February 2018 in Review

Boy, February did not go at all to plan but that’s okay.

Every month I like to spend an hour or so pottering around with my Google Calendar, putting down titles I plan on reviewing and the dates I expect to finish them on. It is really just an outline for what I think I would enjoy and I feel free to deviate from it when I find myself chasing a whim or a recommended book from another blogger but it does give my efforts some structure.

I think the longest I have managed to stick with the schedule has been about seven consecutive posts but this month the only post that came out on schedule was The Man in the Brown Suit and seeing as how that was actually originally intended to come out last month, I think it’s honestly a bit of a stretch to include that.

In my defence, it’s not entirely my fault. I had the good fortune to receive a huge stack of vintage mysteries through the library and altered my plans to incorporate those while a few books just really grabbed me and I couldn’t wait to finish them. All of these are good problems to have but it does amuse me a little that I failed so spectacularly to live up to my plans this month.

Book of the Month: February 2018

In February I was all about the vintage mystery. Only two of the books I read, Too Many Magicians and The Demon of Dartmoor were written after 1960 and none were from the twenty first century.

As much as I liked both of those books, my selection this month was a relatively easy task. Those few of you who follow me on Twitter would have seen that I trailed my review with the comment that it may well be my favorite book I have read for the blog so far. The more I think about the book, the more certain I feel of that statement.

Before I reveal the winner, let me refresh you on who the eligible contenders were:

Mystery on Southampton Water by Freeman Wills Crofts
The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie
Death in the Dentist’s Chair by Molly Thynne
Too Many Magicians by Randall Garrett
The Demon of Dartmoor by Paul Halter
Corpse at the Carnival by George Bellairs
Diabolic Candelabra by E R Punshon
Crime on my Hands by George Sanders
A Kiss Before Dying by Ira Levin
Murder in the Maze by J. J. Connington
The Chinese Puzzle by Miles Burton
The Greek Coffin Mystery by Ellery Queen

KissThe winner is… A Kiss Before Dying by Ira Levin!

Now, I am hardly alone in praising this book and I do try to avoid picking an obvious choice but I liked this novel so much that it would be hard for me to select anything else. I have said over and over again how much I like inverted form stories and I think this novel puts you in the head of the killer in its first section with incredible effect, delivers a great twist in its second section before building to a really memorable end. In short, it’s a classic and one of the very best books I’ve read.

The Month Ahead

So, in a couple of days time I turn 34 and I had planned that I would celebrate by reviewing a number of books written in 1934. It was a cute idea but the last few weeks have been so crazy-busy that I already know I am too far behind on my reading books I need to send back to make that work.

What you can expect to see in the next few weeks is a review of The Affair at Little Wokeham by Freeman Wills Crofts, The Witch of the Low Tide by John Dickson Carr and of The Phantom Passage by Paul Halter. I plan on also making a tentative first step into the works of Ronald Knox with The Viaduct Murder and I am really looking forward to reading A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee.

6 thoughts on “February 2018 in Review

  1. I don’t really ever have much of a structure for what I will read in a month. I tend to sort my TBR pile so it provides a mixture of authors and doesn’t leave all the older books at the bottom and the newest ones at the top. Still you’ve had a very impressive vintage-y month.
    If you did decide to go down the 34 route here a few thoughts:
    The Deadly Dowager by Edwin Greenwood (an inverted mystery you definitely need to read)
    Parker Pyne Investigates and Murder on the Orient Express by Christie (can’t not do Christie really)
    Murder in Trinidad by Vandercook (not a great read, an adventure story which could have been set anywhere really, which is a shame)
    Scarweather by Anthony Rolls (another one to avoid really)
    The Puzzle of the Silver Persian by Stuart Palmer
    The White Priory Murders by Carr
    The Cat Screams by Todd Downing
    Crime at Christmas by C H B Kitchin (which given all the snow is fairly apt at the moment)
    Death of an Airman by Christopher St John Sprigg
    The Riddle of the Travelling Skull by Keeler (one to fry your brain with, is the most concise description I can give for this work).
    Tonnes of others but those were the ones immediately springing to mind (via the search function of wordpress).

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    1. That is interesting – I did the calendar to try to make sure I was reading varied books but I am prone to getting super-excited about the latest thing to hit my queue and jumping to that instead.

      Those are some great suggestions. A few of them I had down as possibilities but I will see about The Deadly Dowager as that sounds right up my street!

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      1. Strangely it isn’t quite as many as you might think. I believe I had about a dozen reviewed at the last count. Every little helps though!

        On Wed, Feb 28, 2018 at 12:29 PM, Mysteries Ahoy! wrote:

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