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)

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

Richard Lockridge – Murder for Art’s Sake (1967)

MurderforArtsSake

Vintage Silver Age Mystery
Just the Facts Category: Why — Read by a fellow challenger
TBR #133 (74e, 59p)
Date Finished: December 27, 2019

Sad sack police lieutenant Nathan Shapiro returns to investigate the apparent suicide of a modernistic painter. When it quickly becomes apparent that it was murder, Shapiro pokes around among the friends and business acquaintances of the painter, with the help of his boss’ wife Dorian Weigand.

The mystery here is okay for a late Lockridge, but Shapiro’s low self-esteem and self-doubt become quickly annoying. Dorian sticks herself into dangerous situations, stumbling upon the criminals in the formulaic manner of Pam North, rather than through any deductive reasoning. Shapiro shows up in time, just as Bill Weigand does in the North series. Still, a good setting in Greenwich Village and the art world that is now long gone with barn-like studio lofts available to rent for $85 per month.

Just the Facts Silver 2019-12-27

Michael Crichton – The Venom Business (1969)

VenomBusiness

Vintage Silver Age Mystery
Just the Facts Category: Who — In the Medical Field
TBR #132 (74e, 58p)
Date Finished: December 26, 2019

An exporter of snakes, Charles Raynaud, as well as a smuggler of Mayan artifacts, encounters an old friend/enemy in Paris. The friend’s life is in danger, just as he is about to inherit a fortune, so asks Charles to accompany him and protect him. A scheming stepmother, a scheming doctor uncle, and a scheming young woman interact with the scheming Raynaud and his scheming friend. There are several schemes in this story, as they each try and outwit each other.

Entertaining and fast moving, though I wouldn’t call any of these very admirable characters, other than perhaps the young woman, which may leave a bad aftertaste for some.

Just the Facts Silver 2019-12-26

Robert Van Gulik – The Haunted Monastery (1961)

HauntedMonastery

Vintage Silver Age Mystery
Just the Facts Category: When — Set pre-1800
TBR #131 (73e, 58p)
Date Finished: December 24, 2019

Judge Dee and entourage, traveling through the mountains, take shelter from a severe storm in a old monastery. Three young women had mysteriously died earlier in the year and Judge Dee begins investigating them and other events during the time he is trapped there.

As usual three intertwining mysteries are investigated by Judge Dee within this story, which is shorter than most of the earlier ones in this series. Well written and surprisingly engrossing, as always.

Just the Facts Silver 2019-12-24

Michael Gilbert – The Etruscan Net (1969)

EtruscanNet

Vintage Silver Age Mystery
Just the Facts Category: Who — Librarian/Bookstore Owner/Publisher
Date Finished: December 23, 2019

Robert Broke, running a gallery and bookstore in Florence, becomes involved with a odd character excavating Etruscan relics. When a craftsman who was helping with the relics, and perhaps helping create more than were actually found in the tomb, turns up dead, Broke is arrested and charged with the murder. His friends work to clear his name.

This one is well crafted and has an interesting setting. The reader’s expects that Broke becomes the detective here, but he really sits in jail during most of it, while a lawyer, a former army officer, and two young women do most of the investigating. Entertaining.

Just the Facts Silver 2019-12-23a

Donald Westlake – God Save the Mark (1967)

GodSavetheMark

Vintage Silver Age Mystery
Just the Facts Category: Why — It won an award of any sort
Date Finished: December 23, 2019

A freelance researcher, Fred Fitch, is a sucker for any kind of con man who happens along. When his uncle dies, Fred inherits a fortune, which may or may not have been conned from someone else. Soon the bad guys descend on Fred and there’s running and hiding, a couple of women, and some South American bad guys.

This comedy mystery won Westlake an Edgar award, but isn’t as great as some of his Parker or Dortmunder stories. Still, it has a likable main character, as well as plenty of humor and action.

Just the Facts Silver 2019-12-23