Welcome mystery lovers!

How do we contend with life when its puzzles are so often vexing and insoluble? Folks like me turn to the puzzles that are solvable – the mysteries found in fiction, film, stage and television, the more classic in style, the better!

I taught drama, film studies and English to high school students for thirty-one years, where I tried to imbue my love of mysteries into every lesson. Now I am once again a student of the genre, seeking an exchange of ideas and information with fellow devotees of the Queens and Kings of crime fiction, the Masters of film suspense, and all lovers of puzzles and fair play.

Let’s talk!

33 thoughts on “About

  1. Hey Brad, we’re just discovering your blog today. As fellow Agatha Christie fanatics, we wanted to: 1) say hello; and 2) invite you to listen to our podcast, All About Agatha (on iTunes or Stitcher: you can click the link on our Twitter profile @allaboutthedame), in which we analyze/critique/adore every single Agatha Christie novel in order of (UK) publication. We even attempt to rank them. (All in good fun.) Hope you get a chance to check it out!


  2. Hi Brad. Just stumbled across your blog today. I love what I’ve read so far, I can’t wait to check out more of your posts. Great blog. Maddy


    • I think there’s a follow button somewhere on the main page, usually on the right side, Dorothy. I don’t see it because it’s my own blog, but I have followers, so I know it’s there!


  3. Just discovered this wonderful blog, and am excited to see such in depth, perceptive analysis of Agatha Christie. Trying to resist the urge to resurrect too many old posts with comments of my own.

    One question – what is GAD?


    • Hey, Rick! Thanks for reading! I hope you will look around and comment on things. “GAD” stands for the Golden Age of Detection (of which Christie was queen!) – the period roughly between 1920-1940 when classic detective story authors flourished.


  4. Brad – Moira passed on Murder at Midyears to me – it’s great fun. I know you were longing to read it and if you’d like me to post it on to you, I’d be happy to. You can contact me via christine@christinepoulson.co.uk. Moira and I were at Bodies from the Library yesterday and were hoping you would manage to get to it one year.


  5. Heya Brad, still love your blog madly; have been lurking when I can catch a peek; just wanted you to know I’m still a star-struck fan, even though I haven’t commented in a while. ❤


  6. Awwwww! Thanks, Mx! 🙂

    WordPress drives me crazy! I wanted to respond to your comment about Christie and artists, but it wouldn’t let me do it there. It’s my understanding that Christie loved artists and theatre people, but you’re so right that they don’t come off at all well in her books. In addition to your list, you can add the self-involved acting couple in After the Funeral, virtually everyone in The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side, and Robin Upward in Mrs. McGinty’s Dead, who – like so many real life adapters of Christie’s work – didn’t want to stay true to the original characters and stories.


  7. Hi Brad – What an enjoyable blog. I found your entry on the process of producing a high school production of And Then There Were None especially intriguing, since there is a strong possibility that I’ll be directing the play myself come fall. I’m pretty familiar with the novel, the old film, the 2005 London stage adaption, and the recent BBC adaptation, and I thought your comments about the strengths and weaknesses of the play as published were right on the money. I would love to learn more about the steps you took, with your production, to try to make the play less clunky, dated, and otherwise unpalatable to modern kids and audiences (the brief appearance of a soggy Beatrice Taylor in the window was brilliant! I wonder if I could have ALL of the victims show up at one time or another… Just kidding – kind of.) In any case, I’d love to be able to chat or correspond with you briefly about your experiences. My email is stubarr@aol.com. Many thanks – Stuart Rosenthal


  8. Hello fellow theatre teacher and highly enjoyable writer. Have been lurking? Stalking? For a few months and enjoy your blog quite a bit. I also enjoy reading the back and forth between you and JJ. Keep on keeping on Ms Ro


      • Not teaching anymore but I taught high school theatre in Texas, land of the One Act Play Contest which could great fun and cause copious amounts of hair loss all at the same time. I do miss it but on the plus side, more time to read lol


  9. I am new to your blog, find it right up my literary alley. To cut to the chase, I am actively seeking beta readers/reviewers of a mystery thriller A Beautiful Case of the Blues that is set in Japan, 2007, and breaks new ground. It recently passed out of the hands of a respected agent who thinks it is too long to have a chance. Would you be interested in having a .pdf copy prior to its (self) publication in about three months? I am looking to promote through reviews and interviews with regarded bloggers. I would not ask you to read more than a chapter, unless you get hooked, but I can promise a novel steeped in sleuthing tradition that, in the tradition of “playing fair with the reader,” should just about be solvable. I look forward to hearing back from a fellow partner in crime.

    Damon Arvid

    “A Beautiful Case of the Blues
    An English teacher in Japan, a European hostess, a Japanese detective on the verge of retirement, and another detective just starting off. A love hotel murder. A kidnapping. These are the ingredients of an epic thriller that takes equal measure from jazz and Le Carre in charting a prescient plot involving North Korea, CoVs, and many shades of grey. Envisioned in 2005 and set in 2007 at the cusp of the smartphone era, it went through agent and submission, is now back in a completely revised, expanded form. Clocking in at 187,000 tightly plotted words, a classic of the times that is designed to outlive fads through remaining true to one author’s vision.”


    • Damon, thank you for your kind words. I don’t read advance copies of new works, for a variety of reasons, but I look forward to your publication and hope to check your book out. Yeah, it’s true that the average mystery is a lot shorter, but I think there are some titles, particularly in the honkaku tradition, that are quite long. And, of course, some mainstream novels contain full-fledged whodunnits within them; my very favorite of these is Dickens’ Bleak House. Best of luck with your novel, and I hope you’ll offer a comment from time to time on topics here that interest you.


  10. Hi Brad,

    I’ve been loving your articles! You have such a captivating writing style, it’s just been a delight to read through. I particularly loved your recent posts on MotOE and Crooked House – your comparison of the Poirots of the big screen was such fun and really got me thinking!

    I’ve got a question for you on the blog front as opposed to the mystery front – how do you find your images? I’m new to this, so I’ve been wading through the copyright laws and codes and Creative Commons and all that, and I find myself struggling to come up with any images to accompany writings. Any advice would be much appreciated!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind words. I’m afraid that, like most bloggers, I’m a total naif when it comes to your question. I’m probably breaking laws right and left, but I just search around and find images that seem to be okay to use. The fact that WordPress has a feature that allows us to upload and use images encouraged me to accompany my articles with pictures. I assume that if I ever wanted to, say, compile my writing into a book and publish it, then I would work with the publisher to get permission for each image I use or else create totally original images/illustrations and have those copyrighted.


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