October was a busy month and it was one of the first times since starting the blog I have really struggled to find time to read. I had excuses of course – multiple birthday parties to throw and attend, not to mention household repairs and work obligations. In fact I am rather surprised when I look at the list at just how many reviews I managed to write given everything.
The big news from my perspective was that the month marked the first Blogiversary of Mysteries Ahoy! and I have to say it was lovely to read all the nice comments that appeared here, on Twitter and elsewhere. It made the day feel quite special and has put a bit of a spring in my step ever since.
The titles I reviewed in October were:
The Division Bell Mystery by Ellen Wilkinson
I Married A Dead Man by Cornell Woolrich
The Case of the Lucky Legs by Erle Stanley Gardner
Murder at the Manor edited by Martin Edwards
The Vengeful Virgin by Gil Brewer
The Pocket Detective compiled by Kate Jackson
A New Lease of Death by Ruth Rendell
Found Floating by Freeman Wills Crofts
Except for One Thing by John Russell Fearn
Marrakech Noir edited by Yassin Adnan
Blueprint for Murder by Roger Bax
The Invisible Circle by Paul Halter
Ill Met By Moonlight by Leslie Ford
While there were a couple of books that I enjoyed a lot, I was underwhelmed by a lot of what I read. Crofts’ Found Floating for instance is the first of his books that I found to be rather dull while The Division Bell Mystery was more interesting in terms of the details of life as a Member of Parliament than it was as a locked room mystery. And then there was Ruth Rendell’s A New Lease of Death, a Wexford mystery that disappointed me by basically not featuring Inspector Wexford.
There were some bright spots though such as the exciting, melodramatic inverted story I Married A Dead Man and John Russell Fearn’s Except for One Thing, also an inverted story with a lovely payoff at the end. Both are entertaining reads but the title that gave me the most pleasure was one by an author who I gave a Book of the Month award to just a couple of months back.
Paul Halter’s The Invisible Circle grabbed my attention with its entertaining references to Arthurian legends, a thoroughly set up locked room puzzle and brisk plotting. Each chapter seems to end with a new revelation that drives you to keep reading and while I would say the killer’s plan is risky, I think Halter makes sure it all makes a sort of sense and I do think it builds to an exciting conclusion.
This month was a bit of a quiet one because of all of the other stuff going on in my life but there were a few acquisitions I was pleased with. Of course I bought my father’s third Slonsky novel, Death On Duty, and picked up a copy of E. C. R. Lorac’s Muder by Matchlight by mistake. Basically I blame it on my chubby fingers and careless swiping motion.
I did pick up a copy of I. J. Parker’s Rashomon Gate which I remember loving when I first read it and Carr’s The Devil in Velvet. I also picked up a copy of The Final Days of Robert Montrose. I am looking forward to trying out some of these books while also wading through my existing TBR pile.