I read three more of the CWA’s top 100 this month, bringing my total to 48 (you’ll see from my pie chart that this is only 47.1% – Len Deighton’s Game, Set and Match are three books, not one). Next month I definitely get halfway.
Sarah Caudwell’s The Shortest Way to Hades (1984) is a very ’80s, light-touch legal whodunit featuring the mysteriously-gendered detective Professor Hilary Tamar.
Michael Innes’ The Journeying Boy (1947) is a detective/adventure story with a nice urbane wit. If the second half had intrigued me as much as the first, it could have been a book of the month.
Desmond Bagley’s Running Blind (1970) is a pretty standard man-on-the-run thriller, given some distinction by its Icelandic setting.
I read two classics not on the CWA list:
Didier Daeninckx’s Murder in Memoriam (1984) has the distinction of being only the second French novel I have reviewed on Past Offences. I’d recommend it to fans of Camilleri – the protagonist is very similar to Montalbano.
Charles Warren Adams’ The Notting Hill Mystery (1862-3) is usually cited as the first detective novel, published in a good quality paperback edition by the British Library. There are some great illustrations by George du Maurier.
I’ve just now finished Traitor’s Field by Robert Wilton, which I’ll be reviewing for Eurocrime. Here’s the blurb:
It is 1648 and Britain is at war with itself. The Royalists are defeated but Parliament is in turmoil, its power weakened by internal discord. Royalism’s last hope is Sir Mortimer Shay, a ruthless veteran of decades of intrigue who must rebuild a credible threat to Cromwell’s rule, whatever the cost. John Thurloe is a young official in Cromwell’s service. Confronted by the extent of the Royalists’ secret intelligence network, he will have to fight the true power reaching into every corner of society: the Comptrollerate-General for Scrutiny and Survey.
It’s my pick of the month, but you’ll have to wait until my review appears…
You can see other crime fiction picks at Mysteries in Paradise.