Archive for January, 2011

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Call for Recommendations

January 22, 2011

I am looking for books in which people get murdered on trains. Also books in which people have to survive in the wilderness. Preferably published before, say, World War II.

Also children’s timeslip novels, any period. Those are the ones where kids sort of unintentionally go back in time. Like, a character gets into the elevator in her apartment building, only instead of it bringing her to her floor, it brings her to the 1880s. Or sometimes, when a character gets up in the middle of the night, there are Native Americans wandering down a trail where the laundry room should be. If anyone can identify either of those, by the way, I’d really appreciate it, because I can’t remember the titles or authors.

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Murder at Bridge

January 19, 2011

I sort of don’t like how odd and ends of more-recent-than-1923 fiction pop up on Project Gutenberg, although I recognize that’s just me being silly, or a tiny bit annoyed by the fact that lots of things with interesting titles turn out to be short stories from SF magazines, which really aren’t my kind of thing. But you also get the odd mystery novel from the ’30s, ’40s, or ’50s, and those can be pretty entertaining. Murder at Bridge, for example. It’s from 1931 and it’s by Anne Austin, who apparently wrote several mystery novels between the late twenties and mid thirties, although Google Books is choosing not to make them available. Or, I don’t know, they could all be under copyright. But Murder at Bridge seems not to be, and Google hasn’t made their text of that available either. Whatever. Let’s just say that Google Books is, as ever, a mystery to me.

Anyway. Murder at Bridge. The setting is a moderately sized city called Hamilton, the detective is an investigator attached to the DA’s office who has been saddled with the name “Bonnie Dundee,” and, thankfully, you don’t have to know much about bridge to figure out what’s going on. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Reviews at EP: The Visits of Elizabeth, etc.

January 17, 2011

My new post at Edwardian Promenade is up! It’s about one of my favorite Elinor Glyn books, The Visits of Elizabeth, and two sequels, one by Glyn and one…not.

I found myself thinking, halfway through Elizabeth Visits America, about the way books take place in their own separate worlds. I mean, I often think about how an author’s style sort of creates an alternate universe, so the works of Elinor Glyn take place in a world where women are naturally a bit conniving and men are very simple and countries age like people, but here I was thinking more about how I read a lot of books set in the same time period, but somehow I always relate them in terms of style, not history. Anyway, there’s a bit in Elizabeth Visits America where Elizabeth is in New York, and she talks about young people who aren’t out in society yet, and how the boys and girls are as familiar with each other as siblings, and how their dances are almost like children’s parties, and I suddenly realized that — remember, this is 1909 — hey, that’s Patty Fairfield that Elizabeth is meeting, basically. So, I don’t know, I thought I’d share that.

Anyway, the post is here.

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Under the Andes

January 13, 2011

So, obviously everyone’s had the experience of being in¬† dark room and not being able to see anything. And then after a few minutes your eyes adjust to the lack of light and you can see a little bit again, even if it’s just vague, dark shapes. But if you can see anything at all, that means that there is light coming from somewhere, even if it’s only a tiny little bit. Eyes do not function in the total absence of light.

There are a lot of things that drove me crazy about Rex Stout’s Under the Andes, but that was the worst. I mean, Rex Stout is supposed to be a genius. I can accept the nutty plot twists, because nutty plot twists are funny, but the way everyone kept being able to see in total darkness was even more infuriating than the bit where the narrator is like, “Oh! Inca knotted thread writing! I saw that in a museum once, so I can totally read it.” Read the rest of this entry ?

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Max Carrados

January 9, 2011

I recently acquainted myself with Max Carrados, Ernest Bramah’s blind detective. The Carrados stories were first published in the Strand Magazine, alongside the Sherlock Holmes stories, and were apparently just as popular. And actually, they’re pretty good. They’re a little too fantastical, probably, but in such an entertaining way that I hesitate to call that a complaint. Read the rest of this entry ?