The Puzzly – The ISOTCMN Book Of The Month – January 2022

New Year, same old nonsense. January wasn’t a bad month for reading. It started a lot faster than it finished, with ten books in total. I also found time to chat about the best John Dickson Carr books and have a rant about people’s inability to understand the term “locked room mystery”. A quick update on this one – replied to a publisher’s promotional tweet about a new book asking if it was an actual locked room… still waiting on the reply. Remember, if you come across one of these imposters, the hashtag is #notalockedroom.

Meanwhile back to the reading – the books in question were:

The Chapel In The Woods by Dolores Gordon-Smith – Jack Haldean comes up against a possible werejaguar. Honest!

Death Of A Bridegroom by John Rhode – competent late Rhode, far from his best.

Drink Alone And Die by Belton Cobb – one of the better poisoning mysteries by Cobb

Dark Pines by Will Dean – people rave about this. I didn’t, just didn’t see what all the fuss was about.

Seven Clues In Search Of A Crime by Bruce Graeme – a clever structure, but didn’t exactly click for me.

Odor Of Violets by Baynard Kendrick – a blind detective can’t tell if he’s in a cosy mystery or a spy thriller.

Black Run by D L Marshall – the sequel to Anthrax Island, very exciting read but the locked room mystery seemed more of an afterthought.

The Plymouth Cloak by Kate Sedley – the second Roger The Chapman mystery, and again, still don’t quite see what the fuss is.

The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett – extraordinarily clever mystery, although the pacing was a bit off.

The Witch Of The Low Tide by John Dickson Carr – far from his best but further from his worst.

I’ll be honest, I thought that the book of the month would be difficult this month, given that it involved the sequels to my two favourite books of last year, but Black Run and The Twyford Code sit in a firm third and second place behind an outstanding classic mystery. Without updating the genre at all, Dolores Gordon-Smith has created a perfect classic mystery, the first in a long, long time that has genuinely surprised me with the reveal. The Chapel In The Woods is outstanding and I’m looking forward to going back the Jack Haldean back catalogue over the course of the year.

Next month – who knows? Somethings old and somethings new, certainly…


  1. Regarding the book of the month, why is the kindle edition almost as costly as the hard cover edition ? Does the publisher want the reader to turn to the free book market (euphemism for illegal resources) ?


  2. I agree completely. Severn House only harm the author’s interest . Dean Street/British Library etc etc have shown the way…sensible prices and no need to be tempted to go to …shock horror..illegal sites. A pity because this author really does do good ” period ” crime stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

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