Month: November 2019

Book review: The Allingham Minibus

The Allingham Minibus.The Allingham Minibus by Margery Allingham.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

Before I picked up this iteration of The Allingham Minibus – a work that’s been around in varying versions since the 1970s – I’d never read any of Margery Allingham’s work. I knew little of her, save that she was considered one of the Queens of Crime, alongside Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and Ngaio Marsh. I expected, given her contemporaries, that I’d have a quaint read ahead, of clockwork mysteries and tea and crumpets before bedtime.

Pictured: the 428. If you know, you know. 

Thankfully, that presumption was false. The 18 tales gathered together in this collection (the name of which admittedly made me think of a Tarago packed with story denizens) are of a distinctly stranger bent. (more…)

Book review: Tar Heel Lightnin’

Tar Heel Lightnin': How Secret Stills and Fast Cars Made North Carolina the Moonshine Capital of the World.Tar Heel Lightnin’: How Secret Stills and Fast Cars Made North Carolina the Moonshine Capital of the World by Daniel S. Pierce.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars.

I wouldn’t have thought a state-specific recounting of the historical importance of a spirit well-known for poisoning and/or blinding a percentage of its consumers would be something I’d be eager to read. I would’ve thought such a work would be a little too esoteric – I’m neither a moonshine aficionado, nor an NC native – for me, but I’m happy to say that I was wrong on this count. Tar Heel Lightnin’ is a lot less dry (fitting, I guess) than I’d suspected a scholarly work on the subject might be.

I think you’ve had enough, buddy.

(That said, most scholarly works don’t usually include a hefty tranche on the dodgy history of early NASCAR racing. But maybe they should.)

Book review: Infinite Ground

Infinite Ground.Infinite Ground by Martin MacInnes.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

So what’d happen if you were in a restaurant, right? And then you got up from the table, went to the bathroom and then never came back.

Would you be missed? Would people know where to look? More importantly, would people know how to look?

This is, in a fashion, the thrust of Martin MacInnes’ first novel, Infinite Ground. It’s a detective story – more or less – but that’s a bit like saying that Gravity’s Rainbow is a war story. There’s a bit more to it.