2011 Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge

All books must have been written before 1960 and be from the mystery category.
Challenge runs from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011. Sign up any time between now and November 30, 2011.
Challenge Levels:

In a Murderous Mood: 4-6 Books
Get a Clue: 7-9 Books
Hot on the Trail: 10-12 Books
Capture the Criminal: 13-15 Books
Take ‘Em to Trial: 16+ Books

I love to read vintage mysteries and am just learning about book challenges and blogging in one fell swoop. You could put me in a vintage category, definitely pre 1960 in some ways. But this is the way to learn. I am very impressed by the sites I am visiting and hope to get mine out of the vintage category some day.

I am going to to try for the Take ‘Em To Trial Level with 16+ books.


Hildegarde Withers left Iowa looking for adventure and ended up in New York teaching third grade for years before she got her opportunity for adventure. This happened when she took her class to the New York City Aquarium and discovered a dead man in the penguin pool. The man was murdered by Miss Withers own hatpin.

Published in 1931 the story takes place just after the great stock market crash, and the murder victim himself is a stockbroker. The mystery involves love triangles, publicity seeking DA’s and romance.


The first clue that this is a vintage murder is that one of the main characters in the book lives in a New York flat with a remarkable rent of $45, and owns furniture called a settee and a chesterfield sofa.

Published in 1942 it is the case of a widow who has gone into hiding with a double identity to try a have a new life after being acquitted of the highly publicized murder of her husband. But she has begun to get threatening note and subsequently she has had several attempts made on her life.

Document expert and amateur sleuth Henry Gamadge is asked to help clear her name. Gamadge , however, must sort through a the motives of several suspects before he can get a clear picture of what is going on, so he initially puts his client Vina Gregson in a safe haven. It is only hours before another murder is committed and the police want Henry to spill the beans. A nice bit of twisting at the end.

3. Murder on the Matterhorn by Glyn Carr

Abercrombie AKA ‘Filthy’ Lewker is a well known Skakespearean actor and stage manager who spends most of his free time mountaineering. It is a lesser known fact that he worked for the British secret service during WWII and that he has a definite knack for solving mysteries albeit as an amateur. His forte is the mischief and murders committed amidst crags, slopes and peaks where he can spot anomalies.

He is planning to take a well earned rest in Switzerland and he is asked by the secret service take it at the foot of the Matterhorn where he can connect with an old friend from the French resistance, who is also a mountaineer, but who has become very famous and is now a force in politics. What kind of a force is the question that everyone is asking and that Lewker in supposed to answer,

Published in 1952 the worry is whether he has become a communist. Unfortunately he is killed on the Matterhorn seemingly by a fall before the answer is known. Lewker is soon on the scene and it is he that pronounced the word Murder! Suspects abound of course, as do dogmatic policemen, naturlich.

There is a wonderful sense of place and time in the story. It was very enjoyable.


1 Comment

Filed under Reading Challenge

One response to “2011 Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge

  1. Bev

    Welcome to the Vintage Mystery Challenge! I look forward to seeing what books you choose to fulfill the “Take ‘Em to Trial Level.” Be sure to report your reading conquests to me at the Progress/Review post: http://myreadersblock.blogspot.com/2011/01/vintage-mystery-progress-and-review.html

    Hope you have fun with it!

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