Mini Reviews



Mystery in the Channel by Freeman Wills Crofts*

I enjoy the British Library Crime Classics.  The golden age of detective fiction has produced a lot of great mystery novels that have gotten lost over the years.  It is wonderful to see them being reissued.  And the absolutely gorgeous covers don't hurt.  The Mystery in the Channel is a classic locked room mystery with a yacht in place of the locked room.  A steamer comes across a drifting yacht with two bodies on board.  No one else is there.  Who committed the murder and where did they go?  Inspector French is just the man to solve the crime.  This is more puzzle driven than  character driven but it was thoroughly enjoyable.

Who Pays the Piper? by Patricia Wentworth*

I have read several of Patricia Wentworth's Miss Silver mysteries and was curious to see what she would do with different characters. Lucas Dale is the new owner of King's Bourne.  He is rich, arrogant, and determined to marry Susan even though she is engaged to someone else.  There are stolen pearls, a bit of blackmail, and then Dale is found murdered in his study.  Susan's fiance threatened to kill him just minutes before.  Is he guilty?  Inspector Lamb and Sergeant Abbott fit all the pieces together.  I liked this quite a bit and will be looking for more books featuring this detecting duo.

Bricks and Mortar by Helen Ashton

This is a Persephone novel which pretty much guarantees it will be good.  I have yet to read one I haven't enjoyed.  This is one of the domestic novels for which they are so well known.  It follows the lives and fortunes of one family from the 1890s through the next forty years or so.  Martin Lovell is an architect and a theme of building runs through the entire book. This is a quiet book, much more about character development than about plot.  I loved this and will be happy to reread it.

Piccadilly Jim by P.G. Wodehouse

Sometimes life just requires a Wodehouse novel and this has so many great Wodehouse elements; overbearing women, an obnoxious small boy, a convoluted plot that involves the hero impersonating himself, bungling kidnappers, a butler or two.  Really, what more can you ask for?  Go read it right away and enjoy the Wodehouse wit.  I dare you to not laugh out loud.

The Mystery on the Mississippi by Kathryn Kenny

This is a Trixie Belden mystery.  Did anyone else read  the Trixie Belden series when they were young?  I loved them.  I found this on the library free book rack and grabbed it for my daughter.  Of course, I had to read it first just for nostalgia's sake.  It was exactly what I remembered.  If unsupervised groups of young people going off on adventures and solving mysteries that baffle the adults around them are your jam, then this is the book for you.  Now that I think about it, so many books I loved as a child involved kids going off on their own and being involved in hair-raising adventures.  Where were the parents when this was going on?  I remember Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Trixie Belden, The Famous Five, The Happy Hollisters.  Oh please, someone tell me you read The Happy Hollisters too.  Pete, Pam, Holly, Ricky, and Sue were always risking life and limb to catch the bad guy and all Mrs Hollister ever did was smile sweetly and tell them to be home in time for dinner.  I'm not sure The Mystery on the Mississippi is the best of the Trixie Belden series but I didn't really care.  For a short time I was ten again, imagining myself a member of the Bob-whites, complete with secret whistle and endless adventures.

*This book was provided by the publisher through Netgalley in return for an honest review.

12 comments

  1. I am off to order a copy of the Wentworth book! Frank Abbott appears in most of the Miss Silver books - they are great friends as well as collaborators in solving crimes. I had no idea he and Lamb were in books of their own!

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    1. Oh, I didn't make the connection! I obviously need to read more Miss Silver books.

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  2. This all sound good.

    I am glad to hear that some older titles are being reissued under British Library Crime Classics. It is so unfortunate when a worthy book is forgotten. But it is heartening when some return.

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    1. I wonder sometimes about all the books that have been lost over the years. It is good to see some of them returning to print.

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  3. Trixie Belden was my favourite! I read and reread her series, which was only 13 books at the time. A Trixie book was a coveted possession indeed.

    AND I read The Happy Hollisters - in fact, I still have four of them on my bookshelf, waiting for my grandkids to discover.

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    1. Yes! Another reader of The Happy Hollisters! My mom still has a whole shelf of the books and both my kids borrowed them regularly. I hope your grandchildren enjoy them too.

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  4. I always enjoy the British Crime Library books that I read - they crop up quite often in charity shops here, and I always pounce on them - so will keep an eye out for Mystery In The Channel.

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    1. I wish I could find them in thrift shops around here! I really do enjoy them. And I love the covers. I wonder if it is possible to get prints of them.

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  5. I had about five Trixie Beldens I'd picked up at a garage sale as a kid. I liked them so much better than Nancy Drew. I also liked Alfred Hitchcock's The Three Investigators. I have a vague recollection of reading The Happy Hollisters, but it must have not been as frequently as I read the others.

    From there it was Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers and Barbara Pym, and Wilkie Colkins as well. I haven't read a classic mystery in years! Thanks for the reminder!

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    1. I never read The Three Investigators but I think my daughter has a few she has picked up at book sales.

      I love Dorothy Sayers and Barbara Pym. Wilkie Collins and Agatha Christie too but to a slightly lesser degree.

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  6. I've just stumbled upon your blog via Rhyme and Ribbons but the quite "sometimes life just requires a Wodehouse novel" ensures that I'll be popping back.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I hope you will be back. Anyone who appreciates Wodehouse is welcome here!

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