Never Say Die (1950) by Ione Sandberg Shriber

Never Say Die by Ione Sandberg Shriber

5 Stars (5/10 stars)

“One murder has already been committed and they will not stop at another.”

At the last minute, Kyra Brake changes her mind about driving into town with her mother. “Tell Mother to go without me,” she tells the chauffeur. Kyra’s words come true, in the worst way imaginable. The car crashes only minutes later; Helen Brake will not survive her injuries.

Her mother’s death leaves Kyra overwhelmed by guilt and grief. It also leaves her very wealthy, and very alone. Maybe Kyra won’t have to live much longer without her mother after all. Continue reading “Never Say Die (1950) by Ione Sandberg Shriber”

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”

Secret Beyond the Door (1946) by Rufus King

Secret Beyond the Door by Rufus King

7 Stars (7/10 stars)

“Why is the door locked? Isn’t it complete?”

“Yes,” Earl said, “it is complete, but it will never be on view. It is a luxury with which I intend to indulge no one but my selfish self. It is a secret which shall remain completely mine…Even you shall never see it, Lily.”

All of Lily Constable’s friends are surprised by her whirlwind marriage to newspaper owner Earl Rumney. After all, she’s wealthy in her own right, and still mourning her beloved husband. Even the sweet-natured Lily is starting to wonder if she’s made a mistake. No one seems to want Lily at the isolated Rumney mansion, least of all her new husband. When he isn’t at the paper, Earl is working on his hobby: recreating rooms where famous crimes took place. He’s completed twelve rooms already. Should Lily be afraid of number thirteen? Continue reading “Secret Beyond the Door (1946) by Rufus King”

The Nanny (1964) by Evelyn Piper

The Nanny by Evelyn Piper

5 Stars (5/10 stars)

“Tell me, will she spank you, Joey?”

“She’ll kill me,” Joey said simply.

Nanny has been such a blessing to the Fane household, especially after six-year-old Joey’s baby brother died mysteriously under his care. Now, after two years of treatment in a school for disturbed children, Joey is finally coming home. For some reason he’s taken against Nanny. Unfortunate, since his mother relies on her so much.

Nanny always knows the right thing to do, however. She’s determined to stay, and no mere child is going to stop her. But she may have underestimated her opponent… Continue reading “The Nanny (1964) by Evelyn Piper”

The Birthday Gift (1976) by Ursula Curtiss

The Birthday Gift by Ursula Curtiss

5 Stars (5/10 stars)

“He had thought, before, in terms of a thread-end which he could not relinquish. He thought now in terms of fine and nearly invisible wire leading to what, under its look of quiescence, might just possibly be a freshly armed bomb. “

No good deed goes unpunished, as an innocent favor results in deadly consequences for Lydia Peel.  Since she is already traveling to Connecticut to attend a family wedding, it should be no trouble to deliver a birthday gift to her friend’s sister right down the road. Paula and Emmett Blake don’t seem grateful for the present, however. In fact, they can’t wait to get rid of Lydia.

More welcoming is their other guest, Mrs. Chilton. The old lady laughs over a dropped cigarette; she is such a careless smoker by day, she confides, that she doesn’t dare smoke at night. Just a few hours later, though, Mrs. Chilton burns to death in her own bed. Lydia suspects murder, and all at once a simple errand becomes more complicated, and more dangerous, than she could have imagined.  Continue reading “The Birthday Gift (1976) by Ursula Curtiss”

Bedelia (1945) by Vera Caspary

Bedelia by Vera Caspary

7 Stars (7/10 stars)

“I don’t want any more of your facts!”

“Maybe they’ll seem more interesting after you’ve had a dose of poison in your boiled rice.”

All his friends agree that Charlie Horst is a lucky man. His new bride Bedelia is the perfect wife, and no one can figure out how shy Charlie managed to win her heart, least of all Charlie himself.

Once the dust settles from their whirlwind courtship, however, Charlie can’t help wondering why his wife is so reluctant to talk about her past. Isn’t Bedelia just a little too good to be true? A sudden snowstorm may reveal the truth, or bury it forever.

Continue reading “Bedelia (1945) by Vera Caspary”

The Swimming Pool (1952) by Mary Roberts Rinehart

The Swimming Pool by Mary Roberts Rinehart

4 Stars (4/10 stars)

“What are you afraid of?” I demanded. “Don’t pretend to me, Jude. You’re scared to death. You’ve done something, haven’t you? Something wrong. Maybe something terrible. What is it?”

In the golden days of 1929, beautiful Judith Maynard held court over her admirers beside the swimming pool. Twenty years later, everything has changed for the Maynard family. Their father went broke and committed suicide, and siblings Lois and Paul are barely hanging on their decrepit country estate. Only Judith has remained the same, still lovely, still the center of attention.

Then Judith, too, begins to change. She abruptly divorces her rich, older husband. The darling of cafe society retreats to the isolated family house of her youth, shunning her friends and nailing her bedroom windows shut. Judith is terribly frightened of something, or someone. The swimming pool, once the site of girlhood triumphs, has become a special source of dread. When a dead body appears in the pool, mystery writer Lois must find out just what her sister was so afraid of. What she’s not prepared for is how far back into the past these sins will reach. Continue reading “The Swimming Pool (1952) by Mary Roberts Rinehart”