Monday, April 3, 2017

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

Total Books Read: 11
Total Pages: 2,073

Average Rating: 3.55 stars  
Top Rating: 4.5 stars 
Percentage by Female Authors: 18%

Percentage by US Authors: 55%

Percentage by non-US/non-British Authors:  0%
Percentage Mystery:  91% 

Percentage Fiction: 91%
Percentage written 2000+: 18%
Percentage of Rereads: 18%
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: 6  (19%)

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. March found me with ten mysteries out of a total eleven books. Here are the mysteries read:

The Body Missed the Boat by Jack Iams (3.5 stars) 
Thrilling Stories of the Railway by Victor L. Whitechurch (3.5 stars)
Murder at Government House by Elspeth Huxley (3 stars) 
Miss Christie Regrets by Guy Fraser-Sampson (4.5 stars) 
Dread & Water by Douglas Clark (4 stars)
Trixie Belden & the Gatehouse Mystery by Julie Campbell (4 stars)  
The Green Turtle Mystery by Ellery Queen, Jr. (4 stars) 
Fit to Kill by Hans C. Owen (3 stars) 
Silence Observed by Michael Innes (3.5 stars) 
Nun Plussed by Monica Quill (3 stars)  

I had another successful mystery-reading month with ten of my eleven logged as straight mystery fare. Our over-all winner as far as star quality is Guy Fraser-Sampson's Miss Christie Regrets with 4.5 stars. He not only invokes the Queen of Crime with his title and a thread of investigation, but he manages an adroit bit of sleight-of-hand with a vital piece of cluing that would make Dame Agatha very proud indeed. This is the second novel in the Hampstead Murders series which makes great use of Golden Age detection--tropes as well as character and author references--but incorporates it all into contemporary settings and modern detection. It was an all-around winner. Unfortunately, just about this time last year, I awarded Guy's first book, Death in Profile, with a P.O.M. award--so, we need to look for another strong mystery.  

Douglas Clark always deliver an entertaining story and Dread & Water is no different. I haven't tired of the Masters and Green team and it doesn't seem to matter that I'm reading this series in an absolutely random manner (using them wherever they fit in the zillion challenges I do). For those who enjoy a good British police procedural and can manage to get their hands on any of the series, these come highly recommended.  But, again, Douglas Clark has taken home P.O.M. honors in the let's move on to the next contestants. 

The two remaining four-star books are Trixie Belden & the Gatehouse Mystery by Julie Campbell and The Green Turtle Mystery by Ellery Queen, Jr. I read each of these books when I was young and just wading out in the mystery waters.  Trixie's story was just as much fun to read as when I was young. It's really a pretty sophisticated mystery for young people--there's real danger for both Trixie and Jim and, although Trixie does jump to a few conclusions here and there, on the whole she makes deductions based on her observations and the clues at hand. The Green Turtle Mystery is much more character-driven. The mystery is pretty obvious--once all the elements are introduced--but all of the main characters from Djuna and Ben to Socker & his managing editor and the Secret Service Agent Sandy MacHatchet are engaging and well-drawn. Even Champ, Djuna's dog, who arrives mid-way through the story to help our heroes, has a distinct personality of his own. There is a great deal of gentle humor and a good atmosphere of thrilling adventure just right for young readers. Each of these books are charming and entirely appropriate for young readers looking for entry into crime fiction--as well as being a lot of fun for older readers looking to revisit their youth. So....


This month, I'm going to let the young people have it and hand out P.O.M. Awards to both Trixie and Djuna.


1 comment:

fredamans said...

LOVED Trixie Belden books when I was young. Glad to see them still getting read! Happy April!