Sunday, April 29, 2018


Castrevenford School is preparing for Speech Day and Professor Gervase Fen is called upon to present the prizes.  However, the night before the big day strange events take place that leave two staff members of staff dead.  The Headmaster turns to Professor Fen to investigate the murders.  While disentangling the facts of the case, Fen is forced to deal with student love affairs, a kidnapping and a lost Shakespearean manuscript.

Another solid mystery from Crispin, he is very clever , very funny and for a book published  originally in 1948 very progressive.

If you enjoy the English 'village' mystery this series is well worth chasing down.

Its a shame that the author's fondness for the bottle curtailed his writing prematurely.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018


Up and coming drug lord Keith Vine likes the fine work of his best pusher, but when her eye wanders to another supplier, he kills her, setting off a murderous struggle for turf. At the centre of a tense, shifting group if criminals and police is " Lovely Mover", a lurking  stranger from the London syndicate, whom the locals fear is planning a take over.  Detective Chief Inspector Colin Harpur, working undercover as Vince's supposed partner, finds himself in increasing danger.

If you are looking for anything remotely resembling a nice character in a Bill James crime novel don't bother ever starting one.

In this one the criminals are weak, cowardly and immature.  As for the police, Harpur is shacked up with a 19 year old and although undercover is sailing very close to being just another crook and his boss Iles is attempting to seduce his 16 year old daughter, its all very dysfunctional.

What sets this apart from the ones I've read previously is the lack of the normal really black humour and because of this the story drags. Its just crooks killing each other in a sad little corner of the world.

James has written much better so leave this one until last.

Sunday, April 22, 2018


This is a collection of historical 'whodunnits', many involve murder.

These essays ask questions of many things ,events and people through our history.

What Happened on the Mary Celeste?
Why Did Rome Fall?
Where is Atlantis?
What Happened on Easter Island?

There are twenty essays and most are written by scholars in the field or those who could be considered experts.

There is not too much 'tinfoil' hat wearing, although like all history lots of the writing is subjective but this is quality writing and points are supported by data where it can be.

This collection makes for a perfect bath book with each essay running approximately 17 pages.

A very interesting read.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018


When a mad Duke plans to kidnap the Empress of Blandings, Lord Emsworth calls in the ingenious Uncle Fred to pull the fat pig out of the fire.

Vintage Wodehouse,with an incredibly convoluted plot involving lots of personages from Blandings and The Drones and as always with Wodehouse, a delight.

This from Evelyn Waugh:

Mr Wodehouse's idyllic world can never stale.  He will continue to release future generations from captivity that may be more irksome than our own.  He has made a world for us to live in and delight in.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

MAN OF TWO TRIBES - Arthur Upfield

Set on the Nullarbor Plain and in the caves beneath it, this has been described as one of the strongest of Upfield's novels. Bony discovers a group of people imprisoned in the extensive limestone caves beneath the plain and has to lead them through the wilderness and back to white civilization, pursued by various enemies.  The task requires its hero to draw on both his Aboriginal and European heritages.

There is a murder involved but this is more a travelogue across the Nullarbor and it is a very good read. 

The bad guys are easily identified but as stated its the information that is inserted when Bony is travelling alone for two weeks that makes this very interesting & makes for one of the better 'Bony's I've read.

A great series of mysteries.