I want to make it clear right from the start. I have nothing against ambition. They called the Wright Brothers foolhardy for imagining they could fly. Yet this real-life Daedalus and Icarus gave vent to their ambition, and because of them I can now relax in my cramped seat on Jet Blue, hoping against hope … Continue reading THE SEVEN BLUNDERS OF THE SEVEN WONDERS OF CRIME
The Golden Age of Detective Fiction, which was essentially borne out of the chaos of the First World War and began its slow decline partway through World War II, had a function beyond its power to entertain. The classic murder mystery served as a metaphor for war itself: a disruption of social order that tested … Continue reading POINT ME IN THE RIGHT MISDIRECTION (Part One: The Knave of Clubs and the Queen of Hearts)
Well, what do you know? Today marks my second anniversary as a blogger. Words fail me (really, Brad?!?) in trying to express how much fun I’ve been having sharing my thoughts, mostly on classic mysteries (but occasionally touching on theatre, films and even some real world stuff) and trading ideas with so many brilliant people. … Continue reading LOOK AT ME, I’M TWO!
Summer is winding down, and the hallowed halls of education will soon be opening their doors. Except for me, who has been stuck in the classroom for nearly three weeks now. Whatever happened to the agrarian calendar? At the beginning of August, Ben, that scintillating John Dickson Carr enthusiast over at The Green Capsule, presented … Continue reading FIVE BOOKS TO READ BEFORE THEY’RE SPOILED FOR YOU – The Random Edition
Under the deluded notion that I might be focusing too much of my time on classic GAD detective fiction, (“Don’t you ever read any living authors?” my mom asks frequently,) I recently attempted a return to modern crime stories, only to meet with one crushing defeat after another. As a result of the latest effort, … Continue reading ON THAT YOU CAN RELY
I’m following up my prize-winning post on Agatha Christie books one should read before they are spoiled with something along the same lines for several reasons. First, it’s Sunday and I’m fighting a cold, so while I have nothing better to do but suck down zinc lozenges and write, I'm not feeling particularly creative. Secondly, … Continue reading FIVE BOOKS TO READ BEFORE THEY’RE SPOILED FOR YOU – Ellery Queen Edition
If you would like to chuckle at some delightful auto-biographical data and general ranting about these kids today, start at Section A. If you would like to skip that crap and get down to business, turn to Section B. SECTION A Is there any story more infuriating or delicious than Frank R. Stockton’s “The Lady … Continue reading CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE: Who Killed Harlowe Thrombey?
Nearly a month ago, I parted company with Louise Penny, for the simple reason that she and I no longer get on together – literarily, that is. When I inaugurated a new era of Kindle reading, I read all her novels in one fell swoop and, despite a lingering affection for Armand Gamache and his … Continue reading FAREWELL TO LYNLEY: This Endless Banquet Does Not Satisfy
Smack dab in the middle of The Tragedy of X, the 1930 debut of mystery writer Barnaby Ross, detective Drury Lane, a retired Shakespearean actor who is stone deaf, resides in a castle called The Hamlet, and employs a hunchback dwarf named Falstaff as a butler, is philosophizing with a group of men – one … Continue reading I SUSPECT MICE: A Discourse on the Dying Message
I love prolific authors. Agatha Christie, John Dickson Carr, Ellery Queen, and Ngaio Marsh basically got me through my teens and 20’s and taught me the ABC’s of classic mystery fiction. Yes, each of them had their share of clunkers, but, by and large, their output was brilliant. Of course, other mystery writers made their … Continue reading MISS SILVER AND THE GREAT CONFLUENCE OF 1937