Till Death Do Us Part by John Dickson Carr

Till Death Do Us PartDick Markham seems to have it all. In Lesley Grant, he has a beautiful fiancée who he faces a long and happy life with. An encounter with a fortune teller at the Six Ashes village fete soon puts paid to that. After Lesley has an upsetting encounter with the seer, he tries to tell Dick the truth about his wife-to-be – only for Lesley to shoot him through the side of the tent.

Luckily, the fortune teller – actually Sir Harvey Gilman, the Home Office Pathologist – survives and tells Dick what he knows about Lesley. She has been married twice and engaged once, and each time her husband/fiancé killed themselves. Oddly, each of them injected themselves with prussic acid inside a securely locked room – a remarkable coincidence. It seems Lesley has a foolproof method of murder, one that Sir Harvey will soon have first-hand experience of. But a revelation soon turns everything on its head. Is Lesley truly a murderer? And if not, who killed Sir Harvey – and how?

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Posted in Gideon Fell, John Dickson Carr, Locked Rooms and Impossible Murders | 22 Comments

Death On The Nile by Agatha Christie

Death On The NileEgypt in the 1930s, the Nile cruise boat Karnak. Newlyweds Simon and Linnet Doyle are honeymooning on the boat, but are being stalked by Simon’s ex-girlfriend Jacqueline De Bellefort, who is determined to extract some measure of justice for being passed over for Linnet. But there are other passengers who hold a grudge against Linnet – money, it seems, can attract many enemies.

Hercule Poirot is trying to have a holiday, but finds himself drawn into trying to resolve the love triangle. But when an unsuccessful attempt is made on Linnet’s life, followed by a successful one, it seems as if the holiday is over…

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Posted in Agatha Christie, Hercule Poirot | 28 Comments

The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah

UK_Monogram_Murders_jacketThe Bloxham Hotel, London. Three bodies are found in three separate rooms, laid out almost ceremonially. When the bodies are examined, a cufflink with the initials PJI is found inserted into each of their mouths.

Across town, in a coffee shop, a scared young woman confides in a stranger that she is scared that someone is going to kill her. She pleads that when she is dead, her killer is not to be looked for. And, “please let no one open their mouths”. And then she vanishes into the night. But her cry for the lack of investigation is going to fall on deaf ears. For a start, her confidante share his lodgings with is Edward Catchpool of Scotland Yard. And, more importantly, his name is Hercule Poirot. You may have heard of him…

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Posted in Agatha Christie, Hercule Poirot, Sophie Hannah | 54 Comments

The Book Of Fires by Paul Doherty

cover53031-mediumLondon, 1381. Serjeant Richard Sutler is celebrating the successful prosecution of Lady Isolda Beaumont for the poisoning of her husband, Sir Walter Beaumont. There is one punishment for such a crime – Isolda was burned to death. As Sutler wends his way home, a masked figure throws an oily substance over him and sets it alight. The substance burns hotter than normal oil – Sutler is incinerated by Greek Fire, a secret that Beaumont had stolen and that many people would kill to get their hands on.

As the so-called Ignifier punishes those responsible for Isolda’s execution – each of them reduced to ashes – Brother Athelstan finds himself questionning whether Isolda was truly responsible for her husband’s death. But as the Ignifier turns his sights on Athelstan and the coroner, Sir John Cranston, the friar finds himself faced with a miracle at St Erconwald’s. A man with disfiguring burns collapses during a service and stands up, completely healed. But the secret of Greek Fire is out there – and it seems that the Upright Men, the leaders of the upcoming Peasants’ Revolt, have got their hands on it…

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Posted in Brother Athelstan, Historical Mysteries, Paul Doherty | 5 Comments

Before I Go To Sleep by S J Watson

Before I Go To SleepChristine Lewis suffers from anterograde amnesia. Every morning when she wakes up, she has no recent memories – sometimes, all she can remember is her childhood. She can’t remember what caused this trauma – she can’t even remember her husband, Ben. Every day, she has to re-learn who she is.

But one day she is contacted by a psychiatrist, Dr Nash, who is determined to help her regain her life, and she starts to keep a journal for herself. By using this, she starts to find things aren’t quite as she thought. She had a son who died in the army. She wrote a novel. And she wrote herself a very clear message – “DON’T TRUST BEN”. But is there anyone that she can trust? Can she even trust her own words?

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Posted in S J Watson | 7 Comments

The Chill by Ross Macdonald

16386133Lew Archer, having just completed a successful investigation, is hired by a young man, Alex Kincaid to find his wife. Only married for a short time, his wife, Dolly, has vanished into thin air. Archer finds her incredibly quickly, only to find that Dolly is implicated in the shooting of her college professor, Helen Haggerty, a crime that she claims that she is responsible. Confined to a hospital by a nervous breakdown, it seems that the police have their suspect.

Archer is less convinced. Who was the stranger who alarmed Dolly so much before the crime? And, as he looks into the background of the people involved, it seems that there is more than one murder to be investigated. Other similar shootings have taken place over the years and Archer becomes convinced that one hand is responsible – a dangerous hand whose work might not be over.

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Posted in Lew Archer, Ross Macdonald | 8 Comments

The World Puzzle Championships – Part Three

uk2014logoAnd so we come to the last of my blog posts about the World Puzzle Championships for now. I’ve told you about the set up, I’ve told you about my personal experiences, I’ve even inflicted a couple of my puzzles on you. Now it’s your turn. This time, I’m going to tell you how you can get involved, either competitively against the rest of the world or simply getting a bundle of free puzzles that are far more interesting than the majority of stuff published in the majority of puzzle magazines.

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Posted in Puzzles | 2 Comments