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Posts Tagged ‘mystery monday’

Mystery Monday – The Heat’s On

Monday, July 18th, 2016

The Heat’s On by Chester Himes

Review by Matt B. (buffalosavage)

This 1966 novel was re-published under the title Come Back, Charleston Blue, after the movie adaptation of the same name.

Two dope dealers, Sister Heavenly and Uncle Saint, are after a load of heroin stuffed into a string of eels. Their quest for this elusive stash results in a dozen murders and a bombing. Series heroes Grave Digger and Coffin Ed have to bend the law to get the job done.

This is a disturbing novel: Himes’ unrelenting vision posits a USA where thug and police lawlessness and violence are out of control, both fuel and exhaust of social breakdown. James Baldwin said of Himes’ Harlem novels, ”this web of ambiguity, paradox, this hunger, danger, darkness.”



Mystery Monday – Murder on Safari

Monday, February 8th, 2016

Murder on Safari by Hillary Waugh

Review by Matt B. (buffalosavage)


Waugh was the author of Last Seen Wearing (1952), the first of the police procedural genre.

Members of a safari to Kenya are divided into two groups: bird watching senior citizens and employees of a large privately held company. The mean racist owner-president is poisoned, then his son and daughter-in-law are dispatched in gruesome fashion.

The story is told from the point of view of a member who is also a journalist on the story of vacationing in game parks. He teams up with a burnt-out PI named Col. Dagger. This unfortunately brought to my wayward mind, “Col. Mustard in the library with the candlestick.”

As an example of the classic whodunit model published as late as the late 1980s, this was just okay. The characters are even more wispy than in usual genre novels. The unfolding of events and climax are unrealistic. As spiteful racists and cheats get knocked off, we feel no fear that a killer on a loose but callously relieved that the world is shut of thems that needed killin’