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

As we enter the 1 1/8th millennium of the blog – seriously, this is post 1126th post – it’s time for something new on the blog – slightly drunk blogging. The blog’s been a bit quiet over the past few days as I’ve been at a conference for Maths teachers – splendid chaps, all of them. That’s not sexist, it’s a Doctor Who quote. Apologies, but with a few (and another few) glasses of wine in me, that’s what you’re going to get. And, if you’re unlucky, some lines from Queen’s “Your My Best Friend”.

I’m dodging the end of the dinner this evening, due to my inability to resist a free bottle of wine that nobody else is drinking if it’s placed in front of me, so I figured, what the hell – it’s Puzzly time! And with a few (and another few) glasses of wine inside me, and a good proportion of this month’s authors no longer being with us, the gloves are most definitely off. And not because I can’t figure out which finger goes where…

Ooh, you make me live!

So, twelve books for June 2017, and I’m making good progress into my Twenty Books of Summer, and, of course, the month also featured the Bodies From The Library conference, my book highlight of the year, where I was really lucky to catch up with some of my favourite authors – Martin Edwards, Dolores Gordon-Smith, Len Tyler and Kate Ellis – for a bit of a chat. And Tony Medawar’s talk on John Rhode was excellent – glad to know it’s not just me. But the reading this month, and for the sake of it, with one or two word mini-reviews.

You Know I’ll Never Be Lonely

The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne – Gripping

The House Without The Door by Elizabeth Daly – Nice Try

Devil’s Reckoning by Miles Burton – Fun

Some Must Watch by Ethel Lina White – Zzzzzz

The Incredible Crime by Lois Austen-Leigh – <expletive deleted>

The Draycott Murder Mystery by Molly Thynne – Class

Conjurer’s Coffin by Guy Cullingford – Classier (Just)

The Gilded Man by Carter Dickson – Fun (Again)

Motives For Murder by The Detection Club – Seriously Classy

Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? by Agatha Christie – Romp

Tragedy On The Line by John Rhode – 75% Excellent

Taking Detective Stories Seriously – Seriously Entertaining

I’ve been with you such a long time

So, the Puzzly… in terms of the Golden Age, I think it would have to be Conjurer’s Coffin, with The Draycott Murder Mystery a close second, but in the spirit(s) of the evening…

I really love the things that you do

… the Puzzly goes to some of my author chums. Motives For Murder is a fantastic collection of short stories and I was delighted that my friends-of-the-blog delivered the finest tales in a strong collection. It’s not often that I can share my Book Of The Month with four of my favourite living authors – if only Paul Doherty had contributed, and it would have been almost a full house – so it’s a real pleasure and a chance to say thanks for all of the enjoyment over the years gone and the years to come. And good luck to Martin, Michael and Len in the Short Story Dagger. To be fair, there’s a fourth, also excellent, nominee in the collection, Michael Ridpath, but, apart from sharing an Oxford college with him (I think) once upon a time, our paths haven’t crossed. But that’s another excellent story too.

There’s no point in being grown-up if you can’t be childish sometimes.

Sorry, that’s the Doctor again…

And just because it’s awesome and only one day away… Spoilers for episode 11…


  1. “THE INCREDIBLE CRIME — expletive deleted?” I’m not sure how to interpret that. I just read the book and would give it a high mark (although not the highest) I gather you did not like it. Oh well. I, mostly and usually, agree with your opinions but would differ on this one.


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