Friday, February 19, 2016

Lured 1947 - movie

We watch a lot of "old" movies. I like the mysteries of course.
We watched Lured on TCM recently and it was very good.

"In London, Scotland Yard investigators receive the latest in a series of cryptic poems authored by an elusive killer and conclude that his seventh victim will be a dancer. Inspector Harley Temple of the Criminal Investigation Department orders a typewriter and fingerprint analysis of the poem, but the identity of the "Poet Killer," as he has been named, eludes investigators. While the police investigation continues, English dance hall hostess Lucy Barnard and American dancer Sandra Carpenter are offered auditions by producers Robert Fleming and Julian Wilde for their new stage show. Though Sandra accepts the offer, Lucy refuses and explains that she is quitting the dance hall circuit to travel with a handsome man she met through a personal advertisement. When Lucy disappears a short time later, Temple believes that she has fallen victim to the killer. After locating Sandra, the last known person to have seen Lucy, Temple hires her to act as a decoy to trap the killer. As part of her assignment, Sandra sets out to answer all the personal advertisements in the newspaper in which pretty women are sought. After an introduction to an assortment of strange men, including an eccentric artist who at first appears menancing but turns out to be harmless, Sandra answers an advertisement that leads to a job as a parlor maid for aristocrat Lyle Maxwell. Meanwhile, Fleming, an irrepressible playboy, orders his assistants to find Sandra, whom he has not met, but whose beautiful telephone voice has enchanted him. Robert meets Sandra by coincidence one evening when they both attend the same concert. The two fall instantly in love and become engaged, but soon after moving into Robert's home, Sandra finds evidence indicating that Robert knew Lucy. Temple, meanwhile, has discovered a passage in the latest poem he received from the killer that suggests that Robert is the culprit and that Sandra is his next intended victim."

George Sanders, Boris Karloff and Lucille Ball star in this movie. Two things struck me about this movie. 1) Lucille Ball was really good in this suspenseful drama 2) The use of personal ads to lure the victims

We think everything is so modern, but hey they had personal ads in 1947?

No blood, no gore but this movie has plenty of screaming, squirmishes and will have you looking around....

If you need a good movie to watch, I recommend this one. It will be reshown on TCM on April 18th at 6 a.m.

Harper Lee

New York Times: 
"Harper Lee, whose first novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” about racial injustice in a small Alabama town, sold more than 10 million copies and became one of the most beloved and most taught works of fiction ever written by an American, has died. She was 89.
Her death was confirmed by Mary Jackson, the city clerk in Monroeville, Ala., where Ms. Lee lived. Ms. Jackson could not say where or when Ms. Lee died.
The instant success of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which was published in 1960 and won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction the next year, turned Ms. Lee into a literary celebrity, a role she found oppressive and never learned to accept. The enormous success of the film version of the novel, released in 1962 with Gregory Peck in the starring role of Atticus Finch, a small-town Southern lawyer who defends a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman, only added to Ms. Lee’s fame and fanned expectations for her next novel.
For more than half a century, it failed to appear. Then, in 2015, long after the reading public had given up on seeing anything more from Ms. Lee, a sequel appeared under mysterious circumstances.
“I never expected any sort of success with ‘Mockingbird,’ ” Ms. Lee told a radio interviewer in 1964. “I was hoping for a quick and merciful death at the hands of the reviewers, but, at the same time I sort of hoped someone would like it well enough to give me encouragement.” Instead, she said, “I got rather a whole lot, and in some ways this was just about as frightening as the quick, merciful death I’d expected.”
Ms. Lee gained a reputation as a literary Garbo, a recluse whose public appearances to accept an award or an honorary degree counted as important news simply because of their rarity. On such occasions she did not speak, other than to say a brief thank you.
In February 2015, her publisher, Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins, dropped a bombshell. It announced plans to publish a manuscript, long thought to be lost, that Ms. Lee submitted to her editors in 1957 under the title “Go Set a Watchman.”
Ms. Lee’s lawyer, Tonja B. Carter, had chanced upon it, attached to an original typescript of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” while looking through Ms. Lee’s papers, the publishers explained. It told the story of Atticus and Scout 20 years later, when Scout is a young woman living in New York, and included several scenes in which Atticus expresses conservative views on race relations seemingly at odds with his liberal stance in the earlier novel.
The book was published in July with an initial printing of 2 million and, with enormous advance sales, immediately leapt to the top of the fiction best-seller lists, despite tepid reviews.
“To Kill a Mockingbird” was really two books in one: a sweet, often humorous portrait of small-town life in the 1930s, and a sobering tale of race relations in the Deep South during the Jim Crow era. Looking back on her childhood as a precocious tomboy, the narrator, Jean Louise Finch, better known as Scout, evoked the sultry summers and simple pleasures of an ordinary small town in Alabama. At a time when Southern fiction inclined toward the Gothic, Ms. Lee, with a keen eye and a sharp ear for dialogue, presented “the more smiling aspects” of Southern life, to borrow a phrase from William Dean Howells.
At the same time, her stark morality tale of a righteous Southern lawyer who stands firm against racism and mob rule struck a chord with Americans, many of them becoming aware of the civil rights movement for the first time. The novel had its critics. “It’s interesting that all the folks that are buying it don’t know they’re reading a child’s book,” Flannery O’Connor wrote in a letter to friend shortly after the novel’s appearance. Some reviewers complained that the perceptions attributed to Scout were far too complex for a girl just starting grade school and dismissed Atticus as a kind of Southern Judge Hardy, dispensing moral bromides.
The book soared miles above such criticisms. By the late 1970s “To Kill a Mockingbird” had sold nearly 10 million copies, and in 1988 the National Council of Teachers of English reported that it was being taught in 74 percent of the nation’s secondary schools. A decade later Library Journal declared it the best novel of the 20th century."




























































































































































At the same time, her stark morality tale of a righteous Southern lawyer who stands firm against racism and mob rule struck a chord with Americans, many of them becoming aware of the civil rights movement for the first time. The novel had its critics. “It’s interesting that all the folks that are buying it don’t know they’re reading a child’s book,” Flannery O’Connor wrote in a letter to friend shortly after the novel’s appearance. Some reviewers complained that the perceptions attributed to Scout were far too complex for a girl just starting grade school and dismissed Atticus as a kind of Southern Judge Hardy, dispensing moral bromides.
The book soared miles above such criticisms. By the late 1970s “To Kill a Mockingbird” had sold nearly 10 million copies, and in 1988 the National Council of Teachers of English reported that it was being taught in 74

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Types of Mysteries

Do you ever hear books described as a "cozy" or "hard boiled" or "steam punk"?

I used to pretty much read only "cozies". I didn't know they were cozies when I was reading them.
Then I read a book that I really like that was described as "steam punk". I had to look that up.  I watch a lot of old mystery movies and hear them described as "hard boiled." I have a vague, kindasorta idea what all of them mean, but thought I would look them up and share the definitions.

I found this list from The Seattle Mystery Bookshop.
Here is what they have to say about the definitions:

"Definitions and labels can help us match you with the type of mystery you are most likely to enjoy! We have included a small number of  examples with each type of mystery we have outlined here, to give you a sense of what each style is like beyond the definition given. 
Keep in mind that these definitions are shorthand labels that can be used as references for discussion. If you ask what a book is like and someone says "cozy", it gives you an idea of what to expect. Also, these styles can be mingled, so a suspense story might be cozy or a whodunnit could be hardboiled."

Here we go.

Mystery Novel
A work of fiction which should meet all the requirements of any novel, and is additionally expected to include four essential elements:
Crime (usually, but not necessarily, murder)
Detective(s), whether professional (police or private) or amateur
An investigative process and
The identification of the culprit(s)

Caper Novel
One of the newer forms, centered on the commission of some type of crime or scam, usually outrageous and frequently humorous. Will it succeed, and will the scoundrels get away with it? Gives us an opportunity to root for characters we might not root for in real life.
The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton is the example they give.

Crime Novel
"Mysteries" and more. Perhaps a better term than "mystery novel" to describe the category today, with its implication of a broad variety of approaches to the issue of crime and its implications, less dependence on the four essential elements. A notable example of the newer type of construction is the story told from the standpoint of the criminal – hit man (or woman), con artist, or whatever. Often in a crime novel, the "good guys" and the "bad guys" share equal time – you know whodunit – but you don't know how the story will be resolved.
Well what do you... a book I recently read is listed as one of the top 100 Crime Novels. A Dark Adapted Eye by Barbara Vine.
    Although basically a synonym for mystery, the term whodunit is generally used to describe works such as many of the "traditional" or "classic" mysteries of the 1920's and 30's, which contain significant elements of a puzzle.

Charlie Chan books are an example of Whodunits.

   Is a technique where an author imitates another author’s style (and/or characters), in a respectful way. The Italian Secretary by Caleb Carr is a pastische, he is imitation and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s style and character, Sherlock Holmes. (never heard of this one myself)

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James is an example of "pastische".

Urban Fantasy
   Is a genre defined by geography; it is a mystery which has supernatural or fantasy elements (read vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and possessions for example), but it must take place in an urban (i.e. city, generally speaking the larger the better) environment some where on earth (usually). It can be set during any time period however a good portion are set in the present or future time period.

Charlaine Harris/Sookie Stackhouse books are an example of urban fantasy.
A genera which takes an alternate view of history; what would the world look like today if steam power had never replaced? This genre often feature anachronistic technologies or innovations which could only have been dreamed of during the early 19th century. The fashions, culture, architecture and sheer style are most often modeled after Victorian Britain. If you have seen Warehouse 13 on Syfy or Dr. Who (the new version) on the BBC they both have many steam punk elements.
(Warehouse 13 - why or why did they take that show off? It was soooo good. Oh that's another topic.)
The Spiritglass Charade: A Stoker and Holmes Novel by Colleen Gleason is an example.
Think Agatha Christie. Think cats. Think culinary. The cozy is a mystery in which a murder, perhaps violent, is committed without bringing significant unpleasantness to the reader, or to the other characters in the story. In her entertaining 1977 book, Murder Ink, Dilys Winn described the cozy as "a small village setting, a hero[ine] with faintly aristocratic family connections, a plethora of red herrings, and a tendency to commit homicide with sterling silver letter openers and poisons imported from Paraguay." 
Think Agatha Christie,  Dianne Mott Davidson, The Cat Who... books.
Murder taken out of the drawing room and into the streets. Realism. Chandler wrote about authors who "gave murder back to the kind of people that commit it for reason, not just to provide a corpse." Generally, but not always, featuring a private detective; usually, but not always, pervaded by pessimism. The humor, if any, will be dark. Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder novels are excellent examples. This style has been made into movies for decades (The Big Sleep, The Maltese Falcon, Out of the Past) and can also be characterized by the same term, noir. Like crime novels, hardboiled stories tend to be urban.
The realism of the hard-boiled but tempered with optimism, and humor that is light. Lawrence Block's Bernie Rhodenbarr ("Burglar") novels exemplify this type, and provide a clear contrast to the hard-boiled Scudder.
In The Woods by Tana French is given as an example. (good book by the way)
Police Procedural
A novel which attempts to describe all the activities the police undertake in solving a crime. These novels often have several seemingly unrelated crimes under investigation in one novel. They often employ forensics, autopsies, search warrants, interrogations and interviews to gather the evidence needed for an arrest. The perpetrator of the crime may or may not be know at the beginning of the book.
Michael Connelly books are an example of these.
Tension again. Similar to thrillers, but the danger is more likely to be psychological than physical, based more on expectation or fear of harm than on frankly hazardous situations. In this type of story, the main character is normally an innocent caught up in danger – think of North by Northwest. This is an area that may get blended with a touch or horror, which comes under the term "Gothic".
The Alienist by Caleb Carr, Then There Were None by Agatha Christie are a couple of examples.
Plenty of action, accent on plot. Tension. Emphasis on placing the protagonist in dangerous circumstances – usually physically dangerous. James Bond. Lawyers/defendants in the courtroom. Spies everywhere. Derring-do anywhere. Rather than solving a crime, the object may be to prevent one from happening to our hero or heroine. In this type of book, the main character is active, a professional.

The Bourne Identity books by Robert Ludlum and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (series) by Steig Larson are examples.
True Crime
This is a type of novel which deals with a real crime, with or without a murder, examining the motives of real people and events. These novels can run the gammit of from being highly speculative in nature to sticking the basic facts of the case, ultimately allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions. The crimes which are written about can be pulled from current headlines or examine cases from the past, such as; JFK's assasination, the Ripper murders, Marilyn Monroe's death or the Gardner heist.
The Girl in Alfred Hitchcocks' Shower by Robert Graysmith is an example? Huh? I had to look at this one because I am an Alfred Hitchcock fan:
"Marli Renfro was Janet Leigh's body double in the Hitchcock classic "Psycho." When she disappeared, it was believed she was the victim of a serial killer. It was a mystery that took decades to solve-and a crime that could only have happened in Hollywood."
Last but not least I looked up the definition of Young Adult because our Mystery Book Club is going to read our pick of a YA book next month.
Young Adult
Young adult fiction or young adult literature, often abbreviated as YA,[1] is fiction written, published, or marketed to adolescents and young adults. The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) of the American Library Association (ALA) defines a young adult as someone between the ages of twelve and eighteen. Authors and readers of young teen (YA) novels often define the category as literature traditionally written for ages ranging from sixteen years to the early twenties. The subject matter and story lines of YA literature are typically consistent with the age and experience of the main character, but YA literature spans the spectrum of fiction genres. YA stories that focus on the specific challenges of youth are sometimes referred to as problem novels or coming-of-age novels.

Nancy Drew!
Whew. Might be more than you ever wanted to know but now you know.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Trailer for The Recipient by Dean Mayes

The Recipient is coming out May 1, 2016!

 I had reviewed it last summer and I know a few of you were interested in it. The publication was delayed only because it was picked up by a bigger publication company here in the U.S.

Here is a trailer for it.

The Recipient

The story:
"Casey Schillinge is a vivacious young woman on the verge of making her mark on the world. While backpacking, she is struck down by a tropical disease and suffers cardiac failure. But at the eleventh hour, Casey receives a life-saving heart transplant - and a rare second chance to begin again.

Three years later, Casey has become a withdrawn shell of her former self: she is estranged from her loved ones, afraid of open spaces and rides the line between legitimate and criminal work. The worst of her troubles come in the form of violent night terrors; so frightening that she resorts to extreme measures to keep herself from sleeping. When she can take no more, she embarks on a desperate search for the source of her dreams. ​In so doing, she makes a shocking discovery surrounding the tragic fate of the donor whose heart now beats inside her chest. As she delves deeper into the mystery of her donor, she realizes her dreams are not a figment of her imagination, but a real life nightmare."

And here is a little bit about Dean Mayes.

Dean Mayes


Dean Mayes has been writing, blogging and dreaming for most of his adult life, in between practicing as an ICU Nurse and raising his two children, Xavier & Lucy (who was born during the writing of his debut novel The Hambledown Dream). Dean lives in Adelaide, Australia with his partner Emily and children Xavier & Lucy.

Dean is the author of The Hambledown Dream (2010), Gifts of the Peramangk (2012) & The Recipient (2015). 

He writes regularly for a loyal following at his blog Dean from Australia.


I read it as an ARC and am looking forward to the final copy.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Onyx Webb Book Four

Finished Book Four- episodes 10-11-12 of Onyx Webb.

Confession: I own the complete set of the 1960's-70's Dark Shadows. All 750+ episodes. Yes I even watch them. Not all the time. But when I am in the mood for nostalgic spooky shows from when I was a kid.

What attracts me to the Onyx Webb series is that it reminds me of Dark Shadows. DS had so many more types of ghouls but it reminds me of it. It is a quick read because it is written like episodes.

This series is so addictive. I almost didn't want to finish it, because now I have to wait for Book 5. Sometimes when you read a series, some of the books aren't as "good". I haven't found that with Onxy Webb. In Book Four, we find out more about Onyx and why she is the way she is. We have a reunion. We have confirmation of another ghost. We thought we had a phony paranormal expert, but now I am not sure....This book continues to have twists and surprises just like the first 3. The authors have done an incredible job of being able to have several different characters but tease and hint at connections to each other.

Oh, I am one of the 100 Readers, so we get the book right when it comes out, free of charge, in an exchange for a review. And here is something I found pretty cool, that I did not know about. I was reading along and got to episode 11 and the intro. I will leave you with what I found.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

XODUS by K.J. McPike


Back in October, I participated in an online book scavenger hunt. It was over one week. Each day, a set of about 5 "clues" or questions from a different author or two were posted about their books. You had to search for the answers. At the end of the seven days, there was a form with questions about each set of clues. It was a race to fill it out as correctly as you could and beat the others to getting it submitted. I won 3rd place and received 5 ebooks from different authors and a $5 Amazon book gift certificate. It was a lot of fun and a good way to find out about different books and authors.

One of the books I received was XODUS. Here is the excerpt from Goodreads.

"The first time it happened, Lali Yavari told herself it was just a dream. But when she starts flashing between realities during the day and seeing people disappear before her very eyes, she can't deny that something is happening to her--something she's sure is linked to her mother's disappearance.
Then the unsettling Kai Awana shows up at school, and Lali discovers she has inherited her mother's ability to astral project--with a surprising twist. Not only that, but Kai needs her help to get to a world she never knew existed. In exchange, Kai promises to help Lali find her mom using his own unique ability.
Now Lali must learn to control her budding power if she ever hopes to see her mother again. She's not sure she can trust Kai, but with her mother's life hanging in the balance, will she have a choice?"

It was a good story with a good cliff hanger at the end opening up the next book in the series. The excitement and danger builds as the story goes on.

It is not what I typically read now, but I read some books like this when I was younger. It reminded me of A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle. It was one of my favorite books. The similarities were the kids looking for a parent that has gone away, discovering "powers", and overcoming odds to rescue the parent.

If you like YA fantasy and/or you have  or are a teenager, check it out. I think you will like it.

I received a free copy in exchange for a review.