Category Archives: crime thrillers

Philomel Cottage, an Agatha Christie Obscure Murder Mystery

Philomel Cottage  by Agatha Christie (1934 Published in Listerdale Mystery)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   June 20, 2017

 

This short story by Agatha Christie, the murder mystery master, is one that hasn’t seen much popular light. Raymond Chandler was said to criticize Christie’s literary skills but that didn’t tarnish her fame or book sales.  She remains the queen of crime.  Philomel Cottage is probably one you’ve not read.

The name of this cottage carries a very specific subtext. The title Philomel—also known as Philomela—refers to a Greek goddess who was turned into a bird. In Christie’s story, Philomel represents the nightingale, symbolic of the feminine rejecting the dark silence and her finding voice in that darkness to sing.

This is a romantic twisty tale, set in a cheerful English village of gardens and gossip. The drama is about a newly married couple, Alix and her demanding husband Gerald—how lovely their new home is and how happy the setting. Well, maybe not for long. Murder and the dark psychological powers of dreaming prevail.

The ending is unpredictable and not at all in the neatly tied-up style we are used to in Christie crime mysteries. It’s unusual for Christie to flavor her stories with anything supernatural, but one might interpret this story to be haunting in a Hitchcockian way.  Christie’s compelling narrative suspense, as always, does not disappoint.

Read the short story  here at Celine.Klinghammer.free.fr.

 

This story was adapted for film in 1937 with Ann Harding and Basil Rathbone Love With A Stranger. If you are an old film buff like me, this one is thoroughly enjoyable. Vintage black and white and so fashionable. Women wearing curvy slinky dresses, budding rounded busts with sexy shoulders and pearls. Men with mustaches and tailored in tweed suits with wide lapels and cuffed wide trousers. Absolutely nostalgic!

Watch it here on YouTube.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Audio: Old Time Radio Suspense of  Philomel Cottage with Orson Wells. This is a real treat!

 

If you are an Agatha Christie fan, you’ll love the Agatha Christie Blog.  

Click here for “How to Make A Miss Marple’s Afternoon Tea.”

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Christie’s first novel , The Mysterious Affair at Styles, was written in 1916, published in 1920. Murder on the Orient Express (1934); Death on the Nile (1937) and Appointment with Death (1938).   And many more: 78 mystery novels, 19 plays, and over 100 short stories. Her final novel, Sleeping Murder: Miss Marples Last Case, was published posthumously in October 1976. She is considered the best-selling novelist of all time  (2 billion copies sold and by some estimates nearly 4 billion, her works ranking 3rd behind Shakespeare and the Bible). What a gal!

 

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Check out The Guardian‘s “No One Should Condescend to Agatha Christie—She’s a Genius.” 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror. This is a compendium of over 2 00 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, supernatural, ghost stories, crime, sci-fi, and horror. Follow or sign up to join me in reading two short stories every month.

Comments are welcome.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine   Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

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Filed under Book Reviews, crime stories, crime thrillers, fiction, ghost story blogs, Greylock, horror blogs, murder mystery, Night Sea Journey, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, supernatural, tales of terror, The Dazzling Darkness

Backwoods Murder

A Good Man is Hard to Find    by Flannery O’Connor  (1955)

 

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    February 14, 2017

 

Dark fiction is known to be a broad category, but most agree it is the literary expressions of disturbing human nature. The stories are sometimes graphically violent. This story is not–it does have a dark truth and a riveting suspense.

 

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We are in the 1950s. Grandma and her family are on a road trip from Georgia to Florida.  Grandma’s son, Bailey, his ‘cabbage-faced wife,’ and their children—a bratty girl and boy—and a cat named Pitty Sing are headed through the deep South.  Family dynamics here are intense as you might expect on a long car trip.

Bailey, the dad: “All right!” he shouted and drew the car to a stop at the side of the road. “Will you all shut up? Will you all just shut up for one second? If you don’t shut up, we won’t go anywhere.”

And then an accident happens.  That silly snarly cat. They tumbled into a ditch. And as it happens, an escaped convict, a killer named “The Misfit” is on the loose  in the deep South.

“Behind the ditch they were sitting in there were more woods, tall and dark and deep. In a few minutes they saw a car some distance away on top of a hill, coming slowly as if the occupants were watching them. The grandmother stood up and waved both arms dramatically to attract their attention. The car continued to come on slowly, disappeared around a bend and appeared again, moving even slower, on top of the hill they had gone over. It was a big black battered hearse-like automobile. There were three men in it.”

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The story isn’t horror but it will horrify the reader. Tightly crafted, it’s a superb tale of literal and figurative turning points. What struck me was the presence of the bird ghost, “bright blue parrots”  threaded in. Chilling effect.

 

 

This is bizarre Southern literature by an awe-inspiring writer, a master of form, Flannery O’Connor. She was an American fiction author and essayist, wrote novels and thirty-two short stories, and won a National Book Award and three O. Henry Awards. The famous  Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction  just celebrated its 30th anniversary at The University of Georgia Press. The award was established to encourage gifted young writers by bringing their work to the attention of readers and reviewers.

“The writer operates at a peculiar crossroads where time and place

and eternity somehow meet. His problem is to find that location.”  Flannery O’Connor

O’Connor loved birds. As a child, she sewed clothes for her pet chickens. Peacocks were her favorite. She kept near 40 peacocks on her property. Visit her website: http://www.flanneryoconnor.org/

 

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Read A Good Man is Hard to Find (Finalist for the 1956 National Book Award in Fictionat Xroads.Virginia.Edu.

 

Listen and read along to the story (read by Flannery O’Connor) at Genius.com.

 

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Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror. This is a compendium of nearly 200 short stories by over 100 master storytellers of mystery, supernatural, ghost stories, and horror. Join me in reading one short story every other week! Comments are welcome.

 

  Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

 

The Kill Zone

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica    Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine

HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

EZindiepublishing

Thriller Author Mark Dawson http://markjdawson.com/

Dawson’s Book Marketing site: http://www.selfpublishingformula.com/

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Filed under crime thrillers, fiction, horror blogs, literary horror, literature, quiet horror, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, suspense, tales of terror

Greylock, Review at Berkshire Eagle, Pittsfield, Massachusetts

‘Greylock’: Thriller With Local Ties

For my Massachusetts fans, in case you missed this in the Berkshire Eagle. I just discovered this review this week. I’m planning a trip to Pittsfield, MA for a book reading and signing in June 2017.  This review by Colin Harrington, The Bookstore in Lenox, Mass.

 

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‘Greylock’: Thriller with local ties perfect for Halloween reading

By Colin Harrington, Special to The Eagle, October 2016.

Suspense, romance, classical music, and the supernatural all converge at the summit of Mount Greylock in Paula Cappa’s thrilling new novel of murder and the occult, “Greylock.”

In 2007, Alexei Georg as sonar technician aboard the USS Los Angeles submarine, pinged beluga whales in the White Sea off Russia and was transported in time and space through their whale song from half a world away. Returning to Boston and his life as a concert pianist, he receives a mysterious newspaper clipping about the same whales gathering and singing seven years earlier on the same date, Sept. 9.

It becomes the perfect, even destined theme for writing a symphony, a whale symphony. His career had already risen to notice when he performed his October sonata, a piece he claimed to have written, when in fact he had discovered it, albeit unsigned, in the sea chest of his Russian father, Aleksandr Georg.

The story had always been hazy but the music of the October sonata was sensational and he was frequently asked to perform it at major venues. Encouraged by his mentor, Dr. Leed Mensah of Wheatley College, Alexei becomes a candidate for a prestigious and lucrative Essex Institute Endowment award to write his whale symphony at the Greylock Music Hall at the top of Mount Greylock. Alexei manages to get back to the White Sea by Sept. 9, 2014, to commune again with his whales from aboard the Belyy Ved’ma with the shadowy but intuitive captain Gleb and the powerful shaman/translator Shemiossa. Alexei has his most intense telepathic encounter with the Beluga whales this time and is more determined than ever to write his symphony on Greylock. Trouble brews however, when his wife, Carole Ann, whom he has just left because she does not support his composing dreams, is murdered, and he becomes the prime suspect for her murder and three other related “slasher” murders. He soon realizes too that the October sonata is cursed and he finds that he cannot rid himself of the Russian river demon, Varlok, who demands a terrible payment for ownership of the music.

Pursued relentlessly by Boston Homicide’s Detective Violet Rufft, Alexei is by turns supported and betrayed by his friends and his cousin, Josef, with whom he grew up in Plymouth, and with whom he has a bitter rivalry in the concert hall.

Strengthened by his love for TV meteorologist Lia Marrs, and wizened to the soul-shattering seductions of great music, Alexei confronts Varlok in mortal combat on Mount Greylock after a visitation from Shemiossa on the trails that lead him to musical triumph. When he believes he is freed of evil, Alexei composes the greatest music of his life, by his own talent.

This novel is terrific and a perfect book to curl up with on Halloween.

Colin Harrington is the Events Manager at The Bookstore* and Get Lit Wine Bar in Lenox, Mass. 

 

Read the review at the Berkshire Eagle News, Pittsfield, Massachusetts

 

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Chanticleer Book Award Winner, 2015

 
 “I’ve not seen anything like it since Hitchcock and duMaurier

gave us The Birds. Greylock is a stunning masterpiece.”

Five Stars from Veteran Book Reviewer Don Sloan.

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Print editions available at the following:

Bascom Lodge, Summit of Mt. Greylock, Lanesboro, MA

The Bookstore,* Lenox, MA

Red Lion Inn Gift Shop, Stockbridge, MA

The BookLoft, Great Barrington, MA

Ebook and trade paperback:  Amazon.com    Barnes&Noble.com  itunes.apple.com

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Filed under Book Reviews, crime thrillers, fiction, ghost story blogs, horror blogs, Mt. Greylock, murder mystery, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, supernatural music, supernatural mysteries, supernatural thrillers

Review of Greylock – Five Stars from Don Sloan

Five Stars from Veteran Book Reviewer Don Sloan:

“I’ve not seen anything like it since Hitchcock and duMaurier gave us The Birds. Greylock is a stunning masterpiece of innovative horror. Award-winning author Paula Cappa delivers a virtuoso performance in fiction, with characters you’ll care deeply about and sinister evil that will trouble your sleep for a long time to come.

Composer and classical concert pianist Alexei Georg has a dream: to put the music of the beluga whales off Russia’s coast into a musical composition for piano and symphony orchestra. Only two things are stopping him: a shrewish wife and a black apparition that haunts his recent performances. His lover, radio meteorologist Lia Marrs, wants very much to believe that Alexei will be successful in his bid to divorce the diabolical Carole Anne, but his soon-to-be ex-wife has a secret she’s holding over his head — the revelation that his signature composition “October” was, in fact, written over a hundred years earlier by someone else.

He travels to the icy waters where the whales are known to sing their eerie songs, and encounters a female Russian shaman who alternately intrigues him and terrifies him with her enigmatic interpretations.Then, Carole Anne’s murder throws things into turmoil as Alexei, suspected of the crime, flees to remote Mount Greylock, still pursued by the dark phantom.

This inspired story of the creative process, and the lengths to which a composer might go to realize his dream, is at once cautionary and revealing. Who can say what dark muses we all might entreat to achieve our artistic aims and aspirations?

Five well-earned stars to Greylock.”

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Print Edition published by Crispin Books.  

Kindle and print editions available on Amazon.com.

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Greylock is Featured November Read at Goodreads

Greylock is the featured November read at Goodreads, Writers and Readers Group. Join in!

https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/37092-writers-and-readers

Greylock is a Chanticleer Book Award Winner, 2015.

U.S. Review of Books: “Cappa’s latest is nothing less than a mind-boggling mystery … always keeping an elusive edge to her characters’ personas—a plot replete with all the wonderful trappings of a romance-laced mystery with unexpected twists and turns.”

Murder, lies, romance, betrayal. When pianist Alexei Georg plays an old Russian sonata, a dark musical power invades his life, haunting him from Boston’s music society to Russia to the summit of Mt. Greylock, where he must find a way to halt the dark force within his music or become prisoner to its phantasmagoric power. From Boston’s music society to the White Sea in Russia to Mt. Greylock. Murder. Music. Mystery.

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On Amazon: US http://amzn.to/1OxPF9B UK: http://amzn.to/1Wp3Flr

Semi-finalist in Kindle Book Review Awards

 “A dark masterpiece. Rare and beautiful piece of writing by an author with an unpredictable and exceptional command of language and mood.” John J. Staughton, Amazon TOP Reviewer, FIVE stars.

“Echoing notes of Phantom of the Opera, mixed with Raymond Chandler’s Marlowe, and Peter Straub’s Ghost Story, Greylock is a thrilling musical tragedy steeped in lore, mythology, and the madness of composition, leading to a crescendo of epic proportions. Paula Cappa is a gifted author, and this book will have you swooning in the aisles.” —Richard Thomas, author of Disintegration.

 

Have you met Alexei and Lia?

 

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The Magic of Sherlock Holmes

The Adventure of The Copper Beeches  by Arthur Conan Doyle (1892)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   September 20, 2016

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There is a magic in Sherlock Holmes stories, the atmospheric London fog, hansom cabs clacking over cobbled streets, the famous parlor at 221-B Baker Street with Holmes and Watson sitting before a cozy fire and a steaming teapot—or refreshing themselves with glasses of claret as in the The Adventure of the Dying Detective.

Today’s short story is The Adventure of the Copper Beeches. Violet Hunter is our heroine, curious and independent, but in need of Mr. Holmes’ advice when she takes a governess position at the country estate called Copper Beeches, near Winchester. Mr. Rucastle is an odd sort with a wife who carries a secret sorrow, and their savage boy who adores capturing little birds and bugs.

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“Crime is common. Logic is rare. Therefore it is upon the logic rather than upon the crime that you should dwell.”

The story unfolds like the tick-tock of a clock, so I won’t say another word. Although Holmes doesn’t exactly solve the crime, the adventure is suspenseful, with a touch of romance. Enjoy this 20-minute read.

Read the short story at EastoftheWeb.com 

Listen to the audio, read by Mark Smith on YouTube.com 

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The Science of Deduction by Sherlock Holmes: Forum, Hidden Messages, Case Files:

 http://www.thescienceofdeduction.co.uk/

The Sherlock Holmes Official Website.

The Blog of Dr. John Watson Official Website.

Need a cup of tea with this story? Settle back and enjoy this story along with a pot of “Sherlock Holmes” blend of tea (lapsang souchong, assam melody, oriental spice), which is ‘exotic and mysterious and perhaps a little bit insane, with a lingering hint of smoke’ at Adagio Tea Company. See Comment #1 below for link.

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror. This is a compendium of over 170 short stories by over 100 master storytellers of mystery,  supernatural, horror, and ghost stories. Join me in reading one short story every other week! Comments are welcome.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine

Books & Such   Bibliophilica    Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

 HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian     HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

EZindiepublishing

 

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Filed under crime stories, crime thrillers, fiction, horror blogs, literature, murder mystery, mysteries, pulp fiction, Reading Fiction, suspense, tales of terror

Locked-Room Mysteries, Good and Grisly

The Murders of Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe (1841)

 Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   September 6, 2016

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Who isn’t a fan of locked door mysteries? The clues or lack of clues in these stories make us think deeply and feel entertained at the same time in a mind-bending sort of way. I’ve been reading locked door mysteries this month and having a great time. Gaston Leroux’s Mystery of the Yellow Room, John Dickson Carr’s The Three Coffins, and The Adventure Of The Sealed Room by Adrian Conan Doyle & John Dickson Carr to name a few. The Golden Age of crime fiction gave us a long list of these murder mysteries with authors who know how to baffle was well as trick your perceptions.

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The #1 in our literary history is Poe’s The Murders of the Rue Morgue. A young woman’s corpse jammed up a chimney. An elderly woman brutally murdered by decapitation. Locked doors. Nailed down windows. Not a single footprint. And the famous C. Auguste Dupin to bring you along on this adventure. If you’ve never read this one during the ol’ school days, read it now. The audio is quite entertaining and a great escape for an hour. Don’t let the dry opening deter you (checkers vs. chess) that focuses on the process of exact thinking (analysis vs. intelligence vs. intuition). Poe is clearly leading our mental prowess to follow his path: truth is what remains, once we determine what is impossible. Are you up for a bit of creative insight?

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I listened to the audio of this story while following the text in an old Poe edition. Sitting by an open window on a gray sunless day, I could see the wind shaking the green leaves of trees. A glass of brandy, feet up, snuggled in … perfect.

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Read the short story The Murders of the Rue Morgue at Ebooks.Adelaide.edu

Listen to Librivox Murders of Rue Morgue on YouTube.com

For more about locked door mysteries stop by Mysteryfile.com 

Also, try Otto Penzler’s famous anthology of the best locked-room mysteries available on Amazon.

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Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror. This is a compendium of over 170 short stories by over 100 master storytellers of mystery,  supernatural, horror, and ghost stories. Join me in reading one short story every other week! Comments are welcome.

  

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine

Books & Such   Bibliophilica    Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

 HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian     HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

EZindiepublishing

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Filed under crime stories, crime thrillers, fiction, horror blogs, Locked Room Mysteries, murder mystery, mysteries, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, tales of terror