Well, September has been a busy old month for the blog. The busiest month yet for visitors to the blog – in part due to a very suspicious spike in my stats on the 16th, but even without that day, it’s been a bit of a record breaker. Obviously everyone is getting excited about the approaching 1000th review, which I’m guessing will be in November. Pretty sure the countdown will kick off next month, but if you want a clue to which ten books will lead up to review 1000 – all Golden Age and unread-by-me authors – then do take a look at the puzzle here.
My other achievement of September? I finally consolidated some of my collection into some sort of order – here’s my John Dickson Carr collection along with all the green Penguins that don’t belong anywhere else…
Note it is missing Til Death Do Us Part (with Kate) and Seeing Is Believing (with JJ) but if anyone sees my copy of Hag’s Nook lying around somewhere, do let me know where it is…
Anyway, the last review of the month was number 983, so still a few to go, but let’s deal with the recent past rather than the future for now. Which of the sixteen (!) books of September takes the Book of the Month?
The books in question were:
- Dead Man’s Prayer by Jackie Baldwin – um, read the review, so I don’t have to be negative about this one twice.
- Murder On The Oxford Canal by Faith Martin – the first book in the Hilary Greene series, showing promise for the series.
- Ten Minute Alibi by Anthony Armstrong – inverted mystery based on a stage play. Interesting but hardly essential.
- The Shrouded Path by Sarah Ward – atmospheric modern day mystery. Superb.
- And So To Murder by Carter Dickson – definitely the pleasant surprise of the month
- The Case Of The Fighting Soldier by Christopher Bush – strong, but not as strong as the other two wartime mysteries from Bush.
- London Particular by Christianna Brand – disappointment of the month.
- The Man Who Loved Clouds by Paul Halter – one of the best from Halter to date.
- The Shaking Spear by Brian Flynn – good late period Flynn but nowhere near his best.
- Challenge the Impossibly by Edward D Hoch – the final Sam Hawthorne compilation. Not the best, but still very good.
- The Singing Masons by Francis Vivian – the other pleasant surprise of the month. How have I never heard of Vivian before?
- Whistle Up The Devil by Derek Smith – a classic locked room mystery
- The Poisoned Chalice Murder by Diane Janes – moving on…
- Another One Goes Tonight by Peter Lovesey – clever, if a bit overlong
- The Corpse In The Car by John Rhode – one of the finest outings for Dr Priestley
- The Hanging Psalm by Chris Nickson – stellar history, lacking in mystery
Hmm, lots of good, not so many outstanding. The Man Who Loved Clouds is rather wonderful, but it does have some flaws. Probably, I really should give the book of the month to The Shrouded Path by friend-of-the-blog Sarah Ward, but she has won it before and I have a debt to repay – I’ve spent a good amount of time bad-mouthing And So To Murder as a rubbish mis-step by Carr, but having finally re-read it, I think it’s rather wonderful. If you go into it not expecting a usual Carr locked-room impossible puzzle, it’s an absolute cracker. So for the first time, John Dickson Carr, with his Carter Dickson hat on, takes the Puzzly.
Right, be back next month for the last few books before the countdown – don’t forget the puzzle! – kicking off with another from Francis Vivian. See you in October!