Indefensible Book Reviews

Cocktail Time, Wodehouse, 1958

I can’t get enough of Uncle Fred and although I prefer him as or introducing an imposter into Blandings Castle, it’s refreshing to see his irrepressible wit thriving in this new terrain. The title of the book is taken from the title of the book that Fred maneuvers his old friend Sir Raymond Bastable into […]

Uncle Fred in the Springtime, Wodehouse, 1939

Uncle Fred in the Springtime is the fourth time that Wodehouse has sent imposters to Blandings (the first being Something Fresh, in 1915) and the third time he did so on behalf of thwarted romance. He would go on to spirit imposters into the castle on no fewer than ten occasions, eight times in aid […]

Leave It To Psmith, Wodehouse, 1923

Leave It To Psmith is, to my mind, the book in which Blandings finds its voice. There’s yet no Empress, and she’s sorely missed, but the absent-minded Lord Emsworth substitutes flowers for his prize pig and Connie is present, as is the efficient Baxter, romance, imposters, a conundrum and, above all, someone like Galahad. In […]

Jeeves and the King of Clubs, Ben Schott, 2018

Jeeves and the King of Clubs by Ben Schott has been received with such fanfare that I find myself in the ironic position of struggling to find something new to say about something which struggled to find something new to say. There’s been a rush to observe that this daring departure from the beloved Jeeves […]

The Review of the Case of the Canterfell Codicil

There’s a literary niche for all tastes including, as of October 30, those who think that either Agatha Christie wasn’t funny enough or PG Wodehouse didn’t include anywhere near as many locked-room mysteries as he should have. The Case of the Canterfell Codicil is a clever whodunnit written in the style of an homage to […]

Time Travelin’ Gunslingers

Philip James continues to pulp up the joint with a mashup for the ages — Time Travelin’ Gunslingers is the tale of a US marshal pursuing an outlaw from 1870s Arizona to the prehistoric age, from medieval England to modern day Las Vegas. Dare Shine is a cut-out white hat who’s all duty and no […]

Lightly On Sacred Ground

Raymond Chandler’s dead so he won’t object if I speak for him with regards to how he’d react to The Black-Eyed Blonde, the second effort to appropriate his voice and most famous creation, Philip Marlowe. I’m quite certain that he wouldn’t give a shit. Chandler was an iconoclast, unimpressed and unintimidated by what were considered […]

The Family Corleone, Ed Falco, 2013

Some people call me a Godfather purist because I refuse to recognize that a part III was ever made. Well, I’m not a purist and it’s important to settle that issue before reviewing Ed Falco’s prequel novel, The Family Corleone. But I’m not a fantasist either. I know that a film was made by Francis […]

The Record of Currupira, Robert Abernathy

When a writer comes up with a single genuinely good idea, be it for science fiction or detective fiction or high concept fiction or wedding invitations or whatever else, the temptation is to stick with it. To expand on that idea and make it pay and should another idea join the first, as it inevitably […]

A McGuffin For The Age Of The Anti-Hero

Fiction tends to wear its age either poorly, as does science fiction predicated on the assumption that by the 1990s we’d have achieved faster-than-light space travel and racial harmony — or well, as is the case of the best of hard-boiled detective fiction which grows over the years to be more representational of its era, more evocative and […]

Just Another Twist

Margie Harris might on her own represent two or three of the most intriguing unsolved mysteries in pulp fiction. The first and most confounding is simply this — why is Margie Harris not an icon of pulp fiction? And indeed why did her entire share of the genre — gangster fiction — have such a […]

Chester Himes’ Wild Ride

The Harlem Cycle, Chester Himes Chester Himes was born in Missouri in 1909 and began writing during an excessive prison sentence for armed robbery in 1928 and hit his stride in the mid-fifties as a giant of hard-boiled detective fiction with a series of books now called The Harlem Cycle. And if he had written […]

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