2018 in Review

Warning: Those with a phobia or allergy to lists should probably skip this post, as it is full of such items.

My 2018 blogging in a nutshell:

  • Total Number of Books Read: 236 (Same as last year)
  • Number of posts: 218
  • Number of reviews: 160 by 108 different authors, 57 of which were new to me.
  • Total Number of Words (not including this post): 198,201 (Averaging 909 word a post)
  • Number of Pages Read: 50116

In terms of favouring male or female writers, I would say I was pretty balanced this year, with male authors only taking a 6 book lead. Not something I purposefully did, but I’m glad I got things nearer even.

When it came to reading books from different countries I didn’t do too badly, reviewing books from/set in Austria, Australia, New Guinea, Singapore, Mexico, the West Indies, Denmark, France, Iceland, Norway and Singapore. Though unsurprisingly the majority of reading came from the UK and USA. I have Boris Akunin’s Black City (2018) and A Gentleman’s Murder (2018) by Christopher Huang winging their way to me as I speak, so I am at least guaranteed a couple of non-UK/US reads next year.

This year also continues to confirm my preference for mysteries published between 1930 and 1950, with the bulk of my reviews coming from this era. Interestingly I find myself reading fewer books from the 1920s. In fact I read more from the 1960s, 70s and 80s, than from the 20s. 2019 might see a few more hits from this decade if I get around to re-reading some Sayers, but if you think I am missing on some great book from this 10 year period do let me know. Though it goes without saying, no Crofts recommendations please!

One first for me though, that I haven’t done any binge reading of my favourite authors this year. The two authors whose works I most frequented were Agatha Christie, (unsurprisingly), and John Dickson Carr, (did not expect this, though I am sure JJ and Ben approve). Anthony Boucher, Christopher Bush and Constance and Gwenyth Little were the authors I next returned to most often, but after that I only really read 2-3 novels from any given author, even with some of my favourite authors such as Alice Tilton, Richard Hull, Delano Ames and Ethel Lina White.

And now for a few more lists…

Best Novels Published for the First Time in 2018

Some of my favourite reads from the year

(Yes I know I am cheating wildly by not containing myself to a Top 10, but I figured deciding on that could take me until December 2019)

1930s

Fear Stalks the Village (1932) by Ethel Lina White

The Deadly Dowager (1934) by Edwin Greenwood

Murder Isn’t Easy (1936) by Richard Hull

The Beast Must Die (1938) by Nicholas Blake

The First Time He Died (1938) by Ethel Lina White

The Case with No Conclusion (1939) by Leo Bruce

 

1940s

The Left Leg (1940) by Alice Tilton

The Nine Dark Hours (1941) by Lenore Glen Offord

The Puzzle of the Happy Hooligan (1941) by Stuart Palmer

Till Death Do Us Part (1944) by John Dickson Carr

A Voice Like Velvet (1944) by Donald Henderson

The Case of the Gilded Fly (1944) by Edmund Crispin

The Deadly Percheron (1947) by John Franklin Bardin

Death Knocks Three Times (1949) by Anthony Gilbert

 

Was 1944 a golden year for crime fiction?

 

1950s

A Murder is Announced (1950) by Agatha Christie

Night of the Jabberwock (1950) by Fredric Brown

The Devil’s Caress (1952) by June Wright

The Case of the Four Friends (1956) by J C Masterman

The Colour of Murder (1957) by Julian Symons

Ordeal by Innocence (1958) by Agatha Christie

For Old Crime’s Sake (1959) by Delano Ames

 

1960s-80s

The Asking Price (1966) by Henry Cecil

The Whispering Wall (1969) by Patricia Carlon

Murder by the Book (1989) by Jennifer Rowe

 

Worst read – French Farce (1937) by Edwin Greenwood (Did not take me any time at all to decide on this point. I still feel sick just thinking about the book).

Most Viewed Posts

  1. Magpie Murders (2016) by Anthony Horowitz
  2. Country House Mysteries – Some of my Favourites
  3. Agatha Christie’s Most Memorable Victims and Villains
  4. Let Me Lie (2018) by Clare Mackintosh
  5. The Sentence is Death (2018) by Anthony Horowitz
  6. Reprint of the Year Award Choice No. 1 – The Devil’s Caress by June Wright
  7. The Return of: Country House Mysteries – Some of my Favourites
  8. Bodies from the Library (2018) ed. by Tony Medawar
  9. Gallows Court (2018) by Martin Edwards
  10. Reprint of the Year Award 2018: Let the Voting Commence

 Weirdest Search Terms for my Blog

  • Best looking Poirot victims [Never thought about Christie’s work from that angle!]
  • Inspector Alleyn Troys van [Not sure Alleyn ever owned anything so Plebeian as a van]
  • Conclusion of dump witness [Included solely for its unfortunate typo]
  • Famous antagonist in murder mystery [Nice and specific isn’t it?]
  • How did linus and burno meet [I have no idea?]
  • What forced grifgfin to become a bandage caricature [Again not a question I feel my blog can answer]
  • Name of the plane in death in the clouds [I have actually read this one, but got to admit this is not a detail I logged]
  • To destroy the taste of red wine [Once more a question outside the remit of my blog, I feel]
  • Anything goes escorts [I feel the person who clicked on my blog based on this search term was immensely disappointed]

 

Not a weird one but a very frequent search term involves searchers wanting an explanation for the ending of Let Me Lie. This is clearly confusing a lot of people. I only wish I could receive a £1 for every such search term, so I could then afford to go on the Orient Express. Queries over Let Me Lie, are then shortly followed up by numerous questions concerning the Magpie Murders.

Books I am looking forward to reading in 2019

  • The Cambridge Companion to Sherlock Holmes

 

  • The Sussex Murders by Ian Sansom
  • The Middle Temple Murder by J S Fletcher
  • Murder in the Mill Race by E C R Lorac
  • Deep Waters ed. Martin Edwards

If there are other 2019 reprints you’re looking forward do let me know.

Plans for 2019

As I mentioned in an earlier post I am taking part in two reading challenges next year, over at Bev’s blog My Reader’s Block. But other than that I don’t have any specific goals in mind, other than keep doing what I am doing, (though this does include about 2 re-reads a month). Unambitious perhaps but I don’t like my reading to feel too pressured.

On a crime fiction, though non-reading note, I am also going to attend my first Crime Writer’s Association conference in April, which I am looking forward to. Though having told my friends and family about it, I now have a shopping list of requests for certain authors’ signatures!

So well done on getting to the end! All that is left to say is Happy New Year (in 11 hours or so)!

23 comments

  1. These search terms deserve an award of some sort. Dump witness?? Lol.
    From your 2019 list, I have read middle temple murder by J S Fletcher. I think this is the first Fletcher book that I read. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to collect the bizarre search terms I got on Noirish — film noir seems to attract them, for some reason, and not just of the “Veronica Lake nued” variety — but I gave up eventually. Too many, too many. And, besides, a lot of them weren’t repeatable in mixed company.

    To destroy the taste of red wine [Once more a question outside the remit of my blog, I feel]

    That one’s easy: Add Alka-Seltzer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • haha yes I can imagine noir films could attract those sorts of searches. Makes me feel a bit better about the odd ones I collected.
      And of course thanks for answering the wine question. If only that searcher could see your answer!

      Like

    • I have read books by Mason and Van Dine. Not writers I am desperate to get back to. I read Kitchin’s Christmas mystery, but not DOMA. I’ve heard it is one of his best, so I’ll have to see if I can find it in 2019.
      I don’t personally track my search terms, but WordPress does it for me. I just scanned through to see if there were any funny ones.

      Like

  3. No, no cheating wildly allowed – where’s the top ten recommended listing? 🤩🤩

    Thanks for reminding me about Donald Henderson’s ‘Voice Like Velvet’, thought it’s inverted form is making me hesitate. I should get round to reading some Ethel Lina White and Lenore Glen Offord – perhaps that might be my resolution for 2019? 🧐

    Looking forward to your review of ‘Black City’!

    P.S. The Crime Writers’ Association conference sounds interesting – what is it about?

    Liked by 1 person

    • argh you do ask a lot of a blogger don’t you? Just for you here is my Top 10, not overthinking it list, which will probably still be valid for the next 5 seconds:
      1. Fear Stalks the Village
      2. The Deadly Dowager
      3. Murder Isn’t Easy
      4. The First Time That He Died
      5. Till Death Do Us Part
      6. Death Knocks Three Times
      7. The Case of the Four Friends
      8. The Deadly Percheron
      9. Night of the Jabberwock
      10. The Devil’s Caress
      (…and no they’re not in any particular order. You can’t make me!)

      In regards to the three writers that you mention in terms of the puzzle factor, ELW and LGO are the best out of those three writers for you. So yes you should definitely try both of them.

      I gave into shiny new book by a favourite author syndrome so Akunin went straight to the top of my TBR pile when it arrived yesterday.

      The CWA is an organisation for writers (mystery fiction, crime fiction publishers, academics etc.) and earlier in 2018 I had been encouraged to join. CWA of course run the daggers awards and the conference I presume is on mystery fiction themed lines. Not sure of the content as I’ve not been one to before, but hopefully I shall blog about it. Since it is being held only a couple of hours away from where I live I thought it would be silly not to go.

      Like

      • Sorry for making you do extra work – the demand for a top-ten listing was tongue-in-cheek. 😼

        Looking forward to hearing your reflections from the CWA conference.

        PS Has your copy of Gentleman’s Murder arrived?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I would happily share my top ten, if only I could recall what books I’ve read in 2018. 😭 But here are some highlights, in no order:

        Christopher Huang, ‘Gentleman’s Murder’
        Anthony Boucher, ‘Case of Seven Sneezes’
        Rupert Penny, ‘Policeman in Armour’
        Roger Scarlett, ‘In the First Degree’
        Patrick Quentin, ‘Puzzle for Wantons’
        Nicholas Blake, ‘Thou Shell of Death’
        Ellery Queen, ‘Greek Coffin Mystery’
        Julie Wassmer, ‘Disappearance at Oare’
        Paul Halter, ‘Madman’s Room’
        Robert Thorogood, ‘Death Knocks Twice’

        This makes ten, but some of the titles might not have made it if I’d better recollection of what I’d actually read. 😓😓 I’m certain something by Carr ought to be inside…

        Like

  4. Happy New Year. Like JJ and Puzzle Doctor I can’t claim any particularly noteworthy search terms though I do get a lot of people searching to find out the solutions to books.

    Apologies for my poor memory but which mystery you read was set in New Guinea?

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was Beat Not the Bones by Charlotte Jay.
      I think I got the Anything Goes Escorts search due to a TNB theme, which was entitled A… for anything goes (or something like that anyways). I did have to explain this one to my parents who read my end of year post.

      Like

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