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Halloween Bingo 2017: Update 6

The African Queen - C.S. Forester, Michael  Kitchen The Crime at Black Dudley - Margery Allingham, David Thorpe The Snowman - Jo Nesbø The Devil in the Marshalsea - Antonia Hodgson

 

 

My Square Markers and "Virgin" Bingo Card:

"Virgin" card posted for ease of tracking and comparison.


Black Kitty:
Read but not called


Black Vignette:
Called but not read

Black Kitty in Black Vignette:
Read and Called

Black Kitty Center Square:

                  Read = Called

 

 

Current Status of Spreadsheet:

(Note: Physical print editions unless stated otherwise)

 

 

Books Read / Listened to - Updates 5 & 6:

 
C.S. Forester: The African Queen

C.S. Forester's wartime story about a trip down a mighty African river -- OK, so it's typically billed as a blend of romance and adventure (which is doubtlessly correct), but there are also enough elements of suspense for me to feel justified to claim it as a "Romantic Suspense" read -- heck, there's even a court martial.

Forester's original Rose Sayer and Charlie Allnutt are English, not American as in the movie starring Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, of course (and just in case you forget, Michael Kitchen's -- excellent -- reading leaves absolutely no doubt about this fact), which to a certain extent makes them different from the characters in the well-known movie adaptation, insofar as socialization impinges on behavior: both Rose and Charlie are class-conscious products of Edwardian Britain, and they have thus even more unwritten hurdles to overcome than the movie adaptation's characters.  Yet, they rally admirably, and their exchanges are great fun to follow along. -- The book doesn't answer my one big personal eyebrow-raiser any more satisfactorily than does the movie (namely, how Rose manages to not only learn to navigate at all, but to navigate skillfully enough to successfully steer the African Queen through a series of vicious rapids in a matter of days since she first grasped the meaning of terms such as "starboard" and the basic functioning of the boat's steering mechanism), but I suppose realism is a priority only up to a certain point in an adventure story, and by and large the fun and excitement in the narrative maintains the upper hand, and I am glad to have finally listened to a book that's on my TBR for way too long.

 

 

 
Margery Allingham: The Crime at Black Dudley
(David Thorpe audio)

 

Oh, good grief, can you say repetitive, redundant and stuffed with filler?  There is a story in there somewhere in this book, but by the time of the main characters' third (re)capture at the hands of the bad guys and subsequent failed escape attempt I'd essentially forgotten -- and stopped to care -- what the book's actual murder mystery was supposed to be concerned with.  If the whole kidnapping thing was in service of misdirection, then Ms. Allingham managed to direct me clean out of the book ... or she would have, if it hadn't been for David Thorpe, whose narration makes the most of the novel's characters and is the only reason this audiobook ever even got beyond the 2 star mark on my radar.  Even aside from the obvious filler and repetitiveness, the story is flat-out ridiculous (even more so than that of Look to the Lady, and that is decidedly not one of my favorite Campion books, either) -- the Golden Age mystery reading public must have been one forgiving sort of readership if Ms. Allingham was able to build a career as a mystery writer on the basis of this particular book.  If I hadn't already read other books from the series and thus didn't know that the quality of the plots actually did improve later on, this first book certainly would not have been an incentive for me to continue with the series at all.

 

That said, knowing that Albert Campion wasn't the star of the book I was surprised to see him being given more stage time than I had expected, and next to Mr. Thorpe's narration he was one of this book's saving graces for me; even though he is decidedly more of a cipher than in the later books, and even though the one voice I didn't care for in this audio version was Campion's, of all things.

 

Final note: Not even the cover of this audio recording is correct -- the murder weapon is a dagger, not poison or something else being imbibed.  Oh well.  Onwards and upwards from here, I suppose!

 

 


Jo Nesbø: The Snowman

I debated giving this book a 4.5 star rating for the addictive quality of Nesbø's writing alone -- but let's face it, I don't particularly like serial killer novels, I found few characters here with whom I could truly empathize; and between Harry Bosch, John Rebus and Kurt Wallander I've also reached a certain saturation level when it comes to policeman protagonists with a seriously bruised and damaged ego.  So, even if I will likely be reading more books from this series, I probably won't be rushing back to it.  That said, the story was well told; Nesbø certainly has a way with words (and with scenery and atmosphere), and even though I had an inkling early on where things would end up -- based both on the clues given at the very beginning as much as based on the inner dynamics of virtually every serial killer story

(namely, the personal duel between the killer and the policeman in pursuit of him, and the killer's desire to hit the policeman where it will hurt him most)

(show spoiler)

-- the book held my attention until the very end, and I could certainly have picked a much inferior book for this particular Halloween square.

 

May thanks to Tigus for the recommendation -- as I said, Nesbø is an author I'll likely want to return to at a given time, even if not in the very immediate future.

 

 

Currently Reading:

 

 

First Bingo (Update 3 -- Sept. 23, 2017): Squares and Books Read:

  

 

 

Second Bingo (Update 5 -- Oct. 7, 2017): Squares and Books Read:

   

                                                                           

                                                   

                                                   

 

 

Books Read / Listened to - Update 1:



Terry Pratchett: Equal Rites

 

 



Wilkie Collins: Mrs. Zant and the Ghost
(Gillian Anderson audio)

 

 

 

Martin Edwards / British Library:
Miraculous Mysteries - Locked-Room Murders and Impossible Crimes

 

 



Agatha Christie: Mrs. McGinty's Dead
(Hugh Fraser audio)

 

 

Books Read / Listened to - Update 2:



 Donna Andrews: Lord of the Wings

 

 


Ruth Rendell:

The Babes in the Wood

& Not in the Flesh

 

 

Robert Louis Stevenson: Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

 

 


Cornell Woolrich: The Bride Wore Black

 Raymond Chandler:

Farewell, My Lovely

  The Long Goodbye

The High Window

 

 

Books Read / Listened to - Update 3:

 
Martin Edwards: The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books

 

 

 
Emily Brontë: Wuthering Heights
(Prunella Scales & Samuel West audio)

 

 

 
Simon Brett: An Amateur Corpse

 

 

 

The Medieval Murderers: House of Shadows

 

 

 

Shirley Jackson: We Have Always Lived in the Castle

(Bernadette Dunne audio)

 

 

  


Murder Most Foul (Anthology)

Edgar Allan Poe: The Dupin Stories -- The Murders in the Rue Morgue / The Mystery of Marie Rogêt / The Purloined Letter

(Kerry Shale audio)

 Agatha Christie: Endless Night
(BBC full cast dramatization)

 Dick Francis: Knockdown (Tim Pigott-Smith audio)


 

 Ngaio Marsh:

Artists in Crime (Benedict Cumberbatch audio)

Overture to Death (Anton Lesser audio)

Death and the Dancing Footman (Anton Lesser audio)

Surfet of Lampreys (Anton Lesser audio)

Opening Night (aka Night at the Vulcan) (Anton Lesser audio)

 

 

Books Read / Listened to - Update 4:

 
James D. Doss: Grandmother Spider

 

 


Terry Pratchett: Men at Arms

 

 


Ovid: Metamorphoses
(German / Latin parallel print edition and David Horovitch audio)

Apollodorus: Library of Greek Mythology

Plutarch: Life of Theseus

 

 

The Book Pool:

Most likely: Donna Andrews: Lord of the Wings

Alternatively:

* Diane Mott Davidson: Catering to Nobody
* One or more stories from Martin Greenberg's and Ed Gorman's (eds.) 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

Change of plan:

C.S. Forester: The African Queen




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:

* Wilkie Collins: Mrs. Zant and the Ghost
(Gillian Anderson audio)

* 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 / The High Window

* 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 or The Babes in the Wood (audio versions read by Christopher Ravenscroft, aka Inspector Burden in the TV series)

Alternatively:

* 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

* Shirley Jackson: The Witchcraft of Salem Village




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
or Hill of Bones

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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