My 100th Post!!!

I was quite surprised when a few days ago I realised I was nearing my 100th post. Since starting my blog in June, it seems I have reviewed 67 novels, 1 play, 4 books about detective fiction and 4 crime fiction films, which leaves another 25 posts, a number of which are my current contributions to the Tuesday Night Bloggers, a group which puts up posts oddly enough every Tuesday on a different Golden Age detective fiction writer each month.

Aside from giving myself a pat on the back for having reviewed an awful lot of books, I was wondering how I should commemorate having written 100 posts and therefore decided to get some ideas off others, a lot of which tied into my own idea of somehow looking back on the blog so far and also looking forward into the future.

One suggestion for my 100th post was to look at my favourite books which I have reviewed on the blog so far and after the usual quandaries I would have to say that the following are my favourite 5 reads of the blog:

 

The Catalyst Killing

The Catalyst Killing has all the hall marks of an amazing read for me, as it combines a great sense of time and place, has central characters who you quickly become addicted to following (Patricia is brilliant), and a plot which has puzzle elements, but hooks you emotionally as well, leaving you bereft when you turn the last page and realise there are no more words.

 

Death of Anton

For those who have read Melville’s Quick Curtain, they will know that comic detective fiction is his forte, but I think Death of Anton is Melville’s tour de force in detective humour, ranging from satire to slapstick. But what also surprised me with the book were the moments of great poignancy and darkness, which was something I didn’t expect from light-hearted Melville.

 

Death of a Fellow Traveller

What made this such a good read was that Dagobert and Jane are such a great detective duo and come across as much more mature in comparison to Christie’s Tommy and Tuppence such as in their outings in The Secret Adversary or Partners in Crime. This doesn’t stop them from being absolutely hilarious, with neither Jane or the reader knowing what Dagobert will do next.

 

Murder in the Telephone Exchange

The Australian setting was great and the central character, Maggie is enjoyable to read as she blunders her way through solving the case and the twists Wright brings out at the end are of Christie standard, which always makes a book worth reading doesn’t it?

 

The Mamo Murders

This was a brilliant novel in Lily Wu series and I think the mysteries Lily Wu and Janice Cameron have to solve avoid being repetitive or formulaic due to the way Sheridan intrinsically intertwines Hawaiian culture into the plots. Moreover, I like how Lily Wu neither fits into elderly lady amateur sleuth camp nor the Bright Young Things group, which younger amateurs tend to fall into.

Another suggestion which was given to me was to look at gender in crime fiction, such as gender of victims and killers in the books I have reviewed. This was an idea which intrigued me because it is perhaps an overused concept now that the victims in crime fiction tend to be woman and the killers men. But having looked at the victims and killers in the books I have reviewed, this theory doesn’t hold water because as you can see below the majority of killers and victims are in fact men, though I would say a number of the female killers were actually the most memorable.

KV

Of course, my results are affected by my choice of books and perhaps it is in more Scandinavian or Noir crime that women cop it a bit more, whereas family patriarchs and businessman might be the more common fodder of Golden Age crime fiction.

Looking into the future now, a question which was asked of me was ‘Where would I like to see crime fiction go next?’ Since the introduction of detective fiction as a genre there have been a lot of trends such as hard boil, Scandinavian and forensic and the trend of Golden Age detective fiction could even be said to cyclical as evidenced by the reprinting of such novels and the number of current writers who use its’ tropes in their own books. I think for me it is not a case of wanting to see a whole new trend in the future of detective fiction, but rather seeing current trends continued and developed, in particular the reprinting of nearly forgotten and hard to get hold of Golden Age detective novels, but also in translated crime fiction.

An interesting idea I saw on The Puzzle’s Doctor’s blog (who has done over 800 posts, so has done a fair few 00th posts in his time) was giving a shout out to underappreciated/ less well-known writers. The Puzzle Doctor chose 5, but very unlike me, I am going to only pick one and that is Boris Akunin. I have read two series by Akunin, both of which are set in late 19th Russia (though occasionally other countries feature as well such as Japan). HisThe Winter Queen longest series concerns Erast Fandorin, who begins life in the police force but quickly slides into a diplomatic job. In each book there are murders/crimes for Erast to deal with, but it is the character of Erast himself who makes the books hard to put down, as like Lahlum’s series, you become emotionally hooked into seeing what happens to him and his emotional interactions and responses to things make him a more rounded character. Akunin also tries to incorporate a different aspect of crime fiction into each of his novels so for example Murder on the Leviathan has quite a Christie feel to it. However, I think it is important to start with The Winter Queen, the first book in the series, as it shows how Erast became the way he did. Like this first book, the last book to be Sister Pelagia and the White Bulldogtranslated (so far I hope) left my gasping at the end. The second series Akunin wrote which I have read, is a trilogy and it has a much more amateur sleuth at its centre, Sister Pelagia. Whereas Erast functions mainly in urban areas, Sister Pelagia tends to operate in more rural areas. This is a trilogy which has a much more philosophical turn to it perhaps and definitely leaves you thinking. Sister Pelagia herself, is often showing up the male characters in solving cases, but she is not big headed about it and I would say she is a descendent of Christie’s Miss Marple. At the end of each book there is a cliff hanger which leads into the next one so again starting at the beginning is very important, Sister Pelagia and The White Bulldog.

N. B. If you have a copy of CADS 70, handy you will also see a certain article about this author, written by myself which looks at both these series and the use of Golden Age tropes.

Finally, to the future of this blog. It’s come a long way since the beginning, where I couldn’t seem to get wordpress to format paragraphs properly and I have become introduced to a lot of great people, who are always there with one more book for my TBR pile. It has been brilliant to find so many like-minded people. I hope to continue writing reviews and posts for the Tuesday Night Bloggers, but feel free to give any suggestions you have below to the improvement of the blog or things you would like and want to see more of…

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About armchairreviewer

Qualified English teacher, with a passion for literature and crime fiction. On a random note I also own pygmy goats and chickens with afros (it doesn't get any cooler than that).
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18 Responses to My 100th Post!!!

  1. TheRavenking says:

    Congratulations to your 100th post!

    I have been a fan of Akunin for a long time. I used to be abit obsessed with classical Russian literature, so the Fandorin novels just came at the right time for me. I’m lucky that I could appreciate all the literary references. Unfortunately they seem to have stopped translating and publishing him here in Germany where I live, although his latest novel “The Black Town” has again become a huge bestseller in his native Russia.
    There was an interesting article I’ve read about Akunin a while ago which talked about how he got involved in politics and developed writer’s block in the process. He used to be so prolific publishing several books a year, but then he got so much under stress that he couldn’t write anything for a while. Thankfully since then he has resumed writing again. I believe he has said somewhere that the last Fandorin book will pitch Fandorin against Rasputin. I can’t wait to read that one!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks and I am glad to find another Akunin fan. And yes I think they have stopped translating his novels in English at the moment as well and consequently I haven’t been able to read The Jade Rosary, All World’s The Stage, The Black City or Planet Water, which are the last four in the Fandorin series so far. Pitching Fandorin against Rasputin sounds a great idea, so if it ever gets written and translated I’d definitely read it. Who would you say is your favourite character, Erast Fandorin or Sister Pelagia?

      Liked by 1 person

      • TheRavenking says:

        I have yet to read the third book in the Pelagia trilogy, and I’ve read some very negative comments about it, with some people saying it is the weakest of the three. I’ve enjoyed the first two Pelagia mysteries, but I would say that as a character I prefer Fandorin, even if this is a bit unfair considering that he has so many more adventures and I think due to this his character arc is more interesting, even though as a person he has some not so likeable traits. In this regard I think this is a bit similar for me to the Poirot vs. Marple debate. While I really like Miss Marple, I think that Poirot’s cases are usually more exciting and I find him more engaging as a character.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I get what you mean entirely, Fandorin does get the more exciting adventures perhaps in some respects, (though this is not entirely the case in the third Pelagia novel). I think though that I expect different things from a Pelagia novel, as they have a much more philosophical/subtler style and based on personalities I do prefer her and I wish I knew more about her life before she became a nun. However, having said that Fandorin is an excellent, complex character and you kinda feel for him after the ending of the first novel. He can sometimes get a bit full of himself though.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations! I unfortunately have not read any of the authors listed on your post but I’m sure I will be giving a few of them a try. What I do enjoy reading is your blog. I drop it into pocket along with articles from a few of my other favorite mystery bloggers and then read them while doing my morning aerobic exercises. Not only does the time fly by, which is important while doing aerobics but I then feel inspired to go hunt down a few more good reads.

    Many thanks and keep it up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad to know I’m making aerobics bearable. I’m sure I would need a lot more to get me doing exercise in the morning! What of sort of crime fiction do you enjoy reading?

      Like

      • fbr says:

        Well in no particular order: classic, golden-age, locked room, pulp, noir, hard boiled, British, French, U.S., Canadian, Nordic, Australian, Asian, police procedurals, historical, psychological, southern noir, south-western sheriff and contemporary, although I do admit to sometimes will drawing the line with cozies, other than that not much.

        And making aerobics bearable is a very honourable and worthy thing to do. You should consider your life at least partially full-filled by now.

        Take care and keep writing

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks and I’ll have to put it on my CV! Good to see you have a wide taste in crime fiction. I prefer Golden Age and translated crime fiction as you have no doubt guessed and also draw a line when it comes to Cozies.

        Like

  3. JJ says:

    Congrats on the first hundred, and many thanks for bringing Lahlum, Sheridan, Wright and others to my attention with your posts to date. It’s lovely to discover people with such good taste, even if it can turn into an expensive habit…!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks and your blog has also brought a number of authors to my attention which I had never heard of before such as Rupert Penny, Max Afford and Norman Berrow. Though I’m trying to be good at the moment and not buy any more books until I have reduced my TBR pile a bit (hovering around the 25 mark at present). Although I don’t think getting involved in a book secret Santa has helped this plan…

      Like

      • JJ says:

        Oh, you brave thing – not sure I could bring myself to risk a Book Secret Santa; I mean, what if you get given something literary *shivers*

        Like

      • haha well it is quite well organised. It’s on a site called Library Thing and you do get to say what sort of books you like and don’t like (which in my case is a very long explanation of what I already have and possibly some sledge hammer subtle hints of books I might want (I’m not taking any chances). But as an English literature student I can probably cope with something literary as long as it isn’t Wordsworth or Ulysses. It was fun picking books for another person, though there tastes were… brace yourself… YA fiction (I imagine you’re probably experiencing a convulsion of shivers).

        Like

  4. Well done. Looking forward to the next few hundred!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a delightful blog you have.
    Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Bev Hankins says:

    Congratulations on the 100 milestone! Here’s to many more!

    Liked by 1 person

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