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Les Blatt
Interests: Classic mystery stories, communications, writing, podcasting, blogging, traveling, social media, web 2.0
Recent Activity
I think you'd enjoy this one, Colin. I've read others of Blake's books and would recommend him as an author of unusually good plots in well-written books - probably not a surprise coming from a man who became the Poet Laureate of Britain. I haven't been to the Greek islands, but this book makes me realize some of what I missed. Have you read Gladys Mitchell's "Come Away Death" by the way? Mrs. Bradley meets the Mysteries at Eleusis...
Toggle Commented 2 days ago on "The Widow's Cruise" at Classic Mysteries
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Colin, I'm delighted to see Moyes's books coming back and made available to new readers. It's been a while since I read "Third Dog," but I remember it as being very well written, with good twists and a vaguely-recalled ending which left me cheering for the dog. I'll be reading more of hers, as the series re-appears.
Toggle Commented 6 days ago on "Murder à la Mode" at Classic Mysteries
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I've heard a lot of people say they prefer Woman in White, Colin. It's been so long since I last read it, I'm not qualified to comment - looks like I should put that back on the To Be Read pile. Thanks.
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As it happens, mystery historian Curtis Evans posted an interesting and quite relevant entry about Sgt. Beef (and Sgt. Cribb and others) on his blog, The Passing Tramp (at http://thepassingtramp.blogspot.com/2018/04/some-time-for-sergeants-consideration.html ). As always with his posts, it is well worth your reading time.
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"The Murder of my Aunt" is due out in the States in September, and I'm looking forward to it - it seems to follow the same general pattern you mention. That's what I like best about Hull's books, and you're right - it's a great way to reveal a character's character, so to speak.
Toggle Commented Apr 9, 2018 on "Murder Isn't Easy" at Classic Mysteries
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For more info day-of (such as, maybe, when will this be over) you can go to http://status.typepad.com
Toggle Commented Apr 7, 2018 on Building Repairs on Monday at Classic Mysteries
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Yes, it was released in 1954, 14 years after the first book. As far as I can tell, these two were the only mysteries Shepherd ever wrote. I haven't read the sequel yet, but if it's anywhere close to the quality of the first book, I'll have to add it to my TBR pile - and soon.
Toggle Commented Feb 20, 2018 on "Murder in a Nunnery" at Classic Mysteries
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I think it's a good mystery and one you might enjoy (though you may see through to the explanation of the impossibilities fairly early on). On the other hand, I'd have to disagree with you about The Nine Tailors, which has always been one of my favorites - but then, I enjoy the long (and, I think, beautifully written) passages on change-ringing. So you may want to take my suggestions with a grain of salt... ;-)
Toggle Commented Jan 22, 2018 on "Have His Carcase" at Classic Mysteries
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I think the Henry and Emmy Tibbett series is well worth owning, Graham. And I agree - this is a case where the whole appears to add up to more than just the sum of its parts. The main characters are likeable, Henry is refreshingly competent, and Emmy is much more than just a cookie-cutter type of character - she really does contribute a lot to keep the story moving. I'm glad you're enjoying them. As a general rule, I'd have to say the earlier books were the best in the series, although there's no need to read the books strictly in order.
Toggle Commented Jan 19, 2018 on "The Sunken Sailor" at Classic Mysteries
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Yes, there are copies around, Shay. I hope you enjoy the stories if/when you read them.
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For another viewpoint, here's what Puzzle Doctor had to say on his fine blog, "In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel." https://classicmystery.wordpress.com/2017/09/17/verdict-of-twelve-by-raymond-postgate/#more-7751
Toggle Commented Sep 18, 2017 on "Verdict of Twelve" at Classic Mysteries
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I'm glad we agree on this one, Yvette. I must admit I prefer the stories in which Troy takes an active role, even though her husband hates it. And I agree about "Spinsters in Jeopardy," which is definitely due for a re-read and write-up on my part.
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Joe, I think it's particularly encouraging to find so many publishers suddenly interested in bringing back some Golden Age classics. It's wise, though, to remember that there may be good reason why a particular author's books never did well... ;-)
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Well I have to admit you sent me to the dictionary for "facinorous." Note: duly added to vocabulary. Nero Wolfe would have been well-advised to call Arnold Zeck "facinorous." Seriously, there's nothing wrong with differing in our thriller tastes - I always explain that my own preferences are just that - my own preferences. And there's something to be said for preferring books by current authors, thereby keeping the supply of fresh mysteries available for all of us!
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I do think "Copper Beeches" is one of the better Holmes stories, Joe. I must agree with you about some of the other writers of the period, however - some are excellent, some...rather less so.
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Joe, in his introduction, Rennison mentions Dr. Thorndyke (along with Martin Hewitt and Orczy's Old Man in the Corner) as detectives he decided not to include, preferring to find less-well-known characters (and ones he admits he liked better!)
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Joe, we keep hoping for somebody to produce the show elsewhere...such as NY...
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It's one of the things I enjoy about Christie, Barry - the fact that some of her books are memorable, usually because of the twists and turns she has put in to misdirect the reader. That's the case for me in this one. (Although "The Labors of Hercules" is also a very good starting place for a new Christie reader, come to think of it... :-)
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Yes, it's been one of my favorites for a long time too. And I agree about the characterizations - very well done indeed.
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Thanks for the kind words. Lots more books to be read, enjoyed and reviewed... :-)
Toggle Commented May 8, 2017 on 520 = Ten Years at Classic Mysteries
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Well worth the time, Joe - I think it holds up very well on repeated readings.
Toggle Commented Apr 25, 2017 on "Might as Well be Dead" at Classic Mysteries
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I agree, Joe, especially about Cadfael, who is a wonderful character. I think that Peters is a wonderful story-teller, and her writing is very powerful. I also recommend (I should probably try to get a post out in the next few days) her earlier series, set in modern times and featuring George Felse - I think they're available as e-books and they're very enjoyable indeed.
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There's some remarkably clever misdirection, isn't there!
Toggle Commented Apr 4, 2017 on "Death on the Nile" at Classic Mysteries
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I think the constantly growing danger from the forest fire makes a lot of difference in how I reacted to this particular Queen, JJ. Quite obviously (as there are other, later EQ books), Ellery and his father, at least, must find a way out...but how? What about the rest of the characters? And what impact will it have on the behavior of a killer - and how will that killer be identified? Add in some EQ almost-trademark business (such as a "dying message" clue), and you have a pretty powerful book.
Toggle Commented Feb 14, 2017 on "The Siamese Twin Mystery" at Classic Mysteries
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Barry, I know what you're referring to, and I think it's a theme that has been used in other books as well, but I think Biggers used it very well indeed. I'm very fond of all the novels, and it's interesting to see how Charlie Chan develops as a character, from being almost a minor character in THE HOUSE WITHOUT A KEY to the older, wiser detective we know from the movies.
Toggle Commented Jan 28, 2017 on "Keeper of the Keys" at Classic Mysteries
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