I am glad it’ll be February tomorrow. January just seems to have stretched on and on and I’m ready for a new month.
Some of you may have noticed that after several months of a review every weekday, this month that streak broke. I blame Ellery Queen’s The Dutch Shoe Mystery though the acquisition of Assassin’s Creed Origins for my Xbox didn’t help much either. The past couple of days have done a lot to lift my reading spirits – I read great books by Henry Wade and John Bude and I had someone tell me that Family Matters, a book that I am always recommending at work, was a phenomenal read and has made them interested in checking out other GAD titles.
Books of the Month: January 2018
I’m going to be honest with you – I found it a lot harder this month to pick a standout book than in the four previous months. There were certainly some titles that I felt were worthy of high praise and one that I feel a close personal bond to (The Priest’s Hat – I am pretty sure I wrote the first detailed English language review of that one) but there was no book that clearly pulled away from the pack in terms of quality. Or was there?
The eligible contenders were:
Oathbreaker by Martin Jensen
Murder Has A Motive by Francis Duncan
The Madman’s Room by Paul Halter
Too Soon to Die by Henry Wade
The Medbury Fort Murder by George Limnelius
The Priest’s Hat by Emilio de Marchi
Murder with Fried Chicken and Waffles by A L Herbert
The Dutch Shoe Mystery by Ellery Queen
The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
The Problem of the Wire Cage by John Dickson Carr
Tricks of the Trade by Euan B. Pollock
Death Makes A Prophet by John Bude
The Patricide by Kim Ekemar
Blown Away by Clover Tate
The Murdered Banker by Augusto de Angelis
Heir Presumptive by Henry Wade
Dark River Rising by Roger Johns
And the winner is… Heir Presumptive which just sneaked into consideration when I read it right at the end of the month.
There is a lot to admire here but what I think impressed me most was the really effective structure. Wade’s story initially seems to be a familiar inverted format and yet by the end it has become something much more clever and unexpected.
It all builds to a wonderful conclusion that, while it didn’t surprise me, felt particularly satisfying because of how well it is executed. When it comes time to write my top ten inverted mysteries list, expect this to be in contention!
The Month Ahead
It turns out that I am really pretty terrible at predicting what I will actually read and talk about more than a week or two down the line so take all of this with a huge pinch of salt. I can say that I am currently reading The Dutch Coffin Mystery (ours is clearly one of those on again, off again relationships) and I have Crofts’ Mystery on Southampton Water by Freeman Wills Crofts on its way.
I aspire to tackle Bats in the Belfry and The Demon of Dartmoor and I fully intend to get around to my next non-series Christie. Beyond that though it’s anyone’s guess…