Charles Williams – Man on the Run (1958)

ManontheRun

Vintage Golden Age Mystery
Vintage Mystery Extravaganza category: #7 Narrator suspected
Date Finished: January 8, 2020

A sailor fresh off a boat is on the run for the murder of a police detective who was fooling around with the sailor’s wife. Hiding out with an alcoholic, suicidal female novelist, they attempt to find the real killer while also falling for each other, as tends to happen when you’re on the run.

Fugitive novels seem to have been the thing in the 1950s, perhaps due to the Cold War paranoia. Williams wrote a fast-paced, suspenseful story here with all the requisite elements. The ending perhaps is the one thing that stands out as different from the standard story, other than the skill with which he wrote.

Thomas B. Dewey – Handle with Fear (1951)

HandleWithFear

Vintage Golden Age Mystery
Vintage Mystery Extravaganza category: #12 Has a detective
Date Finished: January 4, 2020

Singer Batts, scholar and armchair detective, is back for his fourth and final mystery with his hotel manager and assistant Joe Spinder. A young man with a suitcase of money arrives at their hotel, followed by a couple of shady characters. Getting involved with the young man’s dilemma leads them to Chicago, where Singer is also presenting a paper to a conference on Shakespeare. Joe digs into the background of the young man’s dead wife, her sister, gangsters, and businessmen, all related to some embezzlement from a soft drink company.

Joe does most of the legwork here, with Singer busy with his conference. Though the Chicago setting is interesting, I did miss the hotel-centered story that was previously more of a focus. This story is a transition to the more urban, Chicago-based stories of the Mac series, which picked up in 1953 after an early outing in 1947. Dewey remains one of my favorite writers and this story is a fun one, even though the mystery was not too difficult to solve.

Robert Colby – Murder Mistress (1959)

MurderMistress

Vintage Golden Age Mystery
Vintage Mystery Extravaganza category: #14 More than one detective
Date Finished: January 1, 2020

I’m way behind again, but let me see if I can summarize this one.

AceD361_MurderMistress

A down-on-his-luck TV announcer, Scott Daniels, picks up a stranded woman along a Florida highway. She gets him involved with swiping a suitcase of stolen money from an accident scene, giving him some clues to investigate once they separate in Miami in his hopes of earning the reward money. In order to get that reward, Daniels doesn’t reveal all to the police investigators, getting him into some danger before the deux ex machina arrival of the police.

As is expected for an Ace Double story, this one moves along very quickly. The suspense is not quite as developed as it could have been and their isn’t a lot of deep meaning, but still a fun read.

Just the Facts 2019 – Wrap up

I just was able to finish both of these challenges on the December 31 deadline. Whew. Not the best year for reading.

Just the Facts Golden 2019-12-31

Who
1. Edmund Crispin – Frequent Hearses (4/27/19)
2. Ellery Queen – The Tragedy of Z (10/18/19)
3. A.A. Fair – Double or Quits (2/7/19)
4. Rufus King – Diagnosis: Murder (2/12/19)
5. Holly Roth – The Shocking Secret (3/6/19)
6. George Harmon Coxe – The Camera Clue (3/20/19)
7. Jack Webb – The Delicate Darling (4/25/19)
8. Thomas B. Dewey – Mourning After (1/13/19)
9. Richard and Frances Lockridge – Payoff for the Banker (10/9/19)
10. Harrison Hunt – Murder Picks the Jury (1/7/19)

Where
1. Ngaio Marsh – Death and the Dancing Footman (3/1/19)
2. Edward S. Aarons – The State Department Murders (3/2/19)
3. Will Oursler – Departure Delayed (1/18/19)
4. Lange Lewis – Murder Among Friends (7/21/19)
5. Edmund Crispin – Buried for Pleasure (4/7/19)
6. Edward Candy – Which Doctor? (1/31/19)
7. Arthur Upfield – The Sands of Windee (7/5/19)
8. Kathleen Moore Knight – High Rendezvous (2/3/19)
9. Frances and Richard Lockridge – Death Takes a Bow (6/19/19)
10. John Dickson Carr – He Who Whispers (2/22/19)

What
1. George Harmon Coxe – Mrs. Murdock Takes a Case (12/17/19)
2. George Harmon Coxe – Four Frightened Women (7/13/19)
3. Eric Knight – You Play the Black and the Red Comes Up (2/16/19)
4. Harry Whittington – The Brass Monkey (3/5/19)
5. Louis Trimble – Stab in the Dark (4/7/19)
6. Ellery Queen – The Tragedy of Y (4/17/19)
7. Craig Rice – Trial by Fury (2/9/19)
8. Fredric Brown – Madball (2/18/19)
9. Helen Reilly – Mr. Smith’s Hat (1/9/19)
10. Agatha Christie – The Moving Finger (3/10/19)

How
1. Dale Clark – Death Wore Fins (1/1/19)
2. Louis Trimble – The Corpse Without a Country (5/27/19)
3. Talmage Powell – The Smasher (3/31/19)
4. Phoebe Atwood Taylor – Deathblow Hill (2/11/19)
5. Carter Dickson – The Judas Window (6/8/19)
6. Fredric Brown – We All Killed Grandma (1/3/19)
7. Phoebe Atwood Taylor – Beginning with a Bash (4/3/19)
8. Marvin Claire – The Drowning Wire (3/28/19)
9. William P. McGivern – Very Cold for May (1/9/19)
10. James McConnaughey – Three for the Money (1/26/19)

When
1. Richard Ellington – Shoot the Works (11/15/19)
2. Arthur Conan Doyle – The Return of Sherlock Holmes (12/3/19)
3. John D. MacDonald – April Evil (7/24/19)
4. Carter Dickson – The Punch and Judy Murders (3/23/19)
5. Phoebe Atwood Taylor – Out of Order (5/27/19)
6. Ngaio Marsh – Died in the Wool (3/10/19)
7. Robert van Gulik – The Chinese Maze Murders (12/31/19)
8. Ngaio Marsh – Spinsters in Jeopardy (8/5/19)
9. Ngaio Marsh – Night at the Vulcan (7/6/19)
10. William Campbell Gault – Fair Prey (9/11/19)

Why
1. William Campbell Gault – Don’t Cry for Me (1/21/19)
2. Ben Benson – The End of Violence (2/23/19)
3. John Dickson Carr – Death Turns the Tables (1/6/19)
4. Robert Colby – The Quaking Widow (1/14/19)
5. Ngaio Marsh – Death of a Peer (1/20/19)
6. Georges Simenon – Maigret Stonewalled (2/23/19)
7. Frank Bunce – So Young a Body (2/14/19)
8. Arthur Upfield – The Bachelors of Broken Hill (1/2/19)
9. Richard and Frances Lockridge – Death on the Aisle (5/19/19)
10. Ngaio Marsh – Final Curtain (5/17/19)

Just the Facts Silver 2019-12-31

Who
1. Robert Colby – Kill Me a Fortune (10/1/19)
2. Robert Colby – The Star Trap (7/2/19)
3. Wilfred McNeilly – No Way Out (8/31/19)
4. Michael Crichton – The Venom Business (12/26/19)
5. Robert Colby – Beautiful But Bad (9/7/19)
6. George Harmon Coxe – Deadly Image (11/26/19)
7. Harry Kemelman – Monday the Rabbi Took Off (12/31/19)
8. Frank Thomas – Sherlock Holmes and the Treasure Train (12/12/19)
9. Michael Gilbert – The Etruscan Net (12/23/19)
10. Anthony Gilbert – She Shall Die (11/29/19)

Where
1. Helen Reilly – The Day She Died (11/27/19)
2. Edward S. Aarons – Assignment the Cairo Dancers (10/23/19)
3. Basil Heatter – Harry and the Bikini Bandits (4/21/19)
4. Michael Gilbert – The Night of the Twelfth (10/27/19)
5. Edward S. Aarons – Assignment Ankara (8/18/19)
6. Brett Halliday – Murder in Haste (7/24/19)
7. Edward S. Aarons – Assignment Mara Tirana (6/9/19)
8. Jay Bennett – Murder Money (6/7/19)
9. Frank Kane – Hearse Class Male (6/25/19)
10. Clayton Rawson – The Great Merlini (3/29/19)

What
1. Carter Brown – Zelda (6/1/19)
2. Brett Halliday – Mike Shayne’s 50th Case (9/14/19)
3. Ellery Queen – The Black Hearts Murder (11/29/19)
4. James Dark – Operation Octopus (1/4/19)
5. Neil MacNeil – Death Ride (9/1/19)
6. Emma Lathen – A Place for Murder (12/8/19)
7. Richard S. Prather – The Meandering Corpse (6/16/19)
8. Tedd Thomey – Kill Me a Husband (6/5/19)
9. Donald Westlake – Help, I Am Being Held Prisoner (12/18/19)
10. Agatha Christie – Endless Night (11/7/19)

How
1. Carter Brown – The White Bikini (6/28/19)
2. William Campbell Gault – The Dead Seed (10/26/19)
3. D.M. Devine – His Own Appointed Day (8/25/19)
4. Carter Brown – The Sad-Eyed Seductress (2/5/19)
5. Brett Halliday – Murder Takes No Holiday (11/17/19)
6. Carter Brown – The Invisible Flamini (9/9/19)
7. Stephen Marlowe – Jeopardy Is My Job (2/3/19)
8. Ed Lacy – A Deadly Affair (7/4/19)
9. William Campbell Gault – Death in Donegal Bay (8/11/19)
10. Brett Halliday – Nice Fillies Finish Last (4/29/19)

When
1. John Tiger – Wipeout (10/19/19)
2. Loren D. Estleman – Sherlock Homes vs. Dracula (12/20/19)
3. Carter Brown – Die Anytime, After Tuesday! (3/16/19)
4. George Harmon Coxe – The Last Commandment (9/29/19)
5. Van Wyck Mason – Trouble in Burma (5/20/19)
6. Georges Simenon – The Trail (9/19/19)
7. Robert van Gulik – The Haunted Monastery (12/24/19)
8. Frank Kane – Crime of Their Life (10/12/19)
9. Frank Kane – Margin for Terror (8/24/19)
10. Ellery Queen – What’s in the Dark? (3/24/19)

Why
1. Donald Westlake – God Save the Mark (12/23/19)
2. Donald Westlake – The Spy in the Ointment (12/2/19)
3. John D. MacDonald – The Only Girl in the Game (12/10/19)
4. Robert Colby – The Faster She Runs (3/2/19)
5. Mignon G. Eberhart – Jury of One (11/13/19)
6. Georges Simenon – Maigret and the Saturday Caller (9/7/19)
7. Michael Crichton – Easy Go (11/18/19)
8. Richard Lockridge – Murder for Art’s Sake (12/27/19)
9. Brett Halliday – The Body Came Back (8/15/19)
10. Marvin H. Albert – Miami Mayhem (8/2/19)

Monthly Key Word 2019 – Wrap Up

Not as productive as last year, but I managed something for every month.

2019 Monthly Key Words 2019-12-29

January: Helen Reilly – Mr. Smith’s Hat (1/9/19)
February: Eric Knight – You Play the Black and the Red Comes Up (2/16/19)
John Dickson Carr – He Who Whispers (2/22/19)
March: Lee Floren – Gun Luck (3/14/19)
Ellery Queen – What‘s in the Dark? (3/24/19)
April: Nelson Nye – Gun-Hunt for the Sundance Kid (4/30/19)
May: Clair Huffaker – Rider from Thunder Mountain (5/5/19)
June: Dan Temple – The Man from Idaho (6/23/19)
July: Richard Ellington – Shoot the Works (11/15/19)
August: Neil MacNeil – The Death Ride (9/1/19)
September: Georges Simenon – The Train (9/19/19)
October: Michael Gilbert – The Night of the Twelfth (10/27/19)
November: Helen Reilly – The Day She Died (11/27/19)
December: Robert Leslie Bellem – Roscoes in the Night (12/29/19)

 

Robert van Gulik – The Chinese Maze Murders (1957)

HMandChineseMaze

Vintage Golden Age Mystery
Just the Facts Category: When — Set pre-1800
TBR #135 (74e, 61p)
Date Finished: December 31, 2019

On his way to assume the magistrate position in a far northern border town, Judge Dee and entourage are set up by a band of thieves. Quickly dispensing with them, it turns out that the thieves have been driven from their homes by a strongman who controls the border town. Judge Dee soon defeats the strongman and deals with a criminal mastermind planning to sell out the town to a Uigur army, a locked room murder, an abducted young woman, and the secret to an inheritance hidden at the center of a maze.

The only difficulty is keeping some of the very similar names straight, but otherwise this is another engrossing, entertaining Judge Dee mystery.

And that completes the Just the Facts Golden Age Notebook.

Just the Facts Golden 2019-12-31

Harry Kemelman – Monday the Rabbi Took Off (1972)

MondaytheRabbi

Vintage Silver Age Mystery
Just the Facts Category: Who — Vicar/Religious figure
Date Finished: December 31, 2019

Rabbi Small and his wife and son go to Israel on a leave of absence from his Massachusetts parish. A young American attending university in Israel is suspected by the police and secret service as being involved with a series of terrorist bombings. Small figures it all out by looking at a photo.

Another incredibly slow and dull Rabbi Small “mystery” with almost no mystery, but plenty of congregational politics, explanations of Judaism, and travelogue of Israel, with Small incredibly pedantic and the American congregation all businessmen clods. Ugh. For some reason these were best sellers and still receive plenty of five-star reviews on Goodreads.

And that completes the Just the Facts silver age card.

Just the Facts Silver 2019-12-31