Well, it’s the end of August, and you know what that means. Yup, back to the classroom for me which means less time to read – boo – but also, it’s time for the In Search Of The Classic Mystery Novel Book Of The Month award for August 2012 – yes, it’s Puzzly time!
[Waits for the excited cheering to stop.]
OK, so in so-called New Author August, I attempted to only tackle authors that I had yet to cover on my blog – the exceptions were Clayton Rawson and Steve Hockensmith, as these were requested reviews from the publishers. Also, very oddly for a number-obsessive like myself, I sailed through my 200th book review without noticing. I’ll keep a more careful count for my quarter-millenium.
Anyway, in August, I read twelve titles, namely:
- Brighton Belle by Sara Sheridan
- The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
- Death In The Devil’s Den by Cora Harrison
- Murder In Steeple Martin by Leslie Cookman
- Whose Body? By Dorothy L Sayers
- Bullet For A Star by Stuart Kaminsky
- Cadaver In Chief by Steve Hockensmith
- No Coffin For The Corpse by Clayton Rawson
- The Killings At Badger’s Drift by Caroline Graham
- The Secret Of The Haunted Mirror by M V Carey
- Bryant & May On The Loose by Christopher Fowler
- The Dime Museum Murders by Daniel Stashower
- Birthdays For The Dead by Stuart MacBride
There’s a couple of classic authors in there, both of which I found disappointing in different ways – Tey’s was a great read, but not much of a mystery and Sayers’ was just… odd – and a couple of authors that I haven’t read for years, for which I’m kicking myself. And also one massive nostalgia trip.But overall, it was useful to stick to only new authors and I think I hit a couple of great titles that I probably wouldn’t have read.
Both Brighton Belle and Bullet For A Star wouldn’t really have been on my radar – thanks to MysteriousPress.com for the latter, by the way – but they were both great reads. Possibly a bit iffy on the play-along-mystery, but highly entertaining. A few authors also have earned very quick second reviews as well – expect more from Carey and Fowler and also from the winner of that most intangible of awards. And despite the daft genius of Cadaver In Chief, the Puzzly for August 2012 goes to Stuart MacBride for Birthdays For The Dead, an astounding book with a horrifying premise, a nasty serial killer and an unlikeable protagonist and despite these three things that normally send me running to the hills, the writer does very impressive things with them. A real page-turner and totally deserving of its nomination for CWA Bestseller of the Year. Congratulations to Stuart and there will be more reviews of his work in the months to come.
So, September? Well, I’ll be looking at old favourites for a while – Doherty, Tremayne, Edwards and Ellis and then having a look at expanding my various bibliographies, so probably Knight, Jecks, Clare, etc. I might even get round to The Four of Hearts… but no promises.
As ever, this is part of the Mysteries In Paradise Book of the Month meme.