RogerBW's Blog

Artists in Crime, Ngaio Marsh 31 October 2016

1938 classic English detective fiction; sixth of Marsh's novels of Inspector Roderick Alleyn. At an informal residential art school, the model has been murdered – by a method all the students had talked about some days before.

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YSDC Games Day 5 30 October 2016

Fifth in this series of one-day conventions in bustling metropolitan Baildon (suburban Bradford). All images are cc-by-sa.

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A Red Herring Without Mustard, Alan Bradley 29 October 2016

2011 historical mystery; third in Bradley's series about Flavia de Luce, young amateur sleuth in 1950s Britain. A missing baby, an assault on a Gypsy (sic) fortune-teller, and a murder in Flavia's own home will all turn out to be connected.

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Thirsty Meeples October 2016 28 October 2016

Back to the boardgame café again, on my birthday. There may have been beer beforehand. With images; cc-by-sa on everything.

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The Mystery of the Yellow Room, Gaston Leroux 27 October 2016

1907 mystery. Mlle Stangerson, daughter of the famous scientist, locked herself into her bedroom… then came the sound of a struggle, shouts of "Murder", and gunfire. When her father broke down the door, she was seriously injured and the only person there – and the window-bars had not been moved.

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Kobo warranty service 26 October 2016 - 1 comment

Well, everyone has a terrible customer service story.

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The Fashion in Shrouds, Margery Allingham 25 October 2016

1938 classic English detective fiction; tenth of Allingham's novels of Albert Campion. Georgia Wells, actress and femme fatale, attracts men like moths. But somehow, just as they start to get troublesome, they seem to die. Is Georgia less silly, and more dangerous, than she appears?

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The Weed That Strings The Hangman's Bag, Alan Bradley 24 October 2016 - 4 comments

2010 historical mystery; second in Bradley's series about Flavia de Luce, young amateur sleuth in 1950s Britain. Rupert Porson, the famous puppeteer (at least to those who have televisions), was passing through the village of Bishop's Lacey when his van broke down; since he's stuck there overnight, he might as well put on a show. But it's all going to go horribly wrong.

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New TV series of 2016 23 October 2016 - 4 comments

There aren't many interesting-looking new series coming up this year. Here are a few I've glanced at. (Reviews based on first episodes only.)

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The Affair of the Mutilated Mink, James Anderson 22 October 2016

1981 somewhat parodic cosy detective fiction; second of Anderson's novels of the Earl of Burford and Inspector Wilkins. After the last one, the Earl swore off house-parties, but it seems it's all happening again. Including the murder.

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Into the Dark, J. A. Sutherland 21 October 2016 - 6 comments

2014 military SF, first book of the Alexis Carew series. Barred by her sex from inheriting the family estates, Carew signs aboard a ship of the Royal Navy as a midshipman… in space.

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The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, Alan Bradley 20 October 2016
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Vintage Murder, Ngaio Marsh 19 October 2016

1937 classic English detective fiction; fifth of Marsh's novels of Inspector Roderick Alleyn. This time he's on holiday in New Zealand, sharing an overnight train with a touring theatrical troupe also from England, when the manager says that someone's tried to murder him. The next day, someone will succeed.

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Marlow Tabletop and Board Games 3 October 2016 18 October 2016

Having been evicted from the Two Brewers for not drinking enough, we gathered at the Marlow Donkey for the fourth meeting of this Meetup-based boardgames group.

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Greenmantle, John Buchan 17 October 2016

1916 thriller; second of Buchan's books about Richard Hannay. Richard Hannay and Sandy Arbuthnot are convalescing from wounds received at the Battle of Loos when word comes from Sir Walter Bullivant of the Foreign Office: the Germans have some kind of trump-card with which they're planning to set the Moslem world on fire.

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Garmin Drive favourites and Linux 16 October 2016

Getting "favourites" (stored locations) on and off the Garmin Drive navi is slightly more fiddly than it needs to be, but doesn't require Windows even slightly. Here's what worked for me.

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Ask the Cards a Question, Marcia Muller 15 October 2016

1982 mystery; second in Muller's series about Sharon McCone, private investigator in San Francisco. One of Sharon's neighbours in her apartment building is strangled, and it looks worryingly as if Sharon's house-guest, who's prone to alcoholic amnesia, might have done it.

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Boardgames at the Derehams 14 October 2016 - 4 comments

As part of a sparsely-attended ThamesValley.pm meet, I got some boardgaming done in my local.

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Winter Study, Nevada Barr 13 October 2016

2008 mystery, fourteenth in Barr's Anna Pigeon series, murder mysteries in US National Parks. Anna returns to Isle Royale, this time in winter, to join the wolf/moose wildlife study; it's disrupted by an observer from Homeland Security, who clearly has a brief to shut it down and instead open the park in winter to "beef up security". Then traces of an unexpected large predator show up. Then people start to die.

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Pyramid 94: Spaceships III 12 October 2016

Pyramid, edited by Steven Marsh, is the monthly GURPS supplement containing short articles with a loose linking theme. This time it's a third issue on the general theme of Spaceships (the GURPS subsystem as well as the overall concept).

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The Fifth Season, N K Jemisin 11 October 2016

2015 science-fantasy. The world known as the Stillness is wracked by tectonic activity; only the earth-shapers, the orogenes, can hold things together. So naturally they are slaves.

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Edwin of the Iron Shoes, Marcia Muller 10 October 2016

1977 mystery; first in Muller's series about Sharon McCone, private investigator in San Francisco. Sharon's been looking into arson and vandalism on a street of junk and antique shops that's in the crosshairs of gentrification. But now one of the shop owners has been fatally stabbed.

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The Case of the Late Pig, Margery Allingham 09 October 2016

1937 classic English detective fiction; ninth of Allingham's novels of Albert Campion. Campion is called to the village of Kepesake as the recent rich incomer has clearly been murdered… but when Campion sees the body, he realises he went to the same man's funeral five months earlier.

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The Killing of Worlds, Scott Westerfeld 08 October 2016

2003 military SF, second book of Succession. Captain Laurent Zai tries to win a space battle; Senator Nara Oxham tries to survive imperial politics.

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Thirsty Meeples September 2016 07 October 2016

Back to the boardgame café again, on a sweaty evening when we didn't feel like anything terribly complicated. With images; cc-by-sa on everything.

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Blood and Circuses, Kerry Greenwood 06 October 2016

1994 historical detection, sixth in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series (1920s flapper detective in Australia). Phryne goes undercover in a circus to try to find out who's sabotaging it; and a performer who's moved on from it is accused of murder.

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Unsolved London Murders, The 1920s and 1930s, Jonathan Oates 05 October 2016 - 2 comments

2009 non-fiction. Oates recounts the twenty cases in London during these two decades which were treated as murder, but never solved.

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The Risen Empire, Scott Westerfeld 04 October 2016 - 1 comment

2003 military SF, first book of Succession. Captain Laurent Zai of the Imperial frigate Lynx is attempting to rescue the Child Empress from invading cyborgs. Only that makes it sound dire, and it's actually rather good.

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The Green Mill Murder, Kerry Greenwood 03 October 2016

1993 historical detection, fifth in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series (1920s flapper detective in Australia). During a dance competition at the Green Mill, a figure slumps to the ground. Was he the target of his attacker – or was it Phryne? And why has her partner for the evening bolted?

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Dancers in Mourning, Margery Allingham 02 October 2016

1937 classic English detective fiction; eighth of Allingham's novels of Albert Campion. Someone's playing silly pranks on Jimmy Sutane, star of a successful musical; he invites Campion to look into it. But then one of Sutane's house-guests dies: accident, suicide, murder? Later US vt Who Killed Chloe?.

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September 2016 Trailers 01 October 2016 - 2 comments

Some trailers I've seen recently, and my thoughts on them. (Links are to youtube. Opinions are thoroughly personal.)

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