Thursday, April 26, 2012

{review} memento mori

Muriel Spark Momento Mori (1959)


This is a post for Muriel Spark Reading Week, hosted by Simon (stuck in a book) and Harriet (harriet devine), with lovely logo by Thomas (my porch). I have really enjoyed reading everyone's posts and adding lots of titles to my TBR. Thank you Simon and Harriet for hosting! My first review for this week was of Robinson, here.

This is the dustwrapper on my 1980 Macmillan hardback, which I see - based on the number of tickets and receipts which fell out of it when I opened it up - that I bought on a trip to Perth (Western Australia) a few years ago.  


I quite like this cover: the starkness is a good reflection of the book's contents, as is the mock epigraphic typeface suggesting sepulchral inscription. I could even suggest that the Imperial purple nicely plays with the Latin title, and the lilac background is suitably stereotypically old ladyish. I may be getting carried away, of course. 

To business: Memento Mori is hands-down my favourite Muriel Spark book so far. I could not put it down. Its blend of characterisation, drama, pathos, poignancy and wit was spot on. This will be a book that definitely goes on my Books of the Year list.

Someone is ringing a group of senior citizens and leaving the message, "Remember you must die". Is it a mischievous friend or a disgruntled relative? Is it mass hysteria? Perhaps it is Death himself.

   

People talk about the precision of Spark's writing (especially in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie). In Memento Mori this precision is coupled with the most remarkable sense of seriocomic timing: "Mrs. Anthony knew instinctively that Mrs. Pettigrew was a kindly woman. Her instinct was wrong." Memento Mori has some really quite notable instances of this effect (it isn't paraprosdokian but I am sure there's a word for this type of startling effect):
At eleven o'clock next morning Miss Valvona and Miss Taylor were wheeled into the hospital chapel. They were accompanied by three other grannies, not Catholics, from the Maud Long Ward who had been attached to Granny Barnacle in various ways, including those of love, scorn, resentment and pity.
Or:
Mabel Pettigrew thought: I can read him like a book. She had not read a book for over forty years, could never concentrate on reading, but this nevertheless was her thought…

Memento Mori is a remarkable book. The subject matter is so terribly sad and poignant: the terrors of senescence; loss of independence; neglect; the failing mind and body; the loss of friends and lovers and memories and fame; the "lacerating familiarity" and depersonalisation and over-scientification of aged-care; the fight to retain one's dignity in the ruins of one's body; living too long; the impossibility of simple tasks; abuse of the elderly; helplessness; poverty; loneliness; the fear of what is to come; the constant presence of death. However, the plot and the delivery border on the carnivalesque. I have no idea why it works so well. 

This is a terribly moving book. I suspect many readers will find it appallingly depressing, despite its tone, for it is indeed a memento mori - a literal reminder that we all must die.
"Granny Green has gone," said Miss Taylor.
"Ah yes, I noticed a stranger occupying her bed. Now what was Granny Green?"
"Arterio-sclerosis. It affected her heart in the end."
"Yes, well, it is said we are all as old as our arteries. Did she make a good death?"
"I don't know."
"You were asleep at the time," he said.
"No, I was awake. There was a certain amount of fuss."
"She didn't have a peaceful end?"
"No, not peaceful for us."
"I always like to know," he said, "whether a death is a good or bad one. Do keep a look-out."
For a moment she utterly hated him. "A good death," she said, "doesn't reside in the dignity of bearing but in the disposition of the soul."
Suddenly he hated her. "Prove it," he said.
"Disprove it," she said wearily.
Rating: 10/10. Fantastic.

If you liked this... another Muriel Spark book I liked almost as much as this was The Girls of Slender Means, which I read ages ago but never managed to review. As a number of people have noted this week, Spark's books can be hard to nail down!

Monday, April 23, 2012

{review} robinson

Muriel Spark Robinson (1958)


This is a post for Muriel Spark Reading Week, hosted by Simon (stuck in a book) and Harriet (harriet devine's blog), with lovely logo by Thomas (my porch).
If you ask me how I remember the island, what it was like to be stranded there by misadventure for nearly three months, I would answer that it was a time and landscape of the mind if I did not have the visible signs to summon its materiality: my journal, the cat, the newspaper cuttings, the curiosity of my friends; and my sisters - how they always look at me, I think, as one returned from the dead.
On the 10th of May 1954 a plane en route to the Azores crashes on a remote island in the North Atlantic. That island is Robinson. There are only three survivors - the female narrator (January Marlow) and two men with somewhat dubious pasts: Tom Wells, purveyor of lucky charms to the masses, and the mysterious Jimmie Waterford. Waterford - a pseudonym of sorts, may or may not actually have been trying to get to the island of Robinson for reasons connected with a family inheritance. 


Robinson the island is not entirely uninhabited, for it possesses a reclusive owner, Robinson. Yes, Robinson of Robinson (there is a neat "no man is an island" joke there which Spark does not miss). Robinson lives a reclusive life with an adopted young son and a cat. The island is visited only infrequently for harvesting the pomegranate crop, and Robinson, while he lives in a house with many civilised charms (a library - this would certainly help my stay on a desert island) and adequate provisions, does not possess a radio or any means of communicating with the outside world. Robinson is not keen on other people, however the survivors are stranded until the next pomegranate boat arrives in three months' time.
"I wish," said Jimmie, "I stay at home. I commence to think I want my head examined for making this dangerous journey."
"Same here," I said, without really meaning it. I did wish to go home, but not that I had never come away. If I had stayed at home, there might have been a fire in the house, or I might have been run over, or murdered, or have committed a mortal sin. There is no absolute method of judging whether one course of action is less dangerous than another.
As they slowly recover from their injuries, we see a familiar Spark device at work: the reassertion of the survivors' essential, individual personalities. For Spark, the essential core of one's human nature will always overrule any other factors - such as consideration of others or even awareness of the danger that one's less satisfactory characteristics pose to oneself on a desert island. One thinks of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie in this regard: it is inevitable that the girl most likely to be burned to death will burn to death; the girl most likely to betray Miss Brodie will do so; and Miss Brodie herself cannot change her own nature. Once Spark's characters on Robinson, temporarily derailed from their everyday trajectories by their injuries (and thus, we are teased, able to change?) are set back on the rails, they fall swiftly back into these ruts (oh dear, the metaphor got away from me), and tragedy is inevitable. 


There are other things going on in this book - the "no man is an island" witticism is also an important key to the book, as is the (obvious) allusion to Robinson Crusoe and his island. Another famous island lurks beneath the text too, that of Shakespeare's Tempest, where the theme of the "sea-change" ("Full fathom five, thy father lies… / Nothing of him that doth fade, / But doth suffer a sea-change / into something rich and strange") is compared to the narrator's reworking of the past in her journal-into-book transformation (and not to the more likely - but totally unlikely in a Spark sense - transmutation in the individual's characters). There is a typical Spark strand of Roman Catholicism going on (Robinson is a near-crazed anti-Marian). 

There is also the question of how reliable a narrator is Mrs Marlow, who makes a big point of creating a journal of exactly what is happening, but who is also suffering from concussion from the plane crash and describes her moods at one point as "not stable at the best of times": "Perhaps we were fairly insufferable." Little repetitions of information nibble away at our faith in her credibility. To what extent is this island "a truth of the mind"? And when Robinson goes missing and the only clue is a trail of blood, the three survivors must ask the question: are they really alone on the island, or is one of them a murderer? 

I wondered if this book also played with Golding's Lord of the Flies, which came out in 1954, and is, of course, another wonderful study of human nature, particularly the inevitable victory of individual interest over collective good. 

Rating: 8/10. Not my favourite Spark so far (more on that later in the week), but pretty close. The cat who plays ping-pong is brilliant, if you like cats who play ping-pong. 

If you liked this... I want to re-read all the island stuff: Donne ("no man is an island"), the Tempest, Robinson Crusoe. You'll note I omit Lord of the Flies which will remind me of  poorly taught English classes at school until my dying day.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

{weekend words} muriel spark reading week

"Oh my dear Guy, do you think these new young men read my books from charity?"
"Not from indulgence and kindness. But charity elevates the mind and governs the inward eye. If a valuable work of art is rediscovered after it has gone out of fashion, that is due to some charity in the discoverer, I believe. But I say, without a period-sense as well, no-one can appreciate your books."
Muriel Spark Memento Mori (1959)




I hope everyone's gearing up for Muriel Spark Reading Week
More information: Stuck in a Book or Harriet Devine's Blog 
(lovely logo from My Porch)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

{review} the blue train

Agatha Christie The Mystery of the Blue Train (1928)

 

‘You have been to the Riviera before, Georges?’ said Poirot to his valet the following morning. George was an intensely English, rather wooden-faced individual.
‘Yes, sir. I was here two years ago when I was in the service of Lord Edward Frampton.’
‘And today,’ murmured his master, ‘you are here with Hercule Poirot. How one mounts in the world!’

This is one of those books which I first read as a teenager and which provided fuel to my dreams of travelling through Europe (um, without being murdered en route). However, when I re-read it recently (on my Kindle), I realised that I had never actually read the beginning because my ancient second-hand ex-library copy was missing the first few pages! I didn't matter to the plot, but, really, why didn't I throw it out years ago?

Anyway, The Mystery of the Blue Train contains classic Christie ingredients - wonderful settings (South of France), characters (dodgy counts, transformed dowdy companions, American tycoons), fabulous clothes (red lacquer hats, mink), coordinating luggage, a fabulous jewel with a sinister reputation and a mysterious jewel thief who will stop at nothing... And we cannot forget Hercule Poirot, fortuitously travelling on the Blue Train from London to the French Riviera. 


I've always wanted a travelling jewellery case, but that would presuppose that I had any jewels, let alone was silly enough to travel with them. This would do, I suppose:
I thought that The Mystery of the Blue Train was a bit cliché-laden. Apparently Christie didn't like it. Even though I knew whodunnit from previous reads, I enjoyed revisiting this period piece. I recommend it for the settings and a pretty clever plot (I always give up thinking when anyone mentions train timetables as I know I'll never figure it out) and for featuring my favourite cliché of all, the dowdy companion who comes into money and is transformed by a good dressmaker. ;-) 

...she presently went out into the streets of London with a comfortable assurance that she could spend money freely and make what plans she liked for the future.
Her first action was to visit the establishment of a famous dressmaker. A slim, elderly Frenchwoman, rather like a dreaming duchess, received her, and Katherine spoke with a certain naïveté. ‘I want, if I may, to put myself in your hands. I have been very poor all my life and know nothing about clothes, but now I have come into some money and want to look really well dressed.’
The Frenchwoman was charmed. She had an artist’s temperament, which had been soured earlier in the morning by a visit from an Argentine meat queen, who had insisted on having those models least suited to her flamboyant type of beauty. She scrutinized Katherine with keen, clever eyes. ‘Yes–yes, it will be a pleasure. Mademoiselle has a very good figure; for her the simple lines will be best. She is also très anglaise. Some people it would offend them if I said that, but Mademoiselle no. Une belle Anglaise, there is no style more delightful.’
Rating: 3/5.
If you liked this… not my favourite Christie. Try The Moving Finger or A Murder is Announced or They Came to Baghdad.

   

Monday, April 16, 2012

{review} the song of achilles

Madeline Miller The Song of Achilles (2011) 

 
I turned. Thetis stood at the edge of the clearing, her bone-white skin and black hair bright as slashes of lightning. The dress she wore clung close to her body and shimmered like fish-scale. My breath died in my throat. ‘You were not to be here,’ she said. The scrape of jagged rocks against a ship’s hull. She stepped forward, and the grass seemed to wilt beneath her feet. She was a sea-nymph, and the things of earth did not love her.
Madeline Miller has produced a remarkable redaction of the story of the Greek hero Achilles - the 'best of the Achaians' [Greeks] of the Trojan War. Miller has a real feel for the stories behind the Trojan War saga, not least The Iliad. The result is a very much humanized presentation of the great hero, told from the perspective of his lover Patroclus.  

The Iliad is a hard read. It helps to like men and battles. It is a wonderful poem if you can stay the distance. Miller's great achievement is to take this material and rework it into something that makes one want to return to the original - she reminds the reader of how extraordinary are these stories.

The plot: Miller's narrator Patroclus (yes, it's first person) tells the story of how he met Achilles, their boyhood, adolescence, increasing sexual attraction, and their attempts to avoid Achilles' known fate: 
My hand closed over his. ‘You must not kill Hector,’ I said. He looked up, his beautiful face framed by the gold of his hair. ‘My mother told you the rest of the prophecy.’ ‘She did.’ ‘And you think that no one but me can kill Hector.’ ‘Yes,’ I said. ‘And you think to steal time from the Fates?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Ah.’ A sly smile spread across his face; he had always loved defiance. ‘Well, why should I kill him? He’s done nothing to me.’ For the first time then, I felt a kind of hope.
Some characters really shone for me: Miller's Odysseus is wonderfully tricky - as he should be. Miller's presentation of Achilles' mother, the goddess Thetis, manages to surmount the problems of realistically presenting gods in a human world.

 Some things didn't work so well for me: I thought Miller had some problems with time: after all, there is a lot of time to get through during the Trojan War when nothing much is happening except battle, battle, battle. The segues from stasis to action seemed sometimes forced. I also found the love scenes a bit coyly soft focus; indeed, on one level, the whole book sometimes threatens to veer into 'romance' territory.
I handed him the last piece, his helmet, bristling with horsehair, and watched as he fitted it over his ears, leaving only a thin strip of his face open. He leaned towards me, framed by bronze, smelling of sweat and leather and metal. I closed my eyes, felt his lips on mine, the only part of him still soft. Then he was gone.
But, you know, I really enjoyed The Song of Achilles. I enjoyed Miller's take on the Patroclus-Achilles relationship (were they? weren't they? was always an issue in studying The Iliad and works of the epic cycle). I think it is fantastic that a book that is in its own way a love song to a far more ancient book is a contender for the Orange Prize and I think that Miller has done classical studies the sort of huge popularizing favour that ordinarily only comes about nowadays via the cinema - Gladiator et al.
‘Is it right that my father’s fame should be diminished? Tainted by a commoner?’
‘Patroclus was no commoner. He was born a prince, and exiled. He served bravely in our army, and many men admired him. He killed Sarpedon, second only to Hector.’
‘In my father’s armour. With my father’s fame. He has none of his own.’
Odysseus inclines his head. ‘True. But fame is a strange thing. Some men gain glory after they die, while others fade. What is admired in one generation is abhorred in another.’ He spread his broad hands. ‘We cannot say who will survive the holocaust of memory. Who knows?’ He smiles. ‘Perhaps one day even I will be famous. Perhaps more famous than you.’
‘I doubt it.’
Rating: 8/10.

If you liked these: go on, read the original.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

{weekend words}

The idea of marriage—even in its highest form, based on mutual consideration and mutual forbearance—was repugnant to her. She thought of it with a shiver of absolute repulsion. To Aubrey it was distasteful, but to her cold, reserved temperament it was a thing of horror and disgust. That women could submit to the degrading intimacy and fettered existence of married life filled her with scornful wonder. To be bound irrevocably to the will and pleasure of a man who would have the right to demand obedience in all that constituted marriage and the strength to enforce those claims revolted her.
Edith M. Hull (1919)  
 

Monday, April 9, 2012

{review} a kiss before dying

Ira Levin A Kiss Before Dying (1953)

 
He had discovered that she liked to be called 'baby'. When he called her 'baby' and held her in his arms he could get her to do practically anything. He had thought about it, and decided it had something to do with the coldness she felt towards her father.
I have raved over and over again about how brilliant are Ira Levin's books {REVIEW; REVIEW; REVIEW}. A Kiss Before Dying was his first book and I am in awe of how good it is. It is almost impossible to describe without giving away what happens, but in the simplest terms it is structured in three parts. In the first we see events from the perspective of the killer, whose carefully wrought plan to marry the rich daughter of a morally upright copper industrialist goes awry when she reveals she is pregnant and his only escape seems to be murder. In the second part, the girl's sister decides to investigate her sister's apparent suicide. I think we know that this can never be a good idea... And I am not going to say anything about the third part as it would give everything away.
The characterisation is superb. Here's the killer:
Viewing himself again as he refastened his jacket, he wished he could as easily exchange his face, temporarily, for one of less distinctive design. There were times, he realized, when being so handsome was a definite handicap. As a step, at least, in the direction of appearing commonplace, he reluctantly donned his one hat, a dove grey fedora, settling the unfamiliar weight cautiously, so as not to disturb his hair.
And one of the sisters:
She rented a two-room apartment on the top floor of a converted brownstone house in the East Fifties. She furnished it with a great deal of care. Because the two rooms were smaller than those she had occupied in her father’s home, she could not take all her possessions with her. Those that she did take, therefore, were the fruit of a thoughtful selection. She told herself she was choosing the things she liked best, the things that meant the most to her, which was true; but as she hung each picture and placed each book upon the shelf, she saw it not only through her own eyes but also through the eyes of a visitor who would some day come to her apartment, a visitor as yet unidentified except as to his sex. Every article was invested with significance, an index to her self; the furniture and the lamps and the ashtrays (modern but not modernistic), the reproduction of her favourite painting (Charles Demuth’s My Egypt; not quite realistic; its planes accentuated and enriched by the eye of the artist), the records (some of the jazz and some of the Stravinsky and Bartók, but mostly the melodic listen-in-the-dark themes of Grieg and Brahms and Rachmaninoff), and the books – especially – the books, for what better index of the personality is there? (The novels and plays, the non-fiction and verse, all chosen in proportion and representation of her tastes.) It was like the concentrated abbreviation of a Help Wanted ad.
As in Levin's other books, he proves himself to be the master of the surprise twist and I am still slightly stunned from the one two-thirds through this book. 

Rating: 4/5.


    

Sunday, April 8, 2012

{bookplate love}

A bunny for Easter.


Jackrabbit lino-cut bookplate 
by jacquie at jacquiescence

More rabbit bookplates hare here.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

{weekend words}

You see them on the bus in the morning: girls reading the newspaper, girls with lending-library novels and girls simply staring off into space. If it is not a rainy day and the bus is not crowded with strap-hangers pushing one another up the aisle you can see each face clearly. Each of them is a self-contained little mask, decorated with cosmetics, keeping its private thoughts secluded in a public vehicle. Some of these girls are going to their offices because each day is another step to the success they dream of, and others are going to work because they cannot live without the money, and some are going because that’s where they go on weekdays and they never give it another thought. They go to their typing pool or their calculating machines as to a waiting place, a limbo for single girls who are waiting for love and marriage. Perhaps the girl sitting on the bus reading her plastic-covered lending-library novel is reading of love, or perhaps she is simply looking at the page and thinking of herself.
Rona Jaffe (1958)

{READ IN 2017}

  • SEPTEMBER
  • AUGUST
  • 85.
  • 84. Sweet Danger - Margery Allingham
  • 83. Police at the Funeral - Margery Allingham
  • 82. Look to the Lady - Margery Allingham
  • 81. Mystery Mile - Margery Allingham
  • 80. The Crime at Black Dudley - Margery Allingham
  • 79. The White Cottage Mystery - Margery Allingham
  • 78. Murder Underground - Mavis Doriel Hay
  • 77. No Man's Land - David Baldacci
  • 76. The Escape - David Baldacci
  • 75. The Forgotten - David Baldacci
  • 74. Zero Day - David Baldacci
  • JULY
  • 73. Pilgrim's Rest - Patricia Wentworth
  • 72. The Case is Closed - Patricia Wentworth
  • 71. The Watersplash - Patricia Wentworth
  • 70. Lonesome Road - Patricia Wentworth
  • 69. The Listening Eye - Patricia Wentworth
  • 68. Through the Wall - Patricia Wentworth
  • 67. Out of the Past - Patricia Wentworth
  • 66. Mistress - Amanda Quick
  • 65. The Black Widow - Daniel Silva
  • 64. The Narrow - Michael Connelly
  • 63. The Poet - Michael Connelly
  • 62. The Visitor - Lee Child
  • 61. No Middle Name: The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Stories - Lee Child
  • JUNE
  • 60. The Queen's Accomplice - Susan Elia MacNeal
  • 59. Mrs Roosevelt's Confidante - Susan Elia MacNeal
  • 58. The PM's Secret Agent - Susan Elia MacNeal
  • 57. His Majesty's Hope - Susan Elia MacNeal
  • 56. Princess Elizabeth's Spy - Susan Elia MacNeal
  • 55. Mr Churchill's Secretary - Susan Elia MacNeal
  • 54. A Lesson in Secrets - Jacqueline Winspear
  • 53. Hit & Run - Lawrence Block
  • 52. Hit Parade - Lawrence Block
  • 51. Hit List - Lawrence Block
  • 50. Six Were Present - E. R. Punshon
  • 49. Triple Quest - E. R. Punshon
  • MAY
  • 48. Dark is the Clue - E. R. Punshon
  • 47. Brought to Light - E. R. Punshon
  • 46. Strange Ending - E. R. Punshon
  • 45. The Attending Truth - E. R. Punshon
  • 44. The Golden Dagger - E. R. Punshon
  • 43. The Secret Search - E. R. Punshon
  • 42. Spook Street - Mick Herron
  • 41. Real Tigers - Mick Herron
  • 40. Dead Lions - Mick Herron
  • 39. Slow Horses - Mick Herron
  • APRIL
  • 38. Everybody Always Tells - E. R. Punshon
  • 37. So Many Doors - E. R. Punshon
  • 36. The Girl with All the Gifts - M. R. Carey
  • 35. A Scream in Soho - John G. Brandon
  • 34. A Murder is Arranged - Basil Thomson
  • 33. The Milliner's Hat Mystery - Basil Thomson
  • 32. Who Killed Stella Pomeroy? - Basil Thomson
  • 31. The Dartmoor Enigma - Basil Thomson
  • 30. The Case of the Dead Diplomat - Basil Thomson
  • 29. The Case of Naomi Clynes - Basil Thomson
  • 28. Richardson Scores Again - Basil Thomson
  • 27. A Deadly Thaw - Sarah Ward
  • MARCH
  • 26. The Spy Paramount - E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • 25. The Great Impersonation - E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • 24. Ragdoll - Daniel Cole
  • 23. The Case of Sir Adam Braid - Molly Thynne
  • 22. The Ministry of Fear - Graham Greene
  • 21. The Draycott Murder Mystery - Molly Thynne
  • 20. The Murder on the Enriqueta - Molly Thynne
  • 19. The Nowhere Man - Gregg Hurwitz
  • 18. He Dies and Makes No Sign - Molly Thynne
  • FEBRUARY
  • 17. Death in the Dentist's Chair - Molly Thynne
  • 16. The Crime at the 'Noah's Ark' - Molly Thynne
  • 15. Harriet the Spy - Louise Fitzhugh
  • 14. Night School - Lee Child
  • 13. The Dancing Bear - Frances Faviell
  • 12. The Reluctant Cannibals - Ian Flitcroft
  • 11. Fear Stalks the Village - Ethel Lina White
  • 10. The Plot - Irving Wallace
  • JANUARY
  • 9. Understood Betsy - Dorothy Canfield Fisher
  • 8. Give the Devil his Due - Sulari Gentill
  • 7. A Murder Unmentioned - Sulari Gentill
  • 6. Dead Until Dark - Charlaine Harris
  • 5. Gentlemen Formerly Dressed - Sulari Gentill
  • 4. While She Sleeps - Ethel Lina White
  • 3. A Chelsea Concerto - Frances Faviell
  • 2. Kipps: The Story of a Simple Soul - H. G. Wells
  • 1. Heft - Liz Moore

{READ IN 2016}

  • (K = Kindle; rr = re-read)
  • DECEMBER
  • 92. Richardson's First Case - Basil Thomson [K]
  • 91. The Alington Inheritance - Patricia Wentworth [K; rr]
  • 90. Orphan X - Gregg Hurwitz [K]
  • 89. The House of Godwinsson [Bobby Owen 24] - E. R. Punshon [K]
  • 88. Music Tells All [Bobby Owen 24] - E. R. Punshon [K]
  • 87. Helen Passes By [Bobby Owen 23] - E. R. Punshon [K]
  • NOVEMBER
  • 86. It Might Lead Anywhere [Bobby Owen 22] - E. R. Punshon [K]
  • 85. There's a Reason for Everything [Bobby Owen 21] - E. R. Punshon [K]
  • 84. Secrets Can't Be Kept [Bobby Owen 20] - E. R. Punshon [K]
  • OCTOBER
  • 83. Night's Cloak [Bobby Owen 19] - E. R. Punshon [K]
  • 82. The Conqueror Inn [Bobby Owen 18] - E. R. Punshon [K]
  • 81. The Diabolic Candelabra [Bobby Owen 17] - E. R. Punshon [K]
  • 80. The Dark Garden [Bobby Owen 16] - E. R. Punshon [K]
  • SEPTEMBER
  • 79. Picture Miss Seeton - Heron Carvic [K]
  • 78. Down Under (Benbow Smith 4) - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 77. Walk with Care (Benbow Smith 3) - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 76. Danger Calling (Benbow Smith 2) - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 75. Fool Errant (Benbow Smith 1) - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 74. The Annam Jewel - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 73. Mr Zero - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 72. Will o' the Wisp - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 71. Red Shadow - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 70. Pursuit of a Parcel (Lamb 3) - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 69. Who Pays the Piper (Lamb 2) - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 68. The Blind Side (Lamb 1) - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 67. Outrageous Fortune - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 66. The Amazing Chance - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 65. Red Stefan - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • AUGUST
  • 64. The Coldstone - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 63. Anne Belinda - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 62. The Black Cabinet - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 61. Hue & Cry - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 60. The Skin Collector - Jeffery Deaver [K]
  • 59. The Kill Room - Jeffery Deaver [K]
  • 58. Nothing Venture - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 57. Kingdom Lost - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 56. Beggar's Choice - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 55. Hole and Corner - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 54. Touch and Go - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 53. The Red Lacquer Case - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 52. Run! - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 51. Fear by Night - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • JULY
  • 50. The Dower House Mystery - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 49. The Astonishing Adventure of Jane Smith - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 48. Weekend with Death - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 47. Blindfold - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 46. Silence in Court - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 45. Acts of the Assassins - Richard Beard [K]
  • JUNE
  • 44. Hack - Kieran Crowley [K]
  • 43. The Portable Veblen - Elizabeth McKenzie [K]
  • 42. The Spirit Murder Mystery - Robin Forsythe [K]
  • MAY
  • 41. The Ginger Cat Mystery - Robin Forsythe [K]
  • 40. The Pleasure Cruise Mystery - Robin Forsythe [K]
  • 39. The Polo Ground Murder - Robin Forsythe [K]
  • APRIL
  • 38. The Outsider - Jason Dean [K]
  • 37. The Hunter's Oath - Jason Dean [K]
  • 36. Missing or Murdered - Robin Forsythe [K]
  • 35. The Beetle - Richard Marsh [K]
  • MARCH
  • 34. A Curious Beginning (Veronica Speedwell 1) - Deanna Raybourn [K]
  • 33. The Chimera Vector - Nathan M. Farrugia [K]
  • 32. An Infamous Army - Georgette Heyer [K]
  • 31. Mr Bazalgette's Agent - Leonard Merrick
  • 30. Don't Tell - Karen Rose [K]
  • 29. Say Goodbye - Lisa Gardner [K]
  • 28. Gone - Lisa Gardner [K]
  • 27. The Killing Hour - Lisa Gardner [K]
  • 26. The Next Accident - Lisa Gardner [K]
  • 25. The Third Victim - Lisa Gardner [K]
  • FEBRUARY
  • 24. The Perfect Husband - Lisa Gardner [K]
  • 23. Find Her - Lisa Gardner [K]
  • 22. Fear Nothing - Lisa Gardner [K]
  • 21. Catch Me - Lisa Gardner [K]
  • 20. Love You More - Lisa Gardner [K]
  • 19. Live to Tell - Lisa Gardner [K]
  • 18. The Neighbour - Lisa Gardner [K]
  • 17. Hide - Lisa Gardner [K]
  • 16. Alone - Lisa Gardner [K]
  • 15. The Humans - Matt Haig [K]
  • 14. Utopian Man - Lisa Lang
  • 13. Love Insurance - Earl Derr Biggers [K]
  • JANUARY
  • 12. The Ignition Effect - Viv Ronnebeck [K]
  • 11. My Brilliant Career - Miles Franklin [K]
  • 10. Dangerous & Unseemly - K. B. Owen [K]
  • 9. In Bitter Chill - Sarah Ward [K[
  • 8. Half a Crown - Jo Walton [K]
  • 7. Ha'penny - Jo Walton [K]
  • 6. Hilda Wade: A Woman with Tenacity of Purpose - Grant Allen [K]
  • 5. The Case of William Smith - Patricia Wentworth [K; rr]
  • 4. Blue Murder - Harriet Rutland [K]
  • 3. Bleeding Hooks - Harriet Rutland [K]
  • 2. Knock, Murderer, Knock! - Harriet Rutland [K]
  • 1. Ten Star Clues [Bobby Owen 15] - E. R. Punshon [K]