It is 1907 Los Angeles, and someone is killing prostitutes. It is not a series of crimes anyone seems eager to acknowledge, let alone solve. Everyone seems happy to suppose the deaths are all suicides. No, if anyone is going to get to the bottom of this case, it will be Anna Blanc, a ravishing … Continue reading “The Secret Life of Anna Blanc,” by Jennifer Kincheloe
A while back I reviewed a gritty, realistic-feeling spy novel by John Le Carre. The book I am discussing today is the precise polar opposite. I speak of "The Saint in New York," part of a long-running, very popular fiction series by Leslie Charteris. The series began in tne 1930's, encompasses dozens of books and … Continue reading “The Saint in New York,” by Leslie Charteris, or Is This The Greatest Wish-Fulfillment Character in Fiction?
This is an outstanding blend of police procedural/thriller and, honestly, a love story. Guild's strengths are his characters and his rock solid prose. He has the knack of creating very believable protagonists and supporting characters ... and then putting them through hell in a way that keeps you turning pages. He also describes violent things … Continue reading “Blood Ties,” by Nicholas Guild, or “Why isn’t this book a movie yet?”
No one today writes crime novels the way Wilkie Collins did, nor should they. Collins, a contemporary of Charles Dickens, is best known for atmospheric works such as "The Moonstone" and "The Woman in White," but he wrote many, many more novels than those two. When I find myself in the mood for a good … Continue reading “Jezebel’s Daughter,” by Wilkie Collins: Murder and mystery the old-fashioned way
It looked like a horror novel. It really did. Peter Straub's name in big, bold letters, was the most dominant feature on the cover. A pair of hell-blazing eyes peered at me from beneath the author's name. "The Hellfire Club" title evoked decadence and bad cultish behavior. I had been haunting the local used-book store, … Continue reading “The Hellfire Club,” by Peter Straub
"Captain Cut-throat." The title might lead you to believe this is a pirate adventure, but it's not. The author, John Dickson Carr, might lead you to expect a murder mystery, but it is not quite that, either. Carr wrote many good old-fashioned detective stories, many of the locked-room variety, but there really is not much … Continue reading “Captain Cut-throat,” a tale of spying during the Napoleonic Wars