I didn’t get as much read as I planned to but still managed 14 crime fiction reads, (though one was reviewed yesterday so is going to be included in a June roundup). I tried out 6 new authors to me and even managed a spot of globetrotting, (by proxy), with Singaporean mystery, The Frangipani Mystery (2017) and Palle Rosenkrantz’s Danish mystery, The Man in the Cellar (1907). It was also a good month returning to authors who are old favourites, such as Delano Ames, Richard Hull, Alan Melville and Jennifer Rowe. Overall I would say I had a pretty strong month when it came to the titles I picked. Only two reads received a rating lower than 4/5 and there was even a 5/5 read. This did make my choice for Book of the month a fairly easy task, however there are a few titles which I think also deserve an honourable mention:
100 Greatest Literary Detectives (2018) ed. Eric Sanberg – A great read for those who want to discover new authors to try, as well as see new light shine upon old favourites.
Murder by the Book (1989) by Jennifer Rowe – A return to form, after the conflicting series finale Lamb to the Slaughter. Rowe shows herself as the master of producing twist after twist in this intricately puzzled story.
Weekend at Thrackley (1934) by Alan Melville – Melville’s debut mystery shows him working within the country house milieu in the thriller vein. A lot of the strengths we see in later novels by Melville can be seen to be emerging and developing in this tale.
For Old Crime’s Sake (1959) by Delano Ames – This is the final novel in Ames’ Jane and Dagobert Brown series and what a great way to finish. Humour, characters, setting and plotting are all delightfully present and correct.
However the most coveted of prizes, the book of the month title, has to go to Richard Hull’s Murder Isn’t Easy (1936). I have to take my hat off to Hull’s handling and experimentation with the inverted mystery format in this book. There is much for the reader to work out, in this work place based mystery, though I imagine many will not predict the ending to this one.
If you’re interested in trying some of Hull’s stories but you’re not sure where to start then check out this post I wrote on the recent reprints of his work.