightmares and nasties, film critic Nigel Andrews argues against censorship generally and analyses the insistence upon the "corrupting" power of these particular films, which supposedly were spawning a generation of violent criminals. In J. Hills is alive, film writer Marco Star offers a defence of one of the most controversial films on the list, I Spit On Your Grave. In Figuring out the arguments, Graham Murdock, a research fellow in Communications, highlights the flaws and fallacies in the data collection techniques upon which the government was basing its claims about the effects of the 'nasties'. In Exactly what we wanted, Brian Brown, then Head of the Television Research Unit of Oxford Polytechnic, describes the experiences of himself and his team after they were hired to conduct formal research into the video viewing habits of children and the effects of the 'nasties', and the abrupt termination of the project (including a dawn raid to remove the researchers' data) when it became clear that it was not going to give the answers the government wanted. Finally, in Falling standards: a short, sharp history of moral decline, Geoffrey Pearson, a lecturer in Applied Social Studies, offers a wry take on society's regular cycles of "moral panic", and shows how exactly the same fears have been expressed (in exactly the same language) regarding comic books, rock and roll, motion pictures, Victorian music halls, the penny-dreadfuls and even the ballads of the 17th century: arguing that the only unique thing about the Video Nasties was the use being made of them by the Thatcherites.

    The great majority of the people who fear these films have never seen one. Some have. Either way, there is little doubt that the nature of their disquiet was in the main determined by an hysterical press campaign. That campaign got going through 1982 and climaxed in 1983. By then, everyone 'knew' what a nasty was, and what it could do to people. There was no space left for argument; the issues had been settled, and the territory occupied.
    This is a partisan book. Like a real partisan, it operates in that occupied territory. Its aim is to break the lines of communication of the enemy, to sap their ability to carry on unchallenged, and to encourage stronger resistance. The territory we are fighting in is without doubt occupied. The issue of the 'video nasties' has given a tremendous boost to right-wing moralism in this country. It is the Right's way of defining the issue that has dominated. To continue the war analogy---'liberal' opinion, the Labour opposition and so on have played the part of Chamberlain: they have accepted reactionary formulations, and so unwittingly laid the ground for their own defeat.
    This is a book written with the intention of generating argument. The campaign has tried to prevent rational consideration. We have tried to reopen it. The issues being drowned by the campaign and the Video Recordings Bill are too important to let go in that way.

Edited: Jul 23, 2022, 7:58 pm

>108 rosalita:

Oh, yes, there's a bunch of other stuff going on in this one, including what you note; almost too much, it's overcrowded with uncomfortable touches. And at this point, as you also note, the relationship between Wolfe and Archie isn't quite right: it is what it is, but you can't envisage how it got there (does that make sense?). In both respects it feels like Stout wasn't in control of his material yet.

Jul 23, 2022, 8:40 pm

>110 lyzard: Indeed. I thought your point that the clients were as distasteful as the assumed murderer was astute. Certainly Wolfe never required clients of the highest moral fiber but these guys were just personally odious, even the ones who felt genuine sympathy for Chapin.

It occurred to me as I was writing my review of The Rubber Band that all three of these early novels revolve around a significant event in the fairly distant past, whether an illegitimate birth, a fraternity prank, or escaping a lynch mob in the Wild West. I wonder if Wolfe didn't find the 1930s conducive to satisfactory murder mysteries, what with the Great Depression and all (and keeping in mind that while WWII was on the near horizon for Europe, most Americans were still whistling past the graveyard at the need to concern themselves with such faraway doings).

Edited: Jul 23, 2022, 8:45 pm

Publication date: 1968
Genre: Young adult
Series: The Three Investigators #9
Read for: Shared read / series reading

The Mystery Of The Screaming Clock - Jupiter Jones is startled, to say the least, when a clock he is examining at his uncle's junkyard proves to have a woman's scream in place of an alarm. With no other mystery to work on, Jupiter proposes to his friends, Pete Crenshaw and Bob Andrews, that as practice they try to "solve" the screaming clock. Their first find is a small piece of paper once glued to the clock, addressed to someone called 'Rex', and exhorting him to question several other people. They also discover the person who made the clock scream, the identity of its original owner, and his room full of screaming clocks; while behind this is a far darker mystery... First things first: after increasing hints over several previous books, this is where (for whatever reason) Alfred Hitchcock opted out of the Three Investigators series, with "Alfred Hitchcock, director and TV personality" replaced by "Alfred Hitchcock, just some guy": supposedly a former PI who occasionally brings the kids cases. A pity it happened at this point, as The Mystery Of The Screaming Clock is exactly the kind of thing Hitchcock #1 would have eaten up---with the kids discovering a case involving Olde Timey celebritites, and the man responsible for the clocks once a professional screamer, back in the days when radio plays were at their peak popularity. Working from the list of names found with the screaming clock, the boys end up trying to unravel a series of cryptic clues; while (as usual) they also acquire a collaborator of their own age---this time, the angry and suspicious Harry Smith, whose father was convicted of an art theft his son swears he had nothing to do with. Trying on one hand to help Harry, and on the other to follow up the list of names, the boys find themselves not only involved in some serious crimes but reunited with their old adversary, Hugenay the international art-thief---and this time around, making a deal with the devil...

    "But why did he send the messages and the clocks, Mr Hugenay?" Bob asked. "Wouldn't it have been simpler just to write a letter to the police?"
    "Bert Clock was never a simple man," said Mr Hugenay. "He did it the way he did for some reason. Perhaps we will guess that reason when we decode the strange messages."
    "But Mr Jeeters burned the messages," Jupiter reminded him. "He burned all of the first two and half of the third message."
    "But naturally you remember them?" Hugenay asked, a trifle anxiously.
    "I remember the first two," Jupiter admitted. "But the third was all numbers. I couldn't possibly remember it. Anyway, I only saw it once, and then Carlos got the bottom half from me. The first message said, 'I suggest you see the book' and the second message said, 'Only a room where Father Time hums'."
    "Book?" Hugenay frowned. "What book, I wonder? The room where time hums is simple enough, of course. It can only be the room of many clocks..."

Edited: Jul 23, 2022, 8:55 pm

>112 lyzard:

The huge societal shifts in America over the preceding fifty years certainly paved the way for that---seen most overtly in The Rubber Band, where "respectable" people could (quite naturally) have a completely lawless past.

The Depression aspect is something else: I'm sure no-one at the time would have argued with Wolfe's eyes-on-the-prize attitude or his choosing money over morality, but that attitude is so entirely different from what you get in British mysteries, it's almost shocking! :D

Jul 23, 2022, 9:32 pm

May stats:

Works read: 15
TIOLI: 15, in 13 different challenges, with 2 shared reads

Mystery / thriller: 6
Non-fiction: 3
Young adult: 2
Classic: 2
Contemporary drama: 1
Historical drama: 1

Series works: 7
Re-reads: 2
Blog reads: 0
1932: 0
1931: 4
Virago / Persephone: 0
Potential decommission: 0

Owned: 1
Library: 8
Ebooks: 6

Male authors : female authors: 14 : 2

Oldest work: Jack Brag by Theodore Hook (1837)
Newest work: The Video Nasties: Freedom And Censorship In The Media by Martin Barker (ed.) (1984)


YTD stats:

Works read: 68
TIOLI: 68, in 60 different challenges, with 10 shared reads

Mystery / thriller: 32
Classic: 9
Young adult: 8
Contemporary drama: 5
Historical drama: 5
Non-fiction: 3
Historical romance: 2
Children's fiction: 1
Short story: 1
Fantasy: 1
Humour: 1

Series works: 41
Re-reads: 7
Blog reads: 0
1932: 0
1931: 9
Virago / Persephone: 3
Potential decommission: 0

Owned: 5
Library: 23
Ebooks: 39
Borrowed: 1

Male authors : female authors: 47 : 24

Oldest work: The Heroine; or, Adventures Of A Fair Romance Reader by Eaton Stannard Barrett (1813)
Newest work: Hotel Bosphorus by Esmahan Aykol (2001)

Edited: Jul 23, 2022, 9:36 pm

I've finished my May reviewing, and the sun's out (for once)!

Have a sloth!---

Edited: Jul 23, 2022, 9:53 pm

Feeling sufficiently pleased with myself at the moment (only 12 reviews to go!) to start doing some planning:

Potential August reading:

The Matarese Circle by Robert Ludlum {best-seller challenge}
With Fire And Sword by Henryk Sienkiewicz {Nobel Prize challenge}
Pilgrims by Ethel Mannin {Banned in Boston! challenge}
The Hunterstone Outrage by Seldon Truss {Mystery League challenge}
The Vampyre by John Polidori {A Century Of Reading}
Don't Stop The Carnival by Herman Wouk {random reading}
Elsie And Her Loved Ones by Martha Finley {I think I can, I think I can...}
The Case Against Andrew Fane by Anthony Gilbert {ILL}

As noted, both Pilgrims and The Hunterstone Outrage will require in-library reading, so whether I get to both or either will probably depend upon the weather.

Whether I actually take on the 1000-page-plus With Fire And Sword (having just escaped Leon Uris and James A. Michener) also remains to be seen.

On the other hand I'm sorely tempted to just FINISH the Elsie books instead of dragging it out another month. (I'm so close I can taste it! - FREEDOM!!)

Jul 23, 2022, 10:29 pm

>115 lyzard: SLOTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He looks very pleased with your progress — or maybe that leaf is particularly tasty. Hard to say ... :-D

Jul 24, 2022, 7:03 pm

Finished For Love Of Imabelle for TIOLI #5.

Now reading Divorce Turkish Style by Esmahan Aykol.

Jul 24, 2022, 7:58 pm

Edited: Jul 28, 2022, 3:57 am

>115 lyzard: Hurrah for May and sloths.

>117 rosalita:, >119 lyzard: *snort*

Jul 27, 2022, 6:46 pm

Jul 27, 2022, 6:48 pm

Finished Divorce Turkish Style for TIOLI #7.

Now reading The Man Who Went Up In Smoke by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö.

Jul 27, 2022, 6:56 pm

Well, there's a finger in the eye:

It looks like the fourth and last of Esmahan Aykol's Kati Hirschel mysteries hasn't been translated into English.

So I guess technically I've finished a series, but I don't feel like celebrating it. :(

Jul 27, 2022, 8:20 pm

>123 lyzard: :-( for series that are only partially translated.

Jul 27, 2022, 10:41 pm

>124 rosalita:

Could have been worse: I was about to go off at my library for having the first three books but not the fourth. Fortunately I did a little research first. :D

Jul 27, 2022, 10:54 pm

>125 lyzard: I'm glad cooler heads (well, head, unless you've been keeping something amazing from us) prevailed before you lost your borrowing privileges. :-)

Jul 28, 2022, 6:40 am

>80 lyzard: That sounds like an interesting paper, Liz!

>115 lyzard: I will take the sloth! I have seen videos on YouTube of the baby ones and think they are just adorable.

Jul 28, 2022, 9:20 am

>123 lyzard: you might not have "finished" a series, but you have, at least, "caught up" with a series.
Shame that book 4 seems not to have been translated. Might it be, or has it been published a while in the original language?

Jul 28, 2022, 5:58 pm

>126 rosalita:

Cooled down enough to say "Well of course they wouldn't have done that." So obvious now! :D

>127 alcottacre:

Hi, Stasia! It was a serendipitous find, TIOLI-wise, and an interesting perspective on an amazing resource.

Baby sloths can just cute you to death. :D

>128 Helenliz:

True! I never get to participate when TIOLI challenges say "the most recent book in a series" so perhaps I should take it in that spirit?

I suppose it's still a possibility though the delay is unpromising. According to the third book the translation project was Arts Council funded so maybe the money just ran out. :(

Anyway, I've added it to my absurdly long list of missing series works.

Jul 28, 2022, 6:08 pm

>129 lyzard: I note that you did not confirm or deny the number of heads you possess ...

Edited: Jul 30, 2022, 3:32 am

>130 rosalita:

You can't expect us me to reveal all my secrets!

Jul 30, 2022, 7:34 am

Finished The Man Who Went Up In Smoke for TIOLI #10.

Now reading The Mystery Of The Moaning Cave by William Arden.

Jul 30, 2022, 7:43 am

>129 lyzard: I trust you are having no such issues with my challenge for August> >:-)

Jul 30, 2022, 7:59 am

>133 Helenliz:

I should be okay with that one, thank you. :D

Jul 31, 2022, 7:11 pm

Finished The Mystery Of The Moaning Cave for TIOLI #17; also finished July---eep!

Now reading The Matarese Circle by Robert Ludlum.

Jul 31, 2022, 7:13 pm

Noting that after my comments re: The Mystery Of The Screaming Clock that here we are back to the original depiction of Alfred Hitchcock, from which I assume that some of the later editions tampered with the text---possibly on the assumption that later generations of younger readers wouldn't know who Hitchcock was. (Really? I sure did!) So I need to be more careful about tracking down the original versions of these.

Jul 31, 2022, 7:57 pm

>136 lyzard: I noticed that at some point the covers no longer showed the famous Hitchcock silhouette logo and the title no longer started with "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" so I opened each file to figure out when he stopped writing the introduction to each story. I was startled to see that at some point a dude named Hector was "writing" those bits. I may have skimmed too hastily, but I didn't see any explanation for the switch or indeed just who the hell Hector was.

Edited: Jul 31, 2022, 8:43 pm

>137 rosalita:

I haven't hit a 'Hector', just 'Alfred Hitchcock, P.I.', which is quite eyebrow-raising enough.

I suppose Hitchcock himself (or his estate, depending on when it was done) might have requested the changes, but it feels more like 'Nancy Drew is now 18, likes boys a lot, and doesn't sass-mouth' to me. :(

Jul 31, 2022, 9:35 pm

>138 lyzard: Was that "P.I." Title in Moaning Cave? I just checked my copy and he's just plain old Alfred Hitchcock there, though there's no mention that he's a famous film director as I think there was in earlier books.

Edited: Jul 31, 2022, 10:27 pm

>139 rosalita:

No, my copy of Moaning Cave has the boys meeting up with him at the end and him promising to "present" the case, so that's the original text. Screaming Clock is the P.I. one, and a couple of others make allusions to someone other than the real Hitch, though I don't remember which and what offhand, I'll have to check back.

ETA: I suppose it might have been something they did in later reissues after Hitchcock died, which was 1980 I think.

Edited: Jul 31, 2022, 11:06 pm

>140 lyzard: Yeah, that could be. My copy of the Screaming Clock has Alfred in his usual slot at the beginning, and I don't think it referred to him as a P.I. although I could check tomorrow.

Edited: Aug 1, 2022, 6:31 pm

>141 rosalita:

From The Mystery Of The Screaming Clock (which I now notice is copyright 1999):

    “If Mr. Hadley was an actor once, maybe Mr. Hitchcock has heard of him — he’s been writing movie scripts for some time now. Take us to Mr. Hitchcock’s, Worthington.”
    “Very good, sir.” The English chauffeur drove them to Mr. Hitchcock’s house in the Santa Monica mountains. Alfred Hitchcock was a former private eye who had turned to writing mystery novels when an injury cut short his detective work. Soon afterward he had branched out into script writing for the movies and had moved to an abandoned restaurant near Malibu. He had become the boys’ mentor and introduced their cases for them.
    A few minutes later all three boys were sitting around the mystery writer’s table in his spacious living room.
    “Well, guys,” Mr. Hitchcock said, “what brings you out this way? Working on a case?”

There's also an outro where "Alfred Hitchcock" sums up the case and clarifies some details, but not in the usual "chatting with the boys" format.

From The Mystery Of The Silver Spider (no date):

The Three Investigators took turns telling him how the firm had been started, how they had become friends of Alfred Hitchcock, the mystery writer, and of some of the adventures they had had...

“Hi, Jupe.” The hearty voice of Alfred Hitchcock blared into the office from the loudspeaker Jupe had hooked up. The famous mystery novelist had taken a real interest in the boys. He introduced their cases for them and from time to time found new mysteries for them to solve...

But in The Mystery Of The Fiery Eye it is business as usual with Hitchcock speaking in a "rich English voice" and the boys visiting him at "World Studios".

Now that I'm on the trail I might see if I can find alternate texts of the first two...

Edited: Aug 1, 2022, 6:30 pm


Found a copy of The Mystery Of The Screaming Clock definitely dated 1968, and the passage I quoted above starts:

"If Mr Hadley was an actor, maybe Mr Hitchcock knew him---he's worked with hundreds of actors. Take us to World Studios, Worthington."

Ugh, how annoying! I'll have to be a lot more careful about picking my reading copies in future!

Aug 1, 2022, 12:57 am

Also, this particular copy is illustrated, and may I just say - as opposed to that abomination you showed me once - that THIS is the Bob I always had a crush on! :D

Aug 1, 2022, 10:11 am

I've just finished The Mystery of the Whispering Mummy, and had noticed a "Revised Edition, c1998" in Internet Archive. I didn't check then, but can confirm:

The introduction is by "Hector Sebastian", who also sends them the letter about the mummy mystery:

"Hey!" Pete yelped with excitement. "This one comes from Hector Sebastian! Let's open it first!"

Bob looked excited. Hector Sebastian writing to them? It had to be about a case, because Mr. Sebastian had promised them that if any mystery came to his attention that seemed to need their talents, he would let them know.

The last chapter, in which Hitchcock debriefed the Three Investigators, now has "the well-known novelist Hector Sebastian" performing Hitchcock's role.

Here's the link:

Aug 1, 2022, 10:19 am

>144 lyzard: Now that you've typed it all out, I do remember reading that but I didn't snag on it the way you did. Annoying!

>145 swynn: Interesting — My ebook of the Whispering Mummy had Hitchcock in his usual role, so it must have been created from an earlier edition.

Aug 1, 2022, 5:43 pm

>145 swynn:

Well, this has all been horrifying. :)

I'm surprised I wasn't aware of this: it's the kind of thing that usually lodges in my brain if I ever do hear about it.

When I first started to encounter these blips, I think I just thought that at some point Hitchcock and his people had changed their minds about the participation, or the first contract was only for so many books, and they'd started to ease him out. It didn't occur to me that there was an edition-by-edition makeover.

Of course I'll be tracking down the originals texts from here (don't you guys feel obliged!), and while the Internet Archive does seem to have them, or most of them, there is also this---the legality of which I consider extremely dubious, but which is a great resource while it lasts. This is where I found a 1968 copy of The Moaning Cave.

Edited: Sep 11, 2022, 9:23 pm

Publication date: 1994
Genre: Mystery / thriller
Series: Blanche White #2
Read for: Series reading / TIOLI (person on the cover)

Blanche Among The Talented Tenth - Since her relocation to New York, Blanche White has managed to send her late sister's kids, Malik and Taifa, to private school; though she is now starting to worry that they are picking up some undesirable social ideas there. On the other hand, they have also formed a tight friendship with Casey and Deidre, the children of successful doctors, David and Christine Crowley. This results in an invitation to Malik and Taifa to spend time at Amber Cove, a resort in Maine, and eventually one for Blanche, too, who agrees to look after all four children while the Crowleys are having time alone on their boat. Blanche is hesitant when she learns about Amber Cove: that it was found in the 30s by wealthy black Americans, in response to their exclusion from whites-only resorts; but also that it was built on the proceeds of a company specialising in skin-lightening and hair-straightening products. Blanche suspects that between her very dark skin and her work in service, Amber Cove will hardly welcome her. She is right---but that is only one of the troubling things she finds waiting for her in Maine, another being a suspicious death... The first entry in Barbara Neely's Blanche White series, Blanche On The Lam, does have its protagonist meddling in murder; but its narrative deals predominantly with racial and class divides in the American South, with Blanche - then on the run - ironically "invisible" to law enforcement as a triple non-person: a black woman in service. In Blanche Among The Talented Tenth, the mystery aspects are woven into a plot that deals additionally with the insidious question of intra-race prejudice, with maid-by-choice Blanche finding herself among the wealthy and privileged - and distinctly light-skinned - residents of Amber Cove. Blanche's own very dark skin - particularly in conjunction with her name - has caused her much misery in her life, though she has by now come to terms with herself; and she is prepared for her chilly reception at the exclusive resort. She is welcomed by the Crowleys, however, and makes friends on her own account: with the elderly Mattie Harris, a pioneering black feminist writer, but one whose work was made possible by her marriage to a white academic; and Tina Jackson, a passionate young woman with skin as dark as Blanche's own, and whose boyfriend's parents want none of her. Blanche also attracts the attention of the extremely handsome Robert Stuart - "Stu" - and, currently on the rebound, is sorely tempted to have a fling; but her physical urges are at war with her instincts, which warn her that there is something slightly "off" about him. Adjusting to life at Amber Cove, Blanche finds the long-term residents in a peculiar mood, which she traces to the accidental death of one of their number, Faith Brown, who was electrocuted in her bathtub. Blanche soon grasps that the rest feel more like celebrating than mourning: Faith was an unpleasant woman whose hobby was finding out other people's secrets---and using them. However, it is not until another resident commits suicide that anyone begins to wonder if Faith's death really was an accident...

    Ardell answered as if she's been waiting for Blanche's call. "Hey, girlfriend. Whatsup?"
    Blanche laughed. "Everything but the ground and I ain't sure of that."
    They postponed the niceties and went straight to Blanche's report, including her arrival at Amber Cove; Arthur Hill; the Outsiders and the Insiders; Mattie, Hank and Carol; Tina, Durant and his family, and Faith's fatal accident. She took a deep breath and added what David had said about Faith's wiring and what the boys had said about homemade cookies.
    "In other words, if she hadn't been so cheap, she'd still be alive. Too bad she couldn't figure out how to spread those cookies around a little more," Blanche said.
    "Damn, girl! You ain't been there but two days. You'll really need a vacation when you get home. Whatsup with the kids? You didn't mention them."
    Blanche hesitated for a second. "They're having a great time."
    "Hummm. So what's wrong?" There was no doubt in Ardell's voice.
    Blanche heaved a huge sigh. "Oh, Ardell, Taifa's going through a colour thing." Blanche told her about the conversation with Taifa.
    "Oh baby, I'm so sorry. I really am. But you know you have to expect things like that with our kids. They ain't stupid. They see what happens on the street. They watch TV and hear grown-ups talk. They see who gets treated which way and why. It's a wonder we ain't all colour-struck."
    Ardell's tone called forth the image of a black person struck by blinding white lightning that made them hate their own colour. It was an image from when her mother had first tried to explain to little Blanche why so many children she thought looked like her called her names...

Aug 3, 2022, 8:11 pm

Publication date: 1839
Genre: Classic
Read for: C. K. Shorter 'Best 100 Novels' challenge

Fardorougha The Miser; or, The Convicts Of Lisnamona - After thirteen childless years, a son is born to Fardorougha Donovan and his wife, Honor. For Honor, her baby opens up new channels of love and warmth in her nature; but for Faradorougha, fatherhood comes too late: his heart has turned away from human passions and towards the accumulation of money. As Connor grows into a son any father could be proud of, Fardorougha is only thankful that there are no more children to provide for; while, spending as little on his family as possible, he begins to supplement the income of his farm through usury and other such practices. Fardorougha is ruthless when it comes to repayment, and makes many enemies. When the Flanagan family is ruined through their dealings with him, the eldest son, Bartle, shocks everyone not merely by going into service, but by working for Fardorougha: they do not realise there is a dark purpose in his actions. Connor, in his generosity, makes a friend of Bartle and does everything in his power to ease his situation; but when Connor wins the love of the beautiful Una O'Brien, he too becomes a target of Bartle's plan of revenge... Serialised across 1837 - 1838 before being published in book form, William Carleton's Fardorougha The Miser is an interesting but uneven novel whose positive aspects are ultimately overwhelmed by its didacticism. Carleton himself was the product of a poor Catholic farming community, a curious fact in light of the note of condescension inherent in his descriptions of his characters and their lives, in spite of the detail that illustrates he knows what he is talking about. Connor and Honor, meanwhile, are the usual improbably perfect constructs found in didactic novels, both of them devoutly religious and suffering nobly through an increasing array of slings and arrows, and never speaking a word in anger or resentment against their dreadful, selfish father and husband. Unsurprisingly, then, Fardorougha The Miser is at its best when its focus is upon its disparate villains: the grasping Fardorougha himself, still crying poor while working obsessively to increase his fortune; and Bartle Flanagan, whose revenge against the Donovans takes the form of framing Connor for a capital crime... This is, as I have said, a very uneven novel, wandering between lectures on faith, "humorous" sketches of Irish peasant life, and the melodrama of Connor's arrest, trial and conviction; and it is at its best not in its overall schema, but in its individual scenes---in particular those involving the struggle between Fardorougha's real if smothered love for his son, and his ruling passion for his money: and he can overcome the latter neither when Connor wants to marry nor, more desperately, when the best legal defence is the only chance of saving Connor's life... During its last third, Fardorougha The Miser takes a curious turn, switching its focus to the activities of the "Ribbonmen", a secret rebel organisation that arose in rural Ireland during the early 19th century. William Carleton displays no sympathy whatsoever here, nor any belief that the Ribbonmen were actually fighting back against the abuses of the tenant-farming system. Instead, he paints the rebels as finding an excuse for lawless violence and the settling of personal scores. His parallel plots come together when Bartle Flanagan, having carried out his scheme of revenge, and risen to be head of the local "lodge" turns his attention back to Una O'Brien...

    “Well, my good friend,” said Kennedy to the stranger, who, it appeared, had arrived before O'Brien only a few minutes, “I am now disengaged; pray, let me know your business.”
    The stranger paused a moment, as if seeking the most appropriate terms in which to express himself.
    “It's a black business,” he replied, “and the worst of it is I'm a poor man.”
    “You should not go to law, then,” observed the attorney. “I tell you beforehand you will find it is devilish expensive.”
    “I know it,” said the man; “it's open robbery; I know what it cost me to recover the little pences that wor sometimes due to me, when I broke myself lending weeny trifles to strugglin' people that I thought honest, and robbed me aftherwards.”
    “In what way can my services be of use to you at present? for that I suppose is the object of your calling upon me,” said Kennedy.
    “Oh thin, sir, if you have the grace of God, or kindness, or pity in your heart, you can sarve me, you can save my heart from breakin'!”
    “How---how, man?---come to the point.”
    “My son, sir, Connor, my only son, was taken away from his mother an' me, an' put into jail yesterday mornin', an' he innocent; he was put in, sir, for burnin' Bodagh Buie O'Brien's haggard, an' as God is above me, he as much burnt it as you did.”
    “Then you are Fardorougha Donovan,” said the attorney; “I have heard of that outrage; and, to be plain with you, a good deal about yourself. How, in the name of heaven, can you call yourself a poor man?”
    “They belie me, sir, they're bitther enemies that say I'm otherwise.”
    “Be you rich or be you poor, let me tell you that I would not stand in your son's situation for the wealth of the king's exchequer. Sell your last cow; your last coat; your last acre; sell the bed from under you, without loss of time, if you wish to save his life; and I tell you that for this purpose you must employ the best counsel, and plenty of them. The Assizes commence on this day week, so that you have not a single moment to lose. Think now whether you love your son or your money best.”

Edited: Aug 3, 2022, 8:24 pm

Fardorougha The Miser was read for the C. K. Shorter challenge; next up---

#45: The Life And Adventures Of Valentine Vox, The Ventriloquist by Henry Cockton (1840)

Yet another one I haven't heard of! - though it feels like I should have, as it went through numerous editions (and titles) in both Britain and America over the rest of the 19th century. I gather that this novel's real importance is not so much the "adventures" of its protagonist, whatever they may be, but the novel's handling of the contemporary treatment of the mentally ill.

Edited: Aug 5, 2022, 1:48 am

Seriously, I must be OUT OF MY FRICKING MIND.

It's the older, thicker type of paper, too, not that half-weight modern stuff, and it is SO HEAVY.

I'm going to need some bath-books to go along with this one!---



Well, well: look who's here:

Frankly I'm astonished that Jim could overcome his jealousy enough to write this: With Fire And Sword clocks in at 1135 pages, as opposed to the trifling 865 pages of Chesapeake.

Edited: Aug 5, 2022, 1:49 am

So yes, I did take a run into my academic library to exchange a few books, and to have a session in Rare Books---

Now reading The Double-Thirteen Mystery by Anthony Wynne; still reading The Matarese Circle by Robert Ludlum (though as it is a mere bagatelle of 540 pages, I should have it wrapped tonight).

Aug 5, 2022, 3:17 am

>151 lyzard: Wrist supports required for that one.
Good luck.

Aug 5, 2022, 6:24 pm

>153 Helenliz:

Propped up on pillows, I think. Thanks! :)

Edited: Aug 5, 2022, 10:00 pm

Best-selling books in the United States for 1977:

1. The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien and Christopher Tolkien
2. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
3. Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach
4. The Honourable Schoolboy by John le Carré
5. Oliver's Story by Erich Segal
6. Dreams Die First by Harold Robbins
7. Beggarman, Thief by Irwin Shaw
8. How to Save Your Own Life by Erica Jong
9. Delta of Venus by Anaïs Nin
10. Daniel Martin by John Fowles

A mixed bag indeed in 1977, with no overarching theme.

We do get the amusing conjunction of male and female introspection, however, in Richard Bach's Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, which has been described as "Jonathan Livingston Seagull without the seagulls"; and Anaïs Nin's "shocking" volume of erotica, Delta of Venus (shocking only in the sense that it is supposed to have been written by a woman, though questions about its origins remain, and like all sex-writing proving that one person's erotica is another person's bore-fest).

Erica Jong's How to Save Your Own Life is a different sort of introspective work, about the dissolution of a marriage.

Erich Segal's Oliver's Story is a follow-up to his 1970 #1 best-seller, Love Story, and presupposes that the reader cares what happened to Oliver Barrett IV. Irwin Shaw's Beggarman, Thief is a sequel to Rich Man, Poor Man (#10 in 1970), and follows the next generation of the warring Jordache family.

Harold Robbins' Dreams Die First is about a man building a personal empire on tabloid journalism and sleaze.

Colleen McCullough's The Thorn Birds is about a Irish immigrant family on a sheep station in the outback of New South Wales, and the lives of the second and third generations.

John Fowles' Daniel Martin is about an ex-pat British intellectual returning home from Hollywood to sort out the pieces of his life.

John le Carré's The Honourable Schoolboy is a Cold-War espionage novel about the consequences of the exposure of a double agent.

The year's unlikely best-seller, however, was J. R. R. Tolkein's posthumously published "prequel" to The Lord Of The Rings, The Silmarillion.

Edited: Aug 5, 2022, 8:02 pm

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein in what is now South Africa in 1892, but raised in England after the death of his father. He was largely educated at home and an early and passionate reader. His mother converted to Catholicism over the protests of her family and, after her early death from diabetes, he and his brother were consigned to the guardianship of her friend, Father Francis Xavier Morgan, to be raised as Catholics.

Tolkein's early studies led him to an interest in root languages and constructed languages. At Oxford, he began studying classics but changed to English language and literature, graduating with honours in 1915. Already at odds with his relatives over his involvement with his future wife, Tolkein was estranged even further when he resisted pressure to enlist in order to finish his studies. He did so subsequently and served the next two years in France, participating in the Battle of the Somme in which several of his closest friends died, and from which he emerged deemed "medically unfit" and consigned to hospital and garrison duties. As he struggled with recovery, Tolkein began writing The Book Of Lost Tales, a mythological history of England. Though the project was later abandoned, its principles would shape his later career.

Tolkein's first post-war job was with the Oxford English Dictionary, working on the history and etymology of words of Germanic origin. In 1920, he took a post as reader at the University of Leeds, where he wrote A Middle English Vocabulary and co-authored what is considered the definitive edition of Sir Gawain And The Green Knight. He also began work on a translation of Beowulf, which would not be published until after his death.

In 1925 Tolkein returned to Oxford as Professor of Anglo-Saxon, and began to write the novels which would ultimate define him: The Hobbit, first published in 1937, and the trilogy known as The Lord Of The Rings, published in 1954/1955. These works of high fantasy are set in the mythical realm of Middle-earth, fully realised by Tolkein in terms of the history, genealogy and language of its people.

Tolkein's novels received at first a mixed critical reception, but their literary reputation and popular success grew over time until, in the early 70s, the shy academic found himself an unlikely pop-cultural cult figure. Professional honours followed: in 1972, Tolkein was made a CBE, and received an honourary Doctorate of Letters from Oxford.

Following Tolkein's death in 1973, his son, Christopher, who was appointed his literary executor, began attempting to bring into coherent order the background writings to the sagas of Middle-earth which his father had been writing and reshaping (and trying, but failing, to publish) since prior to the publication of The Hobbit. After four years of work in partnership with fantasy author, Guy Gavriel Kay, Christopher Tolkein published the constructed volume as The Silmarillion. It would go on to become America's best-selling book of 1977.

Edited: Sep 11, 2022, 9:27 pm

Publication date: 1977
Genre: Fantasy
Read for: Best-seller challenge

The Silmarillion - Christopher Tolkein's editorial rendering of his father's ever-evolving back-story to his celebrated fictional works, The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings, is an astonishing work in both respects. In this imagined mythology, J. R. R. Tolkein offers a fully-realised piece of world-building, beginning with the pre-existence of Eru, or Ilúvatar, who creates eternal spirits known as the Ainur---granting them the gift of music, through which they themselves create a physical realm known as Arda. One of the Ainur, Melkor, rebels against Enu, and is finally cast out into Arda; while other of the Ainur choose to take physical form as the "Valar", and be bound to the new world, preparing it for the coming of Elves and Men. Melkor, determined in his anger and jealousy to destroy the work of the Valar, finally captures the Silmaril, jewels holding the last of the original light of Arda forged by Fëanor, of the Elvish people known as the Noldor. Subsequently, Melkor retreats to his stronghold of Angband, then becoming known as "Morgoth", the Dark Enemy; while the Noldor dedicate their bloodline to the recovery of the Silmaril: an oath that will lead to eons of wars involving both Elves and Men, and bring about the near-destruction of Middle-earth... Though not quite as impenetrable as its reputation would insist, The Silmarillion is a work that demands a dedicated reader (or anyway, a sufficiently stubborn one). Though eventually it touches upon the better-known facets of Tolkein's imagined worlds, introducing Elrond and Galadriel, amongst other of the Elves; recounting Morgoth's corruption of a minor Valar into his disciple, Sauron; and describing the creation of the Rings of Power, these are peripheral aspects of a narrative that simultaneously mimics Genesis and renders this reimagining in the deliberately dense language of real and ancient mythologies, specifically those of Scandinavia. It mimics, in fact, the writing down of an oral tradition---complete with repetitions and re-tellings, shifting perspectives, and an ever-increasing cast of characters, places and peoples, each of whom carries at least one other name, and are part of a dizzying array of relationships worked out in Tolkein's created Elvish tongue (and which required, for this reader, constant breaking of concentration to re-check the glossary). The early phase of The Silmarillion - the "so-and-so begat such-and-such" phase, if you will - is particularly difficult; but there does come a point in the book where a much greater ease enters Tolkein's writing, a sense that he was there telling the stories clearest in his own mind and closest to his heart; and this section of his work is richly engaging. This is self-evidently not a book for everyone - not even for everyone who loves Tolkein's other works - but with the right attitude (and correctly adjusted expectations) the rewards are there.

    Last of all is set the name of Melkor, He who arises in Might. But that name he has forfeited; and the Noldor, who among the Elves suffered most from his malice, will not utter it, and they name him Morgoth, the Dark Enemy of the World. Great might was given to him by Ilúvatar, and he was coeval with Manwë. In the powers and knowledge of all the other Valar he had part, but he turned them to evil purposes, and squandered his strength in violence and tyranny. For he coveted Arda and all that was in it, desiring the kingship of Manwë, and dominion over the realms of his peers.
    From splendour he fell through arrogance to contempt for all things save himself, a spirit wasteful and pitiless. Understanding he turned to subtlety in perverting to his own will all that he would use, until he became a liar without shame. He began with the desire of Light, but when he could not possess it for himself alone, he descended through fire and wrath into a great burning, down into Darkness. And darkness he used most in his evil works upon Arda, and filled it with fear for all living things.
    Yet so great was the power of his uprising that in ages forgotten he contended with Manwë, and all the Valar, and through long years in Arda held dominion over most of the lands of the Earth. But he was not alone. For of the Maiar many were drawn to his splendour in the days of his greatness, and remained in that allegiance down into his darkness; and others he corrupted afterwards to his service with lies and treacherous gifts. Dreadful among these spirits were the Valaraukar, the scourges of fire that in Middle-earth were called the Balrogs, demons of terror.
    Among those of his servants that have names the greatest was that spirit whom the Eldar called Sauron, or Gorthaur the Cruel. In his beginning he was of the Maiar of Aulë, and he remained mighty in the lore of that people. In all the deeds of Melkor the Morgoth upon Arda, in his vast works and in the deceits of his cunning, Sauron had a part, and was only less evil than his master in that for long he served another and not himself. But in after years he rose like a shadow of Morgoth and a ghost of his malice, and walked behind him on the same ruinous path down into the Void...

Edited: Aug 5, 2022, 9:53 pm


Edited: Aug 6, 2022, 8:25 am

>155 lyzard: Is it OK for me to be a wee bit disappointed that you had to read Tolkien instead of The Thorn Birds? I've never got on with Tolkien and I was mildly obsessed with the McCullough when I read it as a young teen. Maybe my first literary love affair with Australia, come to think of it!

Aug 5, 2022, 9:56 pm

>159 rosalita:

Ah, but I've read The Thorn Birds. And this probably did me more good, in forcing me out of my comfort zone. Might have been fun to get Steve's reaction to it, though. :D

I just hope your next literary love affair with Australia goes well!

Aug 6, 2022, 1:40 am

Finished The Matarese Circle for TIOLI #14...

...and currently busy slamming my forehead against my keyboard...

...because ARE YOU @#$%ING KIDDING ME!!!???

What is this, some sort of karmic punishment because I made a joke!?


Aug 6, 2022, 1:41 am

Well. I felt like I needed some comfort reading before, and now I need it twice as much:

Now reading Clue For Mr Fortune by H. C. Bailey; still reading The Double-Thirteen Mystery by Anthony Wynne.

Aug 6, 2022, 3:28 am

>159 rosalita: Me too. When I cleared Mum's house she had a copy on her shelves that I very nearly added to the "keep pile". Just not sure that the adult me would react to it the same way as the teenage me did. So I let it go...

Never managed to make my way through any Tolkein, mind you, I've not actually tried all that hard.

Edited: Aug 6, 2022, 11:15 am

>157 lyzard: That's a very even-handed review of a book that I know was ... not a significant source of enjoyment, let's say. Nicely done. I agree that it's not as impenetrable as its reputation, and that was the most pleasant surprise for me in a read that (for LOTR-loving me) had multiple rewards.

>160 lyzard: Yeah ... as you've guessed, I haven't read The Thorn Birds, though I do remember when the miniseries aired and everybody (but me) was reading it. I probably won't pick it up until it's part of a challenge, so opportunity missed, I guess. No chance it was banned in Boston, I expect.

>161 lyzard: Having peeked ahead, I have been waiting for this reaction. Which is not too say I don't sympathize. My issues with Chesapeake had to do with historically accurate attitudes about race in the American South -- I can't imagine that a similar project set in South Africa will be less wearing.

Aug 6, 2022, 6:02 pm

>163 Helenliz:

I did read the others many years ago (The Hobbit was an early assigned high school text!) but haven't felt any urge to revisit. OTOH I've read The Thorn Birds twice (at different ages for different reactions), so there's that. :D

>164 swynn:

It isn't that I didn't enjoy it, but I found it hard work: there was hardly a point where I wasn't conscious of READING, which I think the best writing takes you out of.

You would probably have got along better with The Thorn Birds than I did with The Silmarillion: you've certainly survived a lot tougher in the course of this challenge! (And there's stuff in it that certainly would have got it banned in Boston, back in the day!)

Brutal. Just brutal. :(

And yes, I don't really feel like being dragged through that either; though you do wonder if A led to B.

Not to be nasty, but I think we've settled the question of how much of his own research he did: he can't possibly have researched AND written one of these things in two years (though it probably helped that he was NEVER ASKED TO EDIT ANYTHING).

Anyway, I guess I won't be tackling With Fire And Sword next month!

Aug 6, 2022, 6:06 pm

The good news: available at my library.

The bad news: 877 pages.


Aug 7, 2022, 6:13 pm

After all the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth (okay, call it was it is, self-pity), I thought I'd cheer things up with some pictures of the boys.

Chester was cooperative as usual ("Make sure you get my good side!") but Spike just wanted me to stop bothering him so he could go back to sleep:


Aug 7, 2022, 7:00 pm

>167 lyzard: Chester, I am also not at my cheeriest when being awakened from a lovely nap. I see you.

Aug 7, 2022, 8:50 pm

Oh, Spike…I have a very nice gray friend for you: you think alike.

Aug 7, 2022, 9:28 pm

>167 lyzard: Hi Boys!

How is Chester since the dental surgery?

Aug 8, 2022, 3:18 am

Is it really International Cat Day? Serendipity! :)

>168 rosalita:, >169 Matke:

For context that nap was off the back of rampaging around the house for an hour, chasing each other up and down the stairs and doing crash-tackles into the furniture. Well-earned, I suppose they would say.

>170 NinieB:

Really good, thanks! And now that he doesn't have the discomfort in his mouth, he's turned into the biggest cheek-rubber!

Aug 8, 2022, 3:21 am

Oh, well. One more won't hurt. :)

Aug 8, 2022, 3:22 am

aww such lovely boys.

Aug 8, 2022, 6:45 am

They are so handsome, soaking up a little warmth together.

Aug 8, 2022, 11:26 am

>172 lyzard: Aww the cuties!

Aug 8, 2022, 12:17 pm

>172 lyzard: I'm going to test my ability to distinguish between two ginger cats: Is that Chester on the left and Spike on the right? I'm fully prepared to be wrong ...

Edited: Aug 8, 2022, 6:05 pm

>173 Helenliz:, >174 Matke:, >175 MickyFine:

A highly misleading representation of their relationship!

That's an older photo but I like it because that was pretty much the first time they ever cuddled together. :)

>176 rosalita:

Nope, that's right! The light isn't great in that area so you can't always see the difference but Chester is a darker ginger and Spike is much lighter with white patches.

Aug 8, 2022, 6:07 pm

>169 Matke:, >174 Matke:

Oh, Gail, while you're here---I see you have The Three Taps listed for TIOLI: are you starting the Miles Bredon series properly or did you just pick that up randomly? If the former, giver me a shout when you get to The Body In The Silo: I've been stuck there for ages and would like to get it moving again. :)

Aug 8, 2022, 6:29 pm

Finished Clue For Mr Fortune for TIOLI #5.

Now reading The Case Against Andrew Fane by Anthony Gilbert; still reading The Double-Thirteen Mystery by Anthony Wynne.

Aug 8, 2022, 7:16 pm

>177 lyzard: yes, I was using the photo in >167 lyzard: to guess that Chester was a darker color than Spike, and hoping that wasn't just a trick of the lighting!

Aug 9, 2022, 7:21 am

>178 lyzard: Hi! I am going to (slowly) work my through the Knox books. I’ll let you know when I get to The Body in the Silo.

Three Taps is a lot more amusing than I thought it would be, and yet just a bit tedious at the same time.

Aug 9, 2022, 7:43 am

>181 Matke:


I didn't do well at envisaging the taps, I confess! :D

Edited: Aug 10, 2022, 6:16 pm

Finished The Case Against Andrew Fane for TIOLI #11.

I do have a couple of normal* reads I need to tackle, but given how the next two months' reading is shaping up I've decided that the rest of August will be given over to mostly mysteries.

(*Not very normal)

So now reading Inspector Frost And Lady Brassingham by Herbert Maynard Smith; still reading The Double-Thirteen Mystery by Anthony Wynne.

Aug 13, 2022, 5:54 pm

Finished Inspector Frost And Lady Brassingham for TIOLI #9.

Now reading Little God Ben by J. Jefferson Farjeon.

Aug 15, 2022, 6:25 pm

Finished Little God Ben for TIOLI #2 (hopefully, waiting on a ruling phew, yes!).

Edited: Sep 11, 2022, 9:31 pm


As you would know, I have been trying to be better about skipping unavailable series works, hence the ludicrously long supplementary lists to my actual series lists.

One of the most frustrating examples involves the Desmond Merrion / Inspector Arnold books by "Miles Burton"---aka "John Rhode", real name: Cecil John Street.

Rhode's Dr Priestley series was notoriously tied up in a legal tangle for decades, with most of its earlier works unavailable until very recently, when the mess was sorted out and the missing books began creeping back into existence. They still aren't all available, but the majority of them are now accessible one way or another.

The same situation, only worse, is true of the Burton books, where the same legal tangle existed, plus people were weirdly slow in discovering that "Rhode" and "Burton" were the same person---resulting in far less push for the latter. The result is that most of the early works in this (also) very long series are still unavailable, although individual works pop up sporadically for no readily discernible reason.

Such is the case with the third book in both the Merrion and Arnold series*, Death Of Mr Gantley, which has recently been uploaded to the Internet Archive (and given rise to ebooks of dubious legality).

(*Though Merrion and Arnold co-appear in the great majority of the Burton books, each also appears in standalones, so my OCD insists on treating them separately, just to complicate things even more.)

To the best of my knowledge, the beginning of each series looks like this:

Desmond Merrion:
#1: The Secret Of High Eldersham (1930) {weirdly enough, never out of print}
#2: The Three Crimes (1931) {unavailable}
#3: Death Of Mr Gantley (1932) {Internet Archive}

Inspector Arnold:
#1: The Three Crimes (1931) {supporting character only; ibid.}
#2: The Menace On The Downs (1931) {supporting character, but not to Desmond Merrion; rare, expensive copies exist}
#3: Death Of Mr Gantley (1932) {ibid.}

ETA: Oh, goodie! - just come across evidence that I may have the publication order wrong for these three works...

ETA2: HA!! - the cover for Death Of Mr Gantley has it as by "the author of The Menace On The Downs", so all that copyright chasing wasn't necessary... :D

(This was obvious one of Rhode / Burton's insanely busy writing periods, as he wrote at least two Dr Priestley books also in 1931!)

Aug 15, 2022, 6:44 pm


Now reading Death Of Mr Gantley by Miles Burton; still reading The Double-Thirteen Mystery by Anthony Wynne.

Aug 16, 2022, 5:24 pm

Howdy, Liz! I have started The Barrakee Mystery and I am in need of some Oz-to-US translations, please:
The "sundowner", for Clair at that time was carrying his swag with no intention of accepting work, sat facing the bow and propelled the boat forward by pushing at the oars.
What is a sundowner?

It is the law of New South Wales that no white man shall enter a camp of blacks.
Why? Or should I say, "for whose protection"? And I assume this is no longer the law?

Edited: Aug 16, 2022, 7:07 pm

>188 rosalita:

Oh, nice! This takes me back to the old, old days of translating Jane Austen for Madeline! :D

Pretty much always, but during the Depression in particular, Australia had an itinerant population known as swagmen, who travelled from place to place doing work in exchange for food and a night's lodging before moving on. A sundowner was a swagman who tended to turn up at the end of the working day (at sundown) looking for the food and lodging but without any intention of doing the work.

At that point, both. The destruction of the traditional way of indigenous life was moving into its last stages at the time, with attempts to preserve it by not interfering (any more) warring with efforts to force the natives to accept that it was happening and "adapt". This is something that comes up repeatedly in these books.

Edited: Aug 17, 2022, 6:58 am

>189 lyzard: I was one of many beneficiaries of your tutored reads (for me, it was Middlemarch and Trollope's Barsetshire novels that were most valuable for helping me get maximum enjoyment out of those classics), so I'm delighted to be calling you into service once again!

I've since moved onto Chapter 2 and encountered what I assume is an ethnic slur that I've never seen before. I was familiar with "abo" as shorthand for aboriginal but "gin" was new to me, and felt pretty icky in the context. I'm betting it's thankfully fallen out of favor, much as the ethic slurs we encountered in the early Rex Stout novels are no longer considered appropriate for casual conversation. I don't like them but I know they are unfortunately to be expected when reading literature from a different era.

And as to the plot itself, it's already shaping up to be a humdinger. Hints of revenge! Family secrets! People who know more than they are telling! It's all catnip. :-)

Aug 17, 2022, 7:52 am

>190 rosalita:

That's an awkward word because it has two meanings, one straight, one derogatory. Originally it meant "wife" or "married woman", but later it took on a secondary meaning in context of the sexual exploitation of native women by white men.

So it is used frequently in these books in the straight sense, which is one of the things you just have to deal with (to be clear, not intended as a slur at all; not in the sense of a slur in casual use).

Excellent! - I look forward to further reports. :D

Aug 17, 2022, 8:18 am

>191 lyzard: I'll definitely keep in mind that it isn't necessarily a slur — though in this context, using it to refer to a native women servant — seems like at best a borderline case. This is a good example where familiarity with the culture can prevent leaping to conclusions based on only partial understanding. I'm sure I'll be back with more questions!

Aug 17, 2022, 6:15 pm

>192 rosalita:

It probably just meant that they had an older woman as a servant, rather than a girl which was more common.

Aug 17, 2022, 6:16 pm

>193 lyzard: Ah, that makes sense and definitely fits.

Edited: Aug 17, 2022, 7:35 pm

Publication date: 1931
Genre: Contemporary drama
Series: The Forsyte Chronicles #7
Read for: Series reading / TIOLI (set in or about London)

Maid In Waiting - After the shocking conclusion to Swan Song, John Galsworthy shifted his focus to a different set of characters: hence the change in nomenclature, at this point, to "the Forsyte Chronicles". At the centre of the final trilogy of his series are the Charwell family (pronounced, and usually spelled, Cherrell), relatives of the Monts---with Michael not appearing at all in this novel, and Fleur only in a minor role (though not, alas, not at all). The sprawling narrative encompasses several threads of the family: the socially connected and slightly eccentric Lady Emily Mont, Michael's aunt; Adrian Cherrell, quietly in love with a woman whose violently unstable husband has voluntarily committed himself to a mental hospital, and who therefore cannot divorce him if she would; the Reverend Hilary Cherrell and his wife, May, who practise an unorthodox brand of faith while doing sterling work amongst London's poor; and above all, Hubert Cherrell, an officer in the air force, and his sister, Elizabeth, nicknamed 'Dinny'. At the centre of the novel is a question that would hardly have been raised had it been written some years earlier, exactly why families like the Cherrells so automatically devote themselves to service of king and country. Hubert is precisely the kind of young man upon whose back "the Empire" was built; and when the narrative of Maid In Waiting opens, "the Empire" is proving itself singularly ungrateful. On leave from the service, Hubert joined an expedition in Bolivia led by a dynamic young American scientist called Hallorsen. The expedition ends in failure, and worse than failure, when Hubert shoots and kills a local muleteer---he says, in self-defense, but alone with the man and his team, he cannot prove it. Hallorsen, unused to failure, publicly denounces Hubert---ruining his reputation and placing his military career in jeopardy, as well as, eventually, his life, with the Bolivian government seeking his extradition on a charge of murder... Maid In Waiting is a curious and not altogether satisfactory novel; albeit that it provides an intriguing contemporary picture of a changing England in the years leading up to WWII---and of a family whose dedication to "service" is seeming more and more like a hollow pursuit. The problem, however, is that Galsworthy is insufficiently detached, too sympathetic, to hold the Cherrells and their ilk up to the scrutiny his plot demands; and there is no question that he shares their outrage and indignation at the thought of Hubert being held to account over the killing of the Bolivian. Another issue is the shifting presentation of Hallorsen, who backs down from his initial blame-shifting far too quickly, even allowing for the influence of his growing attraction to Dinny Cherrell; who, similarly, is too quickly forgiving when she becomes acquainted with the American. For all these plot-threads, it is ultimately Dinny who forms the backbone of Maid In Waiting. It is hard to think otherwise than that John Galsworthy intended Dinny as a deliberate contrast to the self-absorbed Fleur Mont, who dominated the previous trilogy. Dinny, conversely, is warm and generous, and in her way as self-sacrificing as the rest of the Cherrells. Devoted to Hubert, she becomes completely absorbed in his escalating crisis, and determined to go to any lengths to secure his vindication. This resolve brings her to the attention of two very different men: Hallorsen himself, and Alan Tasburgh, a naval officer and the brother of the young woman who gets involved with Hubert at the worst possible time. Though her focus remains upon Hubert, Dinny must also deal with two determined if very different courtships, while wondering increasingly at her own lack of response: something she gradually attributes to a growing sense that she is waiting for something as yet unknown...

    After seeing the children Diana went to her bedroom to lie down, and Dinny to her mother's sitting-room. "Mother, I must say it to someone---I am praying for his death."
    "For his own sake, for Diana's, for the children's, for everybody's; even my own."
    "Of course, if it's hopeless---"
    "Hopeless or not, I don't care. It's too dreadful. Providence is a wash-out, Mother."
    "My dear!"
    "It's too remote. I suppose there is an eternal plan---but we're like gnats for all the care it has for us as individuals."
    "You want a good sleep, darling."
    "Yes. But that won't make any difference."
    "Don't encourage such feelings, Dinny; they affect one's character."
    "I don't see the connection between beliefs and character. I'm not going to behave any worse because I cease to believe in Providence or an after life."
    "Surely, Dinny---"
    "No, I'm going to behave better; if I'm decent it's because decency's the decent thing; and not because I'm going to get anything by it."
    "But why is decency the decent thing, Dinny, if there's no God?"
    "O subtle and dear Mother, I didn't say there wasn't God. I only said His plan was too remote... No, Mother, if I'm decent, it will be because decency was devised by humans for the benefit of humans; just as beauty is devised by humans for the delight of humans..."

Edited: Aug 18, 2022, 6:32 pm

Finished Death Of Mr Gantley for TIOLI #4.

And having finally sorted out the publication order to my OCD's satisfaction, this leaves me in the following situation with regards to the Merrion and Arnold series (which overlap except as noted; ** = read)

**(M) #1: The Secret Of High Eldersham (1930) {weirdly enough, never out of print}
(M/A) #2/1: The Three Crimes (1931) {unavailable}
(A) #2: The Menace On The Downs (1931) {rare, expensive}
**(M/A) #3: Death Of Mr Gantley (1932) {Internet Archive}
(M/A) #4: Fate At The Fair (1933) {unavailable}
(M/A) #5: Tragedy At The Thirteenth Hole (1933) {unavailable}
(M/A) #6: Death At The Cross-Roads (1933) {unavailable}
(M/A) #7: The Charabanc Mystery (1934) {unavailable}
(M/A) #8: To Catch A Thief (1934) {unavailable}
(M/A) #9: The Devereux Court Mystery (1935) {unavailable}
**(M/A) #10: The Milk-Churn Murder (1935) {Internet Archive}
(M/A) #11: Murder Of A Chemist (1936) {unavailable}
**(M/A) #12: Death In The Tunnel (1936) {Kindle}
(M/A) #13: Where Is Barbara Prentice? (1936) {rare, expensive}
(M/A) #14: Death At The Club (1937) {unavailable}
(M/A) #15: Murder In Crown Passage (1937) {unavailable)
(M/A) #16: Death At Low Tide (1938) {Internet Archive}

(So you understand my befuddlement at the sporadic availability of these works.)

Aug 18, 2022, 7:20 pm

>196 lyzard: That is quite strange — way too many "unavailable" in that list.

Aug 18, 2022, 7:51 pm

>197 rosalita:

And the weird way one will suddenly become available: Death Of Mr Gantley showed up for no reason after the later books; you can imagine how I felt about that! :D

Edited: Aug 18, 2022, 7:54 pm


Well, I was going to run into my academic library today and finish off The Double-Thirteen Mystery, but the weather has turned foul and rainy, and there's just too much walking involved, so I think I'll be putting that off until next week.

Also think I'll be swapping my leaving-the-house clothes for my much more warm and comfy slopping-around-the-house clothes. :D

Aug 18, 2022, 7:54 pm

So anyway---

Now reading Who Spoke Last? by John Victor Turner; and yup, still reading The Double-Thirteen Mystery by Anthony Wynne.

Edited: Aug 21, 2022, 6:58 pm

Tangent time. Again.

So "John Victor Turner", the author of my current read, turns out to be English mystery writer, David Hume, who also wrote as "Nicholas Brady". Under these three identities he started three different series in 1932: the one closest to his heart seems to have been the one he published under his own name (makes sense) featuring private investigator, Mick Cardby. This appears to be an attempt at a "hard-boiled" detective series set in London: Hume burned through 29 Cardby novels in only 18 years, until he died.

Meanwhile we have the rather exasperating Amos Petrie series, as by "John Victor Turner", 7 books between 1932 - 1936; and the 4-book Ebenezer Buckle series by "Nicholas Brady", 1932 - 1944.

Alas for Hume's own passion, the latter two series are (or currently seem to be) much more readily accessible than his Mick Cardby books, where - as so often - the early ones are very hard to find.

Aug 21, 2022, 7:00 pm

Finished Who Spoke Last? for TIOLI #10.

Now reading The Man Who Killed Fortescue by John Stephen Strange.

But since I'm having to read that online, I'm going to need a bath book. Consequently---


---now reading Elsie And Her Loved Ones by Martha Finley.

And oh yeah, still reading The Double-Thirteen Mystery by Anthony Wynne; I will get that wrapped this week.

Aug 21, 2022, 7:21 pm

>201 lyzard: Now there's a man with far too much time on his hands! Although one of my favorite mystery writers is Lawrence Block, who has written at least six series that I know of, so I guess some folks just have more going on in the idea pan than others.

Aug 21, 2022, 7:33 pm

I have finished The Barrakee Mystery and now have a complete set of additional questions:

Mr. Thornton, the man who owns the Barrakee sheep station, is referred to throughout as "the squatter," which is American English refers to someone who occupies a dwelling or property without ownership or tenancy rights. Obviously that's not the case for Mr. Thornton; is this term still common and is it restricted to ranchers or does it apply more generally to landowners?

he rolled up the sleeves of his vest to his armpits,
I know that the word "vest" refers to somewhat different garments in American and British English, but I'm pretty sure both are sleeveless. What sort of contraption was being worn here?

He owned the leasehold of twenty-five thousand acres of first-class country, each two hundred and fifty acres equal to one English acre.
I searched the internet for information about differing sizes of various "acre" designations, but found nothing about Australian acres. Were Australian acres at the time of this publication actually so much smaller than English (and thus also American acres which I believe were slightly different than English but not by a factor of 100). Or is it perhaps meant to signify the relative percentage of the total land mass of each country, Australia being enormous and England being tiny?

I think I figured this last one out on my own, but toward the end Clair asks Dugdale to give him what he needs to write a letter. Dugdale brings him pen, ink, and a "writing-block". From later context, I gather this is another term for a pad of writing paper?

Aug 21, 2022, 9:48 pm

>204 rosalita:

Crikey! :D

"Squatter" is a word that completely changed meaning. Originally (that is, early 19th century) it meant people illegally occupying land: people who started their own farms and sheep stations without a lease on what was Crown land. Most of this went on out of the range of law enforcement, because the distances were so great and the population so sparse. And many of them did such a good job that the government capitulated, granted them leases, and in some cases granted, or allowed them to purchase, even more land. This is how many of the biggest sheep stations in the country got started, and "squatter" became the term for their owners who were some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in the country. Because of this, together they were sometimes called the "squattocracy".

(We still do use "squatter" in the urban sense of occupying a residence without legal standing.)

A "vest" in this sense would have been an undershirt of some kind, long-sleeved for going under the outer layers. It probably had a v-neck so as not to show and may have been called a vest because of that.

I'm not sure of that one but I think the areas of land they were dealing with were just so vast they used it as a kind of conversion factor.

Yes, they were of a thicker paper so the ink wouldn't soak through and came in a kind of box that could be used as a small portable desk.

Aug 22, 2022, 7:43 am

>205 lyzard: "The Squattocracy" sounds more like a medical condition than a collection of rich people. :-)

I was also interested in the whole Land Lottery subplot. When Upfield writes that the government " 'resumes a dozen or so small areas of land every year from the big pastoral leases' " does that refer to taking land back from some of those original squatters?

Also, I f you can recommend any solid histories of this period of Australian history, let me know.

Edited: Aug 22, 2022, 5:46 pm

>206 rosalita:

Yes, some of the land was still technically leased not owned so the government could take areas of it back. These were the blocks that went into the 'land lottery'. I'm not sure how they decided what and how much to take and how it was sorted out by the lease-holders.

That's tricky: there are plenty of histories but most of them tend to focus earlier, or on a particular subject at that time---for instance Australia's Great Depression by Joan Beaumont examines 1914 - 1937, but in terms of how different population groups countrywide were affected and how the governments managed (or didn't).

Claud Nortman's "Of Sheep And Men" might be more what you're looking for but I don't know how easy it is to find. (It's not on LT so that speaks for itself.)

There's a series called "Australian Timelines": these include Australia At The Time Of Federation by Jordan Thomas and The Commonwealth of Australia: Evolving Into A Nation by Scott Brodie, which might cover some of this.

Aug 22, 2022, 6:08 pm

I should be writing reviews, of course, but instead I'm thinking about September. (I blame Madeline, for putting up TIOLI extra early!)

This month went a bit weird, and I didn't get to some of the challenge reading as intended. I'm hoping still to get through the following:
- The Man Who Killed Fortescue by John Stephen Strange
- Wolf In Man's Clothing by Mignon G. Eberhart
- Elsie And Her Loved Ones by Martha Finley
- The Vampyre by John William Polidori

Next month I'll be suffering from a recurring bout of Micheneritis, so once again that will dictate the rest. However, it is also shared-reads month, which will soften the blow:

The Covenant by James A. Michener {best-seller challenge}
The Life And Adventures Of Valentine Vox, The Ventriloquist by Henry Cockton {C. K. Shorter challenge}
Pilgrims by Ethel Mannin {Banned in Boston! challenge}
The Hunterstone Outrage by Seldon Truss {Mystery League challenge}
The Red Box by Rex Stout {shared read}
The Mystery Of The Talking Skull by William Arden {shared read}
Elsie And Her Namesakes by Martha Finley {series reading}

Aug 24, 2022, 5:41 pm

Finished The Man Who Killed Fortescue for TIOLI #7.

Still reading The Double-Thirteen Mystery by Anthony Wynne and Elsie And Her Loved Ones by Martha Finley (and hoping to knock over both of them today!).

Aug 25, 2022, 10:51 am

>208 lyzard: Happy to see that you're not tackling Pilgrims or The Red Box til next month. Because my month also went weird and it'll be next month at the earliest for me too.

Aug 25, 2022, 6:12 pm

>210 swynn:

Months do do that. :)

No worries at all. I'm still working on finding out if after all I can get Pilgrims as an ILL after all, which would make things a lot easier, but the library isn't being very responsive.

Aug 25, 2022, 6:20 pm

There's a song by Puddle Of Mudd that I would like to dedicate to James Albert Michener.

Unexpurgated version.


(Please ignore my semi-tame magpie in the background, he ruins the vibe I'm going for.)

Aug 25, 2022, 7:34 pm

Finished The Double-Thirteen Mystery for TIOLI #1, AND finished Elsie And Her Loved Ones for TIOLI #5.


Now reading Wolf In Man's Clothing by Mignon Eberhart.

Aug 26, 2022, 3:14 pm

>212 lyzard: I love magpies, so can't ignore ;-)
I also love most big tomes I have read :-)

Aug 26, 2022, 6:04 pm

>214 FAMeulstee:

We've had a shocking run of weather since late last year and during it I started putting some food out for the local lorikeets. Now I'm feeding them, four magpies, two currawongs and some mynahs that the rest (and me) can't chase away. :)

Well, you're welcome to this one {*grumble, grumble*}.

Though I notice that it's about ten pages shorter than Chesapeake so obviously I have nothing to complain about, right!? :D

Aug 26, 2022, 6:17 pm

>215 lyzard: We have some magpies regular visiting our garden. I love to watch them.

This Michener is under 1000 pages in Dutch translation, should be doable.
I hope to read two really big ones next month, 1785 and 2160 pages. I don't expect to finish them both, but I will try ;-)

Aug 27, 2022, 3:00 am

>216 FAMeulstee:

I have a family of four who scream at me if the food delivery is a bit slow. :D

No, for me it's been way too much, too close together*. One every couple of years might have been a different matter.

(I know, I know: my own fault!)

Aug 27, 2022, 3:25 am

Finished Wolf In Man's Clothing for TIOLI #17.

Now reading The Vampyre by John William Polidori.

Aug 27, 2022, 6:04 pm

Finished The Vampyre for TIOLI #13.

That is also #100 for the year, which means I am still on track - just - for 150; whoo!

Edited: Aug 27, 2022, 6:22 pm

The Vampyre was the 1819 work for my 'Century Of Reading' challenge. My next gap comes at 1825, which seems to have been a fairly undistinguished year.

There's always the obvious choice of Walter Scott, who published The Betrothed and The Talisman that year.

Other possibilities are the ominously titled Moderation, by the didactic children's author, Barbara Hofland; and The Rebels, an historical novel set in pre-Revolutionary War Boston, by Lydia Maria Child (a feminist, abolitionist and advocate for Native American rights who interests me more than her novel does).

I shall have to think about this one...

Aug 27, 2022, 6:28 pm

>219 lyzard: Congratulations!

I think I’m going to give The Vampyre a look-see. Seems like kind of a strange little thing, but now I’m curious. You got me with a BB!

Karen O

Edited: Aug 27, 2022, 6:42 pm

>221 klobrien2:

Karen! - hi, thanks so much for visiting! :)

Thank you!

The Vampyre isn't particularly well-written, but it's an important work given that England really didn't have a tradition of horror writing. And anyway, it's readily available and it's short, so you can't go too far wrong. :D

Aug 27, 2022, 6:45 pm

If I had any sense, I'd knuckle down and make a start on The Covenant, so it doesn't take too big a chunk out of September. (September!? Yikes!)


Now reading Incognita; or, Love And Duty Reconcil'd by William Congreve.

Aug 30, 2022, 5:39 pm

Finished Incognita; or, Love And Duty Reconcil'd for TIOLI #13.

Which means I can't (and shouldn't) put this off any longer---

Now reading The Covenant by James A. Michener.

Aug 30, 2022, 5:52 pm

As it turns out, all of the challenge / shared reading listed above fits comfortably into TIOLI this month (strangely, really, because the challenges are generally awkward), so hopefully that provides some extra impetus to get them all read.

The fly in the ointment is that Ethel Mannin's Pilgrims is *not* available for ILL and will have to be read in-library. This is also the case for Seldon Truss' The Hunterstone Outrage, so whether I get through remains to be seen.

Of course what I should do is use the train-time to get through more of The Covenant...

Aug 30, 2022, 6:01 pm

>225 lyzard: If you're going to be hauling around a Michener novel, I hope it's an ebook!

Edited: Aug 30, 2022, 6:07 pm

Aug 30, 2022, 6:32 pm

Aug 31, 2022, 6:59 am

Think of it as weight training.

Edited: Aug 31, 2022, 7:33 pm

>229 Helenliz:


My usual procedure with a book like this is to go to bed a bit earlier so that I can read with it propped up and the weight off my wrists: I tried that last night, but of course the boys decided at the same time that they wanted to cuddle; tricky! :D

Aug 31, 2022, 9:38 pm

Well, the reviews aren't getting written, so I've pulled my usual trick of starting a new thread to see if that helps.

A word of caution, though: I have followed through on my promise / threat regarding my thread-toppers; so those of you who need a trigger-warning, consider this it! :D

Hope to see you brave souls there anyway...

Thread #5