The Puzzly – The ISOTCMN Book Of The Month – May 2018

Can you believe it? It’s almost June already. What happened to 2018?

Anyway, June is going to be a busy month for me, with two Crime Fiction conferences in my diary, the Alibis In The Archive at Gladstone’s Library on 8th-10th of June, and then the Bodies From The Library at the British Library the following Saturday. Oh, and a maths teaching conference at the end of the month, but you probably don’t want to hear about that. There’ll be some posts about the first two, and, for anyone who’s going, I apologise in advance for my personal lack of acting talent – I’ll explain that in a week or so’s time.

But this isn’t the preview of June, it’s the review of May, so what went on this month? Ten books under my belt – still on track for Review 1000 by the end of the year – and a plan for something different coming soon…

The Coming Soon bit first. I recent canvassed opinions on Chapter by Chapter, an idea to take a (still spoiler-free) look at a mystery novel, chapter by, well, chapter. I suggested a few titles and opinion was fairly evenly split, so I decided to have the casting vote. So next month, at some point, I’ll be taking a look at Fear and Trembling by Brian Flynn. I decided on this one as I want to start looking at Flynn in a more in-depth way than I have been doing. As I may have inadvertently become one of the world’s experts on Flynn (if there is another one, that is) I want to start thinking a little more academically about his work and this seems a good way to start. After that, if it works, I might look at the Marsh – an author whose popularity that I want to get to the bottom of.

But this month’s reading? The books were:

Conspiracy At Angel by Brian Flynn – the first absolute duffer from my obsession.

Guess Who? by Chris McGeorge – somewhat bonkers new mystery, but lots of fun.

Murder In The Mill Race by E C R Lorac – another entry in the ongoing “Did Lorac write an outstanding mystery?” investigation.

The Tango School Mystery by Peter Bartram – another trip to Brighton in this nostalgic mystery.

No Law In The Land by Michael Jecks – bad things happen in medieval Devon.

A Deadly Habit by Simon Brett – Charles Paris tries to kick one habit while wearing another.

The Murder Of My Aunt by Richard Hull – a genuine classic from the British Library

The Mystery Of Ruby’s Port by Rose Donovan – an interesting setting for this early twentieth century mystery.

The Case Of The Chinese Gong by Christopher Bush – another first rate missing mystery recovered by Dean St Press.

Swing, Swing Together by Peter Lovesey – Sergeant Cribb takes a trip up the Thames

So which is the best of the month? A lot of good reads without anything obviously standing head and shoulders above the rest. If anything edges it… well, not wishing to sound like a stuck record, but it’s Christopher Bush for the second month running. While it’s by no means perfect, The Case Of The Chinese Gong is a highly entertaining, clever sort-of impossible mystery. Enjoy. There’ll be plenty more Christopher Bush in the future. A close second would be Guess Who? by the way – do take a look. It’s a bit contrived but very entertaining with some clever ideas.

Next month? As I said, a couple of conferences – who else is going to Alibis or Bodies? – and a load more reading. What else?


  1. Can you answer 2 questions about the book which I was not able to figure out (perhaps due to my inattention) ?
    1. Who wrote the threatening letter ?
    2. Where did the bullet go ?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.