April 2018 in Review

Generally I don’t dwell too much on personal stuff on the blog but man, April kicked me in the rear. This was the month when my all-too-perceptive toddler realized that the door to her bedroom actually could be opened in the middle of the night or every three minutes after being put to bed until about 3 in the morning for a whole two weeks. And that usually meant I wasn’t falling asleep until 4 or 5.

I have never been more sleep deprived.

Still, somehow, in spite of all of that I managed to do a fair bit of reading and post words about the books I’d read. So there’s that. The thing I am proudest of though is the collaborative, spoiler-filled post I did with JJ at his blog about John Rhode’s Invisible Weapons. It was enormous fun to work on and I have to say he is an absolute pleasure to collaborate with. It was a bright spot in the very rough start to my month.

Turning briefly to the future, later this week I will be celebrating 100 reviews on this blog since it began back in late October last year. If all goes to plan that milestone should fall on Friday so I’ll need to actually figure out what I want to write about. There is a pretty good chance it will be something inverted…

Book of the Month: April 2018

April got off to something of a poor start with a run of disappointing stories. For a while I did wonder if one title would end up walking away with the award this month by default. The good news was that as the month continued the reads improved and I even found a few short story collections that I enjoyed more than I expected.

The eligible titles were:

The Man Who Could Not Shudder by John Dickson Carr
Murder by Formula by J. H. Wallis
Sergeant Cluff Stands Firm by Gil North
The Chief Witness by Herbert Adams
A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee
The Long Arm of the Law edited by Martin Edwards
Come to Paddington Fair by Derek Smith
Closer Than You Know by Brad Parks
Serpents in Eden edited by Martin Edwards
The Case of the Constant Suicides by John Dickson Carr
Abracadaver by Peter Lovesey
Destination Unknown by Agatha Christie

NecessaryEvilAs I said there were very disappointing reads this month but the title that turned it around is also my pick for book of the month. A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee is a fantastic historical mystery that reminds me of what I love about the subgenre – the sense that the author is not just using a period for dressing but is actually wanting to tell a story about that time because they have things to say.

Sam Wyndham and “Surrender-Not” Banerjee are a superb pair of investigators and I think that this mystery gives them more opportunity to show their skills as detectives. I can’t wait for Book Three and I can only hope that there will not be such a long delay between UK and US publication this time.


I finally am giving into the inevitable and accepting that I should probably stop promising book reviews. After all, I only managed half of the books I mentioned last month and that is actually a pretty successful hit rate for me.

Instead I thought I would give you all updates about some of my acquisitions to give a sense of what my TBR pile is looking like these days. Almost all purchases are ebook or audiobook formats and obviously if I’ve already reviewed it then it won’t be listed here. Appearing below is no guarantee that I will ever read or review the book but hey, if you see something in the list that you think I should prioritize (or that you think is really not worth my time) please let me know!

Purchased in April: The Mystery at Stowe by Vernon Loder, The Box Office Murders by Freeman Wills Crofts, The Air Raid Killer by Frank Goldammer, The Frangipani Tree Mystery by Ovidia Yu, The Lion and the Rose by Riccardo Bruni, The Case of the Purloined Pyramid by Sean McLachlan, Guardia by Michael Crews, The Mask of Ra by Paul Doherty, The Germanicus Mosaic by Rosemary Rowe, No. 17 by J. Jefferson Farjeon, Death of an Airman by Christopher St. John Sprigg and Mystery at Olympia by John Rhode.

Most of these are historical mysteries, likely reflecting that I have spent a lot of time playing Assassin’s Creed Origins and listened to a couple of superb Great Courses series on Ancient Greece and Rome that sparked my interest. Of the others I am particularly intrigued by The Frangipani Tree Mystery which is set in interwar Singapore – a country my grandparents lived in for some years (though in the later 40s). I am looking forward to getting stuck into that one in the next few days.

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