Book of the Month: January 2019

It has been quite a quiet month for me on the blog, with only 12 mystery reads. This is an unusual low for me, as usually Januarys are my busiest times for me reading wise, (no idea why). However I do have my excuses. Medical appointments and work deadlines aside I have had to say goodbye to two of my pets. At the beginning of the month our family dog of 16 years was put down and under a week ago the same fate awaited one of my 16 year old pygmy goats, which had been with us for 11 years. So yes it has not been the easiest of months.

Rusty, our Papillion, taken a few years ago.
Tilly (on the right) is the pygmy goat I had to say goodbye to. Thankfully Clover (on the left), has two other goats to hang out with now.

Thankfully I did have a number of good reads in and amongst all of this, so much so that there are some strong runners up for the accolade of Book of the Month.

First up is my first read of the year Boris Akunin’s Black City (2018); a political thriller for those who are not natural fans of the subgenre.

Next there was The Blind Villain (1956) by Evelyn Berckman, which is a highly recommendable mystery of murder and imposters.

Finally the last runner up is my final re-read of the month, Carter Dickson’s She Died a Lady (1943), which is an excellent wartime set impossible crime mystery.

However the book which claims and fully deserves the title of Book of the Month is Christopher Huang’s debut novel A Gentleman’s Murder (2018), which is a brilliant 1920s set mystery, with an intriguing cold case element. I am very glad JFW recommended this one to me and I am looking forward to the release of the next book in the series.

I also managed to contribute towards one of JJ’s spoiler posts on Anthony Berkeley’s Mr Priestley’s Problem. Do check it out to see how we explore our different positions on this text.

So here’s to a better month in February. I’d like to hope my reviewing will pick up a little bit, as I’ve got some tantalising titles on my TBR pile to be read.


Astute readers will notice that though I state I read 12 crime novels, I only reviewed 11. I decided to not review a review copy title, (TEoJ by FD), as it really wasn’t my cup of tea for a number of reasons. However to find the silver lining in having made my way through it,, the text did fulfil the following categories for my reading challenges:

Just the Facts Ma’am (Silver Card): Book Made into TV/Film/Play

Calendar of Crime: June (7) Book Title with a Word starting with J


  1. Very sorry to hear about your animal losses; that’s always an emotional time, as we grow so attached to our pets. 12 books read in January is a very admirable (even enviable) number for most of us GAD fans — if I get through a couple novels a month between work and life, I’m content. Thank you for your excellent reviews, and I hope you have a great and mystery-filled February!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kate, I’m so sorry to hear about Rusty and Tilly. How lucky they were to have long and happy lives with such a loving family. But I know it’s never long enough.

    I have Huang’s book on my TBR e-pile and look forward to reading it when I can finally come up for air and read!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. 16 is an achievement of sorts for Tilly, as goats don’t usually live that long. I think her passing was the most surprising, as it wasn’t really on the cards until recently. With Rusty it was much less unexpected.
      I hope you do get around to reading Huang’s book and not just because it will put a smile on JFW’s face! I think you’ll enjoy it and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on it, if you manage to come up for air.


  3. Thanks for the post, which reminded me to continue my slow trajectory through the Akunin novels, and to consider checking out Evelyn Berckman.

    I did wonder if you were relatively silent over the past week or two, and I’m sorry to hear about Rusty and Tilly – you must miss them very much. 😞

    I’m glad you enjoyed “Gentleman’s Murder” very much – and that it snagged the top spot for book of the month. 🤩 (Hint to JJ to read it and review it soon!!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes Tilly and Rusty were a big part of my life, as they were pets we’ve had since my late childhood, so it’s nearly an end of an era. Clover is the same age as Tilly, but thankfully for now she seems belligerently healthy.
      Which Akunin book are you up to now? I didn’t realise you were reading them in order.


      • On my slow trajectory through the Fandorin series: I’ve thus far read “Leviathan” and “Winter Queen”. I believe you suggested that I read the first three or so, before jumping to “Diamond Chariot” and “All the World’s a Stage”.

        And so I should get on with “Turkish Gambit” next!


        • Yes reading the first three will ground you in the characters and cover the significant life events you need to know. After that it is safe to jump to DC, as the ones in between are more espionage and thriller minded in style, which may be less appealing to you. DC is a tour de force though, which I really hope you enjoy once you get to it.


  4. Incidentally, another book recommendation on my part – I just completed the second instalment in Kate Ellis’s historical mystery series featuring Albert Lincoln. Did you get hold of “High Mortality of Doves” in the end? The second entry in the series, like the first, had strong charaxterisation and story-telling, though it wasn’t strictly or consistently a classic fair-play puzzle.

    Liked by 1 person

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