Top Five Underappreciated Books – My 600th Post

I’ve been banging on about mystery novels since 20th December 2010 and, at an average rate of 2.32 days per post, we hit post number 600. I didn’t do anything special for the 500th post – mainly as I didn’t notice it coming until I was writing the relevant review – so I thought I’d do something a little different for this one.

I’ve done various Top Five posts throughout the last four years – Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Gideon Fell, Henry Merrivale, Non-Series Carr and Paul Doherty – so here’s another one. The Top Five Underappreciated Books – the very best books that haven’t had as much attention as others. I’ve been delving through the stats page that WordPress gives me and have come up with these.

  1. Yesterday’s Papers by Martin Edwards.

Yesterday's PapersActually, most of the Harry Devlin posts don’t get much traffic – there’s also All The Lonely People, Suspicious Minds, I Remember You, Eve Of Destruction and Waterloo Sunset. Well-constructed mysteries with a strong believably-flawed central character with the background of 1990s Liverpool, these are always entertaining reads. And if you like these, there are also Martin’s Lake District series – reviews of The Cipher Garden, The Arsenic Labyrinth, The Serpent Pool and The Hanging Wood are hereabouts as well.

  1. The Ambush Of My Name by Jeffrey Marks

The Ambush of My NameOK, the book’s a little silly in places, but this historical whodunnit, with not-yet-President Ulysses S Grant as detective and one of the daftest endings I’ve read but Marks gets away with it. There’s also a review of the sequel, A Good Soldier as well. Must get round to reading book three.

  1. Dream Of The Dead by M G Scarsbrook

Dream Of The DeadA theatrical whodunit – a policeman from a London acting dynasty investigates an intricate murder plot while getting advice from absinthe induced visions in his old family theatre. Yes, that last bit sounds weird, but this is a cracking read and well worth a look.

  1. Thirteenth Night by Alan Gordon

Thirteenth NightAnother theatrical entry, but in a different way. A sequel to Twelfth Night – by that Shakespeare bloke – revealing the truth between the lines of that play, combined with a clever mystery. Winner of the Grand Puzzly for 2013, this needs more of an airing. It probably has more of impact if you know the original play, but it’s well worth a look.

  1. Shadows In The Night by Jane Finnis

shadows_newcover_smallAurelia Marcilla, a Roman innkeeper at a tavern on the road to York, is drawn into the struggle against The Shadow of Death, a hidden figure determined to drive the Romans back home. A clever mystery with some great sequences that still takes time to build characters. The villain is pretty spottable, but that doesn’t detract from a great read.

Well, that’s the top five – although I could mention a heap from the usual suspects – Paul Doherty, Michael Jecks and Kate Ellis. Now I have at least four more books shooting to the top of my TBR list (M G Scarsbrook hasn’t published the sequel to Dream… yet). Do check out the full reviews by clicking on the link. Back soon for more authors that I sort of forgot about.



  1. The books by Martin Edwards and Jeffrey Marks interest me the most. I have only read one by Edwards, and I want to try the Harry Devlin series. I was wondering how Jeffrey Marks’ mysteries were, and did not realize you had reviewed them. Very interesting.


  2. 600 reviews! Congratulations and a good idea for a post. Mine would be Peter Rabe’s Stop This Man!, Pierre Magnan’s Death in the Truffle Wood, Colin Watson’s Coffin Scarcely Used, and bizarrely (but there’s no accounting for stats) Rebecca and Green for Danger.

    My most overrated book judging by blog stats would be Colin Dexter’s The Dead of Jericho, my most-viewed post, which I just wasn’t that into. What’s yours?


    • Good question. Probably either The Hollow – by far the most popular Poirot post but a long way from being a favourite of mine (although it is one of the earliest posts, hence more stats) or Still Life by Louise Penny – very popular but just didn’t do it for me.


  3. Thanks very much for your kind words, Puzzle Doctor. It really does mean a lot to read something like this. I’ve always enjoyed writing about Harry Devlin, and though the Lake District books tend to sell better it was a thrill when Arcturus recently republished Yesterday’s Papers and All the Lonely People as “crime classics”. I hope that the renewed availability of the series in ebook form will encourage more people to give them a try. Certainly, the enthusiasm of readers such as yourself is a big boost to morale…


  4. Thanks so much, Puzzle Doctor, for including Shadows In The Night. Kind words from a popular reviewer mean a lot. And many congrats on 600 posts, so many interesting reviews…great going!


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