Thursday, June 9, 2022

May Pick of the Month (Better Late Than Never)

 I just realized that another month is in the books (😉) and I forgot to see what I read in May and which mystery stands out among the crowd. I'm keeping up my pace--trudging right along. I managed another 17 books and all but two had a mystery flair. I'm still trying to manage my reading rate so I'll be planting a flag on Mount Olympus on Mars (in my Mount TBR challenge) before the year is out.  I've also been looking for that elusive five-star rating for a new-to-me mystery novel. And I finally got it! Now I just have to decide if I'm going to give another P.O.M. award to C. S. Harris (she's won twice in the past, I believe). We'll take a look at the mystery star ratings in a moment, but before we hand out the shiny prize/s, let's take a look at the stats.

Total Books Read: 19
Total Pages: 4,722

Average Rating: 3.68 stars  
Top Rating: 5 stars 
Percentage by Female Authors: 53%
Percentage by Male Authors: 47%
Percentage by both Female & Male Authors: 0%
Percentage by US Authors: 68%

Percentage by non-US/non-British Authors:  16%
Percentage Mystery: 89%
Percentage Fiction: 95%
Percentage written 2000+: 21%
Percentage of Rereads: 26%
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: 14 (42%)

Mysteries Read:
Parcels for Inspector West by John Creasey (4 stars) 
Flying Too High by Kerry Greenwood (4 stars)
When Blood Lies by C. S. Harris (5 stars)
Killer Loose! by Geneveive Holden (3 stars) 
The Parchment Key by Stanley Hopkins, Jr. (3.5 stars)
The Clue in the Crumbling Wall by Carolyn Keene (4 stars)
The Counterfeit Lady by Kate Parker (3 stars)
The Vanishing Thief by Kate Parker (3.5 stars)
Reliquary by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child (3 stars) 
Busman's Honeymoon by Dorothy L. Sayers (5 stars)
Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers (5 stars)
Lock 14 by Georges Simenon (2.75 stars)
Murder on "B" Deck by Vincent Starrett (3 stars)
Murder Down Under by Arthur W. Upfield (2.5 stars)
The Corbin Necklace by Henry Kitchell Webster (3.5 stars)
Going Public by David Westheimer (4 stars)
The Body That Wasn't Uncle by George Worthing Yates (2.5 stars)

So, as you can see When Blood Lies by Harris and two Dorothy L. Sayers novels, Gaudy Night & Busman's Honeymoon, each gathered up five stars. The Sayers mysteries are both rereads (several times over), so, I'm sorry, Dorothy, but you're out. When Blood Lies is another knock-out historical mystery by Harris that just came out this spring. I had been impatiently waiting since last July (when I finished the previous book in the series) and I devoured it immediately as soon as my turn come in the library holds sweepstakes. I love this series so much that...yes, I AM going to give C. S. Harris another P.O.M. Award....

But...I am going to make her share it. Let's look at the contenders with four stars. Flying High by Kerry Greenwood and The Clue in the Crumbling Wall by Carolyn Keene are both rereads, so they're going to join Sayers on the sidelines. Which leaves us with two possibilities. John Creasey's Parcels for Inspector West is a police procedural set at Christmastime. Creasey is terrific with characters and manages to give everyone attention in the short space afforded. We feel like we really know the Bryants--even though some of the family are on stage for extremely brief periods. We become very invested in the family and even more interested in seeing the killers brought to justice. And Going Public by David Westheimer isn't really a true mystery at all. It is focused on a trio of young men who have found profit in murder and are looking to incorporate the business, sell shares in the company...and make a financial killing.

The Inspector Roger West books are my favorites of the various series Creasey writes (under various names), but I believe the other winner of a May P.O.M. Award is....

This is just enormous fun. It skewers the business industry so expertly, that you would think one of the Willies had performed the "undertaking." All the worst qualities of the business world are put to use to further the ends of the undertakings--and it is usually men who display those worst qualities who become "units" in the company's production line. It also shines a light on the religious faction who don't seem to mind being hand-in-glove with dirty business practices as long as they can claim profits "for the glory of the Lord." A terrific commentary on big business with comments that are just as applicable to the business practices of today (unfortunately) and all done with murder mayhem and good humor.


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