Tagged: mysteries

Classics Club #16: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

The house was a sepulcher, our fear and suffering lay buried in the ruins. There would be no resurrection. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier is a masterpiece of suspense that should not be missed by anyone who loves atmospheric settings, classic mysteries, or gorgeous prose. Ranked as the 9th greatest mystery novel of all time by the Mystery Writers of America, Rebecca entrances the reader with its lyrical sentences as the story slowly unfolds, picks up speed, and then builds into a page-turning climax. I enjoyed every sentence of this haunting...

Sherlock and Watson

Follow the Clues Mystery Challenge 2018

One of the reading challenges that took the most planning last year was the Follow the Clues Mystery Challenge from Bev at My Reader’s Block. I’m still working on finishing this year’s challenge, but it was such fun to set up that I’ve decided to try it again for next year. As Bev describes the challenge, the goal is to follow a set of clues furnished by the mystery books you read to create a body of evidence to support a book court case. Each book clue should...

The Story Knife by Fr. Brad Reynolds, S.J.

Late last year when I was trying to find books for the What’s in a Name Reading Challenge, the hardest to find was a book whose title included “an item of cutlery.” After a lot of searching I finally settled on a book I had last read in 1996 when it first came out, The Story Knife, a mystery by Fr. Brad Reynolds, SJ. Fr. Reynolds is a Jesuit priest (like Pope Francis), and he happens to have grown up right here in Spokane, Washington, where I live. I...

Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

What’s a clergyman to do when murder is committed in his home? Start investigating, that’s what, especially when Miss Marple lives next door. Leonard Clement is the vicar in St. Mary Mead, a small English village. He’s also the narrator of The Murder at the Vicarage, the first full length novel to feature Agatha’s Christie’s elderly sleuth Miss Jane Marple. When Colonel Protheroe is murdered in Clement’s study, the difficulty is not in finding a suspect, but in sorting through all the people who wanted him dead–including the vicar...

Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock Presents: A Deal Me In Challenge Status Report

One of my favorite reading challenges this year has been the Deal Me In Short Story Challenge. Every Sunday I look forward to drawing a random card from the deck to see what story I’ll be reading this week. At this point in the year I only have nine cards left, which means I’ve read 43 stories. I’ve enjoyed this challenge so much that I’m already looking at anthologies to use for next year’s challenge. If you’ve been following along, you might remember that my theme is year...

The Last Queen of England by Steve Robinson

If you love genealogy, mysteries, or stories set in contemporary London, then you will likely enjoy The Last Queen of England by Steve Robinson. Main character Jefferson Tayte is an American genealogist on a brief visit to London when he gets embroiled in an elaborate (and confusing) plot to topple the British monarchy. They key to the mystery lies in the genealogical records of the House of Stuart, but Tayte has to survive long enough to be able to solve it. This genealogical thriller is a quick and...

The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly

The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly

I had no idea when I began reading The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly that it was such a highly regarded mystery novel. I had heard of the movie starring Matthew McMcConaughey, so when the ebook went on sale for $2.99 I figured it was a pretty safe bet to be entertaining. It was all that and more. It’s no wonder that in 2006 it was awarded the Shamus Award and the Macavity Award for best mystery novel and, in 2010 was nominated for the Best Mystery Novel of...

The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie

The Man in the Brown Suit is a mystery novel, but it also reads like a grand adventure. There’s a murder to be solved for sure, but there’s also espionage, a perilous sea voyage, diamond smuggling, kidnapping, a journey across Africa, and romance. Looking back, I’m amazed at how much Agatha Christie was able to fit into the novel. And yet, it didn’t seemed forced or crammed in. Here’s how the publisher describes the book: Pretty, young Anne came to London looking for adventure. In fact, adventure comes...

4:50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie

“Don’t go,” said Cedric. “Murder has made you practically one of the family.” I haven’t picked up an Agatha Christie book quite a while, but reading 4:50 from Paddington was like easing into a comfortable pair of slippers. It has all the elements I like in a mystery: a startling murder, multiple suspects with interesting back stories, a plot twist or two, and a creepy old English manor thrown in as a bonus. If you’ve enjoyed Agatha Christie before, you’ll like what  you find here. If you’ve never read anything by...

The Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu by Sax Rohmer

Imagine a person, tall, lean and feline, high-shouldered, with a brow like Shakespeare and a face like Satan, a close-shaven skull, and long, magnetic eyes of the true cat-green. The Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu has all the weaknesses of the typical pulp stories of its era. It perpetuates racial and gender stereotypes, it relies too much on melodrama, and it overuses hyperbole. And yet, with all that, it still manages to entertain. The two protagonists, Petrie and Nayland Smith, are out to save the world from the evil genius Dr....

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Deal Me In Challenge: Stories #3, #4 and #5

The Deal Me In Challenge continues with three more macabre stories, each from a different one of Alfred Hitchcock’s anthologies. Over the past three weeks I drew the K♦, 7♦ and 2♥, which were assigned to the following stories: K♦ – “Prolonged Visit” by Hal Dresner from Alfred Hitchcock’s Hard Day at the Scaffold (read January 15, 2017): This was a pretty mediocre story about a mother-in-law who comes to visit and overstays her welcome. Besides perpetuating the stereotype of the intrusive mother-in-law, the story did not interest me at all. 7♦...

Deal Me In Reading Challenge

Deal Me in Challenge Stories #1 and #2

I love the concept of the The Deal Me In Challenge, hosted by Jay at Bibliophilopolis. For this challenge you choose 52 short stories for the year, reading one each week. What makes this challenge more fun is that you assign each story a different card from a deck of standard playing cards. Then each week you draw a card at random and read the story assigned to it. This is my first year participating, and I decided that my theme for the year would be “The Macabre.”...

The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux

I have no ambition to be an author. An author is always something of a romancer, and God knows, the mystery of The Yellow Room is quite full enough of real tragic horror to require no aid from literary effects. Gaston Leroux, The Mystery of the Yellow Room 2017 is here, and I’ve kicked off a new year of reading with The Mystery of the Yellow Room. This early twentieth century novel is a classic locked-room mystery by Gaston Leroux. Leroux is probably best known as the author of The Phantom...

Lord Darcy

Lord Darcy: Sherlock Holmes Meets Jonathan Strange

If you, like me, find the Harry Dresden series not to your taste, but like the idea of a magic-wielding detective, you might enjoy the Lord Darcy stories by Randall Garrett. Mix together Sherlock Holmes and Jonathan Strange, and add in a little alternate history, and you have an idea of what the Lord Darcy stories are all about. What if Richard Lionheart didn’t die, and what if the Protestant Reformation never happened? Garrett imagines an alternate history where in the twentieth century the Plantagenet dynasty still rules,...

The Penguin Complete Father Brown

Last Rites: Mysteries Featuring Catholic Detectives

For some reason there are a lot of Catholic detectives on the mystery shelves. I’m sure there are amateur detectives from other faiths (Rabbi Small, for instance), but Catholic priests and nuns seem to form their own sub-genre. Here are a few examples: Father Brown – The greatest of all ecclesial sleuths, G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown belongs in the ranks of the great detectives with Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, and Miss Marple. Chesterton’s stories are witty and clever, and very satisfying. All of his stories are collected in...