I cut my television service a few years ago so these days I tend to be a little late in discovering new shows, usually coming to them a few seasons in. This month I stumbled onto How To Get Away With Murder and I have been thoroughly enjoying bingeing on the show these past few weeks.
For those who have never seen it, it stars Viola Davis as a law professor who teaches a criminal law class at a prestigious university. Each year she takes on several students to work for her office, gaining practical experience of trying cases. As we see in flash forwards throughout the series, by the end of the semester those students will find themselves disposing of a body of their own.
Throughout the first season the series combines a case of the week plot in which Annalise and her students defend someone accused (and often guilty) of murder and character and plot development that moves the overall story forwards. Most of those individual cases are really good in that first season and some of the twists and turns in the bigger storyline are excellently handled.
The second season is still very good, although I am a little less fond of the case that becomes the focal point of the season, and so far I am really enjoying the third season (I am about three episodes in).
Book of the Month: March 2018
Let’s get to the books. I found some pretty good reads in March and I am very happy to say that I had some genuine competition for the title of Book of the Month. The eligible titles were:
The Secrets of Great Mystery and Suspense Fiction
The Witch of the Low Tide by John Dickson Carr
The Servant of Death by James Harold Wallis
The Affair at Little Wokeham by Freeman Wills Crofts
A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters
The Blessing Way by Tony Hillerman
The Viaduct Murder by Ronald Knox
Seven Dead by J. Jefferson Farjeon
The Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis
The Case of the Headless Jesuit by George Bellairs
The Phantom Passage by Paul Halter
Death at Breakfast by John Rhode
Diplomat’s Folly by Henry Wade
Death Comes at the End by Agatha Christie
And the winner is…
The Servant of Death by James Harold Wallis. This novel came as a recommendation from Kate at the excellent blog CrossExaminingCrime as part of her review of Curtis Evans’ book about Todd Downing’s mystery fiction reviews, Clues and Corpses.
It’s another instance of the inverted form mystery but with the rather charming twist that it contains a challenge to the reader in its final pages. Though some of the secondary characters are a little less developed, I thoroughly enjoyed the exploration of the main character.
The Month Ahead
I decided to diverge from quite a few of the promises I made last month. Whoops. Still, one thing you can be sure of is that I will be writing in a generally spoilery fashion about John Rhode’s Invisible Weapons with JJ at his blog, The Invisible Event. I am also pretty confident that I will be reviewing The Man Who Could Not Shudder and J. H. Wallis’ Murder by Formula.
Less reliable promises would include Fire in the Thatch, A Necessary Evil and New Graves at Great Norne. At least two of those I have promised (and failed to deliver) before… I should also be tackling another non-series Christie and I have selected Destination Unknown.