So June 2021, and normal service has been resumed on the blog – indeed, it almost seems like I was overdoing it, with thirteen books in a non-holiday month. All of my various deadline, both work-related and Brian Flynn-related were put to rest at the start of the month, so I’ve been letting myself indulge in some quality reading time. The fact that Professor (formerly Mrs) Puzzle Doctor has been watching wall-to-wall cricket, tennis and football helps, to be honest…
So, thirteen books. What were they, what did I think of them and which was the best read of the month?
- A Shroud For Rowena by Virginia Rath – last month’s book club title and… meh.
- The House Of Crows by Paul Doherty – a re-read of one of my favourite Brother Athelstan mysteries.
- The Glass Thief by Gigi Pandian – a fun light read with the impossible murder of the same man twice.
- The Tiger’s Head by Paul Halter – a re-read to remind myself about my issue with the murderous genie. I put that issue to bed and came up with a new one…
- This Undesirable Residence by Miles Burton – a bit dull and undermined by a standard mystery trick that does anything but misdirect.
- The Man Who Died Twice by George Harmon Coxe – a new author to me, an under-clued but fun read.
- Strictly Murder by Julie Wassmer – one of the better books in this quality cosy series, undermined a bit by another standard mystery trick that does anything but misdirect.
- Death In A Million Living Rooms by Patricia McGerr – murder live on TV in this entertaining mystery, which would have been let down by a standard mystery trick but as I didn’t spot it…
- Hostage by Clare Mackintosh – a tense, gripping thriller with one twist too many for my liking
- Truth Or Dare by M J Arlidge – nothing to do with game playing, despite the blurb and title, but a too-unbelievable plot by the villain for me.
- The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza by Lawrence Block – near perfect entertainment. Such a great narrative voice.
- The Wychford Poisoning Case by Anthony Berkeley – if you like your detective to be an overbearing arsehole, his sidekick to indulge in spanking grown women to make them behave and your mysteries to have an remarkably disappointing solution, this one is for you! Do you think they’ll put that on the blurb?
- Penelope’s Web by Paul Halter – a return to form for the translations of Halter, with a much more focused tale.
So, book of the month? No clear winner here, I’m afraid. It could be the McGerr book, which I enjoyed immensely, especially the behind-the-scenes stuff of a TV show, although it goes a bit thriller-y at the end. No, this month’s Puzzly goes to someone who doesn’t need any more awards, especially imaginary ones like this – Lawrence Block. The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza was exactly the book I needed at the time I read it – Bernie Rhodenbarr is such good company and I’m looking forward to meeting up with him again soon.
So next month? Well, there are new books from Catherine Ryan Howard and Martin Edwards, and some classic crime fiction yet to be decided on. See you soon.