The Puzzly – The ISOTCMN Book Of The Month – January 2019

Sound the trumpets, it’s time for the first book of the month for 2019! As I stare out the window wishing for the snow to arrive to give me a day off school – apologies for those genuinely suffering due to the deluge in their part of the country/world – it’s time to take a look at January.

First off though, a brief digression that may become a regular end-of-month-post feature.

Film Of The Month – Mary Poppins Returns. Well, I went to see two films this month, with plans to increase that over the year, but I’m still humming the tunes (and apologies to those near me) sometimes singing them. The other film was Oscar-favourite The Favourite, which while exceptionally well-acted, lost points for a) constant use of a fish-eye lens to fit the scenery in that kept making me think that I’d left my reading glasses on, b) a random horse ride that only serves to move the plot forward and c) an ending that just made me think of the Father Ted episode, “The Plague”.

Television Of The Month – Death In Paradise, obviously. Ardal O’Hanlon has really grown into the role now and the new addition to the cast, Ruby, is loads of fun. But sorry to say, Mr Thorogood, sir, but it’s 4-0 to me.

Musical Of The Month – OK, this definitely won’t be a regular feature, but I went to see Wicked the other day in the West End – best school trip ever!

Right, back to what you came for – the Book Of The Month!

Eleven books this month. Which were:

OK, which one gets the Puzzly? I think it comes down to three very different, hugely entertaining reads. First off, in the historical category, The Bleak Midwinter – alternating between amusing and chilling, and clearly inspired by modern events, this is a truly impressive historical read that swept me away. Second, in the classic genre, Who Killed Dick Whittington?, a fun traditional mystery, with some real and understandable scientific detection, and a genuine surprise at the end. But finally, I’m afraid someone has outdone Frankie Goes To Hollywood. They had number ones with their first three singles. Well, this gentleman has won the Puzzly with his first four books.

Did I mention how much I like Death In Paradise? Well it’s not just that – these are entertaining, well-plotted, funny and warm-hearted mystery novels that would do well without the series to back them up. Murder In The Caribbean does a really good job of using the novel form to go beyond the format of the series and present a different sort of mystery. So congratulations to Robert Thorogood – four wins out of four.

Right, February beckons. I’ve a blog tour or two to take part in, and the latest reissue from Richard Hull under my belt already – I actually read thirteen books this month, but I don’t want to spoil you. Some other new titles, some other old titles… who knows.

And just in case you need some inspiration to get back to reading – take it away, Mary Poppins!


  1. Glad you enjoyed Mary Poppins 2 as well. As a firm favourite of the original I was unsure how I would take to a sequel. But I think they did a good job. TV and Film of the month segments sound like fun, so look forward to seeing what wins those categories next.


  2. Glad that Death in Paradise takes the award for the forth time! I liked the first three novels, and received the fourth one as a Christmas present – from a friend I introduced GA mystery writing to, as well as the Death in Paradise series. 😁

    Regarding Len Tyler’s John Grey series – is it one that is best read from the start? Or will I be better hooked in trying out a later entry, before returning to the beginning? 🤔 I find I don’t always go well with historical mysteries.


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