The Puzzly – The ISOTCMN Book Of The Month – April 2016

And so April 2016 draws to a close. Yes, we are already one third of the way through the International Year Of Pulses – An International Year designation provides an unprecedented opportunity to raise awareness and to celebrate the role of beans, chickpeas, lentils and other pulses in feeding the world. Even more importantly, it will be a galvanizing moment to draw together key actors to further the contributions pulses make to health, nutrition, and sustainability. So now you know. Go Lentils!

April was the month where I finally bought a book this year – well, it was a first edition of John Rhode’s The Venner Crime for £1.50. I may have resolutions, but I’m not stupid. Actually, I grabbed a copy of Miles Burton’s Situation Vacant, also for a pittance, so next month on the blog is going to be Cecil Street aka John Rhode aka Miles Burton month. And if anyone can come up with a catchy epithet instead of that mouthful, do give me a shout. With luck, there’ll be at least four from the neglected prolific Golden Age scribe. Or I end up getting bogged down with work…

But that’s next month – this month also saw the complete non-surprise of A Murder Is Announced being voted the best Miss Marple novel, with The Moving Finger coming a close second and the rather surprising Sparkling Cyanide being voted best non-series book (apart from that one on the island). I mused on the attraction, or lack thereof, of historical mysteries – might have a few more thoughts on that one in the future – and multiple reviews for both Michael Jecks and Julie Wassmer, who also did an interview with me. But which of the twelve books walks off with the Puzzly?

The books in question were:

You know it’s been a good reading month when one of the weakest entries was from Agatha Christie. In fact, the only stinker was Early Morning Murder, where the author tried something different and just didn’t pull it off. Other than that, I’d recommend any of the other books. But the standouts – Inspector Singh was a very pleasant surprise, a mix of traditional with very modern, Tastes Like Fear sidestepped the issues that I had with Someone Else’s Skin to produce a highly effective thriller, Julie Wassmer’s books were both charming traditional mysteries but at the end of the day – it’s down to deciding which book from two from the same author.

Rebellions MessageDeath ShipAct Of Vengeance is a gripping spy thriller but that’s not my favourite genre, so it’s down to one of the finest entries in one of my favourite series, the Knight(s) Templar Mysteries, or the opening title in Michael’s latest series. And I really can’t decide, so, as with David Mark a couple of months ago, one author will have to share this month’s Puzzly between two of his books. I heartily recommend The Death Ship Of Dartmouth and Rebellion’s Message, so get down to your nearest bookshop or library and read them both. History fan or not, I assure you, you won’t regret it. Just ask Sergio’s Mum…

So next month, loads from Street/Burton/Rhode, a couple (including the latest) from Paul Cornell and the latest from Mark Billingham. Unless I get distracted by something else of course…


  1. Looking forward to your Burton/Rhode pieces next month. As to a title for them you could always use the phrase: Gone for Burton? (Seems the phrase can also start with ‘went’, but I think gone sounds better.)


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