Bits and pieces
- In the last couple of months, I`ve divided my readings into themes.
In February, all English writers and in March all American writers.
In regards to February, Cyril Hare was my most pleasant discovery,
having never read any of his books before, Tenant For Death and Death
Is No Sportsman were both excellent reads, clear and concise
mysteries with no fat on the bone. Very enjoyable. Also The Four
False Weapons, the final Bencolin by Carr was very good. I really
enjoyed all the Bencolin books Carr wrote, too bad he gave him up.
In the good category a couple of Michael Innes non-Applebys were
solid but not up to the usual standard of his best. Money From Holme
really started well but just kind of ground to a halt at the end and
In London Far was enjoyable but also didn`t come to any kind of
satisfactory conclusions. Disappointments were Nicholas Blakes The
Dreadful Hollow, which, while not dreadful wasn`t very good. And
Heads You Lose by C.Brand, which was dreadful. Into March and the
American authors, the best was Patrick Quentin with Puzzle for Fiends
and Puzzle for Wantons. I`d give the slight edge to Fiends over
Wantons. I thought Puzzle for Fiends took the "hero with amnesia"
plotline and did a good job with it, something that could of easily
been a corny disaster. But it was handled very good with a good
exciting story. Having picked Richard Burke`s Here Lies The Body as
my favorite book of last year, I read The Dead Take No Bows, which
was his first book in the Quinny Hite series. Not up to the same
level as Here Lies The Body, but a solid first entry in the slightly
humorous, slightly hard-boiled genre. Read another enjoyable
adventure of Dagobert and Jane Brown in Nobody Wore Black. Always a
pleasure. My most pleasant surprise of March was The Frightened
Stiff by Kelly Roos. Very good, very entertaining, another couple
Jeff and Haila Troy, amateur sleuths coming upon murder after moving
into their new apartment after getting married. This was the third
in the series, written during the 1940`s when the Lockridges were
doing the Mr. and Mrs. North books and Delano Ames was doing the
Dagobert and Jane Brown books. This book by Kelly Roos is alot
closer to the excellent Ames books than the usually bland and
formulaic Lockridges. The Lockridges did seem to get better as they
went along into the 1950`s, as Dead As A Dinosaur and Death Of An
Angel prove, which I also read in March. Also read Repeat
Performance by William O`Farrell. Very different, pretty good, not a
mystery but I guess a suspense/thriller. Reminded me a little of
Quentin`s Puzzle For Players, but jeez, it was a bit depressing.