July 2014’s classic crime in the blogosphere

My favourite title of the month was reviewed by Moira over at Clothes in Books.

My favourite book title of the month was reviewed over at Clothes in Books.

July was pretty busy chez Past Offences, so I’m sure I’ve only caught a proportion of the crime fiction book blogging out there. Apologies if I’ve missed you.

To the Manor Born is a blog by Lucy R. Fisher who, inspired by Jilly Cooper’s Class, is charting the progress of her characters today. Lucy looked back to 1950 and Joanna Cannan’s Murder Included, finding plenty of class-consciousness to consider in this traditional mystery:

They are sent Inspector Ronald Price, a solidly lower middle-class socialist who has the gall to live in Finchley and eat in a dining recess with folkweave curtains. His bathroom contains a mirror-fronted cupboard full of laxatives, and a cork-seated linen basket. His idea of a good meal is tinned soup, potato pie and trifle (stale cake and instant custard). He is also pompous, calling sleep “recuperative slumber”.

For the record, nothing wrong with trifle, but I won’t have folkweave in the house. Whatever it is.

Another 1950 classic turned up this month. Ground Report is an open news platform, a bit underground-y, and this month, bizarrely, ran a review of Edmund Crispin’s Frequent Hearses:

Crispin is a poet of dinginess. Luckily for him, the British movie industry is the world’s dingiest — or was in 1950, when this book was published.

Crispin may have been a poet, but I’m not sure it was of dinginess. Anyway, good to see him cropping up outside of classic crime blogs.

From hearses to coffins. Kansas City Public Library is a public library in Kansas City. This month librarian Bernard Norcott-Mahany read Ellery Queen’s fourth novel The Greek Coffin Mystery (1932):

The Greek Coffin Mystery presents a younger Ellery (this adventure takes place before the earlier published novels), with Ellery still in college. Ellery, though he is given to strange reveries, is not coldly arrogant in this novel. He also seems much more conversant with the classics of literature here than he had been in the earlier novels, where he seemed downright proud of his ignorance of the classics. He is more approachable than in the earlier novels, but he does display a young man’s confidence in his own infallibility.

Something is Going to Happen is a blog edited by Ellery Queen’s successor at EQMM. This month short-story writer Kevin Wignall guest-blogged about his affection for Graham Greene:

I was talking to my local indie bookseller a few weeks back and he pointed out that although he still sells a steady trickle of Christie mysteries, and continues to sell a reasonable number of Greene’s contemporaries—Waugh, Fitzgerald, Hemingway—he doesn’t sell a Graham Greene novel from one month to the next. He seems to have fallen out of fashion in some way.

Greeneland is a long way from Glasgow, but that’s where we’re heading next.  The Book Trail is a blog which explores the world through literature. This month it looked at New York, New England, and at the 70s Glasgow of William McIlvanney’s Laidlaw (1977)

The Glasgow humour and foreboding even appears in a simple description of the weather: Sunday in the park. It was a nice day.  A Glasgow sun was out, duly luminous, an eye with cataract.’
This may not be the kind of tour that a guide from Visit Scotland might offer and indeed remember that this IS fiction and that Glasgow is one of the friendliest and cultural cities in Scotland. Not to mention the  walks beside the canals, the pedestrian city centre and the architecture.

ColumboOf course, the 70s has one major export: Columbo. The Cozy Mystery List Blog does just what it says on the masthead. I defy anyone to deny that Columbo isn’t their favourite TV cop, and in a month in which we heard that Mark Ruffalo might be usurping Peter Falk in the role, the cozy bloggers looked back at the original.

Columbo truly is one of the great mystery detectives – he’s clever and tenacious, observant and perceptive. But Columbo’s true genius is that he doesn’t show his genius. Although Peter Falk wasn’t the first pick to play Columbo, after you have watched a few of the episodes you will see that the part was absolutely written for him! He is phenomenal in this part.

For what it’s worth I think Ruffalo could do it, and not just because of the physical resemblance. I hope this project comes off.

What’s that? No 1939 books? Well, you’ll just have to wait…

See also…

Battered, Tattered, Yellowed and Creased

Beneath the Stains of Time

Bitter Tea and Mystery

The Book Trail

  • William McIlvanney’s Laidlaw (1977)

Classic Mysteries

Classic Mystery Hunt

Cleopatra Loves Books

Clothes in Books

Col’s Criminal Library

Confessions of a Mystery Novelist

The Consulting Detective

The Cozy Mystery List Blog

Crime Fiction Lover

Crime Scraps Review

Dandelion Ink

Domestic Suspense

Ground Report


Kansas City Public Library

Man of La Book

To the Manor Born

Mysteries in Paradise

Noah’s Archives


Oxford Times

The Passing Tramp

Pretty Sinister Books

Reactions to Reading

In Search of the Classic Mystery

Something is Going to Happen

Tipping My Fedora

Tony’s Reading List

Vintage Pop Fictions

The Westlake Review

What are You Reading for?


Writing About Books

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.
This entry was posted in Classic crime round-up, Information Received and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to July 2014’s classic crime in the blogosphere

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    Thanks, Rich, for the kind mention 🙂


  2. Great collection there Rich, and thanks for the shoutout. It’s great there’s so many good classic crime reviews out there, but that’s a lot of compiling for you to do (even without 1939…) – but much appreciated by us all I think.


  3. Jose Ignacio says:

    Rich I’m a bit behind my review of No Orchids for Miss Blandish. I’ll post it tomorrow I hope. Nice round-up as always. Cheers.


  4. Fantastic roundup Rich – thanks chum.


  5. TracyK says:

    Thanks for the links to my posts. I loved the info on Columbo. We have all the DVDs and have watched all but the latest ones multiple times. I never get tired of them.


  6. Thanks for the link, much appreciated. Excellent summary of what else is out there, too


  7. Rich, I just got my 1939 book review posted. Very last minute, but at least it didn’t take me until 2039!


  8. Keishon says:

    Great round up. Thanks!


  9. Col says:

    Cheers for the links.
    My favourite books that others read would be the couple of Stark-Parker’s and the Laidlaw book. Most over-rated – The Crumley – everyone else seems to swoon over it!.
    Black Wings and some Fleming to be read at some point.


  10. Each month I am reminded how little I’ve read. Yet still I keep coming back 🙂


  11. John says:

    Thanks, Rich, for including me in the round-up. But I have to point out that *all* of my posts at Pretty Sinister Books in July (not just the one on Knight’s book) were on vintage detective and crime novels. However, I didn’t manage to find one from 1939.


  12. realthog says:

    A great roundup, as usual . . . and many thanks for the shoutouts. I’m hoping to post tomorrow on GoodReads (I know, I know) a few brief notes on Ambler’s Cause for Alarm, which was like Mask of/Coffin for Dimitrois first published in the US in 1939. As you know, I’ve already done the 1939 movie The Spy in Black on my .Noirish site.


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