It has been forty-five years since we could all savor the prospect of a “Christie for Christmas.” Alas, that time is passed, so I propose a new tradition: a “Byrnside for Boo-time!” The classic-style impossible crime mysteries penned by modern-day scribe James Scott Byrnside are, by turns, mystifying, sometimes fear-inducing, and most of the time … Continue reading FANGS FOR THE MANORYS: The Strange Case of the Barrington Hills Vampire
I have to admit I’ve been stressed for about . . . three and a half years. Bernie Sanders said recently that the current health crisis is “on the scale of major war,” but I’ve felt battle-scarred, mostly by tweet, for some time now. And now, thanks to COVID-19, I’m in exile: our schools have … Continue reading MAY I SUGGEST YOU READ A MURDER MYSTERY?
For a long time, my pal JJ has taken a strong interest in modern authors who self-publish impossible crime mysteries. Sometimes things do not work out so well, but once in a while an author hits the mark. Clearly the most exciting discovery JJ has made thus far has been James Scott Byrnside. If you … Continue reading FALLING STAR/RISING STAR: The Opening Night Murders by James Scott Byrnside
They are the solutions that you can’t forget, no matter how much you try. You desperately want to re-read and experience that delicious jolt you got the first time, but you can’t. There’s something so original or special or boundary-breaking about these books that often they end up at the top of many “best of” … Continue reading THE IRONIC FRAGILITY OF THE JAW-DROPPER ENDING
Christianna Brand has long been one of my favorite mystery writers. After Christie and Carr, Brand and Ellery Queen were the most formative authors of my lifelong obsession with all things GAD. The truth is, however, that I devoured the ten mystery novels Brand wrote over thirty years ago, and I never returned. Now that … Continue reading PUTTING MORE BRAN(D) IN MY GAD(IET)
Dale Carnegie said: “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion.” Try applying this truism to the classic mystery, and you can perhaps see why some people turn away from the tendency of these stories to shortchange the emotional aspects of murder, while others are … Continue reading I SECOND THAT EMOTION: Mysteries That Make You Feel