Book of the Month: August 2018

It didn’t feel like a very productive month on the blog, which is a bit bizarre given that I managed 16 mystery reads during August. Not feeling at my best might have had something to do with it. Within this 16 there were a lot of middle of the road reads, however keen readers of the blog will know that there were a handful or so which really knocked it out of the park. So in reverse order let’s begin with

Joint Third

Perhaps slightly unusual bed fellows, though both books are more of the psychological/character based mystery. Henderson’s novel is a delightful inverted mystery revolving around a seemingly respectable BBC radio announcer, who just so happens to be a burglar by night. Quite a page turning story as you wonder how things will turn out for him. The strength of this book lies in the character of the announcer alongside the well-turned out and unusual setting of the BBC radio headquarters. Conversely, Christie’s book explores a number of engaging themes: justice, innocence, can good acts become a vice? and what happens when your fairy tale like dreams don’t come true… Suffice to say this story blows the cosy myth of Christie out of the water, though I feel the recent BBC adaptation went very much too far the other way.

Second Place

 

It was great to return to the work of Ethel Lina White again after so long and I was pleasantly surprised by how intricate the central puzzle was. White is on top form when she depicts a village plagued by a poison pen writer. This book is also only 99p on Kindle at the moment so definitely a good time to snap this one up.

Joint First Place

Having two winners of the BOM this month came as a surprise to me, but my final read of August definitely deserved its’ place alongside Symon’s novel. As with joint third place these are quite different reads, though again psychological tension might be the bridging component. The Colour of Murder (1957) definitely put my Symons reading back on track, given my aborted last read by him. In this though the reader is given a brilliantly creative unconventional mystery, playing a variation on Francis Iles’ Malice Aforethought. Characters, use of texts within texts and social history are all a delight to read. Whilst with the Carr novel, now a personal Carr favourite, the reader is face with a fiendish puzzle, which invariably keeps getting turned upside down. A mystery I think that should have a wide base of appeal and one I feel could work as a TV adaptation.

Very much looking forward to my reading next month, not least because it will including Martin Edwards’ new book, Gallows Court. Can’t wait!

6 comments

  1. I understand what you mean about feeling unproductive in spite of the evidence – I had a pretty similar month myself. I am also rather pleased that of the five novels you have highlighted I have read and enjoyed three of them, particularly The Colour of Murder.

    Looking forward to seeing what you read next month and, in particular, to hearing your thoughts on Gallows Court!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You realize that either:
    1. The Colour of Murder is a long lost classic that we should all drop everything and read.
    2. You’ve disparaged a classic of the likes of Till Death Do Us Part by comparing it to a mere mortal tale.
    3. Your tastes differ from mine.

    While I’ll politely assume #3 is true, in the back of my mind I’m thinking #2… Harumph!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Ha – I didn’t say that I actually had an informed opinion! I was just taken aback that you ranked The Colour of Murder alongside what I think many would claim to be John Dickson Carr’s finest work. And of course, now you have me extremely curious… Another book goes on the wish list!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I would say they are both at the top of their form, but that their forms are somewhat different, so it never feels fair to do a full comparison as it is like comparing a car to a boat or an apple to a banana. I will be interested to see what you make of the Symons novel now.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.