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2018 Reading Challenges > Bill's 2018 Mystery related Reading Challenges

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message 1: by Bill (new)

Bill I plan to have a few challenges. I'll list them below and add any mystery / crime / thriller type books to my listing. See below.

message 2: by Bill (last edited Dec 26, 2018 08:46AM) (new)

Bill New Series Starts I have so many new series on my bookshelf awaiting my attention. My first book fits the mystery genre. I plan to work from A's up the alphabet, maybe skipping five authors each time.

1. Banquets of the Black Widowers by Isaac Asimov (Black Widowers #4) (started 1 Jan, finished 6 Jan, 3 stars
2. Mrs. Pargeter's Package by Simon Brett (Mrs. Pargeter #3) (started 9 Jan, finished 11 Jan, 3 stars)
3. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (Philip Marlowe #1) (started 30 Jan, finished 4 Feb, 5 stars)
4. The Dolly Dolly Spy by Adam Diment (Philip McAlpine #1) (started 12 Feb, finished 15 Feb, 4 stars)
5. Killed at the Whim of a Hat by Colin Cotterill (Jimm Juree #1) (started 25 Feb, finished 14 MAr, 4 stars)
6. Autumn, All the Cats Return by Philippe Georget (Inspector Sebag #2) (started 16 Apr, finished 14 May, 3.5 stars)
7. Hammerhead by James Mayo (Charles Hood #1) (started 27 Apr, finished 29 Apr, 3 stars)
8. Blood of the Wicked by Leighton Gage (Chief Inspector Mario Silva #1) (started 19 May, finished 27 May, 4 stars)
9. The Anatomist's Apprentice by Tessa Harris (Dr. Silkstone #1) (started 25 May, finished 30 May, 3 stars)
10. The Quiller Memorandum by Adam Hall (Quiller #1) (started 27 May, finished 31 May, 3.5 stars)
11. Kill Zone by Loren D. Estleman (Peter Macklin #1) (started 30 May, finished 4 Jun, 4 stars)
12. Who Killed Marilyn Monroe? (Grace Smith #1) (started 31 May, finished 10 Jun, 4.5 stars)
13. The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (Cormoran Strike #1) (started 17 Jun, finished 5 Jul, 5 stars)
14. Flesh and Blood by John Harvey (Frank Elder #1) (started 23 Jun, finished 3 Jul, 5 stars)
15. Haven by Kay Hooper (Bishop / Special Crime Unit #13) (started 6 Jul, finished 12 Jul, 3 stars)
16. Under Orion by Janice Law (Anna Peters #3) (started 19 Jul, finished 23 Jul, 3 stars)
17. Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews (Dominika Egorova #1) (started 6 Aug, finished 3 Sep, 4 stars)
18, A Cold Day for Murder by Dana Stabenow (Kate Shugak #1) (started 14 Aug, finished 24 Aug, 4 stars)
19. Laidlaw by William McIlvanney (Laidlaw #1) (started 23 Aug, finished 30 Aug, 3 stars)
20. Eye for an Eye by Frank Muir (DCI Andy Gilchrist #1) (started 19 Sep, finished 29 Sep, 4 stars)
21. The Godwulf Manuscript by Robert B. Parker (Spenser #1) (started 5 Oct, finished 8 Oct, 4 stars)
22. Outsider in Amsterdam by Janwillem van de Wetering (Amsterdam Cops #1) (started 30 Oct, finished 13 Nov, 3.5 stars)
23. Pacific Vortex! by Clive Cussler (Dirk Pitt #1) (started 2 Nov, finished 12 Nov, 3 stars)
24. A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes (Gravedigger Jones and Coffin Ed #1) (started 11 Nov, finished 09 Nov, 4 stars)
25. Chinatown Beat by Henry Chang (Detective Jack Yu #1) (started 12 Dec, finished 17 Dec, 4.5 stars)
26. Passport to Oblivion by James Leasor (Dr. Jason Love #1) (started 23 Dec, finished 26 Dec, 4 stars)

Completed - 26

message 3: by Bill (last edited Dec 31, 2018 01:21PM) (new)

Bill Ongoing Series - I'll start at the end of the alphabet and work down. My first book is more of a historical adventure. I'll list the first that fits the genre.

1. Wings of Fire by Charles Todd (Insp Rutledge #2) (started 11 Jan, finished 23 Jan, 4 stars)
2. The Sourdough Wars by Julie Smith (Rebecca Schwartz #2) (started 31 Jan, finished 3 Feb, 3 stars)
3. Unnatural Death by Dorothy L. Sayers (Lord Peter Wimsey) (started 15 Feb, finished 25 Feb, 3.5 stars)
4. The Black Ice by Michael Connelly (Bosch #2) (started 21 Feb, finished 28 Feb, 4 stars)
5. A Necessary End by Peter Robinson (Inspector Banks #3) (started 28 Feb, 12 Mar, 4 stars)
6. Heartstone by C.J. Sansom (Matthew Shardlake #5) (started 13 Mar, finished 18 Apr, 4 stars)
7. The Beggar King by Oliver Pötzsch (Hangman's Daughter #3) (started 15 Mar, finished 30 Mar, 4 stars)
8. The Murder Stone by Louise Penny (Inspector Gamache #4) (started 3 Apr, finished 14 Apr, 4 stars)
9. Faithful Place by Tana French (Dublin Murder Squad #3) (started 14 Apr, finished 7 May, 3.5 stars)
10. Collusion by Stuart Neville (Jack Lennon #2) (started 18 Apr, finished 26 Apr, 4 stars)
11. Roots Of Evil by Kay Mitchell (CI Morrissey # 3) (started 8 May, finished 13 May, 4.5 stars)
12. Gold from Gemini by Jonathan Gash (Lovejoy #2) (started 15 May, finished 19 May, 3.5 stars)
13. The Great Spy Race by Adam Diment (Philip McAlpine #2) (started 9 Jun, finished 13 Jun, 3.5 stars)
14. The Abyssinian Proof by Jenny White (Kamil Pasha #2) (started 10 Jun, finished 6 Jul, 4 stars)
15. Think Fast, Mr. Moto by John P. Marquand (Mr. Moto #3) (started 16 Jun, finished 23 Jun, 3.5 stars)
16. Occam's Razor by Archer Mayor (Joe Gunther #10) (started 26 Jun, finished 10 Jul, 4 stars)
17. The Fifth Woman by Henning Mankell (Wallander #6) (started 8 Jul, finished 27 Jul, 4 stars)
18. Slicky Boys by Martin Limón (Sueno & Bascombe #1) (started 23 Jul, finished 6 Aug, 4 stars)
19. The Moor by Laurie R. King (Mary Russell #4) (started 7 Aug, finished 23 Aug, 3.5 stars)
20. Looking Good Dead by Peter James (started 24 Aug, finished 11 Sep, 4 stars)
21. Death Without Company: A Longmire Mystery by Craig Johnson (Walt Longmire #2) (started 22 Sep, finished 9 Oct, 5 stars)
22. The Pusher by Ed McBain (87th Precinct #3) (started 25 Oct, finished 2 Nov, 5 stars)
23. The Drowning Pool by Ross Macdonald (Lew Archer #2) (started 29 Oct, 5 Nov, 4 stars)
24. Murder on Mulberry Bend by Victoria Thompson (Gaslight Mystery #5) (started 16 Nov, finished 30 Nov, 4 stars)
25. The Hand of Fu-Manchu by Sax Rohmer (Fu-Manchu #3) (started 20 Nov, finished 28 Nov, 3.5 stars)
26. Katapult by Karen Kijewski (Kat Colorado #2) (started 25 Nov, finished 5 Dec, 4 stars)
27. The Old Fox Deceiv'd by Martha Grimes (Inspector Jury #2) (started 26 Nov, finished 15 Dec, 4 stars)
28. Wycliffe and the Three Toed Pussy by W.J. Burley (Wycliffe #1) (started 28 Nov, finished 6 Dec, 3.5 stars)
29. Maigret Stonewalled by Georges Simenon (Maigret #3) (started 29 Dec, finished 30 Dec, 3.5 stars)
30. Wrapped Up In Crosswords by Nero Blanc (Crossword Mystery #9) (started 30 Dec, finished 31 Dec, 2.5 stars)

Completed - 30

message 4: by Bill (last edited Dec 29, 2018 02:58PM) (new)

Bill Decades Challenge - I'll work from pre-1900 up through the decades and end at 2010 - Present and as above, will list the books that fit the mystery genre... My first book doesn't

Pre-1900 - The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Writings by Edgar Allan Poe (mid - 1800's) (started 2 Aug, finished 30 Aug, 4 stars)
- The Leavenworth Case by Anna Katharine Green (1878) (started 19 Oct, 29 Oct, 3.5 stars)
1900 - 1909 - The Old Man in the Corner by Emmuska Orczy (1909) (started 28 Jun, finished 30 Jun, 4.5 stars)
1910 - 1919
1920 - 1929
1930 - 1939 - Footsteps in the Dark by Georgette Heyer (1932) (started 27 Mar, finished 3 Apr, 4 stars)
-- Plain Murder by C.S. Forester (1930) (started 10 Jul, finished 16 Jul, 3.5 stars)
1940 - 1949 - Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey (1949) (started 9 Aug, finished 17 Aug, 5 stars)
1950 - 1959 - Bunny Lake is Missing by Evelyn Piper (1957) (started 21 May, finished 25 May, 4 stars)
1960 - 1969
1970 - 1979 - Bear Island by Alistair MacLean (1971) (started 25 Jul, finished 7 Aug, 3 stars)
1980 - 1989 - Watchman by Ian Rankin (1988) (started 23 Apr, finished 30 Apr, 3.5 stars)
-- The Gunman by Jean-Patrick Manchette (1981) (started 28 Dec, finished 29 Dec, 2.5 stars)
1990 - 1999 - Murder At Madingley Grange by Caroline Graham (1990) (started 19 Mar, finished 27 Mar, 4 stars)
2000 - 2009 - The Common Lawyer by Mark Gimenez (2009) (started 16 Feb, finished 3 Mar, 3 stars))
2010 - 2018 - John Le Carré: the Biography by Adam Sisman (started 10 May, finished 26 Jun, 3.5 stars)
-- The Hellfire Club by Jake Tapper (2018) (started 24 Sep, finished 13 Oct, 4 stars)
-- Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer (2018) (started 08 Oct, finished 11 Oct, 3.5 stars)
-- The Witness for the Prosecution: And Other Stories by Agatha Christie (2016) (started 12 Nov, finished 25 Nov, 4 stars)

Finished (16)

message 5: by Bill (last edited Dec 14, 2018 09:54AM) (new)

Bill Canadian Content - Any mysteries written by Canadian authors.

1. The Pyx by John Buell (started 6 Jan, finished 7 Jan, 3 stars
2. The Guardians by Andrew Pyper (started 23 Jan, finished 30 Jan, 4 stars)
3. Shakespeare's Rebel by C.C. Humphreys (started 20 Feb, finished 19 Mar, 4 stars)
4. The Accident by Linwood Barclay (started 26 Apr, finished 8 May, 4.5 stars)
5. A City Called July by Howard Engel (started 3 Jul, finished 8 Jul, 3.5 stars)
6. Caught by Lisa Moore (started 12 Jul, finished 25 Jul, 4 stars)
7. A Siege of Bitterns by Steve Burrows (started 27 Jul, finished 14 Aug, 4 stars)
8. Seaweed on Ice by Stanley Evans (Silas Seaweed #2) (started 17 Aug, finished 21 Aug, 4 stars)
9. A Stranger in My Grave by Margaret Millar (started 3 Sep, finished 15 Sep, 4 stars)
10. Ice Lake by John Farrow (Emile Cinq - Mars #2) (started 11 Oct, finished 30 Oct, 4 stars)
11. The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley (Flavia de Luce #2) (started 9 Nov, finished 14 Dec, 3.5 stars)

Completed - 11

message 6: by Skye (new)

Skye | 2105 comments These sound wonderful, Bill!

message 7: by Bill (new)

Bill Skye wrote: "These sound wonderful, Bill!"

Thanks, Skye.. :)

message 8: by Skye (new)

Skye | 2105 comments :)

message 9: by Carolien (new)

Carolien (carolien_s) | 106 comments You know I'll be lurking around to look at your decades challenge! Good luck with your plans.

message 10: by Alondra (new)

Alondra Miller I love your challenges! Woot!!

I don't think I will be doing the decades challenge, but I really need to consider doing it soon.

message 11: by Bill (new)

Bill Alondra wrote: "I love your challenges! Woot!!

I don't think I will be doing the decades challenge, but I really need to consider doing it soon."

You do indeed.. ;0)

Carolien wrote: "You know I'll be lurking around to look at your decades challenge! Good luck with your plans."

Thanks, Carolien. I hope you enjoy your 2018 reading choices too.

message 12: by Dottie (new)

Dottie Hall | 56 comments Great challenges. I may join you on a new series type challenge as I also have quite a few new series in my list.

message 13: by Bill (new)

Bill Dottie wrote: "Great challenges. I may join you on a new series type challenge as I also have quite a few new series in my list."

There are so many good series, it's not surprising, Dottie.. :)

message 14: by Bill (new)

Bill I've read many of Isaac Asimov's science fiction books; the Foundation and Empire trilogy, the robot books, Fantastic Voyage, etc. He was such a good story teller. It's been many years since I last read one of his books and recently I discovered this mystery series; the Black Widowers and I bought one of them; Banquets of the Black Widowers.
The Black Widowers are a group of six gentlemen who meet on a monthly basis for a dinner and drinks and then to interrogate a visitor about a mystery in their life. They are ably assisted by their waiter, Henry, maybe the smartest member of the group.
The collection of short stories are gentle and cozy. They follow the same formula for the most part. In each one, one of the members is the host of a visitor; they chat and have dinner and then while they relax over drinks afterward, they interrogate the visitor. Even their interrogation starts off in a similar fashion; first the member must justify their lives and then they tell a story that has troubled them while the members try to offer a solution that might help the person.
There is no violent crime just incidents in their lives that they need help either remembering or rationalizing. The six widowers are middle-aged or older, curmudgeonly and interesting. Their waiter Henry serves and observes and is the voice of final solution, deferred to by the others. I enjoyed this collection very much and will search for the others. Excellent concept. (3 stars)

Moving on to my Canadian Content challenge with a book that I saw as a movie many years ago. I didn't realize it had originated from a book and I'm looking forward to reading it; The Pyx by John Buell

message 15: by Bill (new)

Bill Starting my 2nd new series with the 3rd book in the Mrs. Pargeter series, Mrs. Pargeter's Package by Simon Brett.

message 16: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) Bill wrote: "Canadian Content - Any mysteries written by Canadian authors.

1. The Pyx by John Buell (started 6 Jan, finished 7 Jan, 3 stars

Completed - 1"

Bill, my new favorite mystery author is Louise Penny. She's Canadian and her books are based in Quebec. I highly recommend her. Her series is sometimes put in the cozy category but I don't think the label fits beyond the first two books. She's smart, poetic and insightful.

message 17: by Bill (new)

Bill NancyJ wrote: "Bill wrote: "Canadian Content - Any mysteries written by Canadian authors.

1. The Pyx by John Buell (started 6 Jan, finished 7 Jan, 3 stars

Completed - 1"

Bill, my..."

I've read the first three books so far in that series, NancyJ. I agree with you totally, it's an excellent series. If I might recommend another Canadian series to you, you might like to check out L.R. Wright. She wrote a series featuring an RCMP officer on the West Coast, Karl Alberg. It has about 7 books and she started one featuring a female RCMP officer just before she died. Great series that I think you would enjoy very much.

message 18: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) Bill wrote: "NancyJ wrote: "Bill wrote: "Canadian Content - Any mysteries written by Canadian authors.

1. The Pyx by John Buell (started 6 Jan, finished 7 Jan, 3 stars


Thanks Bill, I'll check out LR Wright.

message 19: by Bill (new)

Bill I've read books from other series by Simon Brett; 3 of the Fethering books and one of the Charles Paris books. I enjoyed both series so have been looking to try the Mrs. Pargeter mysteries and have just finished the third book in the series, Mrs. Pargeter's Package. Overall, I preferred the other series but I still liked this book. It was cozy, light and entertaining.
Melita Pargeter is a 60ish widow. Her husband was a successful businessman, some of his methods may have been less than legal. But he also had many friends and it seems that they feel an obligation to support Melita due to their working with her hubbie.
Melita is taking a trip to Corfu, the Greek Island, with a friend, Joyce, who is trying to get over the death of her husband. There is a mystery here. Joyce is looking for something in Corfu and she ends up dead. The local police officer says it was suicide but after looking the situation over, Melita feels that it was murder.
With the help of Larry Lambeth, a fellow pretty good at forgery, Melita searches for clues to Joyce's death. Back in London, detective Truffler Mason and wheeler dealer Hamish Ramon Henriques (HRH), help Mrs. Pargeter look into deaths and other clues that might help.
It wasn't a complex story but it moved along nicely and it kept me interested. Call it light and fluffy and a fun read. (3 stars)

Moving over to ongoing series with the 2nd Inspector Rutledge story, Wings of Fire by Charles Todd

message 20: by MissLemon (new)

MissLemon | 254 comments Bill wrote: "I've read books from other series by Simon Brett; 3 of the Fethering books and one of the Charles Paris books. I enjoyed both series so have been looking to try the Mrs. Pargeter mys..."

I'd forgotten til I read your review but I'm sure I've read one of the Mrs Pargeter books, I just can't remember which! Reading the synopsis of each on here none of the plots are familiar but the character certainly is ! I think perhaps it was the first one because I vaguely remember her husband had only just died, but I could be wrong.
Will have to add it to my TBR list but I'm interested that you prefer other Simon Brett books - I have Cast, in Order of Disappearance on my list because it's the first in a series but if a later book turns up would you say it matters about reading order? ( I see you've read book 3). Which book would you consider the 'best' introduction to Brett?

message 21: by Bill (new)

Bill Carolyn wrote: "Bill wrote: "I've read books from other series by Simon Brett; 3 of the Fethering books and one of the Charles Paris books. I enjoyed both series so have been looking to try the Mrs...."

I only read Book 3 because I didn't have copies of 1 and 2, so I can't say if you need to read the others first. It didn't seem to matter really as there were only brief references to Mrs. Pargeter's past. I want to really get into the Charles Paris books; I've read one of those so far. I've also read the first two Fethering books and enjoyed those. Not much help there, eh?... ;0)

message 22: by MissLemon (new)

MissLemon | 254 comments Bill wrote: "Carolyn wrote: "Bill wrote: "I've read books from other series by Simon Brett; 3 of the Fethering books and one of the Charles Paris books. I enjoyed both series so have been looking..."

Haha - everything helps, even the absence of a firm opinion :-)

message 23: by Ellen (new)

Ellen | 55 comments Carolyn wrote: "Bill wrote: "Carolyn wrote: "Bill wrote: "I've read books from other series by Simon Brett; 3 of the Fethering books and one of the Charles Paris books. I enjoyed both series so have..."
My favorite by Simon Brett is the Fethering series. Maybe I just relate to those two. He has a new one out now-Liar in the Library.

message 24: by Bill (new)

Bill Ellen wrote: "Carolyn wrote: "Bill wrote: "Carolyn wrote: "Bill wrote: "I've read books from other series by Simon Brett; 3 of the Fethering books and one of the Charles Paris books. I enjoyed bot..."

I like it too, it was a nice surprise.

Carolyn wrote: "Bill wrote: "Carolyn wrote: "Bill wrote: "I've read books from other series by Simon Brett; 3 of the Fethering books and one of the Charles Paris books. I enjoyed both series so have..."

You can always count on me for that.. ;0)

message 25: by Paula (new)

Paula Great challenges! I´ll be following the decades one specially.:)

message 26: by Bill (new)

Bill Paula wrote: "Great challenges! I´ll be following the decades one specially.:)"

Glad to hear it.. :0)

message 27: by Bill (new)

Bill Wings of Fire is the 2nd book in the Inspector Ian Rutledge mystery series by Charles Todd. The series is set after WWI and Rutledge is an Inspector in Scotland Yard. He served as a military policeman during the War and returned damaged, not knowing who he was. Somewhat cured, he has returned to work but still is 'haunted' by the voice of Hamish, a Scottish soldier whose death Rutledge bears some responsibility for. Hamish is his conscience and adviser or just a troublesome irritant at times.
Rutledge is sent to Cornwall by his supervisor to investigate two apparent suicides and another 'accidental' death, all from one well-known family. His supervisor in effect wants Rutledge out of his hair, as he investigates a serial killer in London. The request for an investigation comes from Rachel, another family member who feels that the deaths might not have been suicides. One of the deaths is of a famed poetess, one who affected Rutledge during his wartime service.
It's an interesting story, kind of wanders around as Rutledge begins to look into the facts of the deaths. It's a small community, where everyone knows everyone and many of the people in the town don't really want an investigation. We begin to find out the history of the family and of other deaths that occurred in the past. It's an interesting investigation peopled with interesting characters, from Rachel to Sadie, the old woman who seems to have a second sense. At times it seems pointless for Rutledge to continue investigating the deaths but as the story progresses, it grows in interest and tension. The final chapters are tense and exciting. I wondered at first where the story might go but was ultimately quite satisfied with the outcome. I hope the next books continue to grow in plot and interest. (4 stars)

Moving to my Canadian Content challenge next with The Guardians by Andrew Pyper

message 28: by Bill (new)

Bill Of the three books by Andrew Pyper I've read so far, The Guardians is my favourite. The Guardians are Trev, Randy, Carl and Ben, four young men who grow up in the town of Grimshaw. The Guardians is the name of their local hockey team and all four play on it.
The town of Grimshaw has a secret as well. Across the street from Ben is the Thurman house, an empty haunted house. It is the crux of this story.
Their music teacher disappears; the boys see things in the house. Are they related? Is the Coach involved?
The story is told in the past and the present by Trev. Suffering from Parkinson's disease, he starts to dictate a diary of the events of the past and at the same time he is returning to Grimshaw to attend the funeral of Ben, the self-appointed watcher of the Thurman house.
The story moves along nicely, both in the past and present and it is tensely, eerily described. What is in the Thurman House? What does it want?
Well worth reading, a creepy, interesting story with an exciting, satisfying ending. (4 stars)

Moving on to my New Series challenge with the first book in the Philip Marlowe mystery series, The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler.

message 29: by Bill (new)

Bill The Sourdough Wars by Julie Smith is Smith's second book in her Rebecca Schwartz mystery series. She also writes the Skip Langdon and Tabitha Walls' series. Rebecca Schwarz is a lawyer based in San Francisco working in partnership with her friend, Chris Nicholson. This mystery finds them involved in the world of Sourdough bread and bakeries.
Both attend a play by acquaintance Peter Martinelli. Martinelli, it turns out, comes from a family that had been successful in the sourdough bread industry, supposedly very big in the San Francisco area. He inherited the 'starter' dough for their famous sourdough bread. Martinelli is persuaded to sell this starter dough off at an auction, which sparks interest from rival bakers, the brothers Tosi, Sally Devereaux (a smaller baker) and Clayton Thompson, rep for a major bread-making conglomerate. All the interested parties arrive for the auction but when Martinelli doesn't show up, Rebecca and her boy-friend Rob the reporter discover his dead body (murdered).
This begins an investigation by Rebecca, Rob and Chris into the world of sourdough bread and who might be guilty of the murder. It's a fun ride, in a similar vein as those of Lilian Jackson Braun's 'Cat who' mysteries, or Karen Kijewski's Kat Colorado mysteries. There are plenty of suspects, including all the competing parties and even Peter Martinelli's sister, who had also wanted the starter dough.
Combined a quick paced mystery / adventure with lots of action, you also have Rebecca's relationships, with her Jewish parents, her sister and boyfriend and all of the other's mentioned. It's not a complex mystery, just an entertaining one. Enjoy. (3 stars)

message 30: by Bill (new)

Bill The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler is my first exposure to this excellent writer of the noir genre. Chandler created Private Investigator Philip Marlowe, who worked the streets of San Francisco. There was a movie made of this story starring Humphrey Bogart as Philip Marlowe. I think I've seen it but will now have to watch it again.
Marlowe is hired by a wealthy San Francisco family to try to sort out a black-mailing situation. The wealthy senior of the family has two wild daughters, especially Carmen, who is the subject of 'personal' photos. The investigation moves Marlowe into the criminal underworld and into close contact with various criminals and also murders. It's a nicely confusing plot, with many twists and turns and enough action to keep you very interested in the story.
Chandler has a way with telling his story. His characters are so well-described that you can picture them clearly. They have unique personalities and you do find yourself drawn to some and repulsed or afraid of others. His story telling is straight-forward, with a touch of humour and also a nice flair for the written word. I love this line, "I went back to the office and sat in my swivel chair and tried to catch up on my foot-dangling." I know it's just one small sample but it's so perfect and the story is filled with such perfection.
You don't necessarily get to know a great deal of Marlowe's past but you definitely get a feel for the type of character he is. Even though a private eye, he's got friends in the police force who respect him. He's similar to Ross MacDonald's Lew Archer, John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee, a loner private eye with standards. I don't know that I see Humphrey Bogart as Marlowe but I'll have to think more on that subject. I do know I am looking forward to reading the other books in this short series. Excellent and for lovers of great mystery, must-reads. (5 stars)

message 31: by Alondra (new)

Alondra Miller Bill wrote: "The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler is my first exposure to this excellent writer of the noir genre. Chandler created Private Investigator Philip Marlowe, who worked the..."

Got this on my TBR. Nothing like classic noir. :)

message 32: by MissLemon (last edited Feb 15, 2018 03:54AM) (new)

MissLemon | 254 comments Bill wrote: "The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler is my first exposure to this excellent writer of the noir genre. Chandler created Private Investigator Philip Marlowe, who worked the..."

Great review Bill :-)

I read this last year, I really liked the character of Marlowe and the way Chandler writes,wasn't so keen on the actual plot but I'm not sure it mattered that much! (3.5 stars but rounded up to 4)

I don't think I've seen the Bogart movie, though I've seen clips/stills from it, but I think I may have seen Robert Mitchum play Marlow either in this or more likely Farewell, My Lovely. So I was picturing him whilst I was reading, not Bogart, which works for me!. Going to try and read 'Farewell ...' soon

message 33: by Bill (new)

Bill Carolyn wrote: "Bill wrote: "The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler is my first exposure to this excellent writer of the noir genre. Chandler created Private Investigator Philip Marlowe, w..."

I have to find the other books, Carolyn. I've got The Lady in the Lake but it's probably better to read them in order.

message 34: by Bill (new)

Bill The Dolly Dolly Spy is the first of four books by Adam Diment featuring British spy, Philip McAlpine. It was first published in 1967 and it definitely has that '60s vibe about it. McAlpine is a security officer for a big firm and is blackmailed into working for a subset of MI6.
He is sent for pilot and armed combat training in the US and assigned to a job with a company, International Charters that works out of a small island in Greece. He does legal and illegal flying missions and periodically reports back to his boss in England with information on his missions. Ultimately he gets assigned a specific mission, to acquire a target that MI6 wants to interrogate.
On its own it's a relatively simple spy story but there is more to it than that. The feel for the time is excellent. It's maybe a James Bond light but the characters are interesting. McAlpine is a neat guy, kind of a coward but still a guy whose quick off the mark and a problem solver. There is enough action, a bit of sex and drugs and rock 'n roll, and an entertaining spy story. Diment disappeared after his fourth book and has retained a cult following (from what I read anyway). If the other books are as entertaining, I'm looking forward to them. (4 stars)

Moving over to my Ongoing Series challenge with the 3rd Lord Peter Wimsey mystery, Unnatural Death (Lord Peter Wimsey, #3) by Dorothy L. Sayers by Dorothy L. Sayers

message 35: by Bill (new)

Bill Starting a book in my Decades challenge, from 2009, a book I've had for awhile and have been looking forward to trying, The Common Lawyer by Mark Gimenez

message 36: by Bill (new)

Bill Unnatural Death is the third book in Dorothy L. Sayers classic mystery series featuring Lord Peter Wimsey. Sayers ranks up there with other great classics like Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham, Ngaio Marsh. Lord Peter is a middle-aged lord (yup, the title gives that away.. ;0)) who has found a meaning for his life by helping solve crimes. In this particular edition, at the end of the book, his uncle, Paul Delagardie, writes a short summary of Peter's life, highlighting certain events in his life, especially the affect his service in WWI had on his well-being. It's an interesting synopsis explaining some aspects of Peter's being.
In the story itself, elderly Agatha Dawson dies after suffering for years from cancer. Her doctor is somewhat pilloried for intimating that the death might be more than it seems. However, even after telling Peter and his friend, Inspector Parker or Scotland Yard, his story, the doctor refuses to divulge either his name or his patient's. Odd, huh? But the story has interested Peter and he begins a search to find out who the victim might have been.
We are now introduced to a new companion of Peter, the interesting Miss Climpson. Call her a researcher for want of a better word. Peter sends her on a trip to find out who the person might have been and when she does, asks her to continue to investigate.
So there is your basic story. While Peter is central to all of the investigation, we get nice insights from both Inspector Parker and Miss Climpson and both play important roles; as investigators and fact-finders, while Peter is more of an intuitor (did I invent a word??). The story is light in many parts, as that is Peters nature but the more you delve into the mystery, you get a sense of a very nasty perpetrator. The story is confusing at times but it keeps you moving along nicely and holds your interest. I've enjoyed all of the Wimsey mysteries I've read so far and am very glad that I have a few still to read in the series. (3.5 stars)

Moving to New Series next with the first book in the Jimm Juree mystery series; Killed at the Whim of a Hat by Colin Cotterill. If this series is as enjoyable as his Dr. Siri Paiboun series, I'm sure I'll enjoy.

message 37: by Bill (new)

Bill The Black Ice is the second book in Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch police mystery series. Bosch is a black sheep within the LA Police Department and continues to work out of the Hollywood Division after his demotion from Robbery and Homicide.
On call, Harry involves himself in the apparent suicide of a Police Detective from the Drugs division, Cal Moore. The investigation is taken from him by Assistant Chief Irving, an old foil who had been responsible for Harry's move to Hollywood. Even though he is told to back off, Harry is suspicious that it was a suicide and continues to investigate. His boss in Hollywood wants Harry to take over some investigations from another detective, an alcoholic who has just resigned. It's the end of the year and his boss, Lt Pounds, wants to clear up some cases. It turns out that two that Harry looks into might be connected to Moore. Drugs from Mexico might be involved and what is the link to Moore.
The investigation leads Bosch to Mexico. He works with a local police lieutenant there, Lt. Aguila, and also becomes involved with a DEA office investigation.
The story is a thoughtful one as we delve into Bosch's past and his relationships. It's an interesting story and mystery, with sound investigative work and sufficient action. I think I kind of sorted things out in my mind as the end approached. Still, all in all, I continue to enjoy this series. Bosch is a good cop, a bit of a lone wolf, a guy whose bosses find troubling but who is respected by his peers. Next book in the series is The Concrete Blonde and it's on my shelf waiting for me to try it. (4 stars) Thanks for recommending it, Martha.

I'm moving over to my individual challenges next, to my Ongoing Series challenge, with the 3rd book in the Inspector Banks series, A Necessary End by Peter Robinson.

message 38: by Georgia (new)

Georgia | 537 comments Good job,Bill ! It seems like a good report when one mentions what they liked or didn't like about a book!

message 39: by Bill (new)

Bill Georgia wrote: "Good job,Bill ! It seems like a good report when one mentions what they liked or didn't like about a book!"

Thank you, Georgia.

message 40: by Bill (new)

Bill I've had The Common Lawyer by Mark Gimenez on my bookshelf for awhile and was glad to finally get to try it. I'd seen it at one of my local used book stores and the synopsis sounded interesting and I always like to try a new author.
The premise is this. Andy Prescott is a lawyer in Austin Tx. He's sort of lazy, was a C student at law school and now lives in the lives in the SoCo area of Austin getting by sorting out traffic tickets in court. His system, which always works, is to appeal the tickets, await the follow-on hearing, which can take up to two years and then when the cop doesn't appear, the case is thrown out. He rents a small office above a tattoo parlor, spends his time with his three buddies, watching the girls go by, and cross-country cycling. His mother is a liberal art teacher at the local uni and his father is dying of liver disease, was once a budding country singer.
So, with this happyish life style, Andy's life is going to be thrown into turmoil. Billionaire developer Russell Reeves hires Andy to be his local voice for his plans to redevelop portions of SoCo. As well, he wants Andy to hunt down 17 women that he had been involved with in his past to try and make amends. However this second assignment is not quite what it seems and the tension ratchets up from this point on. Andy now has lots of money but does it make him any happier? And who is following him?
It's an interesting premise and the story and action builds quickly as the story develops. Andy is a happy-go-lucky sort of guy, an under achiever and likeable. Austin seems to be a lovely city and is well-described. I found the story to be somewhat John Grisham lite but still entertaining and an easy, quick read, when I settled down to it. I'll check out others of Gimenez's books to see how his writing matures. (3 stars)

message 41: by Bill (new)

Bill A Necessary End is the 3rd book in the excellent Chief Inspector Banks mystery series by Peter Robinson. Each story has been excellent. In this one, a police officer is murdered during a protest against nuclear plants and a new US Air Force base being considered for the area of Banks's town. The protest turns into a riot and results in physical interaction between the protesters and riot police.
The investigation results in Superintendent Dirty Dick Burgess being sent from London to run the murder investigation. Banks knows and dislikes Burgess from previous encounters while he worked in London. Burgess is a rabble rouser, heavy drinker and carouser. He runs an investigation as a bulldozer, upsetting suspect and causing turmoil.
Banks has to work around Burgess in trying to solve the murder. Burgess suspects left wing instigation in the murder while Banks has his own ideas. The case revolves around a group of people who live in a sort of commune nearby and varied other people who helped organize the protests, Banks begins to find out some disturbing things about the murdered police officer and wonders whether this might be a reason for the murder. He has some small side investigations being conducted by other police officers which slowly come to light as his ideas firm up.
It's an interesting story. We find out more about Banks's life and his relationships. He's an interesting character. I like the small discoveries about Banks even if I don't necessarily like his taste in music. The ending comes a bit out of left field but at the same time is very satisfactory and believable. I continue to enjoy this series and look forward to continuing the series. (4 stars)

message 42: by Bill (new)

Bill Continuing my Ongoing Series challenge with the 5th Matthew Shardlake historical mystery by C.J. Sansom; Heartstone (Matthew Shardlake, #5) by C.J. Sansom Heartstone.

message 43: by Bill (new)

Bill Killed at the Whim of a Hat is the 1st book in Colin Cotterill's Jimm Juree mystery series. I was introduced to his books with The Coroner's Lunch, the first book in the Dr. Siri Paiboun series. I've enjoyed the first two books in that series very much.
Jimm Juree is a female reporter in Thailand who lives with her quirky family. Her mother announces that she has sold their house and bought a hotel in the south of the country. Her brother and grandfather accompany her and her sister decides to stay in the big city. It seems on the surface to be a dysfunctional family but we see how they interact and come together as the story progresses. Bored with life at their less than successful hotel and with the seemingly backwardness of the community, Jimm finds herself getting involved with the investigation of two unrelated murders / deaths. First a VW van is discovered buried in the soil of a farm with two bodies in it. It's been there for a long time. At the same time, a monk is found murdered at a local monastery.
The investigation itself is somewhat convoluted but as the story moves along, there are interesting twists and turns and the ultimate resolution is different and surprising.
What is most entertaining is the interactions between Jimm and her other family members. All are interesting; from her mother who seems to be getting a bit senile and hunts for the killer of their dog, to her weight lifting brother, to her sister/ brother who is a computer genius and helps with the case and to her grandfather, an ex traffic cop who displays unique insight. We also meet local characters who flesh out and enrich the story. I wasn't sure I was enjoying the book at first but as it moved along and I got into it, I found it entertaining and quite different from the other series. Cotterill hasn't disappointed yet. (4 stars)

message 44: by Bill (new)

Bill Shakespeare's Rebel is the second historical adventure that I've read by C.C. Humphreys. I liked the first, The French Executioner, but this was much better. Humphrey has found a nice mix between historical fact and interesting fiction. As a fight choreographer himself, there are also many excellent action sequences.
The story is set during the period 1599 - 1602, Queen Elizabeth's reign. Historically it is when the Earl of Essex, the Queen's favorite, is sent to Ireland to defeat the rebels and also when he leads an uprising against the Queen's counselor and spy master, Robert Cecil. Throw into the mix the Globe Theater and William Shakespeare and Richard Burbage and you've got a nicely complex and rich story.
The main character is John Lawley, who works sometimes at the Globe as a fight choreographer and has also been a loyal soldier for Essex; fighting with him in Cadiz and Holland. He has also spent time as an adventurer with Francis Drake. He struggles with drink, but there is reason, as he spent time in a Spanish prison and on his return to England was sent to prison there, suspected as being a Spanish spy. He also has issues with his mistress and son; his adventures and personal issues driving a wedge between his relationships.
It's a fascinating, entertaining story with lots of intrigue and action and also a wonderful historical tale. We meet the spider in the Queen's web, Robert Cecil, who tries to use Lawley to his ends to get rid of Essex and Lawley's mixed emotions towards Essex; loyalty but also anger at how his life has turned because of his loyalty. I enjoyed this story a lot. I liked the pace, the characters and the historical aspect. Well worth reading. (4 stars)

Moving to my Decades Challenge next with a book from 1990, Murder At Madingley Grange by Caroline Graham

message 45: by Bill (new)

Bill Caroline Graham is best known as the creator of the Midsomer Murders / Inspector Barnaby books. She also has written 3 standalone books, of which Murder At Madingley Grange was one.
Simon Hannaford and sister, Laurie are asked by their aunt to look after Madingley Grange during her annual month long vacation cruise. Simon, always looking to make money, has the great idea of using the estate to host a murder mystery weekend and persuades Laurie to help him organize and run it. An eclectic group of people show up for the weekend. He as well hires a brother and 'sister', Gaunt and Bennett, as butler and maid. They also have an interesting back story.
Adding spice to the story, a dead body is discovered the next morning and all are suspects. So there you go, the basic story. I like the way the story is laid out; 4 chapters, Simon Says Do This, The Set-up, Fun and Games and Murder. Each person plays a role and each chapter deals with each person's actions and story.
It's hard not to get involved in each character's story. They are quirky and interesting. There is romance, jealousy, suspense, everything you like. The story moves along nicely, then there is a twist to the left, then another twist to the right, then another little jig and a satisfying ending. I thought I had an idea of what was going on, but then there was a nice surprise and a final satisfying ending.
The setting is lovely and I found myself very engaged with both the story and characters. It's a an excellent story and will keep me reading Graham's other books. It's unfortunate that she has a relatively small catalogue as she is an excellent story-teller. (4 stars)

Continuing with my Decades Challenge next with Footsteps in the Dark by Georgette Heyer next.

message 46: by Bill (new)

Bill The Beggar King is the 3rd book in the Hangman's Daughter series by German author Oliver Pötzsch. It's an excellent historical mystery series and I've enjoyed every book so far.
Jacob Kuisl is the Hangman for the town of Shongau. He also provides medicines for the people of the town. Has daughter Magdalena is a fiery, outspoken person who works with the local midwife (some call her a witch) learning about herbs and medicines. Her boyfriend, Simon, is the son of the local doctor and he has taken medical training but never obtained his licence. Magdalena is perceived to be unsuitable for Simon as she is of a lower class.
Jacob is called to Regensburg by his sister, who moved there many years before and operates a bathhouse with her husband. Jacob finds them murdered and is arrested on suspicion of committing the murder. He is tortured by the Regensburg hangman, but there is more to this story than we know. Magdalena and Simon go to Regensburg, partly because of difficulties they are having with local people in Shongau and partly to find her father.
There are many mysterious people operating in this story; the Beggar King, Nathan, the Italian representative to the city, Silvano and even the monk who meets Simon. While Jacob tries to remember what in his past has caused his problems, Magdalena and Simon race against time to find out what is going on and to try and save Jacob.
A fast paced story with many twists and turns and also an interesting look at Regensburg during the 1600's. Not a perfect story but totally entertaining. (4 stars)

message 47: by Bill (new)

Bill Footsteps in the Dark is a fun, entertaining mystery from 1932 by English author, Georgette Heyer. I've read a few other mysteries by Heyer and have enjoyed them all so far.
This story starts off as a ghost story but as the story moves along it becomes more and more an interesting mystery. The Fortescue children, Peter, Margaret and Celia have inherited the Priory at Framley. Along with Celia's husband, Charles Malcolm and their aunt Lilian Bosanquet, they move into the old place. It's without electricity and from all tales, is haunted by the ghost of a Monk. The stories about the Monk are enhanced by the various locals with whom they begin to associate; the Colonel (their neighbor), the strange French artist, Duval, the eccentric moth hunter, Mr Titmarsh and the owner of the nearby inn, Mr. Wilkes. As well, there are two mysterious people staying at the inn, Mr. Fripp and Mr. Strange.
As the story advances, ghostly sighting take place and people recommend that the Fortescues should leave the Priory. The bumbling local constable Flinders begins an investigation, getting into everybody's way.
The story is a slow burn but soon picks up speed and interest. I really enjoyed all of the characters peopling the story, especially the Fortescues, straight-forward and humorous. Margaret and Aunt Lilian especially are most enjoyable. All are sympathetic and I always find that makes for a more enjoyable story. The mystery itself is also interesting, with many suspects and a satisfying resolution. I continue to enjoy Heyer's mysteries and will continue to read them. (4 stars)

I'm moving along to my Individual Challenge - Ongoing Series with the 4th Inspector Gamache mystery, The Murder Stone by Louise Penny

message 48: by Linda (new)

Linda (beaulieulinda117gmailcom) | 1452 comments I really enjoyed The Murder Stone.

message 49: by Bill (new)

Bill Linda wrote: "I really enjoyed The Murder Stone."

I really enjoy this series and am looking forward to it

message 50: by Bill (new)

Bill I continue to enjoy the Inspector Gamache mystery series by Canadian author Louise Penny. The Murder Stone is the 4th book in the series. For a change it is not set in the small town of Three Pines, but instead at a resort, Manoir Bellechasse. However, this is still relatively nearby and we do get a brief visit to Three Pines and Peter and Clara Morrow, regulars in the first three books, play a key role in the mystery.
The Gamache's, Armand and Reine Marie, are at the Manoir to celebrate their 35th anniversary. The wealthy Morrow family, mother, step father and four children with their accompaniments, either husband / wife or child, are also there for the annual family reunion. The main purpose of this reunion is to unveil a statue honoring the original patriarch, Charles Morrow. It's quickly apparent that there are many secrets and long held resentments in this family.
Added to this is the 'murder' of one of the children, Julia, whose body is discovered crushed under the statue. This brings in Gamache's intrepid team of Inspector Belvoir and Agent Lacoste. There are also mysteries and secrets within the fabric of the Manoir as well, from the maitre d', Pierre, to the chef, Veronique, etc.
It's a nicely paced story, developing slowly and steadily as Gamache and his team search the facts, search their own histories and interact with this strange and for the most part, unlikeable family. However, even there you find complexities and twists. Things aren't always as it seems. The mystery is intriguing, especially the question of how them murder could take place?
I have to say that I continue to dislike Peter, his bitterness and his jealousies. I honestly don't understand why Clara stays with him but that is a small side-note. :0) We learn more about Gamache's past, his history with his father and also how it affects his relationship with his son. As always, the food looks fantastic and we get a brief visit to Three Pines to refresh our memories of that wonderful town and its inhabitants. All in all another excellent mystery from Penny. (4 stars)

Continuing my Ongoing Series challenge with the 3rd Dublin Murder Squad book, Faithful Place by Tana French.

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