November – the month of burning effigies and looking longingly at my American friends’ pictures of turkey, knowing that I’ve got to wait another month. Oh, and shedloads of work – never quite worked out why November is such a busier month for a schoolteacher than others, but it always seems to be one of the most stressful times. But of course one can always retreat into a good book (unless those deadlines really can’t be avoided).
This month saw nine books, including two short story collections and one of the dullest books that I’ve read in ages… but which of the other eight will walk off with the Puzzly for November 2015? I think if you read the review, you’ve got a pretty good idea…
The books in question were:
- Bryant & May – London’s Glory by Christopher Fowler
- The Killing In The Café by Simon Brett
- The Pit-Prop Syndicate by Freeman Wills Crofts
- Death Of An Airman by Christopher St John Sprigg
- A Bird In The Hand by Ann Cleeves
- Bleeding Hooks by Harriet Rutland
- Silent Nights: Christmas Mysteries edited by Martin Edwards
- The Killing of Polly Carter by Robert Thorogood
- The Chapel Of Bones by Michael Jecks
The Pit-Prop Syndicate was the dud, by the way. A magnificently tedious read, completed only due to needing something – anything! – for Past Offences Crimes of the Century #1922book. Thankfully 1941 will be a lot easier next month.
ADDENDUM: Oh, swearword, no it’s not! I’ve already done most of the major authors’ works from that year! Time to start hunting…
Other than that: the rest were all well worth a browse. The Brett book wasn’t the strongest in the series, but still a decent read. The Bryant and May book was very good, but after the heartbreaking end of Bryant & May and the Burning Man, it seemed a little lightweight (although the author’s notes about the ideas behind the tales are fascinating.) Bleeding Hooks didn’t quite live up to the previous Knock, Murderer, Knock and A Bird In The Hand was a great debut from Ann Cleeves, but the weakest of the books that I’ve read from her so far. Silent Nights has some gems in it, but a lot of the tales didn’t grasp the full potential of Christmas. But it did introduce me to Sergeant Beef and I’m looking forward to more from Leo Bruce.
In any other month, Death Of An Airman or The Chapel Of Bones would have walked it – the first is the best so far from the British Library range, loads of fun, and The Chapel Of Bones is another classy historical mystery from Michael Jecks. But this month was the month of The Killing Of Polly Carter – one of the most finely crafted mysteries that I’ve read either in or out of the Golden Age. It’s out on December 3rd – I know a lot of you enjoyed the first Death In Paradise mystery, A Meditation On Murder, from Robert Thorogood, the series creator. Well, this one is even better. Absolutely loved it to bits.
So, next month? Who knows? The latest from Jeffrey Deaver, some more Golden Age lost classics, and whatever Santa brings…