Vintage Silver Age Mystery
Just the Facts Category: Why — It made a “best of” list
TBR #124 (72e, 52p)
Date Finished: December 2, 2019
When the secretary of a pacifist organization that gets mistaken for a terrorist organization by a gang organized by a criminal mastermind, he then has to infiltrate that organization for the federal government and defeat them before he is caught.
A comedy romp in the midst of the mid-1960s spy craze, Westlake delivers an entertaining story that doesn’t quite live up to some of his other works, such as the Dortmunder comedic crime series that started in 1970. It still made Anthony Boucher’s Best Crime Fiction of the Year list for 1966.
TBR #123 (72e, 51p)
Date Finished: November 27, 2019
Not a mystery, but another off the TBR pile, thanks to Michael Ian Black reading it to me on his podcast.
Vintage Juvenile Adventure
Date Finished: November 13, 2018
The Tom Slade series was originally about the Boy Scouts, but here he and a pal have been sent to France in World War I to serve as helpers. In a previous story they have been captured by the Germans and imprisoned, but this one starts just after their escape. They find the father and sister of a French friend in Alsace and save them from the dreadful Germans, while running and fighting to safety.
As propaganda goes, these are pretty strongly anti-German with incredible generalizations as brutal, baby-bayoneting monsters. The writing and action isn’t too terrible, though.
As per Bev’s instructions, here is my check-in information so far.
- How high have you climbed?
Well, things have slowed down a bit since finishing the sabbatical and the Golden Age Mystery challenge, but I’m at 71 read out of my goal of 75 TBR books, so almost to Mt. Toro. I’ll still shoot for 100 and Mt. Everest but need to get climbing.
2. Complete ONE (or more if you like) of the following:
C. Which book (read so far) has been on your TBR mountain the longest? Was it worth the wait? Or is it possible you should have tackled it back when you first put it on the pile? Or tossed it off the edge without reading it all?
I suppose Ellery Queen’s Blow Hot, Blow Cold
has been in my pile since the late 1980s, though some of the Agatha Christies have also been around for that long. I am less motivated to read non-series titles, so some other Ellery Queens have been on my shelf since the early 1980s. Even as a kid, I could tell that those late Queens did not fit with the rest of his work, long before the internet and the identification of various ghostwriters. This one, written by Fletcher Flora, was ok, but not a Queen classic. Still, it is good to get it off the shelf.
Date Finished: September 5, 2016
The reproduction here isn’t the greatest, but these are still fun strips to read. Pat, Terry, the Dragon Lady, Raven Sherman, Dude Hennick are captured and escape from the Japanese, as well as Chinese bandits, during the Japanese invasion of China.
Date Finished: August 5, 2016
I’ve had this one quite a while, but read some of the earlier ones in the series during a period of poor record keeping, so I wasn’t sure where to begin. It doesn’t really matter, though, as there isn’t a great deal of continuity. I read these out of the original Amazing Stories issues, so the disjointed nature of this book fit better within that structure. Here John Carter and his granddaughter Llana of Gathol are captured or face adversaries in four cities across Mars. Llana doesn’t have a large role, but apparently this is a return to featuring John Carter after a few novels centered around various family members. Some have indicated that Burroughs had slipped to self-parody at this point, but I’m not sure I see that. It is fairly standard Mars action on Burroughs part, competently told. Fun, but not amazing, despite its origin.
Vintage Silver Age Mystery
Scavenger Hunt Category: Flashlight
Date Finished: August 2, 2016
We’ll only count this as a half-step up the TBR pile, as this is just half of an Ace Double. McKnight returns to the flying world with another pilot dragged into a mystery investigation. I haven’t bothered to determine if this is the same character, but there isn’t much distinctive about any of McKnight’s characters so it doesn’t really matter. His writing style seems to have changed a bit here as he is much more jokier, a la Prather or Carter Brown, than I remember him being in earlier novels. It is not a good fit. A less leering attitude would have helped here. There is something in this about a stolen plane, a wad of money and possibly drug smuggling, but it is such a muddled mess that I forgot most of it by now. The best part is the title.
One of the thugs on the dock is holding a flashlight, though you can mostly just see the beam, but we’ll count it as that.