Discussion:
Goodbye to old friends
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Carol Dickinson
2017-07-28 00:24:39 UTC
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Well I've saved it on my TBR pile for a long time, but I finally picked up the last Steve Allen mystery.

I read my first Allen way back in the 60's and have enjoyed every one, not just the mysteries. His writing style was pretty much just like a conversation, the way he spoke in real life. Even his mysteries were written as if he was telling a story to a person on a TV show or in his living room. Especially the mysteries which he writes with himself and his wife Jayne as the detectives. And he throws in all the details of the celebrity life in Hollywood, New York and where he places the story.

My favorite had been "Murder on the Atlantic" which was based on a cruise ship, which makes it fit in the country house sub-genre. But by accident In saved "The Murder Game" for last and it definitely my new favorite. Unfortunately, this is the last one, and most of his are out of print. Unless you're an old geezer like me, they can't be appreciated anyway because you wouldn't know about places like the Brown Derby, TV shows like "What's my Line" and who the heck is Bennet Cerf, Dorothy Kilgallen or Bill Cullen, or the jokes about people confusing Jayne with her sister Audrey.

Just makes me feel sad that there will be more because as I've lamented frequently here, the modern crop of mystery writers on the cozy side that I prefer just don't have the pizzazz the writers from the previous century. I continue to try new authors but they all seem to fit under that "cookie cutter" label that Nyssa suggested.

After I finished "The Murder Game" last night I started the last Alisa Craig "The Grub and Stakers Spin a Yarn". Alisa Craig is a pen name for Charlotte MacLeod. Now the MacLeods I don't care for, but the goofy Craigs I did enjoy even though they are truly goofy, the characters have bizarre names, and the fictional small town in populated with a goofy populace. This is so far the funniest and the most tongue in cheek, and as I'm reading and laughing out loud, again I"m thinking, where are the new authors that can write this well.

Carol
Bill Gill
2017-07-28 13:16:53 UTC
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Post by Carol Dickinson
Well I've saved it on my TBR pile for a long time, but I finally picked up the last Steve Allen mystery.
I read my first Allen way back in the 60's and have enjoyed every one, not just the mysteries. His writing style was pretty much just like a conversation, the way he spoke in real life. Even his mysteries were written as if he was telling a story to a person on a TV show or in his living room. Especially the mysteries which he writes with himself and his wife Jayne as the detectives. And he throws in all the details of the celebrity life in Hollywood, New York and where he places the story.
My favorite had been "Murder on the Atlantic" which was based on a cruise ship, which makes it fit in the country house sub-genre. But by accident In saved "The Murder Game" for last and it definitely my new favorite. Unfortunately, this is the last one, and most of his are out of print. Unless you're an old geezer like me, they can't be appreciated anyway because you wouldn't know about places like the Brown Derby, TV shows like "What's my Line" and who the heck is Bennet Cerf, Dorothy Kilgallen or Bill Cullen, or the jokes about people confusing Jayne with her sister Audrey.
Just makes me feel sad that there will be more because as I've lamented frequently here, the modern crop of mystery writers on the cozy side that I prefer just don't have the pizzazz the writers from the previous century. I continue to try new authors but they all seem to fit under that "cookie cutter" label that Nyssa suggested.
After I finished "The Murder Game" last night I started the last Alisa Craig "The Grub and Stakers Spin a Yarn". Alisa Craig is a pen name for Charlotte MacLeod. Now the MacLeods I don't care for, but the goofy Craigs I did enjoy even though they are truly goofy, the characters have bizarre names, and the fictional small town in populated with a goofy populace. This is so far the funniest and the most tongue in cheek, and as I'm reading and laughing out loud, again I"m thinking, where are the new authors that can write this well.
Carol
I enjoyed most of the Macleods, although they weren't the very best I
ever read. Along towards the end she really got kind of carried away.
But I enjoyed the Alisa Craigs even more. Well, except for
"The Terrible Tide", I really didn't much care for that one. Overall
though the Alisa Craigs were better than the Macleods. Of the Macleods
the Peter Shandy books were better than the Sarah Kellings.

Bill
Nyssa
2017-07-29 15:34:36 UTC
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Post by Carol Dickinson
Well I've saved it on my TBR pile for a long time, but I
finally picked up the last Steve Allen mystery.
I read my first Allen way back in the 60's and have
enjoyed every one, not just the mysteries. His writing
style was pretty much just like a conversation, the way he
spoke in real life. Even his mysteries were written as if
he was telling a story to a person on a TV show or in his
living room. Especially the mysteries which he writes with
himself and his wife Jayne as the detectives. And he
throws in all the details of the celebrity life in
Hollywood, New York and where he places the story.
My favorite had been "Murder on the Atlantic" which was
based on a cruise ship, which makes it fit in the country
house sub-genre. But by accident In saved "The Murder
Game" for last and it definitely my new favorite.
Unfortunately, this is the last one, and most of his are
out of print. Unless you're an old geezer like me, they
can't be appreciated anyway because you wouldn't know
about places like the Brown Derby, TV shows like "What's
my Line" and who the heck is Bennet Cerf, Dorothy
Kilgallen or Bill Cullen, or the jokes about people
confusing Jayne with her sister Audrey.
Just makes me feel sad that there will be more because as
I've lamented frequently here, the modern crop of mystery
writers on the cozy side that I prefer just don't have the
pizzazz the writers from the previous century. I continue
to try new authors but they all seem to fit under that
"cookie cutter" label that Nyssa suggested.
After I finished "The Murder Game" last night I started
the last Alisa Craig "The Grub and Stakers Spin a Yarn".
Alisa Craig is a pen name for Charlotte MacLeod. Now the
MacLeods I don't care for, but the goofy Craigs I did
enjoy even though they are truly goofy, the characters
have bizarre names, and the fictional small town in
populated with a goofy populace. This is so far the
funniest and the most tongue in cheek, and as I'm reading
and laughing out loud, again I"m thinking, where are the
new authors that can write this well.
Carol
I know who Cerf, Kilgallen, et al were, and I always preferred
Audrey to Jayne. I was never a Steve Allen fan (preferred
Jack Parr), but it's too bad these books are OOP. They sound
like a nice flash from the past for us older readers.

As for the current cozy crop, I've noticed a shift from
baked goods to witchcraft in the latest wave. Supernatural,
paranormal, and covens I simply can't relate to while at
least I can understand a cupcake. This new bunch is not for
me.

Meanwhile I started reading another of my dollar store finds,
"Murder Most Malicious" which is a cozy set in December, 1918,
England on a peer's manor over the Christmas holiday. The
protagonists are Lady Phoebe and her ladies maid Eva. I'm
halfway through, so I'll report to ram when I've finished it.

I've found new-to-me authors through several dollar store
books that I've subsequently adopted as regulars in the
past. It's nice to have another source of samples without
having to buy full price or even only slightly discounted
books elsewhere. The more the merrier!

Nyssa, who also scored a free Kindle copy of Miss Henry #5
yesterday
Carol Dickinson
2017-07-30 10:19:43 UTC
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Post by Nyssa
I know who Cerf, Kilgallen, et al were, and I always preferred
Audrey to Jayne. I was never a Steve Allen fan (preferred
Jack Parr), but it's too bad these books are OOP. They sound
like a nice flash from the past for us older readers.
I always pictured you much younger. Steve Allen was never my
favorite as a talk show host, but he was very witty on the game
shows. And I liked a program he put on where actors played historic
characters and they had ad lib discussions on topics. I'm not
sure of the name, might have been "Masterminds". Back in the 70's
maybe. He was very well read and an intellectual. I did read his
non-fiction which always was thought provoking.
Post by Nyssa
As for the current cozy crop, I've noticed a shift from
baked goods to witchcraft in the latest wave. Supernatural,
paranormal, and covens I simply can't relate to while at
least I can understand a cupcake. This new bunch is not for
me.
I've read a couple of the supernatural and they are not my
thing either for the most part. I have read Jaffarian's
Granny Apple 1st and 2nd. Not sure I'll read more.

Haven't seen her posting here since I came back but Katy
Munger started a series under a pen name, Chaz something I think.
Her ghost was a cop who screwed up a lot in life and has to
fix things now he's dead. In the first one he had to solve
a murder he messed up, and he had to find some way to make
the living figure it out. I LIKED it. I did get the 2nd one
but it doesn't seem to be in my TBR pile unless it fell in
a crevice in the last earthquake or something.

There is one more I remember reading and was going to look
for another. Female author who buys an old house and finds
it inhabited with past resident's ghosts. Set in Portland
I think.

But in general they are too flaky for me. And no I don't
do covens. I have a split personality type attitude about
them. In my faith, there is no such thing as an evil God
and the power of evil, but then I lived with a mentally
ill child who was heavily attracted to the dark side, and
I often felt like there was a malevalence pervading my life
from outside, not from the kid. I even spent some time
with a Christian pastor down the street learning about
the Christian perspective on witchcraft etc. Too close
to home even though I do not believe in living evil presence.
Post by Nyssa
Meanwhile I started reading another of my dollar store finds,
"Murder Most Malicious" which is a cozy set in December, 1918,
England on a peer's manor over the Christmas holiday. The
protagonists are Lady Phoebe and her ladies maid Eva.
There aren't enough cozy Christmas mysteries. Whenever I
find one it goes in the Christmas closet and I only read
them between Thanksgiving and New Year's. Can't imagine
reading one in July. I don't read Sue Henry's alaskan
books in the summer either. But I only have a couple
left. She seems to have retired from writing. Haven't
seen her around town either.

Carol
Mike Burke
2017-08-01 02:12:11 UTC
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On Sun, 30 Jul 2017 03:19:43 -0700 (PDT), Carol Dickinson
Post by Nyssa
I know who Cerf, Kilgallen, et al were, and I always preferred
Audrey to Jayne. I was never a Steve Allen fan (preferred
Jack Parr), but it's too bad these books are OOP. They sound
like a nice flash from the past for us older readers.
Even I know who Bennett Cerf was. When I was a teenager, someone gave
me a book of his jokes for Christmas, or a birthday. I can still
remember one of the jokes some 60 years or so later, so it must have
amused me at the time.

Stereotypical old hillbilly couple in their cabin way in the
backwoods. Paw is sitting smoking his pipe in the kitchen while Maw
is cooking on an old woodburner. Paw to Maw: Shift yer foot, Maw,
yer standin' on a hot coal. Maw to Paw: Do tell, Paw, which foot?

Mique

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