Thursday, May 5, 2016

April Wrap-Up and P.O.M. Award

Just realized I hadn't done my monthly wrap-up for April yet. I'm slipping! I do enjoy tracking my reading progress and statistics for all things bookish on the Block. I also have a contribution for Kerrie's Crime Fiction Pick of the Month. Now, what happened here on the Block in April....

Total Books Read: 14
Total Pages:  3,540
Average Rating: 3.41 stars  
Top Rating: 4 stars 
Percentage by Female Authors: 43%

Percentage by US Authors: 43%

Percentage by non-US/non-British Authors:  7%
Percentage Mystery:  93% 

Percentage Fiction: 100%
Percentage written 2000+: 21%
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: 12 (40%)

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. April was another big month for mysteries with all but one coming from that field--for a total of 13 out of the total 14. Here are the books read:

The Third Encounter by Sara Woods (3.5 stars)
Death in Profile by Guy Fraser-Sampson (4 stars)
The Jade Venus by George Harmon Coxe (3.5 stars) 

The Indigo Necklace Murders by France Crane (2.5 stars)
The Case of the Black-Eyed Blonde by Erle Stanley Gardner (3 stars) 

The Limehouse Text by Will Thomas (3.5 stars) 
One Foot in the Grave by Peter Dickinson (3.5 stars) 
The Chalk Circle Man by Fred Vargas (4 stars) 
Death in Cyprus by M. M. Kaye (4 stars) 
Death by Hoax by Lionel Black (3 stars) 
Chili Con Corpses by J. B. Stanley (3 stars) 
Line Up for Murder by Marion Babson (4 stars)
Our Jubilee Is Death by Leo Bruce (3.25 stars)

While this month did not see any five stars handed out or any run-away winners like last month, I did have a nice crop of four-star winners. There was The Chalk Circle Man by Fred Vargas (a previous winner of the coveted P.O.M.). The book introduces readers to a new character, the quirky and thoroughly unorthodox Commissaire Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg who has just recently been appointed to his post in Paris. The characters she introduces are memorable as well--from Adamsberg to an odd marine biologist to the blind man she befriends and brings to live in the flats she rents out to the Chalk Man himself. You leave this world feeling as though you have really met and followed these folks around for the duration of the case. There was also Death in Cyprus by M. M. Kaye where once again, Kaye has used her own experiences to inform her novel. In 1949, she and a friend spent a painting holiday in Cyprus, stayed in "an enchanting house in Kyrenia" which she uses in the story, and "the plot was practically handed to [her] on a plate by a series of curious incidents that occurred during [their] stay." The vivid portrayal of the places and experiences could only come from first-hand knowledge. And our last runner-up, Marion Babson's Line Up for Murder which is gentle mystery. Full of charm--it was a delight to read. There is very little action in the generally accepted mystery sense of the word, but Babson draws such vivid characters and sets the scene so expertly that one doesn't really notice. The big mystery is finding out exactly what the plot is, who's behind it, and who is the intended target.

Which leaves us with this month's P.O.M. Award Winner....

Guy Fraser-Sampson's Death in Profile. He has created a company of very interesting characters. Characters who are at once likeable and compelling with imperfections that we can all understand and relate to. He has also, as noted on the novel's back cover, put together a "love letter to the detective novel." A notation that should come as no surprise to those of us who love the Golden Age Detective novel and who are fellow members of a GAD group online, because I would add that it is a love letter to the classic detective novel. The references to various writers from the Golden Age and their creations as well as the most obvious tribute to Dorothy L. Sayers and Lord Peter Wimsey are quite delightful. Fraser-Sampson pulled me into the story from the outset and I enjoyed the investigation quite a lot. I also enjoyed the various tensions developed in the story--from the tensions between older and newer methods of police work to the tensions between various members of the team to the tensions involved with bringing in the profiler.

1 comment:

fredamans said...

Bah, you're still in the first week so you're good... lol... you did great though! Happy May!