Trial and Error – Anthony Berkeley (1937)

TrialAndErrorMy only experience with Anthony Berkeley so far has been The Poisoned Chocolates Case.  Famous as it is for its multiple solutions, I was just as struck by Berkeley’s acerbic wit.  Each character was so deliciously smug in their observations of others, and yet so completely blind to their own foibles.

Trial and Error may not feature as tight of a mystery as The Poisoned Chocolates Case, but it more than makes up for it with a steady feed of wry observations.  Anthony Berkeley, through his characters, is so delectably smarmy that I can only imagine that he was the blueprint for Christianna Brand’s work that was to come in the following decades.  No other mystery writer seems to come close when it comes to communicating an entire story solely via sardonic observations.

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The Poisoned Chocolates Case – Anthony Berkeley (1929)

PoisonedChocolatesFrom time to time I’ll mention my To Be Read pile – a stack of books that I plan to read next.  It’s positioned on the desk that I work at so I can gaze longingly at it throughout the day and imagine the mysteries awaiting within all of those titles.  Ok, ok, it’s actually five TBR piles – two devoted to John Dickson Carr (it would be way too tall if it was one stack), two devoted to Agatha Christie (and only a fraction of her library), and one stack of books by assorted authors (Christiana Brand, Michael Gilbert, Edmund Crispin, etc, etc, etc) that I’ve decided on a whim I’ll be reading some time soon.

What I haven’t mentioned are my To Be Read shelves.  Oh, I know you have them too.  If we piled up all of the books that we have yet to read we’d look like straight up hoarders and…er…we’re not hoarders, right?  We’re aficionados!  My TBR shelves are well packed because there are too many authors that blogs like Beneath the Stains of Time, The Invisible Event, Noah’s Archive, or Cross Examining Crime have convinced me that I need to buy.  Plus, I have an insane number of Ellery Queen books that I’m not exactly going to get through this decade…

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