An Enigma Unveiled

El año en que quise ser B. Traven o cómo nació M. A. West by Alexis Ravelo

I did exchanged some emails with Margot Kinberg but we were unable to find out more about M. A. West. Now the enigma has been unveiled. And I look forward to reading El Viento y La Sangre, in Spanish of course. A hat tip to Alexis Ravelo.

Last June 15th, Margot wrote Quote Thanks for that link. I did a little research, and so far, have not found out much about this author. Apparently though, she wrote several pulp fiction/detective novels, most of them ‘hardboiled.’ But there is little available about her work. In fact, I cannot even find a link to the original English version of El Viento y La Sangre. But I did find a few things. Here is one resource. And here is another. Unquote

More about Alexis Ravelo at The Game’s Afoot:

The Pekinese Strategy by Alexis Ravelo (Synopsis) 

Alexis Ravelo Premio Hammett 2014 por su novela La estrategia del Pekinés (Alrevés) 

Forgotten Book: Wind And Blood by M. A. West

Just in case you have not been able to discover it, M. A. West is not other than Alexis Ravelo himself.

Top Five Agatha Christie Novels

The list of books by Agatha Christie is quite impressive as you can see here. To choose only five seems an impossible task if one has not read them all. You can find here and here some of the suggestions that Moira collected at her excellent blog Clothes In Books. From my side I didn’t dare to choose five favourites. But instead I have decided to name the five titles I look forward to reading shortly. In no particular order:

https://i2.wp.com/img2.imagesbn.com/p/9780062074027_p0_v1_s260x420.JPGPeril at End House (1932)

On holiday on the Cornish Riviera, Hercule Poirot is alarmed to hear pretty Nick Buckley describe her recent “accidental brushes with death.” First, on a treacherous Cornish hillside, the brakes on her car failed. Then, on a coastal path, a falling boulder missed her by inches. Later, an oil painting fell and almost crushed her in bed.

So when Poirot finds a bullet hole in Nick’s sun hat, he decides that this girl needs his help. Can he find the would-be killer before he hits his target?

https://i1.wp.com/img1.imagesbn.com/p/9780062073570_p0_v1_s260x420.JPGFive Little Pigs aka Murder in Retrospect (1942)

Beautiful Caroline Crale was convicted of poisoning her husband, but just like the nursery rhyme, there were five other “little pigs” who could have done it:Philip Blake (the stockbroker), who went to market; Meredith Blake (the amateur herbalist), who stayed at home; Elsa Greer (the three-time divorcée), who had her roast beef; Cecilia Williams (the devoted governess), who had none; and Angela Warren (the disfigured sister), who cried all the way home.

Sixteen years later, Caroline’s daughter is determined to prove her mother’s innocence, and Poirot just can’t get that nursery rhyme out of his mind.

https://i0.wp.com/img1.imagesbn.com/p/9780062073532_p0_v1_s260x420.JPGCrooked House (1949)

The Leonides are one big happy family living in a sprawling, ramshackle mansion. That is until the head of the household, Aristide, is murdered with a fatal barbiturate injection.

Suspicion naturally falls on the old man’s young widow, fifty years his junior. But the murderer has reckoned without the tenacity of Charles Hayward, fiancé of the late millionaire’s granddaughter.

https://i2.wp.com/img2.imagesbn.com/p/9780062073945_p0_v1_s260x420.JPGSad Cypress (1940)

Beautiful young Elinor Carlisle stood serenely in the dock, accused of the murder of Mary Gerrard, her rival in love. The evidence was damning: only Elinor had the motive, the opportunity, and the means to administer the fatal poison.

Yet, inside the hostile courtroom, only one man still presumed Elinor was innocent until proven guilty. Hercule Poirot was all that stood between Elinor and the gallows.…

https://i0.wp.com/img1.imagesbn.com/p/9780062073518_p0_v1_s260x420.JPGEndless Night (1967)

Some are born to sweet delight, Some are born to endless night . . .

When penniless Michael Rogers discovers the beautiful house at Gypsy’s Acre and then meets the heiress Ellie, it seems that all his dreams have come true at once. But he ignores an old woman’s warning of an ancient curse, and evil begins to stir in paradise. As Michael soon learns: Gypsy’s Acre is the place where fatal “accidents” happen.

Michael Rogers dreams of rich, beautiful wife and perfectly designed house. But after finding the woman and building the house, sudden death strikes.

I have not included two of my favourites I have recently read, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and And Then There Were None. Click at the book title to see my review. And I’m less interested in Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile for the simple reason that I have seen them countless of times on the small screen.

See also Martin Edwards’ Top Agatha Christies here 

Any other suggestion you may have is welcome

Monthly Summary (August 2014)

What I Read in August 2014

August was another excellent month as far as my readings is concerned. I read seven books, all of them have sufficient merits to stand out as my pick of the month.

  • Monsieur Monde Vanishes (The New York Review of Books, 2004) Paperback edition. Translated from the French by Jean Stewart, 1967. Original title: La Fuite de Monsieur Monde, 1945 by Georges Simenon (A)
  • The Big Sleep (Penguin, 2011) Paperback edition. First published in 1939 by Raymond Chandler (A+)
  • Farewell, My Lovely (Penguin, 2010) Paperback edition. First published in 1940 by Raymond Chandler (A+) Revisited
  • The Killer Inside Me (Orion, 2010) Kindle edition. First published in 1952 by Jim Thompson (A+)
  • The High Window (Penguin, 2011) Paperback edition. First published in 1942 by Raymond Chandler (A)
  • The Lady in the Lake (Penguin, 2011) Paperback edition. First published in 1943 by Raymond Chandler (A+)
  • The Little Sister (Penguin, 2010) Paperback edition. First published in 1949 by Raymond Chandler (A)

Pick of the Month

The Big Sleep. Although it’s a solely matter of personal taste.

Opening line: It was about eleven o’clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills. I was wearing my powder-blue suit, with dark blue shirt, tie and display handkerchief, black brogues, black wool socks with dark blue clocks on them. I was neat, clean, shaved, and sober, and I didn’t care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be. I was calling on four million dollars.

Check out at Mysteries in Paradise here to see other suggestions.  

Books Bought Last Month

      • Grind Joint: A Penns River Novel by Dana King

      • The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson

      • Long Way Home by Eva Dolan

      • The Widow by Georges Simenon

      • Peril at End House by Agatha Christie

      • Nineteen Seventy Four by David Peace

      • The Comedy Is Finished by Donald E. Westlake

        Currently Reading

        • The Long Good-Bye by Raymond Chandler