Apologies for being a little tardy in writing my November book of the month post. November, like October, did not give me as much time and energy for reading as I had hoped, but I still managed to read a mix of familiar and new-to-me authors. Quality-wise I would say my reading varied a bit, but thankfully not too many duds. But before I reveal which book achieved book of the month status, I thought it might be interesting to take a look back at previous November Book of the Month winners. If this new feature proves popular, I may include it in the next 11 BOM posts. So with my time machine at the ready, let’s see who won the first November book of the month title…
November 2015: Blue Murder (1942) by Harriet Rutland
This was Rutland’s final mystery novel, which I still feel was a great pity, since I think she really hit her stroke in this third book, with its high impact ending.
November 2016: Mist on the Saltings (1933) by Henry Wade
The strong characterisation of this piece pushed it into first place and I very much enjoyed Wade’s sinister love triangle plot.
It seems like this particular November was a very good month for reading, with three titles bagging first place, (and two others claiming joint second place). There is something of a leaning towards more unorthodox mysteries in this triumvirate. Whilst Enter Murderers is not the easiest of books to come by cheaply, though not impossible, Four Days Wonder became far more accessible when it was reprinted in 2017. It is not a conventional whodunit, but it is a highly entertaining fugitive on the run story.
November 2018: The Deadly Percheron (1947) by John Franklin Bardin
This month also had a number of very good reads, including a re-reading of Nicholas Blake’s The Beast Must Die (1938). But Bardin’s title certainly had novelty factor. After all what other mystery novel can you name which has a suspect requested, by a leprechaun, to deliver a large horse to an actress? A wonderfully bizarre plot, which does not fall apart.
Best short story collection: The Measure of Malice (2019) ed. By Martin Edwards
Best modern read: A Rising Man (2016) by Abir Mukherjee
Best Vintage Read: Puzzle for Fiends (1946) by Patrick Quentin
In my opinion, A Rising Man, is the best book in the Captain Wyndham series, as I felt it combined puzzle, characters and setting well together. Whilst Quentin’s story is concerned with a sleuth suffering from amnesia, which is not a great position to be in when you’re in the hands of strangers who may have sinister designs on you… I found Quentin played around with the HIBK /heroine in jeopardy formula in an interesting way in this book, placing his male protagonist in that kind of vulnerable situation. Finally, I was quite surprised, in a good way, to find myself enjoying more, stories by Freeman Wills Crofts, and a H. C. Bailey, than by Edmund Crispin, in The Measure of Malice collection. Definitely an unpredicted outcome!
So now we are back in the present day, it is now time to reveal the winner of the 2020 November book of month, which is…
This is McCloy’s first novel and it is one I hugely enjoyed. I found the nature of the murder intriguing and I felt the investigation developed in a really interesting way, with a good mix of physical and psychological clues for the reader to ponder.
Which were your favourite reads of November?