Bits and Pieces

"So, with that display of general incompetence, we reach the end of recorded history. All that remains to see is who has learned its lessons, and who's condemned to repeat their mistakes endlessly…
- Stephen Fry (QI)
It has become a pattern of expectation for this blog to promise a resurgence in activity, during a rambling post or stuck at the end of a review, only to be followed up by another prolonged radio silence. And, this being December, I would be foolish to renew that promise for this month, but I do foresee a hike in blog activity for the holiday season.

Cameo appearance by John Dickson Carr
Firstly, I'll be composing the annual list of best-and worst mystery novels read in 2014, however, they probably won't be as comprehensive as in previous years – 'cause it was a slow year. You know the excuses by now.

Secondly, Dutch crime-and detective writer extraordinaire, M.P.O. Books, published his latest entry in the District Heuvelrug series, Cruise Control (2014), which I want to have read and reviewed before Christmas rolls around. It's not an impossible crime story such as the previous one, Een afgesloten huis (A Sealed House, 2013), but a hunt for a possible serial killer and I have spotted a map of the crime scene! Books has consistently written splendid crime fiction since his return, after a four year hiatus, with De blikvanger (The Eye-Catcher, 2010) and De laatste kans (The Last Chance, 2011) remains a high note in the series – deserving of a wider audience nationally and internationally. So you can expect a review of Cruise Control before 2015.

I'm afraid reviews of newer works and recent publication will be dominating the blog for the next month or two. There are five or six volumes of Case Closed (a.k.a. Detective Conan) on the itinerary and want to knock at least two of the list before the New Year.

Meanwhile, translator and publisher John Pugmire, from Locked Room International, never took a break from ferrying impossible crime stories from across the globe to a very appreciative, English-speaking reading audience – like a true purveyor of spirits! And, yes, I have some serious catching up to do in 2015 with the Locked Room Int. publications. Bill Pronzini and Marcia Muller's The Body Snatchers Affair (2015) will be published in January and still have a few mysteries by Keigo Higashino and Louise Penny to go through.

And, no, I have not forgotten about Otto Penzler's 900-page juggernaut, The Black Lizard Big Book of Locked-Room Mysteries (2014), which I don't find intimidating at all. It's what I have trained and prepared for all my life under the mentorship of John Dickson Carr's ghost. Hey, I got halfway through the unabridged, four-volumes of five hundred and odd pages each epic known as Journey to the West (c. 1592) by Wu Cheng'en. I use the boxed set now as a book end.

So, yeah, 2015 is basically going to be more of the same: enthusiastically babbling about locked room mysteries, reviewing the classics, traversing the trail of obscurity and looking down contemptuously at the contemporary school of crime novels and their champions. 

The reader has been warned.  


  1. Bring it on. I always reading new posts on your blog! Don't forget the Friday Forgotten Book posts!

    1. I doubt if I can have a review up for the FFB post, but maybe I'll just lazily rework my "Naughty List" of Christmas and winter time mysteries and read/write a proper review over the weekend.

      Sounds like a plan.

  2. I plan to read Bill Pronzini's work in 2015. It'd be a first for me. I also hope to pick up a copy of Otto Penzler's "The Black Lizard Big Book of Locked-Room Mysteries." I have read some good reviews about it and it does sound very interesting.

    1. If you want any recommendations for Pronzini, let me know.

      Now that we got 900-pages of locked room mysteries, I feel confident that we can begin to push for The Complete Short Detective Stories by Edward D. Hoch. Trust me publishers, the step from collecting 900 pages worth of detective stories to 900 collected detective stories isn't as big as it appears. It can be done. :)

    2. For what it's worth, there's going to be a collection of Hoch's sci-fi and fantasy stories coming out...so that's something, right?

  3. Replies
    1. Brace yourself, Sergio! The new review is up!