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Archive for July, 2019

Mystery Monday Review – Death on the Agenda

Monday, July 29th, 2019

Death on the Agenda by Patricia Moyes

Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)

The mysteries of Patricia Moyes were written from the Sixties to the Eighties but they exemplify the traditional British detective story, since violence occurs offstage and the light tone is amusing.

Moyes wrote 19 mysteries and many short stories starring the main characters of Henry and Emmy Tibbett. Henry is a Scotland Yard Inspector but homemaker Emmy brings her canniness and pluck to the table. She also bucks up Henry when he’s down. Like Nick and Nora as well as Campion and Amanda, the crime-solving couple makes for a stable domestic atmosphere that long-time married readers can connect with. Moyes was well-travelled and she sets Henry and Emmy down in various interesting locales. For Death on the Agenda (1962) they are in Geneva for a convention of law enforcement officers working against the drug trade. Moyes likes to describe natural settings such as mountains and lakes. Like Patricia Wentworth of Miss Silver fame, Moyes is also skillful with people’s appearance and their clothes and fashion accessories.

A member of the conference staff is murdered. Henry finds himself one of two solid suspects. The evidence is so solid against him that for a couple of moments he wonders if he had a brainstorm and stabbed the victim dead with a dagger. Surprisingly, Henry, at the dangerous age of 45, has a flirtation with another woman, an attractive, intelligent and kind Australian, which sends Emmy rather off the rails too.

While some readers may not feel easy with the semi-adultery, others may be uncomfortable with gun-play in which one character shoots a gun out of another’s hand. How Dick Tracy! Also there is the standby of the Golden Age mystery: the excessively ingenious method of murder. I sigh, but other readers would not.

I’m not giving anything away when I say that things turn out fine. The rich are no better than they should be. The Tibbett marriage stays intact. The killer is caught. Stability restored.

I’ve read two by Moyes lately and both were good enough to drive to snap up about half-dozen additional books with Henry and Emmy at used book sales. I think if a reader likes Ngaio Marsh and Margery Allingham, she’ll like Patricia Moyes.

 

 

 

 

Free Book Friday Winner!

Sunday, July 28th, 2019

 

The Winner of the Brand New Copy of

 Three Story House by Courtney Miller Santo

is:

Annie C. (annie18thc)

Congratulations! Your Book will be on the way to you soon!

Thank you to everyone who entered!

Free Book Friday – Three Story House

Friday, July 26th, 2019

Three Story House by Courtney Miller Santo

 

Renovating an historic Memphis house together, three cousins discover that their spectacular failures in love, career, and family provide the foundation for their future happiness in this warm and poignant novel from the author of The Roots of the Olive Tree that is reminiscent of The Postmistress, The Secret Life of Bees, and Kristin Hannah’s novels. Nearing thirty and trying to avoid the inescapable fact that they have failed to live up to everyone’s expectations and their own aspirations, cousins and childhood best friends Lizzie, Elyse, and Isobel seek respite in an oddly-shaped, three-story house that sits on a bluff sixty feet above the Mississippi. As they work to restore the almost condemned house, each woman faces uncomfortable truths about their own failings. Lizzie seeks answers to a long-held family secret about her father in her grandmother’s jumble of mementos and the home’s hidden spaces. Elyse’s obsession with an old flame leads her to a harrowing mistake that threatens to destroy her sister’s wedding, and Isobel’s quest for celebrity tempts her to betray confidences in ways that would irreparably damage her two cousins. Told in three parts from the perspective of each of the women, this sharply observed account of the restoration of a house built out of spite, but filled with memories of love is also an account of friendship and how relying on each other’s insights and strengths provides the women a way to get what they need instead of what they want.

 

ISBN 9780062130549, Paperback

There are currently  6 Members Wishing for this book.

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, July 28, 2019 at 12 noon ET, 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 Long Goodbye

Monday, July 22nd, 2019

The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler

Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)

This 1953 mystery includes all the characters required by a noir detective thriller of the Fifties. Trigger-happy bullies. Gambling kingpins. Dope doctors. Elegant women. The idle rich. The hard-pressed poor. The squeezed middle class. Honest cops who use dodgy methods on the good and the bad alike. Drunken artists, tortured writers. In their midst, Philip Marlowe, a tough PI that refuses to be pushed around.

The murder of the daughter of a California mega-millionaire is pinned on Terry Lennox, with whom Marlowe used to share gimlets (half gin, half lime juice) in the Victor Bar. Marlowe is warned by thugs in all stations of life not to meddle in the incident. Philip Marlowe reminds us of a Weimaraner in that while there is a trail to explore, he will follow it until he finds the answer, not caring about who he runs past or over.

Though in his other books Chandler’s incident and plots took a backseat to tone, setting and atmosphere, in this one, the twists and obstacles make sense. Like life and like work, one issue seems resolved only to have another, hydra-like, leap up to take its place. The complexity of the plot drew me in to the point where I could not keep from reading it. The plot turns come to an unexpected and sad end that may leave a bitter taste in the mouth, though it makes me eager to read another novel with Marlowe.

For readers interested in the use and misuse of alcohol, the novel is also about drinking as the basis of relationships and when heavy drinking shades into alcoholism. The book claims “A man who drinks too much on occasion is still the same man as he was sober. An alcoholic, a real alcoholic, is not the same man at all … he will be someone you never met before.” Throw that out for discussion the next time you hit the neighborhood watering hole.

Chandler’s longest, most ambitious novel is still being read after more than half a century. Mysteries like this, I hope, will never get old.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mystery Monday Review – The Complete Curious Mr. Tarrant

Monday, July 15th, 2019

The Complete Curious Mr. Tarrant by C. Daly King

Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)

 

Readers that like Ellery Queen or Philo Vance may also like the stories in The Curious Mr. Tarrant (C. Daly King, 1885-1963). Set in the mid-1930s, Trevis Tarrant is a gentleman of means, filling his leisure with solving strange and scary happenings. He is ably assisted by his Japanese valet-butler Katoh, who, though inconsistent with being a medical doctor and master spy, speaks preposition and article-free English (what was author King thinking?).

This book has eight short stories of bizarre cases and sometimes gruesome killings. By an American author but never published in the US until Dover released a facsimile edition (ISBN 0486235408) that preserves the old font and British English spellings. It’s mildly disconcerting to hear the tone of true-blue American lunk head (narrator Jerry Phelan) but read “recognise” and “kerb.”

This novel survives among hard-core readers of classic mysteries partly because it is listed in Ellery Queen’s Quorum: The 125 Most Important Books of Detective-Crime Mystery Short Stories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free Book Friday Winner!

Sunday, July 14th, 2019

The Winner of the Brand New Copy of

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

is:

Molly M. (starlite713)

Congratulations! Your Book will be on the way to you soon!

Thank you to everyone who entered!

Free Book Friday – Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

Friday, July 12th, 2019

 

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol. — Maybe one day he’ll believe that being different is okay, important even. — But not today. — The New York Times bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook, Matthew Quick, brings an unflinching eye to the impossible choices we deal with everyday-and the light in us all that never goes out.

ISBN 9780316221351, Paperback

There are currently  9 Members Wishing for this book.

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, July 14 , 2019 at 12 noon ET, 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!