Review : Newcomer by Keigo Higashino

I love it when the post – Sherlock fictional detectives try to break off from the cerebral & egotistic tendencies which seem to have become a must have to qualify as an astute private eye . Still I was not prepared for someone like Kaga . He is not the super detective who creates a huge stir on his entrance – his interactions & investigations are too low key that he almost becomes yet another one in the host of characters ( !!! ) . There are no dramatic denouements or Holmesian / Herculean style dramatics with the discovery of some significant clue and yet Keigo manages to keep the reader turning the pages fast with yet another piece of the puzzle falling into place at the end of every section . In short , Kaga might be a wonder in the detective universe . . .

Review : The Christmas Card Crime and Other Stories ( editor : Martin Edwards )

My next read for the holiday season is The Christmas Card Crime , an anthology of Christmas mysteries edited by Martin Edwards . The individual stories have been rated ( check out the stars next to the title for the rating ) . Also , there are only quick holiday season references and no detailed delving into the festivities of the season . Still , I would say that there are some gems here which should not be missed . . . Here’s a quick look at the teasers for each of the eleven stories – I should warn you that this is a mixed bag . . .

A Christmas Tragedy by Baroness Orczy ** :

Lady Molly ‘ s lady – in – waiting is the narrator here . I have several complaints against this one – the narrator ‘ s tone was obsequious throughout the story ( I could have lived with that if Lady Molly had done some decent detective work . But her actions and suspicions are frequently attributed to her excellent intuition ** Duh!!** ) and took on a snobbish tone when it came to narrative about the servants of the manor where she is investigating the murder of one Major Ceely . The motive for the murder seems to be pretty absurd and there is next – to – nothing detection done by our ” detective ” whose detective powers are praised to the skies . While I can understand that the pen has been wielded by one of Lady Molly ‘ s social standing to warrant this narrative style and that it has not aged well , the close to zero detective work made this a boring read . I would suggest anyone to save this one for the last and start with Crime At Lark Cottage or The Christmas Card Crime . . .

By The Sword by Selwyn Jepson **** :

The Cathertons have always died by the sword . Read this one to find out how this family curse plays out in the latest death in the family . A clever one but the story – telling could have been better with holding the reader ‘ s interest . . .

The Christmas Card Crime by Donald Stuart ***** :

A group of passengers in a train end up in a lodge with a shady past . One of the passengers ends up murdered and another seems to have someone shadowing her . Plus there is the torn half of a Christmas greeting card which she seems keen to protect from someone . Why is it that an old , torn Christmas greeting card hold much value /? The solution to this one is a really clever one . . .

The Motive by Ronald Knox **** :

A lawyer narrates a curious case in which he defended a man named Westmacott ( yes , that ‘ s a nod to Agatha Christie ) . A very interesting and clever story but you might probably have to stick with the somewhat mediocre narrative to get to the superb ending – I would say that the ending is worth persisting with this one . ( The narrative alone would have got only 3 stars but I loved this story – so , bumping it up to a 4 . . . )

Blind Man ‘ s Hood by Carter Dickson **** :

A couple arrive at their host ‘ s late and a young woman narrates the story of a mysterious death in the same house . A superb locked room mystery with a delicious paranormal twist at the end . . .

Paul Temple ‘ s White Christmas by Francis Durbridge *** :

Paul and his wife have flown to Switzerland for Christmas but what they don ‘ t expect is a mini – adventure which plays out the moment that land in Switzerland . There is not much mystery here and it is very predictable . . .

Sister Bessie or Your Old Leech by Cyril Hare ***** :

Timothy , a banker , recounts his tracking down of his ” blackmailer ” and getting rid of this supposed blackmailer . But , in a deliciously ironic twist , he has only put himself at the mercy his blackmailer once again who signs the blackmail notes as Your Old Leech . . . I loved this one and will be picking up more by this author in the future . . .

A Bit of Wire Pulling by E . C . R . Lorac :

Inspector Lang from the Yard recounts a murder which took place in a Christmas party in which he was present .

I am not very good at visualizing contraptions or mechanisms even if they are explained in the For Dummies fashion . So I would reserve my judgement on this one . I only remember that the solution involved what the title is about – some wire pulling .

Pattern of Revenge by John Bude *** :

Two men loved Karen Gaborg and one of them is now serving time for her murder . Now , the other one is confessing to Karen ‘ s murder and detailing how he framed his rival for her murder . Some elements of the solution were not very surprising but it was a pretty decent read . . .

Crime at Lark Cottage by John Bingham ***** :

John Bradley stops at a home near Skandale where a woman and her daughter reside . The woman seems frightened and hints that she would like the visitor to stay for the night . Eventually Bradley comes upon a newspaper article which enlightens him as to the strange situation which he finds himself in . . .

This one has a brilliant narrative which managed to fool me about the trajectory the plot was about to take with a superb twist at the end . . .

Twixt the cup and the lip by Julian Symons *** :

A jewel heist masterminded by a bookseller goes awry in every way possible , all thanks to his bungling comrades . The narrative is on the lighter side and the solution is quite clever . . .

If you have already read this anthology , let me know in the comments section about your thoughts on the book  . If you have any interesting Christmas themed recommendations , please do share them . Until the next review then . .