And now April has passed us by – one third of the year out of the way. I took advantage of a week in Scotland to get a whole bundle of books read. In total, I read fifteen books this month, with something of a focus on the Golden Age. Some classics, some alleged classics and some… well, best left alone. Some new authors to me, some that I haven’t read in a while and a bunch of John Rhode books.
So, what about those fifteen? Which was the best of the bunch?
- The Spiked Lion by Brian Flynn – another fun outing from this long-lost writer.
- The Case Of The Monday Murders by Christopher Bush – Bush takes a pop at the Detection Club.
- Turn A Blind Eye by Vicky Newham – my only modern book this month, and a strong debut.
- Murder In The Museum by John Rowland – disappointing book of two halves.
- Mystery In The Channel by Freeman Wills Crofts – a strong procedural with a good twist.
- Blackthorn House by John Rhode – a decent enough outing for Dr Priestley, let down by some plot holes.
- Tom Brown’s Body by Gladys Mitchell – interesting ideas but something of a mess.
- The Case Of The Dead Shepherd by Christopher Bush – a very strong outing for Ludovic Travers.
- Murder Isn’t Easy by Richard Hull – in which the modern unreliable narrator genre is started half a century early.
- The Six Queer Things by Christopher St John Sprigg – an odd combination of ghost story, mystery and thriller. Good fun though.
- The Case Of The Glided Fly by Edmund Crispin – a strong debut for Gervase Fen.
- That Yew Tree’s Shade by Cyril Hare – evocative story-telling with a simple plot.
- The Paddington Mystery by John Rhode – disappointing debut for Dr Priestley.
- Death On Sunday by John Rhode – a strong outing for Jimmy Waghorn.
- The Vanishing Diary by John Rhode – an average finale for the good Doctor.
So, of the fifteen books, which ones really stood out? The Spiked Lion and Death On Sunday join the “Somebody Reprint These”, despite Sunday not being close to Rhode’s best mystery. As for the attainable books, Mystery In The Channel and The Case Of The Gilded Fly are excellent, and Murder Isn’t Easy is a very clever piece of work – there’s a lot more from Hull on the way. But the Puzzly this month goes to The Case Of The Dead Shepherd, an evocative mystery, with the pleasant change of being set in a state school rather than a private school for the ultra-rich. Apparently some people find it a bit grim, but I think it’s the strongest of his books that I’ve read to date. Of all of the books this month, this is the one that’s stayed with me the most. And it’s only 99p on Kindle from those nice folks at Dean St Press! What are you waiting for?
Next month, there’s some new releases but for the most part, I’ll be keeping the Golden Age focus. After all, I’ve got a few new Brian Flynn books to take a look at…