Book of the Month: December 2018

I know 2 posts in one day from me! A rare achievement, but I still have my End of the Year post to do tomorrow, so decided to space things out a little. I managed 13 reads this month, though I would say there was quite a mixture in terms of quality. This month instead of just focusing on my favourites, I decided to showcase all of my reads, though under different categories, which will give you a hint as to what I made of them.

Disappointed by a familiar author: Cross Purposes (1976) by Henry Cecil

New to me authors which I didn’t completely click with: Death’s Bright Dart (1964) by V. C. Clinton-Baddeley, The Right Honourable Corpse (1952) by Max Murray and Ride the Pink Horse (1946) by Dorothy B Hughes. However I don’t think I will give up on Hughes entirely. I think is more a case of trying a different book by her.

Surprisingly good read from an author I didn’t expect: Travelling Butcher (1944) by Alice Campbell and Murder in the Bookshop (1936) by Carolyn Wells

Entertaining returns to familiar authors: Murder by Matchlight (1945) by E. C. R. Lorac, The Last of Philip Banter (1947) by John Franklin Bardin, The Black Stocking (1947) by Constance and Gwenyth Little and Buried for Pleasure (1948) by Edmund Crispin.

Not quite so good second look: Mystery in White (1937) by J. Jefferson Farjeon

New author I plan to return to: The Beckoning Dream (1956) by Evelyn Berckman

Nonfiction Read of the Month: Agatha Christie’s Golden Age: An Analysis of Poirot’s Golden Age Puzzles (2018) by John Goddard

So which book did I pick as my Book of the Month?

Thankfully this was not too difficult a task for me this month. Whilst there were a number of runner up titles hot on the heels of first place, it really only came down to The Last of Philip Banter and The Beckoning Dream. Both of these books defy conventional mystery norms. Strong characterisation runs throughout these two tales, yet the plotting does not suffer as a consequence; in some ways I would say the plots are heightened by the characters within them. These books yield nothing so every day as a corpse on the library floor for the police to solve, setting off instead a chain of unpredictable and deadly events. It is in light of this fact that I finally decided to give The Last of Philip Banter the accolade of Book of the Month. Though I would recommend both of these books strongly.

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