January 2016. It was (deep breath) National Codependency Awareness Month, National Mentoring Month, National Healthy Weight Awareness Month, Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, Stalking Awareness Month, Be Kind To Food Servers Month, California Dried Plum Digestive Health Month, Hot Tea Month, National Soup Month and Oatmeal Month, – if you lived in the USA, that is. For us Brits, it was Dry January – a title meant to imply that following Christmas excesses, we were supposed to avoid the demon liquor for a whole month. And someone up there saw that title and decided to “ironically” drop enough water from the heavens to make some people have to swim to work.
As for me (apart from basically ignoring Dry January), January is back to work month, meaning less time to read than I’d like, but still managed to get through eleven books. But which one is going to walk off with the first Puzzly – my book of the month – for 2016?
The books in question were:
- The Mystery Of The Laughing Shadow by William Arden
- Let Him Lie by Ianthe Jerrold
- Death On The Riviera by John Bude
- A Masterpiece Of Corruption by L C Tyler
- Taking Pity by David Mark
- Night At The Mocking Widow by Carter Dickson
- Missing Or Murdered by Robin Forsythe
- There May Be Danger by Ianthe Jerrold
- Murder In Miniature by Leo Bruce
- Dead Pretty by David Mark
- The Men Who Explained Miracles by John Dickson Carr
There’s a link between a number of the books this month – the lack of a body for most of the narrative. Whether it’s a missing potential body (Missing Or Murdered, There May Be Danger), an investigation to prevent a murder (A Masterpiece Of Corruption), deliberate slow pacing (Death On The Riviera, Night At The Mocking Widow) or a book for kids with a man with a kookaburra on his head (The Laughing Shadow), it’s brought home to me how much I prefer a clearly defined problem to a what’s-going-on plot. Not that I didn’t enjoy these books, but it’s nice to have a specific mystery to solve.
But Book Of The Month? It comes down to three books, but L C Tyler did win it last month. I can’t separate the other two – the outstanding Taking Pity and Dead Pretty. But I don’t have to as they’re both by David Mark. Not your standard mystery fare, but this series continues to go from strength to strength. I’d go back to the start – or at least Book Three, Sorrow Bound.
Next month, more from Robin Forsythe, a couple of new authors to me and, as it’s Readathon time again, a bunch of old favourites. Hope you stick around for those.