Halloween Bingo Update, October 20: 4th and 5th (and 6th) Bingo!

The Splatter square call gets me my 4th and 5th bingo, and it seems I missed seeing a 6th at some point.

They’re dropping like flies now.

I’ve had so much fun this year, and I think next year is going to be even better.

Accumulative reading table with links to reviews below the card.

The spreadsheet:

Bingo Square Date Called Book Title Date Read
Row #1
X Mad Scientists and Evil Geniuses Sep. 7 Naked Brunch Aug. 30
X Stone Cold Horror/Creepy Carnival Sep. 29 Wild Ride Sep. 1
X Vintage Mystery Sep. 23 The Filigree Ball Sep. 16
X Dem Bones Oct. 2 Independent Bones Sep. 14
X Read by Candlelight/Flashlight Oct. 9 The Ex Hex Oct. 4
Row #2
X Murder Most Foul Oct. 11 Charleston Green Sep. 18
X Lethal Games Oct. 18 No Nest for the Wicket Sep. 1
Spellbound The Once and Future Witches Aug. 31
X Black Cat Sep. 15 Thornyhold Sep. 13
Relics and Curiosities On the Edge Sep. 8
Row #3
Shifters Naked Brunch Aug. 30
X Terror in a Small Town Oct. 14 Agnes and the Hitman Sep. 3
X FREE SPACE Like a Charm Sep. 7
X Psych / Highway to Hell Oct. 6 Archive of the Forgotten Sep. 3
X Truly Terrifying Oct. 1 The Cannonball Tree Mystery Sep. 5
Row #4
X Noir Sep. 24 The Big Over Easy Sep. 22
X Genre: Mystery Oct. 5 The Alchemist’s Illusion Sep. 2
Country House Mystery Murder Most Fair Sep. 16
X Tropical Terror Sep. 4 The Mimosa Tree Mystery Sep. 4
X Locked Room Mystery Sep. 28 Black Lizard’s Big Book of Locked Room Mysteries Oct. 5
Row #5
X Splatter Oct. 20 Carpe Jugulum Sep. 9
X Cryptozoologist Oct. 10 Bayou Moon Sep. 11
X Plague and Disease Scourged Sep. 3
X In the Dark, Dark Woods Oct. 17 Paper & Blood Sep. 12
X Gallows Humor Sep. 25 Murder Most Fowl Sep. 10
  Wild Card Spell
  Amplification Spell
  Bingo Flip Spell
  Cell Conversion Spell
  Transfiguration Spell
  Double Trouble Spell

Halloween Bingo Update, October 18: 3rd Bingo!

I got my third bingo!

Lethal Games was today’s call and that gives me my third bingo.

There are only 13 days or so, of bingo left, and I’m down to 5 squares yet to be called, and only one of those calls won’t give me bingos.

I’ve had so much fun this year, and I think next year is going to be even better.

Accumulative reading table with links to reviews below the card.

The spreadsheet:

Bingo Square Date Called Book Title Date Read
Row #1
X Mad Scientists and Evil Geniuses Sep. 7 Naked Brunch Aug. 30
X Stone Cold Horror/Creepy Carnival Sep. 29 Wild Ride Sep. 1
X Vintage Mystery Sep. 23 The Filigree Ball Sep. 16
X Dem Bones Oct. 2 Independent Bones Sep. 14
X Read by Candlelight/Flashlight Oct. 9 The Ex Hex Oct. 4
Row #2
X Murder Most Foul Oct. 11 Charleston Green Sep. 18
X Lethal Games Oct. 18 No Nest for the Wicket Sep. 1
Spellbound The Once and Future Witches Aug. 31
X Black Cat Sep. 15 Thornyhold Sep. 13
Relics and Curiosities On the Edge Sep. 8
Row #3
Shifters Naked Brunch Aug. 30
X Terror in a Small Town Oct. 14 Agnes and the Hitman Sep. 3
X FREE SPACE Like a Charm Sep. 7
X Psych / Highway to Hell Oct. 6 Archive of the Forgotten Sep. 3
X Truly Terrifying Oct. 1 The Cannonball Tree Mystery Sep. 5
Row #4
X Noir Sep. 24 The Big Over Easy Sep. 22
X Genre: Mystery Oct. 5 The Alchemist’s Illusion Sep. 2
Country House Mystery Murder Most Fair Sep. 16
X Tropical Terror Sep. 4 The Mimosa Tree Mystery Sep. 4
X Locked Room Mystery Sep. 28 Black Lizard’s Big Book of Locked Room Mysteries Oct. 5
Row #5
Splatter Carpe Jugulum Sep. 9
X Cryptozoologist Oct. 10 Bayou Moon Sep. 11
X Plague and Disease Scourged Sep. 3
X In the Dark, Dark Woods Oct. 17 Paper & Blood Sep. 12
X Gallows Humor Sep. 25 Murder Most Fowl Sep. 10
  Wild Card Spell
  Amplification Spell
  Bingo Flip Spell
  Cell Conversion Spell
  Transfiguration Spell
  Double Trouble Spell

Halloween Bingo Update, October 17: Second Bingo!

I got my second bingo!

Some might’ve wondered if I’d given up updating my Halloween Bingo, but it’s just taken this long to get the call that got me my second bingo, which was In the Dark, Dark Woods.

There are only 13 days of bingo left, and I have 6 squares yet to be called, so the bingos should be coming in thick and fast any day now.

Accumulative reading table with links to reviews below the card.

The spreadsheet:

Bingo Square Date Called Book Title Date Read
Row #1
X Mad Scientists and Evil Geniuses Sep. 7 Naked Brunch Aug. 30
X Stone Cold Horror/Creepy Carnival Sep. 29 Wild Ride Sep. 1
X Vintage Mystery Sep. 23 The Filigree Ball Sep. 16
X Dem Bones Oct. 2 Independent Bones Sep. 14
X Read by Candlelight/Flashlight Oct. 9 The Ex Hex Oct. 4
Row #2
X Murder Most Foul Oct. 11 Charleston Green Sep. 18
Lethal Games No Nest for the Wicket Sep. 1
Spellbound The Once and Future Witches Aug. 31
X Black Cat Sep. 15 Thornyhold Sep. 13
Relics and Curiosities On the Edge Sep. 8
Row #3
Shifters Naked Brunch Aug. 30
X Terror in a Small Town Oct. 14 Agnes and the Hitman Sep. 3
X FREE SPACE Like a Charm Sep. 7
X Psych / Highway to Hell Oct. 6 Archive of the Forgotten Sep. 3
X Truly Terrifying Oct. 1 The Cannonball Tree Mystery Sep. 5
Row #4
X Noir Sep. 24 The Big Over Easy Sep. 22
X Genre: Mystery Oct. 5 The Alchemist’s Illusion Sep. 2
Country House Mystery Murder Most Fair Sep. 16
X Tropical Terror Sep. 4 The Mimosa Tree Mystery Sep. 4
X Locked Room Mystery Sep. 28 Black Lizard’s Big Book of Locked Room Mysteries Oct. 5
Row #5
Splatter Carpe Jugulum Sep. 9
X Cryptozoologist Oct. 10 Bayou Moon Sep. 11
X Plague and Disease Scourged Sep. 3
X In the Dark, Dark Woods Oct. 17 Paper & Blood Sep. 12
X Gallows Humor Sep. 25 Murder Most Fowl Sep. 10
  Wild Card Spell
  Amplification Spell
  Bingo Flip Spell
  Cell Conversion Spell
  Transfiguration Spell
  Double Trouble Spell

Halloween Bingo Update, October 9: BINGO!

I got my first bingo!

I’m doubly happy I’ve blacked out my card as I’ve been sucked into a rabbit hole on a new project, so at least now it’s just about waiting on the calls.

Squares on my card that have been called: (this list is getting long so I’m putting it in a spoiler tag)
View Spoiler »

Accumulative reading table with links to reviews below the card.

The spreadsheet:

Bingo Square Date Called Book Title Date Read
Row #1
X Mad Scientists and Evil Geniuses Sep. 7 Naked Brunch Aug. 30
X Stone Cold Horror/Creepy Carnival Sep. 29 Wild Ride Sep. 1
X Vintage Mystery Sep. 23 The Filigree Ball Sep. 16
X Dem Bones Oct. 2 Independent Bones Sep. 14
X Read by Candlelight/Flashlight Oct. 9 The Ex Hex Oct. 4
Row #2
Murder Most Foul Charleston Green Sep. 18
Lethal Games No Nest for the Wicket Sep. 1
Spellbound The Once and Future Witches Aug. 31
X Black Cat Sep. 15 Thornyhold Sep. 13
Relics and Curiosities On the Edge Sep. 8
Row #3
Shifters Naked Brunch Aug. 30
Terror in a Small Town Agnes and the Hitman Sep. 3
X FREE SPACE Like a Charm Sep. 7
X Psych / Highway to Hell Oct. 6 Archive of the Forgotten Sep. 3
X Truly Terrifying Oct. 1 The Cannonball Tree Mystery Sep. 5
Row #4
X Noir Sep. 24 The Big Over Easy Sep. 22
X Genre: Mystery Oct. 5 The Alchemist’s Illusion Sep. 2
Country House Mystery Murder Most Fair Sep. 16
X Tropical Terror Sep. 4 The Mimosa Tree Mystery Sep. 4
X Locked Room Mystery Sep. 28 Black Lizard’s Big Book of Locked Room Mysteries Oct. 5
Row #5
Splatter Carpe Jugulum Sep. 9
Cryptozoologist Bayou Moon Sep. 11
X Plague and Disease Scourged Sep. 3
In the Dark, Dark Woods Paper & Blood Sep. 12
X Gallows Humor Sep. 25 Murder Most Fowl Sep. 10
  Wild Card Spell
  Amplification Spell
  Bingo Flip Spell
  Cell Conversion Spell
  Transfiguration Spell
  Double Trouble Spell

Halloween Bingo Update, October 5: BLACKOUT

After my brief break from bingo reading, I finished The Ex Hex for my Read by Candlelight or Flashlight, and 2 short stories from my Black Lizard Big Book of Locked-Room Mysteries omnibus for my Locked Room square.

That means:  CARD BLACKOUT!  I’m done!

I didn’t – really didn’t – think I’d black out my card this year, because I’ve been in a year+ long slump.  But I made one significant change this year:  I didn’t plan a single read, other than holding off on books I wanted to read until bingo started.  As much as I love the idea of book lists, and I love the activity of digging through my books to create these lists, it turns out I really hate being held to them, and it was killing my game enthusiasm.

It also helped, it’s true, that I’ve been on a rather long UF reading streak.  🙂

Now it’s just about waiting on the calls for the bingos to start rolling in.

Squares on my card that have been called: (this list is getting long so I’m putting it in a spoiler tag)
View Spoiler »

Accumulative reading table with links to reviews below the card.

The spreadsheet:

Bingo Square Date Called Book Title Date Read
Row #1
X Mad Scientists and Evil Geniuses Sep. 7 Naked Brunch Aug. 30
X Stone Cold Horror/Creepy Carnival Sep. 29 Wild Ride Sep. 1
X Vintage Mystery Sep. 23 The Filigree Ball Sep. 16
X Dem Bones Oct. 2 Independent Bones Sep. 14
Read by Candlelight/Flashlight The Ex Hex Oct. 4
Row #2
Murder Most Foul Charleston Green Sep. 18
Lethal Games No Nest for the Wicket Sep. 1
Spellbound The Once and Future Witches Aug. 31
X Black Cat Sep. 15 Thornyhold Sep. 13
Relics and Curiosities On the Edge Sep. 8
Row #3
Shifters Naked Brunch Aug. 30
Terror in a Small Town Agnes and the Hitman Sep. 3
X FREE SPACE Like a Charm Sep. 7
Psych / Highway to Hell Archive of the Forgotten Sep. 3
X Truly Terrifying Oct. 1 The Cannonball Tree Mystery Sep. 5
Row #4
X Noir Sep. 24 The Big Over Easy Sep. 22
X Genre: Mystery Oct. 5 The Alchemist’s Illusion Sep. 2
Country House Mystery Murder Most Fair Sep. 16
X Tropical Terror Sep. 4 The Mimosa Tree Mystery Sep. 4
X Locked Room Mystery Sep. 28 Black Lizard’s Big Book of Locked Room Mysteries Oct. 5
Row #5
Splatter Carpe Jugulum Sep. 9
Cryptozoologist Bayou Moon Sep. 11
X Plague and Disease Scourged Sep. 3
In the Dark, Dark Woods Paper & Blood Sep. 12
X Gallows Humor Sep. 25 Murder Most Fowl Sep. 10
  Wild Card Spell
  Amplification Spell
  Bingo Flip Spell
  Cell Conversion Spell
  Transfiguration Spell
  Double Trouble Spell

Locked Room Mysteries Omnibus

The Locked-Room MysteriesThe Locked-Room Mysteries
by Otto Penzler
Rating: ★★★★½
isbn: 9780307743961
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Pages: 941
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Vintage Crime / Black Lizard

In this definitive collection, Edgar Award-winning editor Otto Penzler selects a multifarious mix from across the entire history of the locked room story, which should form the cornerstone of any crime reader's library.

Virtually all of the great writers of detective fiction have produced masterpieces in this genre, including Agatha Christie, Edgar Allan Poe, Dorothy L. Sayers, Arthur Conan Doyle, Raymond Chandler, G.K. Chesterton, John Dickson Carr, Dashiell Hammett, Ngaio Marsh and Stephen King.

The purest kind of detective story involves a crime solved by observation and deduction, rather than luck, coincidence or confession. The supreme form of detection involves the explanation of an impossible crime, whether the sort of vanishing act that would make Houdini proud, a murder that leaves no visible trace, or the most unlikely villain imaginable.


 

My last square on my bingo card this year that needed to be read for was Locked Room Mystery.  I had several books that qualified, but none that appealed, so it was time to pull out my trusty omnibus, Black Lizard Big Book of Locked-Room Mysteries edited by Otto Penzler.  I chose two previously unread stories: one I was sure to like, featuring The Saint, and one completely unknown to me but considered to be a locked room classic up there with The Hollow Man.


The Man Who Liked Toys by Leslie Charteris: four-stars

I liked this one about as much as I expected to – maybe a little less.  And I probably should have given it 3.5 stars instead of 4 because at its core it’s more a snapshot of a story than an actual story.  But the method of murder is ingenious.  I have to say though, The Saint isn’t nearly as dashing on paper as he is when he looks like Val Kilmer.


The Two Bottles of Relish by Lord Dunsany: five-stars

Well, I can see why this is one of the most re-printed locked room stories.  It has a Poe-esque quality to it, as it starts out a very normal, even vanilla, narration by someone who considers himself a Watson, and rapidly escalates towards the end into a mini-horror story.  I saw where it was going but now quite, and the ending … ends perfectly.  Any more would have diluted the effect completely, even with the superbly done writing.

 

I read these for 2021 Halloween Bingo, specifically for the Locked Room Mystery square.

The Ex Hex

The Ex HexThe Ex Hex
by Erin Sterling
Rating: ★★★½
isbn: 9780063027473
Publication Date: September 28, 2021
Pages: 320
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Romance
Publisher: HarperCollins

 

A departure for me, as this book is all about the romance, not a mystery plot that masks a little romance on the side.  But Whiskey in the Jar’s review made it sound cute and a lot of fun, so I grabbed it from my library.

It was fun, and it was cute.  I liked the N. Georgia setting and the brand of witchiness the story relied upon (think more Bewitched, less later-seasons-Charmed).  It was a nice change to read about a romantic hero that was Welsh instead of the tried and true Scottish or Irish male.

I mostly liked the relationships; the dynamic between Vivienne and her aunt and cousin, and especially the relationship between Rhys and his brothers.  The dynamic between Rhys and Simon, the father, felt forced and, the way it’s written here, kind of useless, as it really goes nowhere.

The narrative banter was the most enjoyable part of the book for me (that and the fact that the cat got a voice).  The banter kept me reading, even though I skimmed the romance and the angst, but that’s not the book, that’s just me.

Overall exactly what I was hoping for.

 

I read this for Halloween Bingo 2021, and I read it at night, with my little book light for ambiance, making it work for Read by Candlelight or Flashlight; I was all ready to do the candle light, but I remember Easter-cats first confrontation with a candle flame, and her singed whiskers.  Pikachu has insanely long whiskers and an insatiable curiosity that didn’t bode well for the candlelit reading.

Halloween Bingo Update, October 1

Since my last update, I’ve read: bupkis.  Well, that’s not true, I have been on a re-reading binge of the urban fantasy series The Others, but none of those count for Halloween Bingo.  I do have a book lined up for Read by Candlelight or Flashlight, but I have to stay awake long enough to read it, and that’s been a problem lately.

Squares on my card that have been called:
Black Cat;
Tropical Terror;
Mad Scientists and Evil Geniuses;
Plagues and Diseases
Vintage Mystery
Noir
Gallows Humor
Locked Room Mystery
Creepy Carnivals
Truly Terrifying

Accumulative reading table with links to reviews below the card.

The spreadsheet:

Bingo Square Date Called Book Title Date Read
Row #1
X Mad Scientists and Evil Geniuses Sep. 7 Naked Brunch Aug. 30
X Stone Cold Horror/Creepy Carnival Sep. 29 Wild Ride Sep. 1
X Vintage Mystery Sep. 23 The Filigree Ball Sep. 16
Dem Bones Independent Bones Sep. 14
Read by Candlelight/Flashlight
Row #2
Murder Most Foul Charleston Green Sep. 18
Lethal Games No Nest for the Wicket Sep. 1
Spellbound The Once and Future Witches Aug. 31
X Black Cat Sep. 15 Thornyhold Sep. 13
Relics and Curiosities On the Edge Sep. 8
Row #3
Shifters Naked Brunch Aug. 30
Terror in a Small Town Agnes and the Hitman Sep. 3
X FREE SPACE Like a Charm Sep. 7
Psych / Highway to Hell Archive of the Forgotten Sep. 3
X Truly Terrifying Oct. 1 The Cannonball Tree Mystery Sep. 5
Row #4
X Noir Sep. 24 The Big Over Easy Sep. 22
Genre: Mystery The Alchemist’s Illusion Sep. 2
Country House Mystery Murder Most Fair Sep. 16
X Tropical Terror Sep. 4 The Mimosa Tree Mystery Sep. 4
Locked Room Mystery Sep. 28
Row #5
Splatter Carpe Jugulum Sep. 9
Cryptozoologist Bayou Moon Sep. 11
X Plague and Disease Scourged Sep. 3
In the Dark, Dark Woods Paper & Blood Sep. 12
X Gallows Humor Sep. 25 Murder Most Fowl Sep. 10
  Wild Card Spell
  Amplification Spell
  Bingo Flip Spell
  Cell Conversion Spell
  Transfiguration Spell
  Double Trouble Spell

Halloween Bingo Update, September 24

Since my last update, I’ve read:
Anna Lee Huber’s Murder Most Fair for Country House Mystery;
The Filigree Ball by Anna Katherine Green and it was excellent – best book I’ve read all year.  I’m using it for Vintage Mystery;
Charleston Green by Stephanie Alexander for my Murder Most Foul Square;
A re-read of The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde for my Noir square;

Squares on my card that have been called:
Black Cat;
Tropical Terror;
Mad Scientists and Evil Geniuses;
Plagues and Diseases
Vintage Mystery
Noir

Accumulative reading table with links to reviews below the card.

The spreadsheet:

Bingo Square Date Called Book Title Date Read
Row #1
X Mad Scientists and Evil Geniuses Sep. 7 Naked Brunch Aug. 30
Stone Cold Horror/Creepy Carnival Wild Ride Sep. 1
X Vintage Mystery Sep. 23 The Filigree Ball Sep. 16
Dem Bones Independent Bones Sep. 14
Read by Candlelight/Flashlight
Row #2
Murder Most Foul Charleston Green Sep. 18
Lethal Games No Nest for the Wicket Sep. 1
Spellbound The Once and Future Witches Aug. 31
X Black Cat Sep. 15 Thornyhold Sep. 13
Relics and Curiosities On the Edge Sep. 8
Row #3
Shifters Naked Brunch Aug. 30
Terror in a Small Town Agnes and the Hitman Sep. 3
X FREE SPACE Like a Charm Sep. 7
Psych / Highway to Hell Archive of the Forgotten Sep. 3
Truly Terrifying The Cannonball Tree Mystery Sep. 5
Row #4
X Noir Sep. 24 The Big Over Easy Sep. 22
Genre: Mystery The Alchemist’s Illusion Sep. 2
Country House Mystery Murder Most Fair Sep. 16
X Tropical Terror Sep. 4 The Mimosa Tree Mystery Sep. 4
Locked Room Mystery
Row #5
Splatter Carpe Jugulum Sep. 9
Cryptozoologist Bayou Moon Sep. 11
X Plague and Disease Scourged Sep. 3
In the Dark, Dark Woods Paper & Blood Sep. 12
Gallows Humor Murder Most Fowl Sep. 10
  Wild Card Spell
  Amplification Spell
  Bingo Flip Spell
  Cell Conversion Spell
  Transfiguration Spell
  Double Trouble Spell

The Big Over Easy Re-read (Nursery Crimes, #1)

The Big Over EasyThe Big Over Easy
by Jasper Fforde
Rating: ★★★★★
Series: Nursery Crimes #1
Publication Date: January 1, 2005
Pages: 398
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

 

My original review pretty much sums up my general feelings about this book.  I still think it’s the most highly quotable book I’ve read, I still think the satire is spot-on, both of the media and murder mysteries and I still think Prometheus adds just that little something of surprise depth to the narrative, if only briefly.

Re-reading it, it’s held up perfectly.  Fforde’s amazing at writing these intricate plots and clever dialog, but it’s all the small details that continue to leave me gobsmacked.  The excepts at the opening of each chapter, the small jokes and wordplays scattered in the text, and the “ads” at the back of the book all are unnecessary to the plot, but make the book all the richer for their inclusion.

Though I gave it, and stand by doing so, 5 stars, the heinous plot revealed in the mystery is gross in that way that British humor excels at.  Gross and sublimely silly.  Which makes the story better, in spite of the “UGH, yuck!” moments towards the end.

 

I read this for Halloween Bingo 2021’s Noir square.  It’s not a traditional fit, but there’s a clear argument that along with satirising mysteries and the press, there’s a very noir-satire vibe in the story,