No Orchids for Miss Blandish, James Hadley Chase

No Orchids for Miss Blandish best

A kidnapped heiress is featured in No Orchids For Miss Blandish (1939)

No Orchids for Miss Blandish, written in 1939 is a noir crime novel written by the prolific British writer, James Hadley Chase aka René Lodge Brabazon Raymond (1906 to 1985). The length of the story is about 176 pages and it reads fast in third person POV. Online I learned that this novel had been heavily revised in 1962 for “modern sensibilities.” I found a copy of this book at Munsey’s. My intention was to read the original text but I’m not 100% sure which version I read. The original 1939 version was said to be controversial at the time for its depiction of “sexuality and violence.”

Note: It’s a known issue too that some of James Hadley Chase’s books were edited by Harlequin. I prefer to read the original books if I can find them. I really hate it when editors/publishers feel they must remove offensive material from vintage novels to sell them to a “modern audience.” That is not cool and I’m not down with that practice at all.

Billed as Chase’s “dark masterpiece,” the story is set in Kansas City and opens with two small time hoodlums looking to make some quick money. Bailey, described as a “leg man”usually passes off tips to the local gangs. He hears about the John Blandish shindig. The word about Blandish is that: “he’s worth a hundred million” and he’s throwing his daughter a party to celebrate her 24th birthday. And at this birthday celebration he’s giving her the family diamonds that are worth “fifty grand.” Continue reading “No Orchids for Miss Blandish, James Hadley Chase”

Goldfish Have No Hiding Place, James Hadley Chase

Hardboiled novel, Goldfish Have No Hiding Place by James Hadley Chase

Hardboiled novel, Goldfish Have No Hiding Place by James Hadley Chase

I just finished this terrific hardboiled novel by James Hadley Chase – Goldfish Have No Hiding Place. It was published in 1973 and at 206 pages, this was a one sitting read. The setting is early 70’s San Francisco. It follows society columnist, Steve Manson  who three years ago successfully ran The Los Angeles Herald but quit because he grew bored.

At a cocktail party, he meets Henry Chandler, a rich executive and a proud Quaker who’s a generous “do gooder of the city’s rich citizens.”  He asks Steve to run a new magazine, The Voice of the People, whose mandate is to “criticise and protest.” He tells him to “go after trouble” and he’ll handle all the libel suits. Steve accepts, thinking it an exciting opportunity and plus he needs the income. Chandler staffs him with a couple of researchers and a detective agency to help him among other things. The magazine turns out to be a great success and that’s when Steve’s troubles start to creep up on him. Continue reading “Goldfish Have No Hiding Place, James Hadley Chase”

The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith

The 1955 Hardcover published by Coward-McCann in the U.S.

The 1955 Hardcover published by Coward-McCann in the U.S.

This post is my contribution to the #1955 book challenge hosted by Rich at Past Offences. I started reading The Talented Mr. Ripley a year ago but set it aside for reasons I couldn’t tell you. I picked it back up and couldn’t stop reading it so here are my thoughts on The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith. 

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith was first published in 1955. It’s categorized as a psychological suspense novel and I’m happy to say that all 276 pages of this story delivers.

It’s the first book in the Ripliad series that goes on to follow the deceptive exploits of the young, neurotic American anti-hero, Tom Ripley.  Continue reading “The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith”

Roseanna by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö

Rosanna was published in 1965 and is the first book in the Martin Beck series

Roseanna was published in 1965 and is the first book in the Martin Beck series

An American woman is found dead in the Gota Canal during the summer in Sweden. Martin Beck and his team are assigned the case. Like with any real case, they only got so far until the case turns cold. Eventually they work with an investigator in the U.S. who gives them their first real lead in identifying the victim. Her name was Roseanna McGraw and she was traveling alone on the passenger ship, Diana. The crime goes on to be solved and is handled in a realistic time frame that stretches to about six months.

The way the case was handled felt like watching a case in real life unfold from identifying the body to tracking down leads to doing interviews to coming up with new ideas and angles on how to solve a difficult case. The frustrations in false leads and the camaraderie between the team pulled you into the story and made you care about how this case would be resolved. The witness statements/ interviews were explicit. This was a sex crime and Martin Beck and his team worked tirelessly and diligently to bring this perpetrator to justice. Continue reading “Roseanna by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö”

The Red Right Hand by Joel Townsley Rogers

A nightmarish road trip through terror and mayhem

A nightmarish road trip through terror and mayhem. Pyramid Books paperback, A Green Door Mystery, 50 cents

The Red Right Hand (1945) by Joel Townsley Rogers. I’d heard about this book last year and bought it but never read it. Rich’s review at Past Offenses reminded me that I should go ahead and read it. His positive review made me finally pick it up. I enjoyed the story.

This novel has been described as “nightmarish” and “terrifying” by reviewers and critics alike. The book is the most famous and hailed as his “masterpiece.” The Red Right Hand was originally written as a novella  in 1945 then was expanded and published in the same year. The title is described as horror and mystery and runs about 191 pages in length.

What is The Red Right Hand by Joel Townsley Rogers about? The story is about a couple’s spontaneous decision to drive from New York to Vermont to get married. The backstory provides more detail on how they met and so forth. Along the way, they pick up a tramp with “red eyes” who turns their road trip into one of nightmare and mayhem. Continue reading “The Red Right Hand by Joel Townsley Rogers”