As 2017 draws to a close it seems a natural time to reflect on the year that has been and look ahead to the one to come. I only started this blog back in October but I am proud that I already have close to fifty reviews under my belt. If all goes to plan I should hit that fiftieth review mark very early next month and I am giving thought to which book I should select to mark the occasion.
Turning to the year ahead, I am keen to take part in at least one reading challenge. Every year I set myself the goal to read a hundred books on Goodreads but I’d like to add one more specific mystery challenge. As the vast majority of my reviews here are of vintage mysteries, I have decided to do the Vintage Mysteries challenge from My Reader’s Block.
I am undertaking to complete Golden Age reads at the Chief Constable level meaning I aim to find one book for each category. I have created a page on my navigation bar where you can track my progress and I will do my best to remember to update the links there on a regular basis. If you are interested in participating yourself it is easy to take part and you can sign up at any point up through November 2018.
Finally, I wanted to say how much I appreciate the various comments, tweets and suggestions people have shared with me over the past few months. I have found some fantastic books already through these and I am very grateful for this guidance, particularly as I get more deeply into my main obsession at the moment – the inverted mystery. I am keeping a big list of all of your suggestions and I have already tracked down a number of them with the hopes of reading them early next year. Thanks again!
Books Read in December
This month I read nineteen books, each by different authors. That industry was partly fuelled by my desire to do a week of reviews based on crime stories set during the Yuletide period though it helped that I was at home for a couple of days in the run up to the holidays. I suspect that I will slow down a little in the New Year.
The titles I read were as follows (all titles are hyperlinked):
Wobble to Death by Peter Lovesey
The Man in the Queue by Josephine Tey
The French Powder Mystery by Ellery Queen
Pietr the Latvian by Georges Simenon
Sparkling Cyanide by Agatha Christie
Hard Cheese by Ulf Durling
Quick Curtain by Alan Melville
Sitting Murder by A. J. Wright
Murder on the Way! by Theodore Roscoe
The Ginza Ghost by Keikichi Osaka
Portrait of a Murderer by Anne Meredith
Crimson Snow, ed. by Martin Edwards
There Came Both Mist and Snow by Michael Innes
The Crime at the Noah’s Ark by Molly Thynne
The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle by Arthur Conan Doyle
Mystery in White by J. Jefferson Farjeon
The Strangled Witness by Leslie Ford
Case for Sergeant Beef by Leo Bruce
The Case of the Demented Spiv by George Bellairs
The Ginza Ghost was my most-read review of the month which I found a little surprising. Sadly I didn’t love the book as much as I had hoped making my review a bit of an outlier though there were a few stories I liked in the collection.
Of the other books I read, I have particularly soft spots for Case for Sergeant Beef and Hard Cheese, both of which are quirky, entertaining reads and I would also encourage people to check out Murder on the Way! which is one of the most inventive books I read this month.
My selection for Book of the Month this time is one published as part of the British Library Crime Classics range. Sadly it won’t be published in print Stateside until mid-2018 though the audiobook is available already through Soundings. I would commend it both as a fantastic, dark example of the inverted mystery form and for its wonderful, rich characterization and clever structuring. That book is Portrait of a Murderer by Anne Meredith.
The Month Ahead
Next month I plan on getting to grips with Inspector French and the Sea Mystery which was recommended to me by JJ, continuing to read non-series Christie with The Man in the Brown Suit and I will take Nick Fuller’s advice in an attempt to finally find a short story collection I like by giving some of G. K. Chesterton’s Father Brown short stories a try.
And, of course, I will be reading The Problem of the Wire Cage by John Dickson Carr so I can follow along with JJ and Ben’s spoiler-filled conversations about it. See you all in 2018!