The Jealous One–Best 100 Mystery Novels of All Time

The Jealous One—Celia Fremlin–1964  used. I wouldn’t leave the bathtub until I’d finished reading. I wouldn’t have a conversation with the husband, until the last chapters were gobbled up. I wouldn’t pay attention to anything else around me, even though I was at a pricey bed and breakfast for a two day romantic extravaganza. I … Read more

Black Alibi–Best 100 Mysteries of All Time

Black Alibi Cornell Woolrich–1942–used

The Leopard Man played on Turner Classic Movies yesterday. It’s a must see, again, film. Atmospheric, and in some parts, downright suspenseful and terrifying, it cannot hold a reader’s breath, the way the original source does, Black Alibi. I’ve proclaimed it before, Cornell Woolrich in all his various nom de plumes is my favorite writer, period. Not just favorite crime writer, but writer, of fiction. Yes, that means I like his work more than Dickens, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Poe, Collins, Steinbeck etc.,  ad nauseum. Is he a finer writer? By most standards, probably not. To mine, yes. Because he delivers life at its most frightening, vulnerable, frantic. Hysteria is never far from breaking out in little pustules–here and there–in one of his novels. Fear is attempted to be kept at bay, yet finds its insidious way back into a character’s life, sometimes as an expected guest, others as a stranger wreaking disaster. Black Alibi is a series of  horrific events in separate stories, all part of the larger novel. It begins with U.S. citizens, Jerry Manning, and Kiki Walker finding small success in the South American city of Ciudad Real. Kiki is a headliner entertainer at a local club, and Jerry, her manager. He thinks up a wild idea for publicity, accent on wild. He convinces Kiki to lead a black jaguar into the club for shock and awe, which in turn shocks the jaguar to escape into the night in the city. Each subsequent chapter follows a young woman as she is stalked as prey by what appears to be the missing jaguar. And it’s within these stories Woolrich’s best work is revealed.

Read more

New Hardboiled Suspense Novel From Jan Burke

Jan Burke, one of the rare women who have succeeded in the usually male world of hardboiled suspense novels, has a new title out–a sequel to her Edgar Award winning novel, Bones, and the tenth in the Irene Kelly series. I was first aware of Ms. Burke back in the 90s when then President Bill … Read more

The Innocent Mrs. Duff–Best 100 Mysteries of All Time

The Innocent Mrs. Duff —   Elizabeth Sanxay Holding-1946-used I read Number 100, only recently. And had to jam it into the list, somewhere. Maybe it belongs a lower number, I don’t know and won’t try to figure it out, my mind has lost its ability to discern between good great and greatest, to coin a … Read more