Sunday, October 14, 2007


Well, it's been quite a while since I posted here. I have to admit I over-extended my blogging capabilities. And, really, how much of me can anyone take? But Girl-Detective is unique in that this is where I blab about vintage mysteries -- books and film -- and so I've decided to try and resume this one. At least in haphazard fashion.

I've actually got quite a number of books to chat about, although maybe I better start slow and build up my strength -- and yours.

I think I may have picked these books up at Bouchercon last year. I'm not sure now. The pickings were mighty slim at all of last year's conferences, and I may eventually have to resort to prowling Ebay again, although I hate to encourage that kind of behavior in myself -- and others.

Today's hoarde includes:

MISS AGATHA DOUBLES FOR DEATH by H.L.V. Fletcher. Bantam, 1948.

Muder woos a lovely heiress!

A lovely heiress named Agatha? How refreshing.

From the back of the book (in 2nd person POV, no less):

You're an heiress! But that doesn't matter much.

(Uh, yes it does. It would to me. I need the dough.)

What's more important, you're lovely to look at, men like you -- they can't resist your easy grace, your deep hazel eyes. And you want to live!

(And you want to use exclamation points with wild abandon! But at least you've got your priorities straight, Agatha!)

You've come all the way from London to see your last surviving female relative, Miss Agatha, in her lavish West Virgina home. Will she believe this is just a social call -- or will she see the mark of fear in your eyes?

(Oh, okay. Agatha is not the beautiful young heiress. She's more likely to be the repressed and ailing spinster heiress. And you, apparently, are her scheming, exclamation point-abusing, only living relative -- with mascara smudges no less.)

Will she help you? Or will she be like another, like Stephen, ready and willing to help you die?

(Who the heck is Stephen? I hope you don't plan on tracking Stephen all over Aunt Aggie's nice clean Aubusson carpets!)

First line: "If the world showed any inclination to add to its original Seven Wonders, the town of Hughesville, Hughes County, state of West Virginia would have no hesitation in putting forward two candidates."

I'm betting one of them is Aunt Agatha, how about you?

But you know, this sounds better than I thought. According to the blurb on the front cover, Ann Hughes (sorry, lovely Ann Hughes -- we can take that for granted, right? -- has run to Aunt Agatha for help, and apparently the old dame has a lot of brilliant ideas). That sounds quite promising.

THE BRIDAL BED MURDERS by A.E. Martin, Dell 1954.

Death goes on a honeymoon...

Ah, young love. How sweet.


(My goodness, apparently Death is selling tickets to his honeymoon.)

See the treacherous Chinese Bridal Bed! In this very bed, the most beautiful maiden in all China was strangled for her infidelities!

(Okay, I'm just trying to keep the furniture straight -- did the most beautiful maiden also commit the infidelities in her bridal bed or was she merely strangled there? "All her infidelities." She does sound like a busy maid -- like someone in a folk song.)

To sleep in this bed is to die! Yet here tonight, you will see a beautiful woman defy the most sinister superstitions of the Orient! Before your very eyes, see the woman in the bed of horror!

(Is that a typo? Should that properly be "bed of whore?" Not sure. Also not sure why honorable I am apparently spending night with this woman. We don't have to sleep together, do we? She doesn't snore, does she?)

It was a carnival barker's dream, a phony Chinese bed and a parcel of fake superstitions. And the suckers were falling for it big.

(Fake superstitions? Versus the real ones?)

Clad in her nightgown, the actress disappeared behind the curtain.

(Hey! I didn't pay no money for no actress to disappear behind no curtain!)

Her scream, piercing the night, was perfect.

There was only one gimmick. She was really dead.

(Now would you call that a "gimmick" or a "problem"? I'm leaning towards "problem," myself.)

First line: "Anna Svensk picked up the spray which always made her think of a bicycle pump and dipped the end in the bucket of diluted Eau-de-Cologne."

Oh dear. Tell me this is not the woman I'm spending the night with!

THE GOLDFISH MURDERS by Will Mitchell, Gold Medal Book, 1950
Meet a cop who can trap a killer or bait a beauty.
Well, I mean I guess those are useful skills for law enforcement.
Chris Lash had seen a lot of corpses in his years as Lieutenant of Dectives in Homicide, but never one as beautiful as the blonde with a goldfish on her chest.
(Interesting. I'm going to assume that we're not talking about a goldfish bowl on her chest of drawers, or her kinky tattoo.)
But that was only the beginning, as more goldfish were found on more corpses.
(So we've got kind of a hardboiled meets wacky amateur-sleuth-type-clues going on here. Interesting.)
And Chris swore that he would solve the murders if it cost him his own life.
(Why's he taking this so personally? Is he a member of PETA or what? What's his stake in the goldfish game?)
It nearly did...
(Well, heck! Give it away why don't you? Now we know Chris is the one that got away.)
First line: "My pop used to say that a good detective remembers to keep the Sabbath day holy -- wholly occupied in using his eyes and ears."
Hmmm. You never know. Very fishy looking blonde on the cover, by the way.


Tori Lennox said...

LOL! Those sound like highly entertaining books. :)

girldetective said...

I love this stuff. I wish I could take a week and just read all these insane little books.