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!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

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

It's time to put together my wrap-up post for August I also have a contribution for Kerrie's Crime Fiction Pick of the Month. I got a fair amount of reading done, especially considering I spent a lot of energy preparing for not one graduate student orientation, but two this year (I've taken on the MFA graduate program as well as the MA/PhD)--though it still looks like I need to reevaluate the number of pages I'm going to get read per year. I used to average over 40,000 pages. I'm going to be lucky to hit 30,000 this year. But..let's focus on August. Here's what happened here on the Block last month....

Total Books Read: 12
Total Pages:  2,857

Average Rating: 3.47 stars
Top Rating: 5 stars 
Percentage by Female Authors: 42%

Percentage by US Authors: 42%

Percentage by non-US/non-British Authors:  0%
Percentage Mystery:  100% 
Percentage Fiction: 100%
Percentage written 2000+: 0%
Percentage of Rereads: 10%
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: 20 (62%)

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. August was another huge month for mysteries with 100% coming from that field--for a total of twelve crime novels. Here are the books read:

Servant's Problem by Veronica Parker Johns (3.75 stars)
Murder on Trial by Michael Underwood (4 stars)
Invitation to Murder by Leslie Ford (3 stars)
Murder Every Monday by Pamela Branch (1.5 stars)
A Parade of Cockeyed Creatures or Did Someone Murder Our Wandering Boy? by George Baxt (3.5 stars)
A Death for a Darling by E. X. Giroux (3 stars)
Design for Murder by Erica Quest (3 stars)
Unhallowed Murder by Simon Nash (4 stars)
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by
John le Carré (5 stars)
The Silent Witness by R. Austin Freeman (4 stars)
The Master of Mysteries by Gelett Burgess (3.5 stars)
The House of the Arrow by A.E.W. Mason (3.5 stars)

 Now, I know that I've got one clear winner as far as stars awarded--The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré with 5 stars. But Mr. le Carré has already won the P.O.M. award when I read his Call for the Dead  last year. Espionage and thriller fans who haven't given his work a try should definitely do so. Now, since I like to spread the wealth here at the Block, we'll move on to our 4-star contestants. In that bracket, we have Murder on Trial by Michael Underwood, Unhallowed Murder by Simon Nash, and The Silent Witness by R. Austin Freeman.  

The Nash book is another in a long line of academic mysteries (and you know I love me an academic mystery). It is the final entry in his Adam Ludlow series and it is every bit as entertaining as the previous three that I have read. It was particularly satisfying to see a series end on a strong note. But, like E. C. R. Lorac last month, Simon Nash has won before, so we'll just move along. The next two books are so different from each other that it's a little bit like comparing apples and oranges. The Underwood book is a police procedural mixed with a courtroom scene. The Freeman book features that scientific investigator in the Holmes tradition, Dr. Thorndyke. But when it comes down to it, it's this phrase from my review of The Silent Witness that tips the balance: "Some of the narrative carries on a little longer than necessary...." The Silent Witness is an intriguing and enjoyable read overall, but it comes up just a bit short in comparison to this month's P.O.M. Winner....

This really was a surprise delight--the courtroom scenes are well done and it was a very ingenious twist to have a murder occur right in the middle of a trial--in the Old Bailey of all places and right under the nose of a Scotland Yard inspector, the judge, and the jury. I don't know if this is the first time it's happened in crime fiction, but it certainly is the first time I've encountered this plot device.
Overall, this short novel (122 pages) was such a promising introduction to Inspector Manton and Underwood's crime fiction that I will definitely be looking for more of the series.

1 comment:

fredamans said...

You had a great month! Read more than me! :-)
Happy September!