Book of the Month: February 2020

It has been quite a busy month for me, so my reading took a bit of a hit. That said I still managed to squeeze 13 reads in, though one was a comic book. The quality for this months reads has been quite mixed, with books from familiar faces not turning out to be quite as good as anticipated. Although, John Bude did surprise me with the depth of his style in Death in White Pyjamas (1944). This month also saw me ranking the work of Ethel Lina White, as well as taking a look at two non-fiction title, which looked at the deaths in Shakespeare’s plays and the history of Cluedo.

When it came to deciding which book to bestow the accolade of Book of the Month upon, I finally chose…

This was a new author to me, brought to my attention by Stark House. Dead Weight has wonderfully unconventional aspects to its solution and I think Fenisong selects an unusual social milieu. Whilst Deadlock includes an interesting variation of the manipulative philanthropist theme. I hope further reprints of this author will be forthcoming, so Curtis Evans better get cracking with the writing the introductions!

I also thought I would mention here an event I attended in Durham earlier this week, which was a talk given by Victoria Stewart entitled:

“What is your country, may I ask?”: Displaced Persons, Holocaust Survivors, and the Persistence of Fascism in 1940s and 1950s British Detective Fiction

It was an interesting talk to listen to, with Victoria covering a range of detective novels from the well-known (N or M?), to the more obscure Blue Murder and Toper’s End. I was even brave enough to ask a couple of questions at the end and more importantly, mentally stopped myself from answering other people’s questions! It was great talking with Victoria after the event doing the usual classic crime enthusiast game of ‘Have you read…?’

Victoria Stewart’s Crime Writings in Interwar Britain, was published in 2017 and is a book I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

… nearly forgot but below are the answers to quiz I included in my post on The Story of Cluedo.

  1. Tudor Close
  2. Dr Black
  3. Miss Scarlett, Colonel Mustard, Professor Plum, Reverend Green, Mrs Peacock (added after the patent) and Mrs White.

Bonus Question Answers:

Mr Brown, Mr Gold, Miss Grey and Mrs Silver did not make the final cut.

Nurse White and Colonel Yellow were the original names for Mrs White and Colonel Mustard. It is said that Pratt had started with the name Yellow to a poke at senior military figures, who weren’t on the front lines.

  1. Bottle of poison, hypodermic syringe, Axe, Cudgel, Bomb and Poker were all removed from the game. The final line up was: Dagger, Rope, Revolver, Candlestick, Spanner and Lead Piping.

Bonus Question Answer: Bottle of Poison

  1. 9
  2. Waddingtons
  3. Murder!
  4. A) Clue – The Great Detective Game B) Mr Green, as Robert Barton, (key figure at Parker Brothers, who produced the game in America), felt the American public would not want a reverend suspected of murder. C) Mr Boddy
  5. A) Fraulein Ming B) Miss Flame
  6. A) Colonel Yellowbeak B) Madame Curry
  7. Dr Lemon
  8. A) Capitan Celeste B) Baronesse von Blauw
  9. All of these are editions you can now buy.
  10. Clue – The Movie

Bonus Questions Answers: A) 1954 B) New England C) The ending was novel, for the time, as it offered three different endings. Cinemas would only show one, but the different versions were available at different venues.

15. C – Judi Dench did not take part.

How many did you get right?


  1. We need a ranking of Stark House releases …

    I am kidding, but only partly. Stark House reprints look more than usually interesting. The Potts particularly interests me. But I think my TBR is closed indefinitely. There are just too many, with too little time for mystery reading for a while.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I am always glad to assign you work!

        My mystery TBR is sneaking up on a hundred. In paper I have about 30 but I have at least 50 or 60 on Kindle. I bought lots of stuff in Kindle sales! I’d guess about 20 of those are re-reads.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Well that’s not too bad. I was imagining something in the three-four figures. My own TBR pile is around 30ish (physical and e-books) and I am now trying really hard to not buy more books, (though of course I bought one today!).


  2. Thanks for reminding me again of Ruth Fenisong – it’s just that some of the recent Stark two-fers are more character-driven and domestic suspense takes. I was wondering if this might be more up my alley…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well having a central police character does give the stories a greater investigation focus, so you would fare better with this author than Jean Potts for instance. Though with something like Deadweight I don’t think the reader is likely to work out the solution.


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