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30 June 2009
And 40 minutes in, I'm finding it hard to work out what is going on!
The reason? The narrator keeps reading with Italian accent overtones.
I'm finding it difficult to distinguish characters from each other, and when he lapses occasionally into "real" English, my relief is enormous.
There are at least two time periods, and even there I'm having trouble working out whose point of view I am hearing things from.
I hope it gets better, I have nearly 16 hours of listening to do!
Have you ever been put off listening to a book by a similar problem.
If you'd like to read the opening chapter of LUCIFER'S SHADOW then click on the cover image.
In this Venetian thriller, British author Hewson (A Season for the Dead) offers a tantalizing tale of intrigue, murder and sex. Two props propel the action: a concerto penned by a young Jewish woman in 1733 and performed once, anonymously, before its disappearance, and her unique violin. When in the present day this instrument is snatched from an obscure grave and the anonymous concerto is discovered in a long-forgotten hiding place, an innocent English scholar is drawn into an increasingly dangerous game of deception. Through the 18th-century letters and journals of a printer’s apprentice, the reader discovers the secret of the concerto, while Daniel Forster, in Venice to work for an ailing art collector, relives the mystery connected to the beautiful piece of music. The story set during the glory days of Vivaldi is more vivid, compelling and romantic than the contemporary one, as Daniel’s a bit of a cold fish. And if the various elements don’t quite add up to a satisfying whole, the intricate view of Venice with its palazzos and sewers, its concert halls and old Jewish ghetto is more than ample compensation.
29 June 2009
Dorte in Denmark won a copy of THE CRUELLEST MONTH back in April, and I dutifully sent it off. It didn't arrrive until early June, which really wasn't too bad for surface mail, almost 6 weeks.
Dorte heralded it's arrival here (But I don't think she's reviewed it yet).
Towards the end of April, Marie in Texas won a copy of THE IRON HEART so off it went. Marie has reported it's arrival today. This time nearly 8 weeks!
28 June 2009
My mother's 89th birthday today, and I'm happy to report that both she and dad (93) are both well, still looking after themselves and definitely on the ball.
We've been out for lunch at their favourite local pub. My sister had the bright idea of giving Mum a portable CD player for her birthday - opens up a whole range of possibilities for future gift giving.
We forgot to take the camera with us, but here are Mum and Dad on their wedding day back in 1940. They'll celebrate 69 years this November.
Did you know there are now nearly 400 Sunday Saloners?
Let me know if you are a crime fiction reader like me.
This last week seems to have had a lot of preoccupation with Agatha Christie, not only because of the creation Agatha Christie Blog Carnival #6 but also with the debut of Julia McKenzie as Miss Marple.
In addition this week I have been trying to read my way through the shortlist for the CWA International Dagger. I'm halfway through the 5th out of 6 titles, so I guess at this stage I will make it.
Fair Dinkum Reviews is a collective blog being added to by a group of Australian book reviewers including me. We will mainly be including crime fiction but not exclusively. If you want to monitor inclusions either by RSS feed or by becoming a "follower".
Published so far reviews of
- THE REDEEMER, Jo Nesbo
- The Chopin Manuscript, Various Authors
- Killer Heat, Linda Fairstein
- Careless in Red, Elizabeth George
- RITUAL, Mo Hayder
- Australian Crime Writing - overview
- 2009 Davitt Awards shortlist
- Agatha Christie Blog Carnival #6
- 20th edition Book Review Blog Carnival
- Euro Crime's CWA International Dagger polls
- Weekly Geeks, 2009-24: Trivia
This week's Weekly Geeks challenge is to ask 5-10 book-related trivia questions. Mine are all Agatha Christie related. Pop over and tell me how many you can answer.
- Review: PERIL AT END HOUSE, Agatha Christie
This was an audio narrated by Hugh Fraser. Excellent.
- Who is the best Miss Marple?
Of the 7 actors I've identified which do you think is the closest fit to your idea of Miss Marple? Take the poll and leave a comment.
- Library Loot - and they want to give me more!
A list of 26 crime fiction books I have home from the Library. Which have you read? Which should I read first?
- Forgotten Book: MURDEROUS REMEDY, Stella Shepherd
Each Friday I participate in a "forgotten books" meme. Do you remember this author?
- Those CWA International Dagger nominees - my ranking
An update on the four books I've read so far.
- Review: THE REDEEMER, Jo Nesbo
- Agatha Christie Reading Challenge Blog Carnival #6
12 contributors have reviewed 9 titles. Audiobooks have made quite a hit, and the new TV programs get a look in too. If you ever review and Agatha Christie titles, or come across an interesting relevant site or some news, then you can submit it to the carnival.
I enjoy reading the book reviews, the memes and the various widgets people are using. Everybody's blog is different, both in terms of the actual content, and in the layout. Some people have such interesting images too.
I'm interested in knowing what you like best on mine.
27 June 2009
- What was the title of the first Agatha Christie novel? (Hercule Poirot was first seen in this one)
- In which novel did Miss Marple make her debut?
- What is the name of Hercule Poirot's "foil"?
- In which village does Miss Marple live?
- Miss Marple has a nephew who is an author. What is his name?
- Which Agatha Christie novel was set on an island?
- Hercule Poirot has a good friend, an Inspector, at Scotland Yard. What is his name ?
- By what alternative title is MURDER IN THE CALAIS COACH better known?
- What is the name of the husband & wife detective team who first appeared in Christie's second novel? (they weren't married at the time)
- Which novel was not published until after Agatha Christie's death? (hints: it is the final Miss Marple, and was thought to have been written in the blitz in 1940, and then sealed in a bank vault)
DON'T write your answers in the comments! (otherwise, I'll delete your comment)
Write the ones you know down on a piece of paper, and then in the comments tell me how many you think you got correct. I'll post the answers next week.
Your alternative is to email me with your answers and I'll put a comment in that says how many you got correct.
It is Poirot's 6th novel, and there's a couple of gentle references in the novel to his previous case THE MYSTERY OF THE BLUE TRAIN published in 1928.
Hastings and Poirot are having a week's holiday at St. Loo in Cornwall. Hastings has recently returned from Argentina, seemingly having left his wife behind. Poirot has retired and turns down a request from the Home Secretary to go up to London to take on a most urgent case. However he reserves the right to take on a new case if it interests him.
As always Poirot is attracted to a pretty young thing, Miss Nick Buckley, who appears to have recently been shot at. When he hears that she has had several near encounters with death just recently Poirot decides to make her protection his business. Nick Buckley is a young flapper living well beyond her means at End House. She is surrounded by a coterie of similar care-free young things who party a lot and experiment with drugs like cocaine. Any one of them could be a danger to Miss Nick, but why would any of them want to kill her?
Despite his own confidence in his own abilities, PERIL AT END HOUSE clearly demonstrates that even the great Hercule Poirot is fallible. Poirot says that Hastings always leaps to the wrong conclusions, and so we have come to expect Hastings to be led astray by sentiment, but not Hercule Poirot who prides himself on his deductive methods and his use of "the little grey cells". Agatha Christie's behind-the-hand smirking at her own pompous creation is almost palpable.
Without doubt, the beautiful narration of Hugh Fraser, who has appeared in a number of the TV episodes as Hastings, contributed to my enjoyment.
But let's take nothing away from the cleverness of the plot, nor from the controversial ending in which, to Hastings' horror, Poirot allows the murderer to cheat the gallows.
My rating: 4.5
I've read this as part of the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge.
I've now read 12 novels, and 3 sets of short stories.
Poirot appeared in 33 novels and 51 short stories that were published between 1920 and 1975.
Here is a list of Hercule Poirot novels and short story (ss) collections from Wikipedia so you can see I have quite a long way to go, and lots of pleasure in store:
- The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920)
- Murder on the Links (1923)
- Poirot Investigates (1924, ss)
- The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926)
- The Big Four (1927)
- The Mystery of the Blue Train (1928)
- Black Coffee (1930 play - novel adapted from play published in 1998)
- Peril at End House (1932)
- Lord Edgware Dies (1933)
- Murder on the Orient Express (1934)
- Three Act Tragedy (1935)
- Death in the Clouds (1935)
- The A.B.C. Murders (1936)
- Murder in Mesopotamia (1936)
- Cards on the Table (1936)
- Death on the Nile (1937)
- Dumb Witness (1937)
- Murder in the Mews (1937, ss)
- Appointment with Death (1938)
- Hercule Poirot's Christmas
- Sad Cypress (1940)
- One, Two, Buckle My Shoe (1940)
- Evil Under the Sun (1941)
- Five Little Pigs (1942)
- The Hollow (1946)
- The Labours of Hercules (1947, ss)
- Taken at the Flood (1948)
- Mrs McGinty's Dead (1952)
- After the Funeral (1953)
- Hickory Dickory Dock (1955)
- Dead Man's Folly (1956)
- Cat Among the Pigeons (1959)
- The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding (1960, ss)
- The Clocks (1963)
- Third Girl (1966)
- Hallowe'en Party (1969)
- Elephants Can Remember (1972)
- Poirot's Early Cases (1974, ss)
- Curtain (written about 1940, published 1975)
- Problem at Pollensa Bay and Other Stories (1991, ss)
- While the Light Lasts and Other Stories (1997, ss)
I wrote at the time that I wasn't at all sure whether Julia was old or fluffy enough for the role, but that I greatly admired her ability to take on different roles.
Over to the right is the first known image of Miss Marple, an illustration by Gilbert Wilkinson of Miss Marple from the December 1927 issue of The Royal Magazine and the first-known image of the character (See The Thirteen Problems)
Below are the Miss Marples of screen and television. There are 7 of them. Now that the latest has hit our TV screens you have probably been thinking about which one is closest to your idea of Miss Marple. (Please excuse the space below - I can't work out what is causing it)
|Julia McKenzie||Geraldine McEwan||Joan Hickson||Helen Hayes||Angela Lansbury||Margaret Rutherford||Gracie Fields|
So which one is closest to your "mental picture" from your reading?
Take the poll in the side bar, and do leave a comment.
Novels featuring Miss Marple
- The Murder at the Vicarage (1930)
- The Body in the Library (1942)
- The Moving Finger (1943)
- A Murder is Announced (1950)
- They Do It with Mirrors, or Murder with Mirrors (1952)
- A Pocket Full of Rye (1953)
- 4.50 from Paddington, or What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw! (1957)
- The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side, or The Mirror Crack'd (1962)
- A Caribbean Mystery (1964)
- At Bertram's Hotel (1965)
- Nemesis (1971)
- Sleeping Murder (written around 1940, published 1976)
Perhaps this meme should be called library gluttony!
It is a little like the wish list that ran away with itself!
It is a bit embarrassing to realise that some of these have visited me before, and have had to be returned unread. Some of them are books that I was borrowing for a discussion, but the discussion has been and gone.
There are 26 on my list, and 2 more are waiting at the library.
Perhaps you can commend at least one of them to me.
ABSOLUTION by Caro. Ramsay
AS DARKNESS FALLS by Bronwyn Parry
THE BAD POLICEMAN by Helen Hodgman - we are discussing this next month on oz_mystery_readers
A DARKER DOMAIN by Val. McDermid
THE DEATH CHAMBER by Sarah Rayne
DEVIL'S PEAK by Deon. Meyer
FOUND WANTING by Robert Goddard
A FRACTION OF THE WHOLE by Steve Toltz
FROM DOON WITH DEATH by Ruth Rendell
THE HEADHUNTERS by Peter Lovesey
ITALIAN SHOES by Henning Mankell
THE KEEPSAKE by Tess Gerritsen
LAST RITUALS by Yrsa Sigurdardottir.
LUSH LIFE by Richard Price
MAD HATTER'S HOLIDAY by Peter Lovesey
THE MIND'S EYE by Hakan Nesser
A MOST WANTED MAN by John Le Carre
THE PREACHER by Camilla Lackberg
RED BONES by Ann Cleeves
SCARPETTA by Patricia Cornwell
SHADOW by Karin Alvtegen - reading this one now
SHATTER by Michael Robotham - re-reading for discussion on 4MA
SOUL MURDER by Andrew Nugent
TELL ME, PRETTY MAIDEN by Rhys Bowen
TELLING TALES by Ann Cleeves
A TEST OF WILLS by Charles Todd
26 June 2009
For today's forgotten book I've plucked from my records of nearly 20 years ago a title I don't remember at all, but perhaps you do.
It seems MURDEROUS REMEDY, #2 of Stella Shepherd's Inspector Montgomery series, was originally published not long before I read it in 1990.
Plot descriptions are a bit hard to come by, but I've found this:
"A doctor wakes up to find herself a patient in her own hospital, suffering from amnesia, and at the centre of a murder investigation."
Sounds tantalising doesn't it?
There were 7 titles in the series (thanks Fantastic Fiction!)
1. Black Justice (1988)
2. Murderous Remedy (1989)
3. Thinner Than Blood (1991)
4. A Lethal Fixation (1993)
5. Nurse Dawes Is Dead (1994)
6. Something in the Cellar (1995)
7. Embers of Death (1996)
25 June 2009
I have now read 4 *** of the shortlisted nominations for CWA International Dagger and have both the others on my shelves.
The winners will be announced in London on the evening of July 15 - I will try to get them read.
I have linked the titles I have already read to my reviews.
Just looking at the final list, I think this is going to be a tough one to call.
- Karin Alvtegen, SHADOW, translated by McKinley Burnett, (Canongate)
- *** Arnaldur Indriðason, ARCTIC CHILL, translated by Bernard Scudder and Victoria Cribb (Harvill Secker)- my rating 4.8
- Stieg Larsson, THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, translated by Reg Keeland (MacLehose Quercus)
- *** Jo Nesbø, THE REDEEMER, translated by Don Bartlett (Harvill Secker) - my rating 4.8
- *** Johan Theorin, ECHOES FROM THE DEAD, translated by Marlaine Delargy (Doubleday) - my rating 4.9
- *** Fred Vargas, THE CHALK CIRCLE MAN, translated by Siân Reynolds (Harvill Secker) - my rating 4.5
Something to check: Euro Crime's CWA International Dagger polls - compare the "sentimental" with the "logical" favourite.
I'm starting to read SHADOW tonight!
The shooting of a Salvation Army officer at point blank range as Christmas shoppers stand listening to a street concert in Oslo is almost unthinkable. Many saw the assailant, the gun in his hand, but predictably, afterwards, they were almost of no help. If there is an irony, it is that the victim should not have been there, having changed his shift with his brother.
At Police HQ Harry Hole is investigating another case, the death of a young heroin addict, found dead in a unit at the container terminal. Harry's boss Bjarne Moller is leaving. If it hadn't been for Moller's protective wing Harry would have been off the force years ago. Harry mistrusts his new boss, Gunnar Hagen, who threatens to make him toe the line.
You can almost feel Nesbo building this book, layer on layer, investigating how events that took place over a decade before, can have consequences in present time. You certainly forget that it is translated, so natural is the English.
We've already met Harry Hole, most recently in NEMESIS, and before that in THE REDBREAST and in THE DEVIL'S STAR. (see below for my mini-reviews). THE REDEEMER is a great read, a book whose ending may shock. Harry's personal life is also once again at the centre of this book.
My rating: 4.8
THE REDEEMER has been shortlisted for the 2009 CWA International Dagger. Check Euro Crime's CWA International Dagger polls
Check these other reviews of THE REDEEMER
Jo Nesbo's own site
The correct order in which to read the novels that have so far been translated into English:
- THE REDBREAST
- THE DEVIL'S STAR
- THE REDEEMER
First published in Norwegian 2000. Translate into English 2006. Norwegian's history stretches its tentacles into the year 2000. This features Norwegian detective Harry Hole recently promoted to Inspector to hide the true story of how he he came to shoot and American security agent duringa visit to Oslo by the American President. A crime novel that is more a thriller than a mystery. A complex story. Harry is tracing the importation into Norway of a rare weapon, when reports come in that it has been fired. A veteran ex-soldier is found with his throat cut, and Harry keeps coming up with the same set of names.
THE DEVIL'S STAR, my rating 4.8
Translated from Swedish. Set in Oslo. Detective Harry Hole is an alcoholic who has been absent from work for the last 4 weeks.
He is highly valued by his boss who has covered up for him and marked his absence as annual leave. But now it is crunch time. He has been assigned to a case with an adversary whom he is convinced was responsible for the death of a colleague. Harry has no choice now - he must return to work or quit. The new case involves what appear to be serial killings where the murderer is leaving clues related to a five-pointed star - the devil's star.
23 June 2009
12 contributors have reviewed 9 titles. Audiobooks have made quite a hit, and the new TV programs get a look in too.
Thank you for your contributions and, in anticipation, for your assistance in promoting the blog and the project.
Feel free to use the logo in your blog post.
It is never too late to join the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge. Sign up if you want to at
Submit your next posts at http://blogcarnival.com/bc/submit_6057.html and happy reading.
21 June 2009
I have a pretty active online life, in Yahoo groups (oz_mystery_readers in particular), in Twitter (smiksa), on this blog, in Friend Feed (Crime and mystery fiction), and I monitor lots of fellow crime fiction bloggers (Crime Fiction Journeys)
It is interesting to see the same "faces" crop up in different places. You do develop a coterie of cyber friends don't you?.
In Twitter I've been thinking about joining a "twibe"- not sure that I need one, or if I will create one just for crime fiction readers/bloggers.
Fair Dinkum Reviews is a collective blog being added to by a group of Australian book reviewers including me. We will mainly be including crime fiction but not exclusively. If you want to monitor inclusions either by RSS feed or by becoming a "follower".
- Weekly Geeks - What Challenges are you doing?
- Watch new Miss Marple on ABC TV 8.30pm Sunday night
- Robotham's SHATTER shortlisted for Barry Award
- now - THE REDEEMER, Jo Nesbo
- then - THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, Stieg Larsson
- in the car - PERIL AT END HOUSE, Agatha Christie
- Awards Shortlists - Similarities and Differences
You might like to check this one out in particular. It lists nearly 100 crime fiction titles that have been shortlisted for various awards so far this year. It shows what awards thya have been listed for, and quite clearly shows those listed for multiple awards.
- Detective Pairs, Twosomes
Have you noticed how many detective duos there are? Who are your favourites?
- Barry Awards shortlist announced
- Review: NAME TO A FACE, Robert Goddard
- Forgotten Books: Do you remember Mr Harley Quin?
People who have just read Agatha Christie novels may never have come across Mr Harley Quin because he lived in the short story world.
- Wordless Wednesday: A tribute to libraries
Some wonderful architecture? How does your library compare?
- ACRC Update - 16 June 2009
An update of where I am on the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge highway. The challenge to read Agatha Christie books in order continues to engage me.
- ACRC: Short Stories, Update #3
- Review: THE MYSTERIOUS MR QUIN, Agatha Christie
You might remember that this poll has been running for two weeks, but in fact only 6 of the votes were recorded in the second week.
Some things surprised me:
- that nearly 25% of those who took the poll had not read any of the books.
- that only about 1/3 had the other books
Additions/changes to my blog
I've added a Google Translate widget that allows readers to choose a language to read my blog in. I don't read any other language so I am not sure how accurate the translations are, but have had some feedback that it works well enough with Greek and Dutch. If you are proficient in a language other than English, then you might like to test it out for me and let me know - you'll have to write your comment in English though. Do you find tools like this useful?
20 June 2009
The British Crime Writers Association have already announced the CWA shortlists for International, Shortstory, Library, and Debut daggers, and will in a month or so announce those for the Gold, John Creasey, and Ian Fleming Steel daggers; the Harrogate Festival in the UK teams up with Theakston's Old Peculier to pick a Crime Novel of the Year; with Bouchercon coming at Indianaopolis in October, the Barry, Anthony, and Macavity shortlists have been announced; and just recently the winner of Canada's Arthur Ellis award was announced. I imagine that soon the shortlists for Australia's Ned Kelly awards will be revealed. Let's not forget either the Edgar Awards and the Agatha Awards both announced earlier this year.
Even if you are one that says you are not influenced by awards, and are often profoundly disappointed when you read the winner, it gives pause for thought when the same authors and titles crop up again and again doesn't it?
Keeping up with all the awards is fairly difficult, but if you want a list of most awarded books, not necessarily crime fiction, and slightly out of date, then Fantastic Fiction has one.
In the crime fiction genre, given that the various awards have slightly different criteria, then synchronising them is a bit of a battle, but I've tried.
I've listed the shortlisted nominees by title, then author, and then the award nominated for.
Where the award already decided, there is an * next to the award acronym.
I have trawled 17 different awards, and come up with a list of nearly 100 books, and I've linked to the few that I've read.
Even so I can't help feeling that there is something I've missed, and and "eagle eye" will spot it.
The key for the lists is
ABFN-Anthony Best First Novel;
ABN-Anthony Best Novel;
ABPO-Anthony Best Paperback Original;
AEBFN-Arthur Ellis Best First Novel;
AEBN-Arthur Ellis Best Novel;
AgBFN-Agatha Best First Novel;
AgBN-Agatha Best Novel;
BBB-Barry Best British;
BBN-Barry Best Novel;
BBPO-Barry Best Paperback Original;
BBT-Barry Best Thriller;
CWAID-CWA International Dagger;
EBFNAA-Edgar Best First Novel by an American Author;
EBN-Edgar Best Novel;
EBPO-Edgar Best Paperback Original;
MBFN-Macavity Best First Novel;
MBN-Macavity Best Novel
TOP-Theakston Old Peculier Best Novel
A CARRION DEATH, Michael Stanley -BBF, MBFN
A CURE FOR ALL DISEASES, Reginald Hill -TOP
A CURE FOR NIGHT, Justin Peacock -EBFNAA
A ROYAL PAIN, Rhys Bowen -AgBN
A SIMPLE ACT OF VIOLENCE, R.J. Ellory -BBB
AN INNOCENT CLIENT, Scott Pratt -MBFN
ARCTIC CHILL, Arnaldur Indriðason -CWAID
BAD LUCK AND TROUBLE, Lee Child -TOP
BENEATH THE BLEEDING, Val McDermid -TOP
BLEEDING HEART SQUARE, Andrew Taylor -BBB
BLUE HEAVEN, C.J. Box -EBN*
BROKEN SKIN, Stuart MacBride -TOP
BRUNO, CHIEF OF POLICE, Martin Walker -BBB
BUCKINGHAM PALACE GARDENS, Anne Perry -AgBN
BUFFALO JUMP, Howard Shrier -AEBFN*
CALUMET CITY, Charlie Newton -MBFN, EBFNAA
CHILD 44, Tom Rob Smith -ABFN, BBF
CHINA LAKE , Meg Gardiner -EBPO*
CITY OF THE SUN, David Levien -BBF
COLLISION, Jeff Abbott -BBT
CURSE OF THE SPELLMANS, Lisa Lutz -MBN, EBN
DAWN PATROL, Don Winslow -BBN
DEAD MAN’S FOOTSTEPS, Peter James -TOP
DEATH MESSAGE, Mark Billingham -TOP
DEATH OF A COZY WRITER, G. M. Malliet -ABFN, MBFN, AgBFN*
ECHOES FROM THE DEAD, Johan Theorin -BBPO, CWAID
ENEMY COMBATANT, Ed Gaffney -EBPO
ENVY THE NIGHT, Michael Koryta -BBN
EXIT MUSIC, Ian Rankin -TOP
FINDER, Colin Harrison -BBT
FINDING NOUF, Zoe Ferraris -MBFN
FRIEND OF THE DEVIL, Peter Robinson -TOP
GARDEN OF EVIL, David Hewson -TOP
GONE TO GROUND, John Harvey -TOP
GOOD PEOPLE, Marcus Sakey -BBT
HEADLINE: MURDER, April Lindgren -AEBFN
I SHALL NOT WANT, Julia Spencer-Fleming -AgBN
ICED UNDER, Nadine Doolittle -AEBFN
IN A DARK SEASON, Vicki Lane -ABPO
MARGARITA NIGHTS, Phyllis Smallman -AEBFN
MISSING, Karin Alvtegen -EBN
MONEY SHOT, Christa Faust -ABPO, BBPO, EBPO
NIGHT OF THUNDER, Stephen Hunter -BBT
PAPER, SCISSORS, DEATH, Joanna Campbell Slan -AgBFN
PUSHING UP DAISIES, Rosemary Harris -ABFN, AgBFN
RED KNIFE, William Kent Krueger -ABN, BBN
RITUAL, Mo Hayder -BBB, TOP
SAVAGE MOON, Chris Sim -TOP
SEVERANCE PACKAGE, Duane Swierczynski -BBPO
SHADOW, Karin Alvtegen -CWAID
SHATTER, Michael Robotham -BBB
SINS OF THE ASSASSIN, Robert Ferrigno -EBN
SIX GEESE A-SLAYING, Donna Andrews -AgBN
SOUTH OF HELL, P. J. Parrish -ABPO
STALKING SUSAN, Julie Kramer -ABFN, BBF
STATE OF THE ONION, Julie Hyzy -ABPO, BBPO
SWEEPING UP GLASS, Carolyn D. Wall -BBF
SWEETSMOKE, David Fuller -EBFNAA
TALKING TO WENDIGO, John C. Goodman -AEBFN
THE ACCIDENT MAN, Tom Cain -TOP
THE BLACK PATH, Asa Larsson -BBPO
THE BLOOD DETECTIVE, Dan Waddell -MBFN
THE BRASS VERDICT, Michael Connelly -ABN
THE CHALK CIRCLE MAN, Fred Vargas -CWAID
THE COLD SPOT, Tom Piccirilli -EBPO
THE COLOUR OF BLOOD, Declan Hughes -TOP
THE CRUEL(L)EST MONTH, Louise Penny -ABN, BBN, MBN, AgBN*
THE DECEIVED, Brett Battles -BBT
THE DIVA RUNS OUT OF THYME, Krista Davis -AgBFN
THE DRAINING LAKE, Arnaldur Indridason -BBN, MBN
THE DYING BREED (UK) / THE PRICE OF BLOOD (US), Declan Hughes -MBN
THE FAULT TREE, Louise Ure -MBN
THE FIRST QUARRY, Max Allan Collins -ABPO, BBPO
THE FOREIGNER, Francie Lin -EBFNAA*
THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, Stieg Larsson, -CWAID
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, Stieg Larsson -ABN, ABFN, BBB, MBFN
THE K HANDSHAPE, Maureen Jennings -AEBN
THE KIND ONE, Tom Epperson -BBF, EBFNAA
THE MURDER STONE, Louise Penny -AEBN
THE NIGHT FOLLOWING, Morag Joss -EBN
THE PRICE OF BLOOD, Declan Hughes -EBN
THE PRINCE OF BAGRAM PRISON, Alex Carr -EBPO
THE REDEEMER, Jo Nesbø -CWAID
THE SURVIVOR, Tom Cain -BBT
THE TSUNAMI FILE, Michael E. Rose -AEBN
THROUGH A GLASS, DEADLY, Sarah Atwell -AgBFN
TOO CLOSE TO HOME, Linwood Barclay -AEBN*
TRANSGRESSION, James W. Nichol -AEBN
TRIGGER CITY, Sean Chercover -ABN, BBN, MBN
WHERE MEMORIES LIE, Deborah Crombie -MBN
19 June 2009
I am interested in how crime fiction authors complement and contrast their detective duos. The cleverness and intuition of one is often contrasted with the methodical and rule-observing nature of the other.
I've updated my original list with the suggestions people made, and with some additions of my own. [I hasten to say though that they don't all fit the pattern I've described above.]
From Ruth Rendell, Reg Wexford & Mike Burden.
From Agatha Christie, Hercule Poirot & Captain Hastings.
Also Tommy & Tuppence, Mr Satterthwaite and Mr Harley Quinn, Superintendent Battle & Bundle Brent.
From Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes & Dr. Watson
So from Reginald Hill, Andy Dalziel & Peter Pascoe.
From Colin Dexter, Morse & Lewis.
From Kerry Greenwood, Phryne Fisher & Dot,
and from Ian Rankin John Rebus & Siobhan Clarke.
And then from Elizabeth George comes Thomas Lynley & Barbara Havers.
Michael Robotham has created Joe O'Loughlin & Vincent Ruiz.
From Charles Todd Ian Rutledge & "Hamish in his head".
From Martin Edwards, Daniel Kind & Hannah Scarlett
From Dorothy L. Sayers, Lord Peter Wimsey & Harriet Vane
From Cara Black, Aimee Leduc & Rene Friant
From E.W. Hornung, A.J. Raffles & Bunny Manders
From Alexander McCall Smith, Mma Ramotswe & Mma Matutsi
The lists could really go on ad nauseam couldn't they? But what really interests me is how the authors use them.
There is often more to it than just contrasting how they think, and what they do with the evidence they have.
In Dalziel & Pascoe, Hill has us thinking about what it is about their working together that makes the difference? Would Peter Pascoe solve the mystery on his own?
In Vargas, Danglard often despairs over what he sees as Adamsber's lack of method, but he would often have come to the wrong conclusion if left to his own devices.
In Agatha Christie, Mr Harley Quinn helps Mr Satterthwaite see what he already knows in a new light.
Sometimes there are parallel investigations going on. The seemingly random wool gathering approach contrasted with the methodical. Which one will get to the answer first? Or is it that the groundwork done by both is needed?
And what is it that adds to the reader's enjoyment of the story? Is it the contrast between the two main characters. Through the contrast do we get to know each character just a little better? Does it flesh their individuality out just a bit better?
There have been books where the author lets one character play without the other. For example Reginald Hill has let Peter Pascoe loose several times by giving Dalziel a heart attack, blowing him up with a bomb and so on. But all the time we sit around waiting for Fat Andy to miraculously revive.
Similarly Elizabeth George brings Havers to the fore by striking Lynley the most fearful blow by killing his wife.
Agatha Christie resorted to marrying Captain Hastings off and sending him to some far flung clime.
Colin Dexter killed Morse off, and Ian Rankin sent Rebus into retirement.
So what do you think? Why have pairs been the fashion?
Mystery News and Deadly Pleasures are pleased to announce the 2009 Barry Award nominations.
The Barry Awards are named for of one of the most ardent and beloved ambassadors of mystery fiction, Barry Gardner, and are voted on by the readers of Mystery News and Deadly Pleasures. The 13th Annual Barry Awards presentation will take place at Bouchercon in Indianapolis, Indiana in mid-October at a time and place to be announced later.
Best Novel (Published in the U.S. in 2008)
Trigger City by Sean Chercover
The Draining Lake by Arnaldur Indridason
Envy the Night by Michael Koryta
Red Knife by William Kent Krueger
The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny
Dawn Patrol by Don Winslow
Best First Novel (Published in the U.S. in 2008)
The Kind One by Tom Epperson
Stalking Susan by Julie Kramer
City of the Sun by David Levien
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
A Carrion Death by Michael Stanley
Sweeping Up Glass by Carolyn D. Wall
Best British Crime Novel (Published in the U.K. in 2008, not necessarily written by a British writer nor set in the U.K.)
A Simple Act of Violence by R.J. Ellory
Ritual by Mo Hayder
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Shatter by Michael Robotham
Bleeding Heart Square by Andrew Taylor
Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin Walker
Collision by Jeff Abbott
The Deceived by Brett Battles
The Survivor by Tom Cain
The Finder by Colin Harrison
Night of Thunder by Stephen Hunter
Good People by Marcus Sakey
Best Paperback Original
The First Quarry by Max Allan Collins
Money Shot by Christa Faust
State of the Onion by Julie Hyzy
The Black Path by Asa Larsson
Severance Package by Duane Swierczynski
Echoes from the Dead by Johan Theorin
Best Short Story
"The Drought" by James O. Born (The Blue Religion)
"The Fallen" by Jan Burke (EQMM August 2008)
"A Trace of a Trace" by Brendan DuBois (At the Scene of the Crime)
"A Killing in Midtown" by G. Miki Hayden (AHMM January/February 2008)
"Proof of Love" by Mick Herron (EQMM September/October 2008)
"The Problem of the Secret Patient" by Edward D. Hoch (EQMM May 2008)
18 June 2009
Published in 2007.
In 1707, the HMS Association was lost off the Isles of Scilly with no survivors. Thirty years later, an admiralty clerk is tasked with a secret mission.
And 200 years after that in 1996, a dive on the wreck results in a fatal accident. Ten years later Tim Harding agrees to return to Cornwall, to go to an auction, to bid on a low value lot, as a favour for his employer and friend Barney Tozer. Seemingly disconnected events come together to form a trail of deceit, murder and greed, activated when the auction lot is stolen.
The plot of NAME TO A FACE comes close to stretching the bounds of credibility. I usually enjoy Robert Goddard's books, and I really did enjoy this one, but there felt as if there was at least one plot element too many. It almost felt as if Goddard had painted himself into a corner, and had to pull another rabbit out of the hat in order to bind the plot together coherently. Part of the problem was the multiple time frames already described in the synopsis. But then Goddard introduced another, a legend from the 12th century, and I really felt he was clutching at straws. What I normally enjoy in Goddard novels, the juxtaposition of the past with the present, just felt overdone.
It took a long time to finally tie everything off, and even then a murderer goes free, and another escapes retribution. I was ready for it finish well before it did.
NAME TO A FACE is Robert Goddard's 19th novel, in a career that began in 1986. See the full list below courtesy Fantastic Fiction.
My rating 4.1.
Review on EuroCrime
In Pale Battalions (1988)
Painting the Darkness (1989)
Take No Farewell (1991)
Hand in Glove (1992)
Closed Circle (1993)
Borrowed Time (1995)
Beyond Recall (1997)
Caught in the Light (1998)
Set in Stone (1999)
Sea Change (2000)
Dying to Tell (2001)
Days Without Number (2003)
Play to the End (2004)
Sight Unseen (2005)
Name To A Face (2007)
Found Wanting (2008)
Long Time Coming (2009)
My other mini-reviews of Goddard novels.
I'm cheating a little this week, by talking about a book that I have in fact just read and reviewed, as part of the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge.
With all the focus on Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, many readers of Agatha Christie novels may in fact never have met Mr Harley Quin and the man he mentored, Mr Satterthwaite, because he only made his appearance in short stories.
Mr Harley Quinn first appeared in 1930 in a set of 12 short stories called The Mysterious Mr Quin. The stories in the collection begin with "The Coming of Mr Quin", which introduces Mr Satterthwaite, and then describes his first meeting with Mr Quin. The stories appear to be in sequential order and connections flow from one to the other.
Some, but not all, of these stories had been published in various magazines during the 1920s before finally being collectively published in 1930.
In them Agatha Christie ventures into the world of the paranormal. Mr Quin often appears almost out of thin air (and later disappears the same way), but eventually Mr Satterthwaite comes to expect him to appear when a particularly puzzling mystery requires solving. Elsewhere Harley Quin has been referred to as a divine detective.
Strange tricks of light often make Mr Quin at first to seem to be in highly multicoloured clothes like the theatrical Harlequin.
Both Mr Quin and Mr Satterthwaite have a soft spot for the romantic too, and at times love triumphs in the end. It is a line that Agatha Christie has already explored in the early Hercule Poirot novels, when sometimes Poirot shows an avuncular interest in young women and intuitive perception of romance.
While Mr Satterthwaite makes a further appearance in a novel, THREE ACT TRAGEDY (1935), Mr Harley Quin appears in just two more stories in Problem at Pollensa Bay and never really as an independent character.
I found that the plots in these short stories were tightly woven and came over to me almost as a cross between the styles of Edgar Allan Poe and W. Somerset Maughan. At about 20 pages for most of stories they are eminently readable.
From the Christie site:
In her Autobiography, Agatha Christie listed the Harley Quin stories as her favorites and describes Harley Quin as "a friend of lovers and connected with death". The collection is dedicated by the author "To Harlequin the invisible" which makes it unique as no other Christie book is dedicated to a character.... Christie always claimed the Harley Quin stories were her personal favourites among all her short stories. Her inspiration for Quin came from her love of the theatre.
In 1928 the first story "The Coming of Mr Quin" became the first British film adaptation of one of Christie’s works, although the title was changed to The Passing of Mr Quinn.
The Gentle Art of Murder
17 June 2009
15 June 2009
My intent in the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge is to read her books in order, so that I can get some idea of what she is doing, problems she is attempting to solve, and her development as a writer. If you look at some of my reviews you will see that I have been able to undertake some of this reflection.
Currently I am managing about a book a month.
Up until now I have been mainly borrowing the books from my local library but with my new acquisitions, this will be cut down quite a bit.
What I've read so far
- 1920, THE MYSTERIOUS AFFAIR AT STYLES - finished
- 1922, THE SECRET ADVERSARY- finished
- 1923, THE MURDER ON THE LINKS - finished
- 1924, THE MAN IN THE BROWN SUIT - finished
1924, POIROT INVESTIGATES (short stories: eleven in the UK, fourteen in the US) - finished
- 1925, THE SECRET OF CHIMNEYS - finished
- 1926, THE MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD - finished
- 1927, THE BIG FOUR - finished
- 1928, THE MYSTERY OF THE BLUE TRAIN - finished
- 1929, THE SEVEN DIALS MYSTERY - finished
1929 Partners in Crime (fifteen short stories; featuring Tommy and Tuppence) - now on my shelves
- 1930, THE MURDER AT THE VICARAGE - finished
1930, The Mysterious Mr. Quin (twelve short stories; introducing Mr. Harley Quin) - finished
- 1931, THE SITTAFORD MYSTERY (aka MURDER AT HAZELMOOR) - finished
- 1932, PERIL AT END HOUSE - requested from the library.
1932 The Thirteen Problems (thirteen short stories; featuring Miss Marple, also known as The Tuesday Club Murders in the US) - now on my shelves
- 1933, LORD EDGEWARE DIES (aka THIRTEEN AT DINNER) - - now on my shelves
- 1934, MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (aka MURDER IN THE CALAIS COACH) - now on my shelves
- 1934, WHY DIDN'T THEY ASK EVANS? (aka THE BOOMERANG CLUE) - now on my shelves
I am using the list at Wikipedia of novels and collections of short stories. I will interlace the short story collections into the list where I can, but may have to read them out of order. I have decided on a method for reporting on the short stories.
Please feel free to join in my challenge, comment on my reviews etc.
I have set up a block over in the right hand column called Agatha Christie Reading Challenge (with the same logo as this post) where I am listing the books I'm currently reading and those I've finished.
The challenge is called ACRC so each review will be preceded by those letters.
If you want to follow my progress through your RSS reader, then the RSS URL is
Just save that in your bookmarks or RSS reader and you will be notified when I have written a new post.
Alternatively you could subscribe to the feed through FeedMyInbox. Just copy the RSS URL, click on the FeedMyInbox link and paste the URL in there.
You will need to confirm your subscription by email.
Contribute your blog postings about any Agatha Christie novels to the monthly carnival. Make an agreement with yourself that whenever you complete reading an Aggie you will write a blog posting about it and then submit the posting to the carnival.
If you are participating in the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge then write updates like this one and submit them to the Carnival. Let us know what progress you are making.
As I read another collection, I'll add the stories to the list that I've created and publish a new posting headed ACRC: Short Stories, Update #x, and also link to ACRC: Short Stories which will show my gradual conquering of the short story mountain.
The updates will show the short stories read, listed in the order in which they were written, and the collection(s) in which they were published.
1923, The Adventure of the Western Star - Hercule Poirot - Poirot Investigates publ. 1924
1923, Tragedy at Marsdon Manor - Hercule Poirot - Poirot Investigates publ. 1924
1923, The Adventure of the Cheap Flat - Hercule Poirot - Poirot Investigates publ. 1924
1923, The Mystery of Hunters Lodge - Hercule Poirot - Poirot Investigates publ. 1924
1923, The Million Dollar Bond Robbery - Hercule Poirot - Poirot Investigates publ. 1924
1923, The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb - Hercule Poirot - Poirot Investigates publ. 1924
1923, The Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan - Hercule Poirot - Poirot Investigates publ. 1924
1923, The Kidnapped Prime Minister - Hercule Poirot - Poirot Investigates publ. 1924
1923, The Disappearance of Davenheim - Hercule Poirot - Poirot Investigates publ. 1924
1923, The Adventure of the Italian Nobleman - Hercule Poirot - Poirot Investigates publ.1924
1923, The Case of the Missing Will - Hercule Poirot - Poirot Investigates publ. 1924
1926, Magnolia Blossom - romance - Problem at Pollensa Bay publ. 1991
1926, The Love Detectives - Mr Satterthwaite & Harley Quin - Problem at Pollensa Bay publ. 1991
1929, Next to a Dog - romance - Problem at Pollensa Bay publ. 1991
1930, The Coming of Mr. Quin - Mr Satterthwaite & Harley Quin - The Mysterious Mr Quin
1930, The Shadow on the Glass - Mr Satterthwaite & Harley Quin - The Mysterious Mr Quin
1930, At the "Bells and Motley" - Mr Satterthwaite & Harley Quin - The Mysterious Mr Quin
1930, The Sign in the Sky - Mr Satterthwaite & Harley Quin - The Mysterious Mr Quin
1930, The Soul of the Croupier - Mr Satterthwaite & Harley Quin - The Mysterious Mr Quin
1930, The Man from the Sea - Mr Satterthwaite & Harley Quin - The Mysterious Mr Quin
1930, The Voice in the Dark - Mr Satterthwaite & Harley Quin - The Mysterious Mr Quin
1930, The Face of Helen - Mr Satterthwaite & Harley Quin - The Mysterious Mr Quin
1930, The Dead Harlequin - Mr Satterthwaite & Harley Quin - The Mysterious Mr Quin
1930, The Bird with the Broken Wing - Mr Satterthwaite & Harley Quin - The Mysterious Mr Quin
1930, The World's End - Mr Satterthwaite & Harley Quin - The Mysterious Mr Quin
1930, Harlequin's Lane - Mr Satterthwaite & Harley Quin - The Mysterious Mr Quin
1932, The Second Gong - Hercule Poirot - Problem at Pollensa Bay publ. 1991
1935, Problem at Pollensa Bay - Parker Pyne - Problem at Pollensa Bay publ. 1991
1936, The Regatta Mystery - Parker Pyne - Problem at Pollensa Bay publ. 1991
1937, Yellow Iris - Hercule Poirot - Problem at Pollensa Bay publ. 1991
1971, The Harlequin Tea Set - Mr Satterthwaite & Harley Quin - Problem at Pollensa Bay publ. 1991