Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Few Forgotten Books


I haven't done very well at blogging this week so I thought I would post more about some older books I got at the book sale. They are not all forgotten, but three of them I haven't gotten around to reading yet.

Edmund Crispin: The Moving Toyshop (1946)

A copy of the US edition of The Moving Toyshop with damaged dust jacket. And it has a skull on the cover.

Richard Cadogan, a poet, is in Oxford for a short holiday. He finds a dead woman in a room over a toyshop, then he is hit on the head. When he comes to, he returns to the building with policemen, only to find that the toyshop and the dead woman have both vanished. He appeals to Gervase Fen, an Oxford Don, for help.

This is the only book in this group I have read and I did like it a lot. I have only sampled a few of Crispin's series about Gervase Fen and this was my favorite so far.


John Buchan: The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915)

Popular Library edition published in 1963

Summary at Fantastic Fiction:
John Buchan wrote "The Thirty-Nine Steps" while he was seriously ill at the beginning of World War I. In it, he introduces his most famous hero, Richard Hannay, who, despite claiming to be an "ordinary fellow", is caught up in the dramatic race against a plot to devastate the British war effort. Hannay is hunted across the Scottish moors by police and a pitiless enemy in the corridors of Whitehall and, finally, at the site of the mysterious 39 steps. The best-known of Buchan's thrillers, this novel has been continuously in print since first publication and has been filmed three times.
See this article about the book by John Buchan's grandson. And there is a very nice review at Col's Criminal Library.



Robert Traver: Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

Dell reprint edition, F75.

Description of the film at Wikipedia:
Anatomy of a Murder is a 1959 American courtroom crime drama film. It was directed by Otto Preminger and adapted by Wendell Mayes from the best-selling novel of the same name written by Michigan Supreme Court Justice John D. Voelker under the pen name Robert Traver. Voelker based the novel on a 1952 murder case in which he was the defense attorney.
The film stars James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara, Eve Arden, and George C. Scott. The title sequence is by Saul Bass and the musical score by Duke Ellington.

Yvette recently reviewed the film at In So Many Words, with lots of details.

I should know more about this book and its movie adaptation, but I don't. I am happy to keep it that way, until I have read the book and watched the movie. It is a very long book, over 500 pages, and the print in my copy is fairly small.



Ursula Curtiss: So Dies the Dreamer (1960)

Hardcover, book club edition.

From the book flap:
A sane, happily married man does not throw himself out of a twelfth-story window. Nor could Sarah Trafton accept the psychiatrist's monstrous theory that her husband Charles had been driven to kill himself before she could kill him. That his dreadful nightmares, his strange panic, had been caused by fear of her.  
There had to be a rational reason for his suicide. To find it Sarah returned to the pheasant farm she had inherited from Charles-the farm with the brilliant fairy-tale birds which was managed by his autocratic Aunt Bess, with the help of her taciturn son Hunter, her owl-like nephew Milo, and his fluttery wife Evelyn. 
These relatives warned Sarah against probing into Charles past. Even Kate Clemence who had loved Charles, and Harry Brenden who obviously liked Sarah, implied that for Charles' sake it would be better if she did not discover too much. And they were all curiously evasive about the death of Charles' beautiful stepmother Nina. 
Here is an absorbing story of a young widow who learns that her questions have forced her into a duel with a murderer. That her only hope of survival is to identify her deadly antagonist.
I have heard of this author before. She is the daughter of mystery writer Helen Reilly, who wrote the Inspector McKee mystery novels, starting in 1931. But it was only recently that I read a review of another novel by this author, The Deadly Climate, at John's Pretty Sinister Books blog, which spurred me on to looking for books by Curtiss.

22 comments:

  1. I have The Moving Toy Shop waiting around to be read. I'm thinking I'm waiting for next year for Bev's vintage challenge.

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    1. That's a good idea, Ryan. I know you will like it. I hope to read another in the series for her challenge also.

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  2. I have read the first three but not the fourth one which seems very interesting. Thanks for sharing this and I look forward to your review of SO DIES THE DREAMER.

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    1. I look forward to all of them (maybe I will even re-read The Moving Toyshop, although I should move on to others in the series). But especially the Curtiss.

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  3. Tracy thanks for linking to my review. I think The Moving Toy Shop is the one that would appeal to me most. I know I picked up something in the past year by Crispin but I can't remember what off-hand. Of the other two if pressed I'd select the last - 500 pages of small print would have me defeated before I started!

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    1. 500 pages is a bit daunting to me too, but I think it will be worth it, Col.

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  4. I love the covers for all of these TracyK and I really have to read something by Curtiss soon - quite envious actually - a great haul :)

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    1. I love the covers, too, Sergio. I would have taken most of these books in any edition, so it was great to find really nice ones. They are not all in the greatest physical condition, but I am happy with them.

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  5. I think The Moving Toyshop is one of the best Gervase Fens too, though I've only read four or five in the series. I also really liked Love Lies Bleeding.

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    1. Glad to hear that about Love Lies Bleeding, Cath. That is one of the two I was considering reading next. That one or Swan Song.

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    2. I have Swan Song on my library pile and it's one that someone who comments occasionally on my blog always recommends as being their favourite.

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    3. Great, I can look forward to both of them, Cath.

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  6. Tracy - You are in for a treat, I think, with The Moving Toyshop. That's a good 'un, in my opinion. I'm not familiar with the Curtiss or the Traver, but they sound great. I look forward to your reviews.

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    1. I have read The Moving Toyshop, Margot, but remember it was so good it is worth a reread. I want to do more of that in 2015 (rereading) if I have time.

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  7. I've read THE MOVING TOYSHOP and THE 39 STEPS - 50%, not bad. :) I'm intrigued by the Ursula Curtiss book and will definitely look for it. I've been thinking of reading ANATOMY OF A MURDER, even if I did see the movie - THANKS for the plug, Tracy.

    It is hard to make room for vintage but I've found, lately, that I love the vintage stuff and may, in the new year, make more room.

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    1. Yvette, I am constantly torn between reading good "newer" books or older vintage books. They both have their good points, and usually the vintage books are shorter. And there isn't time to read them all. I don't read many very current books.

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  8. Tracy, I have THE 39 STEPS in ebook and look forward to reading it along with ANATOMY OF A MURDER. In fact, these two books have been on my list for a long time.

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    1. 39 Steps has been on my list for a long time also, Prashant. I don't think I even knew that Anatomy of a Murder was a novel until recently. I was only familiar with the movie.

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  9. THE MOVING TOYSHOP and THE 39 STEPS are both superb. But then all of Crispin's books and all of Buchan's books are worth reading. It's worth pointing out that Buchan also wrote some great supernatural fiction.

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    1. I did not know that Buchan also wrote supernatural fiction, although I did see that he wrote a lot of books. I have all of the Crispin books about Gervase Fen, given to me by my husband, and it will take me a while to read them all.

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  10. I've read the top 3, and the Anatomy has popped up in my reading a few times lately - I think I might re-read it. I have the film too somewhere. I have read a couple of Ursula Curtiss, though not this one, and have really enjoyed them. This one sounds good.

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    1. The Curtiss book does sound good, but I just lucked out that there was anything by her at the book sale. I am eager to get to Anatomy of a Murder (book and movie) but I have a list of books /,movie adaptations that I had planned to watch in 2014 ahead of it. Of course I may push it closer to the top of the list.

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