The Golden Age of Detective Fiction, which was essentially borne out of the chaos of the First World War and began its slow decline partway through World War II, had a function beyond its power to entertain. The classic murder mystery served as a metaphor for war itself: a disruption of social order that tested … Continue reading POINT ME IN THE RIGHT MISDIRECTION (Part One: The Knave of Clubs and the Queen of Hearts)
I’m following up my prize-winning post on Agatha Christie books one should read before they are spoiled with something along the same lines for several reasons. First, it’s Sunday and I’m fighting a cold, so while I have nothing better to do but suck down zinc lozenges and write, I'm not feeling particularly creative. Secondly, … Continue reading FIVE BOOKS TO READ BEFORE THEY’RE SPOILED FOR YOU – Ellery Queen Edition
Smack dab in the middle of The Tragedy of X, the 1930 debut of mystery writer Barnaby Ross, detective Drury Lane, a retired Shakespearean actor who is stone deaf, resides in a castle called The Hamlet, and employs a hunchback dwarf named Falstaff as a butler, is philosophizing with a group of men – one … Continue reading I SUSPECT MICE: A Discourse on the Dying Message
I love prolific authors. Agatha Christie, John Dickson Carr, Ellery Queen, and Ngaio Marsh basically got me through my teens and 20’s and taught me the ABC’s of classic mystery fiction. Yes, each of them had their share of clunkers, but, by and large, their output was brilliant. Of course, other mystery writers made their … Continue reading MISS SILVER AND THE GREAT CONFLUENCE OF 1937
All this month, the Tuesday Night Bloggers are talking about "firsts," famous and otherwise. After writing about the first detectives in literature and the first Christie, it suddenly occurred to me that, if you're going to take a purely historical approach to a theme, you had better know a damn sight more about mystery history than … Continue reading WHO’S ON FIRST? A Man, a Mug, and a Da Vinci, That’s Who!
Happy New Year, everyone! As a new blogger, I have only just become aware of the tradition in this community for those who blog about books to reflect on the past year in reading. Yes, let’s focus on the reading because in most other respects, for me at least, 2016 was not a keeper! So … Continue reading MY READINGS (AND REVISITINGS) OF 2016
“There was a table set out under a tree in front of the house, and the March Hare and the Hatter were having tea at it: a Dormouse was sitting between them, fast asleep, and the other two were using it as a cushion, resting their elbows on it, and then talking over its head. … Continue reading CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER: The Best Short Adventure of Ellery Queen