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Les Blatt
Interests: Classic mystery stories, communications, writing, podcasting, blogging, traveling, social media, web 2.0
Recent Activity
Yvette, I must admit I've never really gotten interested in Pinterest - I don't have enough time to really explore the site, and I'm not sure it's very useful to me. As for locked rooms, you know that I'm definitely a fan - although I'd have to agree that "contrived" is a fair adjective to describe some of them!
Toggle Commented May 20, 2016 on "Death in the Tunnel" at Classic Mysteries
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JJ, I think you'll enjoy this one. There's a great deal of interplay between Arnold and Merrion, and both contribute to the ultimate solution of the problem.
Toggle Commented May 20, 2016 on "Death in the Tunnel" at Classic Mysteries
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I neglected to mention in my post the fact that the "Amelia" in the award's name is for Amelia Peabody, the anthropologist-protagonist of 19 first-rate and very popular mysteries by the late Elizabeth Peters (Barbara Mertz). Peters was a long-time member and leader of Malice Domestic, a person dearly beloved of the membership. The Amelia honors her character and her name.
Toggle Commented May 2, 2016 on Something About Amelia at Classic Mysteries
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It was fascinating, JJ. They swapped reminiscences about everything from the start of Crippen & Landru to anecdotes from The Detection Club. And, for the record, they are two of the nicest and most generous people you could ever want to meet.
Toggle Commented May 2, 2016 on Something About Amelia at Classic Mysteries
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I agree. Just picked up a copy of "Thus was Adonis Murdered," and it's high on the TBR pile. Fascinating discussion of the books and of Caudwell today at Malice Domestic.
Toggle Commented Apr 30, 2016 on "The Sirens Sang of Murder" at Classic Mysteries
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Agreed, Joe. Dean Street and the rest of the small-to-midsize presses who are now searching out long-neglected Golden Age authors have rejuvenated the field. I'm delighted that so many potential new fans are being exposed to the joys of the traditional puzzle-plot mystery.
Toggle Commented Apr 19, 2016 on "Richardson's First Case" at Classic Mysteries
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I do really like this one too, John, although I think my favorite still remains "Green for Danger," because of its lovely twisted ending. Not that the surprises in "Tour de Force" are less powerful - but, like you, I think I spotted the major plot twist somewhat earlier in this one. The one in GFD caught me by surprise, and I like that. And I like your choice of the word "outrageous." Yes it is indeed.
Toggle Commented Apr 15, 2016 on "Tour de Force" at Classic Mysteries
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I think it's the best I've read of his books so far, Bev.
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Agreed, Ron - it's a pleasure to have companies like the Dean Street Press, the British Library Crime Classics, and the many authors of OpenRoad Media/Mysterious Press getting into the act here, as well as smaller houses like Ramble House. I find myself having a difficult time keeping up with the newly-rediscovered authors, and I really do enjoy the ones I've found so far.
Toggle Commented Mar 28, 2016 on "Case Without a Corpse" at Classic Mysteries
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Kate Jackson, at her crossexaminingcrime blog, has another excellent review of Calamity in Kent, and I recommend you read it for her insights into the plot and characters! https://crossexaminingcrime.wordpress.com/2016/03/25/murder-at-the-seaside-in-calamity-in-kent-1950-by-john-rowland/
Toggle Commented Mar 25, 2016 on "Calamity in Kent" at Classic Mysteries
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I think you'll really enjoy Murder on Wheels, JJ - a nice locked room puzzle at heart plus some nice interplay between Oscar Piper and Hildy. Most of my Palmers are the RMP editions, which are - as always - well-packaged and intelligent.
Toggle Commented Feb 29, 2016 on "Four Lost Ladies" at Classic Mysteries
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Grumpy? YOU? Certainly not! ;-)
Toggle Commented Feb 28, 2016 on "Four Lost Ladies" at Classic Mysteries
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Some of the earlier Palmers are indeed stronger, Bev, but I still quite enjoyed this one, especially since Witners and "Jeeps" pretty well have to solve it on their own without Piper's help.
Toggle Commented Feb 28, 2016 on "Four Lost Ladies" at Classic Mysteries
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Peggy Ann, you can always contact your favorite mystery bookstore and ask about available titles from the RMP, or, if you don't have a mystery bookstore, you can search for Rue Morgue Press on Amazon. If you do that, you'll also come across some non-RMP titles (particularly Poe's book!), but there are several screens full of RMP books that are still available - just click on the quick link to Amazon on the upper right corner of this screen.
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D, I don't see many copies/editions of "Mr. Splitfoot" around - I do hope you can find one. It's really excellent.
Toggle Commented Feb 13, 2016 on "Mr. Splitfoot" at Classic Mysteries
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John, the method used in the locked room is unusual, but I've seen variations on the basic theme in at least two other mysteries, including one I reviewed in the past several months. It's really nasty and most effective. I'm really starting to enjoy McCloy's mysteries and intend to keep reading them.
Toggle Commented Feb 13, 2016 on "Mr. Splitfoot" at Classic Mysteries
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She really is very good. JJ. Recently, I read and reviewed another of hers, "Panic," which was also full of a sinister atmosphere. I'm going to have to read more of hers.
Toggle Commented Feb 9, 2016 on "Mr. Splitfoot" at Classic Mysteries
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I agree, Joe - I think the Edwards book is terrific. I haven't read the others yet, but The Golden Age of Murder is first rate, with fascinating information presented in an appealing and accessible way - and written by someone who is himself a fine mystery writer.
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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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