Book of the Month: September 2021

Apologies for the delay in putting this post together. The Classic Crime Advent Calendars are a go-go, so there has not been much spare time. (FYI there are only three days left to get one of these calendars at the early bird price). I only managed seven reads last month, which was partially due to my giving a talk at the Agatha Christie Festival, which you can read a transcript of here.

Yet despite the lower reading count, two titles stood out to me and consequently I have divided the book of the month prize into two categories.

The winner of the Classic Crime Book of the Month is…

The Invisible Host (1930) is a brilliant precursor to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None (1939). It is a perfect spine chilling read for October, with its nods to Gothic literature, which contrast with the 1930s New York setting.

And the winner for Modern Crime Book of the Month, unsurprisingly, but very deservedly goes to…

The Appeal (2021) by Janice Hallett is a great read which updates the documents based/epistolary mystery well. It is perfect reading fodder for the armchair detective.

In keeping with my other Book of the Month posts this year I have listed below the previous winners of Book of the Month for September:

Starting in 2016, the first September Book of the Month winner was Hans Olav Lahlum’s Chameleon People (2016), which is the fourth title in the K2 series. I really wish the later books would be translated into English. This is a series which invariably leaves me with a book hangover.

2017’s September Book of the Month was divided three ways with The Long Arm of the Law (2017) winning the Best Short Stories Collection and Constance and Gwenyth Little’s The Black Coat (1948) and J. Jefferson Farjeon’s Seven Dead (1939) shared Best Novel.

Meanwhile in 2018 first place went to Martin Edwards’ Gallows Court (2018), which I described at the time as being ‘a gripping thriller, with a highly intricate plot and a very enigmatic trend bucking female lead’.

2019 saw me spoilt for choice when it came to good reads, so the book of the month was divided four ways. The Best Psychological Crime Novel went to The Evil Wish (1962) by Jean Potts, Brian Flynn’s The Mystery of the Peacock’s Eye (1928) claimed first place for being the Best Classic Detective Novel, Alice Tilton, a favourite author of mine, bagged Best Comic Crime Novel with Cold Steal (1939) and John Curran’s The Hooded Gunman (2019) won the category for Best Non-Fiction Read about Crime Fiction.

Finally, September 2020 may have been plagued with many so-so or dud reads, but one title which shone all the brighter was Anthony Horowitz’s Moonflower Murders (2020), which easily won first place for Book of the Month.

Looking at the month ahead, how much reading I will get to do is highly debatable, for one reason or another, but my main focus will be on the review copies I have received via Netgalley and in the post.

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