January 2019 in Review

monthly review_ january 2019

This past few weeks has been so busy for me both professionally and at home that it slipped my notice that today is the end of the month. Whoops. That means is that this monthly roundup is going to be a bit more brief than usual. Hopefully I’ll get back to normal soon!

The absolute highlight of this month for me was the reception my Five to Try: Inverted Mysteries post received. It is not just that people read it but the comments here, by email and on Twitter have been really wonderful. Thanks to everyone who engaged with it, shared it and retweeted it. Reading those responses brightened my day and helped me feel a little better after getting sick towards the end of last week so thanks to everyone.

Let’s get to the contenders for Book of the Month:

Crime on the Coast & No Flowers by Request by Members of the Detection Club
The Niece of Abraham Pein by J. H. Wallis
A Meditation on Murder by Robert Thorogood
A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
Death in High Provence by George Bellairs
Murder Underground by Mavis Doriel Hay
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
The Book of the Crime by Elizabeth Daly
The New Sonia Wayward by Michael Innes
Ellery Queen’s Japanese Golden Dozen edited by Frederic Dannay
The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie
A Man Lay Dead by Ngaio Marsh
Sydney Noir edited by John Dale
Double Indemnity by James M. Cain

Some decent selections on offer here although there were a few disappointments too. The Detection Club collaborations were both pretty underwhelming reads while I was a little disappointed to find that I agreed with many of the more negative comments I had read about Murder Underground and A Man Lay Dead.

There were some really bright spots too though. James M. Cain’s Double Indemnity was definitely worth reading and lived up to its reputation while Oyinkan Braithwaite’s My Sister, The Serial Killer met my high expectations based on all the hype.

My selection for Book of the Month though goes to a book by an author I thought I would never read again, let alone find myself enjoying their work. I have written quite a lot about this book lately – it featured on that Five to Try list – so I won’t repeat myself too much here…

soniawaywardYes, The New Sonia Wayward by Michael Innes is my pick for Book of the Month.

It is very funny, cleverly plotted and builds to a really entertaining and memorable finish. The characters are fun and the premise is handled well.

I was delighted and surprised by my experiences with this book and while I don’t expect I will be listing Innes as a favorite author any time soon, I am very happy to say that this is one of the good ones.

As for the month ahead, expect to see reviews of books by Nicholas Blake, Freeman Wills Crofts, Julian Symons and Friedrich Dürrenmatt among others. See you in February!

4 thoughts on “January 2019 in Review

  1. Tempted as I am, I’m not sure I can be sucked into reading more by Innes! I have read around 11, only one of those was what I would call a really good read. Maybe some day…
    Nevertheless I am intrigued by which titles you will be reviewing by the authors mentioned above for February. Definitely wondering whether the FD title is the one I decided to not review in the end because it was so not my kind of book. Oh well we’ll see…

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    1. I find it a little hard to believe myself and I read the book!

      With the FD title, is it the Pushkin Vertigo? I must confess I haven’t cracked it open yet so if I find myself having a similar experience I may renege on that promised review. Frankly given my track record with delivering the reviews I tease in these posts it will be amazing if I do any of them other than the Blake which I have already read!

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      1. Your surmise is correct. The title in question has been reprinted by PV recently. But I shall say no more until you’ve read the book, so as to not prejudice you too much! Glad the Blake book will make it through to review.

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      2. I think on balance I will be opting not to review that one either. I am forty per cent into the book and am having a similar experience with it.

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