December draws to a close and, as we need to squeeze in the review of the year as well, the Puzzly comes a little early this year. Christmas has come and gone – hope it all went well for you too. I’ve got a nice little haul of historical books, a little crime and some DVDs – reviews coming at some point, and, more importantly, discovered how to make perfect turkey gravy. Very happy about that last bit…
As for reading, just seven books this month. A combination of Christmas, video games and Ruth Rendell conspired to derail me somewhat, but what has emerged as the best read of the month?
The books in question were:
- A New Lease Of Death by Ruth Rendell
- The Sticklepath Strangler by Michael Jecks
- Green and Pleasant Land by Judith Cutler
- No More Dying Then by Ruth Rendell
- The Zig-Zag Girl by Elly Griffiths
- The Spies of Sobeck by Paul Doherty
- Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M C Beaton
On top of those were two audio books:
- The Judgement of Sherlock Holmes by Jonathan Barnes
- Sherlock Holmes: The Tangled Skein by David Stuart Davies & Richard Dinnick
Both of these are available from Big Finish and are well worth a listen.
Not much competition for the best read this month, to be honest. As I mentioned earlier this month, it was intended to be a Ruth Rendell month, but much as I admire the books that I have read this month, I find it difficult to read many in a short period of time as – and this is a terrible thing to say about murder mysteries – they seem to be lacking any sense of fun. They quite rightly deal with serious issues in the manner that they should be dealt with but, for my sins, I’d rather be reading something like Like This, For Ever rather than No More Dying Then. Not sure what that says about me, but even with the grimmest of subject matter, there needs to be some level of escapism in what I read and that doesn’t seem to be present in Rendell’s work. Reading them occasionally can lead to an outstanding read – I was very impressed with A New Lease of Death but probably came to No More Dying Then too quickly. I’ll try again with the author in the New Year, as I’m aware that I’m theorising based on a very small sample, so I’ll take a look at some recommendations.
The Judgement of Sherlock Holmes comes very close – again, you really must listen to these plays – but the book of the month, yet again, goes to Michael Jecks for The Sticklepath Strangler. Another tale of child murder with some very dark themes, but a fantastic read concerning fear in a medieval village, a complex mystery weaving together multiple strands into a very satisfying read. One of the author’s best works and deserving to be read by all mystery fans.
Tomorrow, it’s the review of the whole year – including the Book Of The Year and, more importantly, Best Joke About Excrement. See you then.
In the meantime, pop over to Mysteries In Paradise for my fellow bloggers picks of the month.