It’s fair to say that October has been a bit of a Golden Age-y month on the blog, with Carr, Christie, Farjeon, Haynes and Rutland all getting some attention from me. This is for a few reasons, but mostly due to the British Library and Dean Street Press sending me stuff for review. And I never say no to a free book. Actually, that’s not true – I’ve said no to a lot of things recently, due to being thrillers or supernatural stuff, rather than mysteries. But I won’t say no to a mystery – or even a thriller that’s pretending to be a mystery, as is the case with one of the reviews this month. Yes, I’m looking at you, Mr Farjeon…
But there’s a bundle of other stuff this month – fourteen books in total. So which one is waltzing off with the Puzzly?
The books in question were:
- Playing With Fire by Kerry Wilkinson
- A Day In The Death Of Dorothea Cassidy by Ann Cleeves
- The Outlaws of Ennor by Michael Jecks
- Chef Maurice and the Bunny-Boiler Bake Off by J A Lang
- Blood Will Tell by Jeanne M Dams
- The Dead Man’s Knock by John Dickson Carr
- The Crystal Beads Murder by Annie Haynes
- Thirteen Guests by J Jefferson Farjeon
- The Sleeping Sphinx by John Dickson Carr
- Lights, Camera, Murder! by Marie Celine
- Hallowe’en Party by Agatha Christie
- The Z Murders by J Jefferson Farjeon
- The Man With The Dark Beard by Annie Haynes
- Knock, Murderer, Knock! by Harriet Rutland
On top of all of those, I watched the Spooks honest-it’s-a-film-not-just-a-long-tv-episode and banged on a bit about John Dickson Carr’s golden and not-so-golden years. Those posts seemed pretty popular, so do feel free to take a look if you haven’t already.
But, the Puzzly… It’s actually a bit tricky, due to the split between Golden Age and modern books, so I’m going to do a joint Puzzly this month – one for the Golden Age and one for the modern. The Golden Age one, I think, comes down to two books, namely Thirteen Guests and Knock, Murderer, Knock! As the second one is just a little more focussed than the first, and had me smiling a lot while I read it, I think Harriet Rutland just pips J Jefferson Farjeon for this one. As for the modern Puzzly, in any other month, A Day In The Death Of Dorothea Cassidy would have walked off with it, as would The Outlaws of Ennor (despite me still being cross at naughty Sir Baldwin – how could he have SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER?) but it’s not an ordinary month as my favourite new series, by quite some distance, had it’s third book out this month. Chef Maurice and the Bunny-Boiler Bake Off, a true homage to Golden Age plotting
while having a sense of humour that just hits the spot with me, walks away with it. The scene where Chef Maurice… does something that Poirot would never do is still with me and just thinking about it, I’ve got a silly grin on my face.
So, two joint Puzzly winners this month – and several other great reads – I haven’t mentioned Playing With Fire or The Crystal Beads Murder, so congratulations to J A Lang and to Harriet Rutland (albeit posthumously in that case). And thanks to Dean Street Press for republishing her work, and, more importantly, sending me a copy of it.
Next month – still got that Golden Age bug, so more Haynes, more Rutland, more of the British Library classics and probably more Carr as well. But next up is my 800th post in which I interview… myself – still haven’t plucked up the courage to interview a real author. If anyone’s got any question that I can ask myself, then do add them to the comments below. And directly after that, it’s my 600th review. And I think I’ve picked an appropriate book for that one…*
*Don’t know why I’m being mysterious – just look at the column on the right-hand side to see what it is.