"Julian Symons knew the period he wrote about well. So this mystery is quite convincing in its portrayal of two linked Victorian households where a murder occurs. That was its main interest for me. Also, the man wrote intelligent and educated English, which is more than you can say for most mystery writers."
"Not a mystery, but a crime story, and one of Innes' very best. There is less of the learned comments of the professor and more of character and story and humor. Colonel Petticate, when his wife dies suddenly on their boat, decides to say she is abroad, and continue her series of best selling romance novels. In taking his first step into crime, he sets out on a path which will bring him one horrible shock after another. Although he is an unpleasant little man, he is not so unpleasant that you can't identify with him, at the same time feeling he deserves everything he gets. The book includes a fascinating vignette of Oxford upper-class bohemianism which Innes must have drawn from life. Not a page lags, vivid characters appear throughout. Five stars."
"BEWARE. The books are magnificent, but the cassettes are---shock horror--abridged! And even worse, they are not described as such. Only by looking at the actual cassettes in your hands will you learn this rather important piece of information. Beware!"
"A fine reading of the classic historical mystery about Richard III and the crimes attributed to him in Shakespeare's play and sir Thomas More's account.
As in her other novels, Tey has the ability to engage the reader's emotional partiality for her favorite characters, and dislike for her villains, who come to life in vivid colors. She could write circles around the other queens of classic crime, Sayers and Christie, though her plots, as she admitted herself, were not original."
"A sea story/thriller of the best kind...well written, and original. The ending is extraordinary, and especially interesting as showing a great knowledge of sailing, which even the land-locked can enjoy."
"Like all the McGee books, this is a well-written adventure story. Warning: he tends to include some very unpleasant villains, whose doings I would rather not have had to read about. The author was also of his generation, that is to say, a considerable sexist. So be warned."
"This is an account of the actress's growing up a misfit "weirdo" (she was 6 feet tall at age 12), her fall into drug addiction, and the horrendous disaster which led her finally to rehabilitation.
I had expected it to be about her acting career, and to be funny, so I was disappointed in my expectations. That said, she is unrestrainedly honest (spills her "Guts" in other words) and does not pull her punches. The language may offend some. I still admire her for her acting, and now for her willingness to tell the truth, however unflattering, about herself.
The writing style is that self-expressive, let-it-all-hang out, sort popular nowadays in the U.S.A., while I prefer writing which is more restrained, (classical). But that's just my personal taste---others may like her lack of restraint."
"A vivid and frank account of an extraordinary and inspiring life, including photos. Raised in an Irish Catholic family near Boston, he was sent to a school for the blind at age seven, returning at weekends to his family. In those days, (the fifties), life for a blind kid was not easy. He had athletic prowess, and refused to let his handicap prevent him from exploring the world and excelling at sports such as wrestling. His musical talents led him toward a career as a performance, after college years which included ostracism at Harvard. But at Harvard he met the girl who would fill the emptiness in his heart, and bring him back to the values which his mother had instilled in him as a child."
"Marvelous story of the little boy who is sent to the Children's Prison for "insulting behavior to grown-ups." The prison is run by the infamous ex-wrestler "The Hooded Fang," who is not exactly what he seems....This book will be enjoyed by children and adults alike; it is very funny and touching as well. However, I recommend the slightly abridged version recorded by Christpher Plummer which is a masterpiece (he does all the voices and is simply killing.) Jacob Two-two's siblings come to the rescue and the ending is quite exciting."
"I have read Loving and Party Going but not Living. As John Updike says in his introduction to the former book, Green in incomparable in bringing a feeling of real life to his novels. Loving is set during World War I in an Irish country house where the owner is away at the front and his wife is left behind with the servants. Party Going concerns a few people in a fog bound London on a particular night when travel is brought to a standstill due to the weather. Highly recommended to the sensitive reader of literature."
"I first read this when I was 18, was shocked at how much the "hero" hated so many people with, I thought, so little reason. As I got older I learned that some people just have a low threshold for irritation. The writing is brilliant, original and stunning. Amis scrutinizes his surroundings with a ferocity which reveals local color which no other novelist seems to even notice. His language is succinct, and quite devastating in its savagery.
The book contains some famously hilarious scenes, such as the description of a morning after, and the scene where his hero delivers a lecture drunk. But my favorite is the one where he takes a bus to the train station in hopes of seeing the girl he wants before she leaves town, and every imaginable delay drives him to distraction.
Note: To compare this book to Jane Austen is laughably wide of the mark, Nor is it "dry British humor.""
"This is Mary Stewart's first romantic suspense novel, and my favorite. The story and romance are more successful in Nine Coaches Waiting, but Madam Will You Talk is unique in its evocation of place: the south of France. The heroine and her friend, both English schoolteachers on holiday, arrive at their hotel, and Charity is immediately involved in a deadly plot when she befriends a young boy staying there with his stepmother. Another guest tells her that his father has been tried for the murder of his best friend, and the boy and his stepmother are fleeing the dangerous father, who has been acquitted. Soon she is confronted with the father while taking the boy sight-seeing, and flees with the terrified boy. That is just the beginning of an exciting and surprising story.
The way Stewart makes the reader see, smell and taste the warm country of the south of France is nothing short of extraordinary,and her writing never surpassed what she did here."
"Tey's first novel, though not one of her best, is certainly worth the time. Inspector Grant hunts his suspect all the way to remote Scotland. However, the ending is not at all in the classic tradition, and it a weakness in terms of plot."
"This was the first Leonard novel I read and it delighted me. Leonard is famous for his dialogue, which feels real, and often he can be very funny. I was particularly impressed with his grace in depicting sex and violence, which occur in moderate doses in his books. His characters tend to be criminals, some of them very scummy types, but he does not rub your face in gore and cruelty. Has a great ability to depict sort of red-neck hillbilly types with affection but without illusion. Good portrayal of cops as well."
"Mr. Stephen is a very respected Dublin lawyer at the top of his profession. Suddenly a snake in the grass appears in his life--a blackmailer who is capable of ruining his reputation by telling about a small but legally problematic slip-up Mr Stephen has made.
The author writes elegantly and insightfully about his characters, with a subdued sense of humor and compassion. All his novels are very much recommended. Few write nowadays with such intelligence and wit, not to mention literary grace. The book has a different title in English and American editions, which is why I ended up with 2 copies. (The other title is The Minister for Justice.)"
"The cover of the book made me expect a light, entertaining story. And it was well written and believable, about a pair of rich, horrible parents and their little boy, and the nanny who they hired to take care of him. But as the book progressed it became a very painful experience to see how this child was emotionally abused by his parents, and the end was devastating. I can't believe all the reviews here which characterize the book as light and amusing. Did they read a different book than I did, or are they so unaware of the pain a child in that situation would suffer that they just didn't get it?
Some reviewers focused on the abuse of the nanny, and hoped she would stand up for herself. The story seemed to me to be based on actual experience, and the reviewers apparently didn't realize that many people in "service jobs" don't have the option of telling their bosses off since they are in a position where they need the work and they need recommendations to move on."
"Must have for any Christie fan; contains exhaustive information about all her books and the movies made from them, also articles by various crime writers on various aspects of her amazingly successful creations."
"This is Sharpe's first book. The story is certainly a riot, about South African police under apartheid dealing with an old English family who to put it mildly, are eccentric. It begins when the venerable and terrifying matriarch of the family calls the police station to report that she has murdered her Zulu cook--not a big deal in itself. However, she also reports that she has been having an affair with him and that puts a different complexion--no pun intended--on the matter. Soon an army of police is assaulting the family's mansion and being decimated by an elephant gun--the same one which despatched the cook. Events go out of control early and progress from one absurdity to another even greater. The incompetence and downright idiocy of the police, combined with the old guard philosophy of the English sahibs, make for infinite misunderstanding and disaster.
Unfortunately, the writing is no more than competent, lacking the subtlety which would bring this comic novel to the level of the S.A. novels of James McClure, master at this genre."
"This is a fascinating and extremely frank account of an older woman's adventures with men that she meets after putting an advertisement in the New York Review of Books. She had stated that she was looking for sex and she found it, and much more."