Saturday, December 3, 2022

2023 Reading The Mystery League


I am challenging myself to read through the entire series of The Mystery League during 2023. (The last time I did this was 2017). Read all about the League at this blog. Titles below are linked to synopses/reviews. Titles completed are highlighted in green.

  1. The Hand of PowerEdgar Wallace, 1930
  2. The Curse of Doone. Sydney Horler, 1930
  3. The House of Sudden Sleep. John Hawk, 1930
  4. Jack O'LanternGeorge Goodchild, 1930
  5. Mystery of Burnleigh Manor. Walter Livingston, 1930
  6. The Invisible Host. Gwen Bristow and Bruce Manning, 1930
  7. The Day of Uniting. Edgar Wallace, 1930
  8. The Monster of Grammont. George Goodchild, 1930
  9. The House of Terror. Edward Woodward, 1930
  10. The Hardway Diamonds Mystery. Miles Burton, 1930
  11. Peril. Sydney Horler, 1930
  12. The Maestro Murders. Frances Shelley Wees, 1931
  13. Turmoil at Brede. Seldon Truss, 1931
  14. Death Walks in Eastrepps. Francis Beeding, 1931
  15. The Secret of High Eldersham. Miles Burton, 1931
  16. The Gutenberg Murders. Gwen Bristow and Bruce Manning, 1931
  17. The Merrivale Mystery. James Corbett, 1931
  18. The Tunnel Mystery, J. C. Lenehan, 1931
  19. The Mystery of Villa Sineste, Walter Livingston, 1931
  20. The Hunterstone Outrage, Seldon Truss, 1931
  21. Murder in the French Room, Helen Joan Hultman, 1931
  22. Bungalow on the Roof, Achmed Abdullah, 1931
  23. The False Purple. Sydney Horler, 1932
  24. Two and Two Make Twenty-Two. Gwen Bristow and Bruce Manning, 1932
  25. For Sale - MurderWill Levinrew, 1932
  26. The Ebony Bed Murder, Rufus Gillmore, 1932
  27. Spider House, Van Wyck Mason, 1932
  28. The Mardi Gras Murders. Gwen Bristow and Bruce Manning, 1932
  29. The Stingaree Murders. W. Shepard Pleasants, 1932
  30. Death Points a Finger. Will Levinrew, 1933
  31. * Death Hold the Key / Scotland Yard Can Wait. David Frome

* #31 was planned to be Death Holds the Key by David Frome. The League did not survive to publish it. It was later published by Grosset and Dunlap under the title Scotland Yard Can Wait.

Monday, November 7, 2022

2023 Vintage Scavenger Hunt


Bev Hankins at My Reader's Block is sponsoring the 2023 Vintage Scavenger Hunt. The challenge page is located here

The goal is to find as many objects on the scavenger hunt list as possible on the covers of the mystery books you read. I am working the Golden Age era. Here is the list:

Progress will be recorded on this spreadsheet.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

2022 Abra Cadavers

 The 2022 Abra Cadavers game is located here.

• Get a Single by reading one book. 
The Big Shot by Frank L. Packard

• Get a Double by reading two books by a second author
The Corpse in the Waxworks by John Dickson Carr
The Mad Hatter Mystery by John Dickson Carr

• Get a Triple by reading three books by a third author 
The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe
The Mystery of Marie Rogét by Edgar Allan Poe
The Purloined Letter by Edgar Allan Poe

• Get a Home Run by reading four books by a fourth author.
The Case of the Lame Canary by Erle Stanley Gardner
The Case of the Crimson Kiss by Erle Stanley Gardner
Fingers of Fong by Erle Stanley Gardner
The Valley of Little Fears by Erle Stanley Gardner

• You have hit for the Cycle once you complete a single, double, triple, AND a home run.

• Get a Foul by giving up on a foul one with the dreaded DNF (Did Not Finish)

The Martian by Andy Weir

• Get a Bunt by reading a short story.

The Image in the Mirror by Dorothy L. Sayers 

• Get a Walk by listening to an audiobook 
Death Blew Out the Match Crime Club radio dramatization

• Get a Stolen Base by stealing (reading) a book which has been submitted to any of our previous or current challenges - in any year - by someone else. 
With One Stone by Frances & Richard Lockridge, read by Bev Hankins in 2021.


Strike Out when a book strikes out of your house (out to the library, loaned out, mailed out, given away, sold, thrown out, audiobook taken outdoors for a walk, book taken elsewhere to read, etc.)

Thursday, December 30, 2021

2022 Reading Challenges hosted by The Mystillery

The Mystillery is pleased to offer these reading challenges for 2022!

Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading ChallengeYou are the Medical Examiner, and your goal is to document the cause of death on as many unfortunate victims as you can by reading murder mysteries. Annual challenge.

Six Shooter Mystery Reading Challenge: (Nothing to do with Westerns) Shoot (read) six mysteries by the same target (author). Annual challenge, but unfinished targets roll over to the following year so you do not lose any partial progress.

Beachcomber Reading Challenge: Scavenger hunt. Fill four beach bags (Detectives, Victims, Crime Scenes, and Weapons) by finding all the items on each list. Honor system: Author/Titles need not be submitted. Annual challenge

Century Club: A real high-class operation. Expand your horizons. Read one mystery from each of the ten previous decades, comprising 1920-2020. Ongoing challenge which never expires.

In addition, The Mystillery offers two games (not challenges) for the relaxation and enjoyment of any of the challengers after a hard day of reading. The games alternate through the year: Abra Cadavers is a baseball game which runs concurrent with the Major League baseball season (April 1 to Sep 30). At all other times during the year, the Ten Pins bowling game is available!

Monday, December 27, 2021

2022 Beachcomber


A - Automobile - Case of the Lame Canary (Gardner)
B - Tree branch - Murder on Angler's Island (Reilly)
C - Claustrophobia induced - The Deer Leap (Grimes)
D - Dogs - The Deer Leap (Grimes)
E - Fire - The Hunterstone Outrage (Truss)
F - Frightening phone call - The Deer Leap (Grimes)
G - Gun - Murder on Angler's Island (Reilly)
H - Handgun - Case of the Lame Canary (Gardner)
I or J - Ice pick - Death on the Aisle (Lockridge)
K - 1909 PacKard - Masterstrokes of Crime Detection (Wren)
L - pistoL - The Crouching Beast (Williams)
M - Mud - Colour Scheme (Marsh)
N - Poison - The Hunterstone Outrage (Truss)
O - dOg - The Saint Bids Diamonds (Charteris)
P or Q - Pistol - Death on the Aisle (Lockridge)
R - Razor - Murders in the Rue Morgue (Poe)
S - Shotgun - The Deer Leap (Grimes)
T - GuilloTine - Masterstrokes of Crime Detection (Wren)
U - gUn - The Crouching Beast (Williams)
V - cleaVer - Masterstrokes of Crime Detection (Wren)
WXY or Z - Walking stick - The Deer Leap (Grimes)

Crime Scenes

A - Apartment - Murders in the Rue Morgue (Poe)
B - Bathtub - Death on the Aisle (Lockridge) 
C - Children's Playhouse - The Deer Leap (Grimes)
D - Desert canyon - Case of the Lame Canary (Gardner)
E - Castle - The Hunterstone Outrage (Truss)
F - TeneriFe, Canary Is. - The Saint Bids Diamonds (Charteris)
G - Garden - Death on the Aisle (Lockridge)
H - Hotel room Murder on Angler's Island (Reilly)
I or J - BerlIn - Masterstrokes of Crime Detection (Wren)
K - Kennel - The Deer Leap (Grimes)
L - Laboratory - The Deer Leap (Grimes)
M - Mud pool - Colour Scheme (Marsh)
N - gardeN - The Crouching Beast (Williams)
O - prisOn - The Crouching Beast (Williams)
P or Q - Phone booth - The Deer Leap (Grimes)
R - Railroad crossing - The Crouching Beast (Williams)
S - Swimming pool - Murder on Angler's Island (Reilly)
T - Theatre - Death on the Aisle (Lockridge)
U - gUest house - The Sixth Commandment (Wells)
V - Park AVenue - Masterstrokes of Crime Detection (Wren)
WXY or Z - Corpse in Wax Works (Carr)


A - C. Auguste Dupin - Murders in the Rue Morgue (Poe)
B - Bob Arnold - The Sixth Commandment (Wells)
C - Christopher Cox - The Sixth Commandment (Wells)
D - Paul Drake - Case of the Lame Canary (Gardner)
E - JamEs MacParlan - Masterstrokes of Crime Detection (Wren)
F - Frank Geyer - Masterstrokes of Crime Detection (Wren)
G - Inspector Green - Masterstrokes of Crime Detection (Wren)
H - Henri Bencolin - Corpse in Wax Works (Carr)
I or J - Supt. Richard Jury - The Deer Leap (Grimes)
K - Insp. Christopher McKee - Murder on Angler's Island (Reilly)
L - HoLlmann - Masterstrokes of Crime Detection (Wren)
M - Malchus - The Hunterstone Outrage (Truss)
N - Pam North - Death on the Aisle (Lockridge)
O - Olivia Dunbar - The Crouching Beast (Williams)
P or Q - Melrose Plant - The Deer Leap (Grimes)
R - Roderick Alleyn - Colour Scheme (Marsh)
S - Kali DaSs - Masterstrokes of Crime Detection (Wren)
T - Allan PinkerTon - Masterstrokes of Crime Detection (Wren)
U - Nigel DrUce - The Crouching Beast (Williams)
V - Eugene Vidocq - Masterstrokes of Crime Detection (Wren)
WXY or Z - Lt. Bill Weigand - Death on the Aisle (Lockridge)


A - Mary Fowler - Death on the Aisle (Lockridge)
B - Dr. Carney Bolton - Death on the Aisle (Lockridge)
C - Carrie Fleet - The Deer Leap (Grimes)
D - Daniel Harland - The Hunterstone Outrage (Truss)
E - Ellen Grady - Death on the Aisle (Lockridge)
F Faith Ann Crale - Murder on Angler's Island (Reilly)
G - Dr. Gould - The Hunterstone Outrage (Truss)
H = Odette Duchene - Corpse in Wax Works (Carr)
I or J - Jason Braun - Case of the Lame Canary (Gardner)
K - Annie Klaus - Masterstrokes of Crime Detection (Wren)
L - Madame. L'Espanaye - Murders in the Rue Morgue (Poe)
M - Sally MacBride - The Deer Leap (Grimes)
N - Mme. L'Espanaye - Murders in the Rue Morgue (Poe)
O - Walter Prescott - Case of the Lame Canary (Gardner)
P or Q - Una Quick - The Deer Leap (Grimes)
R - Rudi Von Linz - The Crouching Beast (Williams)
S - PC Pasco - The Deer Leap (Grimes)
T - Ted - The Sixth Commandment (Wells)
U - MaUrice QUesting - Colour Scheme (Marsh)
V - Fairy LoVell - The Sixth Commandment (Wells)
WXY or Z Leslie Manxman - Murder on Angler's Island (Reilly)

Saturday, October 23, 2021

2022 Color Coded Reading Challenge


This Bev Hankins reading challenge is located here. I am trying a mini-challenge within, by using as many Erle Stanley Gardner books as possible.


Read nine books in the following categories:

1. A book with "Blue" or any shade of Blue in the title/on the cover.
Mystery of the Blue Train - Agatha Christie

2. A book with "Red" or any shade of Red in the title/on the cover.
Case of the Crimson Kiss - Erle Stanley Gardner

3. A book with "Yellow" or any shade of Yellow in the title/on the cover.
Case of the Lame Canary - Erle Stanley Gardner

4. A book with "Green" or any shade of Green in the title/on the cover.
Case of the Green Eyed Sister - Erle Stanley Gardner

5. A book with "Brown" or any shade of Brown in the title/on the cover.
Case of the Borrowed Brunette - Erle Stanley Gardner

6. A book with "Black" or any shade of Black in the title/on the cover.
Black Orchids - Rex Stout

7. A book with "White" or any shade of White in the title/on the cover.
The White Cockatoo by Mignon G. Eberhart

8. A book with any other color in the title/on the cover (Purple, Orange, Silver, Pink, etc).
Case of the Gold Diggers Purse - Erle Stanley Gardner

9. A book with a word/image that implies color in the title/on the cover (Rainbow, Polka-dot, Plaid, Shadow, Paint, Ink, etc).
Colour Scheme - Ngaio Marsh

Thursday, October 21, 2021

2022 Vintage Scattergories

This Bev Hankins challenge is located here

The goal is to read at least eight Golden Age (prior to 1960) books during 2022 from the following categories:

1. Colorful Crime: A book with a color or reference to color in the title
Colour Scheme by Ngaio Marsh, 1943 

2. Murder by the Numbers: A book with a number or quantity in the title
The Sixth Commandment by Carolyn Wells, 1927

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.)
Eleven Came Back by Mabel Seeley, 1943, in which our narrator/protagonist, Martha Chappell, assumes the role of detective.

4. Leave It to the Professionals: A book featuring cops, private eyes, secret service, professional spies, etc.
The Tannahill Tangle by Carolyn Wells, 1928

5. Jolly Old England: A mystery set in the United Kingdom
The Hunterstone Outrage by Seldon Truss, 1931 (Mystery League #20)

6. Yankee Doodle Dandy: A mystery set in the United States
Whisper Murder! by Vera Kelsey, 1946

7. World Traveler: A mystery set in any country except the U.S. or U.K.
The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe, 1841 (France)

8. Dangerous Beasts: A book with an animal in the title
The Case of the Lame Canary by Erle Stanley Gardner, 1937

9. A Calendar of Crime: A mystery with a date/holiday/year/month/etc. in the title
The Day of Uniting by Edgar Wallace, 1930

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)
The D.A.'s Daughter by Herman Petersen, 1943

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)
Alias Uncle Hugo by Manning Coles, 1952

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)
Death on the Aisle by Frances & Richard Lockridge, 1942

14. Scene of the Crime: A book with the location of the crime in the title 
That Affair Next Door by Anna Katherine Green, 1897

15. Cops & Robbers: A book that features a theft rather than murder
Crooked Lightning by Erle Stanley Gardner, 1928 (jewel theft)

16. Locked Rooms/Impossible Crimes: A locked-room or otherwise impossible crime mystery (locks not necessary). 
The Secret of the Conrad Door, contained in Masterstrokes of Crime Detection by Lassiter Wren, 1929.

17. First Impressions: Randomly select four books from your TBR pile. Read only the first line of each book and select one of them to read based on your first impression of the book.
The White Cottage Mystery by Margery Allingham, 1927.

18. Country House Criminals: A standard (or not-so-standard) Golden Age-style country house murder
The Strawstack Murders by Dorothy Cameron Disney, 1938

19. Murder on the High Seas: A mystery involving water
A Corpse by Any Other Name by RAJ Walling, 1943, in which a valuable message is lost when a ship is torpedoed.

20. Planes, Trains, & Automobiles: A book with a mode of transportation in the title
Death in the [train] Tunnel by Miles Burton, 1936

21. Murder is Academic: A mystery involving a scholar, teacher, librarian, etc. OR set at a school, university, library, etc.
Deep Lay the Dead by Frederick C. Davis, 1942

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)
The Corpse in the Wax Works by John Dickson Carr, 1932

23. Repeat Offenders: A mystery featuring your favorite series detective or by your favorite author or reread an old favorite
Cordially Invited to Meet Death by Rex Stout, 1942, featuring Nero Wolfe

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.
The Crime Conductor by Philip MacDonald, 1931, in which the butler Vickers has a secret past which is part of the plot.

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.)
The Saint Bids Diamonds, apa Thieve's Picnic by Leslie Charteris, 1937

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)
Black Orchids by Rex Stout, 1941 (Nero Wolfe & Archie Goodwin)

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.)
The Saint at Large by Leslie Charteris, 1942.

28. Psychic Phenomena: A mystery featuring a seance, medium, hypnotism, or other psychic or "supernatural" characters/events
Lost Man's Lane by Anna Katherine Green, 1898

29. Book to Movie: A book that has appeared on screen (feature film or TV)
The Case of the Crimson Kiss by Erle Stanley Gardner, 1948

30. The Old Bailey: A courtroom drama mystery OR a mystery featuring a judge, lawyer, barrister, district attorney
The Case of the Stuttering Bishop by Erle Stanley Gardner, 1936

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.
The Mystery of Marie Rogêt by Edgar Allan Poe, 1842, published as a newspaper serial

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.
The Horla by Guy de Maupassant, 1887

33. History Mysteries: The bulk or focus of the mystery must take place at least 15 years prior to the date of publication. Flashback stories are fine as long as the modern events frame the story OR the historical events are absolutely vital to the present day story. Example: A Study in Scarlet by Sir Artur Conan Doyle.
The Crouching Beast by Valentine Williams (1928) in which the story takes place just prior to World War I. 

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.
The Big Shot by Frank L. Packard, 1929, in which our amateur detective is a Canadian woman.

35. Somebody Else's Crime: Read a book that someone else has already read for the challenge.
The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie, 1942, previously read by Christina. 

36. Genuine Fakes: Read a book by an author who wrote under a pseudonym (Josephine Tey [Elizabeth Mackintosh]; Nicholas Blake [Cecil Day Lewis]; etc.)
The Four of Hearts by Ellery Queen, 1938. Pseudonym of Frederic Dannay and Manfred Lee

37. Hobbies Can Be Murder: A mystery that involves a hobby in some way: stamp, coin, book collecting, etc; knitting; birdwatching; hunting; etc.
Murder on Angler's Island by Helen Reilly (1945) in which 'Angling' is in the title

38. Snatch & Grab: Read the first book you pick up off your shelf or TBR stack/s
The Man With the Clubfoot by Valentine Williams (1918)

39. I've Got You Covered: Pick a book to read based on the cover
The White Cockatoo by Mignon G. Eberhart (1933)

40. Get Out of Jail Free: One per customer. You tell me what special category the book fits and it counts--the only thing I won't accept is "It's a vintage mystery!" The genre/time period is a given.
Duty Free by Manning Coles, 1959. Submitted in the literal  sense - It features one character who escapes from jail successfully.