Tuesday, March 1, 2016

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

I'm ready for 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. So, here we go--let's take a look at February....

Total Books Read: 15
Total Pages: 3286

Average Rating: 3.4 stars  
Top Rating: 5 stars 
Percentage by Female Authors: 40%

Percentage by US Authors: 33%

Percentage by non-US/non-British Authors:  13%
Percentage Mystery:  87% 

Percentage Fiction: 93%
Percentage written 2000+: 13%
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: 3 (10%)

AND, 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. February was a very full month--nearly all were mystery or mystery-/crime-related. Here are the books read:

The Clock Ticks On by Valentine Williams (3.5 stars)
The Clue of the Judas Tree by Leslie Ford (2.5 stars) 
The Doberman Wore Black by Barbara Moore (3 stars) 
The Fifth Passenger by Edward Young (4 stars) 
The Bridal Bed Murders by A. E. Martin (2 stars) 
The April Robin Murders by Craig Rice & Ed McBain (3 stars) 
The Silver Anniversary Murder by Lee Harris (3 stars) 
Poacher's Bag by Douglas Clark (4 stars) 
The Spiral Staircase by Ethel Lina White (4 stars) 
The Black Rustle by Constance & Gwenyth Little (3 stars)
The Bachelors of Broken Hill by Arthur W. Upfield (4 stars) 
Gently with the Painters by Alan Hunter (3 stars) The Calcutta Affair by George S. Elrick (3 stars)

And one non-fiction entry with a coffee table book celebrating the spy genre send-up: 

The Avengers: A Celebration by Marcus Hearn (5 stars)

This month four books earned four stars out of five: The Fifth Passenger the lone mystery novel for Edward Young, Poacher's Bag by Douglas Clark, The Spiral Staircase by Ethel Lina White and The Bachelor's of Broken Hill by Arthur W. Upfield. Both Clark consistently entertains with his novels featuring Masters and Green--but I have already awarded him with a coveted P.O.M. Award. White's book is a classic example of good suspense done right without blood and gore or explicit scenes. It is also a terrific character study with plenty of misdirection to allow the reader to question each person's motives and whether they are really what they seem. A very good read for a dark and stormy night of your own.  Upfield not only gives us the usual police procedural, this particular outing provides an interesting character study. Bony must first understand the character of the victims before he can begin to understand the character and psychology of the woman who kills them. The ending is a bit darker than the usual fare by Upfield--giving the reader a very intimate look at what could drive someone to kill in the manner portrayed in the book. These are all excellent reads and well worth the time, but this month's  P.O.M. Award goes to The Fifth Passenger by Young for providing such a delightful surprise from an author I knew nothing about. 

As mentioned above, this was Young's single foray into the espionage/mystery field. It is a pretty nifty story for a first and only fiction effort. Carrington's adventures as he tries to make contact with Howard--all while avoiding the men who are on Howard's trail (including one of Howard's oldest friends, Tony Gardner)--are played out like a chess match, particularly with Gardner. There is also a love interest for Carringtion that actually fulfills an important role in the game rather than serving as a distraction. Overall, a well-done, yet low-key espionage thriller.

1 comment:

fredamans said...

15 books is pretty decent but too bad there weren't better ones. I had the same problem lately... unfulfilling reads. Happy March!