And so Golden Age month draws to a close. A meme that I never really meant to start, but I read two or three books in a row right at the start of the month and then was reluctant to stop. It’s given me a chance to revisit some old favourites and try out some new authors. But of course, this is the round-up post for the month, so it’s time to pick the best of the bunch.
In total, I read thirteen books this month – better than the average month, worse than the average August. So, which of them was the best? Probably the easiest pick ever.
The books in question were:
- The Assassins of Isis by Paul Doherty – OK, this isn’t Golden Age, but I actually read it at the end of July.
- The Dragon’s Teeth by Ellery Queen
- N or M? by Agatha Christie
- Castle Skull by John Dickson Carr
- The Clock Strikes Twelve by Patricia Wentworth
- Surfeit of Lampreys by Ngaio Marsh
- When Last I Died by Gladys Mitchell
- He Who Whispers by John Dickson Carr
- The Bat by Mary Roberts Rinehart
- Dead Man’s Folly by Agatha Christie
- A Study In Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
- Tragedy At Law by Cyril Hare
- The Moving Toyshop by Edmund Crispin
There is one overwhelming conclusion that I’ve come away with this month – there’s a reason why the “great” authors have this accolade. Christie, Queen, Carr and Doyle wrote by far the most readable of the books this month, with only Crispin coming close. Others may be better constructed mysteries, but I’m not one who wants to have a notebook by my side while to keep my thoughts straight while reading.
But on the other hand, most of the mysteries in this selection from the greats were not their best. With one obvious exception. So this month’s Puzzly goes, extremely obviously to people who have read it is He Who Whispers by John Dickson Carr. A true classic, possibly his best Gideon Fell book. Go and read it now.