May pick of the month

After a quiet April, May was a busier reviewing month for me. I tackled my small pile of books for Euro Crime and continued to read my way through my wife’s birthday gifts chosen from the CWA Top 100.

I read:

  • Dead to Me, Cath Staincliffe’s readable prequel to the excellent UK TV series Scott and Bailey;
  • There’s Trouble Brewing, a formulaic but charming Nicholas Blake Nigel Strangeways title originally published in 1937;
  • Emlyn Rees’s pacy thriller Hunted, as seen on railway platforms up and down the country;
  • Anthony Berkeley’s classic (but over-rated in my opinion) The Poisoned Chocolates Case;
  • J. J. Marric’s (John Creasey’s) Gideon’s Day, an early police procedural.

My pick of the month? Gideon’s Day. There are no dull moments in this ‘police documentary’ story describing a crowded day on the life of Scotland Yard in the 50s. It’s easy to see how it inspired the procedural tradition in British crime writing. Well worth revisiting today.

Pierre Magnan

I shouldn’t let the month pass without mentioning the death at 89 of Pierre Magnan, one of my favourite French crime writers. His obituary is here. Basically, if you like Fred Vargas, you should be reading some of his books. I wrote a brief appreciation of his work at the end of last year.

About pastoffences

Past Offences exists to review classic crime and mystery books, with ‘classic’ meaning books originally published before 1987.
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1 Response to May pick of the month

  1. Maxine says:

    OK, I definitely shall have to read/re-read Gideon’s Day, now! And thanks for the mention of Magnan – I am a bit on the fence on Vargas, but I might look at Magnan’s books in a bit more detail.


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