Puzzle for Players – Patrick Quentin (1938)

PuzzleForPlayersMy most recent experience with the writing collective most commonly known as Patrick Quentin was with Death and the Maiden.  What felt like breezy fair while I read it ended up packing a major punch in the end, which scores points in my book.  Since that time I’ve built up my Quentin collection a bit, mostly in the Peter Duluth series books that the authors seem to be best known for.

I somehow got it into my mind that Puzzle for Players is one of the better regarded Duluth novels, and so I decided to start there.  It was somewhat of a questionable choice, as I’ve gotten the sense that the Duluth series has quite a bit of continuity between books, and I haven’t yet read the first entry – Puzzle for Fools.  Did I make a mistake?  Perhaps – I could quickly tell that at least five characters were potential hold overs from that first novel, which I suppose would rule them out as being killers in the original mystery.  Don’t worry – I’m not big at listing character names in my posts anyway, so no risk of spoilers here.

Continue reading “Puzzle for Players – Patrick Quentin (1938)”

Death and the Maiden – Q Patrick (1939)

DeathAndTheMaidenThis is my second novel by the author collective most commonly known as Patrick Quentin.  My previous read (Death’s Old Sweet Song) was the GAD equivalent of a mindless 70s slasher flick – enjoyable for what it is, but a bit shallow throughout.  I’m intrigued by Quentin nonetheless.  There’s a respectably large library of books for me to track down and I can’t help but search for that elusive “next great author”.

Death and the Maiden caught my attention as one of the more consistently recommended works by Quentin.  It’s a bit tricky to track down the author’s library for cheap, but I somehow managed to get my hands on this 1944 hard cover edition for a steal.

Continue reading “Death and the Maiden – Q Patrick (1939)”

Death’s Old Sweet Song – Jonathan Stagge (1946)

deathsoldsweetsongBecause death’s old sweet song, keeps Georgia on my mind…

Ok, well, it doesn’t quite go like that.  The song referenced in the title of Jonathan Stagg’s Death’s Old Sweet Song is much more obscure by my standards – Green Grow the Rushes, O, an English folk song that I’ve never heard of in my life.  It’s one of those songs where I listen to it the first time thinking “why on earth is this song even notable?” and then find it oddly sticking around in my head a few hours later.

The song is cumulative in each verse, similar to The Twelve Days of Christmas.  It plays into the novel in that each verse is associated with a murder victim, a la And Then There Were None.  In this case we get “the lily white boys clothed all in green”, “the rivals”, “the gospel makers”, and so on.  Suffice to say, Death’s Old Sweet Song has quite the body count…

Continue reading “Death’s Old Sweet Song – Jonathan Stagge (1946)”

The Quintessence of Queen – Edited by Anthony Boucher (1962)

QuintessenceOfQueenI acquired a substantial portion of my Ellery Queen library through bulk purchases of 15-30 books at a time.  Swept up in the tide were several “associated by name only” compilations such as The Quintessence of Queen – assortments of short stories published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and probably tossed into the bundles by some seller who didn’t know much better.

I’m admit I’m a fan of the short story.  As a child I read a fair amount of Ray Bradbury and similar authors who walked the tightrope between science fiction, mystery, and horror.  As an adult, I found my way into the locked room genre via the short story form.  Since going full in with my reading of John Dickson Carr, I’ve stuck to novels based on the knowledge that authors such as him recycled story ideas occasionally – The Gilded Man being a well known example to appear in both short and long form.  Better to ruin a twenty page read than a two hundred page one…

Continue reading “The Quintessence of Queen – Edited by Anthony Boucher (1962)”