Vladimir's list of the greatest mysteries ever written (or that he's read, anyway). Additionally, we'll be posting a few short stories and serializations by Vladimir and other authors! Weigh in with your comments, agreements, and disagreements!
|Posted by Vladimir Mortsgna on January 12, 2019 at 5:15 PM|
Hopscotch did not have much in the way of sudden plot twists that I needed to avoid spoiling. Instead, for the middle installment I will look further into the remarkable fact that Walter Matthau starred in two adaptations of Edgar award winning novels and ask whether he is unique in this (at least so far).
First, some sad news – the author of the Edgar Winner I’m currently discussing passed away between installments. Brian Garfield died at 79 on December 29 of last ...Read Full Post »
|Posted by Vladimir Mortsgna on December 9, 2018 at 8:40 PM|
In Hopscotch by Brian Garfield, super spy Miles Kendig decides to chuck it all in disgust and to get his revenge on both sides of the intelligence Cold War at the same time. He writes a lengthy expose of everyone’s secrets, and then starts to release it to a curious world one chapter at a time. Meanwhile, he uses his extensive and successful espionage experience to evade the combined forces of the American and Soviet spy machines.
Brian Garfield, the author of Hopscotch, is most...Read Full Post »
|Posted by Vladimir Mortsgna on November 23, 2018 at 11:50 AM|
Hey, check out The Heartsick September Sunset, newly available on barnesandnoble.com:https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-heartsick-september-sunset-vladimir-mortsgna/1129933296?ean=2940161578957 .
Former NFL flash in the pan Geaddise Shrine has sunk low in his life. Out of pro football, blamed (unjustly, according to him) for a missed block that cost his team a shot at the Super Bowl, now bankrupt and homeless, and his former girffriend is now married to his former t...Read Full Post »
|Posted by Vladimir Mortsgna on November 18, 2018 at 10:35 PM|
1974, the year that Peter’s Pence was published, was a bit of a slow year for mysteries, at least ones that I have some familiarity with. The finalists for Best Mystery Novel that year include exactly one that I know something about: Paul Erdman’s The Silver Bears. I can picture the cover of that book because my local library when I was a kid had a copy in the paperback rack. The Best First Novel that year was Fletch, by Gregory MacDonald...Read Full Post »
|Posted by Vladimir Mortsgna on November 4, 2018 at 10:05 PM|
Though the Edgars are awarded by the Mystery Writers of America, not all of the Edgar Winners for Best Novel feature a mystery, and Peter’s Pence is possibly the least mysterious we have yet encountered. I don’t mean by this that there was a mystery that was easily figured out, but that the focus was on suspense and Cleary did not really attempt to create any hidden perpetrators or at least a central enigma that the hero must figure out. The Light of Day strikes me...Read Full Post »
|Posted by Vladimir Mortsgna on October 28, 2018 at 10:50 PM|
Peter’s Pence by Jon Cleary is another thriller that attempts to present itself as outrageous and edgy but repeatedly undermines its edginess. It is told from the standpoint of a thief and a terrorist, Fergus MacBride, who works for the IRA (or a branch of it, anyway), and leads a colorful team in a caper to steal jewels from the Vatican to raise money for arms. The carefully-constructed plan hits an unexpected setback, and the thugs end up kidnapping the Pope instead. The cri...Read Full Post »
|Posted by Vladimir Mortsgna on October 16, 2018 at 9:55 PM|
What other fine mysteries should have been in contention in 1973, the same year as Dance Hall of the Dead? The Mystery Writers of America rated The First Deadly Sin by Lawrence Sanders as #53; I haven’t read that one myself and don’t have a strong sense of its influence. One which I did read and which did have an importance influence was The Rainbird Pattern by Vincent Canning – the source of Alfred Hitchcock’s final movie, Family Plot. I ...Read Full Post »
|Posted by Vladimir Mortsgna on October 4, 2018 at 9:05 PM|
The spoilers this time will not only be a spoiler for Dance Hall of the Dead, but also for The Moonstone, by Willkie Collins, at least to the extent that an important element of the former reminded me of an important element of the latter. So if you haven’t read The Moonstone yet (often considered the first recognizable modern mystery novel ever), go read it and then come back.
Speaking of one thing reminding me of another, friends of mine had recommended for...Read Full Post »
|Posted by Vladimir Mortsgna on September 3, 2018 at 4:35 PM|
1973’s Dance Hall of the Dead by Tony Hillerman is (so far) unique among Edgar winners. I tend not to go back to an author if the first work of theirs I have read didn’t work for me. There are too many great writers and there are even countless great mysteries that I would like to read again. If the first book I try by an author doesn’t hit for me, I rarely go back. Years ago I read The Thief of Time by Tony Hillerman, and found it lacking in suspense and o...Read Full Post »
|Posted by Vladimir Mortsgna on August 6, 2018 at 10:50 PM|
1972 was a pretty productive year for top-level mysteries and suspense. The Lingala Code won the Edgar, but the Edgar winners could have rewarded previous Edgar Winner Michael Crichton for The Terminal Man, or Frederick Forsyth again for The Odessa File. They could have recognized never-winner Agatha Christie for Elephants can Remember (not her best work or her tenth best work), or John D MacDonald for The Scarlet Ruse (which was a strong one, but I just n...Read Full Post »