Category Archives: Gardner, Erle Stanley

2023 Fall Read-a-Thon

It has been a long time since I posted anything here, but I’ve had a busy few months. There will be time to enlarge on that further, but for right now, I’m here for the fall read-a-thon. I’m in the U.S. – on the west coast – so my start time is 5:00 a.m., which means I’ve been going for almost 8 hours. I haven’t read for 8 hours, though – my general read-a-thon goal is typically to read for about 12 out of the 24 hours.

So far, I’ve finished one rather short mystery and I listened to a short story while I made lunch.

The Case of the Baited HookThe Case of the Baited Hook
by Erle Stanley Gardner
Rating: ★★★½
Series: Perry Mason #16
Publication Date: January 1, 1940
Genre: mystery: golden age (1920-1949)
Pages: 248
ReRead?: No
Project: a century of crime

The bait is half of a $10,000 bill, delivered to Perry Mason by a man who promises the second half of the note should his companion, a silent masked woman, ever require the lawyer’s services. When a dead body is discovered soon after, Mason feels the hook—but how can one prove the innocence of a person whose identity is unknown?

It’s hard to believe that I’ve never picked up a Perry Mason mystery before, so I decided it was time to rectify the oversight. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and ended up quite enjoying the book. It’s very convoluted, and has echoes of a mid-century noir, but with less grit. I grabbed three others from my library when I checked this one out, and I enjoyed it enough to read at least one more, although not today.

I also read (well, listened to) The Plymouth Express, a short story that has been collected in Midwinter Murder: Fireside Tales from the Queen of Mystery.

Midwinter Murder: Fireside Tales from the Queen of MysteryMidwinter Murder: Fireside Tales from the Queen of Mystery
by Agatha Christie
Publication Date: October 20, 2020
Genre: mystery: golden age (1920-1949), short stories
Pages: 320
ReRead?: No
Project: appointment with agatha

An all-new collection of winter-themed stories from the Queen of Mystery, just in time for the holidays—including the original version of Christmas Adventure, never before released in the United States!

There's a chill in the air and the days are growing shorter . . . It's the perfect time to curl up in front of a crackling fire with these wintry whodunits from the legendary Agatha Christie. But beware of deadly snowdrifts and dangerous gifts, poisoned meals and mysterious guests. This chilling compendium of short stories—some featuring beloved detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple—is an essential omnibus for Christie fans and the perfect holiday gift for mystery lovers.

- Three Blind Mice
- The Chocolate Box
- A Christmas Tragedy
- The Coming of Mr Quin
- The Clergyman's Daughter/Red House
- The Plymouth Express
- Problem at Pollensa Bay
- Sanctuary
- The Mystery of Hunter's Lodge
- The World's End
- The Manhood of Edward Robinson
- Christmas Adventure

I am not sure if I’ve read this particular story, because it is basically a shorter version of The Mystery of the Blue Train, and I’ve definitely read that one. Mystery of the Blue Train was published in 1928, and The Plymouth Express wasn’t published until 1939, so, although Mystery of the Blue Train was somehow published first, the notes on the Agatha Christie website indicate that the full-length novel was lengthened from the short story, which is a little bit confusing.

So far, I’ve read for 4 out of 8 hours. Time to start a new book!