Non-Stop – Puzzle Doctor At The Movies

Non-Stop or “Liam On A Plane”. Liam Neeson is Bill Marks, an Air Marshall on a non-stop (hey, that’s the title!) flight across the Atlantic. After a brief hint at the fact that Marks has some personal issues (who’d have guessed it!), he receives a text on his secure pager. Basically if 150 million dollars isn’t wired to a bank account in twenty minutes, then someone on the plane will die. And then the twenty minute countdown will start again… and again…

Non StopWhy this film? Well, it’s directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, the director behind Neeson in Unknown, a film that I enjoyed a lot – not sure why I didn’t post a review, but it’s a clever puzzle, so I’ll take a pass at it again in the future – and I’d heard a couple of mutterings somewhere that this was a “proper” mystery, albeit with over 200 suspects, so I’d thought I’d give it a go. Strap yourself in…

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The Puzzly – The ISOTCMN Book of the Month – June 2014

June – busy for a number of reasons that I’ve mentioned already. Add in a trip to London to watch Richard Armitage in The Crucible – good, if a bit arty, but a warning that it’s nearly four hours long and the seats were like sitting in an expensive mousetrap would have been nice – exam season, builders… Not a good month for reading.

Which is a shame because I’ve been rather deluged with review requests. Five out of the six books that I read were review copies of new releases and re-releases and one of the other reasons for the lack of reading was my attempt to push through another book that had been sent to me which I just couldn’t get interested in. As ever, no names – I’m sure it’ll appeal to the right reader.

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Audio Review: The Dead Side of the Mic by Simon Brett and Jeremy Front

Dead Side Of The MicCharles Paris, jobbing actor extraordinaire is preparing for a role as a grandfather, staying with his estranged wife Frances while his daughter, Juliet, is waiting for a new arrival. His luck seems to be in, as he lands a job at the BBC Radio Drama department, basically recording anything that comes along. Of course, one thing that comes along is a corpse…

Andrea Gower, the studio manager, has been making some discrete inquiries about something that has peaked her interest. Possibly not discrete enough of course, as she is found in her booth having cut both of her wrists. As ever, Charles is first on the scene and to his eyes, something seems very wrong. It’s hard enough to cut one of your wrists – could anyone simultaneously cut both? He’s soon on the trail of a murderer – one who’s willing to strike again if necessary…

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Posted in Audiobooks, Charles Paris, Simon Brett | 5 Comments

The Conjurer by Cordelia Frances Biddle

The Conjuror1842, Philadelphia. On a stormy night, the river Schuylkill bursts its banks and seemingly sweeps Lemuel Beale to his death, although no body is found. His daughter, Martha, is convinced that he is still alive, but things look bleak.

Meanwhile, in the nearby city, street girls lie murdered, one with her tongue cut out, an event described from afar by Eusapio Paladino, self-styled conjurer, clairvoyant, necromancer and somnabulist. As Paladino hints at secrets held by Martha’s social circle, it seems that a number of people’s lives are intertwining until events build to a murderous climax.

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The Red Right Hand by Joel Townsley Rogers

The Red Right HandMeet Dr Henry N Riddle Jr, a brain surgeon from New York. He’s going to tell you the story of Inis St Erme, Elinor Darrie – Erme’s fiancée and Corkscrew, the nickname for a mysterious deformed man. A man who attacks the couple after they gave him a lift in their car. A man who murders St Erme and tries to kill Elinor. A man who, for some reason, removes Erme’s right hand. And who has vanished into thin air.

As the law searches for Corkscrew – and Erme’s hand – Riddle is more concerned with answering the many questions posed by the mysterious crime. But as more people begin to die, the reader begins to question if we are hearing the entire story from Dr Riddle…

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Skinner’s Rules by Quintin Jardine

Skinners RulesEdinburgh, the early nineties. In a dark alley off the Royal Mile, the mutilated body of a young lawyer is found. Soon more bodies follow, each killed in a vicious but different way, all clearly the work of the same killer.

Enter DCS Bob Skinner and his team, most notably DI Andrew Martin. Skinner is convinced that this isn’t the work of a random maniac but with only hunches to go on, progress looks bleak. But eventually a picture begins to form – but is it the right picture?

The Bob Skinner series has just been re-released by Headline books and I took the opportunity of a review copy to revisit a series that I’d dipped in and out of on occasion in the distant past. I don’t think I’d ever read the first one – I have fond memories of Skinner’s Round, which is the fourth in the series. The first seven books are all Skinner’s Something-or-other, by the way, and then the titles become more varied.

As I said, I thought before picking this up, I was sure I hadn’t read it, and after finishing it, I was positive I hadn’t read it before. It’s definitely memorable, but possibly not for entirely the right reasons.

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Roseblood by Paul Doherty

Roseblood1450, London. Amidst the chaos of the uprising led by Jack Cade, the French mercenaries known only as LeCorbeil seize Edmund Roseblood and execute him. His final thought is that his brother, Simon Roseblood will avenge him.

Five years later, and England stands on the brink of civil war. The weak King Henry VI and his advisors, most notably Edmund Beaufort, the Duke of Somerset, are under threat from Richard, Duke of York. Amadeus Sevigny, loyal to York, is sent to London with to prepare the way ahead for this latest uprising, to seek damaging information held by a man who has vanished and to bring down the most influential supporter of the King – Simon Roseblood.

But Roseblood has designs of his own – he too seeks the information and has other plans as well. But all the time, LeCorbeil stand in the shadows, waiting their opportunity. They have their own agenda…

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Posted in Historical Mysteries, Paul Doherty | 1 Comment