Monday 27 June 2016

This Post is Brought to You By....

I'm currently reading a 1930s example of the "celebrity mystery"--the type of mystery that, while being ghostwritten by another author, is sold on the putative author's celebrity and is usually set in the milieu in which that person achieved their fame (such as Steve Allen's The Talk Show Murders).

Any guesses as to the celebrity author pictured below? A few hints...she was American, was at her greatest fame in the 1920s and 1930s...and it's no coincidence that I chose today to make this post.

Thursday 6 November 2014

Acquisitions: Lucky $13

Some of my favorite purchases from a recent book sale...and all for $13...yow! I'm most interested in Prelude to Murder which The Saturday Review lightly praised as having "an ending with a new twist". Also included are the sharp-looking endpapers for Lay Her Among the Lilies.

Trivia time! One of my purchases is by an author who has a much more famous cousin in the mystery field. Who is it and what is the cousin's name?

Friday 31 October 2014

Eden Phillpotts-Lyncanthrope: The Mystery of Sir William Wolf (1938)

"...there is a chance that the monster may be local, when in bodily shape, so I come to you."

"I don't know a were-wolf among my patients, if that's what you mean, Bill."

Is something horrific stalking the grounds of Stormbury estate? Sir William Wolf, the recent heir, certainly believes that there is despite the skepticism and protestations of his closest friends and family. William, melancholy, superstitious and with an interest in the occult, is certain that a poem contained in an old book of legends discovered in the Stormbury library has a prophetic significance for him and that a lupine vengeance for an unknown family wrongdoing will occur on New Year's night. As the omens contained in "Twilight of the Wolf" appear to be coming true, William is urged to disregard the poem or leave the estate altogether but he is determined to confront what he believes will be a werewolf.  And if his morbid and fatalistic resignation and occult beliefs aren't troubling enough to those around him, the Stormbury heir believes that he himself is slowly turning into a werewolf  and that, as the poem prophesizes, "wolf shall meet wolf."

The basic plot of Lycanthrope emphasizes the horror elements but the novel is actually a horror and detection hybrid (although most of the detection occurs "off-stage") and is rather lacking in atmosphere and chills. While the novel has a setting contemporary to the publication date, the florid style of the writing and the languid pace of the storytelling give it a decades-earlier flavour (the author was 76 upon publication) so that the novel is best recommended to the patient reader who values the old-fashionedness of the tale.

Verdict: I enjoyed it but could have used a little more meat on this lyncanthrope.

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Creaseymania 4: Introducing the Toff

Some more sharp-looking covers and one title which would raise a few eyebrows today. Note the Saint-esque stick logo.

Monday 21 July 2014

Creaseymania 3: Meet the Baron

Some covers for the Baron (or is it Blue Mask?) series featuring jewel thief John Mannering.



Saturday 19 July 2014

Creaseymania 2

Two entries from Creasey's Department Z series. I  like the subdued colours of the artwork. The League of Dark Men has both a front and back cover illustration.


I purchased some vintage (mostly 1960s) John Creasey paperbacks this week from a local used bookstore. I got first crack at them although I'm not sure if this means that I have preferred customer priveleges or that no one else is interested in them (I suspect the latter). I'm going to make a few posts featuring my favourites from the lot in what is probably an inauspicious revival of this blog...