Tag Archives: 4 Stars

Heavy As Lead, by Malcolm Torrie: A Review

The first of the Timothy Herring “architectural mysteries” finds Herring dispatched by PHISBE to the Surrey village of Parsons Purity. There, he is to judge whether or not a 13th century church, from which the lead roof has been stolen … Continue reading

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Dead Men’s Morris, by Gladys Mitchell: A Review

The seventh mystery featuring Gladys Mitchell’s crocodilian sleuth, Mrs. Beatrice Adela Lestrange Bradley, is set in the depths of rural Oxfordshire presumably in the middle-1930s. As Miss Mitchell spent her youth in the village of Cowley, south-east of Oxford town, … Continue reading

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Death at the Opera, by Gladys Mitchell: A Review

An unpopular and demuring school-mistress is drowned in a basin during a performance of The Mikado. But neither the outraged spirits of Gilbert nor Sullivan are present to account for the other events which surround the death of Miss Calma … Continue reading

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Uncle Silas, by J.S. Le Fanu: A Review

For me, Sheridan Le Fanu is best known for two things: for having written ghost stories that appear in nearly every anthology of 19th century English mystery, suspense, and Gothic fiction (The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories is just … Continue reading

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Uncoffin’d Clay, by Gladys Mitchell: A Review

A charming late-era entry into the Mrs. Bradley mysteries, Uncoffin’d Clay is something of an inversion of the typical detective-story structure. Rather than presenting a rigorous clue-hunter stalking their foul, murdering prey (and it must be said that Gladys Mitchell’s mysteries hardly … Continue reading

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Periodic Tales: A Cultural History of the Elements from Arsenic to Zinc, by Hugh Aldersey-Williams: A Review

  One of my general rules in reading is to be wary of books that call themselves “a cultural history.” These books, like those calling themselves “social histories” or, indeed, those written by sociologists, can be perfectly reasonable and servicable … Continue reading

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Malice Aforethought, by Francis Iles: A Review

Being the “first” at something is sometimes assumed to mean that that “first” instance is also the “best” instance. Of course, some firsts are unequivocal. Take  Malice Aforethought (1931), which is widely considered the first of its kind in mystery … Continue reading

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