As of this month, I’ve decided to select one of the books I’ve reviewed during a month, which I think was the best and award it the title of Book of the Month.
This month’s reads have included quite a variety, ranging from as early as 1929 up to 1991. They have also covered different areas of crime fiction, some representing the field of British Golden Age crime fiction such as Ianthe Jerrold’s The Studio Crime, whilst others have revealed the grittier side of detection like Martin Edwards’ All the Lonely People and there has also been a brief foray into espionage with Let the Tiger Die by Manning Coles.
The three top picks for me this month have been Henry Wade’s Lonely Magdalen, Martin Edwards’ All the Lonely People and Ianthe Jerrold’s The Studio Crime. I enjoyed the modern feel Wade’s novel has with various policemen being involved in the investigation. The odd moments of irony and satire also made the narrative a good read and the ending does leave you wondering whether justice has been done. However, what let this book down for me was the cyclical issue (see post for more info), making me feel as though the middle section of the book was superfluous. The harsher side of life is deftly portrayed in Edwards’ All the Lonely People and I especially liked the central character Harry Devlin for his black humour and for the way he grows and develops through the tale. The twist at the end is also well worth the read. Between this book and Jerrold’s contribution of The Studio Crime, it was a tough and difficult choice but ultimately I did choose The Studio Crime as my Book of the Month. Jerrold’s novel proves contrary to the usual criticism that British Golden Age works were formulaic and too focused on making and solving puzzles. It has been suggested that she foreshadowed the more novel of manners detective stories that were produced in the 1930s and this is something I enjoyed about it. The references to and pastiches of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson were also expertly done. The solution to the crime is well hidden within the folds of the novel and Jerrold is successful at distracting you from the important clues. Above all what earned this novel first place was its strong leaning towards comedy, particularly through minor character such as Imogen Wimpole.
Over to you: What was your favourite crime novel this month?
Links to my full reviews of this month’s top 3: