Book Blog Bingo

exhausted after a long day's blogging, trying to please 2 million people

This blog recently passed the 2-million-views mark, and to celebrate that  I invented the concept of


I decided to examine my conscience, and my reviews, and work out which


and make a list of them.

My friend Bill Selnes, of the Mysteries and More blog,  inspired this. He was entertained earlier this year by my use of the phrase ‘tragically missed opportunity’ about a book that didn’t have enough clothes descriptions. He even wrote his own blogpost about clothes as a result. And he got me thinking – which of us has a signature phrase? Bill might tell us he has ‘never come across such a thing happening in court’ which is his very polite (because he IS very polite) way of saying ‘this author knows nothing about the law and should have consulted a lawyer before writing about it.’

So here are some sentences, phrases and tropes I use a lot. Possibly overuse. Very recognizable to any regular readers, and you may point them out to me if (when) I use them in future - five points (random and meaningless metric) for each one:

  • ‘Tragically missed opportunity’ (to write about clothes)
  • Very under-rated writer (nearly always a woman who writes great books but isn’t allowed in the room with the Important Men)
  • I love a bedjacket. (ready for the Clothes In Books tie-in fashion line, once my role as a major social media influencer is recognized)
  • Thank you to Dean St Press for re-discovering and re-publishing this writer.
  • Trope: Pedantic correction about some aspect of life and clothes in the past 100 years.
  • It’s tosh, but really first-rate tosh.
  • I read this book so you don’t have to.
  • She borrowed a piece of distinctive clothing, so we all know what happened to her
  • Clothes panics
  • Schoolgirl detectives
  • Investigating unimportant uses of words, US/UK differences, tracking furniture references from Evelyn Waugh to Erle Stanley Gardner

(when I write my series of crime stories about a female PI, I will call her Credenza Davenport and give her a signature wardrobe of bedjackets.)

  • Wandering round the old house late at night dressed in a flimsy negligee looking for a book or for the submarine plans
  • This is very much of its time (undesirable attitudes in an author I like)
  • This is completely unacceptable (undesirable attitudes in an author I don’t like)
The foreign countess is looking for a biscuit in the desk in the library

And, a few things  you will never hear from me:

  • If only this book were longer
  • I wish there had been more phonetic dialect in the book
  • I prefer books written in the historic present.

And then I wondered if some of my book blogging friends might take up the challenge?

I am hoping Kate  ‘greatly peeved by a female character who acts like a nit wit’ Jackson over at Cross-Examining Crime might make a table for hers, and Margot Kinberg (there will be stats and data) & Chrissie at Christine Poulson: A Reading Life should be able to think of something.

Perhaps people might even dare to suggest phrases that others over-use? I am open to being told…

Below are links to some of my other favourite blogs and blogging friends, which I do recommend.

Col's Criminal Library

Bitter Tea and Mystery

AhSweetMystery - Brad Friedman

Pretty Sinister Books

The Invisible Event


The Art of Words
The Passing Tramp

The Game's Afoot

Martin Edwards: Do You Write Under Your Own Name?

Simon - Stuck-in-a-book

Chess comics and crosswords


  1. Oh, how interesting, Moira! And very, very clever, too! It's a good idea to reflect on words and phrases that one uses in a blog...Hmm...... *now setting up a spreadsheet*...

    1. And you didn't let me down Margot! I hope everyone goes and visits your own post on the topic which is hilarious and informative, and tells us more about Margot! And it has a pie chart....

  2. Oh no no no. I don't feel those phrases are overused at all. We can never get enough First-Rate Tosh. (Can we?)

    And as for reading books so we don't have to...? Well, clearly you're take one (many) for the team. And I thank you.

    1. Thank you for those kind words. I am inspired to carry on reading tosh about bedjackets.

  3. This is amazing. You are very good at self-examination. And at writing. Seriously you should consider writing a mystery and using the mystery tropes you have discussed in so many blog posts.

    As far as frequently used phrases on this list my favorites are the last two:
    This is very much of its time (undesirable attitudes in an author I like)
    This is completely unacceptable (undesirable attitudes in an author I don’t like)

    And I am honored to be on your list of blogs and blogging friends.

    1. I fear we all have a little bit of that attitude of being hard on the authors we don't like and vice versa.
      On your blog I love your mentions of your many series, and your working way through them, and also your challenges. And I always look forward to the reports from the book sales. Nice covers with skulls and skeletons. And occasional discreet mentions of your early days in Alabama...
      but you don't overuse any of those things!

  4. Moira: Thanks for the kind words. I have said before and will gladly repeat you are a generous soul. You have set me thinking about myself. Somewhat of an uncomfortable exercise. You are right that lawyers and judges use polite phrases to reflect harsh observations and judgments. I know I am in trouble during oral argument when the judge says "that is a creative argument Mr. Selnes". In writing about Canadian legal scenes I have despaired over the number of authors who give their Canadian judges a gavel. There is nary a gavel across the courtrooms of our nation. Moving outside the legal realm I am prone to lamenting double digit body counts. I recognize my dislike of detectives, established in a locale, traveling far from home to solve a crime. I do my best in writing to avoid a personal oral habit of using "just" much too often. I will let other bloggers point to my repetitive comments.

    Best wishes on 2,000,000 views. You are in the major leagues of blog viewership. I am confident there will be millions of more views of your excellent, absorbing, non-tragic, ever clever blog.

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words, and loved your legal comments. I think it's the same in England, no gavels. And am going to immediately adopt the phrase 'that's a creative argument'. I could have done with that when my children were young and trying to get themselves out of this or that.

  5. As well as negligees and bed-jackets, you might add dressing gowns to your bingo, as a feature of guests staying in old-fashioned hotels/country houses without en suite bathrooms or central heating!

    1. Yes indeed, I will certainly create a tickbox for that one. And I do think it reflects a change in the times, not so necessary these days to pack a solid dressing gown.

  6. But Moira, I LOVE your references to 'tragically missed opportunities' and there can never be too many references to bed-jackets. First-rate tosh? Wandering around at night in a negligee? Wearing someone else's hat and getting hit over the head? Bring in all on. The more the merrier.
    Don't know what my own repetitions are. I will have to give that some thought.

    1. Thank you Chrissie - I can't resist those features, really, I can feel myself getting excited when scenes are obviously coming up in a book. 'There's my blog entry' I think to myself, ready to find the right picture...

  7. I laughed so much I splurted coffee through my nose when I read about Credenza Davenport of the many bedjackets.Can't wait to read the stories about her. Meanwhile, congratulations on the 2 million readers - I'm proud to be one of them!

    1. The more I think of her the more real she seems. She is in her forties or fifties, tall, thin and willowy, with a pale but exquisite complexion, intensely blue eyes and ash blonde hair put up in a bun or possibly a low chignon. She is single, obviously, since she is a modern-day spinster detective (and also because a Mrs Davenport sounds like a much more portly figure) but she has a profession. I think she might be a librarian or perhaps an academic at a prestigious university (Professor Davenport sounds quite nice, I think) and in spite of her virginal apperance and bordering on dowdy clothes she has an interesting love life. Men fall for her, but they always end up proposing marriage and are astounded when they realise that she is not interested. In fact, a marriage proposal is the end of the affair for Credenza, so she neatly and efficiently terminates the relationship and moves on. I just have one problem right now. Her pale complexion and thin figure together with her fondness for bed jackets make me suspect she suffers from that Victorian complaint, a weak chest. Could it be - is it the case - that Credenza is a cougher? Will people who annoy her by not having the same iron will and strong character as her, people who dither (she can't stand dithering) be the objects of a hortatory cough?

    2. Oh my goodness I love that. And you are absolutely right, that is exactly who Credenza Davenport is. Please write the books...
      I think the cough is good - it will make people underestimate her. I think she's quite tough, don't you?

  8. In my imdb reviews, I over-use "intoxicatingly drab", which I stole - probably from Matthew Sweet.

    1. Oh love that. Someone very kindly told me I was 'annoyingly perceptive' - obviously I was delighted, and use it myself whenever I can, though it doesn't arise much on the blog I think.

  9. Thanks for the shout-out. I wonder what my go to phrases/words are? I'm sure they'll pop into my head when constructing my next blog post!

    1. For you I would nominate some version of 'gruesome murders, drug-dealing, dangerous men, assassins, guns - yes, this book ticked all my boxes. A great read!'


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