The Puzzly – The ISOTCMN Book Of The Month – November 2014

An utterly rubbish month for reading this month both in variety and in quantity – only six books and of those, five were written by the same author. And no, it wasn’t Paul Doherty, but the master of the locked room John Dickson Carr himself. I’d started My Late Wives for the Past Offences Book Of The Year Challenge (1946) and then a discussion with Sergio over at Tipping My Fedora escalated quickly into a joint review for The Crooked Hinge. And then I just fancied a Carr month, inspired by Sergio’s Top Ten Carr poll, the results of which are available now. Still can’t believe how low She Died A Lady came, but it’s in good company – all of the top ten are excellent reads.

Luckily, the quality of the reading material was top notch, with one obvious exception (which was kind of the point of the joint review) but even that was an entertaining car-crash of a novel, rather than a boring one. But how am I supposed to pick the Puzzly when most of the books were written by the same person. Let’s find out…

So the six books this month were:

Murder In The AfternoonHmmm… in the past I’ve awarded the Puzzly to a classic author (Carr got it for He Who Whispers) when the non-classic selection didn’t leap out at me. There’s no denying that The Emperor’s Snuff-Box is the best mystery book on that list – it’s a classic that probably should have been on my Top Ten contribution for Sergio (maybe I should ask him to change it again…) – but the non-Carr novel, Murder In The Afternoon is a great read as well, one of those books that this blog is supposed to be hunting out – a well-constructed mystery within a modern novel. So the Puzzly for this month is going to Frances Brody for Murder In The Afternoon. Looking forward to the next in the series, and I promise I won’t wait as long this time.

This month is Ruth Rendell month on the blog, as I work my way through a selection of her prodigious back catalogue – I will explain why eventually… Any recommendations, especially of non-Wexford books would be appreciated.


  1. Gallowglass and The Chimney-Sweeper’s Boy are both well worth time; I was especially blown over by the latter when I read it a few months ago. In general, for some reason I prefer the Vines to the Rendells (much as I generally prefer the Carrs to the Dicksons, come to think of it . . .).


  2. Thanks! Murder in the Afternoon is a favourite of mine but when in bookshops I notice that it’s never the first book readers pick up. I’m very glad that you chose it as Book of the Month – icing on the cake because a few weeks ago, the American Library Journal named it as a best book of 2014.


  3. Thanks for the congratulations, realthog.
    Nothing could be as impressive as impressive as a Puzzly! Have asked my webmistress to add the accolade.


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