The Tales of Max Carrados by Ernest Bramah

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Max Carrados, a fictional detective series, was first introduced to the literary world by Ernest Bramah in 1914. In the Edwardian era, Carrados’ stories often outsold Sherlock Holmes, with the blind detective sharing top billing with his fictional rival.

George Orwell wrote that together with those of Conan Doyle, they were “the only detective stories since Poe that are worth rereading”.

Recorded by national treasure Stephen Fry, ‘The Coin of Dionysius’ and ‘The Game Played in the Dark’ are two short stories from the collection.

In ‘The Coin of Dionysius’ we first meet the suave sleuth Max Carrados, as he is called on by old friend Louis Carlyle to help determine whether an old coin is real or a clever fake.

In ‘The Game Played in the Dark’, Max Carrados is contacted by the British Museum about a horde of stolen ancient coins. On the lookout for the coins, he is intrigued by the approach of an Italian lady who takes him from the safety of his study to a meeting with some recognisable former adversaries….

Two cleverly constructed mysteries from the turn of the century.  And well narrated by Stephen Fry.

These 2 stories were a Member Gift from Audible UK.

3 Stars***

The Case Is Closed (Miss Silver, #2) by Patricia Wentworth

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The second book in the Miss Maud Silver mysteries.

There was a 10 years gap between Grey Mask (Miss Silver Book #1) and The Case is Closed (Book #2), in which she wrote a number of non Miss Silver mysteries.  She brought Miss Silver back due to popular demand, and continued to write 30 more in the series, bringing the total up to 32 books.

The Miss Silver mysteries are my go to reads/listen, and have been since I was 14.  I think that it is the fact that Ms Wentworth was an excellent story-teller, bringing mystery and romance to each book she wrote in the series.

There have been several narrators over the years, but I personally love listening to Diana Bishop, who I think brings the stories alive with her narration.

The Everton murder case has long been closed. The culprit has been charged with the murder of his uncle and has served a year of his sentence already. Or has he? The evidence against Geoffrey Grey is convincing but his wife believes in his innocence. And so does her young cousin, Hilary, who decides to solve the mystery herself. But when Hilary herself is nearly murdered she turns in desperation to her ex-fiancé for help. He calls upon the services of Miss Silver to help solve another mystery, which she does in her own original style.

If you have not yet read any of the Miss Silver mysteries yet, you are missing out!

5 Stars*****

DVD – Charlie Chan in London

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CHARLIE CHAN IN LONDON is the first film in the series that was not based on one of author Earl Derr Biggers’ six CHAN novels.

Just as Chan (Warner Oland) is packing to go home after solving a case in London, a lovely young woman, Pamela Gray (Drue Leyton), begs him to solve another case: her brother Paul is on death row for a crime Pamela says, he didn’t commit.

Moreover, Paul’s defence lawyer (Raymond Milland), who happens to be Pamela’s fiancé, doesn’t even believe Paul is innocent.

With only three days to uncover the truth, CHAN spends the weekend at an English country manor with all the suspects…while they hunt a fox, he hunts for the real killer.

Starring Warner Orland as Charlie Chan, with Drue Leyton, Raymond Milland and Mona Barrie.

Includes Special Feature: The Legacy of Charlie Chan Featurette.

A trip down memory lane for me, and the fact that I have just started re-reading the first Charlie Chan book – The House Without a Key.

I first saw this movie back when I was a teenager and it is one of my favourites in the Charlie Chan movies.  As I own several box sets of the Chan movies, I will be watching and reviewing them all in time.

The featurette was a interesting look into the character of Charlie Chan.

5 Stars*****

DVD – Blandings – Series 2

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As ever, all Clarence wants is to be left in peace with his beloved pig, The Empress of Blandings.  But events conspire against him as never before.  On top of his imperious sister Connie and his feeble-witted, fun-loving son Freddie, the paradisal beauty of Blandings Castle is invaded by poker-wielding, egg-throwing Duke of Dunstable, the most odious man in Shropshire.

With the help of his faithful, port-filled butler, Beach, Clarence is obliged to navigate a cavalcade of impossible guests and imposters including a scandalous Hollywood actress, a saxophone-playing secretary, a leather-gusseted Bishop’s wife, Clarence’s frankly terrifying sister Charlotte and – worst of all – his incorrigible rakish brother Galahad, on the prowl with a glittering monocle and a case of shocking memoirs which threaten to ruin the entire family.  Will tranquility ever reign at Blandings Castle, even for a afternoon?

Episodes include:

Throwing Eggs.

Dirty work at the crossroads.

Hallo to all this.

Lord Emsworth act for the best.

Sticky wicket at Blandings.

Necessary Rhino.

Custody of the Pumpkin.

Except for the change of actor for the part of Beach (was Mark Williams, and is now played by Tim Vine), the cast remains the same.  With more fun happenings at Blandings, you never know what you might walk into!

5 Stars*****

 

DVD – Blandings – Series 1

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Blandings Castle is perpetually in uproar.  Ninth Earl Clarence Emsworth (Timothy Spall) yearns to be left in peace, preferably in the company of his beloved pig, The Empress.  But he never is.  There is always somebody who wants him to put on a stiff collar and a stiff hat and do something.

His equilibrium is battered by his formidable sister Connie (Jennifer Saunders), his brainless son Freddie (Jack Farthing) and an array of family, friends, enemies, spongers and confidence tricksters.  Only his loyal and long-suffering butler Beach (Mark Williams) can provide consolation.

However, Clarence, never vanquished, has an unexpected propensity to make everything right – either through an inspired idea, or bumbling intervention…

I love all the characters in the Blanding books, and the cast for the tv series are all excellent choices for the roles.  With an array of guest stars, this series is both fun and funny.

Blandings Castle books are one of favourite my Wodehouse series.

Episodes include:

Pig-Hoo-o-o-o-ey.

The Go-Getter.

Company For Gertrude.

The Crime Wave at Blandings.

Lord Emsworth and the Girl Friend.

Problems with drink.

5 Stars*****

The Turquoise Shop (Pat Abbott Mystery #1) by Frances Crane

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The first book in the Pat Abbott mysteries.

Pat Abbott has gone to Santa Maria, New Mexico for a holiday and to try his hand at painting.  What he didn’t expect was to arrive in the middle of a murder investigation!

Jean Holly’s Turquoise Shop, clearing house for gossip and art ware, was the centre of the storm, and it was Jean herself who played an important part in helping Pat Abbott, the skilful detective, to the right solution.

I love this series, each book set in different locations around the world.  With a good set of main characters, in well written and plotted mysteries.

There are 26 books in the series that started in 1941 and finished in 1965.  They all contain a colour in the title.  Some like the above title are available, due to reprinting a few years ago.

My edition was published in 1949 by Hammond, Hammond publishers in London, with its original UK dust jacket in a protective cover.

I have read about 9 books in the series, but that was a long time ago.  And as I have a complete set, I thought it was high time that I read them all.

5 Stars*****

A Quick Bite (Argeneau #1) by Lynsay Sands

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Narrated by Victoria McGee.

That hot guy tied to Lissianna Argeneau’s bed? He’s not dessert—he’s the main course!

I got this audiobook because a friend kept raving about the series, and I wanted to see what she was on about.

Each book follows members of the Argeneau family, that have been around for centuries…well they are vampires after all!

I have to admit…I enjoyed it!

This is a fun quirky series.  Well written with a good set of characters and storyline.  And Victoria McGee does a wonderful job at narrating it.

5 Stars*****

Crewel World (A Needlecraft Mystery #1) by Monica Ferris

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Audiobook narrated by Susan Boyce.

When Betsy Devonshire arrived in Excelsior, Minnesota, all she wanted was to visit her sister Margot and get her life in order. She never dreamed her sister would give her a place to stay and a job at her needlecraft shop. In fact, things had never looked so good – until Margot was murdered. In a town this friendly, it’s hard to imagine who could have committed such a horrible act, but Betsy has a few ideas. There’s an ex-employee who wants to start her own needlework store. And there’s the landlord who wanted Margot out. Now Betsy’s putting together a list of motives and suspects to figure out this killer’s pattern of crime….

I read the book many years ago when it first came out in paperback and enjoyed it.  So when the audiobook became available here in the UK, I brought it.

This is the second time that I have listened to Crewel World, and it is still an entertaining read/listen.  Well plotted and written, with a good set of characters.  This mystery will keep you on your toes guessing.

Personally I thought Susan Boyce did a very good job in the narration, and I will be listening to more of this series in the future.

5 Stars*****

Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigator in The Mystery of the Invisible Dog (The Three Investigators #23) by M.V. Carey

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The Three investigators are hounded by supernatural forces as they attempt to recover a stolen sculpture of a legendary wolf-dog.

I have read this series a number of times, and still get total enjoyment out of the stories.  They are for me…timeless.

I want to be an honorary member of the group and crawl through tunnel 2 or enter via Red Gate Rover.  And sit in the hidden trailer listening to Jupiter regaling the clues of the mystery they are working on.

What else can I say…I have loved this series since I started reading them at the age of 11 (42 years ago), and will probably still be reading them over the next 20 years…if I’m lucky!

5 Stars*****

 

Death of a Busybody (Chief Inspector Littlejohn #3) by George Bellairs

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This book, the third in the Chief Inspector Thomas Littlejohn series was originally published in 1942 and depicts village life during the Second World War.

Bellairs mysteries during this time are light and humorous escapism for the period.

Miss Tither is a busybody who makes her way around the village of Hilary Magna sniffing out ‘Sin’ and handing out religious tracks.  So it is no wonder that she is discovered dead in the vicars septic tank.

Littlejohn has his work cut out trying to find the ‘needle in the haystack’ as Miss Tither was not liked in the village.

A most enjoyable mystery from the British Library Crime Classic Collection.  With a colourful cast of characters in a well plotted mystery.

Well worth the read.

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book. Published by Poisoned Pen Press and download via NetGalley.

4 Stars****