Never thought this would happen – my blog has reached its fiftieth post and is still going strong. I figured this would be a good time to review what I’ve learned over the course of the last few months.
– My blog has succeeded in its primary objective, which is to help me get over my “reader’s block”. Given how much I love reading and yet paradoxically how few books that I’ve read recently, since starting the blog four months ago, I’ve averaged at least a book and a half per week.
– The classic authors are still great! I was delighted to discover that I’ve forgotten the details of a number of John Dickson Carr books, so I’ve had the pleasure of reading them all over again and still being caught out. Thanks to Sergio over at Tipping My Fedora, I’ve discovered a whole raft of “proper” Ellery Queen novels that I hadn’t read before, and there are a number of unread Agatha Christie novels on my shelf.
– Speaking of unread novels, I must stop ordering books when I’ve still got a raft of them to read.
– The other point of the blog was to find the classic fairplay mysteries that were still being written. In terms of older authors, Nicholas Blake is the prime discovery – I’d read Head of a Traveller before, but never realised how extensive his bibliography is. The jury’s still out on Edmund Crispin, but he’ll get another chance.
– In terms of newer authors, obviously there’s Nev Fountain, who regular readers know that I’ll plug at the drop of a hat – hey, I want people to buy the Mervyn Stone books so Nev will write some more. I’m selfish. But there’s also the Holmes on the Range series by Steve Hockensmith (subject of the next post) and the Bryant and May novels of Christopher Fowler, which will also get coverage soon. Simon Brett’s Fethering mysteries (OK, I’ve only read the first one so far) also seem to have a lot of potential.
– Historical novels tend to sacrifice plot in favour of historical colour. Research is still ongoing on this one – On The Wrong Track, the subject of my next review, would seem to buck the trend, but then does the Wild West really count as historical? Is it too recent? I should also point out that I have forgotten to mention, favourably, in this context the Matthew Shardlake books by CJ Sansom, but to be fair, I have only read the first one – that had a nice balance between the two strands.
A big thank you for any suggestions for books made by my readers (especially you, Sergio!) and if anyone out there has any more suggestions for great obscure classic mysteries, then I’m all ears. And if any publishers want to send me free books, then I’ll gladly review them… (you never know, that might work…)