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Archive for November, 2018

Mystery Monday Review – The Moving Target

Monday, November 19th, 2018

The Moving Target by Ross Macdonald

Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)

This is the first Lew Archer mystery –MacDonald named him after Miles Archer, Sam Spade’s murdered partner in The Maltese Falcon. Published in 1949, WWII hangs heavy over the story.

A distraught wife hires private detective Archer to search for her missing husband. It seems an almost inconsequential case, a matter that occurs in Archer’s agency every day. Nothing indicates crime is involved until we get into kidnapping and human trafficking in a case that will cost six lives.

Ross Macdonald is mentioned in the same breath as Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler and is considered one of the greats of 20th century American crime fiction. He took the classic whodunit thriller to a different level by exploring the question of the social and psychological “why” and influenced the hardboiled genre in the long term.

For instance, in this one, echoing Simenon’s view that given the right combination of interior and exterior pressures, anybody is capable of anything, Archer explains that war’s undermining of certainties, money and social pressures, opportunity or its lack, bad luck, and the wrong crowd cause good people to make mistakes that attract the attention of the law. For others who are just bad to the bone, “Money is just a peg people hang their evil on.”

This was his fifth novel, and so there are flaws. Some spots are slow. Other parts are over-written, which made Raymond Chandler mock the writing as pretentious (talk about the pot … ). Macdonald later learned to restrain the “fine writing” and he later outpaced Chandler, Cain, and Hammet, especially in the Lew Archer novels.

 

 

 

Mystery Monday Review – Maigret Goes Home

Monday, November 12th, 2018

Maigret Goes Home by Georges Simenon

Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)

 

In this 1931 mystery, in the Quai des Orfèvres our favorite Chief Inspector accidentally comes across an anonymous note, “A crime will be committed at the church of Saint-Fiacre during the first Mass of the Day of the Dead.” The message was received by the police of Moulins, who shrugged – no doubt in a Gallic way – and passed it on to the Police Judiciaire de Paris.

Since Maiget spent his childhood at Saint-Fiacre, in the Allier, his curiosity is stirred and he goes immediately to the chateau, where his father had served as the loyal steward. Maigret attends the Mass in which the note forecasts the crime. Sure enough, the Countess of Saint-Fiacre dies of apparent heart failure.

The local doctor finds that the death of the countess was brought on by violent emotion. Maigret finds in the Countess’ missal a clipping from the Journal de Moulins announcing the death of Maurice de Saint-Fiacre, her son and heir. The latter had just arrived from Paris to the village, where he intended to sponge money off his mother to pay his copious debts. If the check bounces, it’s the clink.

The inquiry, conducted at the castle, at the village and at Moulins, takes place in a somber heart-rending atmosphere from the get-go. Maigret returns to the village of his childhood, with an aura of nostalgia. But it soon dawns on him that things have changed for the worse in the past thirty -five years.

The estate is no more than a shadow of what it was at the time when the Maigret’s father was serving it. The countess has sold off three of the four farms, since the death of the Comte de Saint-Fiacre. She has had to cover the profligate the investments and expenses of her son Maurice. The countess has allowed herself to be exploited by many “secretaries” who have been lovers. The last of these, Jean Métayer, feeling suspected and vulnerable, appeals to a provincial lawyer whose manner and way of speaking get up Maigret’s nose.

Upsetting somebody to death with a fake clipping is not a crime for the courts. But all agree that is was a disgusting moral offense. Maigret talks to people to get a bead on the milieu, as usual. Maurice de Saint-Fiacre, however, the day after the death, gathers all the suspects in a room.

 

 

 

 

Free Book Friday Winner!

Sunday, November 11th, 2018

 

 

The Winner of the Brand-New copy of
The Devil You Know by Elisabeth de Mariaffi is:

Betty V. (bettyv)

 

Congratulations! Your book will be on the way soon!

Thank you to everyone who entered!

Free Book Friday – The Devil You Know

Friday, November 9th, 2018

 

The Devil You Know by Elisabeth de Mariaffi

 

The year is 1993. Rookie crime beat reporter Evie Jones is haunted by the unsolved murder of her best friend Lianne Gagnon who was killed in 1982, back when both girls were eleven. The suspected killer, a repeat offender named Robert Cameron, was never arrested, leaving Lianne’s case cold. Now twenty-one and living alone for the first time, Evie is obsessively drawn to finding out what really happened to Lianne. She leans on another childhood friend, David Patton, for help but every clue they uncover seems to lead to an unimaginable conclusion. As she gets closer and closer to the truth, Evie becomes convinced that the killer is still at large and that he’s coming back for her. From critically acclaimed author Elisabeth de Mariaffi comes an “exceptional book full of surprises” (Suspense Magazine) about secrets long buried and obsession that cannot be controlled.

ISBN 9781476779096, Paperback

ISBN 9781451684575, Paperback

1 lucky member will win a brand-new copy.

To enter, simply leave a comment on this Blog post. You must be a PaperBackSwap member in good standing to win.

We will choose 1 winner at random from comments we receive here on the Blog from PBS members.

You have until Sunday, November 11, 2018 at 12 noon EST, to leave a comment.

Good Luck to everyone!

 

Note: All the books given away on Free Book Friday are available in the PBS Market. We have thousands of new and new overstock titles available right now, with more added hourly. Some of the prices are amazing – and you can use a PBS credit to make the deal even better!

 

 

Mystery Monday Review – The Case of the Demure Defendant

Monday, November 5th, 2018

The Case of the Demure Defendant by Erle Stanley Gardner

Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)

Nadine Farr’s head-turning beauty is no help in dealing with her anxiety symptoms. Bad dreams. Jumpy. Feeling guilty. She has turned to the retro-named Dr. Logbert Denair, a psychiatrist who has her do a talk session under the influence of truth serum. Under sodium pentothol, she confesses to poisoning her uncle and then throwing the bottle with the cyanide pills into a small lake. Dr. Denair recorded the confession on reel to reel tape. Fearing the legal consequences but not wanting to hand the tape to the police, the good doc consults attorney Perry Mason concerning how to proceed.

Mason tells the shrink that the statements of a patient are confidential and protected by professional privilege, but evidence a crime has been committed must be reported to the police. Mason, also reluctant to run to the police (which may lead to a defamation charge), points out that since the confession could be a delusion caused by drugs and thus not legally effective, the doctor had better make further inquiries. Denair hires Perry to take the lead since and who would know better that the illustrious legal expert?

This 1956 mystery has a lot of surprises. As for Mason, he is accused by Hamilton Burger, with frank and inhuman glee, of fabricating evidence. Things look pretty dicey for our hero until the last few pages. I would highly recommend this as better than average to readers who know they are fans of Perry, Della, and Paul but readers not used to Gardner’s shenanigans with evidence may be put off by the convoluted plot.