Book of the Month: March 2023

I am not entirely sure how I managed it, but it has been a long time since I have read fifteen books in a month. One factor which probably helped was me starting and completing a new-to-me series (the four Death in Paradise novels), as I fairly zipped through those books. Thorogood definitely needs to write more of them! Of the remaining eleven titles, two were non-fiction and one was the March 1951 issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. There was also an additional review this month, for Sven Elvestad’s Through Three Rooms (1907; 2023). However, I read this in January, as I had been asked for a cover quote, if I enjoyed it. So I did not include this in my month’s reading total.

Of the remaining nine mystery novels that I read last month it seems they were all familiar faces, although some were more familiar than others. Yet surprisingly quite a few of these turned out to be dud reads, such as They Rang Up the Police (1939) by Joanna Cannan, The Mad Hatter Mystery (1933) by John Dickson Carr and Harriette Ashbrook’s Murder Makes Murder (1937). Although the last of these reads did give me the opportunity to write an amusing quiz about Disney princesses…

When it came to giving out my award for Book of the Month, I decided to create three separate categories, which go as follows:

Best Death in Paradise Novel: The Killing of Polly Carter (2015)

Reasons: Brilliantly funny writing style and of the four Death in Paradise novels it had the most satisfying solution and best comic subplot.

Best Re-Read Mystery Novel: The ABC Murders (1936) by Agatha Christie

Reasons: Excellent misdirection and there is a great reunion for Poirot and Hastings, who get to go sleuthing together again.

Best Mystery Novel Read for the First Time: Subject: Murder (1945) by Clifford Witting

Reasons: Witting recreates the military background of his mystery, incorporating it into his plot meaningfully, without making it too technical and dull. He provides us with an engaging narrator in Peter Bradfield and one of fiction’s most horrible victims!

Whilst I don’t think I will read as many books in April, my current read is, Method in Madness (1957) by Doris Miles Disney; an author I have not read for a while. I also have my eye on a Craig Rice mystery which has been sitting on my TBR pile for a few months. I am not sure which other books I shall read yet, it’s a mystery! But do share below which books you are looking forward to reading (or buying if there is a new release coming out) this month.

Finally, don’t forget that it is only two days until #MurderEveryMonday, which you can participate in, on Instagram or Twitter. There are more details about this activity, here. However, the images below give some idea of the theme for the next #MurderEveryMonday.

Brown and white cat looking upwards, with wide eyes, giving the impression of being frightened. The cat says: 'Blimey, next week's #MurderEveryMonday theme is a bit scary! Covers with death in the title!'
A different cat, a dark brown tabby, is peeking out of a yellow gingham cloth. The cat looks a little startled. The cat is saying: 'It's too scary for me. I am staying here until it is all over!!'

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