Tag Archives: murder mysteries

Blackbird Has Spoken. Neil Gaiman’s Amusing Noir

The Case of the Four and Twenty Blackbirds  by Neil Gaiman (1984)

Tuesday’s Tale of Mystery, Reading Fiction Blog

November 7, 2017

Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie. You remember that nursery rhyme known as Sing a Song of Sixpence by Mother Goose? The king is in the counting house, the queen is in the parlor and that sorry maid is hanging out the clothes and lost her nose.

Come meet Jack Horner, a private dick (Raymond Chandler influence going on here) and a murder victim named Dumpty. Dumpty’s sister, Jill (Jack and Jill), wants to find the murderer and hires Horner.

I sat in my office, nursing a glass of hooch and idly cleaning my automatic. Outside the rain fell steadily, like it seems to do most of the time in our fair city, whatever the tourist board says. Hell, I didn’t care. I’m not on the tourist board. I’m a private dick, and one of the best, although you wouldn’t have known it; the office was crumbling, the rent was unpaid and the hooch was my last. 

This is not your usual short story.  Neil Gaiman’s use of nursery rhyme characters, tongue-in-cheek clichés, and the bizarre is beyond amusing. I liked his little twists and intrigue.  Gaiman wrote this clever short when he was just 24 years old. This mix of noir, murder, and a delicious dark ending is a thoroughly entertaining 25-minute read.



Neil Gaiman’s books and stories have been honored with 4 Hugos, 2 Nebulas, 1 World Fantasy Award, 4 Bram Stoker Awards, 6 Locus Awards, 2 British SF Awards, 1 British Fantasy Award, 3 Geffens, 1 International Horror Guild Award and 2 Mythopoeic Awards.




Read the short story at Neilgaiman.com

Listen to the audio (26 minutes) on YouTube.com. 


And here’s a real treat. Listen to the musical version (13 minutes) of The Case of the Four and Twenty Blackbirds, producted by BMI Musical Theater Workshop. Music by Cheeyoung Kim/ Words by Tony Oblen.

Pretty cool! Click here:




Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading. This blog is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, supernatural, ghost stories,  suspense, crime, sci-fi, and ‘quiet 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 crime stories, crime thrillers, fiction, ghost story blogs, horror blogs, murder mystery, mysteries, pulp fiction, Reading Fiction, READING FICTION BLOG Paula Cappa, short stories, short story blogs, tales of terror

Book Review: The History of Murder by Colin Wilson

Colin Wilson’s The History of Murder (nonfiction)

It has been said that man is the most violent creature on earth.

Read this book and you’ll be convinced this thought is true.  Wilson writes a history of homicide, covering a couple thousand years—quite a literary achievement. And he does so in very thoughtful ways. I read this book because I am a writer of mystery fiction; murder, death, ghosts, humanity are all part of my stories and exploration. If you study murder or are curious about the psychology of violence (or like to read about the dark side of life) this is one to add to your list. At over 600 pages and two inches thick, this is like an encyclopedia, but Wilson makes it more personal and sometimes philosophical. He explores why man is a killer. Wilson begins with Ivan the Terrible, Nero, Vlad the Impaler and the spectacular sadist Tamerlane. Lots of details that were a bit disturbing for me, especially Countess Elizabeth Bathory who enjoyed soaking in bathtubs filled with the human blood of young murdered girls. Moving on to Murder Elizabethan Style with a poisoned crucifix, disembowelments, castrations, beheadings, Jack the Ripper, British murders, sex crimes and serial killers. A lot to handle. Best way to read this is in small bites. I like Wilson’s narrative style and will likely read some of his fiction titles. At the end, Wilson says “in spite of three thousand years of cruelty and slaughter, there is still hope for the human race.” Read this book and you’ll know why.




Read all my book reviews on Amazon.com on my Paula Cappa Reviews page: https://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/A1O7TTTF8K1E1L



Filed under Book Reviews, ghost story blogs, horror blogs, literature, murder mystery, mysteries, short story blogs

Greylock is Featured November Read at Goodreads

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


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.



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

Guessing in the Dark: Lord Peter Wimsey Murder Mystery

The Unsolved Puzzle of the Man With No Face   by Dorothy Sayers (1928)

 Tuesday’s Tale of Terror  July 19, 2016



When was the last time you read an English murder mystery, a jazzy little puzzle, in the suspense style of Agatha Christie? Have you read any of the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries? He is known as a bon vivant sleuth.


The Unsolved Puzzle of the Man With No Face is not a cozy mystery where a body is found shot in the library. We have a man at the beach, in a swim suit, strangled to death and only one set of footprints, which is determined to be the bare prints of the victim. And his face has been ripped to shreds. Hmmmm….

This case is perfect for the aristocratic detective Lord Wimsey.







Dorothy Sayers, well known as one of the writers of the Golden Age of detective fiction, was a British playwright and scholar, and a good friend of Agatha Christie. She characterized mystery writing as  ”literature of escape.”


Read the short story here at Gutenberg.ca .





Watch a video of Lord Wimsey murder mystery clip. Lord Peter Wimsey was played by Edward Petherbridge, Have His Carcase: A man is found on the beach with his throat cut. And a very pretty lady finds him, Miss Harriet Vane, romantic interest of Lord Peter Wimsey.  Watch it here on YouTube.com (15 minutes) :


Do you have a favorite detective novel?

Favorite murder mystery puzzle that you would like to recommend?

Please feel free to comment!




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



Filed under Book Reviews, crime stories, crime thrillers, fiction, horror blogs, murder mystery, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, suspense

The Silent Grove

The Idol House of Astarte by Agatha Christie

(The Complete Short Stories of Agatha Christie) 1930s

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror  September 1, 2015




Silent groves can have a curious oppression. The air is often deep—sometimes thickened—not unlike the pervasive atmosphere of cemeteries or the sudden shifting wind one might feel when walking across someone’s grave.

In The Idol House of Astarte, author Agatha Christie brings us a story from the Tuesday Night Club. We are in the home of Miss Marple in St. Mary Mead with her guests a writer, artist, Scotland Yard commissioner, clergyman,  a lawyer and others. Every Tuesday night one person in the group must tell about a real unsolved mystery.

Dr. Pender, the clergyman, tells his story. At the edge of Dartmoor lies the “Silent Grove.” Relics of the stone age in a grove of trees.

“As we entered the grove of trees a curious oppression came over me. I think it was the silence. No birds seemed to nest in these trees. There was a feeling about it of desolation and horror.”

This is the grove of Astarte.

”Sacred rites,’ murmured Diana Ashley. Her eyes had a dreamy far-away look. ‘What were they, I wonder? “


There is a murder and Diana becomes the prime suspect. What evidence will they uncover to solve the crime?




My Tales of Terror blog would not be complete without the master  of crime mystery Agatha Christie. I’ve been burning to post one of her stories here, but few are available in public domain in the U.S. Two novels are public domain, published before 1923: The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920) and The Secret Adversary (1922). But her short stories? I’ve been searching for months and my persistence paid off.


Read this crime short story The Idol House of Astarte at Kobo.net/book.

There are more of Christie’s short stories at this Kobo link (Ignots of Gold on page 2; The Bloodstained Pavement on page 4; Motive vs. Opportunity on page 5, which I can personally recommend as a fun puzzle; and many more).

More of Christie’s books are available at Kobo.net/AgathaChristie

Kobo.net is an online reading site from Canada with thousands of eBooks, including new releases and the best collection of free public domain and original books.


Agatha Christie as a child. At right with her father Frederick Miller.


[Images: Grove of Olive Trees in Bordighera – Claude Monet.

Figure Amonst the Trees by Jakub Schikaneder. Public Domain.]


Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com        Sirens Call Publications

 Monster Librarian   Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com

 Rob Around Books     Sillyverse    The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror classic authors.

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