Friday, March 2, 2018

2018 Just the Facts, Ma'am Challenge

This is my wrapup post for the 2018 challenge. I have completed 24 books as shown. At the end, I had a couple which I began in 2018 but did not finish until 2019, so I placed them on the 2019 challenge. This was my first year trying a challenge and it was a lot of fun. I even tried making my own little challenge for 2019 - if any of you would like to check it out, here it is >> 2019 Six Shooter Mystery Reading Challenge

This challenge is found here. My goal is to achieve the Chief Inspector level by reading 24 books from the Golden Age of mysteries (published prior to 1960) during 2018: four from each category of the Detective Notebook below. Read all about it and join in!

Working my way up the ranks:

Could this be Bev and me? Alas, no. Photo from Grand Valley State University Police Academy by Rick VanGrouw

  • Constable: 6 of 6 complete!
  • Detective Sergeant: 12 of 12 complete!
  • Inspector: 18 of 18 books complete!
  • Chief Inspector: 24  of 24 books complete!

Titles below are links to my reviews.


  1. (Academic): Death Points a Finger by Will Levinrew (1933), in which retired professor Herman Brierly is the detective
  2. (Crime Solving Duo): The D.A.'s Daughter (1943) by Herman Petersen, in which neighbors Henry Wilbur and Lydia Bannock (The D.A.'s daughter) team up to solve the apparent murder of a local woman.
  3. (Amateur detective): Scotland Yard Can Wait! (preliminary title was Death Holds the Key) by David Frome (1933), in which Jerry Drake, a junior lawyer, is the amateur detective
  4. (Journalist): For Sale - Murder by Will Levinrew (1932) in which Richard Quantrell Marlow is a reporter for the Newark Evening Bulletin
  1. (Pseudonymous author): The Tragedy of X by Barnaby Ross / Ellery Queen (1932)
  2. (Color in title): The Yellow Room by Mary Roberts Rinehart (1945)
  3. (Animal in title): Spider House by F. Van Wyck Mason (1932)
  4. (Refers to man or woman): The Greene Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine (1928), in which the title refers to Julia Greene, victim
  5. (Two words with same letter): The Merrivale Mystery by James Corbett (1931)

  1. (Timing of crime is crucial): The Garden Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine, in which there are two sucessive gunshots, but which one did the deed and which one was the red herring? It was reviewed by Bev Hankins here
  2. (Weather event): Two and Two Make Twenty-Two by Gwen Bristow and Bruce Manning (1932) in which the characters are stranded on an island during a fierce storm.
  3. (During a cruise): The Needle's Kiss by Austin J. Small (1929), in which the action takes place aboard the Chinese freighter Yangtse while docked in London. I am stretching the 'cruise' point a bit, as the ship is moored to the dock for 307 of the 312 pages, finally getting underway with 5 pages remaining. Oh, wait! Here is a backup title: Later on I read The Bronze Hand by Carolyn Wells (1925) which takes place on a real honest-to-goodness cruise: the S. S. Pinnacle en route from New York to Liverpool.
  4. (Special event): The Ebony Bed Murder by Rufus Gillmore (1932) in which the victim is murdered at her birthday party (how rude!)

  1. (Country House): The Winter Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine (1939); in which the action takes place at the Rexon estate in the Berkshires of Massachusetts.
  2. (On mode of transport): The Tunnel Mystery by J. C. Lenehan (1932); in which the victim is shot in a railway carriage as it passes through a tunnel
  3. (On an island): Acts of Black Night by Kathleen Moore Knight (1938); in which a murder occurs on Stowaway Island off the New England coast.
  4. (In a locked room): The Kennel Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine (1933); in which Archer Coe is found dead in a locked room, with the windows all locked too of course. 

  1. (Death by poison): The Bishop Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine (1929), in which Philo Vance switches wine glasses, causing the murderer to drink poison. No prosecution necessary!
  2. (Knife/dagger/etc.): Murder in the French Room by Helen Joan Hultman (1932); in which the victim is stabbed by a makeshift dagger - a pair of scissors. Ouch!
  3. (At least 2 deaths by different means): The Mardi Gras Murders by Gwen Bristow and Bruce Manning, in which victim #1 (Roger Parnell) is knifed, victim #2 (Cynthia Fonteney) is lured to lean over a high railing which has been sawn almost through, and victim #3 (Mark Oliver) is shot.
  4. (Blunt instrument): The Kidnap Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine (1936) in which Kaspar Kenting is done in with the legendary blunt instrument and carelessly dumped in the East River.

  1. (Reviewed by a fellow challenger): The Patient in Room 18 by Mignon Eberhart. Bev Hankins reviewed this book here on My Reader's Block.
  2. (Author never tried before): The Stingaree Murders by W. Shepard Pleasants (by definition, as he only wrote this one book :-)
  3. (Author read & loved): The False Purple by Sydney Horler, I have read his thriller titles The Curse of Doone and Peril! before.
  4. (Made into film): The Scarab Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine. Good luck finding it. IMDb says: One of the "75 Most Wanted" films listed by the British Film Institute as "Missing, believed lost".
Please visit my reading blogs:


  1. Rick: so glad you've joined me on this. You're doing great!

  2. Thank you - Since some books fit multiple categories, I find that sometimes I shuffle books to different categories in order to maximize progress.

  3. Detective Sergeant is in the bag. On my way to Inspector level!