It’s been a funny old month for reading. It’s come in fits and starts, starting slow, loads done in the middle of the month and then hardly anything over the last week or so. Not sure of the reason for the first slow patch – end of term probably – but the last week or so has been due to my dear old Dad being in hospital. For those of you out there who have any sort of belief, do put in a good word for Bob the next time you’re talking to the man/woman/whatever upstairs. Looks like he’s slowly on the mend, but every little helps.
But you’re here first and foremost for the books, so what did I manage this month? Eleven books, all in all, which is pretty good on recent form, but generally low for a normal July – not going away for more than a weekend probably had something to do with that. But let’s take a look at those eleven books.
Those eleven were:
- The Chain by Adrian McKinty – a gripping thriller that just needed a little too much plot leverage to make then end work.
- Bring Her Home by S A Dunphy – a really strong serial killer police procedural, marred a little by an obvious villain. Looking forward to reading the next in the series.
- Death In High Heels by Christianna Brand – a lesser effort from the Queen of Crime that people tend to overlook
- Devil’s Table by Kate Rhodes – police procedural set on the Scilly Isles, one of the strongest of the series to date.
- The Ginza Ghost by Keikichi Osaka – my first attempt at honkaku this month, but not a success.
- Realm Of Darkness by Paul Doherty – the return of Hugh Corbett with a couple of impossible crimes and definitely wins the clue-placement-of-the-month aware.
- Come To Paddington Fair by Derek Smith – a really smart whodunit, with a clever, if a little inevitable, plot.
- The Inugami Curse by Seishi Yokomizo – a much better honkaku, but with some massive plot holes.
- Reputation For A Song by Edward Grierson – a crime novel for anyone who doesn’t want any mystery or excitement getting in the way.
- Murder In The Basement by Anthony Berkeley – perfectly fine (well, the first 99%) but still not convinced by the author.
- The Last Party by Clare Mackintosh – a great way to end the month and a promising start to a new series.
Book of the Month is actually quite a tricky one. I can eliminate a few quite quickly – I really hope the spirit of Edward Grierson wasn’t waiting on tenterhooks – but picking the one that I most enjoyed is a little harder. Enjoyment is always an important part of how I choose the Puzzly and some of the books I enjoyed the most had their flaws. Bring Her Home, for example, was a hugely entertaining and gripping read, but the villain couldn’t have advertised themselves more if they were wearing a black and white stripey jumper and wearing a domino mask. Honourable mentions go to Devil’s Table and Come To Paddington Fair but it comes down to choosing between Realm Of Darkness, the latest Hugh Corbett mystery, and The Last Party, the latest from Clare Mackintosh. Very different books so… stuff it, it’s going to a coin toss. Heads for Paul D, tails for Clare M.
The coin is spinning and the result is…
HEADS! So by a gnat’s whisker, Paul Doherty wins his umpteenth Puzzly for his historical mystery, with a beautifully told tale with multiple mystery strands, some of the impossible crimes, dovetailing into another gripping medieval mystery that, quite frankly, kicks the arse of any Cadfael tale.
But read The Last Party as well…
Next month, loads of new releases – hopefully I’ll get a chance to read them all. I’m already one behind…