Vultures in the Sky (1935) by Todd Downing

Vultures in the Sky by Todd Downing

8 Stars (8/10 stars)

“What began as a pleasure or business trip for most of us has turned unfortunately into an unpleasant and serious affair. I think the time has come for all of us to put aside our circumlocutions and acknowledge openly the fact that one of us in this car is a murderer.”

All of the passengers on the train to Mexico City are on edge. Maybe it’s the heat, or the vultures, or the railroad strike that has left their train the last one on the tracks. Treasury agent Hugh Rennert’s unease begins when he is approached by another traveler who overheard a strange conversation on the platform: “I’ll get off with you at Monterrey and you can get the money. If you don’t, I’ll blast the train on this trip […] Earrings and cuffs. Don’t forget the special edition.”

Then a tunnel plunges the train car into darkness. When they emerge into the light, one of the passengers lies dead. Continue reading “Vultures in the Sky (1935) by Todd Downing”

The Crimson Feather (1945) by Sara Elizabeth Mason

Book cover of The Crimson Feather by Sara Elizabeth Mason (1945)

5 Stars (5/10 stars)

You couldn’t go up to the door, ring the bell and ask, “Did you put poison in Mr. Tolliver’s coffee? And did you, by any chance, bash him over the head?”

When Ann Bartley left her hometown in Alabama five years ago, she swore she’d never return. How could she, after her fiance jilted her to elope with one of her in-laws? She’d see Hugh and his new wife at every family event. Even after the doctor orders her south to recover from pneumonia, she resists.

Then she receives a panicked letter from her sister Jean: “I need you, I need you desperately now. I’m so afraid…” Is Jean losing her mind, or is her husband’s family trying to drive her crazy? Ann would do anything to defend her sister—even after Jean’s enemies start turning up dead.

Continue reading “The Crimson Feather (1945) by Sara Elizabeth Mason”

Murder on Tour (1933) by Todd Downing

Todd Downing Murder on Tour Cover

5 Stars (5/10 stars)

Their last day in Mexico City. Day after tomorrow they would cross the border. Inspector Miles would be there waiting for them, with handcuffs. He must then point to one of these people with whom he had been associated for the past few days and say: ‘This person is guilty.’ There must be no doubt, no lack of proof.

And who was this person?

The life of a U.S. Customs agent can be hazardous, but John Payne never expected to be strangled to death with a silk stocking in his hotel room. Payne was on the trail of a smuggler believed to be traveling between Mexico and the United States as a member of an ordinary tour group. Now, Agent Hugh Rennert must join the tour undercover to solve the crime.

Continue reading “Murder on Tour (1933) by Todd Downing”