Book of the Month: March 2016

This month has been another good one for reading, clocking up 19 books and even better a lot of them were brilliant ones. Here are a few highlights from what I have read this month:

The Wooden Overcoat (1951) by Pamela Branch

The Wooden Overcoat

Branch is one of the best comic crime writers and the bizarre and anti-heroic, comical world she creates in this novel is second to none. The characterisation of this story is expertly done and is a refreshing read for readers with its’ out of ordinary plot.

Dancing with Death (1947) by Joan Coggin

Dancing with Death

This is a brilliant final appearance for Coggin’s amateur sleuth, Lady Lupin. It has a strong plotline with an unexpected twist at the end and Coggin’s gentle humour and strong characterisation skills are demonstrably present.

Alias Basil Willing (1951) by Helen McCloy

Alias Basil Willing

McCloy begins this novel brilliantly in a comic vein full of misunderstandings and impersonations, yet this quickly culminates into murder and the mood consequently changes into something much darker and chilling. Great read all round.

The Norwich Victims (1931) by Francis Beeding

The Norwich Victims

One of the best inverted detective stories I have read, as Beeding springs a number of surprises on the reader and his central killer is a chilling one who plays a cool and calculating game with the detective, Inspector Martin.

The Ageless Agatha Christie (2016) ed. By J. C. Bernthal

The Ageless Agatha Christie

This is a brilliant collections of essays on Agatha Christie and her work, putting the spotlight on a number of Christie’s less well known works. Each piece provides a fresh look at Christie, incorporating intelligent ideas with enjoyable to read writing styles. Above all it is a collection which rejoices in being an Agatha Christie fan and does not feel the need to apologise for it.

However, this month’s award doesn’t have one winner but two as I couldn’t decide between Ian Sansom’s Westmorland Alone (2016) and Alice Tilton’s The Iron Clew (1947). Both are adept stories within the genre of comic crime, though the variety of comedy they provide is different, as Tilton’s novel is much more of a screwball comedy, whilst Sansom’s novel surprised me in that between the laughs there were some darker moments and one of the principal characters does change a lot.

Westmorland Alone

The Iron Clew

For more of my thoughts on these novels click on the links to read my reviews but all of the books mentioned in this post come highly recommended from me and are must reads.

Tomorrow I will posting up my 200th post and will be doing a Q&A with myself, so if you have any questions about the blog, the books I read and their genre etc. let me know by posting them in the comments section below. They can be as silly or serious as you like.

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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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9 Responses to Book of the Month: March 2016

  1. Simple question that I get a lot, although you get through more than I do and write in much more depth : How do you find the time to read & blog so much?

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    • Thanks for your question, I shall definitely use it and yes I decided to shamelessly steal one of your _00th post ideas. Still in awe of the number of posts you have written.

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      • It’s been 5 years plus… and let’s face it, I managed to get quite a few out of that #Poirot poll…

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      • That is true, but it was quite interesting to see what everyone thought – never realised enjoying Sad Cypress was so controversial! Slightly worried now that when it comes to your Miss Marple poll I may be in a minority for my preference of Nemesis. Though having said that Murder at the Vicarage and Sleeping Murder are also fond favourites.

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      • I’m tempted to predict the top three for Marple but I don’t want to prejudge things… I don’t expect any of those to win though, although I could be wrong…

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  2. Great review of the Ian Sansom book. I have only read a couple of his mobile library series but really enjoyed them so am going to put this one on my wishlist.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. tracybham says:

    You read 19 books this month? That is about what I have read in three months. So envious.

    Also good to see that you enjoyed the Pamela Branch book, since I have it but have not read it yet. I don’t always do well with comic crime novels.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes The Wooden Overcoat was a great read. I also have Murder’s Little Sister by Branch as well in my TBR pile so will hopefully get around to reading that soon. She definitely does comic crime well, which I think is a tricky subgenre to master as you need to balance the various elements in order to not disgust or irritate the reader.

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