Short reviews of classic mystery novels and stories that are worth reading and re-reading.
info_outline "The Laughing Dog," by Francis Vivian 02/22/2021
"The Laughing Dog," by Francis Vivian On the Classic Mysteries podcast this week, you might call it a portrait of the artist as a young...dog? Did it hide the secret of a doctor's murder? Inspector Gordon Knollis had to decipher the secret of Francis Vivian's 1948 classic, "The Laughing Dog."
info_outline "Murder in Vienna," by E.C.R. Lorac 02/15/2021
"Murder in Vienna," by E.C.R. Lorac On the Classic Mysteries blog, Scotland Yard Inspector Macdonald thought he was going on holiday in Vienna. So how did he wind up helping local police investigate some nasty murders? E.C.R. Lorac's "Murder in Vienna," reviewed.
info_outline "The Orange Axe," by Brian Flynn 02/09/2021
"The Orange Axe," by Brian Flynn A grim solution to a grim problem: how to deal with a loathsome blackmailer who may also be a serial killer? For half-a-dozen young Englishmen, the answer appears to be a well-plotted murder, one where it will be impossible to tell who struck the fatal blow. Only things may not always go quite as smoothly as planned.
info_outline "Death of a Doxy," by Rex Stout 02/02/2021
"Death of a Doxy," by Rex Stout In Archie Goodwin’s world view, the word that best fits Isabel Kerr is a four-letter word: doxy. The dictionary says, it defines "a woman who is regarded as sexually promiscuous." Only trouble was, Isabel Kerr was dead. Murdered. And – with the police focused on a suspect who is both a friend and sometime colleague of both Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolfe, it was clear that Wolfe was going to have to get involved in the search for the real killer.
info_outline "Some Die Eloquent," by Catherine Aird 01/24/2021
"Some Die Eloquent," by Catherine Aird The dead woman was a humble chemistry teacher at a girls' school. So, wonders Detective Inspector C.D. Sloan, why did she have a quarter-million pounds in her bank account? And was she murdered? Catherine Aird's "Some Die Eloquent," from her Calleshire Chronicles reviewed.
info_outline "Unusual Suspects: Selected Non-Fiction," by Joseph Goodrich 01/18/2021
"Unusual Suspects: Selected Non-Fiction," by Joseph Goodrich On the Classic Mysteries podcast this week, a review of some non-fiction - a book of essays about mysteries and the people who make them. "Unusual Suspects: Selected Non-Fiction," by Joseph Goodrich, reviewed.
info_outline "A Maigret Christmas and Other Stories," by Georges Simenon 01/11/2021
"A Maigret Christmas and Other Stories," by Georges Simenon Maigret stars in one of these holiday stories, while other associates of Maigret feature in two more tales of holiday crime and redemption.
info_outline "Halfway House," by Ellery Queen 01/04/2021
"Halfway House," by Ellery Queen Too bad about Joe Wilson. The itinerant traveling salesman had a secret. And it’s only fair to point out that it turned out to be a deadly secret indeed – a secret which apparently led to his murder. Ellery Queen needed the truth to keep the wrong person from paying for someone else's crime.
info_outline "The Spiked Lion," by Brian Flynn 12/07/2020
"The Spiked Lion," by Brian Flynn The victim's body turned up under a tree in a park, the body unusually battered and bruised – but that’s not what killed him; he appeared to have had potassium cyanide sprayed into his nose. What kind of animal could do that - and why?
info_outline "It Walks By Night," by John Dickson Carr 11/29/2020
"It Walks By Night," by John Dickson Carr The first impossible crime novel by the 20th century master of impossibilities, John Dickson Carr: It couldn't have been suicide - the victim was beheaded inside a watched and locked room - but the room was empty, except for the victim. French police director Henri Bencolin stars.
info_outline "The Case of the Leaning Man," by Christopher Bush 11/23/2020
"The Case of the Leaning Man," by Christopher Bush Ludovic Travers and Superintendent George Wharton of Scotland Yard take on a family feud that may have led to a couple of murders.
info_outline "It Might Lead Anywhere," by E.R. Punshon 11/16/2020
"It Might Lead Anywhere," by E.R. Punshon It was clearly going to be an interesting case – the murder of an inoffensive little man with no apparent enemies, not much in the way of physical clues. And that kind of case can be very frustrating indeed.
info_outline "Crossed Skis, by Carol Carnac 11/08/2020
"Crossed Skis, by Carol Carnac What connection could there be between a gruesome fire in a London house and a ski holiday in Lech Am Arlberg in the Austrian Alps? The answer may conceal a ruthless murderer. A mystery by E.C.R. Lorac writing as "Carol Carnac."
info_outline "The Glimpses of the Moon," by Edmund Crispin 10/19/2020
"The Glimpses of the Moon," by Edmund Crispin Edmund Crispin's final full-length mystery featuring Gervase Fen. A mystery with artfully rearranged bodies & missing heads & eccentric characters & assorted mayhem - and funny as well.
info_outline "The French Powder Mystery," by Ellery Queen 10/14/2020
"The French Powder Mystery," by Ellery Queen Passersby watching the daily advertising show in French's Department Store window got a lot more than they expected when a body fell out of the bed. This was the second novel by "Ellery Queen."
info_outline "Tread Softly," by Brian Flynn 10/07/2020
"Tread Softly," by Brian Flynn Claude Merivale admits he strangled his wife - but he says he did so while in a sleep so deep that everything he did, he did in a dream. Will the jury buy it? Or can Anthony Bathurst find evidence of a cunning killer at work?
info_outline "The Adventures of Dagobert Trostler," by Balduin Groller 09/23/2020
"The Adventures of Dagobert Trostler," by Balduin Groller Called the Viennese Sherlock Holmes, Dagobert Trostler was described by Ellery Queen as "the first important Teutonic sleuth." These early stories find Dagobert using logic and reason to solve crimes.
info_outline "Cécile is Dead," by Georges Simenon 09/07/2020
"Cécile is Dead," by Georges Simenon Cécile had come to the Parisian police headquarters to tell her terrible secret to Inspector Maigret. But Maigret, in the course of a busy day, lost track of Cécile – until she disappeared. And when Maigret, now worried about her, want to her apartment to see what he could find – well, by then it was too late, for Cécile was dead. Now Maigret must uncover her secret for himself.
info_outline "Sunday the Rabbi Stayed Home," by Harry Kemelman 08/24/2020
"Sunday the Rabbi Stayed Home," by Harry Kemelman Amid the turmoil of the late 1960s, Rabbi David Small deals with synagogue politics and social issues within his Conservative congregation, not to mention solving a couple of murders.
info_outline "Death Comes to Cambers," by E.R. Punshon 08/16/2020
"Death Comes to Cambers," by E.R. Punshon Bobby Owen was spending the weekend at Cambers, planning to advise Lady Cambers on keeping her valuable jewelry safe. But when he woke up the next morning, Lady Cambers had been murdered - and the jewels had vanished.
info_outline "The Box Office Murders," by Freeman Wills Crofts 07/19/2020
"The Box Office Murders," by Freeman Wills Crofts Inspector French hears a young woman's plea for help too late to save her - but when she is murdered, French must find out why a gang seems to be targeting low-level theatre clerks.
info_outline "The Collected Short Fiction of Ngaio Marsh," edited & introduced by Douglas G. Greene 07/13/2020
"The Collected Short Fiction of Ngaio Marsh," edited & introduced by Douglas G. Greene Ngaio Marsh is best known for her novels about Detective Inspector Roderick Alleyn. This collection of her writing features short fiction - some with Alleyn, some with other characters.