Macdonald, Ross. The Drowning Pool.

NY: Knopf, 1950.

In many ways, Los Angeles private eye Lew Archer was to the 1950s what Philip Marlow was to the same city a generation earlier, but he doesn’t seem to be much read these days. Which is a shame, because Macdonald was an excellent writer of noir-ish crime stories. This was Archer’s second case, in which he tries to find out who’s attempting to blackmail the young wife of the heir to a large, oil-rich estate in the hills north of LA. But she’s not going to give him much to work with.

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Connelly, Michael. The Wrong Side of Goodbye.

NY: Little, Brown, 2016.

Even though he must be pushing seventy now, ex-homicide cop Harry Bosch has spent the last half-dozen episodes in this long-running series fighting hard against retirement. Solving murders and getting justice for the dead is what he does. More, it’s what he is. He spent several years doing cold cases with a gang of other no-longer-active cops, and that taught him a lot — it’s made him “proficient in time travel” — and now he has his private investigator’s ticket, though he doesn’t work at it very hard.

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Hill, Reginald. Child’s Play.

NY: Macmillan, 1987.

This is the ninth episode in the adventures of DI Peter Pascoe and his large, profane, heavily biased, but also brilliant boss, Superintendent Andy Dalziel, head of Mid-Yorkshire CID. The first couple of volumes in the series were rather derivative in plot and a bit wobbly in style, but it didn’t take Hill long to find his footing and the past half-dozen books have been excellent. The plots are original and convoluted, the characters are multifaceted, and the tongue-in-cheek humor is delightfully “British.”

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Published in: on 14 December 2016 at 1:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Edmondson, Elizabeth. The Villa in Italy.

NY: HarperCollins, 2006.

This author has produced a series of “Vintage Mysteries,” all set within the past few generations, that I have found very entertaining. (Maybe it’s because I’m old enough that some of them take place within my own lifetime.) This one follows the classic mystery method more than some of her others, and it’s quite good. I’m sure some people will consider it a “women’s book,” which I frankly find annoying; a book is either well written or not, and that’s really all that matters.

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Published in: on 3 December 2016 at 5:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Edmondson, Elizabeth. A Question of Inheritance.

Seattle: Thomas & Mercer, 2015.

This is the second in the author’s “Very English Mystery” series, set in the early 1950s in Britain and featuring semi-retired Secret Service agent Hugo Hawksworth, his adolescent sister, and Frey Wryton, all of them residents of Selchester Castle, a huge old place with a medieval core, but still in very good condition.

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Heyer, Georgette. The Convenient Marriage.

London: Heinemann, 1934.

This is one of the most unusual of Heyer’s Regency romances. For one thing, it’s not even set in the Regency period but a long generation earlier, during the 1770s. For another, the plot is much more sophisticated and the characters, both leading and supporting, are far more multidimensional. And there’s far less dependence on impenetrable sporting cant — except for the highwayman, of course, whose professional jargon confuses even some of the young gentlemen.

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Heyer, Georgette. Bath Tangle.

NY: Putnam, 1955.

The story opens around 1816 with two young women trying to deal with the recent sudden death of the Earl of Spenborough — the most important male in both their lives. As the strong-minded only child of an earl, and a very wealthy woman besides, Lady Serena functioned not only as her father’s hostess and estate manager but as his substitute son. Athletic and filled with energy on all occasions, as well as an avid follower of the political scene, she’s the complete opposite of Lady Fanny, the young widow (a trophy wife younger than Serena), who is far more ladylike in the approved way.

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Published in: on 25 September 2011 at 8:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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