Some of Bev's Favorite Quotes...

Attention All Challengers! here on the Block has been, shall we say, challenging since I got back from vacation. I cam back to work to no computer (not hooked up after our office move) and my laptop at home has gone on strike. It looks like the Check-in Posts for the Just the Facts & Mount TBR challenges will wind up happening at the end of July instead of the regularly scheduled mid-point. But they are coming. Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

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

I'm enjoying another year of tracking reading progress and statistics for all things bookish on the Block. I will also be contributing to Kerrie's Crime Fiction Pick of the Month. Here's what happened here on the Block in July....
Total Books Read: 17
Total Pages:  3,545
Average Rating: 3.24 stars
Top Rating: 5 stars 
Percentage by Female Authors: 47%
Percentage by US Authors: 59%
Percentage by non-US/non-British Authors:  6%
Percentage Mystery:  71%
Percentage Fiction: 88%
Percentage written 2000+: 29%
Percentage of Rereads: 0%
Percentage Read for Challenges: 100% {It's easy to have every book count for a challenge when you sign up for as many as I do.}  
Number of Challenges fulfilled so far: 10 (24%)

Not bad, not bad at all. I picked up the pace a bit in July. And boosted the page count quite nicely. Still running a bit behind schedule, though, if I'm going to get 40,000 pages done by the end of the year. And now for the P.O.M. Award in Mysteries.

As mentioned above, Kerrie had us all set up for another year of Crime Fiction Favorites. What she was looking for is our Top Mystery Read for each month. Of the seventeen books read in July, twelve were mysteries. Here are the mystery books read:

The Turquoise Shop by Frances Crane (3 stars) 

Young Mrs. Cavendish & the Kaiser's Men by K. K. Beck (2.5 stars) 
Hand of Fate by Michael Underwood (4 stars) 
The Case of the Borrowed Brunette by Erle Stanley Gardner (4 stars) 
The Crime & the Crystal by Elizabeth Ferrars (3 stars) 
The Lack of the Irish by Ralph McInerny (3 stars) 
Murder Past Due by Miranda James (3 stars)  
Resorting to Murder by Martin Edwards, ed (4 stars) 
Two & Two Make Twenty-Two by Gwen Bristow & Bruce Manning (4 stars) 
Shadow of a Doubt by June Thomson (4 stars) 
The Bookfair Murders by Anna Porter (1.5 stars) 
The Penny Murders by Lionel Black (3 stars)
Again--as has been the case for the last two months, I actually handed out one full five-star rating in July, but that went (also again) to a science fiction master. Not Harlan Ellison this time, but to Isaac Asimov's story The Last Question. Unfortunately, science fiction doesn't qualify for the P.O.M. So, for the best mystery fiction we have a passel of contenders with four stars each. The first is Michael Underwood's Hand of Fate, an inverted courtroom drama with p
lenty of suspense waiting to see if the culprit will be declared guilty or not. And a grand finale worth waiting for. Next up is The Case of the Borrowed Brunette by Erle Stanley Gardner. Gardner delivers a definite winner with an excellent build-up and a fast pace-- picking the reader up with Perry and Della at the beginning and running fast and furious to the last scenes. Also in the running is a collection of Golden Age short stories edited by Martin Edwards. Resorting to Murder is a collection with a holiday theme--holiday in the British sense, referring to a vacation of sorts rather than Christmas or Halloween. The authors take us to seaside resorts and French hotels, on walking tours and mountain-climbing trips where murder just happens to be on holiday as well. And, of course, June Thomson's Shadow of a Doubt collected four stars this month as well. It is one of the best detective novels I've read by Thomson. The clues are displayed quite fairly and the alert reader should be able to gather them up along with the detectives and reach the same conclusion. Thomson was at her plotting and clue sleight-of-hand best when she put this one together and there are some interesting circumstances that feature in the denouement. But good as these four were, they didn't quite capture my attention the way our winner did.  This month's P.O.M. Award goes to....

Two and Two Make Twenty-Two by Gwen Bristow and Bruce Manning. Bristow and Bruce Manning takes us to Paradise Island off the coast of Louisiana in the beautiful Gulf of Mexico. A cozy island get-away for the rich and elite, Paradise Island and its exclusive Peacock Club makes every wish come true for those who can afford its delights. But like the holiday venues in Resorting to Murder, death lurks on the island. When you read my review (linked above), it may sound like it's a grubby little drug-ring caper, but the murder in the cottage makes it a good old-fashioned clue and time-table driven mystery. Armchair detectives have a fair chance to put the clues together themselves. I managed to figure out the how, but Bristow and Manning did a good job keeping me from figuring out the who. If you have the chance to get hold of a copy of this one, I'd be interested to know if you put it all together.

1 comment:

fredamans said...

17 books is awesome!
Happy August reading!