|Posted by Vladimir Mortsgna on June 24, 2018 at 10:30 PM|
The Day of the Jackal has one of the most effective twist endings I can remember, which is that the reader never finds out who the Jackal is, or was. You think you do – with about a hundred pages to go the authorities focus in on a suspect who seems to have the requisite skills and has been around a suspicious number of earlier assassinations. This gives them more leads to chase, though it is only in retrospect that you realize none of those leads were the leads that actually h...Read Full Post »
|Posted by Vladimir Mortsgna on May 13, 2018 at 9:45 PM|
I don’t have much to add to my review of The Laughing Policeman that risks spoilers because the spoilers usually come out in pointing out what is weak in a particular book, and there aren’t many weaknesses in The Laughing Policeman. One spoiler is that the murders in The Laughing Policeman once again come down to sex crimes. In the five Sjöwall/Wahlöö novels I have read so far, Roseanna (the debut) and The Man on the Balcony are explici...Read Full Post »
|Posted by Vladimir Mortsgna on March 8, 2018 at 11:20 PM|
As I’ve said, Forfeit has most of the great (and not-so-great) Dick Francis elements: James Tyrone of Forfeit is a reporter, but other entries have centered on horse breeders, veterinarians, experts on transport, even artists who paint horses and even one who casts horses in pottery (a strong late entry). The Francis syndicate always engages in extensive research (sometimes done by Mrs Francis, apparently) that makes the specific equine expertise of the hero of each book ...Read Full Post »
|Posted by Vladimir Mortsgna on January 15, 2018 at 9:30 PM|
To recap on A Case of Need, by Jeffrey Hudson (who is really the late Michael Crichton)… Dr John Berry works as a pathologist at a Boston hospital where a well-known secret is the availability of abortions. His colleague, Dr Arthur Lee, has been known to provide them but with more attention to medical needs and complications than more unscrupulous practitioners. Lee is accused of murder when a young woman dies during a botched abortion. The victim was a member of a prominent B...Read Full Post »
|Posted by Vladimir Mortsgna on November 24, 2017 at 8:05 PM|
One of my least favorite mystery tropes is the crime that has clues that the villain has deliberately left because he or she knows that only someone as brilliant as our detective would catch them and be fooled by them. This bit has been used in many books and especially in TV series, but I wonder how many authors or scriptwriters think about the dumbness of this plot device. For one thing, if the villain is doing things simply as a personal challenge with the sleuth, doesn’t that mean...Read Full Post »
|Posted by Vladimir Mortsgna on September 19, 2017 at 10:15 PM|
As I said in the spoiler-free edition, 1967’s mysteries were a bit of a decline from the peaks of 1964 to 1966, and like I said, King of the Rainy Country starts out well enough. Inspector Van der Valk wakes up delirious on a Spanish hillside, having been shot and narrowly escaped death. Again, I give Nicolas Freeling credit for one of the earliest uses in a mystery of the device where we start at the end and the rest of the book explains how we got there.
Van der Valk ...Read Full Post »
|Posted by Vladimir Mortsgna on September 1, 2017 at 12:05 AM|
I just learned that John LeCarre’s latest novel, A Legacy of Spies, is a partial revisit of The Spy who Came in from the Cold. My reading list just got longer…
But the Edgar winner up next is The Quiller Memorandum, by Adam Hall, Edgar winner for 1966. This is another spy novel, and like its predecessor, has a vibe of being more realistic than spy novels that might be more popular (James Bond books come to mind). One lengthy set piece that stood out in Th...Read Full Post »
|Posted by Vladimir Mortsgna on July 12, 2017 at 8:05 PM|
Refreshing my memory of The Spy who Came in from the Cold, I am struck by how early in the book the double-crosses begin. It is a challenge to give much detail without spoilers – if you haven’t read it yet, read my earlier spoiler-free post and save this one for afterwards! I predict it won’t take too many days for you to read it – I couldn’t put it down.
It’s no spoiler to say that The Spy who Came in from the Cold is an amazing book ...Read Full Post »
|Posted by Vladimir Mortsgna on June 27, 2017 at 11:35 PM|
The Light of Day is a somber, generic-sounding title for what is, for my money, the funniest book to ever win the Edgar. The narrator, Arthur Simpson, is a half-Egyptian, half-British pickpocket and petty operator (he calls himself British when it suits him, and Egyptian when it suits him). He isn’t particularly brave. He isn’t particularly honest. He isn’t particularly self-aware. But he has one of the most hilarious comic voices in the history of mysteries.... Read Full Post »
|Posted by Vladimir Mortsgna on May 29, 2017 at 4:55 PM|
As far as I can tell, Death and the Joyful Woman was the first Edgar winner to have been adapted into an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. As Hitchcock did with most of the books he adapted, he butchered it something fierce and retained only the names of the detective and the detective’s son, the main suspect, and that alcohol was somehow involved.
The real story involves a crass and wealthy bar owner, Alfred Armiger, who is found in the brand-new extension of his home with h...Read Full Post »