No Walls of Jasper (1930) by Joanna Cannan

No Walls of Jasper by Joanna Cannan 1930 book cover

8 Stars (8/10 stars)

“All along Canberry Gardens, in the lighted dolls’ houses, children’s voices called good night. Julian too, setting out to murder his father, felt perfectly ordinary.”

Some would say that Julian Prebble has everything. A nice home, attractive wife, two boys, and a promising career. But Julian can’t help feeling that he doesn’t have quite enough. He shouldn’t have to live in a semi-detached house, with his wife stretching the joint to last two days. Other men of forty are farther along in life, all because their fathers died and left them the money to make a proper start. Meanwhile, his invalid father lives on and on, wasting more money every minute he’s alive.

It’s not that Julian wants his father to die. Still…wouldn’t it be convenient if he did? Continue reading “No Walls of Jasper (1930) by Joanna Cannan”

Fire Will Freeze (1944) by Margaret Millar

Fire Will freeze by Margaret Millar 1944 book cover

6 stars (6/10 stars)

“The footprints had disappeared now as if they had never existed. There was only a smooth and unbroken field of snow in front of them, serene and inhuman.  Inhuman, Miss Seton thought with a shiver. I can’t believe a man walked there.”

Even before the bus driver disappeared, Isobel Seton was regretting her choice to come on this ski trip. Now she’s trapped in a broken-down bus with nine strangers in the middle of a snowstorm. It seems their only option is to venture out in search of their driver. When the trail of footprints ends in front of an isolated house, the displaced skiers believe they’ve found a refuge. They would have been safer in the blizzard. Continue reading “Fire Will Freeze (1944) by Margaret Millar”

Sleep with Strangers (1955) by Dolores Hitchens

Sleep with Strangers by Dolores Hitchens 1955 book cover

7 Stars (7/10 stars)

“Money could do a lot of things in this world. It could build you a castle, Sader told himself—or a dungeon.”

There are two kinds of money in Long Beach, California. Old money means prosperous Midwesterners who settled there a few decades ago; they speak only to each other. That’s Felicia Wanderley. New money comes from oil, and they tell themselves they have more fun without those snobs on Ocean Avenue. That’s Perry Ajoukian.

As far as anyone knows, these two have never met. They have only two things in common: both vanished on the same night, and both families retained the firm of Sader and Scarborough to investigate. It’s up to Sader and his partner Dan to learn whether Mrs. Wanderley and young Ajoukian are connected by one more thingmurder. Continue reading “Sleep with Strangers (1955) by Dolores Hitchens”

Lord Edgware Dies (1933) by Agatha Christie

Book cover of Lord Edgware Dies/Thirteen at Dinner by Agatha Christie (1933)

7 Stars (7/10 stars)

“When planning a murder never depend upon a woman doing what she says she’ll do.”

As a famous actress, Jane Wilkinson is used to being the center of attention. But this time, she’s the one seeking an audience with a celebrity, master detective Hercule Poirot. Her request is simple: “M. Poirot, somehow or other I’ve just got to get rid of my husband!” Continue reading “Lord Edgware Dies (1933) by Agatha Christie”

The Hammersmith Murders (1930) by David Frome

Book cover of The Hammersmith Murders by David Frome (1930)

6 stars (6/10 stars)

“Aunt is a little difficult right now. It’s almost as if she thinks I had murdered people.”

When Scotland Yard receives a letter warning of an impending murder, it seems like a prank. Still, Inspector Humphrey Bull drops by Caithness Road just to be sure. He is shocked to learn that bank clerk Lawrence Sprague has just died of tetanus, despite not having a mark on him that could have caused such an infection. Lawrence’s two lovely sisters are inconsolable—especially since their father died mysteriously a short time before. Regardless of his attraction to Margaret Sprague, Inspector Bull can’t shake the feeling that something strange is happening in Hammersmith.

Luckily, the inspector has a secret weapon. His shy, rabbity landlord Evan Pinkerton has a gift for seeing into the dark hearts of men, all without leaving his drab suburban boarding house. Continue reading “The Hammersmith Murders (1930) by David Frome”

Holiday Homicide (1940) by Rufus King

Book cover of Holiday Homicide by Rufus King (1940)

7 Stars (7/10 stars)

“In any community, no matter how confined by natural barriers, or how small, there is always murder. I’m unfamiliar with the census number of the population that surrounded Cain and Abel but I imagine it must have been quite negligible.”

On New Year’s Day, most New Yorkers are sleeping off the revels of the night before. Myron Jettwick’s sleep is more permanent. The millionaire lies dead on his yacht, and his nephew Bruce knows that only the eccentric detective (and nut fancier) Cotton Moon can solve the crime. Luckily, Moon’s yacht happens to be docked right next door. With the aid of his secretary/bartender Bert Stanley, Moon’s investigation takes him from the East River to the Caribbean in search of a slippery killer—and the even more elusive sapucaia nut. Continue reading “Holiday Homicide (1940) by Rufus King”

The Mystery Girl (1922) by Carolyn Wells

Book cover of The Mystery Girl by Carolyn Wells (1922)

3 Stars (3/10 stars)

“She’s sulky, silly and supercilious. She’s a mystery, they say, but I say she merely wants to be thought a mystery to make a little sensation.”

Not many strangers visit Corinth, so Anita Austin would be noticed even if she weren’t so young and glamorous. The normally idyllic college town has just settled down after a tense election for president of the university, won by professor John Waring. The townspeople are eager for a distraction, and Anita provides one by refusing to discuss her mysterious business. Some think she’s rude. Others, like Gordon Lockwood, are intrigued. The only clue “Miss Mystery” reveals is her intense curiosity about Dr. Waring.

When Waring is found dead in his locked study, Anita experiences the dark side of small-town life, as the locals close ranks against the stranger in their midst. Continue reading “The Mystery Girl (1922) by Carolyn Wells”