I know a lot of people are relieved January is finally over, but weirdly for me (ever bucking the trend), I felt like January went quite fast for me. Even more weirdly I felt like I had not had that much time for reading, yet I read the same amount of the books as I did in January 2017 and 2016 – 19 books. Oh course my devoted followers (so basically my Mum), will have realised that I have not done 19 blog post reviews this month. In fact out of the 19 books I read in January, 3 were mystery fiction related literary criticism and 11 were mystery novels (one of which I didn’t get a chance to post my review on – which I’ll be rectifying soon).
For those of you who were concerned by my TBR pile being severely underweight, you’ll be pleased to know it has put on quite a few pounds (or books rather) this month. Some of these books came via as review copies: Patricia Moyes’ first two novels and E. C. R. Lorac’s Bats in the Belfry (1937) and Fire in the Thatch (1946). Others were bought by myself and I am looking forward to Charlotte Armstrong’s A Dram of Poison (1956) and Charlotte Jay’s Beat Not the Bones (1952), in particular, recommended to me by Xavier. My best charity shop find (not including online) has to be Third Party Risk (1953) by Nicolas Bentley, although I also managed to pick up copies of Josephine Bell’s Bones in the Barrow (1953) and Elizabeth Daly’s Deadly Nightshade (1940) yesterday in a Books for Amnesty shop. I was also fortunate enough to be a winner in one of Bev Hankin’s reading challenges last year so I am very pleased with my prize: Alice Tilton’s The Left Leg (1940), Helen McCloy’s A Question of Time (1971) and Constance and Gwenyth Little’s The Black Rustle (1943).
But of course it is now time to decide on the Book of the Month. Thankfully this has been quite an easy task for me this month as there is one clear 5/5 winner, which is J. C. Masterman’s The Case of the Four Friends (1956) – though typical me, it is one which quite a lot of other people haven’t hugely enjoyed. I enjoyed the vein of dark comedy running through it and I felt there was a good balance between puzzle and character development.
However, there were two very commendable runners up this month, who are worthy of a mention: Lenore Glen Offord’s The Nine Dark Hours (1941) and Patrica Moyes’ Dead Men Don’t Ski (1959). Definitely recommend both of these books as well as Masterman’s.
As to how books I will read in February who knows? This is the moment where I am glad I haven’t burdened myself with too many reading challenges – 1 seems quite sufficient!