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

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

Robert van Gulik – The Chinese Maze Murders (1957)


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

George Harmon Coxe – Mrs Murdock Takes a Case (1941)


Vintage Golden Age Mystery
Just the Facts Category: What — Person’s name in title
TBR #128 (72e, 56p)
Date Finished: December 17, 2019

Kent Murdock’s ex-wife, the first one, Hestor, not Joyce, the current-as-of-1941-one, returns from the Caribbean with another ex-husband in tow, as she’s trying to deal with inheriting from a recently deceased third husband. The middle husband also seems to be a blackmailer who has lined up several victims from the small circle of people in which the Murdocks are involved. Rather than get involved as he usually does with an investigation, Kent refuses, which leads Joyce to try and help her friend deal with the blackmailer and figure out these murders, with the help of private detective Jack Fenner.

An unusual outing in that Joyce definitely plays the bigger role here, making several strong deductions leading to the resolution of the mystery. That solution isn’t a great surprise, but it still is an entertaining mystery. Having started this series with the later books in which Kent is an unattached and detached figure, having a wife and ex-wife feels out of character.

Just the Facts Golden 2019-12-17

Arthur Conan Doyle – The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1905)


Vintage Golden Age Mystery
Just the Facts Category: When — Set in Victorian Era
TBR #125 (72e, 53p)
Date Finished: December 3, 2019

There are many classic stories here, with the first several very familiar, but many unfamiliar ones as well. The writing is very precise and the stories logically told, which is not always the case with more recent pastiches. One forgets how good a writer Doyle was and how good and enjoyable the original stories are.

Just the Facts Golden 2019-12-03

Richard Ellington – Shoot the Works (1948)


Vintage Golden Age Mystery
Just the Facts Category: When — During a recognized holiday
Monthly Key Word: Works (July)
TBR #119 (72e, 47p)
Date Finished: November 15, 2019

Private detective Steve Drake is hired by a psychiatrist to supervise a young woman from a wealthy and powerful family who has some issues around sex. He is supposed to play up to her and keep her out of trouble, and keep the family name out of the papers, but some blackmailers are also hanging around, which leads to murder. It all ties up with an earlier murder in Florida, so Steve and others head there from New York City to straighten it all out.

I always enjoy Ellington’s writing and this one moves along nicely. Nominally set around Christmas time, it doesn’t play a big part in the story, other than the cold weather. The mystery and characters are typical hard boiled private eye-story types, but still this is very well done. Entertaining.

Edit: Oh, yeah. Also qualifies for a monthly keyword from back in July.

Just the Facts Golden 2019-11-15

2019 Monthly Key Words 2019-11-15

Ellery Queen – The Tragedy of Z (1933)


Vintage Golden Age Mystery
Just the Facts Category: Who — Actor/Actress
TBR #112 (69e, 43p)
Date Finished: October 18, 2019

The third published adventure of Drury Lane, retired actor, starts off with much more focus on Inspector Thumm’s daughter Patience, recently returned from being educated in Europe. Her detecting skills get her, her father, and Drury Lane involved with defending a convict accused of murdering a powerful state senator. After they fail and he is imprisoned again, the convict escapes and again is implicated in the death of the senator’s politically connected brother.

The early parts of the story showcasing Patience’s observations and deductions works best, but once Drury Lane takes over the investigation midway through the book, her abilities seem to dwindle and she exhibits more stereotyped feminine characteristics. The story also lacks the cleverness of other Queen works, with the solution somewhat obvious. The characters, other than Patience, are only slightly developed, and Drury Lane seems to have forgotten that he is deaf.

Just the Facts Golden 2019-10-19

Richard and Frances Lockridge – Payoff for the Banker (1945)


Vintage Golden Age Mystery
Just the Facts Category: Who — A Publisher
TBR #110 (67e, 43p)
Date Finished: October 9, 2019

A young woman finds a murdered man in her newly sub-leased apartment. She, of course, calls in Mr. and Mrs. North before calling the police. The dead man turns out to be the wealthy father who broke up her romance with his son several years before. The apartment had also been previously rented by the wealthy man’s assistant, where he kept a woman who was the mistress of both the wealthy man and the assistant. The Norths hang out at the family’s mansion with Inspector Weigand until Pam stumbles upon the murderer and reveals everything.

A fairly good set-up to the mystery and characters is all resolved again through no detection on Pam’s part, but just bumbling into danger. Jerry is the publisher here, but has little to do, other than interpret Pam’s logic, which is on full display. The eighth book in the series, the formula has been established and this one follows along by the numbers.

Just the Facts Golden 2019-10-09