Sunday, June 9, 2013

Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge

I am really not sure how I stumbled upon My Reader's Block and her Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge, but I am glad I did!  Cozy, vintage mysteries have been my desired genre for most of this year, so it fits right in with this challenge!

The rules: All novels must have been originally written before 1960 and be from the mystery category (crime fiction, detective fiction, espionage, etc.), and each book may only count for one category. Once you have met the 8 book minimum, you may repeat any category (except the last one) any number of times to reach the 16+ level.

 An added bonus to joining in the challenge is this: Everyone who completes the 8 book minimum will be entered for a prize drawing at the end of the year. Anyone who completes 16 or more books will automatically receive their choice from a prize list. 

The "scategories":

1. Colorful Crime: a book with a color or reference to color in the title
Grey Mask (1928) by Patricia Wentworth (May 2013)

2. Murder by the  Numbers: a book with a number, quantity in the title 
8 Faces at 3 (1939) by Craig Rice (June 2013)  

3. Amateur Night: a book with a "detective" who is not a P.I.; Police Officer; Official Investigator 

A Murder is Announced (1950) by Agatha Christie (January 2013; solved by Miss Marple.)

4. Leave It to the Professionals: a book featuring cops, private eyes, secret service, professional spies, etc.

The House without a Key (1925) by Earl Derr Biggers (July 2013)

5. Jolly Old England: one mystery set in Britain
A Pocketful of Rye (1953) by Agatha Christie  (February 2013/audio)  

6. Yankee Doodle Dandy: one mystery set in the United States  
The Black Thumb (1942) by Constance and Gwyneth Little (June 2013)

7. World Traveler: one mystery set in any country except the US or Britain
Dead Men Don't Ski (1959) by Patricia Moyes  May 2013set in the Italian Alps)

8. Dangerous Beasts: a book with an animal in the title 

The Mouse in the Mountain (1943) by Norbert Davis (July 2013))

9. A Calendar of Crime: a mystery with a date/holiday/year/month/etc. in the title 

10. Wicked Women: a book with a woman in the title--either by name or by reference
The Frightened Wife and other murder stories (1953) by Mary Roberts Rinehart  (September 2013/audio)

11. Malicious Men: a book with a man in the title--either by name or by reference 
Who Killed the Curate? (1944) by Joan Coggin (May 2013)

12. Murderous Methods : a book with a means of death in the title

Sparkling Cyanide (1945) by Agatha Christie (August 2013)

13. Staging the Crime: a mystery set in the entertainment world 

The G-String Murders (1941) by Gypsy Rose Lee (August 2013)

14. Scene of the Crime: a book with the location of the crime in the title 
The Penguin Pool Murder (1931) by Stuart Palmer (July 2013)

15. Cops & Robbers: a book that features a theft rather than murder 
The Patient in Room 18 (1929) by Mignon Eberhart (June 2013involves theft as well as murder)

16. Locked Rooms: a locked-room mystery

The Yellow Streak (1922) by Valentine Williams (May 2013)

17. Country House Criminals: a standard (or not-so-standard) Golden Age country house murder

The Secret of Chimneys (1925) by Agatha Christie (June 2013/audio)

18. Murder on the High Seas: a mystery involving water 
The After House (1914) by Mary Roberts Rhinehart (March 2013; takes place on a yacht)

19. Planes, Trains & Automobiles: a mystery that involves a mode of transportation--explicitly in the title

The Red Trailer Mystery (1950) by Julie Campbell (July 2013; refers to a travel/camper trailer)

20. Murder Is Academic: mystery involving a scholar, teacher, etc. set at a school, university, library, etc.

Death at the President's Lodging (1936) by Michael Innes (August 2013)

21. Things That Go Bump in the Night: a mystery with something spooky, creepy, gothic in the title 

22. Repeat Offenders: featuring your favorite detective or by your favorite author OR reread an old favorite
The Secret Adversary (1922) by Agatha Christie (June 2013/audio) This was the first Christie I read, many years ago, and started my love for her novels; it's fun to reread old favorites.

23. The Butler Did It...Or Not: a mystery where the butler is memorable for whatever reason. 
Why Kill the Butler? (1933) by Georgette Heyer (June 2013)

24. A Mystery By Any Other Name: any book that has been published under more than one title
The Norths Meet Murder/Mr and Mrs North Meet Murder (1940) by Frances and Richard Lockridge (June 2013)

25. Dynamic Duos: a mystery featuring a detective team
Partners in Crime (1929) by Agatha Christie (July 2013/audio)

26. Size Matters: a book with a size or measurement in the title

27. Psychic Phenomena: a mystery featuring psychic or "supernatural" characters/events 
The Black-Headed Pins (1938) by Constance and Gwyneth Little (May 2013) It includes a seance--granted one that turns into a comedy, this is a Little novel after all--and suspected supernatural actions.

28. Book to Movie: one vintage mystery that has appeared on screen (feature film or TV movie).
The Moving Finger (published in 1942) by Agatha Christie (January 2013/audio; television movies 1985 and 2006.)

29. The Old Bailey: a courtroom drama mystery or mystery featuring judge, lawyer, etc 
The Case of the Velvet Claws by Erle Stanley Gardner (July 2013)

30. Serial Killers: Books that were originally published in serial format, probably from the pulp era.
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (September 2013)

31. Killed in Translation: Works that originally appeared in another language and have been made available in English (works published in English post-1960 would be acceptable, provided the original was published pre-1960).

32.  Blondes in Danger:  A variation on "Colorful Crime".  Books that feature a blonde in the title role.

33. International Detectives.  the detective is not from the US or UK.   

The Barakee Mystery (1929) by Arthur Upfield  (July 2013; Austrailian)

34. Somebody Else's Crime: Read one that someone else has already reviewed for the Challenge.

The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915) by John Buchan(July 2013/audio; reviewed by Past Offenses)

35. Genuine Fakes: Authors who wrote under a pseudonym 

Murder by Experts (1936) by Anthony Gilbert, pseudonym for Lucy Beatrice Malleson (June 2013)

36. Hobbies Can Be Murder: A mystery that involves a hobby in some way.
N or M? (1941) by Agatha Christie (July 2013knitting nearly gets Tuppence in trouble, plus the spying is a hobby of sorts for the Beresfords)

37. Get Out of Jail Free:   You tell me what special category the book fits 

The Chief Legatee (1906) by Anna Katherine Green (January 2013) This is the oldest mystery I have read to date (June 2013).  It is also notable for being the most convoluted that I have read thus far.  I'll admit though, that despite the Gothic/Romantic plot themes and the fact that this wasn't Green's best, I did rather enjoy it.

I slightly condensed some of the category descriptions for the sake of space; please go to the original site to see full description of each category.


  1. OMG some of these books I must read and of course Agatha CHristie is an old favorite

  2. And I meant add ( ref your comment in my post that you brought a lot of happiness into our house as well )

  3. Ok I just wanted to add that if you like the cozy - you will love MC Beaton and Hamish McBeath and Agatha Raisin
    The library has a bunch of them in Audiobooks and I was just hooked onto them

    1. I do like cozy, and have the Hamish McBeath on my to-be-read list. I tried the first Agatha Raisin and wasn't able to get into it, but that was some time ago. I might give it another try. I'm sad because I've worked my way through all the Poirot and Miss Marple audios. I'm going to do the Tommy and Tuppence and the stand alones and then will probably start back at the beginning! LOL

      And thanks for your sweet comment--I miss you guys so much! I'm always seeing things and thinking that I need to get it for R and then remembering. . .

  4. I have just realized that you have more than met the 16+ goal for an automatic prize! You're moving through the list like nobody's business. Feel free to email me at phryne1969 AT gmail DOT com at any time and I'll send you the prize list.