Category: miscellaneous

Bodies From The Library

This post is mainly a reminder of what I look forward to reading soon, but I thought it might be of some interest.

If there’s a crime fiction festival I wouldn’t like to miss in the near future, that is The Bodies from the Library, The Golden Age Detective Conference at the British Library. Regretfully, for reasons well known, the 2020 Conference had to be cancelled, but I still hope I’ll be able to attend when can resume their normal activity.
Meanwhile I’ll try to catch up reading its publications. Stay tuned.

Visit their website here.

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A Private Note on Locked-Room Mystery Novels

img_20200317_175752_058_thumbThis year, coinciding with the fortieth anniversary of its publication, I thought it might be a good idea to read the titles topping the list of the best locked-room mystery novels ever, even though some titles might be difficult to obtain, at least for me.

I would like to remind first that Edward D. Hoch, in his Introduction to All But Impossible!: An Anthology of Locked Room & Impossible Crime Stories by Members of the Mystery Writers of America published by Ticknor & Fields in 1981, came up with a list of the best locked-room mystery novels ever selected by a panel of experts. “The panel of 17 consisted of Robert Adey, Jack Adrian, Jacques Barzun, John L. Breen, Robert E. Briney, Jan Broberg, Fredrick Dannay (Ellery Queen), Douglas G. Greene, Howard Haycraft, Edward d. Hoch, Marvin Lachman, Richard Levinson & William Link, Francis N. Nevins, Otto Penzler, Bill Pronzini, Julian Symons, and Donald A. Yates. In all, they listed exactly 50 novels, though only 21 appeared on more than one list.”

Topping the list were:

  1. The Hollow Man (aka The Three Coffins), 1935 (Dr. Gideon Fell #6) by John Dickson Carr
  2. Rim of the Pit, 1944 (Rogan Kincaid #2) by Hake Talbot
  3. The Mystery of the Yellow Room, 1907 (Joseph Rouletabille #1) by Gaston Leroux
  4. The Crooked Hinge, 1937 (Dr. Gideon Fell #8) by John Dickson Carr
  5. The Judas Window, 1938 (Sir Henry Merrivale #8) by Carter Dickson
  6. The Perfect Crime: The Big Bow Mystery, 1892 by Israel Zangwill
  7. Death from a Top Hat, 1938 (The Great Merlini #1) by Clayton Rawson
  8. The Chinese Orange Mystery, 1934 (Ellery Queen Detective #8) by Ellery Queen
  9. Nine Times Nine, 1940 (Sister Ursula #1) by Anthony Boucher
  10. The Peacock Feather Murders, 1937 (Sir Henry Merrivale #6) by Carter Dickson
  11. The King is Dead, 1952 (Ellery Queen Detective #23) by Ellery Queen
  12. Through a Glass, Darkly, 1950 (Dr. Basil Willing #8) by Helen McCloy
  13. He Wouldn’t Kill Patience, 1944 (Sir Henry Merrivale #15) by Carter Dickson
  14. (tie) Too Many Magicians, 1966 (Lord Darcy #2) by Randall Garrett; and Invisible Green, 1977 (Thackeray Phin #2) by John Sladek

And now, if you excuse me, I’ll follow reading Hake Talbot’s Rim of the Pit.

A Crime is Afoot Leisure Reading December 2020

leisure_readingThe Adventure of the Abbey Grange” (1904) s.s. by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

“The Man in the Passage” (1913 ) s.s. by G. K. Chesterton

Maigret and Monsieur Charles, 1972 (Inspector Maigret #75) by Georges Simenon (translator: Ros Schwartz)

The Lost Gallows, 1931 (Henri Bencolin, #2) by John Dickson Carr

Castle Skull, 1931 (Henri Bencolin #3) by John Dickson Carr

The Murders near Mapleton, 1929 (Bathurst Mysteries Book # 4) by Brian Flynn

The Red Right Hand (1945) by Joel Townsley Rogers

“The Vindictive Story of the Footsteps That Ran”, 1928 (A Lord Peter Wimsey s.s.) by Dorothy L. Sayers, also as “The Footsteps That Ran” in Lord Peter Views the Body, Gollancz 1928 (read but I posted nothing about it).

A Year in Retrospect and Reading Targets for the Upcoming Year

My Favourite books, this year that is coming to an end, have been (in ascending order):


Death of Jezebel, 1948 (Inspector Cockrill #4) by Christianna Brand

Mortmain Hall, 2020 (Rachel Savernake Golden Age Mysteries Series # 2) by Martin Edwards 

The Red Right Hand (1945) by Joel Townsley Rogers

Besides I finished reading the complete series of Maigret mysteries.  Perhaps you may like to have a look at my favourite mysteries here.

Among the writers to which I’ll pay more attention next year are mainly: Agatha Christie, Ellery Queen and John Dickson Carr.

I completed reading Agatha Christie’s book series featuring Hercule Poirot. My ten favourite Poirots are here. I will continue reading other Christies, series or standalone, by the way The Pale Horse was a pleasant discovery as well as Superintendent Battle here

Have started to tackle John Dickson Carr’s Books. At this stage I have focused mainly on his  Henri Bencolin series. I very much enjoyed The Lost Gallows, 1931 (Henri Bencolin, #2) by John Dickson Carr and I’m looking forward to reading the fourth book in the series that is scheduled to be published in the first half of 2021, using its US title, The Corpse in the Waxworks. But I’ve not forgotten either Sir Henry Merrivale or Dr Fell.

And Ellery Queen books will be among my top priorities next year, as I’ve already announced, here.

Wish that Cecil John Street books were more easily available, though I have some of his novels written under his two best known pen names, Miles Burton and John Rhode, that I also look forward to reading soon.

Neither I forgot to read  some of J. J. Connington and Freeman Wills Crofts books. Particularly I enjoyed much The Case With Nine Solutions and Inspector French and the Starvel Tragedy. And I look forward to reading more books by this two authors in the coming year.

I wouldn’t like to forget mentioning other authors I’m interested in like E.C.R. Lorac, Christianna Brand, Christopher Bush, Anthony Berkeley, and Brian Flynn. Of whom I have read and enjoyed this year several of their books.

I hope to find the time to read some Honkaku mysteries which I’m still holding on my TBR pile.

And I still have to read Hake Talbot’s Rim of the Pit, the book with which I will inaugurate my readings this coming January.

In addition I intend to read most if not all the books included in John Pugmire’s Novels for a Locked Room Library and in Martin Edwards’ The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books, an ongoing project with no envisaged date for its completion.

And last but not least, some of the titles on my TBR pile which I hope I’ll soon be able to read:

Death Walks in Eastrepps, 1931 (An Inspector Wilkins Mystery) by Francis Beeding

The Great Hotel Murder (1935) by Vincent Starrett

Vultures in the Sky, 1935 (A Hugh Rennert Mystery) by Todd Downing

Catt Out of the Bag (1939) by Clifford Witting

Sealed Room Murder (1941) by Rupert Penny

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

My wife and I wish you and yours Merry Christmas and a Healthy New Year.

Be happy and “Let’s be careful out there”.

Navidad 2020