The Puzzly – The ISOTCMN Book Of The Month – May 2015

Well, as you might have noticed, it’s been Golden Age month on the blog – some musings on what the Golden Age actually is (or, more technically, what people mean when they say that a book is written in the Golden Age style) and some authors that I’ve either not read enough of or not read any of. Anyway, the Golden Age investigations will continue next month but in the meantime, here’s this month’s round-up, along with the Book Of The Month.

A total of fourteen books this month, of which eight or nine are from the Golden Age – the confusion comes from whether you count Miss Silver Comes To Stay, written in 1949 by an author who started out between the wars and is very definitely in the accepted style. So with all of those, it’d have to be one of the classics that’s won the Puzzly, surely?

The books in question are:

Yes, I know, it ought to be Roger Ackroyd, but it’s got enough plaudits already.

Little Black Lies 2The Golden Age books ranged from excellent (the Jerrold books) to disappointing (Traitor’s Purse) but two books really blew me away this month, and neither of them were from the Golden Age, and they’re both very different. The Herring Seller’s Apprentice is a charming fair-play mystery with an original (as far as I know) twist and Little Black Lies is a tense mystery-thriller that is possibly the finest book yet from one of my favourite authors… Well, based on the fact that I couldn’t put it down, and for the breathtaking chapter involving the whales, the Puzzly this month has to go to Sharon Bolton for Little Black Lies. Another month or so until it’s out in the UK, but it’s definitely worth the wait.

So next month, more Golden Age from Beeding, Berkeley, Iles (yes, I know), Allingham, Sayers and whoever else I can fit in. Apologies if you’re waiting on a review from me, but they’re on their way too. Oh, and read The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd if you haven’t already…


    • Maybe he’ll be next to get a ‘re-release. I picked this one as another of these were recommended by Martin Edwards for his talk at The Bodies From The Library so maybe they’re coming soon from the British Library Crime Classics range


  1. I note that the next book is Death Walks In Eastrepps by Francis Beeding. I am sure you would guess the murderer before it is announced.
    The Norwich Victims, another book by the author, is also worth reading.


  2. Most of Beeding’s books are espionage and adventure and not true detective novels though all of them include loads of criminal activity and murders. I’m surprised none of the other books (the spy novels with Colonel Granby, I mean) ever get reprinted, but maybe they’re too dated for modern readers. Regardless of being set in the post WW1 era I really enjoyed most of them. However, I wasn’t too impressed with DEATH WALKS IN EASTREPPS, apparently the most famous of the Beeding novels to modern audiences. The best part of that book is the excellently depicted creepy atmosphere but nothing surprising. As Santosh implies he did I also guessed the killer very early on.

    I think I’m going to have to try one of Bolton’s books very soon.


  3. I have yet to try Beeding as well. I have Death Walks in Eastrepps (which sounds like it may not be a winner, though well-known) and then I also have The Nine Waxed Faces (one of those elusive Colonel Granby books that John mentions above). I lucked into that one at my current favorite used bookstore.


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