Challenge Accepted!

A number of my fellow bloggers are taking on a variety of Reading Challenges this year and I figured I should be no different. Last year I undertook, to a mild degree of success, the Mysteries in Paradise Challenge – The Alphabet in Crime Fiction – but I trailed off a bit towards the end as, if I was only reading one book per week, it was proving to be a bit restrictive.

This year, I’ve picked a couple of challenges that suit my personal goals well.

The Historical Fiction Challenge

Accepted at the Severe Bookaholism level, this challenges me to read 20 historical novels over the course of the year. As last year I managed 37, I think I can probably manage this one… This is being hosted by the Historical Tapestry blog.

The Global Reading Challenge

Accepted at the Easy level, this requires me to read one book from each continent (and an additional, self-defined, seventh continent) over the course of the year. Translated fiction is not my forte, so I thought this would be good to broaden my horizons a bit.

In addition, I’m setting myself a couple of additional challenges:

The Sort-Out-Your-Bibliographies Challenge

As you may have noticed, the Ellery Queen and Sir Henry Merrivale bibliographies have been neglected recently. My target over the course of the year is to add in twelve more Queen and six more Merrivale reviews into the bibliographies, with the aim of completing both in 2013, even if that does involve re-reading Behind The Crimson Blind.

The Seek-Out-New-Writers Challenge

It’s very easy for me to spend the entire year reading authors that I am familiar with. My aim this year, is that each month, I read at least one book from a writer that I have not read before – actually, let’s make it a writer than I haven’t blogged about before.

The Historical-Fiction-Extra Challenge

As I said, twenty books of historical mysteries should be easy – but I’m going to try in addition for twenty different authors as well in this genre. Not so easy…

I’ll update below as I go along, more for my own book-keeping that anything else and post quarterly updates as well. Any recommendations of translated crime fiction from South America? I thought I’d start over there with the Global Challenge – well, after North America which is the easy one…

The Score So Far – NB I am now updating these on the page accessible from the top menu “2012 Challenges” rather than here.

The Global Reading Challenge: 1/7

North America – World’s Greatest Sleuth by Steve Hockensmith

Europe – The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux

The Historical Fiction Challenge: 2/20

  1. A Tapestry of Murders by Paul Doherty
  2. World’s Greatest Sleuth by Steve Hockensmith

The Sort-Out-Your-Bibliographies Challenge – Ellery Queen: 1/12

  1. The Devil To Pay

The Sort-Out-Your-Bibliographies Challenge – Sir Henry Merrivale: 0/6

The Seek-Out-New-Writers Challenge: 0/12

Gaston Leroux

The Historical-Fiction-Extra Challenge: 2/20

  1. Paul Doherty
  2. Steve Hockensmith


  1. I quite fancy doing a historical fiction challenge but the quality can be variable. I should manage 20 though. I will have a look at the challenge you’re participating in.


    • There are varying levels – i.e. number of books in a year – but as you can see from the Paul Doherty and Other Historical Mystery tabs, it won’t be a problem for me.

      I completely agree about the varying quality – I’ve come across a few that are perfectly fine books but the mystery part seems distinctly lacking. I’ve found a few authors that seem reliable and that I’ll no doubt concentrate on but I’m sure I’ll hit some more iffy ones if I manage 20 different authors.


  2. Welcome to the games, Doc!

    The Global Reading Challenge seems like it could be fun and interesting. Have you already picked titles for that challenge, because I have a few in mind that you might find interesting.

    Asia: Shimada’s The Tokyo Zodiac Murders (a bloody tour-de-force that combines the traditional whodunit with thriller elements and features no less than two challenges to the reader) or Yokomizo’s The Unigami Clan (the classic, Japanese GAD novel with a series of bizarre murders at the titular clans lakeside villa).

    Australasian/Oceania: Upfield’s Man of Two Tribes (a combination of a whodunit with elements from a lost race story, featuring a murder under very bizarre circumstances, and the Australian outback is effectively brought to live), Death of a Lake (a slow moving, but nonetheless interesting, detective story in which everyone is waiting for a lake to dry up and give up its horrible secret: the remains of a man who went missing a year before) or Courtier’s Death at Dream Time (strange events, murder and other underhanded doings at an Aboriginal themed amusement park named Dream Time Land and wrote short review of the book here).

    Europe: Baantjer’s DeKok and the Geese of Death (The Dutch master of the police procedural gives his take on the classic country house mystery).

    I sometimes feel like a mystery evangelist!


    • TomCat, the more recommendations the merrier. I can cope with North America and probably Europe – although I’m not going to cheat – I’ll probably go for Death on a Galician Shore, despite my dislike for the first book in the series – but I’m a blank canvas for the rest. Recommend away.

      I’ve probably got enough for the historical one though… 🙂


  3. Good luck on your ambitious 2012 goals.

    If you’re looking for French writers I say you try THE CHALK CIRCLE MAN by Fred Vargas, her shortest and strangest book with an ending right out of the 1930s. Also DEATH FROM THE WOODS by Brigitte Aubert is wholly unique – a paraplegic and mute detective! Confined to a wheelschair she can’t move and she can’t speak. Yet she still serves as first person narrator and solves the mystery. The elements of the traditional detective novel are limited as it’s more in line with the pure suspense genre, but for originality Aubert gets top marks.

    I did a Global Reading Challenge last year and ending up reading several crime writers I’d never heard of or read before. The writers’ books I picked representing Denmark, Spain and France were the most rewarding. My choice from Italy was a big bomb, however. You can review those books at my blog by selecting EuroPass Challenge from the Tag list on the right hand side of my blog frame, if you want some ideas for writers worth investigating (or avoiding).


  4. Good luck with those mate – I managed to stick with the Crime Fiction Alphabet last year and plan on trying it again this year though I also think the Global Reading Challenge could be great fun so I suspect i may also join in – John and TomCat’s suggestion all sound fabulous!


  5. I joined the Global Reading challenge and that’s how I landed on your blog. I’m interested to see what others are reading for the challenge and I noticed you are already in your second book for the challenge! Wow!! I will come back to learn more about the rest! Happy Reading 🙂


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