Compared to all my fellow bloggers, JJ, Brad, Aidan and the Puzzle Doctor, I have yet to publish my final post of the year. Starting to write it at 2:50 is perhaps cutting it a little bit fine. But hey at least by reading everyone else’s round up posts I can get a few ideas for mine… That said there aren’t going to be any all singing all dancing graphs (like JJ has on his post), as if I did try to create all singing, all dancing graphs to depict my reading this year, you can be assured they would all have two left feet. Whilst it has felt like a busy year on the blog, having published 237 posts, (of which 178 were reviews), this year, I actually wrote fewer posts than I did in 2016 (where I somehow managed 281). Though weirdly I managed to read more books in 2017, gaining a personal best of 236 books (not all mystery fiction related of course).
This year was also an important one for me as it saw the launch of my new venture: Coffee and Crime, a vintage book box subscription service and it was great that it has been keeping me fairly busy. The reviews on Etsy and on personal blogs have also been a big boost, in showing me that it wasn’t such an insane and silly idea after all. Also FYI I have recently acquired a number of Dell Mapbacks for my lucky customers. Not one of these fortune few yet? Well here’s the link to rectify that difficulty for you!
Looking back over my mystery reads this year, (creating far too many tallies for my liking), it was interesting to see what I was reading in terms of author gender and country of origin, as well as which decades my reads came from. I wasn’t at all surprise that the vast majority of my reads came from UK and US authors, though I still managed to sample works from 9 other countries (Italy, France, Austria, Norway, Australia, Germany, Hungary, Holland and Russia). This is an area I would like to work on more but it is not so easy to do when your reading preferences lie mostly in books published in the past. Like other GAD-fanatic bloggers most of my reading came from the 1930s, followed by the 1940s and 50s. However I did manage to sample at least one book from every decade in the 20th and 21st century, excepting for the 1990s (Was this a dud decade for mystery fiction?). One thing which did surprise me though, was when looking at the novels I read this year, I read many more by male authors, (100 in fact), compared to the 66 novels I read by female writers. It felt like I had read more female authors than that. Oh well something to work on in this coming year…
I also decided to see which posts of mine were the most viewed this year and thankfully this was something WordPress could calculate for me, (as I seriously wouldn’t want to count it out myself). Below are the…
Top 10 Most Viewed Posts:
- Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
- Country House Mysteries – Some of my Favourites
- Taking Detective Fiction Seriously: The Collected Crime Reviews of Dorothy L Sayers
- Agatha Christie’s Most Memorable Victims and Villains
- Villages and Detective Fiction
- Two Bottles of Relish: The Little Tales of Smethers and Other Stories (1952) by Lord Dunsany
- 7 Ways to Read The Invisible Man (1897) by H. G. Wells [Yes it was quite pleasing that this post got 7th place]
- The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books (2017) by Martin Edwards
- Coffee and Crime: The Launch of my Vintage Mystery Book Box Subscription
- Christie in Translation: Your Experiences
It was interesting to see that posts I had written quite a while ago were still of interest to readers during this year and it was also helpful to see this list, as there were a couple which were a little hazy in my mind, such as my piece on Villages and Detective Fiction.
Of course a key part of blogging is the debates and dialogues which arise from various posts, with conversations leading in all sorts of directions, so it was interesting to see who my most frequent commenters were. *Drum Roll Please* My top 3 most frequent commenters were: JFW, JJ and rkottery. But there were quite a few following closely behind, so you know what to do if you want to get into top 3 (and no the answer is not nobbling any of the top 3, before you ask).
So to wrap up my final post of the year the Book of the Month and the Book of the Year awards need to take place…
Book of the Month
This month for a variety of reasons I only managed to read 12 books (a travesty I know!). However this did make it quite easy to decide on my favourite book of the month, which has to be Conyth Little’s The Black Iris (1953), which was a wonderfully comic crime novel, with a host of delightful characters to engage with.
Book of the Year
This award on the other hand was a much trickier one to decide upon, as I have been fortunate to have read a lot of good books this year. It was so tricky that I eventually caved in (sorry) and did a Top 10 of the year instead. Yeah I know it is a bit of a cheat, but it was tough enough whittling it down to only 10. However I think my Top 10 cover a pleasing range and variety of mystery fiction, so will hopefully give you some potential titles for your TBR pile (or in some cases piles) in 2018.
Top 10 Reads of the Year (in no particular order)
- The Danger Within by Michael Gilbert
- The Waikiki Widow by Juanita Sheridan
- The Owner Lies Dead by Tyline Perry
- Keep it Quiet by Richard Hull
- Mind Your Own Murder by Yolanda Foldes
- The Spinster’s Secret by Anthony Gilbert
- Enter Murderers by Henry Slesar
- Four Days Wonder by A. A, Milne
- The Piccadilly Murder by Anthony Berkeley
- A Whiff of Cyanide by Guy Fraser-Sampson
I also feel that there should be a shout out to Martin Edwards’ The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books and Taking Detective Fiction Seriously: The Collected Crime Reviews of Dorothy L Sayers, which were both published this year and which were both brilliant reads.
So there we have it, Book of the Month and Book(s) of the Year decided upon. I don’t really have any specific reading goals for next year, other than participating in one reading challenge hosted by Bev Hankins, but I do know that my reading next year will be less Delano Ames focused. Surely you haven’t gone off his work? You cry. No I haven’t but I have read an awful lot of his work this year (8 books in fact), so there aren’t all that many left to read. But hey at least that gives me the opportunity of finding a new author to obsess over next year.
Hope you all have a Happy New Year!