The Puzzly – The ISOTCMN Book Of The Month – May 2017

Well, just managed to sneak my last read of the month under the wire, but it’s the end of the month so it’s time for the Puzzly for May 2017.

It’s been a hectic month, what with exam season at school and some personal stuff – nothing to worry about, just necessitating a bit of time to-ing and fro-ing (and not reading). I’ll be honest and say that I’m surprised that, checking back over the month, I read nine books. It feels more like five. So, without further ado, the books were:

The Burial Hour by Jeffrey Deaver – not his best, but as that’s a very high standard to compare to, it’s still a good fast-paced twisty thriller.

The Hanging Woman by John Rhode – one of the best outings for Priestley so far for me, with a hanged woman linked to a mysterious plane crash.

The Beast Must Die by Nicholas Blake – one of the CWA Top 100 Mystery Novels and despite dragging in the middle third a little, it’s still a very clever mystery.

The Sixteenth Stair by E R C Lorac – perfectly fun if a little unremarkable GA mystery.

A Murder Too Soon by Michael Jecks – the second Jack Blackjack mystery as he bumps into Princess Elizabeth while trying to find the killer of a woman that he himself was supposed to kill.

The Robthorne Mystery by John Rhode – even better than The Hanging Woman, this takes a standard mystery trope – identical twins – and adds an original spin on the tale. A classic.

Miraculous Mysteries ed Martin Edwards – an interesting collection of impossible crimes, but maybe missing an out and out classic.

Scared To Death by Kate Medina – a strong psychological mystery, a follow-up to Fire Damage.

The Nine Cuts by Brian Flynn – the penultimate book by this much-ignored Golden Age writer.

So without further ado… ugh. I enjoyed every book this month. Some more than others, admittedly, but… blimey. It’s a tricky one. Both Rhode titles were outstanding, some of his best, and one of them is actually available if you can work the Internet Archive. But I think I’ll go for a modern title this month and it comes down to two books. Kate Medina’s Scared To Death came very close, but, partly because it was a bit more fun to read, the Puzzly goes, regardless of being insulted by the author (sort of), to Michael Jecks for A Murder Too Soon. A fun historical mystery, making good use of a fairly amoral lead character in an entertaining way. And I didn’t spot the murderer, which was a bonus.

So, be back next month for… well, basically a load more Golden Age stuff  in preparation for the Bodies In The Library conference at the British Library on Saturday 17th – tickets still on sale. And a couple of new releases as well.


  1. Organised as ever. Still got my monthly round up to write and I haven’t decided which one I enjoyed the most yet. Hopefully figure that out by the time I get to the end of the post. Really looking forward to the conference.


  2. Well, it does sound like quality triumphed over quantity this month (although nine is still an impressive number). Glad to hear that all of them were good. Have a spectacular June!


  3. Well, PD, you’re a better man than I – but I’m giving my last final today and thus hope to be more productive in June. I want you to know that, thanks to you, I bought my first John Rhode (Dead of the Night) in a gorgeous period paperback I found yesterday. I also recently stated Sometimes I Lie – something different!

    I look forward to your June reads and wish I could join the gang at the BL event!


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