TBR Thursday 244…

A ninth batch of murder, mystery and mayhem…

This is a challenge to read all 102 (102? Yes, 102) books listed in Martin Edwards’ guide to vintage crime, The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books. (100? Yes, 100.) Because of all the other great vintage crime being republished at the moment, I’m going very slowly with this challenge, and they’ve proved to be a bit of a mixed bag so far. Here’s the second batch for 2020 and the ninth overall – some well known names in this batch!

The Killer and the Slain by Hugh Walpole

This will be my introduction to Hugh Walpole. It sounds dark and pretty terrifying – I may need to wake the porpy up for company…

The Blurb says: As boys, Jimmie Tunstall was John Talbot’s implacable foe, never ceasing to taunt, torment, and bully him. Years later, John is married and living in a small coastal town when he learns, much to his chagrin, that his old adversary has just moved to the same town. Before long the harassment begins anew until finally, driven to desperation, John murders his tormentor. Soon he starts to suffer from frightening hallucinations and his personality and physical appearance begin to alter, causing him increasingly to resemble the man he killed. Is it merely the psychological effect of his guilt, or is it the manifestation of something supernatural—and evil? The tension builds until the chilling final scene, when the horrifying truth will be revealed about the killer—and the slain.

Challenge details

Book No: 101

Subject Heading: The Way Ahead

Publication Year: 1942

Martin Edwards says: The Killer and the Slain is a compelling novel, very distantly reminiscent of James Hogg’s The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824), yet distinctive in its treatment of cruelty and murderous obsession…

* * * * *

The Sussex Downs Murder by John Bude

The British Library has re-issued several books by Bude now. It took me a bit of time to warm up to him but I loved the last couple I’ve read, so am looking forward to this one with great anticipation…

The Blurb says: Two brothers, John and William Rother, live together at Chalklands Farm in the beautiful Sussex Downs. Their peaceful rural life is shattered when John Rother disappears and his abandoned car is found. Has he been kidnapped? Or is his disappearance more sinister – connected, perhaps, to his growing rather too friendly with his brother’s wife?

Superintendent Meredith is called to investigate – and begins to suspect the worst when human bones are discovered on Chalklands farmland. His patient, careful detective method begins slowly to untangle the clues as suspicion shifts from one character to the next.

Challenge details

Book No: 35

Subject Heading: Serpents in Eden

Publication Year: 1936

Edwards says: “The Rother family farmhouse, Chalklands, and the surrounding area are convincingly realised, and in keeping with Golden Age tradition, a map is supplied to help readers to follow the events of the story after John Rother goes missing, in circumstances which at first (but deceptively) seem reminiscent of the disappearance of Agatha Christie…

* * * * *

Six Problems for Don Isidro Parodi by H Bustos Domecq

I’m not sure about this one at all – it sounds like a bit of a mish-mash from the blurb, and perhaps trying to be too clever. But low expectations mean that if it surprises me, it can only be in a good way!

The Blurb says: The first fruit of the collaboration of Borges and his long-time friend Bioy-Casares, Six Problems for Don Isidro Parodi appeared originally under the pseudonym of H. Bustos Domecq. “Bugsy’s” prose style is not quite the style of either of the collaborators, but in this volume, at least, “he never got out of hand,” as Borges complained he did later.

In the first story, Parodi, who is himself in jail for homicide, is visited by a young man who seeks his help in solving a particularly baffling murder. In the second story, a killing takes place aboard an express train. One of the characters is a writer named Gervasio Montenegro, whom the discerning reader will identify as author of the book’s expressive foreword. In “Tadeo Limardo’s Victim,” a murdered man prepares for his own death. “Tai An’s Long Search” is a variation on Poe’s “The Purloined Letter.” In “Free Will and the Commendatore,” a cuckold takes elaborate and invisible revenge.

Challenge details

Book No: 98

Subject Heading: Cosmopolitan Crimes

Publication Year: 1942

Edwards says: “In-jokes abound; some are lost on a modern British reader, while Montenegro’s anti-Semitism represents the authors’ scorn for racism; Nazi-supporting extremists had previously suggested that Borges was secretly Jewish, and not a ‘true’ Argentinian… 

* * * * *

The Case of the Late Pig by Margery Allingham

I’ve never learned to love Margery Allingham though I don’t hate her stuff either. Maybe this will be the one that turns me into a wholehearted fan. Certainly the title is a major attraction!

The Blurb says: Private detective Albert Campion is summoned to the village of Kepesake to investigate a particularly distasteful death. The body turns out to be that of Pig Peters, freshly killed five months after his own funeral. Soon other corpses start to turn up, just as Peter’s body goes missing. It takes all Campion’s coolly incisive powers of detection to unravel the crime.

The Case of the Late Pig is, uniquely, narrated by Campion himself. In Allingham’s inimitable style, high drama sits neatly beside pitch perfect black comedy. A heady mix of murder, romance, and the urbane detective’s own unglamorous past make this an unmissable Allingham mystery.

Challenge details

Book No: 25

Subject Heading: The Great Detectives

Publication Year: 1937

Edwards says: “…the story is an example of Margery Allingham at her best. Its high spirits are not a means of disguising a thin plot, but complementary to an intriguing mystery. She was an unorthodox novelist, whose work was correspondingly uneven, but her admirers remain legion…”

* * * * *

All blurbs and covers taken from Goodreads or Amazon UK.
The quotes from Martin Edwards are from his book,
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books.

* * * * *

So…what do you think? Are you tempted?

43 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 244…

  1. I’ve heard of the Bude and wanted to read it, FictionFan, so I’ll be quite interested in your view on that one. I’ve read a little of his work, but not that one. The Allingham looks good, too. Sometimes, those GA stories are exactly what the proverbial doctor ordered, and I hope you’ll enjoy them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve enjoyed some of the Budes far more than others, so I’m hoping this will be one of the good ones. I would like to like Allingham more than I do and I haven’t read an awful lot of her, so maybe The Case of the Late Pig will win me over!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The Killer and the Slain sounds intriguing, especially if the Porpy gets involved! I’ve never read any of Walpole’s stuff before, so I can’t give you a thumbs-up or down on it. I’ll be waiting for your review to see if it’s as good as it sounds!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The Case of the Late Pig is one of the Allingham’s that I have read and I’m looking forward to reaching it in my current survey of her work as I have fond memories of it. I can’t say any of the others tempt me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! I do think titles were much more imaginative in the Golden Age, and they really do make me want to read the books! Unlike the contemporary world of The Husband’s Secrets, The Wife’s Lies, The Girlfriend’s Drink Problem, etc, etc… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Funnily enough I’ve usually enjoyed her short stories in the anthologies too, but for some reason the novels don’t work so well for me. Maybe this will be the one to change my mind!

      Like

  4. I can’t say any of them are especially jumping out for me at the moment, though the Case of the Late Pig is certainly an intriguing title. Hopefully some of these will help ease you out of your reading slump.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I must admit I’m finding this challenge rather mixed – I can’t quite see why a lot of the books should have been singled out for mention, since they’re often not as good as the ones the BL is routinely republishing. But I start each one with hope in my heart! 😉

      Like

  5. Nope, not tempted. I’ve already added the Graham Greene to my list, so that’s all for this week, ah, month….I just read a review of The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh by Candace Fleming. It’s considered a YA. It sounds fascinating. Not the man as he’s been portrayed…..tempted by that one

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, that Charles Lindbergh book sounds interesting – I’ve always wanted to know more about him, especially since apparently the kidnapping of his child was the inspiration behind The Murder on the Orient Express. But Brighton Rock will be better… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve never read anything by Walpole and in fact only really heard him about him through doing this challenge. I’ve loved some Budes and not others, so I have my fingers crossed for this one, and I’m hoping Allingham can finally win me over – I’d like to like her more than I do… 😀

      Like

  6. Oohhh the Killer and the Slain looks like a good one. I also associate Walpole with gothic literature, but i think that’s a different Walpole I’m thinking of LOL

    Also, why does Martin’s 100 books list include 102 books? What’s up with that?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I left a comment but it seems to have disappeared so will try again. The Walpole one seems the most interesting. He has long been on my Authors-to-be-Read list and I will wait eagerly for your views and also search for the book. I tried Bude once, couldn’t finish the book. However, this one sound good. Never have been fond of Allingham’s Campion. Happy Reading to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bah! WordPress! I’ve never read anything by Walpole so it intrigues me too, even though it sounds more like horror than crime – not that that’s a bad thing! I’ve had a mixed experience with Bude – a couple I really thought were pretty poor and a couple that I thought were brilliant. I’m hoping this one falls into the brilliant category! And Allingham will have to work hard to win me over, but maybe this will be the one…

      Like

    • Yes, I’d like to like Allingham more than I do, but I don’t like Campion or his sidekick – maybe this one will change my mind. I have high hopes for Sussex Downs and hmm, we’ll see how Don Isidro works for me… 😉

      Like

    • I kinda cheated since three of these are already on my 20 Books list! Haha – my TBR isn’t growing too badly but my wishlist seems to be out of control at the moment – time for some brutal culling! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  8. The Sussex Downs Murder is the only that interests me, although I found The Lake District Murder was a bit difficult to follow, with all the calculations of the times and distribution of petrol deliveries. The Cheltenham Square Murder was better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve had really mixed success with the Budes I’ve read so far – some of them have been quite disappointing, But I’ve also read a couple that I thought were great – Death in White Pyjamas and Death Knows No Calendar, so I’m hoping this one might fall into that category… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

Please leave a comment - I'd love to know who's visiting and what you think...of the post, of the book, of the blog, of life, of chocolate...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.