Friday, March 3, 2017

February Wrap-Up and 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 and handing out the coveted P.O.M. Award for the best mystery. So, here we go--let's take a look at January....

Total Books Read: 12
Total Pages: 2,526

Average Rating: 3.17 stars  
Top Rating: 5 stars 
Percentage by Female Authors: 75%

Percentage by US Authors: 92%

Percentage by non-US/non-British Authors:  0%
Percentage Mystery:  92% 

Percentage Fiction: 92%
Percentage written 2000+: 17%
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: 5--one final post coming (17%)

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. January found me with seven mysteries--which is pretty good considering that I was participating in two science fiction reading events and was reading non-mystery books to wrap-up a challenge that ended in January. Here are the mysteries read:

Death Takes a Bow by Frances & Richard Lockridge (4 stars)

All for the Love of a Lady by Leslie Ford (3 stars) 
Spice Island Mystery by Betty Cavanna (3 stars) 
Deception Island by M. K. Lorens (2.5 stars) 
The Thursday Turkey Murders by Craig Rice (2.5 stars) 
Episode of the Wandering Knife by Mary Roberts Rinehart (3.5 stars) 
A Wild Surge of Guilty Passion by Ron Hansen [Fictional True Crime] (3 stars) 
Zadok's Treasure by Margot Arnold (4 stars) 
Search for a Scientist by Charles Leonard (4 stars) 
Death in the Wrong Room by Anthony Gilbert (3.5 stars)
The Blank Wall by Elixabeth Sanxay Holding [DNF]

I had another successful mystery-reading month with ten of my twelve logged as straight mystery fare and one fictionalized account of one of the most sensational murder trials of the early twentieth century. Not quite as many strong entries as last month, but there was still plenty of good entertainment to be had. The biggest disappointment was the Lorens book. I'm a sucker for an academic mystery and I had high hopes for Deception Island--unfortunately it didn't deliver. But three of the mystery novels garnered a four-star rating: Death Takes a Bow from the Lockridges; Zadok's Treasure by Margot Arnold; and Search for a Scientist by Charles Leonard (aka Mary Violet Heberden). 

The Lockridges always deliver an entertaining story and Death Takes a Bow is no different. They are really very good with dialogue and it's very entertaining to "listen" to the interactions of Jerry and Pam (and her nieces...Pam's way of thinking/talking seems to run in the family ) as well as Weigand and Mullins. I can't say that the mysteries are ever very taxing to the seasoned crime fiction reader, but they are always interesting and entertaining snapshots of New York during the time period. A great escape read. Unfortunately, Frances & Richard have taken home P.O.M. honors in the let's move on to the next contestant.

Search for a Scientist features Paul Kilgerrin who is a particularly personable private eye/spy. He has wry sense of humor and, even though he's in a ruthless and rather amoral game, he has some very human moments with those he comes in contact with. He sometimes questions the game he's participating in, but never backs down from his commitment to the government. Not a true mystery--it's quite obvious who is behind the counterfeiting and how it connects to Kilgerrin's scientist. It's also fairly obvious who the scientist is once you meet all the characters--but there's plenty of action/adventure and it's definitely worth the read for the scenes where Kilgerrin hooks up with a master burglar for bit of late-night breaking and entering. At the end of the escapade, the expert expresses dismay that Kilgerring will not be staying much longer in France: "A pity. With training, I could make Monsieur into a really first-class professional."  

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

Zadok's Treasure provides the reader with a nearly complete package--high adventure and narrow escapes in the desert, a closed set of suspects, a classic investigation with our two amateur detectives following up clues to discover the culprit, and a dramatic wrap-up scene with Toby confronting the killer from his hospital bed. Arnold does a fair job of producing a fair play mystery although Toby does hold a couple of clues close to his chest in Holmesian fashion. For the most part, however, Arnold gives us an enjoyable academic cozy with well-developed characters--particularly her detectives Toby and Penny. For those of us who are well-acquainted with the pair, it was fun to see Penny riding to the rescue for once.


1 comment:

fredamans said...

You had a good month. Sorry to see a DNF. Happy March!