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Unexpected Night (1940)

av Elizabeth Daly

Andra författare: Se under Andra författare.

Serier: Henry Gamadge (1)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
1365148,906 (3.41)23
First in the Henry Gamadge series. Bibliophile-sleuth Henry Gamadge investigates the bizarre death of Amberly Cowden and uncovers murder and mayhem in the midst of a troupe of impoverished actors.

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Visar 5 av 5
I got as 3/4 of the way through before reconciling myself to the fact that I wasn't having a good time.

British? Check! Golden Age Mystery? Check! Agatha Christie says 2 thumbs up? Check! And yet ... so many problems ...

1: I felt the characters were names rather than characters, and wouldn't have been able to tell you one thing about any of them that made them interesting (other than the victim, who suffers from Not Being Believably Human, something many of the other named personages suffer from).

2: The plot just sort of oozed rather than flowed (or being diverted into channels) ... very little sense of who the detective is (the policeman? the amateur?) or why anything is happening while it is happening. Feels written under the influence!

Which basically adds up to boring and unbelievable, so yes, I'm stopping. Perhaps she finds her feet with a later volume? But this first introduction to the world of Henry Gamadage was very disappointing.

(Note: 5 stars = amazing, wonderful, 4 = very good book, 3 = decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful. I'm fairly good at picking for myself so end up with a lot of 4s). ( )
  ashleytylerjohn | Sep 19, 2018 |
Clever American Golden Age mystery. Only some formatting issues with the Kindle edition prevented me from giving it 3.5* ( )
  leslie.98 | Apr 10, 2018 |
I checked out Unexpected Night because the Henry Gamadge series was mentioned among other classic mysteries in The Silence of the Library by Miranda James. It was originally published in 1940, so I didn't expect it to be politically correct by today's standards. There's no television, no Internet, no cell phones, and no artificial satellites, so no global positioning systems.

Our protagonist, Henry Gamadge, is a nice young man, a consultant on old books, inks, etc. He's having a little get away to Maine.

Amberley 'Amby' Cowden has the misfortune to have his heart ruined by rheumatic fever when he was a child before successful heart surgery was available. It's hard on his relatives' nerves that this is back when one became a legal adult at the age of 21 instead of 18, because Amby won't inherit nearly a million dollars if he dies before he's 21.

Amby is found dead -- natural causes or murder? There's a lot of money at stake.

NOTES (pop culture references, fictional and real name-dropping, character facts, and non-spoiler tips to help those who've read the book find things again):

Chapter 1 (The chapter numbers are in Roman numerals):

a. It's 11:40 p.m., Sunday night, June 25, 1939. That means that World War II won't be declared in Europe for a little over two months.

b. There are descriptions of the Cowdens, the Barclays, and Henry Gamadge.

c. That not-quite-a-million dollars Amberley Cowden will inherit if he lives to be 21 came from his father's oldest sister, who was the widow of a rich Frenchman. Since it was her husband's money, I think it should have gone to his relatives after her death. Amby's aunt's attitude toward her late sister's in-laws more than annoys me.

d. None of the other Cowdens or the Barclays have had much money since 1929, so they presumably lost most of theirs on Black Tuesday, the great stock market crash of October 29, 1929.

e. Gamadge has been coming to this resort every summer for years.

f. The Pierrot to whose looks Alma Cowden is compared is

g. Gamadge drives a modest coupé.

Chapter 2:

a. The Ocean House hotel has a spiral staircase that's its fire escape. There's a glass door leading to it.

b. Eleanor Cowden has Room 21 at Ocean House. Alma Cowden has Room 19, next to hers, with a connecting bathroom. Amby Cowden has room 17, which has a bathroom. Hugh Sanderson has Room 20 opposite, no bathroom.

c. 'Theater' used to be spelled the British way, 'theatre,' in the US. This reprint hasn't modified that. Some other words that are spelled in the British way in this book are 'harbour,' 'centre,' 'colour,' 'cheque,' 'analyse,' and 'glamour'.

d. Seal Cove is on the Oakport telephone exchange. This is where we first hear of Tucon, a little place '...on the back route from Oakport to Portland'.

Chapter 3:

a. A waistcoat is a vest.

b. Michell the state detective describes some local gypsies as hard-boiled characters. At least he didn't claim they were all thieves.

b. The time '2:09' is written as '2.9' because that's the British way. (I snickered at the last clause of the sentence about Amby's wrist watch.)

c. Amby's dressing case is made of pigskin and comes from Tomlinson, Piccadilly. Gamadge says that's where the good bags come from and estimates it cost $500. (According to the Dollar Times website, that's $8,447.32 in 2016 money.)

Chapter 4:

a. From the context, 'pigging it" is not the same as 'pigging out'. Sanderson probably meant 'roughing it'.

b. Hugh Sanderson is a schoolmaster, though not a high level one. (Strictly speaking, a dry nurse is a woman who cares for another woman's child without breastfeeding him/her.)

c. Gamadge says his assistant helps him to '... analyse paper, ink, glue, handwriting, print, and other things connected with books and manuscripts.' He also looks up people, takes care of the cat, and helps Theodore around the house. (Theodore is described as an old 'coloured man' who takes care of Gamadge. That's a more-or-less polite term for an African-American man at that time.)

d. Gamadge lives in the old house in which he was born in the Sixties area of New York City. He's turned half of his house into workshops.

e. Gamadge didn't find Harold, his assistant. Harold found him.

f. We get to hear one of Harold's code words: 'potto'. Not only is Gamadge unsure he remembers the correct meaning, according to the website powered by Oxford Dictionaries, the animal is African, not South American. (My money is on Gamadge not remembering what Harold told him.)

g. That spiral staircase fire escape is the only wooden one now in existence.

Chapter 5: That Luminal that Alma doesn't want to take is phenobarbital. The chemical used to find blood stains is 'Luminol'.

Chapter 6:

a. By 'the rumble', Gamadge means that his coupé has a rumble seat, probably one that folds down when not in use. If you enjoy driving a convertible with the top down, you'd probably enjoy riding in a rumble seat. It has NOTHING to do with the Urban Dictionary definition.

b. The Old Pier Players' theater was originally a fish-house.

c. The fingerprint man will be coming from Portland.

d. In this chapter, 'knocked up' is probably being used in the worn out or exhausted sense. Mrs. Cowden -- and certainly not Hugh -- is not pregnant.

e. Hugh Sanderson explains why his legacy was not to be for much money.

f. The Pottery Pig team room (and its pig made of pottery) are described. (Luckily, the food is very good.)

g. The setting for the Old Pier Players' theater is described.

Chapter 7:

a. Mrs. Atwood is described, as is Mr. Atwood.

b. Atwood's tent is down by the water. Mrs. Atwood does not share it.

c. Mr. Atwood executes a ballet move.

d. Given the size difference between Atwood and Fred Barclay, I'm not surprised that Sanderson questions the fairness of the fight when Atwood claims to have walloped Barclay once. (Huh -- kind of rude to call them the 'Marquess of Queensberry rules' when he was the endorser and John Graham Chambers wrote them. Their equivalent in Terry Pratchett's excellent Discworld series is the Marquis of Fantailler rules. His Commander Sir Samuel Vimes character discourages their use, with good reason.)

e. When Atwood insultingly refers to his old car as a 'pram,' he probably is using the word in its baby carriage sense.

Chapter 8:

a. Because the fact that we humans empty our bowel and bladder when we die is apparently still too indelicate a subject to be mentioned in mysteries, let alone one this old, Susie Baker is allowed not to have noticed anything wrong in the caravan (not even silence instead of breathing?).

b. The younger actresses and actors aren't paid beyond their board and keep.

c. 'Chaperon' is as valid a spelling as 'chaperone'. Because the word came from Middle French as well as Middle English, I suspect that 'chaperon' was originally the masculine version, just as a man is a 'blond' and a woman a 'blonde'.

d. Atwood drives an old Ford.

e. Atwood makes the sign to ward off the evil eye at Gamadge.

Chapter 9:

a. An old lady and her daughter have room 11. Dr. & Mrs. Baines have rooms 2 & 4. Otherwise, the Cowden party have that hotel floor to themselves. (Gamadge's room is on the floor above.)

b. The hotel's coat closet, where Mrs. & Miss Cowden's golf clubs are, doesn't appear to be locked.

c. Mrs. Cowden explains why she has steel golf clubs and her niece only old wooden ones.

d. Mrs. Barclay used to have a medical chest when the Colonel was on active duty in the Army.

Chapter 10:

a. Mrs. Barclay once accidentally hit Mr. Macpherson in the ankle with a golf ball (I'm glad her son mentioned that after what she said).

b. Dr. Baines is considered a terror when it comes to medical jurisprudence. He's never had a verdict that went against his evidence.

c. Interesting. In chapter two Lulu Barclay said it was her oldest sister who married the rich Frenchman. Here Sanderson tells Gamadge that Arthur Atwood's mother was the eldest of the three sisters. I don't know how much we can trust his information when he made such a blunder, but apparently Atwood's mother was in her late forties when she eloped with a Vaudeville actor. Florence is Arthur Atwood's third wife.

d. The golf ball in question in chapter 9 was a Dreadnought 3.

e. Here's where Henry Gamadge uses that favorite expression of Perry White on the old George Reeves 'Adventures of Superman' show: 'Great Caesar's ghost!'

f. The C. P. R. Macpherson's niece is coming in on is probably the Canadian Pacific Railway.

g. The hotel has a café in the basement.

Chapter 11:

a. Because movies didn't start having an 'X' rating for adults only until around 1968, there is nothing suggestive about Gamadge calling Norman a Class X caddie.

b. The telegram from Gamadge's assistant, Harold, gives us his last name: Bantz.

c. Dr. Baines says he's known Colonel Barclay all his life.

d. 'Querida di mi alma' = 'beloved of my soul,' according to a Spanish-English translation site.

Chapter 12:

a. We finally get the names of the three plays the Old Pier Players will be performing.

b. Again, according to the Oxford Dictionaries site, a grey fly is a stable fly. According to Wikipedia, stable flies are bloodsuckers.

c. There's a new reading of the main part in the first play.

Chapter 13:

a. That 'Cal' and 'Jones' are the same policeman is settled.

b. I'm not sure which meaning of 'Neo-Celt' the author is using here.

Chapter 14:

a. 'Russian Bank' is a two-person card game similar to double solitaire ('patience,' if you're British).

b. In chapter 10, Mrs. Baines' first name is 'Molly'. Here it's 'Mollie'. It's 'Mollie" twice here, so I'll take that for the correct spelling.

c. Mrs. Barclay's Aunt Julia's tonic is orange-flower water.

d. Note that a phone call cost only a nickle in 1939.

e. It's possible that Miss Macpherson's jumper is the British name for what we call a pullover sweater in the USA. (If this 1939 woman can be professionally calm while men can see her with her sleeveless dress-like garment that the British call a pinafore stuck half-way down her torso, she's not easily fazed.)

f. Mrs. Barclay's opinion of Codeine may my jaw drop

g. This is where Mrs. Barclay calls Machu Picchu 'Mitchy Pitchy'.

h. The Barclays' druggist is Thorwald on Madison Avenue.

Chapter 15:

a. The title of this chapter is 'Mr. Ormville is Aghast,' and well might the dapper, elderly lawyer for the Cowdens and Barclays be, considering what he gets told.

b. The Ocean House chambermaids don't start work until 8:00 a.m.

b. Mr. Ormville knew the Sanderson family when they were more prosperous than they are now.

c. Woodlawn is a cemetery near the Bronx.

d. Mr. Ormville knew Gamadge's father.

e. The Caxton Club is real.

f. Ford's Centre is the fine new town hall.

g. Fred Barclay remembers being given plenty of doses of Aunt Julia's Orange-flower Water, with a licorice gum-drop afterwards.

Chapter 16:

a. The local sheriff puts in an appearance.

b. Gamadge is using 'on the spot,' in a more conventional sense than Mr. Ormville, who says he seldom uses the language of the [criminal] underworld.

c. This is where Mr. Ormville's look at Gamadge is compared to stroking a house cat with unexpected results.

d. Ho-Ho birds (or Ho-o) are the Japanese equivalent of the phoenix. https://japanesemythology.wordpress.com/tag/ho-o/

Chapter 17:

a. We finally learn that the Miss Cowden who married the Frenchman was Aunt Mattie.

b. Fred mentions something else we didn't know.

c. Fred went to West Point.

Unexpected Night is quite good and I must see if my library has any other books in the series.

Cat lovers: Henry Gamadge's cat, Martin, is only talked about, but Gamadge does demonstrate that he cares about his feline. ( )
1 rösta JalenV | Aug 17, 2016 |
A troupe of impoverished actors, a young man's body at the base of the cliff, solved by a consultant on old books, autographs and inks. A fine Henry Gamadge mystery.
  closefriend | Oct 3, 2015 |
The author was praised (under a pseudonym) by Hercule Poirot in The Clocks.
  AmphipodGirl | Oct 14, 2014 |
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Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Daly, Elizabethprimär författarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Murray, James B.Omslagsformgivaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat

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...eventful unexpected night,
Which finishes a row of plotting days,
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Death's Jest-Book; or The Fool's Tragedy
THOMAS LOVELL BEDDOES
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Pine trunks in a double row started out of the mist as the headlights caught them, opened to receive the car, passed like an endless screen, and vanished.
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Mr. Henry Gamadge, on the other hand, wore clothes of excellent material and cut; but he contrived, by sitting and walking in a careless and lopsided manner, to look presentable in nothing. He screwed his grey tweeds out of shape before he had worn them a week, he screwed his mouth to one side when he smiled, and he screwed his eyes up when he pondered. His eyes were greyish-green, his features blunt, and his hair mouse-coloured. People as a rule considered him a well-mannered, restful kind of young man; but if somebody happened to say something unusually outrageous or inane, he was wont to gaze upon the speaker in a wondering and somewhat disconcerting manner. (Chapter 1)
[When the state detective asks Gamadge what his business is:]

'It has no name. But if somebody wants to sell you a rare old pamphlet about Nell Gwyn, with Charles the Second's autograph on the flyleaf and marginal notes by Louis the Fourteenth, I'll perhaps be able to to tell you whether it was made later than 1900, and what part of Michigan it came from.'

'You make a living that way, Mr. Gamadge?'

'That would be telling. People pay me for doing it, though.' (Chapter 4)
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First in the Henry Gamadge series. Bibliophile-sleuth Henry Gamadge investigates the bizarre death of Amberly Cowden and uncovers murder and mayhem in the midst of a troupe of impoverished actors.

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