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

Another less than productive month, reading-wise at least, has gone by, and I didn’t have Brian Flynn to blame this time. The introductions, apart from The Triple Bite, have been written and sent off, so now you and me both have to just wait until October… In case you missed it, the proposed cover for The Billiard Room Mystery was revealed on the blog a week or so ago, and also appeared in all its glory on my chest at the Bodies From The Library on Saturday. I’ve seen less subtle advertising…

Anyway, the reading this month amounted to a rather disappointing seven books. Well, the books weren’t disappointing. Not all of them, at least, but some of them were slogs to get through. And probably playing too much Assassin’s Creed didn’t help either, but kicking a Spartan off the top of a cliff is a wonderful way to unwind after a hectic day at work…

But the books in question? They were:

The Comedy Club Mystery by Peter Bartram – another light-hearted Colin Crampton mystery. This is a very enjoyable series that you really should check out.

The Puppet Show by M V Craven – a book I started an age ago but put down due to something icky. So glad I picked it up again, this is a fantastic police procedural.

The Man Who Killed Fortescue by John Stephen Strange – read due to the death on the top deck of a moving bus a la Murder En Route by you-know-who, but overall, a disappointing read.

The Red Hand Of Fury by R N Morris – a dark, complex mystery. If you want to know about life in an asylum at the turn of the century, this is the book for you.

Black Summer by M V Craven – the second Washington Poe mystery, and the reason I went back to the first. A cracker.

Murder On The Way! by Theodore Roscoe – a And-Then-There-Were-None pulpy massacre along with at least one impossibility, marred by dialogue and descriptions that would be unacceptable today and, to be honest, surprised me that they were acceptable then. A shame as if you can put that aside, this is really good. But that’s a big if…

A Knife For Harry Dodd by George Bellairs – a complex Golden Age tale, with slightly odd pacing to it, but the writer has a good eye for character – recommended for fans of Lorac.

Book of the month? Well, it’s a choice of two, and they’re both from the same author. Beautifully complex and highly readable, with central characters that you want to know more about, and – finally – a maverick cop with a superior who tends to believe him. And Tilly, Poe’s sidekick, is the best new character I’ve seen in ages. Of the two, I’ll go for Black Summer, mostly because it doesn’t have the image that made me, very foolishly, delay reading The Puppet Show for so long…

So congrats to M W Craven – there’ll be more of his stuff on the blog soon – and let’s hope July has a few more reads than June did. I’m off to a good start as I’ve read two books and a Sherlockian Short already…

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