Nick and Tesla’s Special Effects Spectacular by Steve Hockensmith and “Science Bob” Pflugfelder

NT 5Nick and Tesla, the science-geek mystery solving twins, are back again, this time getting involved in the sabotage of a superhero film being made in the area. When their friend Silas, a would-be film director, manages to get a back-stage tour of the lot, Tesla drags her brother along to stop him obsessing over the mystery of their missing parents. But it turns out to be more than a simple case of Lights! Camera! Action!

There are protests over the casting of the lead role of Metalman after some leaked footage makes it onto the internet but that’s not all! After Metalman’s costume is filled with itching powder, ruining a critical scene, it seems as if someone is actively sabotaging the film. But why would they want to do that – especially as it seems to be a pretty rubbish film anyway…

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Posted in Nick & Tesla, Steve Hockensmith | 3 Comments

The Cornish Coast Murder by John Bude

Cornish CoastThe Reverend Dodd is an avid reader of detective fiction. Every week he and his friend, Dr Pendrill, exchange a parcel of mystery novels but he never expected his assumed powers of deduction to actually be put to the test. But when local magistrate Julian Tregarthan is found shot to death in his study – apparently from three different directions – and his daughter Ruth is under suspicion, the good vicar finds himself determined to prove her innocence.

Inspector Bigswell is assigned to the case, determined to sort things out before Scotland Yard are summoned. But all of his theories seem to have problems with them – nothing seems to fit the facts satisfactorily.  It’s only when he starts to listen to Reverend Dodd that things begin to resolve themselves. First published in 1935 and out of print since then, this is from the British Library Crime Classics range. But was it out of print for a reason?

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Posted in John Bude | 16 Comments

The Time Of Murder At Mayerling by Ann Dukthas aka Paul Doherty

Mayerling30 January 1889, the royal hunting lodge in the village of Mayerling in Austria. Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria and Baroness Mary Vetsera lie dead, victims apparently of a suicide pact. This was a momentous historical event that led to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdninand twenty five years later. But was suicide the true cause of death?

The Vatican is unsure and sends its emissary Nicholas Segalla, the undying man, to investigate matters. But no one in Austria is willing to help – despite not wishing to offend the Holy Church. Soon Segalla starts to have his own doubts. Why did no-one hear the fatal shots? Why was Mary buried almost immediately? But with everyone covering up for everyone else, and some members of the Austrian court determined that the truth remains hidden, can the killer – if there even was one – be unmasked?

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Posted in Ann Dukthas, Historical Mysteries, Historical True Crime, Nicholas Segalla, Paul Doherty | 3 Comments

The Puzzly – The ISOTCMN Book Of The Month – April 2015

April is all but gone. I’m one year older, I’ve ticked off a few more US states (up to 24 now, frustrating short of the halfway mark), and have been swamped with work since the Easter break – the joy of being a teacher during exam season. But the trip to the US –  a round trip from Ohio to Tennessee – gave me a lot of time for reading, especially the six hours waiting around in Newark for my connection.

So, mostly due to the holiday, I’ve racked up ten books, despite only getting about halfway through one in the last week or so. Sorry if you’re waiting on a review from me – I’m working on it, promise. But as for the ten books, which of them is going to earn the Puzzly – the In Search Of The Classic Mystery Novel Book Of The Month for April 2015?

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Posted in Book Of The Month, J A Lang | 2 Comments

The Mad Monk Of Gidleigh by Michael Jecks

Mad MonkWinter 1323, Dartmoor. Mark has been isolated as the parish priest of the town of Gidleigh, his high hopes of a promotion into the Bishop’s staff or even just a reconciliation with his father fading with time. And then a spark of light comes into his life – Mary, the miller’s daughter. But friendship becomes something else, and when she tells him that she is pregnant, he is witnessed striking her and fleeing. His guilt is obvious, especially when he flees town…

Sir Baldwin Furnshill, Keeper Of The King’s Peace, and Simon Puttock, Bailiff of the Stanneries, are called to bring Mark back to Gidleigh to face justice. But Gidleigh is the one place that he can never get a fair trial. Sir Ralph, the Squire of Gidleigh, is determined to see Mark hang – but why is he so concerned for justice for Mary? Baldwin and Simon discover that the town conceals some dark and horrible secrets. Death is coming to Gidleigh – and he’s not leaving empty-handed.

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Posted in Furnshill & Puttock, Historical Mysteries, Michael Jecks | 5 Comments

Time Of Death by Mark Billingham

Time Of DeathFollowing what can only be described as the trauma of The Bones Beneath, Tom Thorne and his girlfriend Helen Weeks are taking a break. When news breaks that two girls have been abducted from Helen’s home town in Warwickshire – and the husband of a friend from school is arrested for the crime, Helen feels compelled to visit her friend, despite not having returned for twenty-five years.

Needless to say, Thorne cannot resist being drawn into the investigation. Despite there being insurmountable evidence against the suspect, Thorne has a hint that something else is going on. But he is out of his element – i.e. not in London – and not part of the official investigation. As Helen starts behaving oddly, and a body appears, is there any chance that the second victim is still alive?

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Posted in Mark Billingham, Tom Thorne | 3 Comments

Cards On The Table by Agatha Christie

Cards On The TableLots of people collect things. I used to collect Spider-man comics. That’s a safe thing to collect. Mr Shaitana collects murderers. That ISN’T a safe thing to collect… especially when you invite four of them to dinner.

Shaitana invites four suspected (by him) murderers and four sleuths – Ariadne Oliver, Colonel Race, Superintendent Battle and a certain M. Hercule Poirot. And while the four suspects play bridge together while Shaitana watches on, one of them leaves the table and stabs him. But as the murder was silent, nobody witnessed it – and everybody left the table at some point. With no evidence at all, apart from the bridge score cards which fascinate Poirot for some reason, how will it be possible to find the killer and even more, to prove it?

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Posted in Agatha Christie, Hercule Poirot | 20 Comments