For the resourceful, patient, mystery-minded sleuth wanna be in your life, these three interactive books can be mixed and matched as suites their taste. I know an otherwise upright, honest 60-year-old woman who would lift The Crimes of Dr. Watson from my shelf, squirrel it away to her lair, then ponder its pages, notebook in hand, from the privacy of her reading chair—if she thought I wouldn’t notice it had gone missing. Then next visit, she might eye the Batman and Dracula versions which may not be her first inclination but they just might quench, at least for a time, her insatiable love of mysteries. We all know how close the law abider and the lawbreaker are to one another. In the spirit of Christmas, I’m going to spare my friend any criminal charges, and make all three a gift for her. You might do well to follow my example.
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In a league of his own, the most popular of the blood hounds is inarguably the petit Belgian brainbox Hercule Poirot, master sleuth of Agatha Christie’s sophisticated and ingeniously plotted whodunit novels; and the only fictional character ever to have been granted an obituary on the front cover of The New York Times. He is generally pitted against a superior class of criminal which at least has the decency to provide a bit of a challenge. So, to, will this box set provide a bit of a challenge—and a measure of satisfaction—for the one in your life who is obsessed with fictional renditions of murder most foul.
“Until the morning he discovered the dead man in his refrigerated display case, nothing very exciting had ever happened to Jacques Beauregard.” Ah, that’s classic. And ‘classic’ is the point, exactly, of this collection of murder mysteries by this author, James Holding, and other notables such a Ellery Queen, John Updike, C.S. Forester, and many more. A dastardly curation of stories of devious invention, fans of the short story format as well as hard-core mystery fans will be captured—and held tight like a knife in a gloved hand—by this book. Each entry is a perfect dream-inducing, disturbing read just before dropping off to sleep.
This cloth covered box set of Patricia Highsmith’s five Mr. Ripley’s titles is as handsome, dark and cool as the protagonist who strolls with such suave nonchalance through this collection’s pages. Nearly as sensual in their look as they are cerebral in their content, followers of Highsmith, fans of Hitchcock, devotees of the macabre will, much like the ‘Ripliad’ himself, quickly eliminate inferior titles on their bookshelves to make room for this set. Containing The Talented Mr. Ripley, Ripley Under Ground, Ripley’s Game, The Boy Who Followed Ripley and Ripley Under Water, this set will scratch that little bit of sociopathic itch in the one you love.
// Notes from the Road
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