Okay, I hope to do better tomorrow, but I wasn’t surprised not to have done much today. I had plans with friends for a big chunk of the day and so if I read the rest of the night, I’ll have a grand total of 3 hours. I was thinking to start a new book, but ended up reading more of what I’ve been working on: Brand’s The Crooked Wreath. Inspector Cockrill is apparently friends with every minor noble family in England. Sir Richard dies in the lodge while on a vigil for his first wife. But how did anyone kill him? No one could have gotten in after Brough finished sanding the paths. And what happened to the new will Sir Richard supposedly had signed? The family is left accusing each other and drawing up ingenious theories about how each could have done it. I’m about 2/3 through, so maybe even I can finish it tomorrow.
Sunday – not sure if I made it to midnight last night or not. I fell asleep at some point, but I’ve read another hour and finished The Crooked Wreath. And it’s pretty good. Seems fair as far as I can figure. Two impossible crimes which it is then demonstrated anyone in the house could do. Which of them actually did, I did not figure out. I maybe should not have made my list all mysteries. I’m not feeling like another mystery at the moment. Should I go ahead with the list or pick something else off of it? At any rate that was my 6th of the 20. It’s more than half-over, I need to get a move on. I suspect Brand made Inspector Cockrill friends with all these murder-filled families because she likes calling him Cockie, but that’s a bit informal for a police inspector unless he’s an old family friend.
Okay, onward to… what? I’ll get back to you when I know.
Catherine Aird, though definitely not from the Golden Age, writes mysteries I enjoy. More police procedural, I guess, there’s something about them though that reminds me of Christie. A clean quality to the writing. This is the 5th Inspector Sloan novel and that was simply an error, I haven’t read 3 or 4. But it also doesn’t matter as nothing is given away. It’s not a series that goes much into the lives of its officers. D.C. Crosby likes to drive fast and isn’t overly bright, but that’s about all we know about him and I’m fine with that. It opens with a young woman who has recently returned from Italy to take care of her widowed father discovering he’s disappeared. At first it seems as though he never returned the previous night, then they find his car in the garage, but still no sign of the man until they discover a hand sticking out from under the smashed marble of a statue in a church tower. But how did the statue come down on the man? Why was he there? Is he the missing father? Sloan is up a creek trying to figure out how the crime was committed and why. Was it something to do with an investigation his company was making? With offers to buy his business? With a mysterious pair of earrings?
I enjoy Aird, but I don’t have much to say about it. In the end the case seems to be one of a great deal too much effort going into what would have probably been more successful if the murderer hadn’t made it so complicated, but then some people do overthink things, don’t they?
Tomorrow (about an hour and a half from when I’m writing) is the 24 in 48 Readathon. I doubt I’ll make that, but I hope to get close. We shall see. Two readathons ought to help my Books of Summer count. Also vacation. But who knows? I’ve not been great about reading lately. Good night and I hope you’re going to read a lot this weekend!
I’ve gone off-liste. I read JJ’s review of Murder by Matchlight by E.C.R. Lorac a couple weeks ago or so and he HATED it. His blistering, yet entertaining scorn had me thinking I must read this now. I don’t know why. If someone said, this show is bad or this pudding is terrible I would not hurry to partake. But thanks to JJ I had to order this and make it my next read once Roman Hat was done. I’m in a somewhat different position. I have not read the other Loracs that JJ found so similar. I’ve only read Fire in the Thatch which takes place in the country and is not much like this one. This one takes place in November 1944 – wartime London. This is critical because the blackout is an element of how the murder is done and how Bruce Mallaig happens to be strolling through the park and becomes witness number 1 to the titular murder by matchlight. Witness #2 is a man who hides under the bridge the victim waits on for someone. He lights a match and in that light Bruce sees a face above and behind the man on the bridge. The light goes out, there is a thud and Bruce races to the bridge, tackling witness #2 and calling for the police.
The police have their work cut out for them. Who is the victim? Are these witnesses who they say they are or are they involved in the crime? It then emerges that the victim – an Irishman by his voice – has only been going by his current name for about 9 months, so who is he really? There are many interviews, of course, but I didn’t find them tedious. Each added something to the investigation unlike the searches in The Roman Hat Mystery. I believe I could answer JJ’s questions about the film studio and the motive (at least I can at the moment, who knows how long I’ll remember?), but that would be some serious spoilage here. The coincidental meet-ups are, as far as I can tell, coincidental meet-ups, but there didn’t seem to be a ridiculous number of them and they’re partly explained by these people living and working in proximity. They may have met before, but now they know who each other are. Perhaps someday when he’s had a nice rest and not read too many Loracs recently, he’ll give it another try and not find it the pile of hooey he does now. I enjoyed it. Gives a great picture of wartime London, I liked the characters. I did find some aspects a bit of a stretch, but overall enjoyed the story and would recommend it, unless you’re JJ. Then all bets are off.
Undecided as to which book to read next I went to random.org for a random number. It was 1. Why does it somehow feel like cheating to randomly roll a one? At any rate, the book was The Indigo Necklace the 4th or 5th Jean and Pat Abbott mystery. I started to write this weeks ago, but apparently failed to save it. Jean and Pat are married now and recently moved to an apartment in an old New Orleans family mansion. The Clary family is living in genteel poverty, renting out parts of the manse to scrape by. Jean is very happy with their place except for the mysterious person who uses it as a throughway in the middle of the night. They’ve never seen the wife of the male head of the house, Dr. Clary. She’s ill and waiting for a place in the hospital. One night when Pat is at work, Jean is out on the gallery – what they call those walkways along the upper floors – having a cigarette when abruptly the doctor’s wife appears. She apparently suffered brain damage when she was ill years earlier and clearly has no idea what’s going on, but seems sweet in a child-like way. Shortly after she is dead at the bottom of the stairs. Jean runs down to find the body. Did she fall, was she pushed, where’s the nurse who wears the indigo beads? Does the nurse practice voodoo? Or is she being maligned by the other servants? Did the doctor do away with his wife to be with his new love? Did a curtain rod fall on Jean or did someone knock her out? These questions and more are entertainingly answered. I think the Abbott mysteries are lively and those New Orleans meals were filling me with envy. I will read more of these, but because the early ones all seem to be print-only it’s slower to acquire them. I have a couple though so will read them sometime. They remind me a bit of the Lockridge mysteries. The wife is a little ditzy, but insightful. Pat Abbott is some sort of detective, but seems to be known everywhere and is working on some war work, maybe catching spies. They aren’t as well off, but they sure dine well in New Orleans.
Haven’t worked out how to save pics with this machine, so that’ll have to wait.