So, September is here. What’s changed? Not a lot, apart from a rising dread of school going back to normal when the rest of the world hasn’t. I’m double-vaccinated, so I know that IF I get IT, there’s a very low chance of it hitting me hard, but even so, as a teacher of 11 to 18 year-olds, I can’t claim not to be nervous about the whole thing.
And the TBR pile is growing a bit too. My apologies in advance for anyone who’s noticed me downloading their book from NetGalley and is anxiously awaiting the review – or even sent me a book. Sorry, but running a little behind at the moment, but I promise, no more Golden Age obscurities until I’m on top of things. Probably.
Anyway, what did I read in August and what was the best of the bunch?
Seventeen books in total, with my total bumped up by a couple of trips indulging myself in the Bodleian. Deep breath…
- The Case Of The Painted Ladies by Brian Flynn – a mysterious death leads to the trapping of a villain on a radio panel game.
- Murder At The Seaview Hotel by Glenda Young – very enjoyable cosy, let down a smidge by the murderer being unmasked by chance rather than detection.
- Half Past Tomorrow by Chris George – an odd thriller about a pirate radio station predicting the future. Enjoyable, if a little slow to get going, and at least one twist requires a lot of swallowing.
- The Stone Chamber by Kate Ellis – another jigsaw puzzle of a mystery interlinking two cases from the past with a present day murder. First rate.
- Till Death Do Us Part by John Dickson Carr – one of the finest murder mysteries ever written. Simple as that.
- Murder By The Book ed. Martin Edwards – a compilation of classic short stories concerning books and booksellers.
- A Line To Kill by Anthony Horowitz – outstanding “proper” mystery, the best of this series to date.
- 56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard – a couple chooses to go into lockdown together, only for one to end up dead. Clever time-jumping narrative.
- Dead Men At The Folly by John Rhode – probably the most disappointing of my obscurities this month, but I can’t help wondering if it was because I read it directly after the next title…
- Death Of Two Brothers by Miles Burton – one of the rarest Burton titles due to its wartime publication and lack of reprints. An absolute shame, as it’s a really interesting, enjoyable and original title.
- The Cutting Edge by Jeffrey Deaver – Lincoln Rhyme tackles a serial killer who is targeting engaged couples. Or is it more complicated than that? [Yes, obviously…]
- So Pretty A Problem by Francis Duncan – easily the most disappointing read of the month. What could be an interesting idea is lost in the structure and execution.
- The Running Nun by Brian Flynn – not one of the upcoming re-releases, but a clever mystery concerning an unpleasant individual framed (or was he?) for murder.
- Sergeant Ross In Disguise by Belton Cobb – the debut of a new lead for Cobb who promptly becomes a support character for Cheviot Burmann. Oh, and it features Nazis and the IRA, set at the eve of the war, in an enjoyable fairly clued mystery…
- Up The Garden Path by Miles Burton – the butler didn’t do it, unless “it” means “get murdered on the path to a policeman’s house. Top notch wartime mystery.
- Bricklayer’s Arms by John Rhode – another enjoyable Rhode title, despite the murder method needing to be filed under “wouldn’t ever work”…
- The Moorland Murderers by Michael Jecks – another escapade for Jack Blackjack as he flees London to Devon only to end up in even more trouble than usual.
Well, apologies to Anthony Horowitz – any other month, A Line To Kill would have walked it (with The Stone Chamber and The Moorlands Murderers close behind) but as I said, the British Library has re-released Till Death Us Do Part this month, and it’s one of the finest mysteries ever written. So the Puzzly goes, posthumously, to the great John Dickson Carr for this masterpiece.
Next month, we’ve a bundle of historical titles, along with the new title from Richard Osman. Let’s face it, they’ll probably be some more John Rhode/Miles Burton titles too…