It has been an utterly exhausting Summer so it has been a particular pleasure to be able to find the time to retreat into books, relax and lose myself for a few hours each evening.
The books I read in July were:
The Skull of the Waltzing Clown by Harry Stephen Keeler
The Paddington Mystery by John Rhode
The Case of the Sulky Girl by Erle Stanley Gardner
All but Impossible: The Impossible Files of Dr. Sam Hawthorne by Ed Hoch
The Seventh Hypothesis by Paul Halter
The Lady Killer by Masako Togawa
Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers
The Sea Mystery by Freeman Wills Crofts
Trial and Error by Anthony Berkeley
The Face on the Cutting Room Floor by Cameron McCabe
It Might Lead Anywhere by E. R. Punshon
The Pint of No Return by Ellie Alexander
The Egyptian Cross Mystery by Ellery Queen
There are an interesting mix of titles in contention for this month’s Book of the Month title and, for a fleeting moment, I seriously considered an Ellery Queen novel for this accolade. I ended up deciding that it may have benefited from good timing being read right before I made my selection and from my incredibly low expectations and so, while I liked it a lot, it does not walk off with the prize.
Several titles were on the more experimental side of crime fiction but while I found things to appreciate with Trial and Error, The Face on the Cutting Room Floor and The Skull of the Waltzing Clown, each of those books also possessed significant flaws.
I did enjoy the collection of Dr. Sam Hawthorne short stories I read, finding most to be quite imaginative and varied. I plan on returning to Ed Hoch soon as I received some great suggestions in the comments and in a whole post in response from Christian.
The title I ended up going with was an easy selection that became more apparent the more I thought about it. The Seventh Hypothesis is a wonderful story that I think boasts a highly imaginative concept, an audacious solution and some of Halter’s best storytelling. It is a joy to read and an easy pick for this month’s Book of the Month.
Acquisitions: The Invisible Circle by Paul Halter, Dead Man’s Shoes by Leo Bruce, The Robthorne Mystery by John Rhode, The Dead Shall be Raised and Murder of a Quack by George Bellairs and A Graveyard to Let by Dickson Carter.
Expect reviews of at least some of these to appear next month. I’ll kick August off however by discussing a collection of short stories that I have read many times over and that was one of the first steps I took in my exploration of mystery and detective fiction…