The last monthly wrap-up of 2013

My Brother MichaelOh dear, not a very full reading month. Still, two strong crime contenders for book of the month.

Mary Stewart’s My Brother Michael is a Greek-set thriller in which a romantic classics teacher gets involved in her new boyfriend’s treasure hunt in the mountains above Delphi.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Sign of Four is the second Sherlock Holmes novel. It’s a series which seems to be taking off, so well worth checking out.

A nice thing about Christmas is that I get to read some books which are not actually crime fiction. Not that I couldn’t do that under my own steam, but I don’t get around to it much. A couple of recommendations from this selection:

Mark Forsyth’s The Elements of Eloquence looks in detail at the components of stylish writing, starting with alliteration and moving trick-by-trick through an unorthodox canon stretching from Shakespeare to Sting. Along the way, it actually answers a question I’ve been nurturing lazily for most of my adult life: Why are adjectives in a particular order? The order is: opinion – size – age – shape – colour – origin – material – purpose – Noun.

So you can have a lovely little old rectangular green French silver whittling knife. but if you mess with that word order in the slightest you’ll sound like a manic.

Neil Perryman’s Adventures with the Wife in Space looks at the story of a man watching all of the classic Doctor Who episodes with his initially unenthusiastic wife. It’s very readable, funny in places and sweet in others, and you can *probably* enjoy it without knowing much about Doctor Who. It’s all recorded in Perryman’s blog

Anyway, two strong contenders for crime fiction of the month, but it has to be Sherlock.


About pastoffences

Past Offences exists to review classic crime and mystery books, with ‘classic’ meaning books originally published before 1987.
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4 Responses to The last monthly wrap-up of 2013

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    Rich – Thanks for this roundup. That Forsyth sounds really interesting, and of course it’s always good to have new ideas for writing. Thanks.


  2. FictionFan says:

    ‘The Elements of Eloquence’ sounds fascinating…and I’m glad the Holmes won!


  3. TracyK says:

    I went back and read the reviews of both My Brother Michael and The Sign of Four. Both nice reviews. I haven’t read any Sherlock Holmes, and hope to do something about that in 2014.


  4. Keishon says:

    My favorite Stewart is Airs Above the Ground. I need to tackle more of her books in 2014.


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