In the Shadow of Agatha Christie
January 5th, 2018 by diane92345

In the Shadow of Agatha Christie highlights female writers of crime fiction from 1850-1917. These writers opened the door for the golden age, 1920-1939, of detective fiction led by many female authors like Christie, Margery Allingham, Ngaio Marsh, and Dorothy L. Sayers. The introduction gives a comprehensive history of pre-golden age female writers. Unfortunately, not all are represented in the sixteen stories in this book. Here is the list of stories and authors within this collection:

The Advocate’s Wedding Day by Catherine Crowe

The Squire’s Story by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

Traces of Crime by Mary Fortune

Mr. Furbush by Harriet Prescott Spofford

Mrs. Todhetley’s Earrings by Ellen Wood

Catching a Burglar by Elizabeth Corbett

The Ghost of Fountain Lane by C. L. Pirkis

The Statement of Jared Johnson by Geraldine Bonner

Point in Morals by Ellen Glasgow

The Blood-Red Cross by L. T. Meade and Robert Eustace

The Regent’s Park Murder by Baroness Orczy

The Case of the Registered Letter by Augusta Groner

The Winning Sequence by M. E. Braddon

Missing; Page Thirteen by Anna Katherine Green

The Adventure of the Clothes-Line by Carolyn Wells

Jury of Her Peers by Susan Glaspell

The quality and links to what is considered crime fiction today (murder, detective, ability to guess the solution) varies widely. The stories generally are presented in date order with the oldest first. The older stories are not necessarily the best stories but included mostly for seemingly historic reasons (the first female author’s story, the first female detective, etc.) The best story is the last, Jury of her Peers, which alone is worth picking up this book.

 

Overall, In the Shadow of Agatha Christie is more suited for readers interested in the history of female crime authors than Agatha Christie fans. 3 stars.

Thanks to the publisher, Pegasus Books, and NetGalley for an advance reader’s copy.

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Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: ,

Stories of Edgar Allan Poe
October 24th, 2017 by diane92345

Great manga version of the most famous of Poe’s tales.

This volume of Edgar Allen Poe tales includes The Raven, The Tell Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado, The Fall of the House of Usher and The Mask of the Red Death.  All are famous as Poe’s best work.  The adaptation of The Raven holds up the best as it is included in its entirety.  Even though I have previously read this work many times and saw it as an adaptation on The Simpsons, I believe this is the best version that I have ever encountered. The Mask of the Red Death explains the plot much better than the original story or the silent movie with Lon Chaney.  All of the stories still have a feeling of increasing dread as you read them.

If you have a young adult that can’t get through the old fashioned language used in the original stories, this would be the perfect gift.  The pictures explain words that I just skimmed over when I originally read the stories in high school and college. In addition, the adapter’s notes for each story explain items even further.  For example, I had no idea about the story behind the beetles in The Tell Tale Heart.

The artwork acts like manga (read back to front and right to left) and the characters look like manga characters while staying true to clothing styles from the 1840s when these stories were written.  The artwork sets the mood for the psychological horror ambiance of the tales. 4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Udon Entertainment, and NetGalley for an advanced review copy.  The Stories of Edgar Allen Poe: Manga Classics was published on October 17, 2017.

Posted in Graphic Novel, Horror Tagged with: , ,

Big Book of Rogues and Villains
October 18th, 2017 by diane92345

Another great anthology from Otto Penzler, this time investigating crime.

Focusing on criminals from the Victorian era to modern day fiction, the Big Book of Rogues and Villains has something for everyone. Some of the bad guys are mostly good like Donald Westlake’s Dortmunder, who is more of a bungler than a burglar. Some are misunderstood like Dracula.  Others are pure evil like Dr. Fu Manchu. However, all are entertaining.  There is great value in this curated collection of 72 stories.  It has over 900 pages of criminal enterprises to delight readers with hours of pleasure.  It is also fun to jump from era to era and see how writing has changed over the decades.

The Big Book of Rogues and Villains is great for fans of traditional mysteries such as the Holmes or Christie canon. The author list sounds like a Who’s Who of great fiction from the last 150 years.  It includes Washington Irving, H.G. Wells, Sinclair Lewis and even O. Henry, who are best known for genres other than crime. There are many twentieth century authors that are unfamiliar to modern readers, which is a shame based on the skill of their stories located in this anthology.

Overall, this collection is highly recommended for readers of mystery stories of all kinds.  It is a great way to find new authors whose larger body of works are waiting for discovery by new readers.  5 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, and netgalley for an advanced review copy.

Posted in Diane's Favorites, Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: ,

Breakout cover pic
October 14th, 2015 by diane92345

Compelling short read. Highly recommended!

Usually I don’t like short stories because they are either slice-of-life character studies with little plot or characterless stories with a “surprise” twist at the end. This story in contrast has just the right amount of interesting characters and action-driven plot. It is rather amazing how the author has managed to compress a novel-sized plot into only 35 pages. I am looking forward to reading more from this author.

I received this book from a Goodreads giveaway but that in no way impacted my review.

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Roseblood cover pic
October 14th, 2015 by diane92345

Good short thriller.

I read the author’s second book, Breakout, before this one and to be honest that one was better. Still Roseblood held my interest for the half hour it took me to read it. I enjoyed it a lot until the end, which I didn’t like.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: ,