The fun one has trailing the greatest crime solvers through the pages of countless detective novels is nothing compared to following a bold, fearless super villain. Someone who captures the imagination with simple motives of greed and the lack of scruples needed to obtain that wealth no matter the cost. Human happiness is unimportant. Human life is merely a means to an end. Wether it be a precious stone, an antique or astounding piles of cash the entrancing villain holds nothing back. Each time they strike for the heart. This direct attitude towards achieving sinister goals is attractive but frequently leads to criminals capture in the end.
Madam Sara is an unusual woman. Though she looks no older than 25 she is rumored to have been a bridesmaid at a wedding over 30 years ago. Though she appears beautiful and stylish her hands are tied up in unscrupulous deals and illegal trades. She may be the greatest criminal mind of her generation. The only things stopping her are the minds of two men. One a wise medical examiner who works frequently to untie the thorniest criminal problems in England. The other a man of high standing with a business research agency in London. He can learn about most peoples affairs instantly but Madam Sara is a more difficult and careful opponent. You will believe in magic after meeting The Sorceress of the Strand.
free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/the-sorceress-of-the-strand-by-l-t-meade-and-robert-eustace/
Meeting my old friends, Lupin and Holmes, is incredibly refreshing. This novel packs two of my favorite characters into one delicious novel. Like ordinary foods wrapped in bacon this novel is greater than the sum of its parts. At first glance, you might assume that Leblanc would favor the character he created by making Holmes look like foolish. Leblanc is too good of a writer to stoop to corrupting the classic Holmes character. Rather you find that Holmes and Lupin both show remarkable insight, intelligence and cunning. Ultimately neither character triumphs because they never play by the same rules. Lupin has access to his vast criminal network alongside the home field advantage of Paris and France in general. Holmes is restricted by the law and his relative unfamiliarity with the region and its people. It is a rollicking good time though.
A mysterious jewel has been stolen, a man murdered and Lupin has evaded capture in a most mysterious way multiple times in a row. The French police force alongside its most celebrated detective is at a complete loss of where to go next. The clues seems to dissolve into thin air and Lupin has apparently managed the scientific marvel of teleportation. In these humbling circumstances Herlock Sholmes(name changed for copyright reasons) is called to Paris to solve the case. Arriving in Paris, Sholmes and Lupin have a chance meeting at small restaurant. Lupin chides Sholmes who appears flustered by the encounter. In his British matter of fact way, he explains to Lupin that he will wrap up the case in 10 days because he has other mysteries to unravel back home in England. Lupin laughs at this hubris and the dash is on to solve the mystery of the blonde lady. Sit courtside at the match of the century: Arsene Lupin versus Herlock Sholmes.
free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/arsene-lupin-versus-herlock-sholmes-by-maurice-leblanc/
free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/40203
Books don’t usually scare me because I frequently avoid books that have the express intent of instilling fear upon their readers. The books that I’m drawn to have drama of course but rarely constant lurking mortal danger. My favorite types of novels are either detective or humor fiction so creeping fear based stories rarely fall in my lap. This book definitely scared me. Listening to this before bed alone in a dark house looking out the window into the moonlight is better than coffee to keep yourself awake and alert. I wonder why I didn’t struggle falling asleep that night. Oh well.
Trillium Pierce is in for a stressful few weeks. At first she is nervous because she asked her mom for permission to join the convent. She has gone to school at a convent for the past seven years and is about to graduate as a high school senior. The peace and tranquility of this lifestyle appeals to her long term. The letter she receives has a very different message. Her mother has found a lead, a witness, that may help catch the murderer of Trillium’s father. Trillium becomes paranoid immediately and second guesses her decision to join the convent. In this flustered state she is tasked to deliver a letter to one of the three new male teachers, the three geniuses. Each one has a specialty: painting, athletics and writing. On entering their joint accommodations she sees a small broken statue and is struck with overwhelming dread. That statue was taken from her house by her father’s murderer seven years ago. He is now at her college and he may be looking to finish what he started. Dress up like a nun and listen for the church bells while reading Murder Takes the Veil.
free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/murder-takes-the-veil-by-margaret-ann-hubbard/
I believe that most people do not want to tell the truth. The live constantly doling out white lies and half truths. Continuous honesty may seem stressful but it is only a slight adjustment from my normal blunt, sarcastic sensibilities. Bridges would no doubt be burned but I doubt any would fall into complete disrepair and break completely. Likely I would only ruffle some feathers and singe some wings leaving my personal relationships largely intact. The most difficult interactions would likely be those with pure strangers that I had never met previously. At worse they would find me standoffish and unhelpful. Any of my future success in extreme truth telling would lie with my philosophy that one should have strong opinions about silly things and have moderate opinions about things others take seriously. In other words, I am more likely to be annoying arguing about old books and be more tempered while discussing religion.
Bob and his friends at the rich peoples club have had a few drinks each and are proposing a silly little bet. They don’t believe that someone could say the strict literal truth for a week. With a few pints already in him, Bob ups this bizarre bet to three weeks. Later that night with his friends goading him on he begins to realize the error in his reasoning. This will be tough on Bob whose honesty will likely confuse and upset his high class friends. These rich people are regularly coddled with white lies and half truths. They are less equipped to handle strict literal truth than the average man or woman on the street. But his friends have stipulated that he must act as he would before the bet. That means he cannot become a hermit for a month. This is a rollicking adventure where each chapter tries to best the previous one in bringing fresh hell to Bob’s life. Poison the dog and arrest the psychiatrist before reading Nothing But the Truth.
free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/nothing-but-the-truth-by-frederic-stewart-isham/
free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/43916
How much can one trust oneself amidst confusing circumstances? At what point does someone dismiss the talking flamingo as a hallucination? At what point does ones sanity become suspect? I suffer from a persistent case of deja vu. A small part of me suspects that I am in a coma in some hospital with loved ones and trained professionals watching over me unmoving body. What can I do to confirm that I really am in a coma? Nothing obvious comes to mind so I continue living as before hoping that my reality is real and that I am not in a coma. For these reasons witnessing a murder and finding the killer and the dead body gone would confuse me. Very quickly I would dismiss my own perceptions and give myself the benefit of insanity. Those prone to paranoia frequently dismiss their wildest assumptions. Luckily in this novel Mr. Brice trusts his initial observations.
Mr. Brice has just witnessed a murder. He saw what appeared to be a struggle through the obscuring, tempered glass across the hall and he heard a shot. Rushing in as quickly as he could he finds no one. He also finds no guns or blood around the office. He can’t even locate the secretary. The only evidence to back up his assertion is the smell of smoke from a freshly fired pistol. Where is the dead man and who killed him? Find out with The Man Who Fell Through the Earth.
free audiobook: https://librivox.org/the-man-who-fell-through-the-earth-by-carolyn-wells/
free ebook: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/44872
Criminals frequently think themselves clever. Not only do they hope to get away with murder or robbery but they intend to do it without any suspicion under the scrutinizing eyes of the police. There is immense hubris in this attitude. One has to work much more carefully to break rules than to follow them. To think that one is above rules and can masterfully weave a convincing story to fill in the lying gaps shows an absurd level of confidence. I admire criminals for their bold and uncompromising attitudes but I don’t admire their endeavors. I admire criminals the same way I admire people who attempt to eat five pound burgers in one meal. They are ambitious yet foolhardy and are prone to failure. If they succeed, it will be a close scrape and fun to watch.
A murder is committed in a English manor house out in the countryside. Friends from London had been invited down to the old moat-house. This house is full of many people who would normally be suspects. In this case, they all seem to have alibis. The shot was heard while all were listening to a fantastic story of adventure set in the far off land of New Zealand while passing the time after dinner. Each person can account for everyone else because they all waited at the dinner table to hear the end of the story. When the tale ended, a scream quickly followed by a shot came from upstairs. Rushing up the stairs Violet, the newly married lady of the house, is found shot through the lung causing internal bleeding, hemorrhaging, and finally death. The police are immediately called in to investigate. Watch out for a late appearance from well-known crime solver Grant Colwyn. Will Colwyn and the police find the true murderer or will they be grasping about blind like The Hand in the Dark?
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free ebook download: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/20546
Secretive, overqualified characters are always my favorites. When best executed these characters have all the skills and none of the motivation. They are thrust by extreme circumstances to show some of their vast knowledge. With these characters a sense an increased depth lingers over every thought and movement which is exciting alongside an overbearing humility and modesty. I envy these qualities in others because I am neither deep nor mysterious. It is easy to revere heroes in fiction. Much easier than real life as fictional heroes are much less likely to let one down. There is a lone ranger quality of the person of the world, the jack of all trades, the renaissance man. Even classic western stories have mysterious characters whose reactions become more logical as there backstory slowly unravels. What makes this character archetype so entrancing?
Mademoiselle Ixe’s task as the new governess is to keep the children in order, teach them, care for their wants and generally keep them happy. The small town in the English countryside is unsure of Ms. Ixe. She is clearly foreign but her country of origin is unclear. Even more disturbing is that she may not even be Christian. Unclear religious affiliations aside she fits into the family like an old worn baseball mitt. She instantly makes a connection with each troublesome child. Harsh during their lessons and friendly in leisure time she instantly becomes a favorite. She also has a weird knack for indirectly getting her way. When confronted with questions about her religious leanings, she innocently asks wether the Anglican Church has the religious mandate. An argument among amateur religious scholars breaks out and she is not forced to answer the original question. The original askers have completely forgotten. The eldest daughter wonders to herself. Who is Mademoiselle Ixe?
free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/mademoiselle-ixe-by-mary-elizabeth-hawker/