Well, January has rolled around once again and it’s been a fairly productive one for me. I finally got round to joining the Golden Age Detection group over on Facebook, I fought off a dose of the flu (I think that’s what it was) and, making a good start to the year, got twelve books under my belt. Technically, it’s not the twelve listed below – one review copy was read last month, and I’ve read one book that’s coming out (along with its review) next month, but I’m quite pleased with that. I’ve upped my Goodreads challenge this year to 111 books, mostly for the number’s aesthetic qualities, so I’m well on track. The actual target is to finish this year with my 1000th book review – that’s 115 books away, stat-fans, so let’s see how that goes. Will I hit the target? Will I miss it? Will I forget about it and discover in hindsight that I read any old thing? [Hint: based on past experience, it’s probably the last one…]
Anyway, back to this month. Which were the highs, which were the lows and which book walks away with the first Puzzly of 2018?
The books in question were:
- Poison For One – a classic John Rhode mystery, well-clued, despite the dodgy chemistry
- Ordeal by Fire by Sarah Hawkswood – interesting historical that didn’t quite work for me, but I’ll be back for more soon.
- Malice In Maggody by Joan Hess – A distinctly uncozy cozy mystery.
- Elephants Can Remember by Agatha Christie – an interesting but not particularly good entry in the Poirot canon
- The Gold Deadline by Herbert Resnicow – “locked” opera box mystery with a stunningly unconvincing method
- The Three Corpse Trick by Miles Burton – another from John Street/Rhode, and another damn fine one.
- Tricks Of The Trade by Euan B Pollock – very promising debut in the classic mystery vein
- The Case Of The April Fools by Christopher Bush – a welcome re-issue for this (and the other first ten) from the long-lost mystery novelist.
- Perfect Death by Helen Fields – perfectly fine but unspectacular modern thriller
- Seven Dead by J Jefferson Farjeon – an odd combination of mystery and thriller that works well in places…
- The Murders Near Mapleton by Brian Flynn – fun Golden Age should-be-classic that happily ignores any thoughts of plausibility…
- The Stingaree Murders by W Shepard Pleasants – turn a blind eye to the racism (stronger than anything that I’ve seen before from the period) and there are things of interest here. Not a classic, though.
So, Book Of The Month – definitely going back to the Golden Age this month, although Tricks Of The Trade is definitely worth a look. It’s between Brian Flynn, John Rhode/Miles Burton and Christopher Bush – the men who should be reprinted and the man who is. The Flynn, Rhode and Bush books have something in common, as in all three cases, I figured out whodunit, in one case very early on, but still loved the book, never once getting bored with them.
So, basically because Brian Flynn and John Street have won the Puzzly a few times before, this month, the Puzzly goes to Christopher Bush for The Case Of The April Fools. A bargain on ebook from Dean Street Press, there really is no excuse for not checking out this one. And there’s another ten coming next month…
Next month for me? New releases from Jane Harper, Lisa Gardner and Kate Ellis, more from the good old days from Lorac, Rhode, Flynn and Bush and… who knows? See you in February.