The Puzzly – The ISOTCMN Book Of The Month – December 2016

Well, as 2016 drags itself to a close, it must be time for the Puzzly – my Book of the Month – for December 2016. As ever, the Puzzly post is a day early for December in order to fit in the review of the year. That will hopefully be tomorrow, but as I’m recovering from a case of the lurgy, it might be a little late. Because of said lurgy, and also a protracted attempt to get through a god-awful new book that shall not be named (although other people seem to love it though), December was only eight books long for me – Pinehurst by John Rhode will have been read by the end of the month, but the review won’t be up by then, so I’ll count it for next month.

Those books were:

The Vampire Tree by Paul Halter

Hugely disappointing effort from M. Halter. No idea why this was chosen for translation – it surely can’t be the best of the rest, can it?

Death Paints A Picture by Miles Burton

My first #1960book and a straightforward but well-told mystery from Miles Burton aka John Rhode aka Cecil Street’s final years. Although points off for a very dodgy disguise method…

Mrs Pargeter’s Public Relations by Simon Brett

The return of Mrs Pargeter, the widow of a career criminal, and she’s in trouble when someone steals her little black book with all of Mr P’s contacts in it. Are the facts about his life about to be exposed?

Death At St Vedast by Mary Lawrence

My only foray into historical fiction this month – it’s set in the reign of Henry VIII – we see alchemist Bianca Goddard investigating strange deaths around the church of, yes, St Vedast. Odd pacing, but satisfying.

Legacy Of Death by Miles Burton

A surprisingly strong farewell for Desmond Merrion (despite being as bland as ever). One of the more satisfying of the Rhode-Burton novels, a genuinely surprising #1960book.

Crimson Snow edited by Martin Edwards

The best of the British Library short story collections to date, with more obscure authors and all of the tales mysteries rather than tales of crime. Of course if you haven’t read it yet, you might want to wait until next Christmas.

The Watcher by Ross Armstrong

An attempt to do something a little new with the unreliable narrator genre – not at all bad, and there are some very positive reviews out there for it, but I think a bit of genre-ennui has set in for me.

A Well-Known Face by Josephine Bell

A last minute choice based on the cracking The Carol Singers from Crimson Snow, and a final #1960book. Perfectly acceptable crime fiction, well-written but the plot is a bit lacking.

legacy-of-death-2So which is the Book Of The Month? Well, Crimson Snow is a great collection and Mrs Pargeter was loads of fun, although the mystery was a bit lacking, but for the pleasant surprise of a final novel not being an utter stinker, I’m going to plump for Legacy Of Death. Now if someone could remind the estate that there’s a market for Mr Street’s work, so we can get the entire back catalogue reprinted, that’d be great…

Be back tomorrow for my review of 2016 – well, my review of my reading in 2016. Reviewing the year itself would be far too depressing…

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