The Puzzly – The ISOTCMN Book of the Month – August 2012

Well, it’s the end of August, and you know what that means. Yup, back to the classroom for me which means less time to read – boo – but also, it’s time for the In Search Of The Classic Mystery Novel Book Of The Month award for August 2012 – yes, it’s Puzzly time!

[Waits for the excited cheering to stop.]

OK, so in so-called New Author August, I attempted to only tackle authors that I had yet to cover on my blog – the exceptions were Clayton Rawson and Steve Hockensmith, as these were requested reviews from the publishers. Also, very oddly for a number-obsessive like myself, I sailed through my 200th book review without noticing. I’ll keep a more careful count for my quarter-millenium.

Anyway, in August, I read twelve titles, namely:

There’s a couple of classic authors in there, both of which I found disappointing in different ways – Tey’s was a great read, but not much of a mystery and Sayers’ was just… odd – and a couple of authors that I haven’t read for years, for which I’m kicking myself. And also one massive nostalgia trip.But overall, it was useful to stick to only new authors and I think I hit a couple of great titles that I probably wouldn’t have read.

Both Brighton Belle and Bullet For A Star wouldn’t really have been on my radar – thanks to for the latter, by the way – but they were both great reads. Possibly a bit iffy on the play-along-mystery, but highly entertaining. A few authors also have earned very quick second reviews as well – expect more from Carey and Fowler and also from the winner of that most intangible of awards. And despite the daft genius of Cadaver In Chief, the Puzzly for August 2012 goes to Stuart MacBride for Birthdays For The Dead, an astounding book with a horrifying premise, a nasty serial killer and an unlikeable protagonist and despite these three things that normally send me running to the hills, the writer does very impressive things with them. A real page-turner and totally deserving of its nomination for CWA Bestseller of the Year. Congratulations to Stuart and there will be more reviews of his work in the months to come.

So, September? Well, I’ll be looking at old favourites for a while – Doherty, Tremayne, Edwards and Ellis and then having a look at expanding my various bibliographies, so probably Knight, Jecks, Clare, etc. I might even get round to The Four of Hearts… but no promises.

As ever, this is part of the Mysteries In Paradise Book of the Month meme.


  1. A very interesting post. I read your review of Birthdays For The Dead, and you have convinced me to try Stuart MacBride again. I had given up on the Logan McRae series because the last one I read was just way too gritty for me. I like your idea of sticking to only new authors you haven’t reviewed before for one month.


    • I stopped the MacRae series on the third or fourth book for similar reasons, but I think i’ll be going back to them now. And I think I’ll do another new author month in a while – it was a useful experience


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