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.
Of 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…
Battered, Tattered, Yellowed and Creased
Beneath the Stains of Time
- Richard Forrest’s The Death at Yew Corner (1981)
Bitter Tea and Mystery
The Book Trail
- William McIlvanney’s Laidlaw (1977)
Classic Mystery Hunt
- Agatha Christie’s Five Little Pigs (1942)
Cleopatra Loves Books
Clothes in Books
- Len Deighton’s London Match (1985)
- Robert Player’s Let’s Talk of Graves, of Worms, of Epitaphs (1975)
- Agatha Christie’s Sparkling Cyanide (1945)
- Georgette Heyer’s No Wind of Blame (1939)
Col’s Criminal Library
- Michael Avallone’s Shock Corridor (1963)
- Ed McBain’s Driving Lessons (1999)
- Joel Townsley Rogers’ The Red Right Hand (1945)
- Jonathan Latimer’s Red Gardenias (1939)
Confessions of a Mystery Novelist
- Georgette Heyer’s A Blunt Instrument (1938)
The Consulting Detective
- Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Valley of Fear (1914)
The Cozy Mystery List Blog
Crime Fiction Lover
- Georges Simenon’s A Man’s Head
Crime Scraps Review
- Colin Dexter’s The Secret of Annexe 3 (1983)
- Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1893)
- Ed. John D. MacDonald The Lethal Sex (1959)
- Edmund Crispin’s Frequent Hearses (1950)
- Nancy Spain’s Not Wanted on Voyage (1951)
Kansas City Public Library
- Ellery Queen’s The Greek Coffin Mystery (1932)
Man of La Book
- Ian Fleming’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1963)
To the Manor Born
- Joanna Cannan’s Murder Included (1950)
Mysteries in Paradise
- Mary Roberts Rinehart’s The Circular Staircase (1908)
- Ngaio Marsh’s Last Ditch (1977)
- Georgette Heyer’s Duplicate Death (1951)
- Victor L. Whitechurch’s Murder at the Pageant (1930)
- Mavis Doriel Hay’s Death on the Cherwell (1935)
The Passing Tramp
- Ellery Queen’s The Origin of Evil (1951)
- Sarah Weinman (ed) Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives (2013)
- Helen Nielsen’s Gold Coast Nocturne (1951)
Pretty Sinister Books
- Kathleen Moore’s The Blue Horse of Taxco (1947)
Reactions to Reading
- Clayton Rawson’s Footprints on the Ceiling (1939)
In Search of the Classic Mystery
Something is Going to Happen
Tipping My Fedora
- P. D. James’ Shroud for a Nightingale (1971)
Tony’s Reading List
- Georges Simenon’s The Mahé Circle
Vintage Pop Fictions
- R. A. J. Walling’s The Five Suspects (1935)
- J. J. Connington’s Murder in the Maze (1927)
- John Creasey’s Meet the Baron (1937)
- John Rhode’s The Motor Rally Mystery (1933)
The Westlake Review
- Richard Stark’s The Jugger (1965)
What are You Reading for?
- James Crumley’s The Last Good Kiss (1978)
Writing About Books
- Ngaio Marsh’s Died in the Wool (1940)
Yet Another Crime Fiction Blog
- Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902)
You Book Me All Night Long
- Richard Stark’s The Hunter (1962)