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[GAdetection] The bibliographies are here

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  • 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 1 of 24 , Sep 1, 2001
      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 2 of 24 , Sep 1, 2001
        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 3 of 24 , Sep 1, 2001
          --- 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 4 of 24 , Sep 2, 2001
            > > 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 5 of 24 , Sep 2, 2001
              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 6 of 24 , Sep 2, 2001
                --- "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

                ____________________________________________________________
                Do You Yahoo!?
                Get your free @... address at http://mail.yahoo.co.uk
                or your free @... address at http://mail.yahoo.ie
              • 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 7 of 24 , Sep 2, 2001
                  -----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 8 of 24 , Sep 3, 2001
                    --- 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 9 of 24 , Sep 3, 2001
                      .> --- "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 10 of 24 , Sep 3, 2001
                        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 11 of 24 , Sep 3, 2001
                          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 12 of 24 , Sep 3, 2001
                            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 13 of 24 , Sep 4, 2001
                              --- 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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