It’s been a while since I did a Current Reading post, and it’s good to be back. Now that we’ve gotten caught up on my past reading in the nine-part What I Read posts I can get to more recent things.
The Zanzibar Shirt Mystery and Other Stories by James Holding, Crippen & Landru; Lost Classics edition, March 23, 2018
Recently TomCat at theThe Stains of Time Blog wrote a wonderful review of this book, which I had just finished reading. Rather than try to repeat and re-phrase his work, I’ll copy a few bits here, and encourage you to go over there for the whole enchilada.
“Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine rejected Holding’s first submission, but the second short story he mailed them, “The Treasure of Pachacamac,” was accepted and published in the June, 1960 issue of EQMM. Holding published an additional six short stories that year and, during his storied career, he would sell nearly 200 short stories to EQMM, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, The Saint Mystery Magazine and Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, but also published a school of children’s (detective) novels – three of them appeared in the Ellery Queen, Jr. series.”
The ten linked short stories are about Martin Leroy and King Danforth, two collaborative mystery novelists, who wrote “more than 500 mystery books” about their series-character, Leroy King, of which “over 80,000,000 copies” had been sold in every language throughout the world – which were originally published between 1960 and 1972 in EQMM.”
All ten short stories are interlinked as they take place on a cruise ship on world tour aboard a Norwegian cruise ship, Valhalla, on which the two mystery novelists and their wives, Carol and Helen, are constantly confronted by puzzling problems.” I enjoyed the book quite a bit.
What have YOU been reading lately?
I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction. Space Odyssey about the making of 2001. Strange Angel about rocket scientist James Parson who was also into Aleistair Crowley and blew himself up. Just started the new Ace Atkin’s Spenser novel. I’ve found I like the Atkins ones better than Parkers.
Glad to see you back to Current Reading, Steve. SPACE ODDESY sounds interesting. I haven’t tried any of the Spenser books since Parker was writing them, and not even the last few of those.
I agree with you on the Holding book which I read a couple of weeks ago. The setup works – each story is set somewhere else on the round-the-world cruise – and the stories are fun, not too long, and different enough that you don’t get bored or spot the same gimmick happening again and again. I also enjoyed Holding’s collection of Library Fuzz stories, available in a collected edition on Kindle for an amazing 55 cents! Hal Johnson tracks down overdue library books, but also occasionally deals with more serious crimes.
Also read: SIDE JOBS, Jim Butcher’s first collection of Dresden Files stories; ALL THE PIECES MATTER: The Inside Story of THE WIRE by Jonathan Abrams; CALYPSO, the latest collection of David Sedaris pieces, which I really enjoyed; plus a very entertaining YA book, Neal Shusterman’s SCYTHE, first in a new series. In the future, death has pretty much been abolished. If you die or kill yourself, you will be back in a couple of days. Only Scythes have the power and authority to “glean” people. Two teens – Citra and Rowan – are chosen as apprentices and possible future Scythes themselves. I have book two (THUNDERHEAD) on reserve. Recommended.
The idea in Scythe sounds a little like the one in Scalzi’s The Dispatcher. I might try the Sedaris.
There, There by Tommy Orange. So far, so good.
Sounds interesting (based on your comment on your own blog), I may try it.
There’s been a lot of good reading here this week, Rick. August Derleth, Joan Aiken, P. D. James,
and Dell Shannon. Probably the most enjoyable book I read this week, though, is Bill Pronzini’s latest western GIVE-A-DAMN JONES, featuring an itinerant type-setter.
I have so many books lined up at the library, I can’t even get to the things waiting on the TBR shelves. I have one I’m reading, another sitting here waiting, and was just notified another is there on the hold shelf. But I guess that’s a good thing, right?
Like you, I have a stack of Library books I’m trying to whittle down. I’m also trying to cut down on ordering books from AMAZON but that’s a losing battle. I just read a couple mystery novels, a western, and I have some SF novels waiting for me to get to them. But, the next book up is BAD BLOOD, the incredible scam in Silicon Valley where Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes conned investors out of billions,
I’ve almost stopped buying books, from Amazon or elsewhere. I did just get the 3rd Psychotecnic Stories by Anderson, but haven’t started reading it yet. I’m using the library almost exclusively, along with what I already have here.
I recently finished another Jane Marple book by Christie, Murder with Mirrors (AKA They Do It with Mirrors). That was a fast, fun read. I am currently reading CHARLIE CHAN, The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and His Rendezvous With American History by Yunte Huang. I am enjoying that very much.
I like it that you read so many books of short stories. I have lots of books of short stories but I seldom break away from reading novels to read the short stories.
I have POIROT’S CHRISTMAS in the TBR and will get to it soon, but have several library books stacked up and those have time limits, of course. The Poirot is one of the very few I’ve not read (or don’t recall it, I read most of them long ago) and it’s one of the best “locked room” ones.
I try to read a short story or several between novels. The Chan book sounds interesting.