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Les Blatt
Interests: Classic mystery stories, communications, writing, podcasting, blogging, traveling, social media, web 2.0
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Yvette, I have always enjoyed these mysteries. Van Gulik's first Judge Dee book, "Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee," was actually a translation of an old Chinese story. At the end of that book, Van Gulik challenged mystery writers to try to write new mysteries in the spirit of the old Chinese stories. When nobody took him up on it, he wrote his own, which is how we have the Judge Dee books. Try "Necklace and Calabash" - it's still in print (as are all the Judge Dee books, I think), and I believe you would enjoy it!
Toggle Commented 6 days ago on "Necklace and Calabash" at Classic Mysteries
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Margot, 4MA (the abbreviated version of their name, For Mystery Addicts), has been around for about a decade, I think. They do book discussions by email every month, and members are encouraged to share information about the crime fiction they're reading. Every kind of crime fiction is covered here. I'm leading the discussion on "Necklace and Calabash" starting this Sunday and running for 10 days - by all means, stop by. I enjoy all the Judge Dee mysteries (though some do get pretty dark!), but "Necklace and Calabash" is really my favorite. I think it's the most accessible to a modern audience.
Toggle Commented 6 days ago on "Necklace and Calabash" at Classic Mysteries
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There's one already on my TBR pile, Yvette, and I think there's a third being published as well. He's an interesting writer and deserves to be brought back for a new generation of mystery readers.
Toggle Commented Apr 6, 2014 on "The Cornish Coast Murder" at Classic Mysteries
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Margot, the publishers have released another one of Bude's books, "The Lake District Murder," which is now in my TBR pile - I'll be reviewing it several weeks down the road.
Toggle Commented Mar 31, 2014 on "The Cornish Coast Murder" at Classic Mysteries
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I have friends on Cape Cod, Joan, but I haven't visited in years. I love seeing it through the eyes of Asey and the other characters in these books - although I'm not sure how peaceful Asey Mayo finds it; he gets hit on the head an awful lot... ;-)
Toggle Commented Mar 26, 2014 on "Going, Going, Gone" at Classic Mysteries
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It's a good series, Margot. They're light enough to be really enjoyable reading. And you're right about the sense of place. Taylor really knew Cape Cod, and she makes the place and its people come through for the reader.
Toggle Commented Mar 24, 2014 on "Going, Going, Gone" at Classic Mysteries
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The omnibus was originally published some years ago, Yvette, but this new edition with the Smith Afterword was only published quite recently. I'm glad you enjoyed the stories; Sayers was a marvelous writer.
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It's going very well so far, Yvette. I'm on a panel here tomorrow talking about "the books we love and why" - which ought to be a lot of fun, in this crowd!
Toggle Commented Mar 22, 2014 on Crime Writers on Crime Writing at Classic Mysteries
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Thanks, Margot. And when are YOU coming to one of these on the west coast? This year, in addition to LCC, Bouchercon is in Long Beach in November...
Toggle Commented Mar 16, 2014 on The Call of the Calamari at Classic Mysteries
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It's beyond irritating, Margot. Only a couple of the Bony books are readily available; most are long out-of-print and, in many cases, difficult to find. I'd like to write about more of them, but if my readers can't find a copy pretty easily, then what's the point of whetting their appetites for something they can't get? Grr.
Toggle Commented Mar 10, 2014 on "Murder Must Wait" at Classic Mysteries
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I do think you'd enjoy this one, Yvette. The narrator is wonderful, even poking fun at herself with some of the Had I But Known comments, and it's written with some warmth and a fair amount of humor, even when the mystery gets fairly grim. I hope you enjoy it!
Toggle Commented Mar 6, 2014 on "Murder a la Richelieu" at Classic Mysteries
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It's well worth the visit! :-)
Toggle Commented Mar 4, 2014 on "Murder a la Richelieu" at Classic Mysteries
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Margot, the credit really goes to people like Curt Evans, who introduced me to Blackmon's books through his blog, "The Passing Tramp." Curt's an expert in many areas of the mystery, and his book on the so-called "Humdrums" such as Crofts, Connington, and Street/Rhode/Burton is a gem. The blog is linked from my blogroll on the right side of this page. I do recommend it for regular visits!
Toggle Commented Mar 3, 2014 on "Murder a la Richelieu" at Classic Mysteries
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Yvette, most of Brown's mysteries (and probably SF as well) were out of print and hard to find for a very long time. I'm delighted that at least some of his books are coming back. This one is fun, but let me also recommend even more highly "Night of the Jabberwock." I suspect you're enough of a Lewis Carroll fan to really enjoy that one...
Toggle Commented Mar 2, 2014 on "Murder Can Be Fun" at Classic Mysteries
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Absolutely, Margot. It's a matter of building the atmospherics, really another way of misdirecting the reader despite the clues being fairly presented. I really enjoy this one!
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It has been a while since I read his SF, Bev, but I certainly enjoyed those books as well. He has a good, dry sense of humor - and can come up with some amazing situations that seem to defy logic but really don't. I think he's very much underrated.
Toggle Commented Feb 25, 2014 on "Murder Can Be Fun" at Classic Mysteries
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Margot, his Science Fiction was as much fun as his mysteries. It's been a long time since I read, say, "Martians Go Home," but I remember enjoying it quite thoroughly.
Toggle Commented Feb 25, 2014 on "Murder Can Be Fun" at Classic Mysteries
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Thanks, Margot. Ellery is indeed brash and pretty unlikeable for the first quarter or so of the book - way too much like Philo Vance, IMHO...but he accepts his comeuppance and moves on. And, as you say, he does evolve into a much more human and much more likeable character over time.
Toggle Commented Feb 17, 2014 on "The Greek Coffin Mystery" at Classic Mysteries
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That's fascinating - thanks for pointing it out. I did read a couple of things about ornamental hermits, including the Wikipedia article which seems to be very much along the line of that video. Dorothy Cannell includes an acknowledgement at the beginning of her book - "To Joe Maron, who inspired the book by telling me about ornamental hermits." Fascinating stuff!
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In fact, she was one of Palmer's inspirations when he created Hildy's character - he saw Oliver on stage (in "Showboat," I think) and modeled his character after her. Good to know about the movies - thanks!
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I must admit I haven't read "The Green Ace" yet. I see that it's one of the Palmers which Mysterious Press/Open Road Media have released as e-books, so I'll have to add it to my TBR pile. At least it's an electronic TBR pile, so there's less danger of being buried under a mound of books...
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I agree, Margot. I think Palmer had a very dry sense of humor, and I like the way it reveals itself in his writing.
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It was well thought out and well-written, TC. Glad to share it with my readers.
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It is indeed, Margot. You're welcome!
Toggle Commented Feb 4, 2014 on Republishing Ms. Davis at Classic Mysteries
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It's pushing me to read more of the authors in that "silver" period - 1961 to 1980. Variety is good for me and for my readers! Thanks, Bev.
Toggle Commented Feb 4, 2014 on "The Girl in the Cellar" at Classic Mysteries
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