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Classic Mysteries

177 episodes - English - Latest episode: about 3 years ago - ★★★★★ - 62 ratings

Short reviews of classic mystery novels and stories that are worth reading and re-reading

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"The Murders Near Mapleton," by Brian Flynn

May 25, 2021 00:11 - 4 minutes - 4 MB

A local hero is kidnapped, and a shocking murder is only one of many unexpected results. Investigator Anthony Bathurst uncovers the ugly truths that someone is willing to commit murder to hide.

"The Case of the Seven Sneezes," by Anthony Boucher

May 03, 2021 00:39 - 5 minutes - 4.76 MB

A private detective and a small group of survivors from a murderous wedding find themselves trapped with an apparently psychotic killer on a remote island, cut off from the world at large.

"The Condamine Case," by Moray Dalton

April 27, 2021 17:43 - 5 minutes - 4.7 MB

It sounded like the perfect story for a movie - a curse still working after 300 years. A macabre twist to a powerful drama - or simply brutal murder?

"Murder in Married Life," by Anne Morice

April 19, 2021 16:57 - 5 minutes - 4.91 MB

"Death in the Grand Manor," by Anne Morice.

April 12, 2021 21:31 - 4 minutes - 3.88 MB

Clever plotting, pointed dialogue and murder - what more could a reader want?

"The Lost Gallows," by John Dickson Carr

April 05, 2021 12:13 - 6 minutes - 6.07 MB

A car driven by a dead man with a cut throat...a lost gallows on a missing London street...John Dickson Carr's second mystery starring Henri Bencolin, "The Lost Gallows," reviewed:

"Tuesday the Rabbi Took Off," by Harry Kemelman

March 28, 2021 20:00 - 4 minutes - 4.15 MB

Rabbi Small needed a break in his routine. An international bombing incident wasn't what he had in mind.

"The Case of Sir Adam Braid," by Molly Thynne

March 22, 2021 00:55 - 4 minutes - 3.98 MB

Nearly everyone in his family hated Sir Adam Braid. Only the old man's granddaughter loved him - and the old miser was cutting her out of his will. A motive for murder? Or did someone else hate him enough to kill him? "The Case of Sir Adam Braid," A Golden Age classic by Molly Thynne, reviewed.

"A Key to Death," by Frances and Richard Lockridge

March 15, 2021 01:35 - 3 minutes - 3.53 MB

On the Classic Mysteries podcast this week, Mr. and Mrs. North only want to draw up a new will, but it's their lawyer who gets murdered.

"Helen Passes By," by E.R. Punshon

March 08, 2021 01:00 - 4 minutes - 4.24 MB

Newly appointed to Scotland Yard, Bobby Owen finds himself weighing motives, politics and amazing beauty as he hunts for a murderer who might just be an "untouchable" British aristocrat. E.R. Punshon's "Helen Passes By," reviewed.

"The Mystery of the Blue Train," by Agatha Christie

March 01, 2021 01:19 - 5 minutes - 4.64 MB

Another, earlier pre-Orient-Express train ride for Hercule Poirot comes complete with jewel robberies, blackmail, and murder on a luxury train across France.

"The Laughing Dog," by Francis Vivian

February 22, 2021 21:00 - 4 minutes - 4.2 MB

On the Classic Mysteries podcast this week, you might call it a portrait of the artist as a Inspector Knollis had to decipher the secret of Francis Vivian's "The Laughing Dog." 

"Murder in Vienna," by E.C.R. Lorac

February 15, 2021 18:10 - 4 minutes - 4.52 MB

On the Classic Mysteries blog, Scotland Yard Inspector Macdonald thought he was going on holiday in Vienna. So how did he wind up helping local police investigate some nasty murders? E.C.R. Lorac's "Murder in Vienna," reviewed.

"The Orange Axe," by Brian Flynn

February 09, 2021 02:17 - 5 minutes - 5.03 MB

A grim solution to a grim problem: how to deal with a loathsome blackmailer who may also be a serial killer? For half-a-dozen young Englishmen, the answer appears to be a well-plotted murder, one where it will be impossible to tell who struck the fatal blow. Only things may not always go quite as smoothly as planned.

"Death of a Doxy," by Rex Stout

February 02, 2021 14:04 - 6 minutes - 5.76 MB

In Archie Goodwin’s world view, the word that best fits Isabel Kerr is a four-letter word: doxy. The dictionary says, it defines "a woman who is regarded as sexually promiscuous." Only trouble was, Isabel Kerr was dead. Murdered. And – with the police focused on a suspect who is both a friend and sometime colleague of both Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolfe, it was clear that  Wolfe was going to have to get involved in the search for the real killer.

"Some Die Eloquent," by Catherine Aird

January 24, 2021 21:47 - 5 minutes - 4.9 MB

The dead woman was a humble chemistry teacher at a girls' school. So, wonders Detective Inspector C.D. Sloan, why did she have a quarter-million pounds in her bank account? And was she murdered? Catherine Aird's "Some Die Eloquent," from her Calleshire Chronicles reviewed.

"Unusual Suspects: Selected Non-Fiction," by Joseph Goodrich

January 18, 2021 01:42 - 8 minutes - 7.81 MB

On the Classic Mysteries podcast this week, a review of some non-fiction - a book of essays about mysteries and the people who make them. "Unusual Suspects: Selected Non-Fiction," by Joseph Goodrich, reviewed.

"A Maigret Christmas and Other Stories," by Georges Simenon

January 11, 2021 00:11 - 6 minutes - 6.26 MB

Maigret stars in one of these holiday stories, while other associates of Maigret feature in two more tales of holiday crime and redemption.

"Halfway House," by Ellery Queen

January 04, 2021 17:41 - 4 minutes - 4.5 MB

Too bad about Joe Wilson. The itinerant traveling salesman had a secret. And it’s only fair to point out that it turned out to be a deadly secret indeed – a secret which apparently led to his murder. Ellery Queen needed the truth to keep the wrong person from paying for someone else's crime.

"The Spiked Lion," by Brian Flynn

December 07, 2020 03:15 - 5 minutes - 4.65 MB

The victim's body turned up under a tree in a park, the body unusually battered and bruised – but that’s not what killed him; he appeared to have had potassium cyanide sprayed into his nose. What kind of animal could do that - and why?

"It Walks By Night," by John Dickson Carr

November 29, 2020 20:27 - 6 minutes - 5.6 MB

It couldn't have been suicide - the victim was beheaded inside a watched and locked room - but the room was empty, except for the victim. French police director Henri Bencolin stars in the first novel by John Dickson Carr.

"The Case of the Leaning Man," by Christopher Bush

November 23, 2020 01:35 - 5 minutes - 4.58 MB

A theatrical and criminal problem for Ludovic Travers to solve.

"It Might Lead Anywhere," by E.R. Punshon

November 16, 2020 01:13 - 5 minutes - 4.72 MB

Right from the start, it was clearly going to be an interesting case – the murder of an inoffensive little man with no apparent enemies, not much in the way of physical clues. And that kind of case can be very frustrating indeed.

"Crossed Skis, by Carol Carnac

November 08, 2020 22:20 - 5 minutes - 4.97 MB

What connection could there be between a gruesome fire in a London house and a ski holiday in Lech Am Arlberg in the Austrian Alps? The answer may conceal a ruthless murderer.

"The Christmas Egg," by Mary Kelly

November 02, 2020 15:59 - 4 minutes - 4.42 MB

Princess Olga Karukhin escaped from Russia after the revolution. Was she murdered for her supposed collection of art objects? 

"Death and the Dutch Uncle," by Patricia Moyes

October 26, 2020 00:32 - 5 minutes - 9.78 MB

The death of a two-bit hustler was just the tip of the iceberg – that iceberg being a delicate international dispute over a contested strip of land – a dispute which may have involved no fewer than three murders…with every prospect of more crimes still to come.

"The Glimpses of the Moon," by Edmund Crispin

October 19, 2020 13:20 - 6 minutes - 6.26 MB

a mystery with artfully rearranged bodies & missing heads & eccentric characters & assorted mayhem - and funny as well.

"The French Powder Mystery," by Ellery Queen

October 14, 2020 00:00 - 6 minutes - 5.74 MB

Passersby watching the daily advertising show in French's Department Store window got a lot more than they expected when a dead body fell out of the display's bed.

"Tread Softly," by Brian Flynn

October 07, 2020 00:41 - 5 minutes - 5.29 MB

Claude Merivale admits he strangled his wife - but he says he did so while in a sleep so deep that everything he did, he did in a dream. Will the jury buy it? Or can Anthony Bathurst find evidence of a cunning killer at work?

"Lord Edgware Dies," by Agatha Christie

October 02, 2020 00:07 - 4 minutes - 4.34 MB

Lord Edgeware's wife threatened to kill him. Now His Lordship has been murdered - but his wife has an unbreakable alibi! Hercule Poirot is on the case!

"The Adventures of Dagobert Trostler," by Balduin Groller

September 23, 2020 22:06 - 7 minutes - 6.81 MB

Trostler was described by Ellery Queen as "the first important Teutonic sleuth." These early stories find Dagobert using logic and reason to solve crimes.

"Poets and Murder," by Robert Van Gulik

September 14, 2020 12:54 - 5 minutes - 4.75 MB

Set in ancient China, Judge Dee must solve a couple of murders  involving very powerful individuals - and some black-haired foxes.

"Cécile is Dead," by Georges Simenon

September 07, 2020 00:14 - 5 minutes - 5.4 MB

Cécile had come to the Parisian police headquarters to tell her secret to Inspector Maigret. But Maigret, in the course of a busy day, lost track of Cécile – until she disappeared. And when Maigret, now worried about her, want to her apartment to see what he could find – well, by then it was too late, for Cécile was dead. Now Maigret must uncover her secret.

"The Book of the Crime," by Elizabeth Daly

August 31, 2020 00:52 - 4 minutes - 4.45 MB

What was the deadly secret of the book that forced Rena Austen to flee her home and husband and seek help from biblio expert Henry Gamadge?

"Sunday the Rabbi Stayed Home," by Harry Kemelman

August 24, 2020 00:17 - 5 minutes - 4.92 MB

Amid the turmoil of the late 1960s, Rabbi David Small deals with synagogue politics and the civil rights struggle within his Conservative congregation, not to mention solving a couple of murders.

"Death Comes to Cambers," by E.R. Punshon

August 16, 2020 19:36 - 5 minutes - 5.46 MB

Bobby Owen was spending the weekend at Cambers, planning to advise Lady Cambers on ways to keep her valuable jewelry safe. But when he woke up the next morning, Lady Cambers had been murdered - and the jewels had vanished. An excellent mystery mixed with some pointed British social satire.

"The Three Taps," by Ronald A. Knox

August 09, 2020 22:27 - 6 minutes - 6.03 MB

Mr. Mottram's life insurance would pay handsomely, whether he was murdered or died by accident. But they wouldn't pay for a suicide. So insurance investigator Miles Bredon was sent to uncover the true story of Mottram's peculiar death.

"Case Pending," by Dell Shannon.

August 02, 2020 23:12 - 5 minutes - 4.9 MB

It was the kind of murder Los Angeles saw all too often. But this time, Homicide Detective Mendoza had a hunch that he had worked on a similar crime before. Would he be able to solve both murders - or would a killer seek another victim?

"The Black Mountain," by Rex Stout

July 27, 2020 00:09 - 5 minutes - 5.33 MB

Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin travel to Montenegro, in the heart of Europe, to find the person who murdered Wolfe's longest and closest friend.

"The Box Office Murders," by Freeman Wills Crofts

July 19, 2020 14:12 - 5 minutes - 4.85 MB

Inspector French hears a young woman's plea for help too late to save her - but when she is murdered, French must find out why a gang seems to be targeting low-level clerks.

"The Collected Short Fiction of Ngaio Marsh," edited & introduced by Douglas G. Greene

July 13, 2020 01:17 - 5 minutes - 5.23 MB

Ngaio Marsh is best known for her novels about Detective Inspector Roderick Alleyn. This collection features short fiction - some with Alleyn, some with other characters, and most are likely to be unfamiliar to her fans..

"The Triple Bite," by Brian Flynn

July 06, 2020 01:22 - 5 minutes - 5.28 MB

On the Classic Mysteries podcast this week, a mysterious cryptogram, sudden death - and a shocking way to commit murder.

"Death and Letters," by Elizabeth Daly

June 28, 2020 23:57 - 4 minutes - 4.36 MB

Henry Gamadge puts together a daring rescue for a woman held a virtual prisoner by her family. What was the secret worth killing for?

"Sinister Stones," by Arthur Upfield

June 21, 2020 23:59 - 6 minutes - 6.3 MB

a murder in the Australian outback - and DI Napoleon Bonaparte - Bony - is on the case. Arthur Upfield's "Sinister Stones" reviewed.

"The Body Politic," by Catherine Aird

June 15, 2020 12:20 - 5 minutes - 5.16 MB

Another of Catherine Aird's witty 'Calleshire Chronicles" mysteries with Inspector Sloan and company.

"Murder Within Murder," by Frances and Richard Lockridge

June 07, 2020 17:30 - 5 minutes - 5.16 MB

Miss Amanda Gipson was a fine researcher to investigate old murders.  But what if an old killing made a new one necessary?  Pam and Jerry North investigate a possible murder within a murder.

"Judge Dee at Work," by Robert Van Gulik

May 31, 2020 23:44 - 6 minutes - 5.64 MB

Eight fascinating short stories about cases investigated and solved by Judge Dee, a magistrate (and later court official) in T'ang Dynasty China during the 7th century.

"The Night of the Wolf," by Paul Halter

May 25, 2020 14:12 - 4 minutes - 4.01 MB

"But that's impossible!" Or maybe not. Not when the story you're reading comes from Paul Halter, a modern French author with a gift for impossible crime stories. Ten short stories by Halter, translated by John Pugmire. Savor the (im)possibilities.

"The Sybil in Her Grave," by Sarah Caudwell

May 18, 2020 15:18 - 6 minutes - 5.71 MB

When a small group of neighbors is getting successful stock tips from a self-styled "psychic," sudden death may not be quite as accidental as you think. 

"The Case of the Counterfeit Colonel," by Christopher Bush

May 10, 2020 23:03 - 4 minutes - 4.37 MB

Henry Clandon wanted to hire Ludovic Travers to find the war hero who saved his life. But there were a few obstacles - including murder.