Monday, October 19, 2020

Vintage Scattergories: Vintage Mystery Challenge 2021


This Bev Hankins challenge is located here

The goal is to read at least eight Golden Age (prior to 1960) books during 2021 from the following categories:


1. Colorful Crime: A book with a color or reference to color in the title

2. Murder by the Numbers: A book with a number or quantity in the title

3. Amateur Night: A book with a detective who is not a P.I.; Police Officer; or other official investigator (Nurse Keate, Father Brown, Miss Marple, etc.)

4. Leave It to the Professionals: A book featuring cops, private eyes, secret service, professional spies, etc.

5. Jolly Old England: A mystery set in the United Kingdom

6. Yankee Doodle Dandy: A mystery set in the United States

7. World Traveler: A mystery set in any country except the U.S. or U.K.

8. Dangerous Beasts: A book with an animal in the title

9. A Calendar of Crime: A mystery with a date/holiday/year/month/etc. in the title

10. Wicked Women: A book with a woman in the title--either by name (Mrs. McGinty's Dead) or by reference (The Case of the Vagabound Virgin)

11. Malicious Men: A book with a man in the title--either by name (Maigret & the Yellow Dog) or by reference (The Case of the Haunted Husband)

12. Murderous Methods: A book with a means of death in the title (The Noose5 BulletsDeadly Nightshade, etc.)

13. Staging the Crime: A mystery set in the entertainment world (theatre, musical event, pageant, Hollywood, etc)

14. Scene of the Crime: A book with the location of the crime in the title (The Body in the LibraryMurder at the Vicarage, etc)

15. Cops & Robbers: A book that features a theft rather than murder

16. Locked Rooms: A locked-room mystery

17. Impossible Crimes: Any other impossible crime (locks not necessary)

18. Country House Criminals: A standard (or not-so-standard) Golden Age-style country house murder

19. Murder on the High Seas: A mystery involving water

20. Planes, Trains, & Automobiles: A book with a mode of transportation in the title

21. Murder is Academic: A mystery involving a scholar, teacher, librarian, etc. OR set at a school, university, library, etc.

22. Things That Go Bump in the Night: A book with something spooky, creepy, gothic in the title (The Skeleton in the ClockHaunted LadyThe Bat; etc)

23. Repeat Offenders: A mystery featuring your favorite series detective or by your favorite author or reread an old favorite

24. The Butler Did It...Or Not: A mystery where the butler is the victim, the sleuth...(gasp) the criminal...or is just downright memorable for whatever reason.

25. A Mystery by Any Other Name: Any book that has been published under more than one title (Murder Is Easy--aka Easy to Kill [Christie]; Fog of Doubt--aka London Particular [Christianna Brand], etc.)

26. Dynamic Duos: A mystery featuring a detective team (Holmes & Watson; Pam & Jerry North; Nero Wolfe & Archie Goodwin, or a little-known team that you introduce to us)

27. Size Matters: A book with a size or measurement in the title (Death Has a Small VoiceThe Big FourThe Weight of the Evidence; etc.)

28. Psychic Phenomena: A mystery featuring a seance, medium, hypnotism, or other psychic or "supernatural" characters/events

29. Book to Movie: A book that has appeared on screen (feature film or TV)

30. The Old Bailey: A courtroom dram mystery OR a mystery featuring a judge, lawyer, barrister, district attorney

31. Serial Killers: Books that were originally published in serial format (from the pulp era) OR a book that includes three or more deaths--all committed by the same person.

32. Killed in Translation: A work that originally appeared in another language and has been made available in English--original publication date determines Gold or Silver Age--OR if your native language is not English, then a work that originally appeared in English which you read in your native language.

33. Blondes in Danger: A variation on "Colorful Crime." A book that features a blonde in the title (The Blonde Died FirstThe Case of the Black-Eyed Blonde) or another shade of hair color (The Case of the Substitute Brunette)

34. International Detectives: A variation on "World Traveler"--but instead of the crime being set in another country, the detective is not from the U.S. or U.K.

35. Somebody Else's Crime: Read a book that someone else has already read for the challenge.
36. Genuine Fakes: Read a book by an author who wrote under a pseudonym (Josephine Tey [Elizabeth Mackintosh]; Nicholas Blake [Cecil Day Lewis]; etc.)

37. Hobbies Can Be Murder: A mystery that involves a hobby in some way: stamp, coin book collecting, etc; knitting; birdwatching; hunting; etc.

38. Snatch & Grab: Read the first book you pick up off your shelf or TBR stack/s

39. I've Got You Covered: Pick a book to read based on the cover

40. Get Out of Jail Free: One per customer. You tell me what special category the book fits and it counts

 

Sunday, January 6, 2019

2019 Medical Examiner Mystery Reading Challenge



This is a challenge I am hosting. The challenge is located here. The object is to examine as many homicide victims as you can during 2019, by reading murder mysteries. You will file a Death Certificate for each book, identifying the Cause of Death of the victim(s). You will be able to compare your progress with others in the challenge in the Morgue as you go along.



Thursday, January 3, 2019

2019 Six Shooter Mystery Reading Challenge


This is a challenge I am hosting. This challenge is found here. The goal is to read 6 mysteries by the same author during 2019. Read all about it and join in! 


Sunday, December 30, 2018

2019 Just the Facts, Ma'am Challenge


This challenge is found here. I am reading from the Golden Age of mysteries (published prior to 1960).  Read all about it and join in! 

  • Constable: 6 books/1 per category. COMPLETE
  • Detective Sergeant: 12 books/2 per category: COMPLETE
  • Inspector: 18 books/3 per category: COMPLETE
  • Inspired Amateur: 24 books/4 per category: COMPLETE
  • Chief Inspector: 30 books / 5 per category: COMPLETE
  • Superintendent: 36 books / 6 per category: COMPLETE
  • plus a few extras but couldn't quite get 7 per category.

In 2018 I attained Chief Inspector level at 24 books. Seems to be some inflation at work here, this year it takes 30 books to get to the same level :-)



Photo from Grand Valley State University Police Academy by Rick VanGrouw




click to enlarge

Titles below are links to my reviews.



WHO - 6


  • (Academic): Deep Lay the Dead by Frederick C. Davis (1942), in which our detective Rigby Webb is a Professor of Mathematics
  • (Professional): Vicky Van by Carolyn Wells (1917), in which our main sleuth and narrator is lawyer Chet Calhoun.
  • (Medical): Miss Pinkerton by Mary Roberts Rinehart (1932) in which our investigator is Nurse Hilda Adams, a.k.a. 'Miss Pinkerton'
  • (Journalist/Writer): The Man Without Nerves by E. Phillips Oppenheim (1934), in which our detective assumes the career of a Journalist/Writer as a cover story.
  • (Artist): The Ginger Cat Mystery by Robin Forsythe (1935), in which our amateur detective much prefers painting landscape scenes.
  • (Watson Narrator): Might As Well Be Dead by Rex Stout (1956), with Archie Goodwin as narrator


WHAT - 8


  • (Color in title): The Black Heart by Sydney Horler (1928)
  • (Animal in title): Birds of Ill Omen by Kathleen Moore Knight (1948)
  • (Means in title): Give 'Em the Ax by A. A. Fair (1944) 
  • (More than one author): The Finishing Stroke by Ellery Queen (1958), comprising authors Frederic Dannay and Manfred Bennington Lee.
  • (Comic/Humorous): The Bat by Mary Roberts Rinehart and Avery Hapwood (1926), a mystery-comedy play which was then turned into the novel.
  • (Inverted): Phantom Lady by William Irish, in which the main character has already been tried and convicted to death as the story opens
  • (Includes letters): The Roman Hat Mystery by Ellery Queen (1929), in which letters are used as a basis for blackmail.
  • (Literary allusion): There Is A Tide by Agatha Christie (1948), the title being taken from Shakespeare: "There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune." 



WHEN - 7



  • (Time in title): Before Midnight by Rex Stout (1955)
  • (Timing of crime is crucial): The Perfect Crime by Ellery Queen (1942), in which several events, including the murder, occur over a span of 10 minutes; and analysis of the sequence of the events reveals the murderer.
  • (Weather event): The Case of Jennie Brice by Mary Roberts Rinehart (1913), which takes place during a spring flood.
  • (World War II): Speak No Evil by Mignon Eberhart (1940), in which the victim is a dealer in war materiel; prior to US entry into the war.
  • (Trip/vacation): Death Blew Out the Match by Kathleen Moore Knight (1935), in which murder occurs on the narrator's summer vacation to Penberthy Island in Massachusetts.
  • (Performance): I Can Find My Way Out by Ngaio Marsh (1946) in which an actor is killed in his dressing room while a play is being performed.
  • (Special event): Stream Sinister by Kathleen Moore Knight (1945), in which murder and mayhem occurs centered around a birthday celebration for one of two twins - but has one come back from the dead?



WHERE - 9

  • (Country House): Face Cards by Carolyn Wells, which is set at Clearman Court, the ancestral Clearman home in Connecticut.
  • (Capital city): The Man Next Door by Mignon Eberhart (1942), which takes place in Washington DC.
  • (On an island): Footbridge to Death by Kathleen Moore Knight (1947), which occurs on Penberthy Island off Massachusetts. (Note - started the book in Dec 2018, so the review post has that date on it, finished it in Jan 2019)
  • (Small village): Q As In Quicksand by Lawrence Treat (1947), which is set in Gobelin, Pennsylvania
  • (Hospital): Five Passengers from Lisbon by Mignon Eberhart (1946), which takes place on the hospital ship U.S.H.S. Magnolia.
  • (Other country): The Come Back by Carolyn Wells (1921), in which the first half of the book takes place in Labrador, Canada.
  • (Outdoor): The Wheel That Turned by Kathleen Moore Knight (1936), in which the climactic and final murder scene takes place at a water wheel on the outside of an old mill
  • (Place of performance): And So To Murder by Carter Dickson (1940), in which all action takes place on a sound stage at a motion picture studio.
  • (Locked room): Deep Lake Mystery by Carolyn Wells (1928)


HOW - 8


  • (drowning): The D. A.'s Daughter by Herman Petersen (1943), in which the main character dies when her car plunges into a river. Re-read in 2019, blog post is from 2018 reading.
  • (death on wheels): The Secret (novella contained within The Episode of the Wandering Knife) by Mary Roberts Rinehart (1950), in which the murderer commits suicide by driving into a river
  • (strangulation): Murder R.F.D. by Herman Peterson (1942) in which one of the victims is strangled with hosiery.
  • (knife): In The Onyx Lobby by Carolyn Wells (1920)
  • (shooting): The Last Hero by Leslie Charteris (1930)
  • (Unusual method): Instead of Evidence by Rex Stout (1949), a novella contained in Trouble in Triplicate; in which the murder weapon is an exploding cigar.
  • (2 deaths by different means): The Tainted Token by Kathleen Moore Knight (1939), two victims are stabbed, one falls to his death.
  • (Poison): And Be a Villain by Rex Stout (1948), in which two victims are poisoned by cyanide.

WHY - 7


2019 Alphabet Soup Challenge - Author Edition

This challenge is found here. The goal is to read 26 books of your choice during 2019: each author's name (first or last) starting with a different letter of the alphabet. Read all about it and join in! Here is my inspirational statement for you:

[I] Always Begin Carefully Dissecting Every Forgotten Good [book] Hoping I Just Keep Literally [finding] My Next [book] On Paper. [Reading] Quotas Really Stink [but] They Ultimately Vanish With X’s [checked off on my] Yearly Zen-like [reading list].

My titles highlighted in green are completed
My title highlighted in yellow is under the reading lamp right now
My titles shown in grey are upcoming reads

25 of 26 complete!

Titles below are links to my reviews.

My 2019 Alphabet Soup bowl:

* short story, could not locate full length book by a "U" author.



Please visit my reading blogs:

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

2019 Alphabet Soup Challenge


This challenge is found here. The goal is to read 26 books of your choice during 2019: each one starting with a different letter of the alphabet. Read all about it and join in! Here is my inspirational statement for you:

[I] Always Begin Carefully Dissecting Every Forgotten Good [book] Hoping I Just Keep Literally [finding] My Next [book] On Paper. [Reading] Quotas Really Stink [but] They Ultimately Vanish With X’s [checked off on my] Yearly Zen-like [reading list].

My titles highlighted in green are completed
My title highlighted in yellow is under the reading lamp right now
My titles shown in grey are upcoming reads

26 of 26 complete!

Titles below are links to my reviews.

My 2019 Alphabet Soup bowl:

* From the rules: For those pesky Q, X AND Z titles then the word that starts with the challenge letter can be anywhere in the title.


Please visit my reading blogs:

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

2018 Color Coded Challenge




The challenge is located here, to read nine titles in the following categories.

Here is my progress. 
All 9 complete!



Titles are linked to my reviews.


1. A book with "Blue" or any shade of Blue (Turquoise, Aquamarine, Navy, etc) in the title/on the cover. 


  • complete: The Blue Horse of Taxco by Kathleen Moore Knight
  • note for next time? The Blue Hand by Edgar Wallace
  • note for next time? Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie



2. A book with "Red" or any shade of Red (Scarlet, Crimson, Burgandy, etc) in the title/on the cover.

  • complete: The Red Mass by Valentine Williams
  • note for next time? The Scarlet Letters by Ellery Queen
  • note for next time? The Red Lamp by Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • note for next time? A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • note for next time? Crimson Friday by Dorothy Cameron Disney
  • note for next time? The Crimson Circle by Edgar Wallace


3. A book with "Yellow" or any shade of Yellow (Gold, Lemon, Maize, etc.)in the title/on the cover.

  • complete: The Yellow Room by Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • note for next time? Gold Comes in Bricks by A. A. Fair (Erle Stanley Gardner)
  • note for next time? The Golden Spiders by Rex Stout
  • note for next time? The Golden Goose by Ellery Queen
  • note for next time? Mystery of the Gold Box by Valentine Williams



4. A book with "Green" or any shade of Green (Emerald, Lime, Jade, etc) in the title/on the cover.

  • complete: The Jade Venus by George Harmon Coxe
  • note for next time? The Man in the Green Hat by Manning Coles
  • note for next time? Green Hazard by Manning Coles
  • note for next time? The Case of the Green Eyed Sister by Erle Stanley Gardner
  • note for next time? The Green Ribbon by Edgar Wallace
  • I just couldn't bring myself to claim "The Greene Murder Case" by S. S. Van Dine for this one!


5. A book with "Brown" or any shade of Brown (Tan, Beige, Sand etc) in the title/on the cover.





6. A book with "Black" or any shade of Black (Jet, Ebony, Charcoal, etc) in the title/on the cover.


  • complete:  The Ebony Bed Murder by Rufus Gillmore (1932)
  • complete: Acts of Black Night by Kathleen Moore Knight (1938)
  • note for next time? The Black Mountain by Rex Stout
  • note for next time? Black Orchids by Rex Stout


7. A book with "White" or any shade of White (Ivory, Eggshell, Cream, etc)in the title/on the cover.

  • complete: White Rider by Leslie Charteris
  • note for next time? The White Elephant Mystery by Ellery Queen
  • note for next time? The Window at the White Cat by Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • note for next time? White Face by Edgar Wallace




8. A book with any other color in the title/on the cover (Purple, Orange, Silver, Pink, Magneta, etc.).  

  • complete: The False Purple by Sydney Horler (1932)
  • note for next time? The Chinese Orange Mystery by Ellery Queen
  • note for next time? Ride the Pink Horse by Dorothy Hughes
  • note for next time? The Silver Key by Edgar Wallace


9. A book with a word that implies color (Rainbow, Polka-dot, Plaid, Paisley, Stripe, etc.).

  • complete: Miss Paisley on a Diet by John Pierce (1969) This is a short story, I was unable to find a full length book in this category.


Please visit my reading blogs: