Cut Throat – Christopher Bush (1932)

I got a bit caught up in the excitement of the Christopher Bush reissues around 2017-18.  With a mostly unheard of mystery writer who had published over 60 novels, I bought into the hype that maybe we had our next Christie or Carr to dive into.  Cut Throat and The Case of the April Fools seemed to be the better reviewed books at the time, so I picked those up.  Somehow I also ended up with The Case of the Three Strange Faces, which I don’t even recall seeing reviewed anywhere, as well as Dancing Death, which I received as a gift.  I ended up reading Dancing Death first, and it was a total dud that burst my Bush balloon.  It wasn’t an awful book, it just wasn’t worth reading.

So now a few years later I finally worked up my courage/curiosity enough to give Bush another chance.  Dozens of other Bush titles have been reissued in the meantime, but I decided to go with Cut Throat as it still seems to crop up whenever anyone mentions Bush’s best work.

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Dancing Death – Christopher Bush (1931)

DancingDeathFor me, a mystery isn’t just about the story.  It’s also the time and the place in which you’ve experienced it.  There are so many books that I’ve read where I simply can’t divorce where and when I read them from the actual plot.  The Burning Court – a mountain lodge in Crested Butte, Colorado.  The Plague Court Murders – a dingy “extended stay” motel in San Jose, California.  Nine Times Nine – a sleepless night in Winchester, UK.  The list goes on and on, even if it’s merely on the couch in my home on a foggy night.

There’s a nagging desire in my mind to mix the mood of my surrounding with the book I’m reading.  Not from a desire to further experience the book, but to instead amplify the seasons that I enjoy in life.  And if there’s any given time of year I look forward to, it’s the fall and the early winter.  Last year I felt like I captured that season perfectly with John Dickson Carr’s Poison in Jest.  I don’t know that I’d characterize that Pennsylvanian gothic tale as being particularly wintery, but reading it in late November sure hit the spot.  As the season rolled around this year, I’ve been keeping my eye out for some appropriate reads.  And so, in classic cheesy blog tradition, I present you with a Christmas murder mystery.

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