The Puzzly – The ISOTCMN Book Of The Month – June 2013

Is it another month already? Well, it must be time for the Puzzly for June 2013 – the In Search Of The Classic Mystery Novel Book of the Month. But you know that, you’ve read the title of the blog.

But prepare yourself, dear reader, for something a little bit different this month – for I find it necessary to add in a mild existential question – what, exactly, is a book?

As ever, this post is part of the Mysteries In Paradise Pick of the Month meme – do pop over and see what my fellow bloggers enjoyed – but not before seeing what I liked, of course…

In June, I read a total of nine books – they were

Mostly new authors this month, and a number of new releases, which was a bit of a departure for me – the only Golden Age entry being Stuart Palmer, a re-release. But at the end of the month, I caved and did return to Paul Doherty, as ever.

As for the best of the month – well, it isn’t really a book. Or is it?

I think it’s fair to say that a genuine audiobook could win a Book Of The Month award. You know, the sort of thing where someone reads out the book to you, with the occasional silly voice. It’s a book, it’s just being read out loud to you. But what if the audiobook in question doesn’t have a papery equivalent. Because The Axeman Cometh simply wouldn’t work as a normal book. I can’t even begin to tell you why – just buy it and listen to it to see why. So is it a book? I’ll check the rulebook.

So, the best of the bunch this month? Borderlands was a very pleasant surprise, especially as I’d forgotten I’d bought it. Dead Scared was an exciting read with some good, if at times unbelievable surprises. A Decent Interval has finally made Charles Paris click for me and Dove Amongst The Hawks was one of Paul’s best works – certainly the best standalone of his that I’ve read, combining an historical mystery with a whodunnit weaved around it. The last two, in any other month, would have been the contenders for the Puzzly.

AxemanBut I’ve checked the rule book and it quite clearly says: “It’s your blog, you idiot, you make up the rules.” How careless of me to forget. So the book of the month is, by some distance, is The Axeman Cometh by Nev Fountain – an audio book, play, call it what you will, but it is a work of utter genius, comparable with the very best Golden Age tricksy mysteries. You know, the ones with unguessable but complete solutions that I won’t name for fear of spoiling. Everyone really has to hear this – the best mystery that I’ve come across for a very long time. So congratulations Nev (and performers John Banks and Nicola Bryant), you’ve earned yourself the right to be my wallpaper for the next month.


  1. Yes, indeed! Your blog–you make the rules. I’ve been intrigues my this one since you reviewed it. I just have to figure out where it’s going to fit into my read—er, listening schedule. 🙂 I’ve gone a little off the strict trail myself this month–picking a book that’s not really a straight-up mystery.


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