Holy Crap! Another Book That Could Be On My List

This is the very reason it took me so long to create the Best 100 Mysteries of All Time list. I keep reading. If I keep reading, especially vintage crime fiction, I’m bound to hit a couple of  ‘holy crap!’ books along the way. A ‘holy crap’ is one where at the end I yell, holy crap!  More likely in language a bit more salty. I finished a ‘holy crap!’ book about one hour ago, and felt I needed to express my frustration at not being able to add, switch, change, or somehow acknowledge the book in that list.

But the very fact that so many books are that good, should make me happy. And it does, while reading. However, my thinking tank starts placing it before one book, or after another, knocking something off, but then I think, ‘no, that book was really fascinating, book B should go, and so on.’ And the list would never be finished. I had to end that kind of thinking, and set the list, without room for more reads down the line.

The Chill, Ross MacDonald, 1963 shouldn’t have been that good. I’ve read Kenneth Millar before. Millar as Ross MacDonald has been praised as the next thing to Hammett and Chandler in PI stories. But I’ve not found him that compelling. Good, not great. I think his wife, Margaret Millar is a far superior writer, who although acknowledged by the mystery community, hasn’t the place in history her husband enjoys. They both came from a little Canadian town, married and moved to Southern California, where most of their books are set. His is the straight forward detective tale, hers are more psychological and character driven.  Her stories are haunting, and not easily forgotten. Or they can be funny as hell.

Read more

Terrifically Sad News

One of the most erudite, funny, brilliant writers in today’s world of empty sentiments and repetitive story lines, Reginald Hill, has passed away. For those who have not read his work under his real and pen names, you have missed something very special. I was one who almost missed the boat. I attempted to read … Read more

An Afternoon With Baroness P. D. James

My job of making sure authors signed books, no matter who they were or when they could come in, extended to one Sunday when the store I was working at usually closed. It was the only day Baroness P. D. James could make it to sign hundreds of her newest title . And we needed that … Read more