16 August 2013

Friday book list #14: More Ngaio Marsh

Marsh seems to have loved not only referring to and quoting books and plays, but she also made up titles, so there is plenty to work with in her books. The same titles crop up repeatedly, e.g. Macbeth, The Ingoldsby Legends and Jane Eyre.

Death in a White Tie:

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-dKNPziRz_LI/TmLzgV18H-I/AAAAAAAABQc/9M4727T80a4/s320/Death+in+a+White+Tie.jpgPublications:
  • The Times - newspaper.
  • The Evening Chronicle - newspaper.
  • The Daily Express - newspaper.
  • "guides to the turf" - no titles mentioned - racing guides.


Non-fiction:


Fiction:
  • "paper-bound banned novels of a peculiar indecency and no literary merit whatsoever." - I couldn't resist quoting this, not only because it's a funny description of porn novels, but also because ownership of porn/erotica seems to be a sure mark of a cad - or worse - in Marsh's novels. Just witness Garnette's ownership of an unexpurgated edition of Petronius in Death in Ecstacy and Surbonadier's ownership of erotic art in Enter a Murderer.
  • The Confessions of a Procuress - no author given. Porn or sensational novel. Probably imaginary.
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. Novel.
  • The Sherlock Holmes stories.
  • The Ingoldsby Legends by Richard Harris Barham.Collection of myths, legends, ghost stories and poetry.

Stage works:
  • The Face at the Window by Brooke Warren. Play. Actually, it's more likely that it's the film of the same title that's being referred to, but I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt.
  • Macbeth - by Shakespeare. This play is mentioned in every other Marsh novel and it wouldn't surprise me if it was quoted in the others. The particular quotation mentioned in this one also appears in the next book.

Overture to Death

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_XsVALQtGIZM/TQICT12JwhI/AAAAAAAATLU/qFjgbJV7q5A/s320/Fontana+Marsh+Overture+to+Death+%25286th%252C+1978%252C+small%2529.jpgStage works:


Publications:
  • The Chipping Courier - newspaper. Imaginary.
  • The Evening Mirror - newspaper.
  • Bingo Bink's Weekly - periodical, appears to be imaginary.

Novels:

Death of a Peer, AKA Surfeit of Lampreys:

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2501/4086494212_ddaa0b722d_b.jpgPublications:
  • The Spectator - magazine.
  • Punch - humorous magazine.
  • The Tatler - society magazine.
  • The Standard - probably The Evening Standard. Newspaper.
  • True Detective - crime and detective magazine.

Plays: 

Fiction:
  • It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis. Novel.
  • "The Case of the Severed Hand" There are a number of short stories out there dealing with severed hands, but the only one with this exact title I found online was written long after this novel. Even though I couldn't find the right story, I am certain this refers to a real story and not one Marsh invented.
  • The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck by Beatrix Potter. Children's story with pictures.

Non-fiction:
  • The Compendium Maleficarum (spelled Maleficorum in the book) - book of magic spells and witchcraft. 
  • The Ingoldsby Legends by Richard Harris Barham.Collection of myths, legends, ghost stories and poetry. (I think this is the third Marsh novel this book is mentioned in).


09 August 2013

Friday book list #13: Three books by Ngaio Marsh



Death in Ecstasy

Stage work:
  • "Hail Fellow" – either a play or a show – fictional
Novels:

  • Petronius – I don't usually include references to authors alone, but here is was clear it was the works (and the risqué contents) and not the author that was being referenced.
Non-fiction: (the titles should speak for themselves as to the contents)
  • Abberley‘s Curiosities of Chemistry. Published by Gasock and Hauptmann, New York, 1865. Appears to be fictional.
  • From Wotan to Hitler – seems to be fictional.
  • Jnana Yoga – could be fictional, could be real.
  • Spiritual Experiences of a Fakir – seems to be fictional.
  • The Koran - religious text.
  • The Meaning and the Message – probably fictional.
  • The Soul of the Lotus Bud – seems to be fictional.
Verse:
  • Eros on Calvary and Other Poems, by Jasper Garnette (fictional).

Publications:
  • National Geographic
  • The Daily Mail
  • The Saturday Evening Post
 Other:
  • Ole Man Adam – probably Ol’ Man Adam an’ His Chillun by Roark Bradford. Collection of folk tales.

Vintage Murder:

Publications:
  • Tatler
  • The Daily Sun

Stage works:
  • Double Knock – play. Appears to be fictional.
  • Ladies of Leisure – play. Could be a reference to Ladies of the Evening by Milton Herbert Gropper, which was filmed in 1930 under the former title and might well have been performed under that title as a draw.
  • Macbeth – play by Shakespeare. (Othello is also alluded to).
  • Millament – play. Could be a reference to The Way of the World by William Congreve.
  • Our Best Intentions – play. Appears to be fictional.
  • Pagliacci – tragic opera by Ruggero Leoncavallo.
  • Scissors to Grind – play. Appears to be fictional.
  • The Jack Pot – play. Appears to be fictional.
  • The Maid‘s Tragedy - play by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher.
  • The Mikado – comic opera by Gilbert and Sullivan.
  • The Rat and the Beaver – play. Fictional (see Enter a Murderer).
  • The Worst Woman in London – presumably the play by Walter Melville.
  • Time Payment - play. Appears to be fictional.

Artists in Crime:

Publications:
  • The Palette – periodical for artists. There are several periodicals with that name, but it‘s a very generic name and I can‘t begin to guess if it‘s a fictional periodical or a real one.
 Novel:
  • Trilby by George du Maurier. This could be a reference to a play based on the book, but I rather fancy it‘s the book that‘s being referenced.
Stage work:
  • Angle of Incidence – play by Michael Sasha ("about three county council labourers in a sewer"). Fictional.
Non-fiction:

Non-fiction:
  • Principles and Practices of Criminal Investigation by Roderick Alleyn, M.A. (Oxon), C.I.D. (Sable & Murgatroyd, 21s.) – Fictional.

07 August 2013

Promising first paragraph (#1)

The opening paragraph of the book I'm about to start reading looks very promising:

Gissing lived alone (except for his Japanese butler) in a little house in the country, in that woodland suburb region called the Canine Estates. He lived comfortably and thoughtfully, as bachelors often do. He came of a respectable family, who had always conducted themselves calmly and without too much argument. They had bequeathed him just enough income to live on cheerfully, without display but without having to do addition and subtraction at the end of the month and then tear up the paper lest Fuji (the butler) should see it.
From Where the Blue Begins, by Christopher Morley

05 August 2013

Reading report for July 2013

Although I finished 21 books in July I expect the page count was pretty similar to an average month, because I read several short books.

Of the 21 books, 13 were rereads. 5 were audiobooks, all of them re“reads“, although I had only listened to one of them before. 5 of the rereads were comic books (1 Spirou and Fantasio book and 4 Lucky Luke books) I have owned since I was a teenager and hadn‘t touched for many years.

One of my favourite web comics, Darwin Carmichael is Going to Hell, came to an end in July. It had been running for several years when I discoverd it, and I went all the way back and caught up and then followed it faithfully to the end. I hope the authors will publish it in book form one day.

All the Nora Roberts novels were in the 2,5 to 3,5 star range for me, and I don‘t expect any of them will become rereads, unlike the In Death books that she writes under the J.D. Robb name.

The standout book of the month was Shirley by Charlotte Brontë. I didn‘t like it as well as I did Anne‘s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, but the quality of the writing is excellent and I might reread it at some point.

Finally, I sampled a new genre this month: gay romance. It was really quite like a straight romance novel in all respects except there were two heroes instead of a hero and a heroine and the, ahemm, orifices in the sex scenes were different (can you tell I mostly read 'vanilla' romances?). Unfortunately Acrobat by Mary Calmes has a lot of things wrong with it. I had actually started writing a review of it, but then I came across a review on Goodreads that really says most of what bothered me about it. (The link will take you to to the page for the book, then you scroll down to the review by Baba ♥♥♥ Marcus, Tyler, Tate, Dan, Ty, & Hunter – third from the top when this was written). I will say that stylistically it is well written and Nate is likeable even though he is a complete and utter Mary Sue character. However, the "You love me! You really love me!" attitude got me really annoyed after a while. Low self-esteem of this kind is really not enough to make a character rounded.
I feel my introduction to this genre has not been the best and I might try another one, but I will definitely do some research first.

The Books:
  • Charlotte Brontë: Shirley: Historical novel; classic.
  • Mary Calmes: Acrobat: Gay romance.
  • Franquin: Burt með harðstjórann (Le dictateur et le champignon) : Comic book. Reread.
  • Sophie Goldstein & Jenn Jordan : Darwin Carmichael is Going to Hell: Comic book.
  • Guðni Sigurðsson: Ég tvista til þess að gleyma: Quotations from Icelandic movies.
  • Georgette Heyer: These Old Shades: (audiobook) Historical romance. Reread.
  • Ngaio Marsh: A Man Lay Dead and Enter a murderer: Murder mystery, police. Reread.
  • Morris & Goscinny: Þverálfu-járnbrautin (Des rails sur le prairie), Rex og pex í Mexíkó (Tortillas pour les Daltons) and Batnandi englar (Les Daltons se rachetent): Comic book. Rereads.
  • Morris & Viq: Fjársjóður Daldóna (Le magot des Daltons): Comic book. Reread.
  • Joshua Piven & David Borgenicht: The Worst-case scenario survival handbook: Travel: Survival handbook. Reread.
  • J.D. Robb: Naked in Death, Glory in Death and Immortal in Death: (audiobooks) Murder mystery, futuristic, police procedural. Rereads.
  • Nora Roberts: High Noon, Tribute, Black Hills and The Witness: Romantic suspense.
  • J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: (audiobook) Fantasy, YA. Reread.

02 August 2013

Friday book list # 12: A Man lay Dead and Enter a Murderer by Ngaio Marsh


I have started re-reading Ngaio Marsh's delightful detective novels featuring Roderick Alleyn. Here are the publications mentioned in the first two:

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ihyqy7gooPq34seBPWLCX1Plw8/OIs85taWyvFCN2T3rM20QpzHUm1+fARzVWlriINVWDnr8LxLCJRp3G6ypBN2JPK+55WHAe+BuIAMLMoPkR+e0dNqNSb+ImwPLmYjTZRyFr+FiVF+Y+z9+3isODDzj0MUOCfJIGVFKv2fCfLb3RGo6QM9pjkAanKCdOvAGOqZmupAHOGfTCNADpsBrccIuj6kci30VRT6IhXbQa+39ecM19HJ0JUBuFt9OOnnDWA4LUOc7KJan7TaE+ze0WedgdOZbeG7hScx9a6gkEHlfgIGWeEXTfyAjhlyisCOjk2EewwabnimJS5Us52sWBAG51FtvbGFYnhTSkVQwZUVQzeqC21lW5J2vB36Qsdb0ybLB9QgAf0g2+MVGervKV2IsxYi++nh25bxDjUrTfA2VUNU1UFmy+Wb462+NomP4yqtYgLceWUXAgLNGdtOA4m1uUS5dQSpbQG2UEakj8DFEo27FRklsyTRyxOnrKYkA3vbc2BJHU2tFup6SXKl5ZShVB6+8nU+0xSMJoWnTcpmiUoKksSAxubKE/jLceF79bzW0Rbbc/L8vz4RH1LVqN/If0/d0Q63EBAidXQSTBJma7FFHMqXPQgEAacbwDxWmCOBmDDgwuB0IN7H2mNxxg9osZknJbtDQqiXFgSeAAuSeAsN4cnVxQlG8LEWZG0uN7EHbgYVQULBs6tlsPW69bQWNcJIJdu8dwLiwVbW0Dfv+3SHt6fUQlqAWE4A9UWmzHMqVfRrZmbyl3tf75uPIxbcLwmlpQHCnNweYcz/ANIsFW/MAQFkYg05y7H6uXa/Im11QfPpDtFiTM02axzZAAOpvtyNh8YTk1T5e3kv8DjGK9y2ek31bjrltrz1/KIWIVigEXuxB9lwbRW5OMFZbPc3LEX5AAae8xDatdvFqATudB8eMKWBuW415ElsTFGgjoUI6PVJAr2zwlf2lUTncMhYMyAlWFpaBUv5kXuDoPfFaxuqzMFAChQFCjYDl5awc7dyAcRqbzAAWW4sbgd2lx58/bAKsqkYBUW7WGoGpPE3iSPKYx1VAgSwt8wUnhx62h0jKMx0bj0hdYoQZdCRuf4uNvhEUIzXBNhxii7ENUw32Ww3vKhJrLmlrdsxNlzrbJbmQdeXhi41VcFYk7fhvr7YrOE45ZctrEADy6iHcRxYhTZAygXJJt0URFlxynPdFWOUYxPcRx3I2hPdtseRN7qeesBauoLHMJZa+1zl/wBePKJc/KVupuDqOh2iGZgAsbny4Q6EVFbIGbb7i5+JGWma32dbC5952iRiQBdL72S/uECsUnAKV+0w9w/Af6xPrn7xg40DKLH+m14N8oWnyLq6v6uWq2y5QdOJYXJ6n8IXJmCXTW4u7E33svgHTUMehgfhvjkHnLb/ALWsV+OYRKIUytSTrr/DewAtyuCb82gdPb1DT7jrMBItxLEjoQov77+6AlWLzl/hKD2gi8H5VPm7mQCAWIOYmygMb3J4AKIdxXsK8sNONTJexz5QCpZQQSVJY3NtbcbDnBRavcCXA9HR0dDzBvt3PP7VqwVuMycDv3Uo/nAZqxrWAt90cOJvFw7UYBNn1k6emXK7KQGLA6Ii6ix4rEb9iVdgLy9Df1jfa2py66ROk6WwXzKnOcAXUEnn+thEUKenna/tPKLu2E1ZIJZLgg8dxqNMtv8AaFjCJ5PiZfYD8rRtyXYxxsosucLgg3IPPQHjtHk6qJuC5tsB58usXn9lz1OhU6AXta4AIAtbz+UeDDZ/8AGlrDl7NNY7W/JmaPUrNKjmWoItpYbjpaG50qbsiEnnpp0ud4t3odRc6jxXv7svLkAIWKeosQSCDoQb7e79WhbnPtENpeZQzg8658B94J+dyYn0pKyAhU5lzm1ubFhb2Ej2RcRLn6+rr8eGukNtInniuhuOYNrEg23/ACgdeR8xOUUuGUinpJyEMEa2l+RHEeYifKmC/qkc7Anwk/DS/ui0PTTyCPCARY+0WPCEvTVBOrKf100jdeR8xO0pdwHQYkUqZUxVFlOpZSUAAOUEWNwTYdDw4WjHu1vfSTJRJYLDIS7g5BpmWSO6U3I0ButuRgXOw2ewALLYbC+3whEzDZ7EBmGUG++1r6gADWNTkuxzinu2NAx7EsYc0eRXTAP/2Q==#1: A Man lay Dead:

Novels/novellas: 
  • Suspense - Joseph Conrad
  • The Kreuzer Sonata - probably the novella by Leo Tolstoy, since the owner of the book is Russian

Other:
  • Webster‘s Dictionary
  • Eyes and No Eyes - There are several publications with this title and I can't begin to guess which one is being referred to, because the reference completely went over my head.
  • The Ideal Home - this appears to be a magazine along the lines of Better Homes and Gardens.

http://www.fictiondb.com/coversth/th_0515074470.jpg#2:  Enter a Murderer:

Stage works:
  • The Rat and the Beaver - an imaginary play by an author whose name is not given; the murder takes place on stage during a performance of it
  • The Pirates of Penzance - comic opera by Gilbert & Sullivan
  • Othello - Shakespeare 
  • Madame X - Alexandre Bisson

Other:
  • The Morning Express - newspaper, may have existed at that time but no longer
  • La Vie Parisienne - French erotic magazine (typically, the evil murder victim has a 'striking' framed picture from it hanging in his apartment)

Headlines like this make me want to scream


Happily, the body of the article isn't so prejudicial, but still: WTF was the headline writer thinking?
I can just see the smirk on their face when they wrote this. (Judging from the tenor of the article, I'd say the journalist isn't the one to blame, but an editor/headline writer).