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

Well, I’m back from holiday with only eight reviews to write. Good thing school doesn’t start until… [checks diary]… oh, swearword. You can tell the start of term is imminent, I’ve got my personal swearing filter switched on.

I’m going to count those eight books – And So in no Particular order, a Spear, a Soldier, some Masons, a Canal, a Prayer and a Path – as September reads as I haven’t written the reviews yet, but three of them at least are outstanding, so I’ve only got nine books to choose from for August for the Puzzly – my book of the month with the prize of a little free advertising by providing my wallpaper for the month.

The books in question are:

Pursuit Of A Parcel by Patricia Wentworth – a fun wartime adventure but without any real mystery.

Tied To Deceit by Neena H Brar – an impressive debut novel concerning the murder in the Himachal Pradesh state of India

Bloodmoon by Peter Tremayne – the latest Sister Fidelma mystery, a fairly non-standard entry into the series.

Nine Times Nine by Anthony Boucher – a murderer vanishes from inside a locked room in this classic.

The Lair Of The White Fox by Peter Tremayne – a more traditional Fidelma mystery novella

Bodies From The Library edited by Tony Medawar – an essential collection of long-lost short stories from the Golden Age greats

A Missed Murder by Michael Jecks – the third outing for Jack Blackjack in the court of Queen Mary

The Arsenal Stadium Mystery by Leonard Gribble – I know, watching Arsenal would make anyone want to kill someone on the pitch…

Gallows Court by Martin Edwards – in which Martin tries to invent a new genre, a hybrid of classic mystery and Deaver-esque twisty thriller, and succeeds magnificently.

Any other month and this would be very difficult – Tied To Deceit, Nine Times Nine, The Lair Of The White Fox, Bodies From The Library and A Missed Murder would all be very hard to distinguish between. So a big thank you to Martin Edwards for the review copy of Gallows Court, a truly outstanding piece of work that will be vying for Book Of The Year. It’s out on Tuesday 4th September so pre-order your copy now. Or just buy it if you’re reading it after that date, obviously…

Still on the lookout for recommendations for Review 1000 – when I’ve written the outstanding reviews, there’s only 25 books to go. I’m looking for an author who:

  • Writes classic-style mysteries
  • Has a reasonable back catalogue
  • I have never reviewed (and preferably read) before

I’m going to be doing ten such reviews (991 to 1000) so any recommendations are gratefully received. I could really do with a few more modern authors.

Right, off to start the reviews. And I’ll do the hardest one to write first…


  1. I would love to read your thoughts on Tana French’s first two mysteries, “In the Woods” and “The Likeness.” I’ve been reading murder mysteries for 30 years and rarely have any characters and scenes stuck with me the way these have. (And thanks for all the recommendations over the years!)


  2. Thanks for reminding us about ‘Gallows Court’, which I’m looking forward to. My local library stocks Martin Edwards’s Lake District series, so I’m slightly torn between reading it ASAP on my Kindle, or waiting to see if a copy appears in the library catalogue.

    I was slightly surprised ‘Tied to Deceit’ was in the running with the other novels you nearly put through for the Puzzly this month, as I vaguely recalled it receiving a lesser rating than those other titles. Has your opinion evolved since then?

    I was going to suggest Faith Martin, as she has an extensive back-catalogue you haven’t touched. But you have read/reviewed her recently. I don’t believe you have reviewed Guy Fraser Sampson before – but he only has 4 novels under his belt to date (I think). I don’t feel like I know of many contemporary writers who produce classic-style mysteries – and those I know are largely recommendations from your blog!


  3. I read a good Magdalen Nabb mystery decades ago, but cannot remember if it was fairly clued or not.

    PD James is easily available …

    Conrad Allen wrote some pleasant mysteries set on ocean liners.


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