No Time Like the Past? At Bertram's Hotel (1965)
The Passing Tramp
by The Passing Tramp
2w ago
Agatha Christie Pecks at the keys 'bout a murder in her mind she's seen Death lives in her dreams There's a face at the window A man's holding a knife that is all red and crusted with gore Who is it for? All those lovely murders How did she think them up? All those lovely murders On blood tonight we'll sup! Ah, try to solve those lovely murders! Ah, just try to solve those lovely murders! --with apologies to Paul McCartney Inside, if this was the first time you visited Bertram's, you felt, almost with alarm, that you had re-entered a vanished world.  Time had gone back.  You were in ..read more
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Lucifer: Hallowe'en Party (1969), by Agatha Christie
The Passing Tramp
by The Passing Tramp
2w ago
"How art thou fallen from Heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!...For thou has said in thine heart, I will ascend into Heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God...."--Isaiah 14:12-13 (Bible, KJV) bobbing for apples in 1969 I think Agatha Christie's Halloween Party--I'm going to drop the apostrophe for ease--a seriously underrated book.  As Christie aged in the 1960s her mystery plots became less tidy and Halloween Party is no exception in this regard, though it's a masterpiece of construction compared with By the Pricking of My Thumbs or Postern of Fate. (Sorry Tommy ..read more
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No Vacation from Murder: A Caribbean Mystery (1964) and At Bertram's Hotel (1965), by Agatha Christie Part I: A Caribbean Mystery
The Passing Tramp
by The Passing Tramp
2w ago
If one looks over Agatha Christie's Miss Marple mysteries one sees that they tend to come in bunches. Thus we have: 1920s/30s The Murder at the Vicarage (1930) The Thirteen Problems, aka The Tuesday Club Murders (1932) (collection of short stories originally published between 1927 and 1931) 1940s Sleeping Murder (1940?, published in 1976)) The Body in the Library (1942) The Moving Finger (1943) 1950s A Murder Is Announced (1950) They Do It with Mirrors (1952) A Pocket Full of Rye (1953) 4.50 from Paddington (1957) 1960s The Mirror Crack's from Side to Side (1962) A Caribbean Mystery (1964) At ..read more
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Second Apparition: A Bloody Child/ By the Pricking of My Thumbs (1968), Agatha Christie
The Passing Tramp
by The Passing Tramp
3w ago
The penultimate Tommy and Tuppence Beresford mystery, By the Pricking of My Thumbs (1968) was published five years before their final adventure, Postern of Fate (1973), reviewed here, and reflects the author's greater control over her narrative powers in her late seventies compared with her early eighties.  The narrative has a far clearer beginning and end, though it bogs down in the middle, as was Christie's wont in her later novels.   From At Bertram's Hotel on, pretty much all of her books, with the exception of the suspense novel Endless Night (1967), get muddled in th ..read more
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Skeleton in the Fireplace: A Note on the Old Lady and the Poor Child in Agatha Christie's Mystery Fiction and the Gruesome Discoveries in Baltimore in 1950
The Passing Tramp
by The Passing Tramp
3w ago
I. BABY BUNDLES IN BALTIMORE The discovery, a bloodcurdling one, made newspaper headlines in April 1950. The previous year thirty-eight-year-old divorcee Marie Plage and her seventeen-year-old daughter Janie had moved into the small second-story apartment in a somewhat decrepit three-story row house at 1804 East Pratt Street in downtown Baltimore.  Marie had parted ways with her husband of nearly two decades, Richard Plage, who had worked as a bus driver and as a chauffeur with the Diamond Cab Company.  Marie herself now operated a sewing machine in a factory while Janie completed he ..read more
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"The crime is dementia": Postern of Fate (1973), by Agatha Christie
The Passing Tramp
by The Passing Tramp
3w ago
"It's the great thing you have to have in life.  Hope.  Remember?  I'm always full of hope." ***** "Ah, well--what fun it is, all the things one used to invent and believe in and play at."   ***** "You must try and remember names better." ***** "Oh, dear, I must think what I'm doing." ***** "It really is most exhausting writing everything down.  Every now and then I do get things a bit wrong, don't I?" ***** "Fancy you remembering that.... Yes, I know.  One's always surprised when one remembers something." --Tommy and Tuppence Beresford in Agatha's Christie ..read more
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Meow! Murder of a Mouse, by Mary Fitt
The Passing Tramp
by The Passing Tramp
1M ago
"My own theory is, it was a passing tramp."--Derry Harringdon in Murder of a Mouse (1939) I meant to post a review of Mary Fitt's Murder of a Mouse (1939) before the new year, so I could have at least have 30 blog entries for the year (still a pretty pitiful number by my onetime proud standard), but I didn't make it.  But after my Dad's death I wasn't sure I would ever be blogging again, to be honest, so I'm doing what I can.  Some people thought that Farjeon post from me last year sounded valedictory, and it might have been.   But here it is is, later rather than never, my ..read more
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Another Poisoned Chocolates Case: Expected Death (1938), by Mary Fitt
The Passing Tramp
by The Passing Tramp
2M ago
Expected Death was the second Superintendent Mallett mystery by Mary Fitt and the one which introduced her series co-sleuth with Mallett, Dr. Dudley "Dodo" Fitzbrown,  In these early Mallett and Fitzbrown mysteries, Fitt does more with the characterization of her two sleuths, particularly Fitzbrown.  Mallett is a kindly county policeman, more on the uptake than he looks, with a bit of a Scottish burr.  The setting, with its two frequently mentioned cities, Broxeter and Chode, resembles the West Midlands area whence the author's herself originally came.  (She was born in Yar ..read more
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Gossip Girls: Death Starts a Rumor (1940), Mary Fitt (A Christmas Mystery)
The Passing Tramp
by The Passing Tramp
2M ago
Death Starts a Rumour, published by Ivor Nicholson in 1940, was Mary Fitt's ninth mystery and her fifth in a row with series sleuth Superintendent Mallett.  (Fitts' first four mysteries were non-series.)  There would eventually be eighteen novels in this series, published between 1936 and 1959, plus a collection of short stories, The Man Who Shot Birds, which had Mallett in it.  Mallett's friend Dr. Dudley "Dodo" Fitzbrown (usually just called Dr. Fitzbrown in the later books) I believe debuted in the second novel in the Mallett series, Expected Death, and appeared in most of th ..read more
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A Really Big Shoe: Foot in the Grave (1972), by Elizabeth Ferrars
The Passing Tramp
by The Passing Tramp
2M ago
In the great English tradition.... 1981 Anglophiliac US reprint ed. by Bantam Foot in the Grave may have been the first Elizabeth Ferrars' mystery I ever read.  Certainly it was one of the first, about thirty years ago it must have been.  I remember telling my Mom that I quite enjoyed it and she should too.  This was back when I was looking for other mystery authors besides Carr, Christie and the other British Golden Age Crime Queens. Foot was originally published in 1972, twenty-two years after Ferrars' Milk of Human Kindness, reviewed here recently.  Both are hig ..read more
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