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Les Blatt
Interests: Classic mystery stories, communications, writing, podcasting, blogging, traveling, social media, web 2.0
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The list above has been updated, as the original release from Malice Domestic had a couple of errors. The correct title of Annette Dashofy's novel is "Bridges Burned," not "Burned Bridges." The original credit on "The Mystery Writers of America" listed two of the contributors where the national MWA organization should have been named instead. We (and the Malice organizers) regret the errors.
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That's exactly how many traditional mysteries are organized - the author uses legitimate but usually well-hidden misdirection to keep you focused on the wrong things while you miss the real clues. It's at the heart of stage magic. A number of top Golden Age mystery authors were either stage magicians themselves or at least knew a great deal about the subject and about its secrets - I think of John Dickson Carr, or Clayton Rawson or Hake Talbot. Certainly Christie knew how to use that kind of misdirection and was tremendously effective at doing so.
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It really is one of her best, isn't it, Bev, with elements that will take the unwary reader by surprise - but will do so without cheating.
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The novellas are more tightly written - one advantage of the shorter length - and they don't drag the way a few of the novels do. At the same time, there are a few of the novellas that are flat at best. Seems like a tossup to me.
Toggle Commented Jan 26, 2016 on "Not Quite Dead Enough" at Classic Mysteries
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JJ, one of the advantages of e-books is that adding them to my TBR pile does not threaten me physically. If the TBR pile of printed books ever topples over onto me, I would risk serious injury; the extra pixels of an e-book TBR pile fortunately don't weigh enough to hurt... ;-)
Toggle Commented Jan 18, 2016 on "Case in the Clinic" at Classic Mysteries
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I've reviewed a few Crofts mysteries over the past few years, Bev. I enjoy his puzzles. And I too have more on the TBR mountain... As for the scavenger hunt this year...I'm not positive. While Amazon does have a lot of the cover images, some of the books on my list (and/or my Kindle) have images that don't match. Examples - well, The Cask. There are a couple of images on line, including the one with this posting. But they're ALL of a cask. The one on this Amazon page at least shows a hand coming out of a crack in the cask - but there's nothing to match that on the scoresheet. There's only a single picture online for last week's book, Jerrold's "Let Him Lie" - and there are a couple of people on the cover plus a dead body, none of which (I think) really match up. So I'm waiting a bit until I get some more reading done and see what kind of images I can find that will work! If I start to get some lined up, I'll do the entry post and catch up.
Toggle Commented Jan 12, 2016 on "The Cask" at Classic Mysteries
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I have heard very good things about "Dead Man's Quarry," her second (and last) John Christmas mystery. I'll have to add that to the ever-increasing TBR pile!
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Just re-emphasizing the warning, Curt. I do enjoy your introductions (and afterwords as well), and I think they are extremely useful for people coming to this author for the first time. Thanks!
Toggle Commented Jan 2, 2016 on "Comes a Stranger" at Classic Mysteries
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Yes, although she had been writing for quite a while before even "Fallen Into the Pit" appeared - and then there was a ten year lapse before the second Felse. I've read about half of them (not recently, alas) and enjoyed them. I'm particularly fond of "Black is the Color of My True Love's Heart," which is a great title and a powerfully written book (IMHO, of course).
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The same to you and yours, Yvette. See you in the new year!
Toggle Commented Dec 19, 2015 on R.I.P. Peter Dickinson at Classic Mysteries
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By the way, if you missed my Twelve Days of Bookgiving suggestion for classic mysteries that make great stocking stuffers for your friends - or for you! - check out the list at http://www.classicmysteries.net/2015/12/in-case-you-came-in-late.html .
Toggle Commented Dec 18, 2015 on Shopping at Amazon? at Classic Mysteries
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Yvette, I only know of one other Sprigg book that has been reprinted (as of now, anyway): "Fatality in Fleet Street," which has been republished by a small house, the Oleander Press. I know Amazon has links to both the paper and ebook versions. I reviewed "Fatality" a couple of years back and called it fascinating, with touches of "alternate history" and an intriguing and quite satisfying blot.
Toggle Commented Nov 27, 2015 on "Death of an Airman" at Classic Mysteries
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Glad you enjoyed it!
Toggle Commented Nov 25, 2015 on "A Murder Is Announced" at Classic Mysteries
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She's definitely an acquired taste, Yvette, and some are more accessible, I think, than others. As I say, "St. Peter's Finger" strikes me as being closer to a traditional mystery than many of her other books, and there's a lot less of the cackling and the reptilian looks, although her writing remains very witty. There's also much more action in this one than in some of her other books. I do hope you get to try this one - but, as we both have said to each other before, there's no law that everybody has to enjoy exactly the same books!
Toggle Commented Nov 21, 2015 on "St. Peter's Finger" at Classic Mysteries
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One of my visitors, Kendra Nohl, sent me a note to let me know that The Crimson Clue actually appears to have been published in 1952, at least according to the copyright notice in the book itself. I got the 1955 date from the Golden Age wiki (with Wikipedia as a second source), but it's hard to argue with the copyright notice! Thanks, Kendra.
Toggle Commented Nov 21, 2015 on "The Crimson Clue" at Classic Mysteries
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Agreed, Yvette - that was one of the main points I wanted to check for myself. Christie was amazing at misdirection.
Toggle Commented Nov 14, 2015 on "A Murder Is Announced" at Classic Mysteries
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Hardly a day goes by, Yvette, when I don't suddenly lose the body of a murder victim - and it never seems to bother the police, either. As for cheap books, Abebooks is a great source; so are some of the second-hand sellers reachable through Amazon.
Toggle Commented Nov 5, 2015 on "The Crimson Clue" at Classic Mysteries
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Barnard was a very good writer, Yvette, able to use dark humor to keep readers turning pages. It's been a while since I read any of the Hamish MacBeth books - I seem to recall that I didn't much care for the ones I did read, but that was a long time ago and I probably should try one again.
Toggle Commented Oct 21, 2015 on "Death of an Old Goat" at Classic Mysteries
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It was indeed fantastic. All the members were devoted Sherlockians, and it's wonderful to hear them talk about - or better still converse with you about - the lasting appeal of Holmes and Watson.
Toggle Commented Oct 12, 2015 on Sherlock at Bouchercon at Classic Mysteries
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Thank you. It did broaden my reading tastes as well - it's exciting to find so many classic authors making a comeback in electronic formats.
Toggle Commented Sep 30, 2015 on Challenge Completed at Classic Mysteries
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I'm so glad this is back in circulation, Bev, at least in e-book editions. It's exactly the kind of function that I think e-books were intended to serve: classic books by top-notch authors whose books are wrongly forgotten. That holds for so-called "mid-list" authors of today, as well - there's no reason their books shouldn't be readily available in electronic editions.
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I suppose it all depends on which Daly books you read. I invariably recommend "The Book of the Dead," which I think is her best work. It's a classic mystery that will pull the ground out from under your feet when you least expect it. Well written, brilliantly plotted, masterful use of misdirection, and memorable characters. On Innes, I'd have to agree - his earlier books generally are better than the later entries. And new vintage authors are still coming down the pike as more and more publishers negotiate re-issue rights from often recalcitrant estates. It's a good time to be reading!
Toggle Commented Sep 21, 2015 on "The Book of the Lion" at Classic Mysteries
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Thanks for the thought. I really have enjoyed both of the Greens I've read so far - this one and The Leavenworth Case. I hope to do better by such a prolific (and trailblazing) author.
Toggle Commented Sep 21, 2015 on "The Golden Slipper" at Classic Mysteries
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It's fun, Bev, and, as I said, the violence really is fairly cartoonish. I prefer mine offscreen and offstage, I must confess.
Toggle Commented Sep 7, 2015 on "Dividend on Death" at Classic Mysteries
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Bev, Amazon lists a lot of inexpensive editions - one, I see, is less that $10 for a print edition and there's even a free Kindle e-book. Can't beat the price for an entertaining mystery!
Toggle Commented Aug 18, 2015 on "The Mystery of a Hansom Cab" at Classic Mysteries
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