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Les Blatt
Interests: Classic mystery stories, communications, writing, podcasting, blogging, traveling, social media, web 2.0
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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 yesterday 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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I think it's an interesting series, Joe,(as are Ellis Peters's Brother Cadfael books). Some are quite dark, too. But I love the regulars - the Judge, his three principal assistants (four, if you count Sergeant Hoong), and his three wives. All 15 novels (16 if you count "Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee") and the short stories in "Judge Dee at Work" are very much worth reading.
Toggle Commented Jan 11, 2017 on "The Haunted Monastery" at Classic Mysteries
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JJ, while there is a clear chronology followed by the novels - it is not related to the order in which the books were written. If you get the book of short stories called "Judge Dee at Work," you will find a five-page chronology of all of Judge Dee's cases, including information about some of the continuing characters and the aides who helped the judge solve the cases. But the books weren't written in that order. "The Chinese Gold Murders" is the first in this chronology, set in 663 AD, as it happens when Judge Dee takes his first independent official post. But it was the fifth book written in the series. "The Chinese Lake Murders" (666 AD)is the third in the chronology and also the third to be written. "The Haunted Monastery" is also set in 666 AD, but the sixth book written. Each book is a standalone, although as Van Gulik went on, he'd sometimes include a foreshadowing of "later" events in other books. I do think you'll enjoy them. By the way, the chronology was drawn up and published before Van Gulik's final book, "Necklace and Calabash," which is set in 668-669 AD. I find the whole thing fascinating.
Toggle Commented Jan 10, 2017 on "The Haunted Monastery" at Classic Mysteries
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JJ, I'd recommend two possible starting points. One is "The Chinese Lake Murders," which is very clever, with a lot of traditional elements; the other, "Necklace and Calabash," was the last in the series and is closest to "western" style. The Judge Dee mysteries kindled my interest in China, too, and I really do recommend the series. Some are quite dark - in particular "The Chinese Nail Murders" - but all are excellent. By the way, Van Gulik started by translating one of the old Chinese mysteries about Judge Dee, which is also a fine read - "The Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee" - at the end of which, he issued a "challenge" to other western authors to try their hand at writing a "traditional" Chinese mystery Nobody took up the challenge, so Van Gulik decided to do it himself!
Toggle Commented Jan 10, 2017 on "The Haunted Monastery" at Classic Mysteries
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Thanks, Moira. I found myself laughing out loud often enough to make fellow bus or subway riders look at me rather nervously. This is the third one I've read by Caudwell and the last one is staring at me from the TBR pile...
Toggle Commented Jan 2, 2017 on "Thus Was Adonis Murdered" at Classic Mysteries
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I didn't know that, Barry. Thanks!
Toggle Commented Dec 30, 2016 on "Farewell, My Lovely" at Classic Mysteries
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I don't think I've ever seen the Mitchum version, Barry. If there's a Mercedes in it, I'm pretty sure I can keep delaying my initiation. I suspect I've only seen the 1946 version. But if the unresolved murder in that version was confusing, at least we know that confusion originated in the book (and confused the author as well)...
Toggle Commented Dec 30, 2016 on "Farewell, My Lovely" at Classic Mysteries
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I think you'll enjoy it, Moira. The way it's written in present tense adds to the interest - I don't remember Innes doing that elsewhere. And the characters are fascinating!
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Yvette, I also enjoyed "Lady in the Lake." I also still enjoy re-reading "The Big Sleep," though that may be influenced by hearing Chandler's dialog coming out of Bogie's mouth in the classic movie. (Yes, I know, the endings are different. Vive la difference...)
Toggle Commented Dec 30, 2016 on "Farewell, My Lovely" at Classic Mysteries
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AARRGH, D. How the hell did I come up with 1929? I think I may have had a bio of Dashiell Hammett open at the same time, as I'm reading "The Dain Curse," which WAS published in 1929. Serves me right. Anyway, it's been a while since I read "The Long Goodbye," so I'm overdue for that. Thanks for the catch, and I'll try to be fully awake when writing in the future... :-)
Toggle Commented Dec 30, 2016 on "Farewell, My Lovely" at Classic Mysteries
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Yes, Shay, the movie bears little relationship to the book, except for its title. Great cast, but not the same story by any means.
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