Mr. Archivist's Neighborhood
Lover of Archives, Libraries, Rare Books, Mysteries, Whisky, West Ham United, & more.
Haven't met a line that I didn't like crossing--repeatedly.
  • chicagohistorymuseum:

Al Capone, 1931, Chicago, Illinois. Photograph by Chicago Daily News, Inc.
  • chicagohistorymuseum:

    Al Capone, 1931, Chicago, Illinois. Photograph by Chicago Daily News, Inc.

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  • I don’t reblog gifs normally—I find them overused and tedious, but that’s the old fart in me.  Having said that, this captures the moment in The Dark Knight Rises where my brain melted.

    (Source: mymindrebels, via suicideblonde)

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  • criminous:



Vintage Mystery Mini-Review: The Purple Sickle Murders, by Freeman Wills Crofts (1929).
Plot: Inspector French must figure out why young women who work in cinema box offices around London keep disappearing—and ending up dead.  His only clue: a birthmark in the shape of a purple sickle.
Review: Crofts (1879-1957) wrote almost a book a year for 30 years, but is best known for his Inspector French mysteries.  While French lacks the flair or dramatics of Holmes or Gervase Fen, his workmanlike manner presages the subgenre of crime novels now known as ‘police procedurals.’
The Purple Sickle Murders (known in the U.K. as The Box Office Murders) is an entertaining read.  The mystery is well-laid and the action is plentiful and the pacing is solid.  Famed critic Jacques Barzun called the book “one of the  very best Inspector French stories.”
Availability: Used and rare bookstores.
Score: 3.5 blood-encrusted daggers out of five



Follow this Tumblr if you love mysteries & crime!
  • criminous:

    Vintage Mystery Mini-Review: The Purple Sickle Murders, by Freeman Wills Crofts (1929).

    Plot: Inspector French must figure out why young women who work in cinema box offices around London keep disappearing—and ending up dead.  His only clue: a birthmark in the shape of a purple sickle.

    Review: Crofts (1879-1957) wrote almost a book a year for 30 years, but is best known for his Inspector French mysteries.  While French lacks the flair or dramatics of Holmes or Gervase Fen, his workmanlike manner presages the subgenre of crime novels now known as ‘police procedurals.’

    The Purple Sickle Murders (known in the U.K. as The Box Office Murders) is an entertaining read.  The mystery is well-laid and the action is plentiful and the pacing is solid.  Famed critic Jacques Barzun called the book “one of the  very best Inspector French stories.”

    Availability: Used and rare bookstores.

    Score: 3.5 blood-encrusted daggers out of five

    Follow this Tumblr if you love mysteries & crime!

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  • criminous:

“Fair Play” and the English Detective Story.  Father Ronald Knox’ ‘Decalogue,’ 1929.
1920s England found itself decimated by war. A generation of youth was dead, and many of their previous societal structures had come to ruin.  Enter the detective story, which promised to “play fair” with its readership, providing both an escape and reassurance that all was not lost.
Father Ronald Knox (1888-1957), an original member of a group of mystery writers known as “The Detection Club,” created a decalogue, or Ten Commandments, of what constituted fair play in detection writing. Fair play meant that the reader could expect that they could solve the mystery based on what was provided to them in the book.  As author and critic H.R.F. Keating put it: “if the reader guessed the solution he was pleased with himself; if he did not he was pleased with the author.”
Some of the commandments (reproduced above from Keating’s book “Whodunit,” (1982), are light-hearted, and all seem trite by today’s standards.  But as a way of ensuring stability in a country ravaged by war, they were indispensable.
  • criminous:

    “Fair Play” and the English Detective Story.  Father Ronald Knox’ ‘Decalogue,’ 1929.

    1920s England found itself decimated by war. A generation of youth was dead, and many of their previous societal structures had come to ruin.  Enter the detective story, which promised to “play fair” with its readership, providing both an escape and reassurance that all was not lost.

    Father Ronald Knox (1888-1957), an original member of a group of mystery writers known as “The Detection Club,” created a decalogue, or Ten Commandments, of what constituted fair play in detection writing. Fair play meant that the reader could expect that they could solve the mystery based on what was provided to them in the book.  As author and critic H.R.F. Keating put it: “if the reader guessed the solution he was pleased with himself; if he did not he was pleased with the author.”

    Some of the commandments (reproduced above from Keating’s book “Whodunit,” (1982), are light-hearted, and all seem trite by today’s standards.  But as a way of ensuring stability in a country ravaged by war, they were indispensable.

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  • vintagecoolillustrated:

A Gem of a Murder (by Vintage Cool 2)
  • vintagecoolillustrated:

    A Gem of a Murder (by Vintage Cool 2)

    (via )

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  • criminous:

Welcome to Wicked Wednesday on Criminous!
This fine gentleman apparently had issues keeping certain items to himself:
“James Dawson, arrested for Indecent Exposure. North Shields Police Station, 9th June 1902. Image from a photograph album of prisoners brought before the North Shields Police Court in England between 1902 and 1916, now in the collection of the Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums.”
From the fantastic website Shorpy.com.
  • criminous:

    Welcome to Wicked Wednesday on Criminous!

    This fine gentleman apparently had issues keeping certain items to himself:

    “James Dawson, arrested for Indecent Exposure. North Shields Police Station, 9th June 1902. Image from a photograph album of prisoners brought before the North Shields Police Court in England between 1902 and 1916, now in the collection of the Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums.”

    From the fantastic website Shorpy.com.

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  • criminous:

H.C. McNeile was one of the most popular writers in the UK in the interwar period. Most well known for his Bulldog Drummond novels (a jovial pre-cursor to James Bond), McNeile also wrote numerous collections of mystery stories, such as “The Finger of Fate.”
This edition is a fine Grosset & Dunlap c.1929.  The title story is one of the best in the collection.

A fantastic book cover.  Lee Child did a similar thing with his first Jack Reacher novel “Killing Floor.”
  • criminous:

    H.C. McNeile was one of the most popular writers in the UK in the interwar period. Most well known for his Bulldog Drummond novels (a jovial pre-cursor to James Bond), McNeile also wrote numerous collections of mystery stories, such as “The Finger of Fate.”

    This edition is a fine Grosset & Dunlap c.1929.  The title story is one of the best in the collection.

    A fantastic book cover.  Lee Child did a similar thing with his first Jack Reacher novel “Killing Floor.”

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  • criminous:

Welcome to Vintage Mystery Mini-Review Monday!!  Every Monday I’ll provide a quick synopsis and mini-review of a vintage mystery.  Here goes!
Title: Bright SerpentAuthor: James M. Fox (pseudonym of Johannes Matthijs Willem Knipscheer, 1908-1989)Published: 1953
Plot: The last in a series of mysteries starring the husband and wife team of Johnny and Suzy Marshall, published between 1943 & 1953. Johnny is a private investigator working in post-WWII Los Angeles, and this case involves locating the AWOL heir of a cosmetics empire. But of course, it’s never that easy. An odd sanitarium, a corrupt sheriff, and even a runaway lion stand in the Marshalls’ way of solving one of the most exciting cases in their careers.
Review: The book crackles with the lingo and attitudes of post-WWII Los Angeles. It’s certainly not as well done or as dark as Hammett or Chandler, but it’s a solid tale and the Marshalls are an entertaining couple. I have a few more of the stories in the series, and I’ll definitely give them a go. For more info on the author and the series, go to http://www.thrillingdetective.com/marshall.html
Availability: Limited.  No e-books, and only found in used or rare book stores or sites.  Not expensive though.
Score: 3 blood-encrusted daggers out of five (it’s decent)
  • criminous:

    Welcome to Vintage Mystery Mini-Review Monday!!  Every Monday I’ll provide a quick synopsis and mini-review of a vintage mystery.  Here goes!

    Title: Bright Serpent
    Author: James M. Fox (pseudonym of Johannes Matthijs Willem Knipscheer, 1908-1989)
    Published: 1953

    Plot: The last in a series of mysteries starring the husband and wife team of Johnny and Suzy Marshall, published between 1943 & 1953. Johnny is a private investigator working in post-WWII Los Angeles, and this case involves locating the AWOL heir of a cosmetics empire. But of course, it’s never that easy. An odd sanitarium, a corrupt sheriff, and even a runaway lion stand in the Marshalls’ way of solving one of the most exciting cases in their careers.

    Review: The book crackles with the lingo and attitudes of post-WWII Los Angeles. It’s certainly not as well done or as dark as Hammett or Chandler, but it’s a solid tale and the Marshalls are an entertaining couple. I have a few more of the stories in the series, and I’ll definitely give them a go. For more info on the author and the series, go to http://www.thrillingdetective.com/marshall.html

    Availability: Limited.  No e-books, and only found in used or rare book stores or sites.  Not expensive though.

    Score: 3 blood-encrusted daggers out of five (it’s decent)

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  • pinupgirlsart:

The Body Looks Familiar (1958) (by Book Covers: Mars Sci-Fi, Vintage Sexy Paperbacks)
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  • Follow My New Tumblr: Criminous!!!

    Hi All—

    As of tonight I’ve started another Tumblr which reflects two of my passions: vintage crime fiction and true crime.  If you enjoy mysteries and crime fiction, follow me.  If you love old book covers and rare books, follow me.  If you enjoy tales of dark deeds from days long ago follow me.

    I’ll review vintage mystery novels, short stories, and anthologies, and highlight forgotten masters of the genre.  I’ll recall some of the most famous and heinous crimes of long ago, and profile those who dared write about them.  If you’re like me and you’re drawn to the darker side of human nature like O.J. Simpson to sports memorabilia, follow Criminous.

    And if none of the above applies, follow me anyway! 

    The new blog: Criminous.tumblr.com.

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