One month to go from this wonderful year. The end of 2020 couldn’t come soon enough – surely 2021 will be a bit brighter? Well, with a bit of luck, there will be some more Brian Flynn books heading your way, so you’ve got that to look forward to at least. And in case you missed the news, Dean Street Press will be also reprinting the ultra-rate Cecil Waye novels, books written by John Rhode/John Street/Miles Burton under yet another pen-name.
But we’re not there yet. We’ve got December to get through first – although my Coffee and Crime Advent Calendar will help with that. As I imagine you probably won’t have one, you can still have some Advent fun as I’ll be running a Guess-The-Book Advent game on Twitter – it’s @puzzledoctor, in case you weren’t aware.
But before we get to December, I need to take a look back at November and the books that I’ve reviewed and pick the Book of the Month. That’s what I’m here for after all…
Twelve books in total – not bad for November, and definitely not bad for this November. Oh, and a very strange comment or two on some posts, one new, one old. I’ll let you track those down, but it seems I have a new nickname. Which was nice. Anyway, the books:
- Dance of Death by Helen McCloy – interesting debut for Basil Willings, whose mysteries are being reprinted by Agora Books. Not a classic, but there are better books to come.
- The Strange Case Of The Barrington Hills Vampire by James Scott Byrnside – a fun Golden Age homage, with a lot of clever ideas but possibly just a little overstuffed.
- Pulpit Rock by Kate Rhodes – the best book in this series since the opener, Hell Bay, a series that I’ve enjoyed a lot since finding it.
- Fortune Favours The Dead by Stephen Spotswood – a very strong debut novel, with a fascinating pair of lead characters that I look forward to seeing more of. More noir than traditional mystery though…
- Fatal Dose by Belton Cobb – from the heart of the Golden Age and good luck finding a copy. The middle section sags a tad, but one of the sweetest pieces of deduction and hiding a clue in plain sight that I’ve seen.
- Riddle Of A Lady by Anthony Gilbert – suffers from not being able to decide what sort of mystery it is, with a trick pulled on the reader that just came across as cheap to me.
- The Beach Party Mystery by Peter Bartram – another fun entry in the Colin Crampton series.
- The Killing Way by Anthony Hays – somewhat repetitive King Arthur mystery which makes a major mis-step in the choice of villain.
- The Platinum Cat by Miles Burton – another GA classic that you almost certainly won’t be able to find. Some really clever ideas going on here with an unexpected resolution.
- The Anger of God by Paul Doherty – my comfort re-read of the month. As enjoyable as ever.
- Guilt At The Garage by Simon Brett – fans of the Fethering series will know what to expect.
- The Case Of The Purple Calf by Brian Flynn – not the place to start if you want to sample the Mighty Flynn.
So, Book of the Month? Hmmm… The Platinum Cat was an excellent piece of Golden Age Dection, as was Fatal Dose, but both of those aren’t going to be that easy to track down copies of. So if you want a book that you can get hold of, then it’s Fortune Favours The Dead or The Strange Case Of The Barrington Hills Vampire. But for sheer cleverness of a simple clue perfectly hidden in plain sight, then the Puzzly goes to Belton Cobb for Fatal Dose.