Short reviews of classic mystery novels and stories that are worth reading and re-reading
"Helen Passes By," by E.R. Punshon
Newly appointed to Scotland Yard, Bobby Owen finds himself weighing motives, politics and amazing beauty as he hunts for a murderer who might just be an "untouchable" British aristocrat. E.R. Punshon's "Helen Passes By," reviewed.
"The Mystery of the Blue Train," by Agatha Christie
Another, earlier pre-Orient-Express train ride for Hercule Poirot comes complete with jewel robberies, blackmail, and murder on a luxury train across France.
"The Laughing Dog," by Francis Vivian
On the Classic Mysteries podcast this week, you might call it a portrait of the artist as a young...dog? Did it hide the secret of a doctor's murder? Inspector Gordon Knollis had to decipher the secret of Francis Vivian's 1948 classic, "The Laughing Dog."
"Murder in Vienna," by E.C.R. Lorac
On the Classic Mysteries blog, Scotland Yard Inspector Macdonald thought he was going on holiday in Vienna. So how did he wind up helping local police investigate some nasty murders? E.C.R. Lorac's "Murder in Vienna," reviewed.
"The Orange Axe," by Brian Flynn
A grim solution to a grim problem: how to deal with a loathsome blackmailer who may also be a serial killer? For half-a-dozen young Englishmen, the answer appears to be a well-plotted murder, one where it will be impossible to tell who struck the fatal blow. Only things may not always go quite as smoothly as planned.
"Death of a Doxy," by Rex Stout
In Archie Goodwin’s world view, the word that best fits Isabel Kerr is a four-letter word: doxy. The dictionary says, it defines "a woman who is regarded as sexually promiscuous." Only trouble was, Isabel Kerr was dead. Murdered. And – with the police focused on a suspect who is both a friend and sometime colleague of both Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolfe, it was clear that Wolfe was going to have to get involved in the search for the real killer.