Saturday, January 22, 2011

Vintage Mysteries #1 & 2

I've now read two out of my 16 for the Vintage Mystery Challenge.

Busman's Honeymoon I think I've read before when I was trying to read all the Dorothy Sayers I could find. It was a great read, humorous, entertaining and full of insight into married life as well as into murder. I especially liked how Sayers didn't end the novel with the solution of the crime but showed Lord Peter's full response to the trial and the execution of the criminal--he actually asked the murderer to forgive him and took responsibility for his family members. I enjoyed the quotations back and forth between Harriet Vane (now Wimsey) and Lord W. but I wondered if people really ever talked that way or if our society is too undereducated at this point. I could have done without all the French, however.

Farewell, My Lovely made the previous novel seem light and fluffy in comparison, though I think it did deal seriously with death, especially death in your own home. But Raymond Chandler's writing is the epitome of the noir murder mystery. Lots of gloom, alcohol, and dangerous dames. He's also very funny but very dry. I was left wondering with one of the women why Philip Marlowe does it--his private detection doesn't pay well, gets him knocked out several times, and usually doesn't seem to lead to actual justice for the crime, though it may change a few things for a short while.

1. Sweet Danger by Margery Allingham
2. Busman's Honeymoon by Dorothy Sayers
3. The Chinese Parrot by Earl Derr Biggers
4. Detection Unlimited by Georgette Heyer
5. The Case of the Gilded Fly by Edmund Crispin
6. something by Ellery Queen
7. Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler
8. Singing in the Shrouds by Ngaio Marsh
9. Black Orchids by Rex Stout
10. The Silent Speaker by Rex Stout
11. The Cape Cod Mystery by Phoebe Atwood Taylor
12. The Big Clock by Kenneth Fearing
13. The Old Man in the Corner by Baroness Orczy
14. The High Window by Raymond Chandler


Bev Hankins said...

Enjoyed your reviews! That is the thing about Lord Peter and does always wonder if people talked like that in the 30s. I know that people had to memorize a lot more poetry and bits of novels than we did when I was in school....

Got you added to the tally board!

Charley said...

Glad you enjoyed the Chandler. I look forward to reading your thoughts on The High Window, as it's one I have not yet read.

J F said...

Happy to see someone else has Chandler in their list. I've seen the movie version of Farewell My Lovely multiple times, (the first one with Dick Powell and retitled Murder My Sweet) and I know it so well that I will probably never read the book. I read The Lady in the Lake when I was a teenager. I thought it was great, but have never read any other Chandler since. I selected The High Window and Playback for the challenge but won't be getting them until March when I decided to read only private eye novels.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your review of Busman's Holiday. I want to read the Wimsey books in chronological order of publication and I'm collecting a set. I have Busman's Holiday which is down the list a bit.
I've just read Jill Paton Walsh's
latest sequel, based on the Wimsey characters. I'm wondering whether her style is the same as Sayers'. There are a lot of phrases in her writing such as 'tally-ho!' 'bully for you'and I guess it will be the same in the original books.

Anonymous said...

Oops - meant Busman's Honeymoon - think I must be fixated on holidays at the moment! Sorry.