Well, this has been a funny old month. Nine books, eight of which were read before the eighteenth of the month and then only one since then. As I mentioned in the last review, the cause was in part a deeply dull new release that I intended to review but couldn’t bring myself to finish. I tried my best, getting further than I normally would in a book that I didn’t enjoy, but it became too much like hard work. Obviously, no names but if you noticed something vanishing from the “Coming Soon” tab, that’s the book.
On top of that, I broke my “one book per author per month” rule with two from both Paul Doherty and Dame Agatha but sometimes when your reading’s off track, you need an old favourite. But as I mentioned at times throughout the month, this was always going to be a difficult Puzzly to call.
Anyway, the nine books were:
- The Poisoner of Ptah by Paul Doherty
- The Leper’s Return by Michael Jecks
- The Judas Window by Carter Dickson
- The Shining Skull by Kate Ellis
- They Do It With Mirrors by Agatha Christie
- Sorrow Bound by David Mark
- Candle Flame by Paul Doherty
- The Sins Of The Fathers by Lawrence Block
- The Body In The Library by Agatha Christie
So, let’s do this by elimination. Both the Christie novels are out, because they really aren’t great examples of her work. We can pass over the Block novel as well, as it’s not my sort of thing really, and I still can’t get over the massively unsubtle clue. The Poisoner of Ptah can be ruled out as well – part of the solution to one of the impossibilities was too technical for me. Not Wire Cage technical, but still…
Sorrow Bound was a great read, as is everything from David Mark, but I haven’t forgiven him for the numerous plot threads that will carry on into the next book. I want to know what happens NOW, damnit! And I’m ruling out The Judas Window too – a fantastic read and a true classic but at the end of the day, the identity of the murderer is almost an afterthought. Also, the Puzzly usually goes to a new-ish book, rather than a classic. Carr doesn’t need any more awards.
And so we’re down to three – all from old favourite authors. The Shining Skull, The Leper’s Return and Candle Flame… very tempted by the return of Brother Athelstan or by the stunning conclusion to The Shining Skull, or by the wonderfully misdirecting mystery of The Leper’s Return… Ah, stuff it, there’s a three-way tie for the Puzzly this month. Congratualtions to Kate, Paul and Michael and there’ll be more from all three of them next month.