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Clemence Dane

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  • Joe Hoffman
    Hi! Going back to a post I send earlier this week. Clemence Dane was one of the contributing GAD authors to The Scoop novelette I recently talked about. I am
    Message 1 of 24 , Aug 30, 2001
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      Hi!
       
      Going back to a post I send earlier this week. Clemence Dane was one of the contributing GAD authors to The Scoop novelette I recently talked about. I am unfamiliar with this author, but I did like his? style of writing. He added a real psychological twist to the characters and story in his chapters, and I was wondering if anyone else could add to my knowledge of this author? Like any suggestions for books to read? Sam, Doug, Bill VW... are you out there?
       
      More later,
       
      Anita
    • dgreene@odu.edu
      Clemence Dane was co-author (with Helen Simpson, I believe) of 3 detective novels, about an actor detective, Sir John Saumarez-- ENTER SIR JOHN (1928),
      Message 2 of 24 , Aug 30, 2001
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        Clemence Dane was co-author (with Helen Simpson, I believe) of 3 detective
        novels, about an actor detective, Sir John Saumarez-- ENTER SIR JOHN
        (1928), PRINTER'S DEVIL (1930), and RE-ENTER SIR JOHN (1932). I recall
        enjoying them, but nothing at all about the plots.

        She was an early member of The Detection Club.

        Dour

        Douglas G. Greene
        Professor of History
        Old Dominion University
        Norfolk, VA 23529-0091
        Phone 757 683-3949
      • Christian Henriksson
        ... To Doug s information I can add that her real name was Winifred Ashton and that she lived between 1888 and 1965. Of the three novels above (her only
        Message 3 of 24 , Aug 30, 2001
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          > Clemence Dane was co-author (with Helen Simpson, I believe) of 3
          > detective novels, about an actor detective, Sir John Saumarez--
          > ENTER SIR JOHN (1928), PRINTER'S DEVIL (1930), and RE-ENTER SIR
          > JOHN (1932). I recall enjoying them, but nothing at all about the
          > plots.
          >
          > She was an early member of The Detection Club.

          To Doug's information I can add that her real name was Winifred
          Ashton and that she lived between 1888 and 1965. Of the three
          novels above (her only contribution to the genre - Simpson wrote
          one other novel, a thriller/psychological mystery), the last comes
          most recommended in my reference book.

          > Dour

          Really? :)

          Christian Henriksson
          (chenrik@...)
          --
          The human race, to which so many of my
          readers belong.
          - G. K. Chesterton
        • Joe Hoffman
          Many thanks for the info., Doug. I knew you would one of the handful to have this information. Have a great weekend. Anita ... From: dgreene@odu.edu To:
          Message 4 of 24 , Aug 30, 2001
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            Many thanks for the info., Doug. I knew you would one of the handful to have this information. Have a great weekend.
             
            Anita
             
             
             
            ----- Original Message -----
            Sent: Thursday, August 30, 2001 1:21 PM
            Subject: Re: [GAdetection] Clemence Dane


            Clemence Dane was co-author (with Helen Simpson, I believe) of 3 detective
            novels, about an actor detective, Sir John Saumarez-- ENTER SIR JOHN
            (1928), PRINTER'S DEVIL (1930), and RE-ENTER SIR JOHN (1932).  I recall
            enjoying them, but nothing at all about the plots.

            She was an early member of The Detection Club.

            Dour

            Douglas G. Greene
            Professor of History
            Old Dominion University
            Norfolk, VA 23529-0091
            Phone 757 683-3949



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          • Joe Hoffman
            Many thanks again for everyone re: Clemence Dane. I found a book on e-bay written by her in 1931 called Broome Stages... it s at $2.00 which I thought is a
            Message 5 of 24 , Aug 30, 2001
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              Many thanks again for everyone re: Clemence Dane. I found a book on e-bay written by her in 1931 called Broome Stages... it's at $2.00 which I thought is a good price. However, it sounds like this is not one of her mystery books, but rather the psychological/thriller that Christian referred to in his post.In any event, I'll watch it and see if I want to invest anymore than the $2.00 currently bid.
               
              Many thanks again for all the input.
               
              More later,
               
              Anita
              ----- Original Message -----
              Sent: Thursday, August 30, 2001 1:21 PM
              Subject: Re: [GAdetection] Clemence Dane


              Clemence Dane was co-author (with Helen Simpson, I believe) of 3 detective
              novels, about an actor detective, Sir John Saumarez-- ENTER SIR JOHN
              (1928), PRINTER'S DEVIL (1930), and RE-ENTER SIR JOHN (1932).  I recall
              enjoying them, but nothing at all about the plots.

              She was an early member of The Detection Club.

              Dour

              Douglas G. Greene
              Professor of History
              Old Dominion University
              Norfolk, VA 23529-0091
              Phone 757 683-3949



              To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
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            • Nicholas Fuller
              The early Hitchock film MURDER (to be avoided by all sane and right-minded people) was based on a Clemence Dane--I forget which one. Clemence Dane gave Mrs.
              Message 6 of 24 , Aug 30, 2001
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                The early Hitchock film MURDER (to be avoided by all
                sane and right-minded people) was based on a Clemence
                Dane--I forget which one.

                Clemence Dane gave Mrs. Bradley her middle name
                "Adela", and wrote the Mrs. Bradley sections of ASK A
                POLICEMAN.

                Regards,

                Nick Fuller

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              • Sam Karnick
                Nick, You will surely make a fine literary critic if you learn to temper your opinions just a bit. I contend that Alfred Hitchcock s MURDER is quite enjoyable,
                Message 7 of 24 , Aug 31, 2001
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                  Nick,

                  You will surely make a fine literary critic if you learn to temper your opinions just a bit. I contend that Alfred Hitchcock's MURDER is quite enjoyable, and I have been judged by some to be perfectly sane and right-minded.

                  Best w's,

                  S. T. Karnick

                  S. T. Karnick
                  Editor in Chief, American Outlook (www.americanoutlook.org)
                  Director of Publications, Hudson Institute (www.hudson.org)


                  >>> stoke_moran@... 08/30/01 10:47PM >>>

                  The early Hitchock film MURDER (to be avoided by all
                  sane and right-minded people) was based on a Clemence
                  Dane--I forget which one.

                  Clemence Dane gave Mrs. Bradley her middle name
                  "Adela", and wrote the Mrs. Bradley sections of ASK A
                  POLICEMAN.

                  Regards,

                  Nick Fuller

                  ____________________________________________________________
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                  Get your free @... address at http://mail.yahoo.co.uk
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                • Christian Henriksson
                  ... This must be a non-mystery. What I was trying to say in my convoluted post was that Dane only collaborated on three mystery novels - however, her
                  Message 8 of 24 , Aug 31, 2001
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                    > Many thanks again for everyone re: Clemence Dane. I found a book
                    > on e-bay written by her in 1931 called Broome Stages... it's at
                    > $2.00 which I thought is a good price. However, it sounds like
                    > this is not one of her mystery books, but rather the
                    > psychological/thriller that Christian referred to in his post.In
                    > any event, I'll watch it and see if I want to invest anymore than
                    > the $2.00 currently bid.

                    This must be a non-mystery. What I was trying to say in my
                    convoluted post was that Dane only collaborated on three mystery
                    novels - however, her collaborator Helen Simpson wrote another
                    mystery novel alone, which was a psychological thriller.

                    Christian Henriksson
                    (chenrik@...)
                    --
                    The human race, to which so many of my
                    readers belong.
                    - G. K. Chesterton
                  • Joe Hoffman
                    Thanks for the clarification Christian. The book is still at $2.00, and I will watch it. If I get it, it can go next to The Highwayman, 1915, by H.C. Bailey
                    Message 9 of 24 , Aug 31, 2001
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                      Thanks for the clarification Christian. The book is still at $2.00, and I will watch it. If I get it, it can go next to The Highwayman, 1915, by H.C. Bailey which I also bought about a month ago. Maybe I should dedicate space in my library to books written by GAD authors before they became GAD authors. Hmmmm???
                       
                      More later,
                       
                      Anita
                      ----- Original Message -----
                      Sent: Friday, August 31, 2001 5:35 PM
                      Subject: Re: [GAdetection] Clemence Dane

                      > Many thanks again for everyone re: Clemence Dane. I found a book
                      > on e-bay written by her in 1931 called Broome Stages... it's at
                      > $2.00 which I thought is a good price. However, it sounds like
                      > this is not one of her mystery books, but rather the
                      > psychological/thriller that Christian referred to in his post.In
                      > any event, I'll watch it and see if I want to invest anymore than
                      > the $2.00 currently bid.

                      This must be a non-mystery. What I was trying to say in my
                      convoluted post was that Dane only collaborated on three mystery
                      novels - however, her collaborator Helen Simpson wrote another
                      mystery novel alone, which was a psychological thriller.

                      Christian Henriksson
                      (chenrik@...)
                      --
                      The human race, to which so many of my
                      readers belong.
                      - G. K. Chesterton


                      To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
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                      Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.
                    • Nicholas Fuller
                      ... called Broome Stages... it s at $2.00 which I thought is a good price. However, it sounds like this is not one of her mystery books, but rather
                      Message 10 of 24 , Aug 31, 2001
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                        --- Christian Henriksson <chenrik@...> wrote:
                        > > Many thanks again for everyone re: Clemence Dane.
                        > I found a book > > on e-bay written by her in 1931
                        called Broome > Stages... it's at > > $2.00 which I
                        thought is a good price. However, it > sounds like > >
                        this is not one of her mystery books, but rather > the
                        > > psychological/thriller that Christian referred to
                        > in his post.In > > any event, I'll watch it and see
                        if I want to > invest anymore than > > the $2.00
                        currently bid.
                        >
                        > This must be a non-mystery. What I was trying to say
                        > in my > convoluted post was that Dane only
                        collaborated on > three mystery > novels - however,
                        her collaborator Helen Simpson > wrote another >
                        mystery novel alone, which was a psychological >
                        thriller.

                        Weren't Helen Simpson and Clemence Dane the same
                        person?

                        Regards,

                        Nick Fuller

                        ____________________________________________________________
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                      • Christian Henriksson
                        ... Nope. Helen Simpson was Helen Simpson in real life (an Australian, no less) and wrote three books together with Clemence Dane, who was Winifred Ashton in
                        Message 11 of 24 , Sep 1 1:49 PM
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                          > --- Christian Henriksson <chenrik@...> wrote:
                          > > > Many thanks again for everyone re: Clemence Dane.
                          > > I found a book > > on e-bay written by her in 1931
                          > called Broome > Stages... it's at > > $2.00 which I
                          > thought is a good price. However, it > sounds like > >
                          > this is not one of her mystery books, but rather > the
                          > > > psychological/thriller that Christian referred to
                          > > in his post.In > > any event, I'll watch it and see
                          > if I want to > invest anymore than > > the $2.00
                          > currently bid.
                          > >
                          > > This must be a non-mystery. What I was trying to say
                          > > in my > convoluted post was that Dane only
                          > collaborated on > three mystery > novels - however,
                          > her collaborator Helen Simpson > wrote another >
                          > mystery novel alone, which was a psychological >
                          > thriller.
                          >
                          > Weren't Helen Simpson and Clemence Dane the same
                          > person?

                          Nope. Helen Simpson was Helen Simpson in real life (an
                          Australian, no less) and wrote three books together with Clemence
                          Dane, who was Winifred Ashton in real life.

                          After these three novels, Helen Simpson wrote a psychological
                          thriller without the help of Dane/Ashton.

                          Christian Henriksson
                          (chenrik@...)
                          --
                          The human race, to which so many of my
                          readers belong.
                          - G. K. Chesterton
                        • Christian Henriksson
                          Yes, indeed! Check out http://hem.passagen.se/orange/biblio.htm for a number of additions to the bibliography site. Several great authors, including Simenon,
                          Message 12 of 24 , Sep 1 1:56 PM
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                            Yes, indeed!

                            Check out http://hem.passagen.se/orange/biblio.htm for a number
                            of additions to the bibliography site. Several great authors,
                            including Simenon, Chandler, Hammett, Brand and Mitchell, have
                            been added - in all, 13 new authors. For a complete list of the
                            additions, please follow the link on the main page to "What's New".

                            Do let me know if you spot any errors or omissions!

                            Huge thanks go out to Nick Fuller, Doug Greene, Anita Hoffman
                            and a handful of non-members for help on these additions. (I hope I
                            didn't forget to mention anyone here.)

                            Christian Henriksson
                            (chenrik@...)
                            --
                            The human race, to which so many of my
                            readers belong.
                            - G. K. Chesterton
                          • Christian Henriksson
                            Actually, I didn t read that many mysteries while away on vacation, but I managed to squeeze in a few, and I ve read a couple more since I got back. Colin
                            Message 13 of 24 , Sep 1 2:34 PM
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                              Actually, I didn't read that many mysteries while away on vacation,
                              but I managed to squeeze in a few, and I've read a couple more
                              since I got back.

                              Colin Dexter THE REMORSEFUL DAY 3/5

                              Inspector Morse gets assigned to a murder case which has been
                              re-opened after having been unsolved for around one year. Soon
                              more people are found dead, and Morse must reluctantly start
                              sorting out the facts.

                              While the main mystery is not too hard to figure out (especially
                              towards the last few chapters), it's much harder to guess who's
                              behind the anonymous mail. A good surprise there! But that's not
                              enough to lift this book towards any particular heights, and thus the
                              Morse saga, to use a cliché, ends with a whimper instead of a
                              bang. At least Lewis got some nice character moments here.

                              Nicholas Blake THE SMILER WITH THE KNIFE 3/5

                              Georgia Strangeways is asked by husband Nigel's uncle John to
                              begin investigating and infiltrating an organisation which threatens
                              to overthrow the government and install a megalomaniacal tyrant as
                              ruler of Britain.

                              This is one of those high-brow thrillers (Michael Innes is probably
                              best known for his stuff in the same genre), which I tend to have very
                              low opinions of when not reading them. On the other hand, when I
                              do read them, they often breeze by fairly quickly - and I also tend to
                              enjoy them. This is one of the better books of the genre, but it's let
                              down by having too little action.

                              Jack Iams WHAT RHYMES WITH MURDER 3.5/5

                              (Yes, what does rhyme with murder?)
                              Stanley "Rocky" Rockwell, newspaper editor for a paper involved in
                              a war with a competitor, gets involved when an English poet, known
                              as a huge womaniser, is found shot. Because his fiancée is found
                              at the side of the dead poet's body, and his revolver is found in the
                              vicinity, he soon becomes a suspect.

                              Another one of Iams's light mysteries - fair play isn't too much of a
                              concern here, but fun is had by all involved. Iams often tends to have
                              sprightly middle-aged/elderly ladies as investigators, and this is no
                              exception. Society reporter Mrs. Pritchard(?) handles secretaries of
                              English poets, diplomats, tea and dumb D.A.s with an enviable
                              ease. I rather like this type of mystery, but I still have to ask myself
                              why on earth Rocky has to apologise to his fiancée. (The luxury of
                              having no steady girlfriend shines through, I guess. :)

                              Ngaio Marsh DEATH AT THE BAR 3.5/5

                              A British lawyer is on holiday at his favourite resort, with his cousin
                              and friend. He tends to antagonise most of the people in the village,
                              including members of the Communist party, his old "girlfriend" and
                              his own travelling companions. So it's no wonder that he dies, but
                              what actually killed him?

                              A clever mystery, where it's easy to find the motive of the obvious
                              suspect, but harder to figure out how he could have done it. Clever
                              misdirection and an extra layer of twists and turns towards the end
                              make this another one in a row of recommended books by Marsh.
                              (This was written during her first period of greatness, lasting from
                              1937's VINTAGE MURDER to 1940's DEATH OF A PEER. The
                              second one came in the fifties and lasted from 1955's SCALES OF
                              JUSTICE to 1962's HAND IN GLOVE.)

                              Patricia Moyes FALLING STAR 3.5/5

                              This novel takes place during the shooting of a movie, where one
                              day the leading man falls in front of a train and dies. Shortly
                              thereafter a recently fired member of the film crew is found dead.
                              Henry Tibbett is not convinced that the latter death is suicide and
                              begins investigating.

                              The setting is rather interesting here, and it's obvious that Moyes
                              was used to film-making (she was Peter Ustinov's secretary and
                              personal assistant for 8 years). And the murderer is well-hidden -
                              the reader is led to suspect one of the characters, but of course it
                              turns out to be someone else.

                              The main fault of this book is the narrator, who is one of those
                              stupid people who never understands the true significance of what's
                              being said and done. It's probably supposed to add comic flavour
                              to the book, but it only serves to annoy this reader. Horrible
                              character!

                              I also - finally - got hold of the only Swedish translation of Lord
                              Dunsany's "The Two Bottles of Relish". A classic short story, but
                              easy to see through for a seasoned GA reader - actually, the title
                              kinda suggests the whole plot. But I do understand why publishers
                              were reluctant to touch this story now. In all, arguably a classic, but
                              not all that exciting a read.
                              Christian Henriksson
                              (chenrik@...)
                              --
                              The human race, to which so many of my
                              readers belong.
                              - G. K. Chesterton
                            • Nicholas Fuller
                              ... few, and I ve read a couple more since I got back. ... around one year. Soon more people are found dead, and Morse must reluctantly start
                              Message 14 of 24 , Sep 1 4:56 PM
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                                --- Christian Henriksson <chenrik@...> wrote:
                                > Actually, I didn't read that many mysteries while
                                > away on vacation, > but I managed to squeeze in a
                                few, and I've read a > couple more > since I got back.
                                >
                                > Colin Dexter THE REMORSEFUL DAY 3/5
                                >
                                > Inspector Morse gets assigned to a murder case which
                                > has been > re-opened after having been unsolved for
                                around one > year. Soon > more people are found dead,
                                and Morse must > reluctantly start sorting out the
                                facts.
                                >
                                > While the main mystery is not too hard to figure out
                                > (especially > towards the last few chapters), it's
                                much harder to > guess who's > behind the anonymous
                                mail. A good surprise there! > But that's not >
                                enough to lift this book towards any particular >
                                heights, and thus the > Morse saga, to use a cliché,
                                ends with a whimper > instead of a > bang. At least
                                Lewis got some nice character moments > here.

                                I wasn't impressed either--the book seemed tired and
                                dull, and the only suspense came from whether the book
                                was a repeat of CURTAIN or not. Funny that several
                                authors are getting rid of their detectives at the
                                moment--H.R.F. Keating has written the last Ghote.
                                The film version was better.


                                > Nicholas Blake THE SMILER WITH THE KNIFE 3/5
                                >
                                > Georgia Strangeways is asked by husband Nigel's
                                > uncle John to > begin investigating and infiltrating
                                an organisation > which threatens > to overthrow the
                                government and install a> megalomaniacal tyrant as >
                                ruler of Britain.
                                >
                                > This is one of those high-brow thrillers (Michael >
                                Innes is probably > best known for his stuff in the
                                same genre), which I > tend to have very > low
                                opinions of when not reading them. On the other >
                                hand, when I > do read them, they often breeze by
                                fairly quickly - > and I also tend to > enjoy them.
                                This is one of the better books of the > genre, but
                                it's let > down by having too little action.

                                I loved this one--great comedy, great suspense, even
                                the typical mad scientist and megalomaniac villain are
                                well drawn characters. Haven't read many of Michael
                                Innes' thrillers, don't really want to--APPLEBY PLAYS
                                CHICKEN was bad, but THE JOURNEYING BOY was
                                entertaining. Has anyone read THE SECRET VANGUARD,
                                FROM LONDON FAR, or OPERATION PAX?


                                > Ngaio Marsh DEATH AT THE BAR 3.5/5
                                >
                                > A British lawyer is on holiday at his favourite >
                                resort, with his cousin > and friend. He tends to
                                antagonise most of the > people in the village, >
                                including members of the Communist party, his old >
                                "girlfriend" and > his own travelling companions. So
                                it's no wonder > that he dies, but what actually
                                killed him?
                                >
                                > A clever mystery, where it's easy to find the motive
                                > of the obvious > suspect, but harder to figure out
                                how he could have > done it. Clever > misdirection and
                                an extra layer of twists and turns > towards the end
                                > make this another one in a row of recommended books
                                > by Marsh. > (This was written during her first
                                period of > greatness, lasting from > 1937's VINTAGE
                                MURDER to 1940's DEATH OF A PEER. The > > second one
                                came in the fifties and lasted from > 1955's SCALES OF

                                > JUSTICE to 1962's HAND IN GLOVE.)

                                I didn't like this one at all. Even when I was
                                reading the last two chapters, it was all I could do
                                to keep going--thoroughly boring. I'm surprised you
                                don't include the books of the 1940s--COLOUR SCHEME
                                and DIED IN THE WOOL are both good, while FINAL
                                CURTAIN is perhaps her masterpiece (can't stand the
                                much touted SURFEIT OF LAMPREYS--a bad book to start
                                off on).


                                Regards,

                                Nick Fuller

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                              • Christian Henriksson
                                ... I ve read VANGUARD and PAX, and gave both of them a solid 3 out of 5 (to compare, I gave JOURNEYING BOY a 3.5). They were both entertaining, with perhaps
                                Message 15 of 24 , Sep 2 12:40 PM
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                                  > > Nicholas Blake THE SMILER WITH THE KNIFE 3/5
                                  > >
                                  > > This is one of those high-brow thrillers (Michael >
                                  > Innes is probably > best known for his stuff in the
                                  > same genre),
                                  >
                                  > I loved this one--great comedy, great suspense, even
                                  > the typical mad scientist and megalomaniac villain are
                                  > well drawn characters. Haven't read many of Michael
                                  > Innes' thrillers, don't really want to--APPLEBY PLAYS
                                  > CHICKEN was bad, but THE JOURNEYING BOY was
                                  > entertaining. Has anyone read THE SECRET VANGUARD,
                                  > FROM LONDON FAR, or OPERATION PAX?

                                  I've read VANGUARD and PAX, and gave both of them a solid 3
                                  out of 5 (to compare, I gave JOURNEYING BOY a 3.5). They were
                                  both entertaining, with perhaps an edge to PAX, which contains
                                  several of the usual Innes absurdities. VANGUARD is much more
                                  serious, a real spy thriller, and it's perhaps not surprising that it is -
                                  it was written during the war.

                                  (And don't forget his other famous thriller, THE MAN FROM THE
                                  SEA. I tended to dislike it the first time I read it, but I've
                                  reconsidered and now give it a 3.5.)
                                  >
                                  > > Ngaio Marsh DEATH AT THE BAR 3.5/5
                                  > >
                                  > > (This was written during her first
                                  > period of > greatness, lasting from > 1937's VINTAGE
                                  > MURDER to 1940's DEATH OF A PEER. The > > second one
                                  > came in the fifties and lasted from > 1955's SCALES OF
                                  > > JUSTICE to 1962's HAND IN GLOVE.)
                                  >
                                  > I'm surprised you
                                  > don't include the books of the 1940s--COLOUR SCHEME
                                  > and DIED IN THE WOOL are both good, while FINAL
                                  > CURTAIN is perhaps her masterpiece (can't stand the
                                  > much touted SURFEIT OF LAMPREYS--a bad book to start
                                  > off on).

                                  Perhaps I should have lengthened period one to 1947, ending it
                                  with FINAL CURTAIN, but I do not have the same high opinion of
                                  DIED IN THE WOOL as you do (but I may change my mind, since
                                  my re-readings haven't reached that book yet). DEATH AND THE
                                  DANCING FOOTMAN also only received a 3 out of 5, so a bit of a
                                  slump there during the 40s.

                                  LAMPREYS (or DEATH OF A PEER) is the one I'm re-reading at
                                  the moment - I gave it a 4 the last time, and I feel confident that I
                                  won't change my mind too much this time either.


                                  Christian Henriksson
                                  (chenrik@...)
                                  --
                                  The human race, to which so many of my
                                  readers belong.
                                  - G. K. Chesterton
                                • Ralph, Adrienne (REA-PtMelb)
                                  Hi Nick Do you know more about Clemence Dane aka Helen Simpson. I gather she is the same Helen Simpson who spurred Gladys Mitchell s interest in witchcraft,
                                  Message 16 of 24 , Sep 2 3:41 PM
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                                    Hi Nick

                                    Do you know more about Clemence Dane aka Helen Simpson. I gather she is the
                                    same Helen Simpson who spurred Gladys Mitchell's interest in witchcraft,
                                    which was, as I recall, my opening gambit for this group.

                                    I am starting to see the Mitchell interest in witchcraft and the
                                    supernatural is akin to some novelists interest in ghost stories. They add
                                    colour and imaginative dimensions. But I can't abide them!

                                    With best wishes

                                    Adrienne

                                    ps I was once told I was "very sane". I felt a little less interesting at
                                    that moment.

                                    -----Original Message-----
                                    From: Sam Karnick [mailto:SAMK@...]
                                    Sent: Saturday, September 01, 2001 1:49 AM
                                    To: GAdetection@yahoogroups.com
                                    Subject: Re: [GAdetection] Clemence Dane


                                    Nick,

                                    You will surely make a fine literary critic if you learn to temper your
                                    opinions just a bit. I contend that Alfred Hitchcock's MURDER is quite
                                    enjoyable, and I have been judged by some to be perfectly sane and
                                    right-minded.

                                    Best w's,

                                    S. T. Karnick

                                    S. T. Karnick
                                    Editor in Chief, American Outlook (www.americanoutlook.org)
                                    Director of Publications, Hudson Institute (www.hudson.org)


                                    >>> stoke_moran@... 08/30/01 10:47PM >>>

                                    The early Hitchock film MURDER (to be avoided by all
                                    sane and right-minded people) was based on a Clemence
                                    Dane--I forget which one.

                                    Clemence Dane gave Mrs. Bradley her middle name
                                    "Adela", and wrote the Mrs. Bradley sections of ASK A
                                    POLICEMAN.

                                    Regards,

                                    Nick Fuller

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                                  • Nicholas Fuller
                                    ... wrote: Hi Nick ... who spurred Gladys Mitchell s interest in witchcraft, which was, as I recall, my opening
                                    Message 17 of 24 , Sep 2 6:36 PM
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                                      --- "Ralph, Adrienne (REA-PtMelb)"
                                      <Adrienne.Ralph@...> wrote: > Hi Nick
                                      >
                                      > Do you know more about Clemence Dane aka Helen
                                      > Simpson. I gather she is the > same Helen Simpson
                                      who spurred Gladys Mitchell's > interest in
                                      witchcraft, > which was, as I recall, my opening
                                      gambit for this > group.

                                      I don't know much about Dane / Simpson, I'm afraid.
                                      The author biography of THE DEVIL AT SAXON WALL (1939
                                      Penguin) states: "DEATH AT THE OPERA was written
                                      after [Mitchell] became interested in the educational
                                      theories of A.S. Neill, and THE DEVIL AT SAXON WALL
                                      came as the result of hearing a lecutre on witchcraft
                                      by Miss Helen Simpson." Don't really understand the
                                      thing about good wine needing no bush on the back of
                                      the 1950s Penguins...

                                      > I am starting to see the Mitchell interest in
                                      > witchcraft and the > supernatural is akin to some
                                      novelists interest in > ghost stories. They add >
                                      colour and imaginative dimensions. But I can't abide >
                                      them!

                                      Why don't you like ghost stories? Personally, I can't
                                      stand fantasy or science-fiction, but I am a great fan
                                      of ghost stories--as opposed to Stephen King horror
                                      stuff, which just strikes me as being mental junk
                                      food. M.R. James is deservedly famous--his ability to
                                      create fear and tension is unsurpassed, and he does
                                      this without the screaming heebie-jeebies of J.D. Carr
                                      (a great plotter but, in many ways, a horrible
                                      writer). You should try "CASTING THE RUNES", "THE
                                      TREASURE OF ABBOT THOMAS", "A WARNING TO THE CURIOUS",
                                      and "OH, WHISTLE AND I'LL COME TO YOU, MY LAD"--all
                                      are superb.

                                      The Mitchells with witchcraft and the supernatural
                                      are, I think, her best--THE DEVIL AT SAXON WALL is a
                                      tour de force of imagination; COME AWAY, DEATH has
                                      really compelling atmosphere; WHEN LAST I DIED is one
                                      of the greatest uses of the haunted house setting in
                                      the genre; DEATH AND THE MAIDEN has a distinctly odd
                                      feeling all its own, with its water nymphs and river
                                      setting; THE DANCING DRUIDS has an incredibly
                                      terrifying opening, with a young man playing hares and
                                      hounds, and getting lost in the wilds, stumbling
                                      across the odd inhabitants of a house with only dead
                                      trees growing outside; TOM BROWN'S BODY's witchcraft
                                      is superb--the ending "the genuine Mitchell frisson"
                                      as Larkin put it; MERLIN'S FURLONG's witchcraft is
                                      entertaining and unusual--FURLONG is in many ways the
                                      quintessential Gladys Mitchell novel; and HERE LIES
                                      GLORIA MUNDY has an ending which, like that of TOM
                                      BROWN'S BODY, has to be read to be believed. On the
                                      other hand, I find her works of the 1960s and 1970s
                                      inferior--WRAITHS AND CHANGELINGS, for example, has a
                                      ghost tour setting that should work, but goes merrily
                                      down the plug hole after a few chapters--she did this
                                      much better in THE WHISPERING KNIGHTS, which combines
                                      stone circles with flitting wraiths of evil. Another
                                      problem with the works of the '60s and '70s is that
                                      too often there is little ingenuity of plot, the plot
                                      tends to be simplistic (simplistic by most author's
                                      standards, which is surprising considering that
                                      Mitchell's books are "based on the thicket theory of
                                      plotting", to quote Patricia Craig, or what Margery
                                      Allingham termed "plum pudding"--complication,
                                      complication, and more-complication) and too much
                                      travelling--e.g., DEATH OF A DELFT BLUE (1964), 3
                                      QUICK AND FIVE DEAD (1968), LAMENT FOR LETO (1971),
                                      WINKING AT THE BRIM (1974). On the other hand, a few
                                      books of the 1960s and 1970s stand out: THE CROAKING
                                      RAVEN (1966) is quite entertaining; DANCE TO YOUR
                                      DADDY (1969) is an excellent take-off of the Gothic
                                      novel, complete with young woman forced to wear armour
                                      by her wicked guardian; GORY DEW (1970) has some
                                      excellent misdirection; LATE, LATE IN THE EVENING
                                      (1976), her fiftieth, has a good plot, and a nice
                                      setting; FAULT IN THE STRUCTURE (1977) is an excellent
                                      tale--how the psychological thriller should be done;
                                      and from 1979 on, her books improved--both NEST OF
                                      VIPERS and THE MUDFLATS OF THE DEAD are well worth
                                      seeking out.

                                      Regards,

                                      Nick Fuller

                                      ____________________________________________________________
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                                      Get your free @... address at http://mail.yahoo.co.uk
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                                    • Ralph, Adrienne (REA-PtMelb)
                                      ... From: Nicholas Fuller [mailto:stoke_moran@yahoo.com] Sent: Monday, September 03, 2001 11:37 AM To: GAdetection@yahoogroups.com Subject: RE: [GAdetection]
                                      Message 18 of 24 , Sep 2 9:10 PM
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                                        -----Original Message-----
                                        From: Nicholas Fuller [mailto:stoke_moran@...]
                                        Sent: Monday, September 03, 2001 11:37 AM
                                        To: GAdetection@yahoogroups.com
                                        Subject: RE: [GAdetection] Clemence Dane


                                        --- "Ralph, Adrienne (REA-PtMelb)"
                                        <Adrienne.Ralph@...> wrote: > Hi Nick
                                        >
                                        > Do you know more about Clemence Dane aka Helen
                                        > Simpson. I gather she is the > same Helen Simpson
                                        who spurred Gladys Mitchell's > interest in
                                        witchcraft, > which was, as I recall, my opening
                                        gambit for this > group.

                                        I don't know much about Dane / Simpson, I'm afraid.
                                        The author biography of THE DEVIL AT SAXON WALL (1939
                                        Penguin) states: "DEATH AT THE OPERA was written
                                        after [Mitchell] became interested in the educational
                                        theories of A.S. Neill, and THE DEVIL AT SAXON WALL
                                        came as the result of hearing a lecutre on witchcraft
                                        by Miss Helen Simpson." Don't really understand the
                                        thing about good wine needing no bush on the back of
                                        the 1950s Penguins...

                                        Well there was obviously quite a lot going on between Mitchell and Simpson,
                                        including naming characters. Could be a lead for your biography Nick.

                                        > I am starting to see the Mitchell interest in
                                        > witchcraft and the > supernatural is akin to some
                                        novelists interest in > ghost stories. They add >
                                        colour and imaginative dimensions. But I can't abide >
                                        them!

                                        Why don't you like ghost stories? Personally, I can't
                                        stand fantasy or science-fiction, but I am a great fan
                                        of ghost stories--as opposed to Stephen King horror
                                        stuff, which just strikes me as being mental junk
                                        food. M.R. James is deservedly famous--his ability to
                                        create fear and tension is unsurpassed, and he does
                                        this without the screaming heebie-jeebies of J.D. Carr
                                        (a great plotter but, in many ways, a horrible
                                        writer). You should try "CASTING THE RUNES", "THE
                                        TREASURE OF ABBOT THOMAS", "A WARNING TO THE CURIOUS",
                                        and "OH, WHISTLE AND I'LL COME TO YOU, MY LAD"--all
                                        are superb.

                                        I'm not sure there could be a rational answer to why I don't like ghost
                                        stories. But, perforce, such a preference is nothing but irrational. There
                                        are some exceptional ghost stories that I have enjoyed, and the supernatural
                                        can be an interesting element in any genre, but anything that smacks of mere
                                        superstition repels me. I hate superstition, it is akin to mischief-making,
                                        and I have no time for it. Therefore Buddhist or Chinese ghost stories are
                                        the more interesting because, for these cultures, ghosts can be part of
                                        deeply-help metaphysical belief-system.

                                        I don't appreciate gratuitous violence or being manipulated into fear. (I
                                        have been known to find gratuitous sex quite tolerable, but I don't let that
                                        get around too much...) It may be my age, or life experiences, but after a
                                        couple of bad frights (I'm sure no more than most people who have been
                                        around the block a few times), I respect fear too much to think about
                                        playing with it.

                                        The Mitchells with witchcraft and the supernatural
                                        are, I think, her best--THE DEVIL AT SAXON WALL is a
                                        tour de force of imagination; COME AWAY, DEATH has
                                        really compelling atmosphere; WHEN LAST I DIED is one
                                        of the greatest uses of the haunted house setting in
                                        the genre; DEATH AND THE MAIDEN has a distinctly odd
                                        feeling all its own, with its water nymphs and river
                                        setting; THE DANCING DRUIDS has an incredibly
                                        terrifying opening, with a young man playing hares and
                                        hounds, and getting lost in the wilds, stumbling
                                        across the odd inhabitants of a house with only dead
                                        trees growing outside; TOM BROWN'S BODY's witchcraft
                                        is superb--the ending "the genuine Mitchell frisson"
                                        as Larkin put it; MERLIN'S FURLONG's witchcraft is
                                        entertaining and unusual--FURLONG is in many ways the
                                        quintessential Gladys Mitchell novel; and HERE LIES
                                        GLORIA MUNDY has an ending which, like that of TOM
                                        BROWN'S BODY, has to be read to be believed. On the
                                        other hand, I find her works of the 1960s and 1970s
                                        inferior--WRAITHS AND CHANGELINGS, for example, has a
                                        ghost tour setting that should work, but goes merrily
                                        down the plug hole after a few chapters--she did this
                                        much better in THE WHISPERING KNIGHTS, which combines
                                        stone circles with flitting wraiths of evil. Another
                                        problem with the works of the '60s and '70s is that
                                        too often there is little ingenuity of plot, the plot
                                        tends to be simplistic (simplistic by most author's
                                        standards, which is surprising considering that
                                        Mitchell's books are "based on the thicket theory of
                                        plotting", to quote Patricia Craig, or what Margery
                                        Allingham termed "plum pudding"--complication,
                                        complication, and more-complication)

                                        Both excellent descriptions. I find the thicket-like plots - ie beyond
                                        labyrinthine - can detract from her work, distract from her characters and
                                        frankly could be pruned back to a more elegant structure which would give
                                        her works greater cohesion.

                                        and too much
                                        travelling--e.g., DEATH OF A DELFT BLUE (1964), 3
                                        QUICK AND FIVE DEAD (1968), LAMENT FOR LETO (1971),
                                        WINKING AT THE BRIM (1974). On the other hand, a few
                                        books of the 1960s and 1970s stand out: THE CROAKING
                                        RAVEN (1966) is quite entertaining; DANCE TO YOUR
                                        DADDY (1969) is an excellent take-off of the Gothic
                                        novel, complete with young woman forced to wear armour
                                        by her wicked guardian;

                                        I remember this as funny but silly. Credulity was bent out of all
                                        recognition.

                                        GORY DEW (1970) has some
                                        excellent misdirection; LATE, LATE IN THE EVENING
                                        (1976), her fiftieth, has a good plot, and a nice
                                        setting; FAULT IN THE STRUCTURE (1977) is an excellent
                                        tale--how the psychological thriller should be done;
                                        and from 1979 on, her books improved--both NEST OF
                                        VIPERS and THE MUDFLATS OF THE DEAD are well worth
                                        seeking out.

                                        Regards,

                                        Nick Fuller


                                        ps Sepulle, as I strain my short-term memory, was the doctor in 'When I Last
                                        Died'.
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                                      • chenrik@tiscali.se
                                        ... People, people. Let s try this again, shall we? :) Helen Simpson and Clemence Dane are two different people. The connection between them is that they
                                        Message 19 of 24 , Sep 3 1:40 AM
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                                          --- In GAdetection@y..., "Ralph, Adrienne (REA-PtMelb)"
                                          <Adrienne.Ralph@r...> wrote:
                                          > Hi Nick
                                          >
                                          > Do you know more about Clemence Dane aka Helen Simpson. I gather
                                          > she is the same Helen Simpson who spurred Gladys Mitchell's
                                          > interest in witchcraft, which was, as I recall, my opening gambit
                                          > for this group.

                                          People, people. Let's try this again, shall we? :)

                                          Helen Simpson and Clemence Dane are two different people. The
                                          connection between them is that they collaborated on three novels.

                                          Christian Henriksson
                                        • Nicholas Fuller
                                          . --- Ralph, Adrienne (REA-PtMelb) ... between Mitchell and Simpson, including naming characters. Could be a lead for your biography Nick. Well, I m
                                          Message 20 of 24 , Sep 3 2:53 AM
                                          • 0 Attachment
                                            .> --- "Ralph, Adrienne (REA-PtMelb)"
                                            > <Adrienne.Ralph@...> wrote: > Hi
                                            > Nick
                                            > >
                                            > > Do you know more about Clemence Dane aka Helen
                                            > > Simpson. I gather she is the > same Helen Simpson
                                            > who spurred Gladys Mitchell's > interest in
                                            > witchcraft, > which was, as I recall, my opening
                                            > gambit for this > group.
                                            >
                                            > I don't know much about Dane / Simpson, I'm afraid.
                                            > The author biography of THE DEVIL AT SAXON WALL
                                            > (1939
                                            > Penguin) states: "DEATH AT THE OPERA was written
                                            > after [Mitchell] became interested in the
                                            > educational
                                            > theories of A.S. Neill, and THE DEVIL AT SAXON WALL
                                            > came as the result of hearing a lecutre on
                                            > witchcraft
                                            > by Miss Helen Simpson." Don't really understand the
                                            > thing about good wine needing no bush on the back of
                                            > the 1950s Penguins...
                                            >
                                            > Well there was obviously quite a lot going on >
                                            between Mitchell and Simpson, > including naming
                                            characters. Could be a lead for > your biography Nick.

                                            Well, I'm going to see if I can find a copy of ASK A
                                            POLICEMAN--that should give me some material to work
                                            with--interesting to see what Dane did with Mrs. Croc.
                                            I should also keep an eye out for the Simpson / Dane
                                            books--see how much similarity there is between them
                                            and Mitchell. And if I could get a copy of Winifred
                                            Blazey's CROUCHING HILLS--Mitchell dedicated several
                                            books, including SUNSET OVER SOHO, MY FATHER SLEEPS, &
                                            DEATH AND THE MAIDEN, to Blazey...

                                            > > I am starting to see the Mitchell interest in
                                            > > witchcraft and the > supernatural is akin to some
                                            > novelists interest in > ghost stories. They add >
                                            > colour and imaginative dimensions. But I can't abide
                                            > > > them!
                                            >
                                            > Why don't you like ghost stories? Personally, I >
                                            can't > stand fantasy or science-fiction, but I am a
                                            great > fan > of ghost stories--as opposed to Stephen
                                            King horror > stuff, which just strikes me as being
                                            mental junk > food. M.R. James is deservedly
                                            famous--his ability > to > create fear and tension is
                                            unsurpassed, and he does > this without the screaming
                                            heebie-jeebies of J.D. > Carr > (a great plotter but,
                                            in many ways, a horrible > writer). You should try
                                            "CASTING THE RUNES", "THE > TREASURE OF ABBOT THOMAS",
                                            "A WARNING TO THE > CURIOUS", > and "OH, WHISTLE AND
                                            I'LL COME TO YOU, MY LAD"--all > are superb.
                                            >
                                            > I'm not sure there could be a rational answer to why
                                            > I don't like ghost > stories. But, perforce, such a
                                            preference is > nothing but irrational.

                                            Well, as ghost stories rely on humanity's IRrational
                                            fears to achieve their effect...

                                            There > are some exceptional ghost stories that I have
                                            > enjoyed, and the supernatural > can be an
                                            interesting element in any genre, but > anything that
                                            smacks of mere > superstition repels me. I hate
                                            superstition, it is > akin to mischief-making, > and I
                                            have no time for it. Therefore Buddhist or > Chinese
                                            ghost stories are > the more interesting because, for
                                            these cultures, > ghosts can be part of > deeply-help
                                            metaphysical belief-system.

                                            Superstition for the sake of superstition is often
                                            irritating--Mitchell neatly parodied this in HERE
                                            COMES A CHOPPER, where, owing to the insanity of the
                                            hostess, a party of 14 sits down at table for five
                                            hours under the misapprehension that there are 13 at
                                            table, and that the first one to stand up will die. I
                                            also find horoscopes irritating--the "predictions" can
                                            be applied to anything.
                                            On the other hand, superstition can often give an
                                            indication of how people think, and of how cultures
                                            function--e.g., the Roman habit of taking the
                                            auspices--interesting to see the highly ingenious
                                            interpretations made from the evidence!

                                            > I don't appreciate gratuitous violence or being >
                                            manipulated into fear. (I > have been known to find
                                            gratuitous sex quite > tolerable, but I don't let that
                                            > get around too much...) It may be my age, or life >
                                            experiences, but after a > couple of bad frights (I'm
                                            sure no more than most > people who have been > around
                                            the block a few times), I respect fear too > much to
                                            think about > playing with it.
                                            >
                                            > The Mitchells with witchcraft and the supernatural
                                            > are, I think, her best--THE DEVIL AT SAXON WALL is a
                                            > tour de force of imagination; COME AWAY, DEATH has
                                            > really compelling atmosphere; WHEN LAST I DIED is
                                            > one > of the greatest uses of the haunted house
                                            setting in > the genre; DEATH AND THE MAIDEN has a
                                            distinctly odd > feeling all its own, with its water
                                            nymphs and river > setting; THE DANCING DRUIDS has an
                                            incredibly > terrifying opening, with a young man
                                            playing hares > and > hounds, and getting lost in the
                                            wilds, stumbling > across the odd inhabitants of a
                                            house with only dead > trees growing outside; TOM
                                            BROWN'S BODY's witchcraft > is superb--the ending "the
                                            genuine Mitchell frisson" > as Larkin put it; MERLIN'S
                                            FURLONG's witchcraft is > entertaining and
                                            unusual--FURLONG is in many ways > the >
                                            quintessential Gladys Mitchell novel; and HERE LIES >
                                            GLORIA MUNDY has an ending which, like that of TOM >
                                            BROWN'S BODY, has to be read to be believed. On the >
                                            other hand, I find her works of the 1960s and 1970s >
                                            inferior--WRAITHS AND CHANGELINGS, for example, has >
                                            a > ghost tour setting that should work, but goes >
                                            merrily > down the plug hole after a few chapters--she
                                            did > this > much better in THE WHISPERING KNIGHTS,
                                            which > combines
                                            > stone circles with flitting wraiths of evil.
                                            > Another > problem with the works of the '60s and
                                            '70s is that > too often there is little ingenuity of
                                            plot, the > plot > tends to be simplistic (simplistic
                                            by most author's > standards, which is surprising
                                            considering that > Mitchell's books are "based on the
                                            thicket theory of > plotting", to quote Patricia
                                            Craig, or what Margery > Allingham termed "plum
                                            pudding"--complication, > complication, and
                                            more-complication)
                                            >
                                            > Both excellent descriptions. I find the thicket-like
                                            > plots - ie beyond > labyrinthine - can detract from
                                            her work, distract > from her characters and > frankly
                                            could be pruned back to a more elegant > structure
                                            which would give > her works greater cohesion.

                                            I like complication in books--it shows that the author
                                            has got an imagination, and is trying to construct an
                                            elaborate maze. Of course, some books, such as THE
                                            WORSTED VIPER (1943), where everything is unclear,
                                            even the murderers' identities and motive--something
                                            about a French translation of a name being the only
                                            "clue"--are horrible; others, such as the early books
                                            from BUTCHER'S SHOP - COME AWAY DEATH, SUNSET OVER
                                            SOHO, and DEATH AND THE MAIDEN are good complex
                                            stories.

                                            > and too much > travelling--e.g., DEATH OF A DELFT
                                            BLUE (1964), 3 > QUICK AND FIVE DEAD (1968), LAMENT
                                            FOR LETO (1971), > WINKING AT THE BRIM (1974). On the
                                            other hand, a > few > books of the 1960s and 1970s
                                            stand out: THE CROAKING > RAVEN (1966) is quite
                                            entertaining; DANCE TO YOUR > DADDY (1969) is an
                                            excellent take-off of the Gothic > novel, complete
                                            with young woman forced to wear > armour > by her
                                            wicked guardian;
                                            >
                                            > I remember this as funny but silly. Credulity was
                                            > bent out of all > recognition.

                                            How much of Mitchell is credible? Written down in
                                            summary form, much of Mitchell looks as though it
                                            would fail miserably--try writing down the plot of one
                                            of Mitchell's masterpieces, and see whether, without
                                            benefit of Mitchell's writing and ability to sustain
                                            atmosphere and characterisation, the piece would work.
                                            One of Mitchell's gifts--a git she shared with
                                            Michael Innes, especially in STOP PRESS or THE
                                            DAFFODIL AFFAIR--was the ability to take the
                                            fantastic, and build up a structure to make it
                                            credible.

                                            > GORY DEW (1970) has some > excellent misdirection;
                                            LATE, LATE IN THE EVENING > (1976), her fiftieth, has
                                            a good plot, and a nice > setting; FAULT IN THE
                                            STRUCTURE (1977) is an > excellent > tale--how the
                                            psychological thriller should be done; > and from 1979
                                            on, her books improved--both NEST OF > VIPERS and THE
                                            MUDFLATS OF THE DEAD are well worth > seeking out.
                                            >
                                            Regards,

                                            Nick Fuller

                                            > ps Sepulle, as I strain my short-term memory, was
                                            > the doctor in 'When I Last > Died'.

                                            Ah!

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                                          • Nicholas Fuller
                                            On the subject of pseudo-supernatural detective stories: Idly glancing through Barzun & Taylor (actually, have spent the last month underlining things in
                                            Message 21 of 24 , Sep 3 3:47 AM
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                                              On the subject of pseudo-supernatural detective
                                              stories:

                                              Idly glancing through Barzun & Taylor (actually, have
                                              spent the last month underlining things in it--much
                                              less eccentric and much more catholic than Symons, as
                                              it covers detective stories, thrillers, H.I.B.K.,
                                              psychological stories, detective novels, police
                                              procedurals, etc.--Symons condemns everything that
                                              isn't "realistic"), and was struck by the work of
                                              R(ubie). C(onstance). Ashby, whose work seems to
                                              resemble Gladys Mitchell's:

                                              HE ARRIVED AT DUSK has an M.R. Jamesian "London
                                              antiquary summoned to value and catalogue a library"
                                              investigating "the possible curse laid on by the ghost
                                              of a Roman centurion", while

                                              OUT WENT THE TAPER has "elements of the supernatural
                                              ... left dangling at the end of the tale, which
                                              concerns a young Rhodes scholar's involvement in the
                                              mystery surrounding a ruined Welsh monastery".

                                              As the author's work is rare--and therefore
                                              expensive--I am wondering whether it is worth the
                                              expenditure to secure an expensive copy (i.e.,
                                              $50--$60 U.S., roughly twice as much in Australian
                                              money) of one of those two books. If so, which one?

                                              Regards,

                                              Nick Fuller

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                                            • Ralph, Adrienne (REA-PtMelb)
                                              I must say I m rather disappointed in your attitude Christian. There I was assiduously pursuing the key tenets of rumour-mongering: 1 Maintain and where
                                              Message 22 of 24 , Sep 3 4:14 PM
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                                                I must say I'm rather disappointed in your attitude Christian.

                                                There I was assiduously pursuing the key tenets of rumour-mongering:
                                                1 Maintain and where possible enlarge on the rumour in the face of the
                                                evidence.
                                                2 Ignore all facts unless they support or do not contradict the rumour.

                                                Finally the group stumbled upon an opportunity to propagate a rumour about
                                                the GAD era redolent with the hallmarks of some of our favourite authors,
                                                and you insist on scotching it:
                                                1 Mistaken identity.
                                                2 Possible mistaken gender attribution (see Speedy Death). Are we sure of
                                                anyone with a name like Clemence? And we all know about Danes as a red
                                                herring.
                                                3 Paucity of biographical information maximising opportunity for
                                                fabrication.
                                                4 Authors are famous for using nom de plumes, sometimes several.
                                                5 Witchcraft.
                                                6 Fiction writing, and a theme of fact vs fiction, life imitating art.
                                                7 Misdirection.

                                                And the things we could have done with Dane/Simpson:
                                                1 Ran off with Agatha Christie's first husband.
                                                2 Ran off with Agatha Christie.
                                                3 Head of Mitchell's coven.
                                                4 Other lovechild of Dorothy Sayers.
                                                5 We discover her unpublished MS (otherwise known as your round robin, what
                                                has happened to that by the way?).

                                                Well I could go on, but if I have this intransigent insistence upon fact and
                                                conformism it certainly limits my options...

                                                Adrienne


                                                -----Original Message-----
                                                From: Nicholas Fuller [mailto:stoke_moran@...]
                                                Sent: Monday, September 03, 2001 7:54 PM
                                                To: GAdetection@yahoogroups.com
                                                Subject: RE: [GAdetection] Clemence Dane


                                                .> --- "Ralph, Adrienne (REA-PtMelb)"
                                                > <Adrienne.Ralph@...> wrote: > Hi
                                                > Nick
                                                > >
                                                > > Do you know more about Clemence Dane aka Helen
                                                > > Simpson. I gather she is the > same Helen Simpson
                                                > who spurred Gladys Mitchell's > interest in
                                                > witchcraft, > which was, as I recall, my opening
                                                > gambit for this > group.
                                                >
                                                > I don't know much about Dane / Simpson, I'm afraid.
                                                > The author biography of THE DEVIL AT SAXON WALL
                                                > (1939
                                                > Penguin) states: "DEATH AT THE OPERA was written
                                                > after [Mitchell] became interested in the
                                                > educational
                                                > theories of A.S. Neill, and THE DEVIL AT SAXON WALL
                                                > came as the result of hearing a lecutre on
                                                > witchcraft
                                                > by Miss Helen Simpson." Don't really understand the
                                                > thing about good wine needing no bush on the back of
                                                > the 1950s Penguins...
                                                >
                                                > Well there was obviously quite a lot going on >
                                                between Mitchell and Simpson, > including naming
                                                characters. Could be a lead for > your biography Nick.

                                                Well, I'm going to see if I can find a copy of ASK A
                                                POLICEMAN--that should give me some material to work
                                                with--interesting to see what Dane did with Mrs. Croc.
                                                I should also keep an eye out for the Simpson / Dane
                                                books--see how much similarity there is between them
                                                and Mitchell. And if I could get a copy of Winifred
                                                Blazey's CROUCHING HILLS--Mitchell dedicated several
                                                books, including SUNSET OVER SOHO, MY FATHER SLEEPS, &
                                                DEATH AND THE MAIDEN, to Blazey...

                                                It would be fasciniating to see another treatment of the saurian one!

                                                > > I am starting to see the Mitchell interest in
                                                > > witchcraft and the > supernatural is akin to some
                                                > novelists interest in > ghost stories. They add >
                                                > colour and imaginative dimensions. But I can't abide
                                                > > > them!
                                                >
                                                > Why don't you like ghost stories? Personally, I >
                                                can't > stand fantasy or science-fiction, but I am a
                                                great > fan > of ghost stories--as opposed to Stephen
                                                King horror > stuff, which just strikes me as being
                                                mental junk > food. M.R. James is deservedly
                                                famous--his ability > to > create fear and tension is
                                                unsurpassed, and he does > this without the screaming
                                                heebie-jeebies of J.D. > Carr > (a great plotter but,
                                                in many ways, a horrible > writer). You should try
                                                "CASTING THE RUNES", "THE > TREASURE OF ABBOT THOMAS",
                                                "A WARNING TO THE > CURIOUS", > and "OH, WHISTLE AND
                                                I'LL COME TO YOU, MY LAD"--all > are superb.
                                                >
                                                > I'm not sure there could be a rational answer to why
                                                > I don't like ghost > stories. But, perforce, such a
                                                preference is > nothing but irrational.

                                                Well, as ghost stories rely on humanity's IRrational
                                                fears to achieve their effect...

                                                There > are some exceptional ghost stories that I have
                                                > enjoyed, and the supernatural > can be an
                                                interesting element in any genre, but > anything that
                                                smacks of mere > superstition repels me. I hate
                                                superstition, it is > akin to mischief-making, > and I
                                                have no time for it. Therefore Buddhist or > Chinese
                                                ghost stories are > the more interesting because, for
                                                these cultures, > ghosts can be part of > deeply-help
                                                metaphysical belief-system.

                                                Superstition for the sake of superstition is often
                                                irritating--Mitchell neatly parodied this in HERE
                                                COMES A CHOPPER, where, owing to the insanity of the
                                                hostess, a party of 14 sits down at table for five
                                                hours under the misapprehension that there are 13 at
                                                table, and that the first one to stand up will die. I
                                                also find horoscopes irritating--the "predictions" can
                                                be applied to anything.
                                                On the other hand, superstition can often give an
                                                indication of how people think, and of how cultures
                                                function--e.g., the Roman habit of taking the
                                                auspices--interesting to see the highly ingenious
                                                interpretations made from the evidence!

                                                > I don't appreciate gratuitous violence or being >
                                                manipulated into fear. (I > have been known to find
                                                gratuitous sex quite > tolerable, but I don't let that
                                                > get around too much...) It may be my age, or life >
                                                experiences, but after a > couple of bad frights (I'm
                                                sure no more than most > people who have been > around
                                                the block a few times), I respect fear too > much to
                                                think about > playing with it.
                                                >
                                                > The Mitchells with witchcraft and the supernatural
                                                > are, I think, her best--THE DEVIL AT SAXON WALL is a
                                                > tour de force of imagination; COME AWAY, DEATH has
                                                > really compelling atmosphere; WHEN LAST I DIED is
                                                > one > of the greatest uses of the haunted house
                                                setting in > the genre; DEATH AND THE MAIDEN has a
                                                distinctly odd > feeling all its own, with its water
                                                nymphs and river > setting; THE DANCING DRUIDS has an
                                                incredibly > terrifying opening, with a young man
                                                playing hares > and > hounds, and getting lost in the
                                                wilds, stumbling > across the odd inhabitants of a
                                                house with only dead > trees growing outside; TOM
                                                BROWN'S BODY's witchcraft > is superb--the ending "the
                                                genuine Mitchell frisson" > as Larkin put it; MERLIN'S
                                                FURLONG's witchcraft is > entertaining and
                                                unusual--FURLONG is in many ways > the >
                                                quintessential Gladys Mitchell novel; and HERE LIES >
                                                GLORIA MUNDY has an ending which, like that of TOM >
                                                BROWN'S BODY, has to be read to be believed. On the >
                                                other hand, I find her works of the 1960s and 1970s >
                                                inferior--WRAITHS AND CHANGELINGS, for example, has >
                                                a > ghost tour setting that should work, but goes >
                                                merrily > down the plug hole after a few chapters--she
                                                did > this > much better in THE WHISPERING KNIGHTS,
                                                which > combines
                                                > stone circles with flitting wraiths of evil.
                                                > Another > problem with the works of the '60s and
                                                '70s is that > too often there is little ingenuity of
                                                plot, the > plot > tends to be simplistic (simplistic
                                                by most author's > standards, which is surprising
                                                considering that > Mitchell's books are "based on the
                                                thicket theory of > plotting", to quote Patricia
                                                Craig, or what Margery > Allingham termed "plum
                                                pudding"--complication, > complication, and
                                                more-complication)
                                                >
                                                > Both excellent descriptions. I find the thicket-like
                                                > plots - ie beyond > labyrinthine - can detract from
                                                her work, distract > from her characters and > frankly
                                                could be pruned back to a more elegant > structure
                                                which would give > her works greater cohesion.

                                                I like complication in books--it shows that the author
                                                has got an imagination, and is trying to construct an
                                                elaborate maze.

                                                Yes and no. Imagination does not need to be complex.

                                                Of course, some books, such as THE
                                                WORSTED VIPER (1943), where everything is unclear,
                                                even the murderers' identities and motive--something
                                                about a French translation of a name being the only
                                                "clue"--are horrible; others, such as the early books
                                                from BUTCHER'S SHOP - COME AWAY DEATH, SUNSET OVER
                                                SOHO, and DEATH AND THE MAIDEN are good complex
                                                stories.

                                                I think we're probably talking fine lines here Nick: The fine line between
                                                straining credibility to the point that it compromises the plot and the
                                                puzzle; the fine line between complexity and lack of clarity; the fine line
                                                between using superstition as an atmospheric device and it becoming tedious.
                                                Mitchell only ever strays across fine lines at times because she is such a
                                                good author.

                                                BLUE (1964), 3 > QUICK AND FIVE DEAD (1968), LAMENT
                                                FOR LETO (1971), > WINKING AT THE BRIM (1974). On the
                                                other hand, a > few > books of the 1960s and 1970s
                                                stand out: THE CROAKING > RAVEN (1966) is quite
                                                entertaining; DANCE TO YOUR > DADDY (1969) is an
                                                excellent take-off of the Gothic > novel, complete
                                                with young woman forced to wear > armour > by her
                                                wicked guardian;
                                                >
                                                > I remember this as funny but silly. Credulity was
                                                > bent out of all > recognition.

                                                How much of Mitchell is credible? Written down in
                                                summary form, much of Mitchell looks as though it
                                                would fail miserably--try writing down the plot of one
                                                of Mitchell's masterpieces, and see whether, without
                                                benefit of Mitchell's writing and ability to sustain
                                                atmosphere and characterisation, the piece would work.
                                                One of Mitchell's gifts--a git she shared with
                                                Michael Innes, especially in STOP PRESS or THE
                                                DAFFODIL AFFAIR--was the ability to take the
                                                fantastic, and build up a structure to make it
                                                credible.

                                                > GORY DEW (1970) has some > excellent misdirection;
                                                LATE, LATE IN THE EVENING > (1976), her fiftieth, has
                                                a good plot, and a nice > setting; FAULT IN THE
                                                STRUCTURE (1977) is an > excellent > tale--how the
                                                psychological thriller should be done; > and from 1979
                                                on, her books improved--both NEST OF > VIPERS and THE
                                                MUDFLATS OF THE DEAD are well worth > seeking out.
                                                >
                                                Regards,

                                                Nick Fuller

                                                > ps Sepulle, as I strain my short-term memory, was
                                                > the doctor in 'When I Last > Died'.

                                                Ah!

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                                              • Nicholas Fuller
                                                Imagine! A theory could be devised stating that Clemence Dane, Helen Simpson, M.R. James (who came back from the dead as a ghost in order to write detective
                                                Message 23 of 24 , Sep 3 4:40 PM
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                                                  Imagine! A theory could be devised stating that
                                                  Clemence Dane, Helen Simpson, M.R. James (who came
                                                  back from the dead as a ghost in order to write
                                                  detective stories), Gladys Mitchell, Malcolm Torrie,
                                                  R.C. Ashby, H.C. Bailey, and G.K. Chesterton were all
                                                  the same individual. I am also Dane / Simpson / James
                                                  / Mitchell / etc. writing under a pseudonym.

                                                  Regards,

                                                  "Nick Fuller" (obviously a pseudonym of A. Non, alias
                                                  U.N. Owen)

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                                                • chenrik@tiscali.se
                                                  ... I m truly sorry to have spoiled this fine rumour, but of course you are welcome to ignore my well-researched facts and go on assuming anything you like
                                                  Message 24 of 24 , Sep 4 2:57 AM
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                                                    --- In GAdetection@y..., "Ralph, Adrienne (REA-PtMelb)"
                                                    <Adrienne.Ralph@r...> wrote:
                                                    > I must say I'm rather disappointed in your attitude Christian.
                                                    >
                                                    > There I was assiduously pursuing the key tenets of rumour-mongering:
                                                    > 1 Maintain and where possible enlarge on the rumour in the face of
                                                    > the evidence.
                                                    > 2 Ignore all facts unless they support or do not contradict the
                                                    > rumour.

                                                    I'm truly sorry to have spoiled this fine rumour, but of course you
                                                    are welcome to ignore my well-researched facts and go on assuming
                                                    anything you like about this great Dane.

                                                    > Finally the group stumbled upon an opportunity to propagate a
                                                    > rumour about the GAD era redolent with the hallmarks of some of our
                                                    > favourite authors, and you insist on scotching it:
                                                    > 1 Mistaken identity.
                                                    > 2 Possible mistaken gender attribution (see Speedy Death). Are we
                                                    > sure of anyone with a name like Clemence? And we all know about
                                                    > Danes as a red herring.

                                                    Do we? I thought Danes were known for their pastry, not for their
                                                    fish.

                                                    > And the things we could have done with Dane/Simpson:
                                                    > 1 Ran off with Agatha Christie's first husband.
                                                    > 2 Ran off with Agatha Christie.

                                                    Or both! Maybe not at the same time, though.

                                                    > Well I could go on, but if I have this intransigent insistence upon
                                                    > fact and conformism it certainly limits my options...

                                                    I tend to suspect Dane of being a real bloodhound, myself.

                                                    Christian Henriksson
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