And now June rolls to an end. Not a bad month for reading, with ten books done and dusted, but it’s a sign of my current distractions that at least four more books have fallen by the wayside. I read a chapter or four and then just… meh. It was rarely a case of active dislike, just that I couldn’t be bothered with them, and finishing them would be an uphill struggle that I didn’t want to undertake. That’s been happening more and more recently – I wish I knew the reason why. If I work it out, I’ll let you know, dear reader.
So what about the ten books that I did finish?
- Death And The Decorator by Simon Brett – more Fethering fun, but another case of the sleuth basically being told who the murderer was, rather than giving the reader a chance to work it out.
- The Puppet Show by M W Craven – even better the second time around. If you haven’t read this series, what the hell are you waiting for?
- Murder Before Evensong by Richard Coles – I wanted to like this a lot more than I did. It’s well written although future plot developments seem inevitable and the ending is a bit of a mess.
- Wake by Shelley Burr – well-written but let down by a slow pace and a severe case of a character keeping things from the reader for the sake of the plot.
- Doubly Dead by Belton Cobb – one really nice idea, but this is middle-of-the-road Cobb at best.
- Death And The Conjuror by Tom Mead – the easiest Book of the… no, hang on, that’s for the next section. Whoops.
- Dark Objects by Simon Toyne – another new release and a bit of a surprise. Good characters and a good, but logical, twist. Would have been a contender were it not for… oh, I’m doing it again, aren’t I?
- The Case Of The Shoplifter’s Shoe by Erle Stanley Gardner – I read it. It was OK. My book group liked it more.
- City Of Brass by Edward D Hoch – a really poor collection of a novella and two short stories. Avoid.
- Golden Age Locked Room Mysteries edited by Otto Penzler – a good collection, but for the novice, as most of these have appeared elsewhere. Good stories though.
Book of the Month? Well, obviously it’s Death And The Conjuror. A shameless (and seemingly effortless) recreation of a 30s style locked room mystery, this is a stunning debut from Tom. Dark Objects is well worth a look for thriller fans, as is The Puppet Show if for some reason you still haven’t read it.
Next month – who knows? Currently reading a very popular thriller from recent years – let’s see if I can finish that before I make more plans… Other than that, some British Library books and, finally, another go at Dorothy L Sayers…