Monday, February 27, 2012

{review} the best of everything

Rona Jaffe The Best of Everything (1958)

You see them every morning at a quarter to nine, rushing out of the maw of the subway tunnel, filing out of Grand Central Station, crossing Lexington and Park and Madison and Fifth avenues, the hundreds and hundreds of girls. Some of them look eager and some look resentful, and some of them look as if they haven't left their beds yet. Some of them have been up since six-thirty in the morning, the ones who commute from Brooklyn and Yonkers and New Jersey and Staten Island and Connecticut. They carry the morning newspapers and overstuffed handbags. Some of them are wearing pink or chartreuse fuzzy overcoats and five-year-old ankle-strap shoes and have their hair up in pin curls underneath kerchiefs. Some of them are wearing chic black suits (maybe last year's but who can tell?) and kid gloves and are carrying their lunches in violet-sprigged Bonwit Teller paper bags. None of them has enough money.
The whole time I was reading The Best of Everything (set in 1952) I realised that I would never be able to separate it in my head from Mary McCarthy's The Group ({REVIEW}; set in 1933). The characters could easily walk in and out of each others' books, despite the twenty year difference in their setting. Both are books in which women struggle to achieve their goals in a world where men hold nearly all the aces (I think I need to reassess my metaphors, but you get the picture).
Girls always think, ‘I am going to be the exception,’ Caroline thought; it’s a weakness of the species, like a collie’s tiny brain.
If you liked The Group, you will love TBOE. The office settings of the novel are also very, very 'Mad Men'-like (especially the drinking: "Waiters were moving through the crowd with trays of highballs, and everyone was drinking as if he were about to be set adrift on a raft").

In essence, The Best of Everything traces the lives of a group (there we go!) of women in New York. All are in some way associated with a publishing house. The main character, Caroline ("sensible and compassionate"), is determined to work her way out of the typing pool and into an editor's office but is not sure she possesses what it takes:
She was troubled, and thinking. She didn’t want to be a success if that meant watching out for people with dark lives who were afraid of you for no reason you could fathom.
Other girls in the office represent other 'types' of women, for instance, "the girls who thought life stopped on their wedding day in that one moment of perfect achievement, like the figures in Keats’s poem about the Greek vase." Then there's April, naively in search of a man to look after her; and Gregg, the part-time typist/actress - with "the sort of mouth that made smoking a cigarette look somehow sinful". The common theme is love - Caroline's inability to move on from the fiancé who dumped her; April's doomed pursuit of a spoiled playboy:
She was ninety-eight per cent in love with him already. It was a real New York success story, she was thinking, and now she knew what she had come to New York to find. Not business success, but love. Success in love was every bit as important as success in a career – even more so for a woman.
Then there's Gregg's obsession with a cold playwright ("The only thing in the world was this man she was following secretly, keeping him always in sight because he meant warmth and life and cheerfulness even in this bleak, empty landscape of the park"); Barbara, the divorcée single mother, surrounded by men who confuse love "with another four-letter word that people don’t mention in polite company" and fated to fall for a married man; Mary Agnes, entirely bound up in the plans for her wedding ("The office was a place to work and earn money, that was all... Her real life, the things that mattered to her, was at home on Crescent Avenue, in her cedar hope chest").
There were some lovers you could have once, and only once, and then you never wanted to have them again. Not that they weren’t skillful and considerate, because they usually were. But they had held each other out of loneliness and fear and curiosity and lust and hope that this time they would find something beautiful. And in the morning they would find sheets that looked like a geographical terrain, and perhaps an overturned ash tray on the rug beside the bed, and no trace whatever of the face of love.
One thing I admired about The Group was the precision with which McCarthy managed to weave the multiple protagonists' lives together, and this too is an admirable feature of The Best of Everything. If anything, TBOE lacks the crispness and the hard editing of The Group. It was a bit long and in places somewhat indulgent, I thought:
Daydreams are harmless and they do make a great difference; sometimes all the difference in the world while you’re waiting for something real and good.
It was interesting to read in the Introduction that The Best of Everything was a first novel and was published almost without any editorial input.

Rating: really enjoyed it, but it did go on a bit - 4/5. 

If you liked this... I though The Group was better {REVIEW: where I also suggest Helen Gurney Brown's Sex and the Single Girl}


Saturday, February 25, 2012

{weekend words}

'What do you think about when you weed?' she said to me one day, as she sat and watched me busy among the onions. 'Well, all down that row I worried about the Linnet, and all down this one I'm worrying about Bill, and for the first three rows I worried about Libya, and for the next two our shipping losses, and - ' 'Stop!' said Lady B. 'I am an old woman,' she went on, 'and nobody expects me to do more than knit, but I'd never take a knitting needle in my hand again if I couldn't read at the same time and thus occupy my thoughts.' 'I wonder if one could read and weed?' I said. 'Of course you couldn't,' said Lady B. 'But it's time you snapped out of all this gloom, Henrietta. I think you'd better enter for the Bowling Tournament.' 'But I haven't played bowls since the war began.' 'That doesn't matter. I shall enter, too,' said Lady B recklessly. 'It will be unfortunate for our partners, but good for their self-control.'
Joyce Dennys (1986 [2010])
More News from the Home Front


Monday, February 20, 2012

{review} until the final hour

Traudl Junge (with Melissa Müller) Until the Final Hour: Hitler's Last Secretary (2003)


Both of these books proclaim on their covers that they were the inspiration for the Oscar-nominated movie Downfall, which I have on whatever is the TBR equivalent of a To-Be-Watched pile. 
Now all the self-delusion is over. Finally, at last, that desperate, seductive voice in me is silenced, the part of me that wouldn't see and know reality, that wanted to believe. At the same time I suddenly feel very sorry for Hitler. A hopelessly disappointed man, toppled from the greatest heights, broken, lonely... I feel guilty all of a sudden. 
Traudl Junge, as the title suggests, was Hitler's last secretary. Junge was only 22 in 1942 when she began this role. This book is structured as a journal (although it was composed in 1947 rather than contemporaneously) of her time with Hitler. It is an extraordinary read, primarily, I think, because it offers such an intimate perspective on day to day life at the highest echelons of power as the Reich and its leader began to crumble. 

Traudl Junge on her wedding day, June 1943 (source)

I approached it with a somewhat cautious eye: after all, this was someone who lived at close quarters with Hitler for three years; who was remarkably lucky to escape with her life when Berlin fell; and who presumably had a vested interest in denazification. Junge, in general, manages to walk a fine line between criticism ("But this time it did disturb me a lot to find someone describing himself as a genius") and enthusiasm (as when Hitler survives the von Stauffenberg - Valkyrie - bombing). Incidentally, she notes "he looked like a hedgehog" post-explosion.

Mostly, however, her memoir captures the viewpoint, concerns and enthusiasms of a young woman and offer rich details about, for instance, Hitler's views on lipstick (negative), smoking (ultra-anti), food preferences (bland and vegetarian), his health fads (many), marriages (a keen matchmaker), fondness for tea-parties, music ("The only pop music he would let us play was the 'Donkey Serenade'"), lederhosen (his knees were too white: see here), and avoiding provincial hotel rooms without en-suites because of the embarrassment of returning from the loo along a corridor lined with saluting yokels. There are also odd insights like Eva Braun's dislike of fat women and her desire to be a "beautiful corpse". As the end draws near, Junge captures moments of great pitifulness: the look on the face of the eldest Goebbels' child, or Frau Goebbels declaration that "Our children have no place in Germany as it will be after the war." The Goebbels will, of course, kill themselves and their six children. 

One cannot help thinking about Arendt on the banality of evil. Junge has stated elsewhere that Hitler was "a pleasant boss". This boss sometimes seems far more like a Chaplinesque Great Dictator than a monstrous psychopath who would refer to his decision not to eliminate "thousands" back in 1934 coup thus: "Afterwards one regrets having been so benevolent."

It was salutary therefore to read Junge's memoir alongside Joachim Fest's account of the last days in the bunker, which retold the entire story from a rather more black-and-white viewpoint. 

The bunker as photographed by William Vandivert, the first American photographer 
to access the bunker after the fall of Berlin (source)

This is a very readable, almost popular, account of the last days, with plenty of structuring of the events within with those outside Berlin to give a broader historical perspective. Fest asks very interesting questions, the most significant (I thought) being - was what happened in Berlin inevitable? Fest's book is nearly as good as Junge's memoir at capturing the claustrophobia of those last days, trapped in a concrete bunker thirty-three feet below ground with a madman and an entourage that veered wildly between sycophantic and downright treacherous: "With treachery all around me, only misfortune has remained faithful to me - misfortune and my shepherd dog Blondi" (Hitler). 

I felt depressed for days after reading these books, but the consequences of evil on this scale must never be allowed to be forgotten. 

Rating: both 4/5.
If you liked this... for me it will be Downfall the movie, and probably The Great Dictator to restore my equilibrium.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

{weekend words}

‘Name the different kinds of people,’ said Miss Lupescu. ‘Now.’ Bod thought for a moment. ‘The living,’ he said. ‘Er. The dead.’ He stopped. Then, ‘. . . Cats?’ he offered, uncertainly. ‘You are ignorant, boy,’ said Miss Lupescu. ‘This is bad. And you are content to be ignorant, which is worse. Repeat after me, there are the living and the dead, there are day-folk and night-folk, there are ghouls and mist-walkers, there are the high hunters and the Hounds of God. Also, there are solitary types.’ ‘What are you?’ asked Bod. ‘I,’ she said sternly, ‘am Miss Lupescu.’ ‘And what’s Silas?’ She hesitated. Then she said, ‘He is a solitary type.’
Neil Gaiman (2008)  

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

{review} henrietta sees it through


The sequel to Henrietta's War: News from the Home Front 1939-1942 is almost as delightful as its predecessor. 

Things on the home front are, of course, rather less lively by 1942, as the war drags on and more and more of the inhabitants of the little West Country village feel its effects. They are particularly irked that outsiders seem to think that they exist in a lost Eden of peacefulness.

This is a light-hearted book, which makes the small tragedies of war all the more poignant as everyone tries their hardest to maintain a stiff upper lip. As heartening morale-boosters, these well-crafted little letters to the mysterious 'My Dear Robert' are spot on. On the aftermath of enemy raid in the vicinity,
If it was Hitler's idea to strike terror into the hearts of sleepy West Country folk, then the whole thing was a failure, because it has simply made everybody very angry indeed. Lady B came round that evening, quite pink with annoyance. 'I'm in such a temper,' she said. Charles said he wished he could give her a little something, but there wasn't a drop in the cupboard. When we asked Lady B if she had been upset by the Incidents, she said no, she had got under the piano and taken some of Fay's Dog Bromide mixture, which had worked wonders. Lady B said Fay had been quite unmoved by each shattering explosion, and had remained in her basket with a bored expression on her face.
Henrietta (with her "two faithful hairpins, Castor and Pollux") is a delightful, scatty heroine, with her ability to get into all sorts of minor and very funny scrapes. Lady B. - Henrietta's companion in these scrapes and also her bulwark against the world's troubles - is a one of my absolute favourite characters. 

Lady B.
'What do you think about when you weed?' she said to me one day, as she sat and watched me busy among the onions. 'Well, all down that row I worried about the Linnet, and all down this one I'm worrying about Bill, and for the first three rows I worried about Libya, and for the next two our shipping losses, and - ' 'Stop!' said Lady B. 'I am an old woman,' she went on, 'and nobody expects me to do more than knit, but I'd never take a knitting needle in my hand again if I couldn't read at the same time and thus occupy my thoughts.' 'I wonder if one could read and weed?' I said. 'Of course you couldn't,' said Lady B. 'But it's time you snapped out of all this gloom, Henrietta. I think you'd better enter for the Bowling Tournament.' 'But I haven't played bowls since the war began.' 'That doesn't matter. I shall enter, too,' said Lady B recklessly. 'It will be unfortunate for our partners, but good for their self-control.'
It is not all fun ("Watching me garden is one of our gardener's favourite pastimes. He never seems to tire of it…") and games: there are losses, constant worries about the children's safety, and so many small but significant sacrifices to make (pulping one's books!). There are also a couple of interesting little bits and pieces: I didn't realize that doctors were exempt from having to take in evacuees. I would like to know more about a passing reference to women being compensated less than men for war injuries. And now I shall pronounce Noel Coward as "Nole Card"!

Dennys' wit is so sharp:
"At the Labour Exchange I was interviewed by a Young Person whose lips were painted where her lips were not."
On war on the English character: "Perfect strangers, they say, make each other cups of tea."
We nearly won the Dog Race (Owner to Run Backwards), too, but just at the finish Perry caught sight of the spaniel and twisted his lead round my legs. Some people fall elegantly and gracefully - I am not one. When I got back to my chair, Lady B said, 'Fancy those knickers lasting all this time. Didn't you get them before the war?'
Perry, incidentally, is the dog who "did catch a mouse once, but only after Charles had hit it with a telephone directory"!

Rating: lovely, lovely book. 10/10.

If you liked this... a different kettle of fish, but Mollie Panter-Downes' war stories {REVIEW}.

Monday, February 13, 2012

{review} the diary of a killer cat


Well, I'd be lying if I said this was a review. 

I was comparing 'worst-ever-cat-and-whatever-it-has-brought-inside' stories on Facebook, and a Friend said that I must read Anne Fine's The Diary of a Killer Cat (1994). 

It's a 64 page Puffin for "younger children", available on the Kindle too, and it is very funny (um, if you are a cat lover - the rest of you had better just click onwards and don't hold it against me too much). 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

{weekend words}

God, how difficult he was making it! Why couldn’t he have said right out that she was a slut and he’d see her damned before he married her? Well, there was the cauldron of boiling oil; there was nothing to do but to shut one’s eyes and jump right in.

 W. Somerset Maugham (1941)
Up at the Villa

Thursday, February 9, 2012

{miscellaneous} book bag

I don't belong to a bookclub 
and I've pretty much given up drinking, 
but I had to buy this...

Monday, February 6, 2012

{review} the medici conspiracy

I might still be laughing over this book, if the blatant turning of a blind eye by major museums to the provenance of antiquities was not so serious.  It is a cross-over book; sort of popular non-fiction, I suppose. I read it because I read a few blogs about looting (for example, looting matters) and because I am hopeful that we are witnessing a cultural shift in practices. Hopefully.

The core of this book is the story of the attempt to unravel the back-story of the "Euphronios vase". In 1972 the Metropolitan Museum in New York purchased the "Euphronios krater" for a million dollars. This was, at that time, an unparalleled sum for an ancient Greek vase.

The Euphronios Krater, c. 515 BC: 
Sleep and Death carry off the body of 
the dead warrior Sarpedon (source)

From the moment this vase appeared in the Met., a cloud hovered: where did this astonishingly well-preserved (and restored) vase come from? How did it make its way to the Met.? How many pockets were lined along the way? Which country had lost an apparently unrecorded part of its cultural heritage? Was it a fake?

'New' really good quality, previously unknown Greek vases most certainly are either fake or have come from illegal excavations. Most of the best examples of ancient Greek vases do not come from Greece, but were export wares to the Greek vase-loving Etruscans in Italy (just north of Rome). These people were buried in underground tombs carved from the soft stone of the region and they were buried with rich grave offerings including many Greek pots. One question we ask when a vase like this turns us is, what else might have come from a tomb which had contained such a splendid item?

Etruscan tomb at Cerveteri (source)

Etruscan wall-painting at Tarquinia ('Tomb of the Leopards'; source)

If an ancient object is taken from its original context in an illegal excavation, it is likely that all knowledge of this original context will be lost forever. We lose incredibly important information about the ancient culture when we lose the find spot of an object. We lose the ability to get as close to the ancient possessor of the object as we can get without actually being able to speak to them.

There are other couple of consequences: if the Met. is prepared to cough up a record price for an antiquity, the ripples are felt throughout the antiquities trade. A price like this encourages further illegal excavation; it encourages fakes; and it brings in a nice big fat commission to the middle men in their protected warehouses in Switzerland and to the auction houses. As the authors note, a new record for an antiquity with a dubious provenance quickly overcomes any moral impediment to the sale of further items.

From the Met.'s dodgy vase, the scene shifts to the purchasing practices of the John Paul Getty Museum in Malibu. The Italian government's painstaking work in building a case against the Getty curator Marian True is carefully laid out. True and the Getty were placed in an unfortunate position when a warehouse full of antiquities were discovered in the Geneva Free Port in 1995. The warehouse was associated with Giacomo Medici, an antiquities trader who had also been associated with the journey of the Met.'s vase to New York.

In the warehouse, authorities found a hugely detailed record of what had passed through Medici's hands, and this record included 1000s of polaroids showing the same antiquities in various states from fresh from the earth from their illegal excavation to partially restored to - unfortunately for certain museums - in their display cases.

The charges against True have been dropped by the Italian government but not before they had made their point that all future trade in antiquities illegally excavated from Italian soil would be pursued with a vengeance. A number of museums have since decided to return (sometimes as face-saving 'loans') items of dubious provenance, and it is likely that more will follow.

The authors build up a convincing picture of how the trade works and how it is possible to get around things like the 1970 UNESCO agreement (Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property 1970) that should protect new discoveries.

I thought it most interesting to see how auction houses (not necessarily unwittingly) participate in the laundering of antiquities: although bidding on your own lot is forbidden, your own shell company might buy it and the dodgy antiquity will then effectively be laundered - passed back to you with a pile of legitimate paperwork to go with it and thus assist in its sale onwards. Another trick is to provide a fake provenance that ensures that the antiquity was apparently in an obscure private collection somewhere before 1970.

This is all fascinating (could have done with more images of the antiquities though) but this book is completely let down by its stereotyped players. I may be exaggerated a trifle, but almost all of the good guys (those trying to stop the trade or reclaim their country's lost patrimony) are short, jovial, witty, ebullient and dress with the style of Italians (even if they are Greek). They possess "a slightly academic temperament".

All the bad guys (tomb-robbers, middle-men, dealers) have lank hair but are tall, virile, dressed in leather, sweaty (no wonder) and/or closet homosexuals. They don't wear seatbelts. The bad girls use hair dye and fly to their philandering spouses' rescues with briefcases of cash.

The writing style is a form of modern sensationalism that one recognises from The Da Vinci Code. There are a lot of italics, just in case you don't get the point of things. The spelling is variable (Basle/Basel). There are some sentences which really ought to have been edited out, including my favourite: "Not everyone agrees with [X] in his judgments... but his... sheer resoluteness, has a certain magnificence."

I kept waiting for a self-flagellating albino to appear on the scene.

Bad writing and overcooked dramatics aside, this book is important because it offers a popular look at a really important issue - and one that is even more pertinent in the wake of the looting from, e.g., the Cairo Museum during the riots or the situation in Libya at the moment. What will happen to these stolen antiquities? You might think that the items are too well known to ever be passed on the antiquities market. However there are always people willing to acquire items of dubious provenance for their private collections. This book makes it clear, furthermore, that the curators of public collections are not immune to similar corner cutting when the collecting bug strikes.

You'll never look at a Greek vase in a museum in the same way again.

Rating: points for issue-raising; demerits for writing style, um 7/10?

If you liked this… I want to read the Jason Felch & Ralph Frammolino's Chasing Aphrodite. The Hunt for Looted Antiquities at the World’s Richest Museum (2011), a further exposé of the Getty Museum. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

{weekend words}

Henrietta found she did not read by herself. The two years away from school made it difficult to start. Perhaps it may seem strange that a girl who had been so eager at school, should not care to work by herself at home. But when there are no competitors and no Miss Arundel, work loses much of its zest for everyone except the real student, who is rarely to be found among men, still more rarely among women. And the last thing Henrietta would ever be was unusual. Clever, interesting schoolgirls are not at all uncommon, though not so general as clever, interesting children. But there are few who remain clever and interesting when they grow up. Uninspiring surroundings, and contact with life, or mere accumulation of years, take something away. Or perhaps it simply is that when they are grown up they are judged by a more severe standard.
F. M. Mayor (1913)

{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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