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2024-05-25 09:00
The Olympic Games offers a quadrennial opportunity to shine the spotlight on some sports that would otherwise languish in obscurity. One such is race walking, which made its first appear… Read More
The Arsenal Stadium Mystery
2024-05-24 18:00
A review of The Arsenal Stadium Mystery by Leonard Gribble – 240423 There is a long history of media tie ups with football clubs which often do not end up as the parties had ant… Read More
Mock Turtle Soup
2024-05-23 18:00
A clue to the solution to the shortage of live green turtles for turtle soup is provided in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865), in which Lewis Carroll’s eponymous heroin… Read More
The Whisper In The Gloom
2024-05-22 18:00
A review of The Whisper in the Gloom by Nicholas Blake – 240420 The eleventh in Nicholas Blake’s Nigel Strangeways series, originally published in 1954 and going by the al… Read More
Whittaker’s Navy Strength Gin
2024-05-21 18:00
It all started out in a former 1950s pig shed at Harewell House Farm in the heart of Nidderdale in North Yorkshire, from which Jane and Toby Whittaker launched their award winning Origin… Read More
The Benevent Treasure
2024-05-20 18:00
A review of The Benevent Treasure by Patricia Wentworth – 240418 I am wearing a beige granddad collar tee shirt, a quarter zip black specked lambswool sweater, a pair of blue Le… Read More
Why Dumbbells?
2024-05-18 09:00
14% of the UK population, around 10 million of us, are currently members of a gym, according to a recent survey, although whether all are active is a moot point. Pumping iron, lifting du… Read More
The Case Of The Corner Cottage
2024-05-17 18:00
A review of The Case of the Corner Cottage by Christopher Bush – 240415 There is a distinctive change of tone in this, the thirty-eight novel in Bush’s long-running Ludovi… Read More
Turtle Soup
2024-05-16 18:00
It all began out of necessity. In the early 18th century, on discovering that they were edible, British sailors in the Caribbean kept live green turtles on board their ships to ensure a… Read More
The Sea Mystery
2024-05-15 18:00
A review of The Sea Mystery by Freeman Wills Crofts – 240412 When you pick up a book by Freeman Wills Crofts you can be certain that you are going to be immersed in a detailed… Read More
2024-05-14 18:00
By 1922 cultivars of Actinidia chinensis were available commercially with nurseryman, Hayward Wright, from Avondale, now part of suburban Auckland, describing the plant in his catalogue… Read More
Triple Quest
2024-05-13 18:00
A review of Triple Quest by E R Punshon – 240409 The thirty-fourth and penultimate novel in Punshon’s long running Bobby Owen series was originally published in 1955 and h… Read More
Crumlin Viaduct
2024-05-11 09:00
At 200 feet high and 1,638 feet long it was described as “one of the most significant examples of technological achievement during the Industrial Revolution”, but all that re… Read More
A Telegram From Le Touquet
2024-05-10 18:00
A review of A Telegram from Le Touquet by John Bude – 240406 A Telegram from Le Touquet, originally published in 1956, has been recently reissued as part of the excellent Britis… Read More
Law Of The Week
2024-05-09 18:00
Nimbyism is one thing, existing residents objecting to a proposal that will affect their peace and quiet, but having the audacity to move into an area and then complain about what you fi… Read More
Kiwi Fruit
2024-05-07 18:00
With its furry, light brown skin, bright green flesh speckled with tiny black seeds, and a tropical flavour reminiscent of a mix of strawberries and bananas, the kiwi fruit has moved on… Read More
Murder By Burial
2024-05-06 18:00
A review of Murder by Burial by Stanley Casson – 240330 Stanley Casson was a prominent British archaeologist in his day and I remember dipping into some of his works when I was… Read More
Nelson The Clown
2024-05-04 09:00
There always used to be a frisson of excitement when the circus came to town and the arrival of William Cooke’s Royal Circus at Great Yarmouth on May 2, 1845, was no exception. To… Read More
The Essex Murders
2024-05-03 18:00
A review of The Essex Murders by Vernon Loder – 240328 After reading some of John Vahey’s books under his nom de plume of Henrietta Clandon, I decided to sample some of hi… Read More
Three Magnets
2024-05-02 18:00
By the last decade of the 19th century around 80% of the population of England was living in urban settings, lured from the countryside by the prospect of finding streets paved with gold… Read More
My Bones Will Keep
2024-05-01 18:00
A review of My Bones Will Keep by Gladys Mitchell – 240326 Opening a Gladys Mitchell book for the first time, I take a deep breath just like I would if I was going to plunge int… Read More
Winning Strategies For Games Of Chance
2024-04-30 18:00
In an Olympic year it might be churlish to gainsay the founder of the modern games, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, whose mantra was that “the most important thing in the Olympic Games… Read More
The ABC Murders
2024-04-29 18:00
A review of The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie – 240323 The thirteenth novel in Christie’s Hercule Poirot series, originally published in 1936, is generally regarded as be… Read More
Cefn Coed Viaduct
2024-04-27 09:00
The third largest in Wales, Cefn Coed Viaduct was built to carry the Brecon & Merthyr Railway over the River Taff near Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales. Designed by Alexander Sutherland… Read More
Eight To Nine
2024-04-26 18:00
A review of Eight to Nine by R A J Walling – 240321 The curiously titled sixth novel in Robert Walling’s Philip Tolefree series, also known as The Bachelor Flat Mystery, o… Read More
Waterloo Station Clock
2024-04-25 18:00
Where do you meet on a crowded railway concourse? The obvious place is under the station clock as it is usually centrally positioned so that it is visible from each of the exits from the… Read More
Shroud Of Darkness
2024-04-24 18:00
A review of Shroud of Darkness by E C R Lorac – 240318 The fortieth in Lorac’s long-running Robert Macdonald series, originally published in 1954, is as much a thriller as… Read More
Rock, Paper, Scissors
2024-04-23 18:00
A game of rock, paper, scissors (RPS) is an acknowledged way of settling a friendly dispute, often seen as a more sophisticated alternative to tossing a coin. It appears a deceptively si… Read More
Bennerley Viaduct
2024-04-20 09:00
Astride the Erewash Valley between Ilkeston in Derbyshire and Awsworth in Nottinghamshire stands the longest wrought iron viaduct in the British Isles, some 1452 feet long carrying the r… Read More
The Case Of The Happy Warrior
2024-04-19 18:00
A review of The Case of the Happy Warrior by Christopher Bush – 240313 In delirio veritas. The fear of someone with a secret to hide is that the truth will emerge when their sub… Read More
Team Of The Week
2024-04-18 18:00
Grass roots football is poles apart from the pampered world of the elite game. The almost endless rain that we have endured over the last couple of months has meant that many non league… Read More
The Dreadful Hollow
2024-04-17 18:00
A review of The Dreadful Hollow by Nicholas Blake – 240311 Drawing its title from the opening line of Tennyson’s Maud: A Monodrama, the tenth book in Nicholas Blake’… Read More
2024-04-16 18:00
Those imbued with a less romantic spirit, though, sought to provide a rational explanation of the phenomenon of The Flying Dutchman. An early attempt appeared in Frank Stockton’s R… Read More
2024-04-15 18:00
A review of Power on the Scent by Henrietta Clandon – 240307 I seem to be on a random sort of thematic chain at the moment. Having just finished two books that involved a poison… Read More
Book Binding Of The Week
2024-04-13 09:00
I cannot say that I have given anthropodermic bibliopegy much thought but the practice of using human skin as a form of binding for a book has recently been in the headlines when Harvard… Read More
Death In The Clouds
2024-04-12 18:00
A review of Death in the Clouds by Agatha Christie – 240305 The twelfth novel in Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot series, originally published in 1935 and going under the… Read More
Hardwick’s Great Hall
2024-04-11 18:00
The success of the London and Birmingham line prompted other lines from the Midlands and the North East to use the Euston terminus as their gateway to London, putting pressure on the alr… Read More
The Sharp Quillet
2024-04-10 18:00
A review of The Sharp Quillet by Brian Flynn – 240303 After Conspiracy at Angel had been almost universally panned by critics Brian Flynn went back to basics and starts The Shar… Read More
The Flying Dutchman
2024-04-09 18:00
The fate of a merchant ship owned by the Dutch East India Company, which went missing off the Cape of Good Hope in 1641, was the source of increasingly more lurid tales. By May 1821, Bla… Read More
Impact Of Evidence
2024-04-08 18:00
A review of Impact of Evidence by Carol Carnac – 240301 For its February 2024 reissue the excellent British Library Crime Classics series has chosen Impact of Evidence, original… Read More
Waiters Of The Week
2024-04-06 09:00
If you are in Paris and are looking for fast café service in Paris, perhaps you should seek out Pauline van Wymeersch at the Le Petit Pont café facing the Notre Dame cathed… Read More
Vanishing Point
2024-04-05 18:00
A review of Vanishing Point by Patricia Wentworth – 240228 In the twenty-fifth book in her Miss Silver series, originally published in 1953, Patricia Wentworth blends two famili… Read More
2024-04-04 18:00
The circularity of history. When George and Robert Stephenson conceived their plan for what was to be the world’s first long distance passenger railway, they planned to run the lin… Read More
Spotted Hemlock
2024-04-03 18:00
A review of Spotted hemlock by Gladys Mitchell – 240225 The first thing to say about Spotted Hemlock, the thirty-first in the Mrs Bradley series and originally published in 1958… Read More
2024-04-02 18:00
Noah Webster might have radicalised the way that words were spelt in America, but some of his suggestions fell on stoney ground, such as tung for tongue, wimmen for women, and iland for… Read More
2024-03-30 10:00
On March 19th a group of marine biologists aboard a Naturaliste Charters boat exploring Western Australia’s southern coast saw a group of sperm whales come under attack from a pod of… Read More
The Poisoned Chocolates Case
2024-03-29 19:00
A review of The Poisoned Chocolates Case by Anthony Berkeley – 240221 It is fascinating to have one’s assumptions and, indeed, expectations of a murder mystery challenged… Read More
Bolton Strid
2024-03-28 19:00
Within the grounds of Bolton Abbey in North Yorkshire is to be found one of England’s most impressive natural wonders, the Strid. A little way upstream the River Wharfe looks like… Read More
Dark Is The Clue
2024-03-27 19:00
A review of Dark is the Clue by E R Punshon – 240218 The entertaining and enthralling Bobby Owen series is winding to a conclusion. Dark is the Clue, the thirty-third in the ser… Read More
British And American English
2024-03-26 19:00
Unerringly, Oscar Wilde pointed out in a short story, The Canterville Ghost (1887), that “we really have everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, language&rdq… Read More
Crossed Skis
2024-03-25 19:00
A review of Crossed Skis by Carol Carnac – 240214 The sadly underrated Edith Caroline Rivett wrote under a number of pseudonyms, particularly E C R Lorac, but chose to issue… Read More
Artificial Intelligence
2024-03-23 10:00
An uncle of mine one gave me some career advice. “Become an undertaker”, he said. You will never be out of work”. Showing that famed mad impetuosity of youth, I disrega… Read More
2024-03-22 19:00
A review of This Delicate Murder by Henrietta Clandon – 240212 The prolific Anglo-Irish writer John Vahey published books under a number of pseudonyms including Henrietta Clando… Read More
Blueberry Of The Week
2024-03-21 19:00
On November 13, 2023 an Eterna blueberry was picked in New South Wales. It was no ordinary blueberry, tipping the scales at a whopping 20.4 grams, smashing the record for the world&rsquo… Read More
The Case Of The Purloined Picture
2024-03-20 19:00
A review of The Case of the Purloined Picture by Christopher Bush – 240210 There is an air of inevitability that in a series of sixty-three books published between 1926 and 1968… Read More
The Driving Test
2024-03-19 19:00
The first tangible sign that road safety was being taken seriously came when the Road Traffic Act 1930 introduced the Highway Code. First published in 1931, it was an attempt to establis… Read More
Head Of A Traveller
2024-03-18 19:00
A review of Head of a Traveller by Nicholas Blake – 240207 At the end of The Head of a Traveller, the ninth in Nicholas Blake’s Nigel Strangeways series, originally publis… Read More
The Curious Case Of Won’t
2024-03-16 10:00
As is my wont, I occasionally ruminate upon matters philological and what piqued my interest recently is why “will not” is contracted to “won’t”. Why has th… Read More
Truth Comes Limping
2024-03-15 19:00
A review of Truth Comes Limping by J J Connington – 240204 It is a while since I have read anything by J J Connington, the pen name of Alfred Stewart, a distinguished Chemistry… Read More
Error Of The Week (15)
2024-03-14 19:00
To “swinging the lead” and “pulling a fast one” we can now add “throwing a Christmas tree” as a euphemism for trickery or deceit after a court in Lime… Read More
The Sittaford Mystery
2024-03-13 19:00
A review of The Sittaford Mystery by Agatha Christie – 240201 Christie’s The Sittaford Mystery, originally published in 1931 and also known as Murder at Hazelmoor, sits ou… Read More
Driving Licences
2024-03-12 19:00
For many it was the must-have coming of age present, a course of driving lessons and the chance to enjoy the sense of freedom that holding a full licence brought with it. It was a genera… Read More
The Murder Of Caroline Bundy
2024-03-11 19:00
A review of The Murder of Caroline Bundy by Alice Campbell – 240130 Alice Campbell’s sixth novel, The Murder of Caroline Bundy, was originally published in 1932 and has be… Read More
Advice Of The Week (7)
2024-03-09 10:00
I am not a great fan of lightning and prefer to stay indoors during a storm. However, what should you do if you are caught in the great outdoors? Some German scientists, according to Nat… Read More
Big Ben Strikes Eleven
2024-03-08 19:00
A review of Big Ben Strikes Eleven by David Magarshack – 240127 Magarshack was better known as a translator, especially of Russian novels and in particular Dostoevsky, but turne… Read More
Looe Gin Navy Strength
2024-03-07 19:00
Looe is a beautiful seaside resort in southeast Cornwall and just off the seafront at West Looe, the town is intersected by the River Looe, is Looe Island, once a site for pilgrims and n… Read More
Subject: Murder
2024-03-06 19:00
A review of Subject: Murder by Clifford Witting – 240123 One of the three Clifford Witting novels reissued by Galileo Publishers in 2023, Subject: Murder, originally published i… Read More
On My Doorstep (21)
2024-03-05 19:00
The area around Frimley where I live is not generally known as a hotbed of sporting innovation. It did host a world championship boxing match back in 1860 when prize fighting was still i… Read More
“Anonymous” Post Boxes
2024-03-04 19:00
A familiar, if now somewhat sadly underused piece of street furniture, is the post box, of which, according to The Letter Box Study Group, there are around 800 different types, including… Read More
Ban Of The Week (2)
2024-03-02 10:00
The menace of the smombie is still with us, those irritating people who are so glued to the screens of their mobile devices that they pay little attention to what is going on around them… Read More
Conspiracy At Angel
2024-03-01 19:00
A review of Conspiracy at Angel by Brian Flynn – 240120 Conspiracy at Angel, the thirty-second in Flynn’s long-running Anthony Bathurst series, originally published in 194… Read More
Luxardo London Dry Gin
2024-02-29 19:00
Founded in 1821 by Girolamo Luxardo and still controlled by the same founding family, Luxardo is one of the oldest European companies producing liqueurs and spirits. It is best known for… Read More
Death At The Dolphin
2024-02-28 19:00
A review of Death at the Dolphin by Ngaio Marsh – 240118 You can take the girl out of the theatre but you cannot take the theatre out of the girl. I have been plodding my way th… Read More
Magnolia Tree Of The Week
2024-02-27 19:00
So, farewell to what was reported to have been Britain’s tallest magnolia tree, somewhat incongruously growing in Lilliput, a suburb of Poole in Dorset. Its fate was not sealed bec… Read More
The Man In The Shed
2024-02-26 19:00
At first glance, 78, Banbury Road looks to be a fairly unremarkable house in a part of north Oxford’s suburbia, but closer inspection will show it was for logophiles one of the spi… Read More
Matchstick Of The Week
2024-02-24 10:00
It must have been a tad disappointing to have spent 4,200 hours over eight years building a replica of the Eiffel Tower out of matchsticks, believing that it would be the tallest matchst… Read More
Somebody At The Door
2024-02-23 19:00
A review of Somebody at the Door by Raymond Postgate – 240115 Sometimes when surfing the world wide web it is possible to go down so many rabbit holes that you forget what it wa… Read More
Old Git Gin
2024-02-22 19:00
As someone who is in their seventieth year and growing more cantankerous and curmudgeonly by the day, I was drawn to Old Git Gin when I was surfing the pages of Drinkfinder UK’s we… Read More
The Case Of The Seven Bells
2024-02-21 19:00
A review of The Case of the Seven Bells by Christopher Bush – 240113 The thirty-fifth in Bush’s long running Ludovic Travers series, originally published in 1949 and now r… Read More
The Rescue Of The Forrest Hall
2024-02-20 19:00
By the time the crew of the Louisa had completed their herculean task of dragging their vessel the thirteen miles up and down Countisbury Hill with a little help from their friends and e… Read More
2024-02-19 19:00
A review of Good By Stealth by Henrietta Clandon – 240112 John Vahey, a prolific Northern Irish writer, published books under six pseudonyms, including Henrietta Clandon. Good b… Read More
Dacorum Decorum
2024-02-17 10:00
With the bladder of public finance under intolerable pressure, the future of the Council-funded public toilet looks bleak, causing consternation amongst those who fear the prospect of be… Read More
Minute For Murder
2024-02-16 19:00
A review of Minute for Murder by Nicholas Blake – 240108 The problem with putting an author on a pedestal, as I have done with Nicholas Blake, the pen name of Cecil Day-Lewis, i… Read More
Lemon Of The Week
2024-02-15 19:00
Having squeezed one on to my pancakes yesterday, I will never look at a lemon in the same way again after this snippet of news I came across. Shropshire auctioneers Brettells were prepa… Read More
Follow The Blue Car
2024-02-14 19:00
A review of Follow The Blue Car by R A J Walling – 240105 It is normally cherchez la femme that will solve a mystery but in the second in Robert Walling’s Philip Tolefree… Read More
A Remarkable Overland Trek
2024-02-13 19:00
Built and launched in Liverpool in 1883, the Forrest Hall was a three masted, iron hulled ship, 277 feet long with a gross tonnage of 2.052, capable of carrying over 3,000 tons of coal i… Read More
Dancing With Death
2024-02-12 19:00
A review of Dancing with Death by Joan Coggin – 240102 Well, what a transformation! The last time I met Lady Lupin, in Who Killed The Curate?, she was a ditzy, scatter-brained… Read More
Why Hot Dogs?
2024-02-10 10:00
Dog meat hit the news recently with the South Korean parliament approving legislation, expected to come into force in 2027, banning the sale and slaughter of dogs for their meat, althoug… Read More
Three Act Tragedy
2024-02-09 19:00
A review of Three Act Tragedy by Agatha Christie – 240101 Some sleuths in detective fiction take to knitting to help them think through the complexities of the case before them… Read More
Chord Of The Week
2024-02-08 19:00
There was great excitement at the Buchardi Church in the German town of Halberstadt on Monday, February 5, 2024 when the organ playing John Cage’s Organ²/ASLSP (As Slow as Pos… Read More
The Silent Pool
2024-02-07 19:00
A review of The Silent Pool by Patricia Wentworth – 231230 Seasoned readers of Golden Age crime fiction will realise the folly of one character donning a distinctive piece of cl… Read More
A Measure Of Things – Part Fourteen
2024-02-06 19:00
When an earthquake strikes, it is assigned a rating on the Richter scale. The recent Sea of Japan earthquake was assigned a rating of 7.6, but what does this mean and how much more power… Read More
The Case Of The Michaelmas Goose
2024-02-05 19:00
A review of The Case Of The Michaelmas Goose by Clifford Witting – 231227 One of the three Clifford Witting novels reissued by the enterprising Galileo Publishers in 2023, the C… Read More
Gin Galore
2024-02-03 10:00
The Flying Horse Hotel in Packer Street in Rochdale has recently undergone a refurbishment and reopened for business on February 1st. Nothing unusual in that although a somewhat bold mov… Read More
2024-02-02 19:00
A review of Inquest by Henrietta Clandon – 231223 One of the many noms de plume which the prolific writer, John Vahey, used was Henrietta Clandon. I have not read any of Vahey&r… Read More
The Seven Sleepers
2024-01-31 07:00
A review of The Seven Sleepers by Francis Beeding – 231221 Originally published in 1925, The Seven Sleepers, written by the duo, John Palmer and Hilary Saunders under the nom de… Read More
Did The Earth Move For You?
2024-01-30 19:00
There were 1,712 earthquakes worldwide in 2023 with a magnitude of five or more and more than 64,100 people were killed, the highest death toll since 2010. 2024 opened ominously with the… Read More

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