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Halloween Bingo 2017: My Reading Pool / Shortlist -- and My Bingo Marker!

 

Aaaargh ... decisions, decisions.  Ask a Libra to make a snap decision, and you'll be waiting 'till doomsday.

 

So, in true Libra style, I haven't managed to narrow my list down to a single book for most of my card's squares yet -- but I've at least come up with a pool from which to pick my reads, with several books that would qualify for more than one square and a resulting short list with a certain preference per square. Which still doesn't mean I won't end up reading something completely different for one or more squares eventually, of course, judging by how things went last year. -- My 2017 pool / shortlist list includes mostly books I have not yet read, though augmented by a few audio versions of books that I've read before, but where I'm really, really interested in the audio version, which I'm not yet familiar with.

 

Anyway, this is the plan for now:

 

Most likely: Donna Andrews: Lord of the Wings

Alternatively:

* Diane Mott Davidson: Catering to Nobody
* One or more stories from Ed Gorman (ed.): Cat Crimes
* ... or something by Lilian Jackson Braun




Most likely: Emily Brontë: Wuthering Heights
(audio return visit courtesy of either Michael Kitchen or Prunella Scales and Samuel West)

Alternatively:

* Wilkie Collins: The Woman In White
(audio version read by Nigel Anthony and Susan Jameson)

* Jane Austen: Northanger Abbey
(audio return visit courtesy of Anna Massey)
* Isak Dinesen: Seven Gothic Tales
* Carol Goodman: The Lake of Dead Languages
* ... or something by Daphne du Maurier




Candace Robb: The Apothecary Rose




Most likely: Simon Brett: A book from a four-novel omibus edition including An Amateur Corpse, Star Trap, So Much Blood, and Cast, in Order of Disappearance

Alternatively:

* Georgette Heyer: Why Shoot a Butler?
* Margery Allingham: The Crime at Black Dudley
(audio version read by David Thorpe)
* Carol Goodman: The Lake of Dead Languages
* Minette Walters: The Shape of Snakes




Most likely: Something from James D. Doss's Charlie Moon series (one of my great discoveries from last year's bingo)

Or one of Walter Mosley's Easy Rawlins mysteries

Alternatively:

Sherman Alexie: Indian Killer




Terry Pratchett: Carpe Jugulum




One or more stories from Martin Edwards's (ed.) and the British Library's Miraculous Mysteries: Locked-Room Murders and Impossible Crimes




Most likely: Agatha Christie: Mrs. McGinty's Dead
(audio return visit courtesy of Hugh Fraser)
Or one or more stories from Martin Edwards's (ed.) and the British Library's Serpents in Eden: Countryside Crimes

Alternatively:

* Carol Goodman: The Lake of Dead Languages
* Josephine Tey: Brat Farrar, To Love and Be Wise, or The Singing Sands
* Georgette Heyer: Why Shoot a Butler?
* Peter May: The Lewis Man
* S.D. Sykes: Plague Land
* Arthur Conan Doyle: The Mystery of Cloomber
* Michael Jecks: The Devil's Acolyte
* Stephen Booth: Dancing with the Virgins
* Karen Maitland: The Owl Killers
* Martha Grimes: The End of the Pier
* Minette Walters: The Breaker




One of two "Joker" Squares:

 

To be filled in as my whimsy takes me (with apologies to Dorothy L. Sayers), either with one of the other mystery squares' alternate books, or with a murder mystery that doesn't meet any of the more specific squares' requirements.  In going through my shelves, I found to my shame that I own several bingo cards' worth of books that would fill this square alone, some of them bought years ago ... clearly something needs to be done about that, even if it's one book at a time!




Isabel Allende: Cuentos de Eva Luna (The Stories of Eva Luna) or
Gabriel García Márquez: Crónica de una muerte anunciada (Chronicle of a Death Foretold)




Most likely: One or more stories from Charles Dickens: Complete Ghost Stories or
Sharyn McCrumb: She Walks These Hills

Alternatively:

Stephen King: Bag of Bones




Terry Pratchett: Men at Arms




Obviously and as per definition in the rules, the second "Joker" Square.

 

Equally as per definition, the possibles for this square also include my alternate reads for the non-mystery squares.




Most likely: Cornell Woolrich: The Bride Wore Black

Alternatively:

* Raymond Chandler: Farewell My Lovely or The Long Goodbye

* James M. Cain: Mildred Pierce
* Horace McCoy: They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
* David Goodis: Shoot the Piano Player or Dark Passage
* ... or something else by Cornell Woolrich, e.g., Phantom Lady or I Married a Dead Man




Most likely: Ruth Rendell: Not in the Flesh
(audio version read by Christopher Ravenscroft, aka Inspector Burden in the TV series)

Alternately:

* Carol Goodman: The Lake of Dead Languages
* Sharyn McCrumb: She Walks These Hills




Most likely: Peter May: Coffin Road

Alternatively:

* Stephen King: Bag of Bones or Hearts in Atlantis
* Denise Mina: Field of Blood
* Carol Goodman: The Lake of Dead Languages
* Minette Walters: The Breaker
* Jonathan Kellerman: When The Bough Breaks, Time Bomb, Blood Test, or Billy Straight

* Greg Iles: 24 Hours




Most likely: Sharyn McCrumb: She Walks These Hills

Alternatively:

* Karen Maitland: The Owl Killers
* Greg Iles: Sleep No More




Most likely: Margery Allingham: The Crime at Black Dudley
(audio version read by David Thorpe)

Alternatively:

* One or more stories from Martin Edwards's (ed.) and the British Library's Murder at the Manor: Country House Mysteries
* Georgette Heyer: They Found Him Dead
* Ellis Peters: Black is the Colour of My True-Love's Heart




Most likely: Something from Terry Pratchett's Discworld / Witches subseries -- either Equal Rites or Maskerade

Alternatively:

Karen Maitland: The Owl Killers




Most likely: Antonia Hodgson: The Devil in the Marshalsea

Alternatively:

* Rory Clements: Martyr
* Philip Gooden: Sleep of Death 
* Minette Walters: The Shape of Snakes
* Ngaio Marsh: Death in Ecstasy

* One or more stories from Martin Edwards's (ed.) and the British Library's Capital Crimes: London Mysteries




Most likely: Robert Louis Stevenson: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
(audio return visit courtesy of Sir Christopher Lee)

Alternatively:

* H.G. Wells: The Island of Dr. Moreau 

* ... or something by Edgar Allan Poe




Most likely: Something from Ovid's Metamorphoses

Alternatively:

* Robert Louis Stevenson: The Bottle Imp
* Christina Rossetti: Goblin Market
* H.G. Wells: The Island of Dr. Moreau




Most likely: Jo Nesbø: The Snowman

Alternatively:

* Val McDermid: The Retribution
* Denise Mina: Sanctum 
* Mo Hayder: Birdman
* Caleb Carr: The Alienist
* Jonathan Kellerman: The Butcher's Theater
* Greg Iles: Mortal Fear




Most likely: The Medieval Murderers: House of Shadows

Alternatively:

* Sharyn McCrumb: She Walks These Hills
* Shirley Jackson: The Haunting of Hill House
* Stephen King: Bag of Bones
* Carol Goodman: The Lake of Dead Languages

* Michael Jecks: The Devil's Acolyte




Ooohhh, you know -- something by Shirley Jackson ... if I don't wimp out in the end; otherwise something by Daphne du Maurier.




 Now, as for my 2017 bingo marker ... it's rather an obvious choice this year; I mean, how could I possibly not?!

 

 

Merken

Halloween Bingo: For Those Looking to Fill Mystery Squares ...

Miraculous Mysteries: Locked-Room Murders and Impossible Crimes (British Library Crime Classics) - Martin Edwards, Various Authors Capital Crimes: London Mysteries (British Library Crime Classics) - Martin Edwards, Various Authors Serpents in Eden (British Library Crime Classics) - Martin Edwards Murder at the Manor (British Library Crime Classics) - Martin Edwards

... without necessarily going the whole hog of a novel, or who are looking for a taste of several different things:

 

The British Library recently published several Golden Age mystery short story anthologies, all edited by Martin Edwards, four of which exactly match the bingo squares created by Moonlight Reader and Obsidian Blue.  They are:

 

Miraculous Mysteries: Locked-room murders and other impossible crimes

Capital Crimes: London mysteries

Murder at the Manor: Country house mysteries

Serpents in Eden: Rural / village / small town crimes -- for the "Terror in a Small Town" square.

 

They've all been out just about long enough to hopefully be available via library loan (or ILL) -- though I've been able to snatch used copies online at very reasonable prices, too.

Knitting Needles, Brains, and Burglary (by Proxy)

Grey Mask   - Patricia Wentworth

This book marks Miss Silver's entrance into the annals of Golden Age crime fiction, and it's certainly an enjoyable one.

 

I'd read other Miss Silver mysteries before: This doesn't strike me as a series one absolutely has to read strictly in order; even though it is worthwhile noting that Wentworth also created several other fictional detectives, who even when appearing without Miss Silver clearly operate in the same fictional universe, and they do repeatedly show up in her cases as well.  Most, if not all of these other detectives are former pupils of Miss Silver, who once upon a time used to be a governess, and wherever they do appear alongside her, the ultimate honors of solving the case invariably go to her in the end.  So I guess the one aspect to be aware of is which one (if any) of her fellow sleuths is featured in a given book, and where in the sequence of their collaboration with Miss Silver the book in question is placed. -- For those interested, I've found a very neat overview on this on a blog called The Passing Tramp.

 

Anyway, having read other books featuring Miss Silver, I was interested to see how she had initially been introduced, so when there was talk of a Grey Mask buddy read, I jumped at the idea.  And I'm glad I did! 

 

We get to see more of Miss Silver's (on occasion quite formidable) ex-governess side in the later books, but even in this first venture -- where none of the aforementioned other detectives appears -- we see her treating a recalcitrant client essentially like the ten-year-olds she used to tutor, and most of her trademark features are already in place: the "gentle cough" that invariably precedes any statement of import; her knitting needles (not the only feature she shares with Agatha Christie's Miss Marple -- both ladies also have a certain penchant for primness, even if both of them are equally capable of taking it with a certain pinch of salt), her neat and capacious handbag, and most importantly, her razor-sharp brain, which easily puts her on a level with Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot ... and, again, Miss Marple, about whom none less than (ex-)CID Chief Sir Henry Clithering says in The Body in the Library, and not without reason, that she is "better at [solving crimes] than I am at it":

 

"Downstairs in the lounge ... there sits an old lady with a sweet, placid spinsterish face, and a mind that has plumbed the depths of human iniquity and taken it as all in the day's work." 

 

The same thing might just as well be said about Miss Silver -- who however, like Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot, leaves the reader (and the other party to the conversation) in no doubt as to the size of her brains and her capacity of logical thought, whereas Miss Marple outwardly is all flutter and modesty, while nevertheless surreptitiously manipulating others into doing just what she needs them to do ... while Miss Silver can be downright facetiously open about it:

 

"Miss Silver tapped with her pencil.

'Are you suggesting that we should apply for a search warrant?'

'No, I'm not.  I'm suggestin' doin' a little job of breakin' and enterin'.  Look here, Miss Silver, are you game? [...]'

'I've my reputation to consider,' said Miss Silver. She coughed. 'If I were walking along [that particular] Street and were to ring [that house's] bell --' she paused and gazed at him mildly.  'If you opened the door to me, it really would not be any business of mine how you got in.'"

 

And a while later:

 

"Miss Silver turned her torch down, picked up a metal bar, and put it into [his] hand.

'What is it?'

'Well,' said Miss Silver -- she gave a slight cough -- 'I believe it is called a jemmy -- an instrument in use amongst burglars.  I, of course, have my reputation to consider. But if you --' She coughed again. 'It really seems quite providential -- doesn't it?'

'Heaven helps those who help themselves, in fact,' [he] responded.

Miss Silver proceeded to give him expert advice as to lock-breaking."

 

I'm not sure that we'd ever see quite that sort of scene with Miss Marple (Holmes and Poirot are, of course, a different matter; they've both been known to burgle the odd building in the interests of higher justice), though Miss Marple would almost certainly have, amid a great deal of flutter, pinpointed the exact location to look for inside the house in question in advance, to within a few inches at most; probably after having gotten the vicar's wife to unearth for her precisely the same (published) source that had inspired the present owner of the house to make use of that very location in the first place.

 

Unlike Holmes and Poirot (and, for that matter, Miss Marple), who at least in the Final Reveal typically give a full account of their methods and thought processes, we are not given that sort of access here, and if anything, it is this that makes Miss Silver seem decidedly more ethereal than in the later books -- which, at least the ones I've read, do feature a traditional Final Reveal; warts and all: Not only does Miss Silver seem in this, her first venture, however, to appear out of nothing in her client's and the other protagonists' vista and vicinity on more than one occasion; she also has to do all her own research, since she does not have an assistant, which would have had to involve quite a substantial amount of interviews, visits to libraries, and other "legwork", all of which at times left me wondering how she could possibly have fitted all that activity into the time frame available ... while at the same time keeping exact tabs on her client's and his protegée's, as well as pretty much all the other major characters' whereabouts.

 

Patricia Wentworth had published several romance novels before turning to crime fiction, and this is not the only one of her books on which that writerly history has left an undelible mark.  (It's also not the only one of her books where the various emotional conflicts are "resolved" in rather a rushed way at the end.)  As for the book's major characters (besides Miss Silver), they fall nicely into the categories and types that had already been coined by other mystery authors at the time, and to a large extent made up the stock whose representatives would continue to populate the better part of Golden Age mysteries up to the eve of World War II and beyond.  Still, like the other Miss Silver mysteries I've read, this proved to be a quick, entertaining and deceptively lightly-written read, and I'll happily continue to sprinkle books from this series in among my reading pleasure.

 

*************

 

Previous status updates:

1/3 mark

2/3 mark

Look!! Isn't it pretty? Thank you so much, MR!!

 

Now, as for filling in all those beautiful squares ...

 

 

I think my brain will be going full tilt tonight!

Reading progress update: I've read 203 out of 332 pages.

Grey Mask   - Patricia Wentworth

Two thirds of the way through, and even if I had had any doubt whether the guy on the cover of my edition is supposed to be Charles Moray (which I didn't), I now have confirmation straight from the mouth of the babe (our Teenage Ingenue, aka TSTL heiress-in-peril) -- except that whoever created this cover didn't get the memo about the grey eyes:

 

"Charles is an explorer, but he isn't exploring just now.  He is the handsomest.  He has grey eyes and a most frightfully romatic frown [...] Charles has a lot of black eyelashes and frightfully black eyebrows.  They go all twisty when he is cross.  I shouldn't like them to go all twisty at me."

"I think Charles must have a most awful temper really, because he glared in the most frightful way you ever saw.  I've never seen anyone glare like it before, except on the films when they're just going to murder somebody, or the girl has been carried away by Bad Pete or someone like that.  Of course Sheikhs glare nearly the whole time.  I think Charles is awfully like a Sheikh really."

 

Well, idiot child, it would be hard NOT to glare at you with eyebrows all in a twist when you've just given the whole show away, and I strongly suspect to the one person you should have been kept away from from the start!  Except that Charles is starting to behave almost as idiotically as you, and about Margaret, no less.  Oh well.  Here's hoping their inevitable reconciliation won't at least be a total rush, but I have a feeling this isn't the sort of book that allows for the gradual resolution that in real life would be the only way for them to recover a solid joint footing to build on for the future.

 

That being said, we've now also had the mandatory desks with secret drawers containing mysterious paper clues in the form of signatures and empty envelopes with meaning-laden inscriptions (two matching such mysterious desks, no less, embossed with almost identical initials); there are hints that the story's two damsels-more-or-less-in-distress (Margaret and Margot, who really is called Margaret as well and has been cover-named Greta) just might be half-sisters; and Archie -- like Lord Peter Wimsey in "Murder Must Advertise" -- is working in a publishing firm (though in Wimsey's case that was based on Dorothy L. Sayers's own experience ... still, it's another coincidence).  Oh, and Miss Silver has pulled a Sherlock in referring to "Grey Mask" as someone who she's come across again and again in recent years, not in person but as a secret intelligence pulling the strings behind the scenes of various daring criminal enterprises.  Moriarty, much?

 

Miss Silver is now clearly also exhibiting her ex-governess side, treating a silly recalcitrant client (read: Charles) essentially like she would have the ten-year-olds she used to tutor.  This may very well come across as condescending (especially since there has been no mention of this aspect of her past just yet ... unless I've missed it, which I wouldn't rule out at all of course); except I'm with her all the way on this one -- Charles is behaving like an idiot, and he'd better get over it soon or he'll lose my sympathy.  Especially since I very much suspect he now has all the knowledge he needs about Grey Mask's true identity, and his first priority should be on unmasking that person (and on protecting our hapless teenage ingenue ... even a brainless little minion like her doesn't deserve to be murdered, after all)!

Halloween bingo: game format

 

Game Format Changes!

 

We're going to be playing our game a bit differently this year!

 

The first difference is that all of the players will play with a different bingo card! OB & I have come up with 31 reading "squares" that are focused in four broad categories: mystery/murder, horror, Stranger Things (the television show) and supernatural/creature feature. Each card will have a combination of 24 squares, with a free space!

 

Custom Cards!

 

So, how do you get your card? You ask me to create you one! I'll be announcing all of the categories in tomorrow's post, and you will be able to request your card with as much or as little specificity as you desire! You can give me the list of 24 squares that you want, you can identify specific squares that you don't want, you can ask for a focus on one or two of the four broad categories, or you can just let me surprise you! The easiest way to request your card will be in the bingo group, where there will be a thread created for just this purpose!

 

Bingo Calls!

 

Next - we're adding bingo calls to the game! Every other day, starting on September 1, 2017, OB or I will post the "square" that we are calling for the day. You do not need to finish the book before the next call & books can be read in any order. However, to "fill" a square, two events must both have occurred - the square must be called & you must have finished the book! Every square will eventually get called, so everyone will be able to "black out" their card by the end of the game!

 

Group Reads!

 

Group reads are optional, but are a lot of fun! We'll be doing two group reads this year, one in September & one in October. The September read will be a classic noir mystery & the October read will be classic horror. Further details will be announced on this later - but the good news is that the group reads will operate as universal matches. You can fill any square with the group read if you participate by reading the book and posting in the group discussion at least once!

 

Bragging Rights!

 

This game is just for fun - so no prizes. But the winners get full bragging rights, and reading and playing is its own reward!

Reblogged from Moonlight Reader

The Flat Book Society: Our First (and Second) Reads!

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal - Mary Roach Forensics: An Anatomy of Crime - Val McDermid

Voting for the first two books came to an end today and we have two books tied at 7 votes each, so they're our first two reads.

 

Starting September 1st and running through October 31st:

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal - Mary RoachThe irresistible, ever-curious, and always best-selling Mary Roach returns with a new adventure to the invisible realm we carry around inside. 

 

The alimentary canal is classic Mary Roach terrain: the questions explored in Gulp are as taboo, in their way, as the cadavers in Stiff and every bit as surreal as the universe of zero gravity explored in Packing for Mars.

 

Why is crunchy food so appealing? Why is it so hard to find words for flavors and smells? Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? How much can you eat before your stomach bursts? Can constipation kill you? Did it kill Elvis?

 

In Gulp we meet scientists who tackle the questions no one else thinks of—or has the courage to ask. We go on location to a pet-food taste-test lab, a fecal transplant, and into a live stomach to observe the fate of a meal. With Roach at our side, we travel the world, meeting murderers and mad scientists, Eskimos and exorcists (who have occasionally administered holy water rectally), rabbis and terrorists—who, it turns out, for practical reasons do not conceal bombs in their digestive tracts. Like all of Roach’s books, Gulp is as much about human beings as it is about human bodies. 

 

And Starting November 1st running through December 31st:

Forensics: An Anatomy of Crime - Val McDermidThe dead talk. To the right listener, they tell us all about themselves: where they came from, how they lived, how they died - and who killed them. Forensic scientists can use a corpse, the scene of a crime or a single hair to unlock the secrets of the past and allow justice to be done.

Bestselling crime author Val McDermid will draw on interviews with top-level professionals to delve, in her own inimitable style, into the questions and mysteries that surround this fascinating science. How is evidence collected from a brutal crime scene? What happens at an autopsy? What techniques, from blood spatter and DNA analysis to entomology, do such experts use? How far can we trust forensic evidence?

Looking at famous murder cases, as well as investigations into the living - sexual assaults, missing persons, mistaken identity - she will lay bare the secrets of forensics from the courts of seventeenth-century Europe through Jack the Ripper to the cutting-edge science of the modern day.

 

Reminders will definitely go out closer to our starting dates, and threads will be setup beforehand.  (There is one thread for each in the club now for general comments).

 

If either (or both!) of these books sound good to anyone not already in The Flat Book Club, our door is always open and everyone interested is welcome. 

 

Reblogged from Murder by Death
SPOILER ALERT!

Reading progress update: I've read 97 out of 332 pages.

Grey Mask   - Patricia Wentworth

Alright, I'm at the end of chapter 14 now, and ... did these Golden Age writers really all crib from each other to such a huge extent, or was there some sort of unspoken convention about plot and character points you absolutely had to hit in one or more of your novels (and the more in one and the same novel the better)?

 

So far, we've had -- just off the top of my head; at this point I'm probably even forgetting the odd item already, there's so many of them:

 

* A main character locking himself into a closet to listen in on a criminal conspiracy led by a masked, unknown mastermind (the eponymous Grey Mask) (cf. Agatha Christie, "The Seven Dials Mystery" and "The Secret Adversary" -- where replace "closet" by "upstairs room");

 

* A flippant character straight out of Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest", complete with droppin' his 'g's and all (cf. both Dorothy L. Sayers's Lord Peter Wimsey and Freddie Arbuthnot, though I suspect Archie Millar has a mite more grey matter inside his skull than Lord Peter's friend Freddie);

 

* A teenage ingenue (read: TSTL character) whose chief, albeit not sole function in the novel is to throw the bad guys into profound bafflement, with nary a clue of the danger she's putting herself in (MbD's hunch about her is definitiely, to phrase it in the language of the time, coming up trumps) (cf. Georgette Heyer and Margery Allingham -- you name it, they've written it -- and also Arthur Conan Doyle, "A Case of Identity" and "The Illustrious Client");

 

* A sinister plot to un-inherit an unprotected girl (here: aforesaid TSTL teenage ingenue) from a multi-million pound inheritance (cf. Arthur Conan Doyle, "The Sign of Four" and several other stories, ditto Agatha Christie);

 

* A letter (here: put forth in furtherance of said plot) that will undoubtedly turn out to be a forgery (an utter Golden Age staple; there's no decent crime writer of the time who did not use it at some point or other -- one of my favorite examples, at Lord Peter's own hands, appears in Dorothy L. Sayers's "Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club");

 

* A fairly obviously crooked lawyer (another staple, though today decidedly more than in the Golden Age novels);

 

* An altogether too-harmless-to-be-believed male character taking his wife abroad, from where, promptly, comes news of her sad demise (cf. Arthur Conan Doyle, "The Illustrious Client"; for the character see also Uncle Joseph in Heyer's "Envious Casca" and Sir Eustace in Agatha Christie's "The Man in the Brown Suit");

 

* Oodles of London pea-souper fog (cf. Edgar Wallace -- take your pick of his novels -- and E.W. Hornung; also Agatha Christie, "The Man in the Fog" and "The Crackler", though the latter is Tommy and Tuppence's "Edgar Wallace" case, so half the honors go to Wallace for that one again);

 

* A character who pretends to be deaf (though not dumb! How are we supposed to believe he's able to speak if he can't hear himself?) but who is anything but, and whom -- dun, du-dun-dun -- our hero follows through the aforementioned London fog (cf. Edgar Wallace again, "The Dark Eyes of London");

 

* A young lady using a particular name as an alias just because she thinks it's romantic, without realizing how much she's going to get herself into trouble by uttering that particular name in the hearing of the wrong people (cf. Agatha Christie, "The Secret Adversary");

 

* A young lady from a "good family" who's fallen on hard luck and has to work -- as a shop assistant, secretary, governess, or the like (here it's as a shop assistant) -- to earn her living (cf. half of Sherlock Holmes's female clients, several Agatha Christie characters -- e.g. Midge Hardcastle in "The Hollow" and the eponymous heroine of "Jane in Search of a Job" --; and Sheila Fentiman in Dorothy L. Sayers's "Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club");

 

* the wise-cracking inhabitants of far-away places -- here it's South American Indian tribes named Hula-Bula and Taran-Tula (I swear I'm NOT making this up) whose devoid-of-meaning idioms can give any "Confucius say ..." quote a run for its money;

 

* and, of course, a main character who (with yet another nod to Ms. Heyer and Dame Agatha) has just returned to London after several years' absence and plays at amateur detective to untangle the weeds that seem to have grown on his patch while he was away; only to find himself baffled and call on Miss Silver at the end.

 

As for Miss Silver herself, who has only made her first, introductory appearance at this point ... well, Agatha Christie always insisted that she had based Miss Marple on her own granny, and that she had been inspired to create the character after having had such fun with Caroline Sheppard in "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd", but given that "Grey Mask" was published two years prior to Miss Marple's first case, "Murder at the Vicarage," I can't help but wonder whether Miss Silver provided some sort of inspiration, too, after all.  The two ladies are definitely not alike, but Miss Silver's initially seemingly nondescript appearance, secret sense of humor, and of course her knitting needles (!) do strike a familiar chord.  The Miss Silver I've seen in other books can on occasion be decidedly more formidable than Christie's Miss Marple (in behaviour, though not in appearance, more like the Margaret Rutherford version of Miss Marple, who is not like the character from the books at all) ... it'll be interesting to see how we get from Miss Silver's first appearance to the traits she exhibits later. -- One obvious difference between the two characters is, of course, that Miss Silver is a pro, with an office and all, while Miss Marple insists that she is anything but.

 

Don't get me wrong; it's a fast read and I am rather enjoying it.  But, dang -- half the time I keep thinking, geez, that's something, too, that I've read before!

Martin Edwards Haul

The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books - Martin Edwards The Golden Age of Murder - Martin Edwards Silent Night: Christmas Mysteries (British Library Crime Classics) - Martin Edwards Miraculous Mysteries: Locked-Room Murders and Impossible Crimes (British Library Crime Classics) - Martin Edwards, Various Authors Capital Crimes: London Mysteries (British Library Crime Classics) - Martin Edwards, Various Authors Resorting to Murder: Holiday Mysteries (British Library Crime Classics) - Martin Edwards, Various Authors

I swear, I really only opened my wishlist to order
"The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books" ... (sigh).

 

 

Oh, wait, that would have been last year.  Now it's more like

 

Yey!!

MR & OB are at it again..........

 

 

We're shaking up the game this year!

 

Stay tuned!

Reblogged from Moonlight Reader

Then again, treat hunting is (unsurprisingly) his favorite occupation anyway ... in whatever shape and form!

His favorite toy, even more so than his blue and green balls ... because it spits out crackers and treats!

Behold one happy kitty ... he's come a loooong way!

Impromptu Buddy Read of Grey Mask

Grey Mask - Patricia Wentworth

Themis-Athena and I have decided, very spur-of-the-moment, to buddy read Grey Mask by Patricia Wentworth  starting this Monday, 14 August.

 

If anyone would like to join in and it's not too last minute, please do - everyone is welcome!

Reblogged from Murder by Death

BookLikes How-to: Housekeeping! or, Using the Mass Post Editor

 

-- A guest post by Jenn from Murder by Death

 

If you’re a BookLikes veteran or new to BookLikes but with a huge import of data, you might, like me, look back at all of that history and think “I really need to clean some of those posts up” or “shoot, I wish I’d been using ‘x’ tag on all of those posts”, but then you imagine actually doing it, shudder to yourself, and find that sorting out your sock drawer suddenly sounds exciting.

 

OR, like I’ve been doing lately, you’ve gone to tag a post, see the mile long list of previously used tags and think to yourself “WHY do I have all those tags?  Was I drunk when I thought ‘tthhpphhhttt’ would make a good tag?” or you notice that you’ve collected multiple versions of the same tag and wish you could just clean that mess up.

 

Well, you can. Only tags that are actively used show up in that previously used menu - deleting those unwanted tags from all your posts makes them disappear from the list too.  And you can do that easily using the Mass Post Editor - it takes the ‘tedious’ out of blog housekeeping and puts it back in the sock drawer where it belongs.

 

To get to the Mass Post Editor, use your Dashboard pull down menu to get to your dashboard blog page (not your fancy public blog) - (http://booklikes.com/blog).  You can also go direct by using the following address (assuming you’re currently logged into BookLikes): http://booklikes.com/post/mass-editor/

 

 

 

On your blog page, look for the Mass edit posts and tags link on the right side of your page:

 

 

The Post Mass Editor page is pretty easy to use, but here's an overview of what you’ll see (if this is old news for you, scroll down for more information on cleaning up your tag list):

 

A: sort by: allows you to specify whether you want to sort your results by Publish Date or by Rating, ascending or descending.

 

B: The number of results you’d like to appear on a single page (max is 100).

 

C: status: allows you to narrow down your results to show only posts that are scheduled to be published in the future, currently published posts, or draft posts.  Leave this menu at —select— to show all three.

 

D: type:  allows you to narrow down which type of posts you want to display: Text, Photo, URL, Video, Quote, and Review.  Leaving this at —select— will return all types.

 

Please note that the fields A-D are live update options. Your search results will update instantly after you make a selection from any of these four fields. Selections made using date from (E) and with tags (F) will require you to click Show (K).

 

E: If you know that the posts you want to work with were done within a certain time frame, you can use the date from and date to fields.

This is especially helpful if you’re trying to find posts from a specific game or challenge (and you remember the dates).

 

F: with tags: This will narrow down your post results to only the posts that currently have the tags you select here.  You can select as many as you need to further narrow down your results, or leave it at —select tag— to display all.

 

The selections above, A-F are designed not only to make it easier to find what you’re looking for, but also to minimise the load on the BookLikes servers; the more specific your criteria, the easier it is for the databases to return your results as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

 

G:  select all / unselect all:  Once you’re ready to work with your posts, you can either use the individual check-boxes on the left of each post entry to select them, or choose select all to choose all of the posts in the list.  Likewise, unselect all will clear all the checkboxes.

 

H:  x delete posts:  Maybe blogging right after the cocktail hour wasn’t such a good idea, or maybe you just have posts that have expired content and you want to get rid of them. You can select those posts here and hit delete posts. Just be careful - you can’t undo delete posts. Once they’re gone - they’re gone.

 

I:  x remove tags:  remove tags from selected posts.

 

J:  + add tags:  add tags to selected posts.

 

K:  Show:  use this button to apply specific time frames or tags to your results.

 

L:  Type and Title:  Click on either the type or title of a specific post to go to that post.

 

M:  This is a shortcut for the tag menu (F):  clicking on the tags here will put them in the with tags section - just remember to hit Show to update the results.

 

N:  Edit:  Takes you directly to the edit post page so you can edit the post.

 

 

As I said at the start, it’s pretty self-explanatory, but I want to show you how you can use the mass post editor to clean up any superfluous tags you might have acquired over the years.

 

Using myself as the guinea pig, I’ve found that I have two tags:  audiobook and audiobooks.  I don’t need to have both so I want to edit all of my posts so they only use audiobooks, thereby deleting audiobook from my tag list.

 

I’ve searched for all published posts that use audiobook (the tag I ultimately want to get rid of):

 

 

I’ve used select all to check all (three) posts currently using audiobook, and then I clicked on + add tags:

 

Note that you can use this menu to create new tags and apply them to posts too.

 

I’ve selected the audiobooks tag I want to add and clicked Add tags.

 

Next, I’ve hit select all again (the checkboxes clear each time so you don’t accidentally change posts you didn’t mean to change).

 

This time, I’ve clicked x remove tags:

 

 

 

This looks a bit different; x remove tags only shows you the tags that are currently applied to the posts you’ve selected.  So, I’ve checked audiobook and clicked Remove tags.

 

Done!

 

Now, it’s important if you’re trying to replace one tag with another that you add the new tag before you remove the old one because clicking Remove tags automatically updates your results list.  What does this mean?  Well, if I had removed the audiobook tag first, my result list after removing it would look like this:

 

 

 

As you can see - I no longer have any posts in my list to add my new tag to, because I no longer have any that are tagged with audiobook

 

So, add first, remove last.

 

Once you’ve done this, and assuming you’ve applied it to all your posts, you’ll find that old tag is history.  (To check, make a change anywhere in your search criteria - hit show if you need to - and force BL to search again.  This will refresh your tag list.)  Yay!  Only about 100 more to go!

 

 

If you’ve been thinking your blog needed a bit of housekeeping, check out the Post mass editor.  Even if you already run a tight ship, don’t forget it can be a valuable resource for finding posts that aren’t tied to books on your shelves. So if someone comes up to you someday asking you for that youtube link to that cat video… you know, that one - with the cat doing that cute thing?… you’ll have a place to start.  ;-)

 

Happy BookLiking!

 

Art by Akgulian, Nishan

Reblogged from BookLikes

Chawton: Jane Austen's Home

Jane Austen's Hampshire - Terry Townsend Pride and Prejudice (Penguin Classics) - Vivien Jones, Tony Tanner, Claire Lamont, Jane Austen Mansfield Park - Jane Austen Persuasion - Jane Austen, Gillian Beer Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen, Marilyn Butler, Claire Lamont Sense and Sensibility  - Jane Austen Emma - Jane Austen, Fiona Stafford Teenage Writings (Oxford World's Classics) - Kathryn Sutherland, Freya Johnston, Jane Austen Lady Susan - Harriet Walter, Carole Boyd, Kim Hicks, Jane Austen Sanditon: Jane Austen's Last Novel Completed - Marie Dobbs, Anne Telscombe, Jane Austen

... during the last 8 years of her life, during which she wrote all of her major novels (and saw four of them published during her lifetime: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, and Emma).

 


The dining room, with Jane's writing table tucked away in a corner next to the window.


Jane's bedroom (also the room where most of her family said goodbye to her before she died).


A replica of the blue dress and bonnet that Jane is wearing in the portrait sketched of her by her sister Cassandra.



A quilt handmade by Jane, her sister Cassandra and their mother, and a muslin shawl embroidered by Jane.

 

And last but not least ...


The museum's resident cat! :D

Merken

Merken

Merken