book review

Spidery Stratagems — Penelope’s Web

The main criticism of Paul Halter's writing can be summed up in one word -- overstuffed. While I don't share this criticism, it is understandable--particularly because some of the elements turn out to be intricately woven plot strands while others fall by the wayside, rendered as the sort of fantastical flourishes which contain little actual… Continue reading Spidery Stratagems — Penelope’s Web

book review

A Ring of Roses by Mary Anne Ashe (AKA Christianna Brand)

The hospital setting in Green for Danger came directly from Christianna Brand's experience working in such a facility during World War II. The gangsters in A Ring of Roses come directly from Brand's reading Damon Runyon--that's my guess anyway. It's not necessarily a problem because ARoR is about artifice; it makes sense that the characters… Continue reading A Ring of Roses by Mary Anne Ashe (AKA Christianna Brand)

book review

Murder Mansion (aka House of Murder) 1934

I'm a sucker for out-of-print, non-dust-jacket-having, old-timey mysteries. For all the masterpieces on my bookshelves, The Stingaree Murders and The Mystery at Chillery are my favorite objects. It is entirely possibly that I overrate such books because of their feel. I love when they have eighty-year-old notes written in the flyleaves. I love the discoloration… Continue reading Murder Mansion (aka House of Murder) 1934