Saturday, July 31, 2010

{weekend words}

I should like to write you the kind of words that burn the paper they are written on -- but words like that have a way of being not only unforgettable but unforgivable. You will burn the paper in any case; and I would rather there should be nothing in it that you cannot forget if you want to.
Lord Peter Wimsey to Harriet Vane in Dorothy L. Sayers' Gaudy Night (1935).

Gaudy Night (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries)

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Begging to join the groaning shelves this week:


Jean Hanff Korelitz (2009):

I went to a UK university as a postgraduate, so I'm fortunate to have missed the dreaded undergraduate admission interview. I was attracted to this book by the review at vintage reads and the familiar Hanff name (she's a cousin of Helene Hanff of 84 Charing Cross Road fame). Now it's out in paperback, it goes to the top of the wishlist.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Monday, July 26, 2010

{review} out of print

Sometimes there's a good reason why books go out of print. Let's consider Don Betteridge's The Package Holiday Spy Case (London: Robert Hale Ltd., 1962).

This is a frothy Cold War thriller based on a neat premise, namely that a bus tour of  Europe is a great way to conduct espionage under deep cover. The blurb is particularly effusive: will be quite obvious to him [sc. the reader] that the author is himself an experienced traveller and at the same time is very well informed about the niceties and details of practical espionage -- which is hardly surprising, for Don Betteridge is the pseudonym of the knowledgeable writer of travel books and spy stories, Bernard Newman.
After the mysterious demise of their predecessors, Captain 'Tiger' Lester (an "ace operator") and his determinedly virginal assistant Madge ("Midge") Parker ("an expert in Judo"), are sent undercover to work out what went wrong. The book is full of cringe-worthy dialogue:
"You're a good scout, Tiger."
"Oh. Why?"
"I take it that our marriage is on a purely friendly basis, as usual."
"Of course."
"Not every man would say 'Of course'. Some would forget the job they're on. You don't -- that's why I like working with you."
The two end up on another tour ('In the trail of the Three Musketeers') with Lester the guide and Midge the innocent tourist:
"Your friend Bernard Newman wrote a book some years ago, In the trail of the Three Musketeers... Here it is. Forget everything else - just wallow in this." 
The settings are nicely done but the novel too wallows about - in sinister Russians, dodgy scientists, a spot of amateur philately, and a deadly weapon called the Destructor locked in a theft-proof lab in Harrogate.

This lazy book is a complete load of old cobblers, but I suspect that's why I enjoyed it, despite the frequent cringing. It is a good premise and I was reminded of a short-lived TV series in the 1980s based on a similar idea - Masquerade - where a bus-load of tourists unwittingly possesses the skills required for high level espionage (think Mission Impossible on a bus). I don't think Kirstie Alley will have it anywhere near the top of her CV.

Rating: 5/10

If you liked this... there's no hope for you. Only kidding: how about - and a million times better done - anything by Helen Macinnes; perhaps Prelude to Terror (1978) for its mix of professional and amateur spies. 

PS Helen Macinnes does not deserve to be out of print.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

{weekend words}

CITOLOGY n. The systematic study of academic footnotes and references, a key pastime for scholars keen to show that their works have been cited in as many other papers as possible. For that makes them look almost indispensable...
David Rowan in A Glossary for the Nineties (Prion Books, 1998). Originally seen in The Guardian Weekend, May 10th 1997. Read more for free here.

Glossary of the 90s

Friday, July 23, 2010

{books in pictures}

Cornflower Books suggested posting an image which sums up a book. I'm reading Sulari Gentill's A Few Right Thinking Men (2010) at the moment. It is set in Sydney in the 1930s at the time of the completion of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. So, here's "The Bridge in-curve" (1930) by Grace Cossington Smith (1892-1984) from the National Gallery of Victoria. The bridge was known as the "iron lung" -- its construction provided so many much-needed jobs during the Depression.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Begging to join the groaning shelves this week:

 Aurora Floyd (Oxford World's Classics)

Mary Elizabeth Braddon (1863):
I read Lady Audley's Secret (1862) after reading
Savidge Reads' review and I absolutely loved it.
I'm a bit concerned about Aurora Floyd tho'.

Monday, July 19, 2010

{review} the hedgehog

I was in the back room, perfectly euphoric, my eyes filling with tears, in the miraculous presence of Art.

 The Elegance of the Hedgehog

There's not much I want to say about this book because (a) everyone in the entire world seems to have already read it, and (b) I can see why, as it is wonderful. The Elegance of the Hedgehog contains the interwoven stories of Renée (a widow who conceals her devastating intellect by camouflaging herself as a stereotypical concierge) and twelve year old Paloma who also lives with a big secret. Set in an upmarket French apartment building, the divisions based on class, wealth and (supposed) intellect begin to break down with the arrival of a new Japanese tenant. Will Renée get a second (or, some might suggest, first) chance at life? Will Paloma carry out her threat to commit suicide? Is phenomenology that crazy? Are Parisians Cartesian? Should I read War and Peace now? 

This is a touching book, and a funny one. I loved Renee's 'cherry plum test' which she applies to determine the greatness of what she reads. I kept considering what I might substitute, given a distaste for plums. 

This book offers, among many things, a lesson on loneliness and friendship:
If you have but one friend, make sure you choose her well.

The peace of mind one experiences on one's own, one's certainty of self in the serenity of solitude are nothing in comparison to the release and openness and fluency one shares with another, in close companionship . . .
I wondered a bit about the 'Beauty' theme. I realise the theme is important to the book but I'm not a fan of the cliché of the ugly woman transformed by a superficial makeover; in this case, as the ugliness is something that Renée carries about with her as part of her concierge 'costume', perhaps I can let it pass! Also, I've done a bit of philosophy, but sometimes I thought we were deliberately being kept in a contrived state of bafflement. 

What was that annoying book...? - Sophie's World. Grrr. However, this is the second book about a potentially annoying precocious child that I've enjoyed this year (the other was the first Flavia de Luce mystery). I hope I'm not succumbing.

The Parisian setting kept striking familiar chords and I enjoyed the different takes on familiar places – 'Angelina', for example, where I've had many a glorious hot chocolate and Mont Blanc.

The imagery of cats, flowers, art, music and food was memorable. Are we meant to think of that other dame aux camelias when we think of Renée? I'm thinking of her sister's fate and also her class consciousness (a poor shorthand but close enough): "Don't fraternise with rich people if you don't want to die: since then this has become her survival technique". 

This was a thoroughly good read if profoundly unbelievable. I cried, despite the trite ending.
To be poor, ugly and, moreover, intelligent condemns one, in our society, to a dark and disillusioned life, a condition one ought to accept at an early age.
Oh, and I am sure the afternoon tea treats from Ladurée were macarons, not macaroons. 

Should I see the film?

Rating: 8/10

If you liked this... (a) precocious kids: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Alan Bradley); (b) intelligent French-ness: The Chalk Circle Man (Fred Vargas). What is it with all these novel-writing female French professors?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

{weekend words}

Books like The Rules... essentially instruct women to control their impulses in an attempt to act like they have self-esteem -- even though anyone who actually had self-esteem would just do whatever the hell she wants...
Elizabeth Wurtzel in Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women (1999, p.112).

Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Begging to join the groaning shelves this week:

Paris Under Water: How the City of Light Survived the Great Flood of 1910 

Jeffrey H. Jackson (2010)
How the City of Light Survived 
the Great Flood of 1910.

I saw an amazing exhibition in Paris 
in February on the 1910 flood. 
Some photos: saint-sulpice blog.

I bought this book and now
I'm hooked (line & sinker?!):
Paris inondé: La grande crue de 1910
by Patrice de Moncan (2009). 
Available at

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

{lit link}

I love this comment from

"How the cousin of Katherine Mansfield 
and sister-in-law of Bertrand Russell 
wrote such a happy, warm novel 
is anybody's guess".

Read his review here.

In February I saw the original 'castle',
Castello Brown at Portofino. 
Sadly, it was closed (when it should 
have been open; but that's Italy). 
The garden was greatly over-run.

Photo: Author 2010.

Monday, July 12, 2010

{review} grand hotel

Vicki Baum (1929) Grand Hotel:
Ideas of conventionality were elastic in the Grand Hotel.
I find Vicki Baum's books a bit hit and miss. Some have aged badly. Once in Vienna (1943), for example: total miss (tale of narcissistic overwrought suicidal lovesick junior opera divas who take far too long to meet their Maker). Grand Hotel, though: absolute hit. An astonishing read. Why has this gone out of print in English? Of course, I may be biased by my adoration of the film (Grand Hotel: 1932, starring Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford and two Barrymores), but there is no doubt that Baum brilliantly captures the Weimar 'moment' of the late 1920s.

The copy which I'm reading was translated by Basil Creighton (from Menschen im Hotel [People at a Hotel] - a much better descriptive title) and published in 1930 in London by Gregory Bles. It too suffers in places from the stifling emotional atmosphere familiar from Baum's other novels, but the story-line's relentless progress towards inescapable disaster is so compelling that this book is unputdownable.
"Will you be kind to me?" he asked softly. And as softly with her eyes cast down to the raspberry-coloured carpet, Flämmchen answered: "If it's not forced on me----."
In a cold March week in Berlin in 1929 the lives of a disparate group of painfully lonely people are changed forever during their residence in the 'Grand Hotel'. The action is contemporaneous with a pivotal moment in history, as we learn from the newspapers: "Scandals, panic on the Bourse, colossal fortunes lost"; and the shifting fortunes of the cold world outside are mirrored in the transitions underway with those inside the comfortable hotel.

Will the ageing ballerina Grusinskaya (the role stunning recreated by Greta Garbo) find peace?
The bed was turned down, and a pair of little bedroom slippers were by the bed. They were rather trodden down and shabby - the slippers of a woman who is accustomed to sleep by herself. Gaigern, as he stood by the door, felt a fleeting tenderness of pity at the sight of these little tokens of resignation on the part of a famous and beautiful woman.
It had come to this, she thought. She poured out a cup of tea and took a packet of veronal from the bedside table. She swallowed a tablet, drank some tea, and then took a second. She got up and began to walk rapidly to and fro across the room, four paces this way, four paces that. What is the use of it all? she thought. What is the use of living? What is there to wait for? ...With a rapid gesture she took the bottle of veronal and emptied them all into her tea...
Will the aristocratic thief Baron Gaigern make his fortune and be redeemed by love?
"He's the handsomest man I've ever seen in my life - this Baron," she added in Russian. Her voice as she said it sounded as cold as if she spoke of some object displayed for sale in a saleroom.
Whenever he passed through the Lounge it was as if a window of sunshine were opened in a cold room. He was a marvellous dancer, cool and yet passionate. There were always flowers in his room. He loved them and their scent. When he was alone he stroked and even licked their petals - like an animal. He was quick to follow girls in the street. Sometimes he would merely look at them with pleasure, sometimes he would speak to them, and sometimes he would go home with them or take them to a second-rate hotel. Next morning the Hall Porter would smile, when with a feline and innocent air he made his appearance in the elegant and more or less irreproachable Lounge of the Grand Hotel and asked for his key.
Will Dr Otternschlag, the hideously scarred drug-addicted doctor, the "living suicide", escape the demon that is his eternal loneliness?
No, nothing happens, nothing at all, he muttered. He had once possessed a little Persian cat, called Gurba. Ever since she forsook him for a common street tom he had been obliged to carry on his dialogues with himself.
Will Otto Kringelein, the deathly ill lowly factory book-keeper, have one good time before he dies?
It is not very nice to go to one's grave at forty-six without having lived at all and only been harassed and starved and bullied by Herr P. at the works and by the wife at home.
He sat on the edge of the bed and talked, not like an assistant book-keeper... but like a lover. His secretive, sensitive and timid soul crept out of its cocoon and spread its small new wings.
Will the miserly Herr Generaldirektor Preysing save his Saxonia Cotton Company but lose his soul?
He had never yet committed the least irregularity. Nevertheless, there must have been a bad spot in him somewhere, a minute nucleus of moral disease which was destined to get a hold on him and bring him low. Yes, there must, in spite of all, have been just the merest trace of some inflammation, some microscopic speck on the irreproachable purity of his moral waistcoat. . .
Will the falling angel Fraulein Flämmchen escape a fate worse than death?
"You must tell me, too, what salary you ask," he said in a flattering tone. This time it took Flämmchen even longer to reply. She had to draw up a comprehensive balance sheet. The renunciation of the incipient affair with the handsome Baron figured on it, also Preysing's ponderous fifty years, his fat and his heavy breathing. Then there were one or two little bills, requirements in the way of new underclothing, pretty shoes - the blue ones were nearly done. The small capital that would be necessary to launch her on a career in the films, in revue or elsewhere. Flämmchen made a clear and unsentimental survey of the chances the job offered her. "A thousand marks," she said. It sounded a princely amount, and she was under no illusions as to the sums that were nowadays laid at the feet of pretty girls. "Perhaps a little extra for clothes to travel in," she added... "You want me to look my best, naturally."
"You need no clothes for that. On the contrary," Preysing said with warmth.
The fish out of water, Kringelein - the poor provincial clerk in the unfamiliar rich world of the hotel and the nightlife of Berlin (yes, a bit for Isherwood fans here) - is the main focus of the narrative, much of which we see through his eyes: "...eyes in which was so much yearning expectation, wonder and curiosity. In them was hunger for life, and knowledge of death."

Yes, this is a sad book but it is a wonderful book too. Baum captures the sights, sounds and even scents (she's particularly good on the smell of things) of the transitory inhabitants of that microcosm, the Grand Hotel, and the ephemeral world outside in a Berlin where, too, no one seems to have belonged since the end of the war.
These two had come together from the ends of the world to meet for a few hours in the hotel bed of Room No. 68 where so many had slept before them...
For readers with an eye to history, this book is even more rewarding. As the Baron says, "Nowadays being in Germany is like being in clothes you've grown out of."

Rating: 8/10

If you liked this... instead of the obvious (Isherwood) try something with a feel for European journeys of the era: Ethel Lina White's The Wheel Spins (1936: made into the 1938 Hitchcock film The Lady Vanishes) or Graham Greene's Stamboul Train (1932: also filmed in 1934 as Orient Express). 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

{weekend words}

What a pleasant thing for a man whom the ignorant think to be alone to have the plants speaking Greek and Latin to him, and putting him in mind of stories which otherwise he would never think of.

J.W.Waterhouse, 'Echo and Narcissus' (Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool).

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Begging to join the groaning shelves this week:

Child 44

Tom Rob Smith (2008)
Great reviews; and I loved Gorky Park
Actually, more accurately, 
I loved the Russian bits of Gorky Park.
Related: can a crime novel win the Booker?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

{lit link}

I really enjoyed this review 
by Rachel of Book Snob of
 Jane Robinson's Bluestockings:
The Remarkable Story of the First Women
to Fight for an Education (2009).

Monday, July 5, 2010

{review} ashenden

W. Somerset Maugham (1928) Ashenden, or The British Agent:
"There's just one thing I think you ought to know before you take on this job. And don't forget it. If you do well you'll get no thanks and if you get into trouble you'll get no help. Does that suit you?"
What a fabulous cover:

I've had this book on my wish-list for a long time but it has been out of print (and even the library didn't have it), so when I saw that it had been reprinted, I snapped it up. It was one of many classic crime/spy/thrillers noted by Julian Symons in Bloody Murder: from the Detective Story to the Crime Novel (3rd edn. 1992) which I want to read. I have found Symons a most reliable referee: this is how he saw the top 100 in 1957.

I also wanted to read this book because I loved Alfred Hitchcock's campy Secret Agent (1936: see imdb) which is based, very loosely, on Ashenden.

So, what did I think of this long-anticipated book? In short, absolutely wonderful.

Maugham has been back in the news recently, thanks to a recent revelatory biography by Selina Hastings. Ashenden is a accessible introduction to Maugham (as are his short stories).

Ashenden has a lot of the short story about it, but it stands as a novel thanks to its connecting links and developing personalities. Maugham's introduction sets the scene - and the tone:
In 1917 I went to Russia. I was sent to prevent the Bolshevik Revolution and to keep Russia in the war. The reader will know that my efforts did not meet with success.
The hero of Ashenden presents his stories with this same, unmistakably dry English quality and eye to the comic side of a time where external events were by no means funny:
Most of the hotels were closed, the streets were empty... and in the avenues by the lake the only persons to be seen were serious Swiss taking their neutrality, like a dachshund, for a walk with them.
We can read as much as we desire of the autobiographic into Ashenden. Events have been, as Maugham notes in the introduction, "rearranged for the purposes of fiction". Certainly, the hero Ashenden is a writer like Maugham, sent to neutral Switzerland in the first world war as a British agent. His boss "R." suspects that he may possess too much flippancy for the role:
...he wrote long reports which he was convinced no one read, till having inadvertently slipped a jest into one of them he received a sharp reproof for his levity.
The experience he had just enjoyed appealed to his acute sense of the absurd. R., it is true, had not seen the fun of it: what humour R. possessed was of a sardonic turn and he had no facility for taking in good part a joke at his own expense. To do that you must be able to look at yourself from the outside and be at the same time spectator and actor in the pleasant comedy of life. R. was a soldier and regarded introspection as unhealthy, un-English and unpatriotic.
Ashenden's character ("the amateur of the baroque in human nature") is presented to us in an emblematic fashion - we never really get to know this seemingly passionless figure (after all, he is a secret agent; later we discover he is not without some passions) but have to patch together a picture of him from little gems like the following:
Ashenden sighed, for the water was no longer quite so hot; he could not reach the tap with his hand nor could he turn it with his toes (as every properly regulated tap should turn) and if he got up enough to add more hot water he might just as well get out altogether. On the other hand he could not pull out the plug with his foot in order to empty the bath and so force himself to get out, nor could he find in himself the will-power to step out of it like a man. He had often heard people tell him that he possessed character and he reflected that people judge hastily in the affairs of life because they judge on insufficient evidence: they had never seen him in a hot, but diminishingly hot, bath.
Cursing, Ashenden turned on his light, ran a hand though his thinning and rumpled hair (for like Julius Caesar he disliked exposing an unbecoming baldness)...
Ashenden admired goodness, but was not outraged by wickedness. People sometimes thought him heartless because he was more often interested in others than attached to them...
In her dark melancholy eyes Ashenden saw the boundless steppes of Russia, and the Kremlin with its pealing bells, and the solemn ceremonies of Easter at St. Isaac's, and forests of silver beeches and the Nevsky Prospekt; it was astonishing how much he saw in her eyes. They were round and shining and slightly protuberant like those of a Pekinese.
All of the ingredients which will become familiar tropes in later spy fiction are present in Ashenden: the beautiful German spy, the dastardly English traitor, the exuberant talkative American, the temperamental foreign assassin (Peter Lorre's embarrassingly campy 'General' in Secret Agent is nothing compared to his original, the Hairless Mexican), et al.:
It appears that in Mexico it's an insult to get between a man and his drink and he told me himself that once when a Dutchman who didn't know passed between him and the bar he whipped out his revolver and shot him dead... The matter was hushed up and it was announced in the papers that the Dutchman had committed suicide. He did practically.
Maugham lays down masterful vignettes which capture everything salient about a character:
The old Irish colonel and his old wife rose from their table and he stood aside to let her pass. They had eaten their meal without exchanging a word. She walked slowly to the door; but the colonel stopped to say a word to a Swiss who might have been a local attorney, and when she reached it she stood there, bowed and with a sheep-like look, patiently waiting for her husband to come and open it for her. Ashenden realised that she had never opened a door for herself. She did not know how to.
The fact that before the war she had been secretary to an eminent scientist made her doubtless no less competent a housemaid.
It is not all fun and games though - there are a number of moving moments and the final chapter, set on the eve of the Bolshevik Revolution, brings the book to quite an unexpectedly sombre conclusion.

I noted the emblematic quality of the characterisations in this book. It is also a work filled with wonderfully epigrammatic moments:

"In my youth I was always taught that you should take a woman by the waist and a bottle by the neck," he murmured.
"I am glad you told me. I shall continue to hold a bottle by the waist and give women a wide berth."
It is never very difficult to get to know anyone who has a dog.
I loved this book and I vow to read more Maugham, 'though I should admit that I loathed and have been unable to finish Of Human Bondage. Short stories though...
[Ashenden] passed a good deal of time in the book-shops turning over the pages of books that would have been worth reading if life were a thousand years long.

Rating: 9/10

If you liked this... try the 1930s Eric Ambler books: by no means epigrammatic, but spot on with the atmosphere.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

{weekend words}

I don't play accurately - any one can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life.
Algernon in Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), Act I.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Begging to join the groaning shelves this week:

 The Perfect Summer: England 1911, Just Before the Storm

Juliet Nicolson (2008): 
England 1911, Just Before the Storm

{READ IN 2018}

  • 30.
  • 29.
  • 28.
  • 27.
  • 26. The Grave's a Fine & Private Place - Alan Bradley
  • 25. This is What Happened - Mick Herron
  • 24. London Rules - Mick Herron
  • 23. The Third Eye - Ethel Lina White
  • 22. Thrice the Brindled Cat Hath Mewed - Alan Bradley
  • 21. As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust - Alan Bradley
  • 20. The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches - Alan Bradley
  • 19. Speaking from Among the Bones - Alan Bradley
  • 18. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman
  • 17. Miss Ranskill Comes Home - Barbara Euphan Todd
  • 16. The Long Arm of the Law - Martin Edwards (ed.)
  • 15. Nobody Walks - Mick Herron
  • 14. The Talented Mr Ripley - Patricia Highsmith
  • 13. Portrait of a Murderer - Anthony Gilbert
  • 12. Murder is a Waiting Game - Anthony Gilbert
  • 11. Tenant for the Tomb - Anthony Gilbert
  • 10. Death Wears a Mask - Anthony Gilbert
  • 9. Night Encounter - Anthony Gilbert
  • 8. The Visitor - Anthony Gilbert
  • 7. The Looking Glass Murder - Anthony Gilbert
  • 6. The Voice - Anthony Gilbert
  • 5. The Fingerprint - Anthony Gilbert
  • 4. Ring for a Noose - Anthony Gilbert
  • 3. No Dust in the Attic - Anthony Gilbert
  • 2. Uncertain Death - Anthony Gilbert
  • 1. She Shall Died - Anthony Gilbert

{READ IN 2017}

  • 134. Third Crime Lucky - Anthony Gilbert
  • 133. Death Takes a Wife - Anthony Gilbert
  • 132. Death Against the Clock - Anthony Gilbert
  • 131. Give Death a Name - Anthony Gilbert
  • 130. Riddle of a Lady - Anthony Gilbert
  • 129. And Death Came Too - Anthony Gilbert
  • 128. Snake in the Grass - Anthony Gilbert
  • 127. Footsteps Behind Me - Anthony Gilbert
  • 126. Miss Pinnegar Disappears - Anthony Gilbert
  • 125. Lady-Killer - Anthony Gilbert
  • 124. A Nice Cup of Tea - Anthony Gilbert
  • 123. Die in the Dark - Anthony Gilbert
  • 122. Death in the Wrong Room - Anthony Gilbert
  • 121. The Spinster's Secret - Anthony Gilbert
  • 120. Lift up the Lid - Anthony Gilbert
  • 119. Don't Open the Door - Anthony Gilbert
  • 118. The Black Stage - Anthony Gilbert
  • 117. A Spy for Mr Crook - Anthony Gilbert
  • 116. The Scarlet Button - Anthony Gilbert
  • 115. He Came by Night - Anthony Gilbert
  • 114. Something Nasty in the Woodshed - Anthony Gilbert
  • 113. Death in the Blackout - Anthony Gilbert
  • 112. The Woman in Red - Anthony Gilbert
  • 111. The Vanishing Corpse - Anthony Gilbert
  • 110. London Crimes - Martin Edwards (ed.)
  • 109. The Midnight Line - Anthony Gilbert
  • 108. The Clock in the Hatbox - Anthony Gilbert
  • 107. Dear Dead Woman - Anthony Gilbert
  • 106. The Bell of Death - Anthony Gilbert
  • 105. Treason in my Breast - Anthony Gilbert
  • 104. Murder has no Tongue - Anthony Gilbert
  • 103. The Man who Wasn't There - Anthony Gilbert
  • 102. Murder by Experts - Anthony Gilbert
  • 101. The Perfect Murder Case - Christopher Bush
  • 100. The Plumley Inheritance - Christopher Bush
  • 99. Spy - Bernard Newman
  • 98. Cargo of Eagles - Margery Allingham & Philip Youngman Carter
  • 97. The Mind Readers - Margery Allingham
  • 96. The China Governess - Margery Allingham
  • 95. Hide My Eyes - Margery Allingham
  • 94. The Beckoning Lady - Margery Allingham
  • 93. The Tiger in the Smoke - Margery Allingham
  • 92. More Work for the Undertaker - Margery Allingham
  • 91. Coroner's Pidgin - Margery Allingham
  • 90. Traitor's Purse - Margery Allingham
  • 89. The Fashion in Shrouds - Margery Allingham
  • 88. The Case of the Late Pig - Margery Allingham
  • 87. Dancers in Mourning - Margery Allingham
  • 86. Flowers for the Judge - Margery Allingham
  • 85. Death of a Ghost - Margery Allingham
  • 84. Sweet Danger - Margery Allingham
  • 83. Police at the Funeral - Margery Allingham
  • 82. Look to the Lady - Margery Allingham
  • 81. Mystery Mile - Margery Allingham
  • 80. The Crime at Black Dudley - Margery Allingham
  • 79. The White Cottage Mystery - Margery Allingham
  • 78. Murder Underground - Mavis Doriel Hay
  • 77. No Man's Land - David Baldacci
  • 76. The Escape - David Baldacci
  • 75. The Forgotten - David Baldacci
  • 74. Zero Day - David Baldacci
  • JULY
  • 73. Pilgrim's Rest - Patricia Wentworth
  • 72. The Case is Closed - Patricia Wentworth
  • 71. The Watersplash - Patricia Wentworth
  • 70. Lonesome Road - Patricia Wentworth
  • 69. The Listening Eye - Patricia Wentworth
  • 68. Through the Wall - Patricia Wentworth
  • 67. Out of the Past - Patricia Wentworth
  • 66. Mistress - Amanda Quick
  • 65. The Black Widow - Daniel Silva
  • 64. The Narrow - Michael Connelly
  • 63. The Poet - Michael Connelly
  • 62. The Visitor - Lee Child
  • 61. No Middle Name: The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Stories - Lee Child
  • JUNE
  • 60. The Queen's Accomplice - Susan Elia MacNeal
  • 59. Mrs Roosevelt's Confidante - Susan Elia MacNeal
  • 58. The PM's Secret Agent - Susan Elia MacNeal
  • 57. His Majesty's Hope - Susan Elia MacNeal
  • 56. Princess Elizabeth's Spy - Susan Elia MacNeal
  • 55. Mr Churchill's Secretary - Susan Elia MacNeal
  • 54. A Lesson in Secrets - Jacqueline Winspear
  • 53. Hit & Run - Lawrence Block
  • 52. Hit Parade - Lawrence Block
  • 51. Hit List - Lawrence Block
  • 50. Six Were Present - E. R. Punshon
  • 49. Triple Quest - E. R. Punshon
  • MAY
  • 48. Dark is the Clue - E. R. Punshon
  • 47. Brought to Light - E. R. Punshon
  • 46. Strange Ending - E. R. Punshon
  • 45. The Attending Truth - E. R. Punshon
  • 44. The Golden Dagger - E. R. Punshon
  • 43. The Secret Search - E. R. Punshon
  • 42. Spook Street - Mick Herron
  • 41. Real Tigers - Mick Herron
  • 40. Dead Lions - Mick Herron
  • 39. Slow Horses - Mick Herron
  • 38. Everybody Always Tells - E. R. Punshon
  • 37. So Many Doors - E. R. Punshon
  • 36. The Girl with All the Gifts - M. R. Carey
  • 35. A Scream in Soho - John G. Brandon
  • 34. A Murder is Arranged - Basil Thomson
  • 33. The Milliner's Hat Mystery - Basil Thomson
  • 32. Who Killed Stella Pomeroy? - Basil Thomson
  • 31. The Dartmoor Enigma - Basil Thomson
  • 30. The Case of the Dead Diplomat - Basil Thomson
  • 29. The Case of Naomi Clynes - Basil Thomson
  • 28. Richardson Scores Again - Basil Thomson
  • 27. A Deadly Thaw - Sarah Ward
  • 26. The Spy Paramount - E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • 25. The Great Impersonation - E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • 24. Ragdoll - Daniel Cole
  • 23. The Case of Sir Adam Braid - Molly Thynne
  • 22. The Ministry of Fear - Graham Greene
  • 21. The Draycott Murder Mystery - Molly Thynne
  • 20. The Murder on the Enriqueta - Molly Thynne
  • 19. The Nowhere Man - Gregg Hurwitz
  • 18. He Dies and Makes No Sign - Molly Thynne
  • 17. Death in the Dentist's Chair - Molly Thynne
  • 16. The Crime at the 'Noah's Ark' - Molly Thynne
  • 15. Harriet the Spy - Louise Fitzhugh
  • 14. Night School - Lee Child
  • 13. The Dancing Bear - Frances Faviell
  • 12. The Reluctant Cannibals - Ian Flitcroft
  • 11. Fear Stalks the Village - Ethel Lina White
  • 10. The Plot - Irving Wallace
  • 9. Understood Betsy - Dorothy Canfield Fisher
  • 8. Give the Devil his Due - Sulari Gentill
  • 7. A Murder Unmentioned - Sulari Gentill
  • 6. Dead Until Dark - Charlaine Harris
  • 5. Gentlemen Formerly Dressed - Sulari Gentill
  • 4. While She Sleeps - Ethel Lina White
  • 3. A Chelsea Concerto - Frances Faviell
  • 2. Kipps: The Story of a Simple Soul - H. G. Wells
  • 1. Heft - Liz Moore
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