Till Death Do Us Part by John Dickson Carr

Till Death Do Us Part by John Dickson Carr

John Dickson Carr is considered a master of the locked room mystery and Till Death Do Us Part is a good example of that. This is the first Gideon Fell book I think I've read, but it worked fine as a standalone. Dick Markham with his fiancee, Lesley Grant, arrive late to the village fair. Events lead to Lesley accidentally shooting the fortune teller, renowned criminologist Sir Harvey Gilman. Later Markham hears from Gilman the story of Lesley's life as a serial poisoner. Soon Superintendent Hadley and Dr. Gideon Fell become involved when a murder occurs in the village. It's an enjoyable mystery. The characters are the usual odd lot that lives in fictional small towns, with assorted secrets and jealousies. There is plenty of misdirection, lots of red herrings, and several people who aren't who we think. I did not guess who the killer was or how they managed to pull it off. It's a quick read, but I think...
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Golden Age Locked Room Mysteries edited by Otto Penzler

Golden Age Locked Room Mysteries edited by Otto Penzler

I love collections like this. These stories are all "locked room" mysteries, where a murder is committed in circumstances under which it was seemingly impossible either for someone to commit the crime or to evade detection. The list is a who's who of Amerian mystery authors from the era. Anthony Boucher — ElsewhereFrederic Brown — Whistler’s MurderJohn Dickson Carr — The Third BulletJoseph Cummings — Fingerprint GhostMignon G. Eberhart — The Calico DogErle Stanley Gardner — The Exact OppositeMacKinlay Kantor — The Light at Three O’ClockC. Daly King — The Episode of the Nail and the RequiemStuart Palmer — The Riddle of the Yellow CanaryEllery Queen — The House of HauntsClayton Rawson — From Another WorldCraig Rice — His Heart Could BreakManly Wade Wellman — Murder Among MagiciansCornell Woolrich — Murder at the Automat Some I enjoyed more than others. Surprisingly, Carr's The Third Bullet was my least favorite - too long, and rather boring compared to the others. My favorites might...
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Maigret in Holland by Georges Simenon

Maigret in Holland by Georges Simenon

Maigret in Holland was perhaps not my best choice for my first Maigret read, but it was the only one the used bookstore in town had. Maigret is not in France here, he's been called to Holland where a French national is being detained under suspicion of murder. Maigret does not speak any Dutch, which slows his investigation some. He interviews the main characters in the story with varying degrees of success depending on their knowledge of the French language. The small town and characters are described well, wanting to keep their secrets and the status quo. Maigret is intelligent and observant. I'd like to read another when he is on his home turf. ...
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Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie

Wealthy, mean Simeon Lee has invited his family to spend Christmas. We've got 4 adult sons, three of whom have wives with them, and a granddaughter from Spain, an exotic young woman out of place in the traditional English setting. Simeon's goal, however, doesn't seem to be a happy family reunion. Instead, he is amusing himself by re-igniting all the old angers and rivalries. Of course, it's still a shock to them when he ends up dead, murdered in a locked room. Hercule Poirot's Christmas was another reread for me, and to be honest I'm surprised I didn't remember who the killer was. Poirot was staying with a friend in the neighborhood when the death was reported and agreed to help discover the killer. Of course, we've got plenty of motives, from hatred to money to diamonds, and everyone in the household is a suspect. I like how much even the most minor of the characters has their own personality. Each...
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Tied Up in Tinsel by Ngaio Marsh

Tied Up in Tinsel by Ngaio Marsh

Tied Up in Tinsel was a reread for me. I always enjoy Marsh's mysteries and this is no exception. Troy is spending Christmas at Hillary's manor house, painting his portrait. We meet all the other guests and staff, most of whom were former convicts. And then, of course, someone is killed. Well, someone disappears, but this is a Marsh book, we know he's dead, it's just a matter of finding him. Alleyn of course comes to the house and takes over the investigation. Reading Tied Up in Tinsel is like spending the holidays with old friends. Honestly, murders at country houses during the holidays are my favorites. The house guests and staff are an eccentric lot and almost all could be considered suspects. There were also enough clues that we could put it together, which is not always the case when Alleyn is investigating. We don't always know what he's thinking or clues he notices. Maybe I'll go back and...
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Death in the Clouds by Agatha Christie

Death in the Clouds by Agatha Christie

So, my favorite part of Death in the Clouds is that a jury believes Poirot is guilty of the murder, although their opinion is not upheld. And really, someone is always dying around him. Granted, the fact that he was foreign had more to do with their suspicion than anything, but nonetheless. A woman is killed on the same plane Poirot was on. Unfortunately, Poirot was asleep at the time. Flying does not agree with his stomach. From the clues on the plane, the woman was killed by a dart from a blowgun. We have a nice limited group of suspects - it had to be someone on the train. We also get appearances by Inspector Japp from Scotland Yard and Parisian chief inspector Giraud, showing the different ways the three go about investigating. The suspects are an interesting lot, the solution's well done. It's perhaps not memorable, but it is a solid book. ...
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