Murder by Matchlight by E. C. R. Lorac

Murder by Matchlight by E. C. R. Lorac

Murder by Matchlight features Scotland Yard's imperturbable Chief Inspector Robert MacDonald, who is tasked with finding the killer of the man on the bridge. His only evidence: a set of bicycle tracks that come to an abrupt end. His suspects: a colorful cast that includes the shy, soft-spoken witness, a respected London physician, a screenwriter, an unemployed laborer, and a vaudevillian specializing in illusions. This is the first of Lorac's MacDonald mysteries I've read. MacDonald is a good character, smart, kind, a gentleman. He's got several cops who work for him who have their own characteristics. But they are all honest and good at their jobs. The job is not easy. The dead man lived in a boarding house along with several "theater" people. The suspects are definitely more interesting than the detective. What makes Murder by Matchlight stand out is the war time London setting. The blackout restrictions and Nazi bombings are integral to the plot. It's neat to see how...
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Slay Bells by T. C. Wescott

Slay Bells by T. C. Wescott

Slay Bells by T. C. Wescott was one of the books I finished on New Year's Eve. I had two current reads that I wanted to finish before the end of the year, which I did, this one and Hercule Poirot's Christmas. They winded up my year's reading and my Christmas books. Slay Bells is probably the most Christmassy mystery I've read. It takes place in Christmas Village during the annual Christmas festival and stars Mrs. Maribel Claus as our amateur detective. She has plenty of time on her hands this time of year, since her husband is so busy in his workshop. The entertainers lodging in Plum Cottage are hired for the festival, but then one of them is murderer in a rather mysterious way. The actual villagers are never suspects. The killer is obviously a member of the troupe, no one else could have a motive. I loved the holiday atmosphere, the customs and stories of Christmas Village. The characters...
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The Lady in the Cellar by Sinclair McKay

The Lady in the Cellar by Sinclair McKay

In general, true crimes don't interest me. Give me a fictional and a quirky fictional detective who will definitely solve the case and I'm usually happy. However, this year I've been trying to broaden my reading habits to include more non-fiction and classics. The Lady in the Cellar is a fascinating book examining the murder of Matilda Hacker in the 1870s and the events surrounding the body's discovery and the trials that resulted. In a lot of ways, The Lady in the Cellar is similar to the fictional detective stories I enjoy. We have a quirky cast of characters, including the victim herself, who was a well-off woman but did not behave in the way single women of her age were supposed to in that era. We have a semi-famous detective, Inspector Charles Hagen, who had already been in the papers a few years earlier as the bodyguard of the Prince of Wales and was a rising star in the Criminal Investigation...
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