Fredric Brown – We All Killed Grandma (1952)


Vintage Golden Age Mystery
Just the Facts Category: How — Death by shooting
Calendar of Crime: February 9 – Couple/romance major role
TBR #3 (2e, 1p)
Date Finished: January 3, 2019

A man finds his grandmother shot to death in front of her open safe and immediately loses his memory while phoning the police. Struggling with amnesia, and afraid he’s blocking out his own guilt, he struggles to put together his past, and the timeline of the shooting, while also dealing with his ex-wife and his feelings for her.

Not considered as one of Brown’s best works, it is an interesting concept that relies mainly on dialogue rather than action. Almost all of Brown’s characters in various books end up sounding alike, which is a common issue among writers, but Brown also created very likable lead characters, which is no different here. Certainly no tough, hardboiled type, the lead, Rod Britten, is a softy, often to his detriment. Overall this is an entertaining mystery, but no classic.

just the facts golden 2019-01-03

calendar of crime checkoff sheet 2019-01-03

Mount TBR 2018 Final Checkpoint

Mount TBR 2018

1. Tell us how many miles you made it up your mountain (# of books read). If you’ve planted your flag on the peak, then tell us, take a selfie, and celebrate (and wave!). Even if you were especially athletic and have been sitting atop your mountain for months, please check back in and remind us how quickly you sprinted up that trail. And feel free to tell us about any particularly exciting book adventures you’ve had along the way.

After reaching my initial goal of 100 books off the TBR pile back in September, I decided to give Mt. Olympus a shot at 150 books. I’m happy to say I reached that goal on December 29.

2. The Words to the Wise According to Mount TBR: Using the titles of the books you read this year, see how many of the familiar proverbs and sayings below you can complete with a book read on your journey up the Mountain. Feel free to add/subtract a word or two to help them make sense. 

I’ll do a all-Western round-up here:

A stitch in time…Empty Saddles
Don’t count your chickens…[before] The Night Branders
A penny saved is…. (an) Incident at Sun Mountain
All good things must come… Among the Hunted (aka Marshal of Bitterroot)
When in Rome… Guns Up
All that glitters is not… The Ghost Trail
A picture is worth a… Singing Lariat
When the going gets tough, the tough get… the Last Shoot-Out
Two wrongs don’t make (a)… Dakota Boomtown
The pen is mightier than…. Saddle Justice
The squeaky wheel gets… (the) Song of the Gun
Hope for the best, but prepare for… The Last Rodeo
Birds of a feather flock… (to) The Manhunter

Just the Facts, Ma’am 2018 – Wrap-Up

It’s time for the end of the year wrap-up. Both golden age and silver age cards were filled with 48 books each for a total of 96 books.

Just the Facts, Ma’am Golden Age Challenge

Just the Facts Golden Card 2018-06-09

Edmund Crispin – Love Lies Bleeding (1948) – An Academic
A.A. Fair – Spill the Jackpot (1941) – Crime-Solving Duo
John Creasey – The Toff and the Deadly Parson (1944) – An amateur detective
Miriam Borgenicht – Don’t Look Back (1956) – In the Medical Field
Owen Dudley – Murder for Charity (1957) – A Journalist/Writer
George Harmon Coxe – Murdock’s Acid Test (1936) – An Artist/Photographer
Edward S. Aarons – Assignment Angelina (1959) – Retired from or in the Armed Services
Earl Derr Biggers – The Black Camel (1929) – Matriarch/Patriarch of family

Kenneth Robeson – River of Ice (1940) – Pseudonymous author
Patrick Quentin – The Man With Two Wives (1955) – Number in the title
Frank Castle – Murder in Red (1957) – Color in the title
David Alexander – Die, Little Goose (1956) – An animal in the title
Richard and Frances Lockridge – Hanged for a Sheep (1942) – Means of Murder in title
Brett Halliday – When Dorinda Dances (1951) – Reference to a man or woman in title
Charles Williams – Gulf Coast Girl (1955) – Book published under more than one title
Agatha Christie – Mrs. McGinty’s Dead (1952) – Title Contains two words beginning with same letter

Craig Rice – The Right Murder (1941) – During a recognized holiday
W.C. Tuttle – Bluffer’s Luck (1937) – A historical crime
John K. Butler – At the Stroke of Midnight (1940-1942) – Time/Date/etc in Title
Georges Simenon – Maigret and the Millionaires (1958) – Timing of crime is crucial
Hilda Lawrence – Blood Upon the Snow (1944) – During a weather event
Donald Hamilton – The Steel Mirror (1948) – During a trip/vacation/cruise, etc.
Clayton Rawson – Death from a Top Hat (1938) – During a performance of any sort
Phoebe Atwood Taylor – Figure Away (1937) – During a special event: birthday, village fete, etc.

Agatha Christie – Funerals Are Fatal (1953) – At a Country House
Georges Simenon – Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett (1931) – On a mode of transportation
Agatha Christie – Evil Under the Sun (1941) – On an Island
Agatha Christie – Cat Among Pigeons (1959) – At a school
Craig Rice – The Thursday Turkey Murders (1943) – Set in a small village
Richard Sale – Passing Strange (1942) – In a hospital/nursing home
Erle Stanley Gardner – The D.A. Draws a Circle (1939) – Features a courtroom scene
Rufus King – Murder By the Clock (1929) – In a locked room

G.G. Fickling – This Girl for Hire (1957) – Death by drowning
Stewart Sterling – Five-Alarm Funeral (1942) – Crime involved fire/arson
Erle Stanley Gardner – The D.A. Calls It Murder (1937) – Death by poison
Georges Simenon – Maigret’s Holiday (1948) – Death by strangulation
John Creasey – If Anything Happens to Hester (1959) – Death by knife/dagger/etc.
Edward Ronns – Point of Peril (1956) – Death by shooting
Clarence Budington Kelland – Death Keeps a Secret (1953) – At least two deaths with different means
Peter Cheyney – They Never Say When (1945) – Death by blunt instrument


Stanley Ellin – The Eighth Circle (1958) – It won an award of any sort
Ellery Queen – Tragedy of X (1932) – It made a ‘best of’ list
Georges Simenon – Maigret Meets a Milord (1931) – Has been read/reviewed by a fellow challenger at any time
Maxwell Grant – Road of Crime (1933)/Crooks Go Straight (1935) – Has been on your TBR list
Ione Sandberg Shriber – Pattern for Murder (1944) – Out of your comfort zone
Ross Laurence – The Fast Buck (1953) – An author you’ve never tried
Craig Rice – The Wrong Murder (1940) – It’s by an author you’ve read & loved before
Leslie Charteris – Follow the Saint (1938) – Book made into tv/film/play

Just the Facts, Ma’am Silver Age Challenge

Just the Facts Silver Card 2018-07-28a

Ellery Queen – The Campus Murders (1969) – An Academic
Agatha Christie – By the Pricking of My Thumbs (1968) – Crime-Solving Duo
Robert Colby – In a Vanishing Room (1961) – An amateur detective
Michael Crichton – Drug of Choice (1970) – In the Medical Field
Max Allan Collins – The Baby Blue Rip-Off (1983) – A Journalist/Writer
George Harmon Coxe – The Reluctant Heiress (1965) – An Artist/Photographer
Michael Avallone – The Living Bomb (1963) – Retired from or in the Armed Services
George Harmon Coxe – The Silent Witness (1973) – Matriarch/Patriarch of family

Ellery Queen – Cop Out (1969) – Pseudonymous author
Michael Crichton – Scratch One (1967) – Number in the title
Margaret Truman – Murder in the White House (1980) – Color in the title
Michael Avallone – The Birds of a Feather Affair (1966) – An animal in the title
Brett Halliday – Shoot to Kill (1964) – Means of Murder in title
Robert Colby – Lament for Julie (1961) – Reference to a man or woman in title
Michael Innes – The Crabtree Affair (1962) – Book published under more than one title
Brett Halliday – The Careless Corpse (1961) – Title Contains two words beginning with same letter

Agatha Christie – Hallowe’en Party (1969) – During a recognized holiday
Robert van Gulik – The Chinese Lake Murders (1960) – A historical crime
Harry Kemelman – Sunday the Rabbi Stayed Home (1969) – Time/Date/etc in Title
Thomas B. Dewey – The Girl Who Wasn’t There (1960) – Timing of crime is crucial
Max Allan Collins – Nice Weekend for a Murder (1986) – During a weather event
Ellery Queen – The Madman Theory (1966) – During a trip/vacation/cruise, etc.
Dick Francis – Dead Cert (1962) – During a performance of any sort
Richard S. Prather – The Trojan Hearse (1964) – During a special event: birthday, village fete, etc.

Agatha Christie – Elephants Can Remember (1972) – At a Country House
Charles Williams – The Sailcloth Shroud (1960) – On a mode of transportation
John D. MacDonald – Slam the Big Door (1960) – On an Island
Leonard Holton – Flowers By Request (1964) – At a school
Agatha Christie – Postern of Fate (1973) – Set in a small village
Jonathan Kellerman – Blood Test (1986) – In a hospital/nursing home
Bill S. Ballinger – Not I, Said the Vixen (1965) – Features a courtroom scene
Michael Innes – Appleby and Honeybath (1983) – In a locked room

John D. MacDonald – The Drowner (1963) – Death by drowning
Charles Williams – And the Deep Blue Sea (1971) – Crime involved fire/arson
Brett Halliday – The Corpse That Never Was (1963) – Death by poison
Richard Deming – Anything But Saintly (1963) – Death by strangulation
Carter Brown – A Good Year for Dwarfs? (1970) – Death by knife/dagger/etc.
William Campbell Gault – The Cana Diversion (1982) – Death by shooting
Louis Trimble – The Surfside Caper (1961) – At least two deaths with different means
Carter Brown – The Never-Was Girl (1964) – Death by blunt instrument

Fletcher Flora – Killing Cousins (1960) – It won an award of any sort
Robert van Gulik – The Chinese Nail Murders (1961) – It made a ‘best of’ list
Agatha Christie – The Pale Horse (1961) – Has been read/reviewed by a fellow challenger at any time
Henry Kane – Never Give a Millionaire an Even Break (1963) – Has been on your TBR list
Mignon Eberhart – Family Fortune (1976) – Out of your comfort zone
Robert Colby – Kim (1962) – An author you’ve never tried
William Campbell Gault – The Bad Samaritan (1980) – It’s by an author you’ve read & loved before
Leslie Charteris – The Saint on TV (1968) – Book made into tv/film/play

Thanks to Bev for running a great contest, which is a big motivation to keep me reading.


Deal Me In Challenge – Round-up


Deal Me In Challenge: 8♦️, 2♣️, 5♣️, 7♣️, Q♣️, Q♥️, K♠️

My intention was to finish the entire magazine or book in which these stories appeared, but I didn’t manage to do so in 2018. So therefore, some notes:

8♦️“Mystery of the Martian Pendulum” by Thornton Ayre and A.R. Steber, Amazing Stories, October 1941: Explorers on Mars discover an underground chamber with a mysterious orb and surrounding smaller orbs, which causes the center orb to tick. It all explodes and I cannot remember any sort of logical explanation why this existed or what was the point of this story. A mystery. The end of the issue and nothing more than filler.

2♣️ – “Necromancy in Naat” by Clark Ashton Smith, Weird Tales, July 1936: Strange, almost apocalyptic, as quest for abducted woman leads to isle of sorcerers and death, and undeath.

5♣️ – “Hell’s Pavement” by Irving E. Cox, Jr., Astounding Science Fiction, December 1951: A warrior empire attempts again to conquer a mysterious planet known as the Enigma, where all previous invasion attempts had failed. It fails again, and spoiler: it’s Earth!

7♣️ – “One Little Bullet” by Henry Kane, Manhunt, April 1953: Peter Chambers investigates a killing in a crowded nightclub. Several individuals with motives were sitting at a table with the right angle for the shot but Peter tracks down the one with the marksmanship skills. Dialogue not as quirky as usual, which does away with the series’ main attribute.

Q♣️ – “The Tears of Evil” by Craig Rice: A wedding anniversary party leads to murder, unluckily for the couple, but luckily Malone was a guest.

Q♥️ – The Murder of Mr. Malone” by Craig Rice: Malone inadvertently switches place with a San Francisco private eye in the Los Angeles airport and then keeps up the switch until the murderer can be found, including during his own funeral, allowing him to pop up from his coffin and accuse the murderer. No great mystery but fun and wacky, like most Craig Rice works. No Jake and Helene but his competent secretary Maggie.

K♠️ – “The Adventure of the Empty House” by Arthur Conan Doyle: Sherlock Holmes returns after his supposed death three years before. A hunt for Moriarty’s lieutenant brings him back to London and out into the open. The mystery itself serves only as a reason for this return but still triumphant.


Detective Tales – December 1943


Vintage Mystery Pulp
Deal Me In Challenge: 7♠️
Cloak and Dagger Challenge #137
Date Finished: December 31, 2018

Detective Tales was a higher quality publication from Popular Publications than were any from the Trojan line, with this issue featuring stories by Day Keene, D.L Champion, and Stewart Sterling, among others. Being a war-time issue, many of these stories involve defeating Nazi spies in America, including a well done tale, “Night Watch at Anselmo’s” by Philip Ketchum, in which a merchant marine sailor defeats a German spy ring to gain retribution for the sinking of his last ship and the resulting deaths of his friends and fellow crew members.

For the seven of spades selection, “The Corpse Exchange” by Day Keene leads off this issue and gets the main cover blurb. The story features a private eye in Chicago and a war time swindle racket, with murders, frame-ups, knockout drops, con men, a fake suicide, shootings, abductions all in 25 pages. Fast moving, and not featuring an armchair detective by any means.

Super-Detective – January 1943


Vintage Mystery Pulp
Deal Me In Challenge: 10♦️
Cloak and Dagger Challenge #136
Date Finished: December 30, 2018

The Super-Detective pulp was a Trojan publication from their Speed era after the forced clean-up of their Spicy line. Three out of six stories here are reprints from 1934 issues of Spicy Detective, though with much of their salacious material removed. This includes a Norman A. Daniels story, under the name Max Neilson, “Murder Stays at Home” that is enjoyable.

The ten of diamonds selection, “Murder Between Shifts” by John Grange, was a new “book-length” story featuring detective Jim Anthony. He is too good to be true, a millionaire, factory owner, and super-detective, but the story moves along nicely with various motives present for a nightclub killing. The gimmick was a bit obvious but otherwise enjoyable, despite this being a lower quality pulp. The interesting
setting of war time swing shift culture is a plus.

Planet Stories – Spring 1945


Vintage Science Fiction Pulp
Deal Me In Challenge: 10♣️
Date Finished: December 30, 2018

The Fiction House science fiction pulp Planet Stories featured more action-oriented space opera stories than did some of the more artistic or experimental magazines. Leigh Brackett, one of their star authors, had a story in this issue, as did one with whom I was not familiar, Albert DePina, who is also mentioned in a cover blurb. Robert Wilson’s “Vandals of the Void” was another entertaining novelet in this issue.

The 10 of clubs selection, “Double Trouble” by Carl Jacobi, features Grannie Annie, science fiction writer in the future, who goes to various planets to do research for her stories, but stumbles across a real mystery amid competing mines on a moon of Jupiter. This seems to have been a continuing series, but here features her narrator assistant more than the quirky woman herself.