Open a book this minute and start reading. Don’t move until you’ve reached page fifty. Until you’ve buried your thoughts in print. Cover yourself with words. Wash yourself away. Dissolve. Carol Shields Republic of Love

Margaret Millar’s How Like an Angel (1962)

Exploring in the back country of Santa Barbara County California, Margaret Millar discovered a group of abandoned buildings on top of a ridge of the Santa Ynez mountains. The view was incredible: the Pacific Ocean, the Santa Ynez valley, Lake Cachuma, and the San Rafael mountains, along with a main lodge, out-buildings, and a tower.

[…]

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Margaret Millar’s A Stranger in My Grave (1960)

Here, the figurative language of Millar’s 1950s novels (like Vanish in an Instant and  Wives and Lovers) is replaced by a cleaner style which often focuses on extremes.

“But Fielding’s pity, like his love and even his hate, was a variable thing, subject to changes in the weather, melting in the summer, freezing in the […]

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Margaret Millar’s The Listening Walls (1959; 2016)

Although some of the characters in the Margaret Millar mysteries I have read answer their own phones, many answer other people’s phones instead: the telephones of older or more privileged relatives or those of their bosses. There’s even a switchboard operator in the mix, along with a woman better known for not answering calls at […]

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Margaret Millar’s An Air that Kills (1957; 2016)

Because so many of Margaret Millar’s novels consider married couples – often at the point in which the relationship is strained, if not fractured – one wonders about her relationship with Ken Millar (better known as Ross MacDonald, who also wrote mysteries).

Did they squabble like Esther and Ron do at the beginning of An […]

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Margaret Millar’s A Beast in View (1955; 2016)

She won the Edgar for it in 1956: Best Novel. (If you are looking for new reading lists, the Edgar Award’s site is filled with temptations.)

And it was the first of three, later awards being given for The Fiend in 1965 and Beyond This Point Are Monsters in 1971. (She would receive The Grand Master Award […]

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Margaret Millar’s Wives and Lovers (1954; 2016)

Readers familiar with Margaret Millar’s suspense novels, will immediately recognize her style and language in Wives and Lovers. (Just yesterday I discussed Vanish in an Instant, another volume in the Syndicate reprint series.)

“It was a shoebox of a room, with the ceiling pressed down on it like a lid, and Gordon and herself, two mis-mated […]

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Margaret Millar’s Vanish in an Instant (1952; 2016)

Margaret Millar’s mysteries are being brought back into print by Soho Syndicate. The Master at Her Zenith volume is comprised of five of her well-known books, including the Edgar-winning Beast in View.

Throughout, her interest in psychology is evident. Both she and her characters are fascinated by detail. And the emotions which often erupt in […]

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The Fourth Nina Borg Mystery: The Considerate Killer

“’What the hell makes you think,’ she said, in her most glacial voice, ‘that I am anybody’s victim?’”

Soho Press, 2016

Nina’s question, in an earlier volume of the series, is ironic in this context: The Considerate Killer begins with two blows to the back of Nina’s head and a lingering state of unconsciousness, […]

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Death of a Nightingale (Nina Borg #3)

The third volume in the Nina Borg series by Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnete Friis builds upon the successful elements of the first two novels and adds an historical element to the plot which makes the story even more satisfying.

Nina is a complicated character who challenges the conventional expectations of a devoted wife and mother while […]

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Invisible Murder (Nina Borg #2)

Nina Borg’s first appearance in The Boy in the Suitcase introduces her as a sensitive and determined nurse, willing to set aside her own convenience to meet the needs of others.

Invisible Murder also demonstrates this quality of her character, but readers are forced to recognize that the way in which Nina overlooked the needs of […]

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