Monday, December 1, 2014

November Wrap-Up & P.O.M. Award

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Once again in 2014 I will be combining my monthly wrap-up post with Kerrie's Crime Fiction Pick of the Month over at Mysteries in Paradise.  I fell behind on my Goodreads goal--two books behind to be precise--and I still haven't been able to make up the lost ground. It may be tough to meet that 191 mark this year. Here's the run-down:

Total Books Read: 19 (one DNF)
Total Pages: 4381

Average Rating: 3.07 stars  
Top Rating: 4 stars 
Percentage by Female Authors: 68%

Percentage by US Authors: 47%

Percentage by non-US/non-British Authors:  5%
Percentage Mystery:  84% 

Percentage Fiction: 95%
Percentage written 2000+: 11%
Percentage of Rereads: 0%
Percentage Read for Challenges: 100% {It's eas
y to have every book count for a challenge when you sign up for as many as I do.}    
Number of Challenges fulfilled so far: 40 (85%)

AND, as mentioned above,
Kerrie has started us up for another year of Crime Fiction Favorites. What she's looking for is our Top Mystery Read for each month. November followed October as a most mysterious month--with another sixteen mysteries read.

Copper Gold by Pauline Glen Winslow (DNF)
The Lady in Black by Anna Clarke (4 stars)
Guest in the House by Philip MacDonald (3 stars)
The Circular Staircase by Mary Roberts Rinehart (3 stars)  
The Final Deduction by Rex Stout (4 stars)  
Trick or Treat Murder by Leslie Meier (2 stars)  
Two Men in Twenty by Maurice Procter (4 stars)
Death by Sheer Torture by Robert Barnard (3.5 stars)  
The D. A. Breaks a Seal by Erle Stanley Gardner (3 stars)
Murder Within Murder by Frances & Richard Lockridge (4 stars)  
The Pavilion by Hilda Lawrence (2.75 stars)
Death of a Dutchman by Magdalen Nabb (2 stars)  
The Dark Ring of Murder by Misa Yamamura (3 stars)  
Oxford Knot by Veronica Stallwood (2 stars)   
The Curious Affair of the Third Dog by Patricia Moyes (4 stars) 
Lament for the Bride by Helen Reilly (3 stars)

November also saw a fair number of four-star reads--a total of five out of the sixteen, in fact. Two of the high-ranking books are by old favorites and previous winners, the Lockridges and Rex Stout and are out of the running per my personal rules. That leaves us with three four-star winners: The Lady in Black by Anna Clarke, Two Men in Twenty by Maurice Procter, and The Curious Affair of the Third Dog by Patricia Moyes.

Clarke alternates her tale between the clumsy workings of Chapman and Hall (and their efforts to decide what to do about this peculiar manuscript) and the conflict facing the budding novelist--her drive to be a writer versus her love and loyalties. The story is kept in near-perfect balance with plenty of action and a tense atmosphere that brings us to an unexpected grand finale. Procter gives us a little more than the usual police procedural. He has thrown in a crime procedural as a bonus. We not only get the low-down on how to go about breaking a clever gang of thieves, but we also get the details on how to put together a first-class thieving operation. We read eagerly on, watching the two opposing sides on their way to a head-on collision at the company of Haddon and Walker. The Moyes book
was great fun--lots of interesting information about greyhounds (and other animals), nicely understated police procedural work--making the officers' actions realistic without bogging the reader down with official details and tedious checking and double-checking. Worth the price of admission for the image of Henry dressed up in his sister-in-law's blouse and skirt with a random nurse's blonde wig in order to sneak out of hospital. We're given enough detail to solve the mystery right along with Henry, but just enough is kept back to allow for a twist or two at the end.

All three fine examples of the mystery field, but there can only be one winner. And, so....envelope please....(rips it open). November's POM Award goes to....

Procter's 19 years of experience in the Yorkshire police force gives his stories a feel of authenticity and his ability to write exciting little tales make his novels well-worth reading.


fredamans said...

Another great month for books! Happy December reading!

Bev Hankins said...

Thanks, Freda!