The Long Shadow (1975) by Celia Fremlin

The Long Shadow by Celia Fremlin

9 Stars (9/10 stars)

“How Ivor would have loved being dead! It was a shame that he was missing it all.”

Three months after her husband’s death, Imogen Barnicott is preparing to face her first Christmas alone. It’s a relief to be left to mourn in peace. Things don’t work out as planned, however. Her husband Ivor left a complicated legacy of children and ex-wives, who all descend upon Imogen for the holidays. And there are some questions about Ivor’s death, questions his widow is at a loss to answer as she finds her Christmas haunted by ghosts of the past. Continue reading “The Long Shadow (1975) by Celia Fremlin”

The Hollow (1946) by Agatha Christie

The Hollow by Agatha Christie

10 Stars (10/10 stars)

“Blood and blue water—like the jacket of a detective story. Fantastic, unreal. The sort of thing that doesn’t happen to oneself.”

All the usual guests are confirmed for Lucy Angkatell’s house party. Her cousins, Midge and Edward, will be there. So will the brilliant doctor John Christow and his dull, plodding wife Gerda. And so will Lucy’s other cousin, Henrietta Savernake, a sculptor whose beauty and intelligence have placed her at the center of two separate love triangles.

There’s no reason to expect this weekend to be different from countless others, but an uninvited guest is about to crash the party: murder. The stage is set for a crime of passion quite unlike anything else in Agatha Christie’s ouevre. Continue reading “The Hollow (1946) by Agatha Christie”

Dead of Winter (1959) by Constance Cornish

Dead of Winter by Constance Cornish

5 Stars (5/10 stars)

“It looks, she thought bitterly, like a movie scene of some Old World Christmas, a fairy-tale Christmas. Surely the whole thing was something out of Grimm. Or Kafka. Kafka with snowflakes.”

Recent widow Abbey Humphrey is relieved to have found a refuge in the charming Colonial village of Deepford, Vermont. She doesn’t know how she would have gotten through the last few months without the support of her friends Jenny and Emma, not to mention the upcoming Christmas holiday.

Deepford seems so safe and peaceful compared to New York City, but appearances can be deceiving. Abbey comes home to find a dead body in her bedroom. And not just any dead body—it’s Stacey Harrington, Jenny’s husband. As the rumors swirl around her, Abbey learns that she may not be so welcome in Deepford after all, as this small town is hiding big secrets. Continue reading “Dead of Winter (1959) by Constance Cornish”

The Lost Caesar (1945) by Ruth Fenisong

Death Is a Gold Coin (The Lost Caesar) by Ruth Fenisong

5 Stars (5/10 stars)

“Can I help it if someone parked a corpse on my sister’s bed?”

After losing her first love, Corinne Hastings impulsively marries charming millionaire Robert Ivors. However, Corinne immediately realizes that she’s made a terrible mistake—Robert is controlling and mentally unstable. The marriage is hopeless from the start, but he refuses to consider divorce.

Her only happiness is her work; at least, until Robert worms his way in there as well, much to the interest of Corinne’s conniving assistant Dodie Merritt. When Corinne’s ex-boyfriend returns to win her back, the stage seems set for murder. But the identity of the victim is unexpected, to say the least: Dodie’s little dog. Continue reading “The Lost Caesar (1945) by Ruth Fenisong”

Murder Among Friends (1946) by Elizabeth Ferrars

Murder Among Friends by Elizabeth Ferrars

6 stars (6/10 stars)

“I wonder if you know what it’s like, Alice, to think you’re somebody’s best friend and then discover you don’t know the first thing about them. You tell them everything about yourself, everything—and you think they’re doing the same with you, and then you find they’ve left out every single important thing.”

Wartime can bring together the most unexpected people. That’s certainly the case for quiet, competent Alice Church and melodramatic Cecily Lightwood, who have nothing in common except their work at the same government ministry. Cecily is eager for Alice to meet her best friends, who include some of the most well-known literary figures in London.

One of Cecily’s friends won’t make it to the party alive. By the end of the night, another will be under arrest for his murder. Alice is sure there’s more to the story, however. She soon learns that sometimes your best friend can be your very worst enemy. Continue reading “Murder Among Friends (1946) by Elizabeth Ferrars”

The Cockroach Sings (1946) by Alice Campbell

With Bated Breath by Alice Campbell

4 Stars (4/10 stars)

“She has a secret. It’s something shattering. Something dire.”

There are always job openings at Turrets, a lonely manor deep in the English countryside. And Avis Marriott needs a job—there’s no point in returning to the United States until her father is released from the army in six months, but it’s hard to find temporary work in the confusion of a new peace. So, despite the creepy surroundings, she’s happy to accept a position as companion to an invalid.

Maybe Avis should have asked more questions before coming to Turrets. Like what happened to her predecessor. Or who has access to the tunnel beneath the house. As the bodies start accumulating, Avis soon makes up for lost time, but someone doesn’t like the questions she’s asking. Continue reading “The Cockroach Sings (1946) by Alice Campbell”

Build My Gallows High (1946) by Geoffrey Homes

Build My Gallows High by Geoffrey Homes

7 Stars (7/10 stars)

“He was wondering what in hell he was mixed up in…It wasn’t good. It wasn’t good at all. He wasn’t coming out of this untouched. That was certain. For the first time in his life he felt helpless.”

For ten years, Red Bailey has been running from the past. As a seedy private detective in New York City, he accepted a job that changed him forever. Now he only wants to forget, burying himself in rural California where he runs a service station, trying to convince himself he could really marry the girl next door. But Red’s past is about to catch up with  him, and she’s just as tempting, and just as deadly, as ever. Continue reading “Build My Gallows High (1946) by Geoffrey Homes”