Book of the Month: July 2022

I managed nine reads this month, (how did I use to read nearly 18 I do not know!). It would have been ten, but I haven’t quite finished Craig Rice’s Having a Wonderful a Crime (1943). Rice’s book is going to be my first review for my new niche blog project of reading classic crime novels which significantly feature a wedding or honeymoon. To find out more about this project and if you want to make any suggestions, here is the link to the earlier post. Another non-review post I fitted in last month was a Top 12 list of my favourite reads to date from the American Mystery Classics series. It was a lot of fun finding out everybody else’s favourites too.

July began with me returning to the work of John Dickson Carr with the interesting The Seat of the Scornful (1942) which sees Dr Fell taking more of a back seat in the story. Last month also saw me dipping my toes into more hardboiled mystery fiction with Headed for a Hearse (1935) by Jonathan Latimer, which had a number of engaging puzzle elements, and I enjoyed it much more than I thought I might. Another author I circled back to was Roger Scarlett and like my return to Carr’s oeuvre this was a success. July also gave me time to try a new-to-me classic crime writer, Nedra Tyre, whose Death of an Intruder (1953) creates a powerful and intense picture of a woman being driven to kill to get an unwanted lodger out of her home and life.

Looking over my crime fiction reads this month the only dud (and boy was it a dud!) was Edward Grierson’s Reputation for a Song (1952) – an author I don’t think I will return to if I can help it! The writing style didn’t work for me, and the predictability of the plot made me wish the narrative would finish sooner.

However, I think the book and author who steal the show this month are Jim Noy and his debut novel The Red Death Murders (2022). Well-plotted, strong pacing, satisfying puzzle – it is definitely a mystery to check out!

I am unsure what books I will read in August, other than finishing the mystery by Rice. Hopefully might read another book for that project as well. As to any other books I read, it’s a mystery! (In more senses than one probably!)

For those of you who are more organised in your reading, let me know what you plan to read these coming four weeks.

Speaking of August books, Benjamin Stevenson’s Everyone in my Family Has Killed Someone (2022) is being released later this month and it is one I can highly recommend.

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