New Year, same old blog, but as I’ve picked up a few new followers recently, I thought I’d take a moment to say hi – Hi! – and just say a bit about the raison d’être of my frequent bletherings. And then say a little about where we’re going in 2015.
So, what’s the aim of the blog? Well on a personal level, it was developed as a way to get over my reader’s block (not the blog of the same name – that’s a great read, by the way). But also it was a search for the next Agatha Christie, so to speak. After a while reading crime books that didn’t approach having a mysterious element in them, crime books that did have a whodunit element but basically pulled the murderer out of a top hat at the end of the book and, worst of all, crime books that were much more interested in the droolings of a serial killer than anything else, I figured it was time to find those authors who are writing well-constructed “proper” mysteries these days.
Needless to say, this has involved trips into the actual past, most notably Ellery Queen, John Dickson Carr and Dame Agatha, just to remind myself what the benchmark is. What occurred after a while was a surge in my interest in the historical mystery genre, hence the largish proportion of these books on the blog. There have been some great discoveries, such as Paul Doherty, Michael Jecks, Kate Ellis and Martin Edwards (and it was a pleasure to meet the last two on a few occasions – lovely people) all of whom have extensive back catalogues, and plenty of other authors who are just starting out. There have been a couple of turkeys as well, but I tend not to finish (and not review or even mention) those books that I don’t enjoy. Along the way, I’ll review the occasional audiobook or TV show.
What about 2015? Well, I don’t do challenges very often due to the fact that I tend to pick books based on what mood I’m in – there have been a couple of occasions when I’ve picked up something because I “had” to and ended up not reading much for a week or so. So I’ll potter along reviewing what I feel like – although if any publishers want to send me mysteries to review, feel free! No targets for this year either – well, let’s say I’ll try for 100 books again, but nothing more specific. Upcoming in January will be The Shadow Collector by Kate Ellis, A Meditation on Murder by Rob Thorogood (that’s a Death In Paradise novel, btw), another stab at Ruth Rendell and some new stuff that I’ve been asked to review. After that? Well, I’ve still got about twenty Michael Jecks books to go, there’ll be more new Brother Athelstan for Paul Doherty, you know the sort of thing. Hope you stick around.