Like just about everyone else these days I’ve been spending a lot more time at home, which has resulted in a lot more reading—REALLY A LOT MORE. If my count is correct, I read 19 books in April, plus some very interesting articles I dug up after reading John Dickson Carr’s The Case of the Constant Suicides…but I digress. Unfortunately, much as I’d like too, there is no way that I can catch up and write reviews for all of them. Plus, do you ever have those books that you read and, no matter how you felt about it, you don’t have much to say? Well I do, so now in addition to Mini Reviews, I introduce to you “A Bundle of Reviews”. A post of incredibly abbreviated reviews for just such books. Some of them I truly enjoyed, some were just meh kind of reads, and a few were not to my liking at all. So, without further ado…
The Eel Pie Murders by David Frome (1933)
When a young woman is found drowned on the shore of a small island in the Thames known as Eel Pie, Inspector Bull is called in to investigate, bringing along his friend the timid Mr. Pinkerton. With the recent demise of the shrewish Mrs. Pinkerton, the rabbity little Welshman is free to do whatever he pleases. And what pleases him is the opportunity to help Inspector Bull solve crimes. The help he provides also generally ends up with Mr. Pinkerton in some sort of danger which Bull then must save him from. But this time, Mr. Pinkerton is more in danger losing his heart than his life.
I always enjoy reading a Mr. Pinkerton Mystery, but I didn’t find this to be quite as entertaining as the others I’ve read. Mr. Pinkerton has little if any involvement in the investigation, and the story could have done quite well without him. The story is a pretty good one, involving not only the murder but gambling dens and blackmail. The suspects are pretty limited, but even so Frome manages to keep the reader guessing.
My Judgment – 3.5/5
2017 – Scavenger Hunt – A Blond (woman or man)
Calendar of Crime – February #6 Original publication month
Death in Fancy Dress by J. Jefferson Farjeon (1934) aka Fancy Dress Ball
The New York Times Book Review (Sunday June 4, 1939)
“It is the night of the Chelsea Arts Ball in London. Albert Hall is ablaze with light and filled with a throng of merry makers in costumes of every conceivable sort. There is a Nell Gwyn and a Charles II. They arrive separately, but they are destined to meet before the night is over, and important events hang upon the outcome of that meeting.”
Not so much a mystery as a thriller with lots of cloak and dagger. Multiple subplots involving blackmail, an assassination attempt, and a superfluous romance resulting in a convoluted story. The characters lack dimension and remain behind their masks even once the ball is over. Far from being one of Farjeon better novels.
My Judgment – 3/5
Vintage Mystery Challenge 2011 – Take ‘Em to Trial: Book 5 of 16 read
Calendar of Crime – January #8 Month-related item on cover – Party scene