Book of the Month: April 2021

It was a busy month in April for the blog, 20 posts of which 13 were reviews. I rather enjoyed having quite a few non-review posts to write, as it stops things from getting a bit repetitive. In case you missed them, here is a list of the 7 posts in question:

I don’t think there will be as many such posts in May, depends how inspired I am feeling! Usually inspiration is somewhat like a bus, you wait ages for one to turn up, and then they all come at once!

In keeping with my other Book of the Month posts this year, I am going to be looking back to previous winners for this month first, before revealing this April’s winner, or will it be winners?

In April 2016 the winner was Jane and the Wandering Eye (1998) by Stephanie Barron. This is the 3rd in her series which features Jane Austen as an amateur sleuth. I found Jane to be a very engaging character who draws you in and I enjoyed Barron’s blending of fact and fiction.

Meanwhile in April 2017 Todd Downing’s Vultures in the Sky (1935) won the crown and I really enjoyed this tense train set mystery. This reminds me that I need to return to his work at some point.

Then in April 2018 the final read of the month, Night of the Jabberwock (1950) by Fredric Brown, stole the trophy. This is a brilliant action packed and well-paced screwball mystery, which still have a satisfying puzzle. This book is definitely ripe for being reprinted.  

In April 2019 I had two books, one modern and one classic, sharing first place. Christine Poulson’s Cold, Cold Heart (2017) was the modern crime winner with her Antarctica set mystery, whilst Noonday Devil (1951) by Ursula Curtiss was the classic crime champion, with its interesting cold case mystery.

Finally, last year, I again had two joint winners. The modern crime winner was Martin Edwards wonderful 1930s mystery, Mortmain Hall (2020), whilst the classic crime title sharing first place, was The Reluctant Murderer (1949) by Bernice Carey.

This brings us back up to the present and in the end I decided to continue the joint winner theme, by allotting the Book of the Month accolade to two writers whose work I have only tried for the first time this month. The first is Norbert Davis’ The Mouse in the Mountain (1943), which is set in Mexico and includes a private eye named Doan and his sidekick Carstairs, a Great Dane. This was an unusual book for me to enjoy, as it has hardboiled elements, but I really liked the characters and the humour, as well as its fast pace. The other first place winner is Nancy Rutledge and her novel Blood on the Cat (1946), which has traditional detective story elements, yet she peppers them with post-war grit. Alongside the engaging mystery, there is also a very effective journalist sleuth and it is a pity that the author may not have written any more books featuring them.

Which books did you enjoy reading in April?

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