Classic crime in the blogosphere, October 2013

Finnish blogger pulpetti is preparing a book on British paperback crime writers. This month he wrote a short entry on Peter Chester, aka Dennis Phillips.

Finnish blogger pulpetti is preparing a book on British paperback crime writers. This month he wrote a short entry on Peter Chester, aka Dennis Phillips.

October was another bumper month for classic crime reviews. I’ve listed everything I noted down, and here are some first-time offenders I thought worth highlighting:

quiteirregular hosted an entertaining guest blog by lawyer, sailor and writer A. J. Hall, who looked at Dorothy L. Sayers’ Five Red Herrings (1931) – her (to be honest, pretty boring) attempt at a ‘pure puzzle’ mystery.

Not only does this mean lists of railway times and connections on every other page, it produces scenes set at drinks parties where characters earnestly discuss why they ought to have caught the 7.30am express from Dumfries, rather than the ghastly 11.22am, or connected with the 1.46pm by taking the 10.56am from Gatehouse of Fleet. Though we’ve all been to parties like that, they don’t tend to be either lingered over at the time or fondly remembered in retrospect.

Hall also notes:

Most of the railway lines she describes in meticulous detail fell to the Beeching axe in 1965 (several had ceased to operate earlier). If one goes up to Kirkcudbright these days, one travels through a landscape filled with mysterious earthworks, their slopes overgrown with gorse, dotted with odd remnants of ruined masonry. British Rail blew its bridges behind it when it retreated from Galloway.

The blogger perinvitus reluctantly reviews movies, and early in the month looked at the Boulting brothers’ adaptation of Brighton Rock (1947), which starred Richard Attenborough as junior psychopath Pinkie:

Attenborough never seems to blink. He is cold, calculating, and capricious. He has an affinity for cats’ cradles and hats that shadow his face, giving him a Harvey Dent-esque umbral sinisterness. Here though he misses his bottled acid, which he brandished menacingly in the book, and which for me was a symbol of his hatred of the world around him – desiring, as he does, to disfigure it. Attenborough is menacing with his razor nonetheless.

Finally, the TLS can hardly be called a newcomer, or even a blog, but it did publish a good piece on the recent reissues of British writer Gerald Kersh by publishers Valancourt and London Books.

These reissues are signs of a revival of interest in this strange and compelling writer whose ramshackle cv included stints as a cinema manager, bodyguard, debt collector, fish frier, travelling salesman, teacher of French and all-in-wrestler.

See also:

Annabel’s House of Books

A Penguin a Week

Battered, Tattered, Yellowed and Creased

Beneath the Stains of Time

Bitter Tea and Mystery

Clothes in Books

Col’s Criminal Library

Confessions of a Mystery Novelist

The Dusty Bookcase

In Search of the Classic Mystery

My Reader’s Block

The Passing Tramp


Pretty Sinister Books



Riding the High Country

At the Scene of the Crime

Tipping My Fedora


Vanished into Thin Air

Vintage Pop Fictions

Yet Another Crime Fiction Blog

You Book Me All Night Long

About pastoffences

Past Offences exists to review classic crime and mystery books, with ‘classic’ meaning books originally published before 1987.
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7 Responses to Classic crime in the blogosphere, October 2013

  1. TracyK says:

    Thanks for the mention. This is overwhelming richness of links and I will have to catch up on the ones I haven’t yet visited.

    Just now I checked out the review of Asimov’s A Whiff of Death. It has a lovely skull cover I have to have. I did know that Asimov had written detective novels and I have read a couple, but I did not know of this one’s existence.


    • westwoodrich says:

      Glad to include you 🙂

      Re Asimov – same here. I’ve read (and not particularly enjoyed, to be honest) some of his Black Widowers stories, but this one sounds more like something I’d like.


  2. This is such a good feature, Rich, and not just because you kindly mentioned me. I find all kinds of useful links and new books from it….


  3. Thanks for the inclusion in such august company rich – and great news about Kersh, one of my favourite authors – cheers.


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