Saturday, November 30, 2019

Left-Handed Death by Richard Hull

I hadn't read anything by Richard Hull, so this was a first try. This is a compressed story, compared to the other titles by the Author, and built around a psychology, that I found confusing at times and interesting at others. I spent the first part of the book trying to figure out where the Author was going with the plot. Although, most Readers will see Guy as the star of the book, the time spent with Mr. Pennington, and with Cynthia Trent is much more interesting. She would normally be the love interest and it would have added more in my opinion, if it had gone that way.

I think this book would have worked better for me, if it had been longer. It would still have relied on much of the back and forth and irascible characters, but at times it felt a little flat. Hull is still worth reading and 1946 was a great Era for British Authors. I love the Golden Age Authors and their writing, so, I am going to read another Hull to compare.


Blurb:

His pen scratched the paper slowly, “I murd – I say, how do you spell ‘murdered’?”

Shergold Engineering Company has come into a bit of financial trouble. And it seems the Ministry-sent Barry Foster might just have something to do with it.

The company directors, Arthur Shergold and Guy Reeves, decide Foster must be stopped, and when Reeves confesses to the murder, it’s surely an open-and-shut case.

But as Detective Hardwick looks closer at the confession, he’s not so sure Reeves is their man.

Filled with comic wit and an ingenious plot, Left-Handed Death is a classic Richard Hull crime not to be missed.





Thursday, November 14, 2019

Death in Room Five by George Bellairs

George Bellairs writes a tense mystery set in France with twists and turns back to the War Years. An Englishman named Alderman Dawson was stabbed, while Inspector Little John is on vacation with his wife. That leaves a group of English Tourists stranded and clamoring for Scotland Yard. Inspector Littlejohn is assigned to work with the French Police and unravel the facts.

Each of the characters have a background with things to hide and do a good job of it, until- the Inspector decides to visit their hometown in England on a day trip. Within the course of the investigation the murder becomes increasingly confusing but worse...will more murders occur? Littlejohn must race the clock to try and prevent more happening.

One of the best parts of the Littlejohn Series by Bellairs are the characters after the War years.  Blustery, desperate and coy Women, mixed with unhappily, browbeaten, or bullying men. I think the Author excels in a temperamental mix of old and young English. At times I can almost feel I know these people. The Landscape is rich in detail and has a voluminous appeal with vacationing French and the middle-class English. The English are touring in a scenery that has turned into a nightmare for them. Bellairs never disappoints me...although I favor some of his more English background works, this is a good mystery. I recommend this one for its description of the inner working of the police force in 1955 and for those of us who love this age of Mysteries.

Blurb:

The British bulldog does not let go until the murderer is brought to justice. But this is not Scotland Yard, Inspector. This is France…

This trip to the French Riviera isn’t what anyone signed up for: while Littlejohn loses his vacation, another man loses his life.
When Alderman Dawson, the victim of a deathly stabbing, calls Littlejohn to his deathbed, the inspector is left with no choice but to investigate.

With twelve suspects in play and motives dating back to WWII, this might be one of his toughest cases yet.

More bodies are turning up and the French police are unwilling to investigate… could this be the case that even Littlejohn can’t solve?

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Death Has Deep Roots by Michael Gilbert

Michael Gilbert was an unknown Author to me. He published his first book in 1949 and this one in 1951, but had a long career in writing. This Story had its background in France during WWII... which led to a Murder several years after the War had ended. The odd circumstances are presented through the eyes of a great cast of characters. Several people are working to save Martine, part of the French Resistance, who they believe to be innocent.

The way Gilbert tells this story holds your interest all the way to the last page. There is a strong sense of urgency to save a young Woman's life, and find the guilty party. But is she innocent and if so how could the murder possibly have been committed? In some ways the setup is similar to a locked room but not quite. You have a tense, fast-moving plot, murder, attempted murder, and an ensemble of people all connected with the French Resistance.

I had never heard of this Author, but, simply found the Cover and blurb interesting. I have always had a love of World War II mysteries and this one does not disappoint. It may be set a few years after... but the heartbreak, courage and greed...the best and the worst of people, go hand- in-hand with this mystery. It is also a tribute to the Women they left behind in its own fashion, but mostly, it is just a good old heart-thumping mystery and I will be hunting for more of Gilbert's work.

Blurb:

An eager London crowd awaits the trial of Victoria Lamartine, hotel worker, ex-French Resistance fighter, and the only logical suspect for the murder of her supposed lover, Major Eric Thoseby. Lamartine—who once escaped from the clutches of the Gestapo—is set to meet her end at the gallows.
One final opportunity remains: the defendant calls on solicitor Nap Rumbold to replace the defense counsel,and grants an eight-day reprieve from the proceedings. Without any time to spare, Rumbold boards a ferry across the Channel, tracing the roots of the brutal murder back into the war-torn past.
Expertly combining authentic courtroom drama at the Old Bailey with a perilous quest for evidence across France, Death Has Deep Roots is an unorthodox marvel of the mystery genre.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

The Allingham Minibus by Margery Allingham

Margery Allingham's series of short stories has a tribute by Agatha Christie  who praises her as a "shining light". One of the characteristics of her writing is that often a story or book has an element of eerie, memorable, scenes as the first story in our Book.But then Allingham's second story has a bitterly sweet, cynical element to it. Each story helps you realize what a consummate Writer she is and how in a few pages she will set an atmosphere... so remarkable... as to leave you within it for a day or two.

This book is a series of stories from a Golden Age Writer at the top of her ability. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. Five Stars...



Blurb:

Margery Allingham is perhaps the greatest master of detective fiction in the world. Voted one of the best mystery writers of all time. She weaves spine-tingling complex puzzles that challenge even veteran fans. Her hero, Albert Campion, that ironic understated detective--like Holmes and Poirot--can take a bit of evidence and unravel an entire, sinister plot. The Allingham Minibus is an exotic, often bizarre collection of her best stories, each guaranteed to delight those who love suspense.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Lowcountry Boomerang (A Liz Talbot Mystery Book 8)

Susan M. Boyer does a rip-roaring, mystery with this one. It has lots of action, plenty of interesting characters, and the sweet romance between our Protagonists. This time the murder of Trina Lynn Causby has Liz Talbot and her Husband Nate working overtime. They are defending Darius Baker, the retired star of Mainstreet U.S.A. With such lush characters as Moon Unit and other varied, southern characters this book is a page turner in the true sense. I sat and read the whole thing at one go.

Not only is the charm of the story the ripe setting of Stella Maris, but parts of it were so funny I laughed out loud.  The varied food makes you want to visit and if I ever find Chef's better than Charleston or this particular Island they will never get rid of me. Additionally, the fact that Liz and her Husband are Private Investigators is a plus. If Magnum P.I. had been married with this setting...well you get the picture. Treat yourself and read this one. I enjoyed it. 


Blurb:

Private investigators Liz Talbot and Nate Andrews are all set to enjoy some quality time on the beach. That’s until they get the news about Darius. Darius DeAndre Baker, star of the hit TV show, Main Street USA, has had enough of the Hollywood highlife. After ten years of visiting everyone else’s hometown, he returns to his own—Stella Maris, South Carolina.

But the moving trucks have barely unloaded when Trina Lynn Causby, Darius’s high school girlfriend, turns up dead, and the entire town reels as Darius is arrested.

Despite the mounting evidence against him, Liz and Nate believe Darius is innocent. They dig through a scandalously long list of suspects, including Darius’s three ex-wives—who have all arrived in Stella Maris—and his love child with Trina Lynn.

But Trina Lynn led a complicated life. She had at least one stalker and two suitors—one with a jealous wife who recently made a deliciously outrageous scene when Trina Lynn turned up at a charity ball.

As the danger mounts, Liz and Nate race to find a killer and clear Darius’s name—and keep him alive.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

The Christmas Card CrimeAnd Other Stories Edited by Martin Edwards

The Christmas Card Crime is a British Library Crime Classic loaded with short stories from some of the best Authors of the Golden Age of Writing. Each story is a gem of a mystery written by such famous names as Carter Dickson, better known as John Dickson Carr, Cyril Hare, John Bingham and many others. Bingham, 7th Baron of Clanmorris was recruited into MI5 and was the inspiration for John LeCarre's famous Spy Smiley. Each of these stories introduce you to an Author, which may be unfamiliar in this day and age, but are fascinating for further reading. 

The stories are a mix of everything. They include past murders- unsolved, puzzling, not quite locked- door mysteries and even a Gothic tone tucked into one. I found the Christmas theme so cozy, with snow and little tucked- away English Homes or Hotels- a treat to sit and read. It is hard to talk about a particular style when you have such a variety of Authors but this was the heyday of English Mysteries and each one is a work of Art.

I happen to love this Era of writing, particularly in mysteries, and I found several new Authors that I will further pursue and read full-length novels- after enjoying their short story. I hope you will do the same. Get your cup of hot tea and prepare to enjoy. Five Stars and I am highly recommending.

Blurb:

Monday, June 24, 2019

Manor of Dying (A Hampton Home and Garden Mystery Book 4) by Kathleen Bridge

Meg Barrett and her friend Elle are headed for Nightingale Manor, the site of a former mental asylum, complete with the history of a grisly murder. They are to pick out historical props for an upcoming series set in the 1930's. But when they arrive there is friction between factions and the house itself is cold and forbidding. The inventory is in the attic but the tension everywhere else has Meg curious, listening- for Murder is in the air...

I really loved the plot. The type of work Meg does and her friend Elle, that is exactly what I would like to do, particularly in set research for film. The additional plus of cataloging inventory and Thirties decor, between the two, was a major plus. The whole book read like my dream life with a dream job. I suspect many Readers will feel this way. This is Book 4 so there is quite a bit to take in.. especially the first few chapters. The pace is fast though and before I knew it I was halfway through the Book.

The descriptive details are amazing... a  ferry with its rough waves and a gray, forbidding ocean...a small cottage tucked into Montauk with views of a lighthouse.   But all through the Book these charming details are sprinkled and they add to the story along with- the warm friendship between Elle and Meg. Some of these characters I have not met yet, such as a boyfriend who delivers yachts to buyers and has invited Meg to Cornwall. But I can't wait to do so...

The shivery aspect of the Manor House, complete with Tombstones next to the gate house or tickets tucked into an armless doll, will enthrall everyone. Added to that, the forbidding, coldness of the Rooms and the basement which still houses the Asylum gurneys, will guarantee this will be a story you want to read. I could not stop until I had devoured the last page. Five stars


Blurb:

In a new Hamptons Home & Garden Mystery, Meg Barrett will have to uncover the truth about a long-ago murder before a killer decides she’s history . . .

When decorator Meg Barrett travels to a remote mansion to help select period pieces for a new 1930s-style television mystery series, she’s chilled to learn that the manor was once a mental asylum and the site of a mysterious decades-old murder. And when a fierce blizzard knocks out the power and strands Meg and her cohorts in the home’s rickety old elevator, they emerge to discover that another person has been murdered—in the same macabre manner as the original victim.

With a suspect list limited to those who were also stranded at the manor, Meg begins digging through their backgrounds for clues to both the old and new murder, trying to discover a connection that will lead her to the culprit’s identity. But the more she learns, the more clear it becomes that someone wants to keep the secrets of the past buried, and Meg knows she’ll have to watch her back before a ruthless killer decides to commit her to a grisly fate . . .

Includes scrumptious recipes and vintage decorating tips!