Friday, December 31, 2010

{favourite book of 2010}

Winifred Watson Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (1938)

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (Persephone Classics)

This is my hands-down favourite read of the year. Maybe the last two years. Maybe ever. It is witty, clever, well-written, beautifully illustrated and very, very moving.

Rating: 10/10.

If you liked this... I'm reading it again. And again. I worried that if I read it tomorrow it will also become my favourite read of 2011. Maybe I'd better reread it tonight!

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Begging to join the groaning shelves this week:

David Watkin's (2009)

This encapsulates a dilemma: 
buy a book or put the money towards 

I've enjoyed the Wonders of the World series 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

{review} the agency

The Agency: Spy in the House No. 1

This is number one in a series about young women from the wrong side of the tracks who are taken in by a girls' school which is also a front for a detective agency. The heroine Mary Lang has been saved from the gallows, and turns her hand to working undercover in a merchant's home to sort out the mystery of smuggled goods and lost cargoes. She finds herself drawn into the affairs of the family and their milieu. Is anyone who they seem? 

This was an enjoyable read - lots of nice bits about Victorian London and the engineering works on the Thames. It is set during a very hot summer so there is plenty of scope for gross descriptions of the smells and sights as well as for capturing the unpleasantness of having to wear so many clothes! There's a gorgeous love interest, James Easton, whose hard warm body the heroine first encounters in a wardrobe - nice touch, so to speak. The love interest is handled very discretely, and sets up the next book in the series nicely. Basically this book was like a heterosexual Young Adult Sarah Waters. I assume that this is a YA book?

My favourite bit was the disclaimer on the copyright page: "All statements, activities, stunts, descriptions, information and material of any other kind contained herein are included for entertainment purposes only and should not be relied on for accuracy or replicated as they may result in injury."

This book suffers from a lack of proof-reading ('theives' e.g.). And on p.210 in my edition, something dire has happened to the division of speakers.

Rating: 7/10

I have now also read the second in the series, The Body at the Tower. I thought the period detail was wonderfully done but the narrative lacked both the liveliness and the stronger plot structure of A Spy in the House. Mary Quinn is sent undercover, dressed as a boy, to investigate a mysterious death at the building site of the Houses of Parliament (specifically at Stephen's Tower [Big Ben]). Rating: 6/10.

If you liked this... I kept thinking about Fingersmith.

Fingersmith  The Body at the Tower: A Mary Quinn Mystery

Monday, December 27, 2010

{review} out of print

H. A. Wrenn The Lady Prefers Murder (Hammond, Hammond & Co. (1954)

This a very worn ex-circulating library book, stamped Pioneer Delivery Library.  The wrapper has been cut up and glued to the boards. I love the inscription on the top of the first page: "PLEASE KEEP THIS BOOK CLEAN. FINE FOR TURNED DOWN PAGES 1D PER PAGE."

{for some reason this won't rotate the right way}
You don't drink, and you don't like women, Mr. Proctor. Your trouble must be unusual.
The Lady Prefers Murder is unfortunately, albeit dramatically titled, giving away, as it does, the solution before one has opened the book. It has elements taken from the American gangster genre and incongruously transposed to a sleepy English village: the lawyer hero drinks copious amounts of spirits, he is frequently knocked on the head, and the villains are very hairy with far too many tattoos. Themes include SP bookmaking, unlicensed phone-lines, a lost fortune in diamonds, a golden hind, blackmail, beer mugs, patents for ladies' underwear and a tiger stinking of ammonia.
Although the shades were partly drawn, the combination of feminine tenacity and high room temperature was sapping Mitchell's resistance.
It is simply bursting with poorly repressed sexual tension - pneumatic blondes literally ooze across the room towards the unlucky hero: "She moved in a smooth ripple of self-compensating curves towards her table..." The other object of Mitchell's affections reminded me of the vagina dentata:
Norma bent over him. Her lips parted in a smile, revealing pearly rows of small, even teeth. Mitchell tilted his face blissfully, and the teeth took a shrewd nip at the lobe of his left ear.
Really this is the worst sort of rip-off of the Chandler-esque genre. It isn't even camp enough to be funny. The most interesting bit was the description of how the English market town was slowly being eroded by the modern world, represented by dance halls and so much traffic a woman daren't cross the road without the hero's assistance.

Apparently H. A. Wrenn had a previous hit with Tangle. Not sure I could face that. Like the hero, I "cursed savagely with the thwarted desperation of a housewife with six children."

Rating: 2/10.

If you liked this... read something better from the decade. Patricia Wentworth's Miss Silver mysteries are always reliable if you want to see how murder in a small town ought to be done.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Begging to join the groaning shelves this week:

Romantic Moderns: English Writers, Artists and the Imagination from Virginia Woolf to John Piper

Alexandra Harris (2010)

I'll have to wait for the paperback 
but this looks fabulous.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

{review} relaxing reads

At Christmas time I like to revisit old favourites. They are a sure salve against the craziness and don't require a big effort to concentrate when all hell is breaking loose around the reader. I might turn to a much-loved Agatha Christie or - returning right to basics - an Enid Blyton or a W.E. Johns. To sit back with a G&T and relax with an old friend is a huge luxury at this time of year. 

So, Biggles in the Baltic: an all-time favourite, from the opening paragraph that 'England is now, therefore, in a state of war with Germany' right to the spectacular end on a tiny island in the Baltic Sea where Biggles has been sent to set up a secret squadron. His arch-enemy Erich von Stahlein is in the picture again (love his 'lithe' menacing figure) and everything ends with a bang. Classic children's adventure fiction. 

Pour me another gin.

This jacket comes from fantastic fiction.

Monday, December 20, 2010

{review} important artifacts

Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry

I guess this is a graphic novel? 

This mock auction catalogue is certainly the most unusual book I've read this year: the inventory records the chronologically-ordered stages of a couple's relationship from sizzling to fizzled out. There's a fair bit of evidence that it is doomed from the start. It is a really original way to chart a romance: lots of lovely little personal details - shopping lists, polaroids, the contents of sponge bags, menus, books with inscriptions or unsent letters inside. It is a most voyeuristic read; sometimes almost uncomfortably so as one examines the detritus of two lives through the loaded signifiers that are their 'things'. 

I really enjoyed this: I thought it was very clever, but not annoyingly so. The not-quite-spelling-everything-out approach was well done - the reader/voyeur does have to work for their interpretations. 

A cautionary tale? Burn everything! 

Rating: 10/10 (worth it for curiosity value alone)

If you liked this... please tell me what I should read next!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

{weekend words}

The Xmas rush is complicated this year by the fact that there are no other presents to be given but books. Today two quite separate people came in & asked me to think of a book for the Duke of Beaufort "he never reads you know". If somebody could write a book for people who never read they would make a fortune.
Letter from Nancy Mitford to Evelyn Waugh (12 December 1944) in The Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh edited by Charlotte Mosley (Hodder & Stoughton, 1996), p.9. 

 The Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh

Friday, December 17, 2010

{lit link}

"It must have happened all the time. In the standard prayer cycle of medieval monks, nuns, and canons, one service, called Vigils or Matins, took place in the middle of the night. What if, during the wee hours in a dim church, somebody dozes off."

Find out what to do at
The Medieval Review

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Begging to join the groaning shelves this week:

Another book I should have read.
Margaret Kennedy's 1924

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

{review} the gazebo

Patricia Wentworth The Gazebo (1955). 

My cover is from the undated 'The Thriller Book Club' edition (121 Charing Cross Road, London WC2).

I was amazed not to see 'Miss Silver' on The Guardian's list of top female detectives. Mind you, there were many other notable absences. 

The Gazebo (sometimes appearing as The Summerhouse) is a typical high quality 'Miss Silver' crime-romance-morality tale. Who murdered Althea Graham's domineering mother? Why has Nicholas Carey returned after five years? Can Althea give him up again? Should she buy some make-up and get her hair done?
There was very little likelihood that Althea would meet him round any street corner. But if by any chance she did, why should he see her looking as if she had been feeding an empty heart on ashes for the five longest and loneliest years of her life?
What is going on in the quiet suburbs of London? What is the mystery of the Gazebo? Who'd have thought that an expanding ruler could be an instrument of death?

Excellent characterisation, well-drawn settings, juicy mystery:
Mrs. Blount... was a simple woman and a most unhappy one. It soothed this unhappiness to read about other people who were unhappy, and who got over it and lived happily ever after. It wasn't that she thought it would happen to her, she just liked to read about it happening to other people. It was for the same reason that she read every word of the advice on beauty culture... There were ways in which you could put everything right, and she never got tired of reading about them.
And Miss Silver? Miss Silver can put everything right, all the while knitting pink vests for "children who might never have been born if Miss Silver had not stepped in to disentangle the net in which innocent feet had been caught".

In sum: lovely old-fashioned detective stuff, complete with obliging gentleman policeman.

Rating: 7/10.
If you liked this... There are many many more 'Miss Silver' books out there. I also liked Miss Silver Intervenes and The Alington Inheritance.

Miss Silver Intervenes (Miss Silver Mystery)  The Alington Inheritance (Miss Silver Mystery)

Monday, December 13, 2010

{review} admission

Jean Hanff Korelitz Admission (2009).


This book sent chills of the 'there but for the grace of God' variety down my spine. It pushed a lot of late 30s angsty buttons for me. Smart, educated woman, dead-end relationship, satisfying job, nervous breakdown, change calling, last chance... - those sort of buttons. Of course, I am nothing like Portia the Admissions Officer at Princeton in even the broader details ("a synchronicity of tweed and cashmere and brown leather boots, überschoolgirl, Sylvia Plath minus the pearls and plus the sunglasses, but comfortably of the world she was about to enter"), but this book really does hit the spot as an angst novel for women of a certain age.
How many people with just her qualifications and just her skills were doing time in some cubicle somewhere, moving numbers around, dying inside?
The title Admission plays with the various nuances of the word: letting students in; letting secrets out; making admissions... Regarding Portia's job, the book is a fascinating look at the admissions process of a major university. There is a sense in which this book could have gone down quite a different path and become something of an exposé along the lines, say, of Barbara Ehrenreich's undercover investigation of poorly paid workers in Nickel and Dimed. Hanff Korelitz chose the fictional route and has produced a really quite wonderful book. The detail with which she establishes her protagonist's seeming impermeability and then slowly strips her back to the emotional bone is quite eerie. For Portia, her job is something for which she perceives herself ideally suited and her life as it stands is also, at least in unexamined form, enough. Commenting on her mother's full life of good works and activisim, Portia notes that,
Her gift lay elsewhere, as in the knack for isolation, the ability to make herself perfectly alone in the world - away from anyone she had harmed, and anyone else who might have cared enough to help her, and everyone who hadn't known, which was everyone.
As we see, all is not what it seems and a crisis is coming. 

Portia is a sixteen year fixture in her job when she encounters a class of students and their teacher who rock her foundations: 
That these kids, individually and collectively, had refused to meet her expectations was, after all, not their fault, but she actually felt a little annoyed with them for confounding her. She had weathered nearly sixteen years of teenagers, always at just this moment in their lives, always coming up to the same fork in the road... She knew how to recognize the good girls and the diligent boys, the rebels and the fuck-ups, the artsy kids who knew nothing about art and the ones who had art burning inside them. She could spot the blinkered athletes and the pillars of some future community, the strivers of every stripe and shade, the despairing and despaired of. Almost every single one of them occupied a place that had been previously occupied by someone else, and someone else before that - someone elses who looked like them and sounded like them and thought like them. Sixteen years of drummers and different drummers, poets and players. But these students...they were not taking their seats. She was having trouble putting them in their places.
The encounter becomes the catalyst for a re-examination of her life, made more urgent by the breakdown of her long-term relationship when her defacto partner drops the bomb-shell that he is leaving to live with his pregnant academic colleague. I don't want to give anything else away, but this is a very satisfyingly constructed read with plenty of literary allusions (there's an interesting Plath-like undertone, for instance) and a lot to get involved in in this story of a woman who is "the ghost in her story. She had spent years haunting her own life, without ever noticing."

Rating: 8/10.

If you liked this... A university book? A mid-life crisis book? I guess we're in David Lodge territory in that case.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

{weekend words}

I lay on my bed reading the book, which was very sappy, in my opinion. I was summoning all the cruelty of the first-time reviewer trying to make her mark... No one had ever written such an incisive account of the failings of a novel. No one had ever defended literature so honourably from its own practitioners. This was a start, a start in literary journalism which I hoped could turn me, by osmosis, into a writer of books, as publishers admired my stinging prose and invited me to lunch to ask if I would like to write a novel myself. But the end of the next day, the review was returned to me with a brief note: 'Next time, try writing in the English language.'
I rang up the literary editor. 'What's wrong with my review? I spend two days on it.'
'Yes, I can tell. What does "the surplus value of modernism" mean? No, please, don't tell me. Listen, dear, all we want to know is what the subject is, a bit of an idea about the plot, who the characters are and whether the author has pulled off what they set out to do. That's it. And if you could make the review interesting to read, obviously that would be a help... if you want to review books, you need to know what a book review is. Just go and read a few, will you, and give me a ring in a couple of weeks. And could you post the book back or drop it off, if you're passing. I need to give it to someone else.'
Linda Grant, The Clothes on their Backs (2008).

The Clothes on Their Backs

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Begging to join the groaning shelves this week:

Mrs. Miniver (Virago modern classics)

I really should already have read
Jan Struther's

(I've seen the film).

Maybe I should add this too:

The Real Mrs Miniver: The Life of Jan Struther

by Ysenda Maxtone-Graham

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

{review} rules of deception

Christopher Reich Rules of Deception (2008).

Rules of Deception

Well, I guess I won't be getting those brain cells back anytime soon.

This is number 1 in the Jonathan Ransom series. Hero: unlikely doctor built along Mills & Boon lines becomes the unwitting pawn in a battle for techno-supremacy between  some stereotypical forces of good vs. evil. Probably he oughtn't to have inadvertently married a deep-cover agent. 

Pros: setting (nice bits of snowy Europe). Interesting uses of technology.

Cons: wooden, wooden hero. Completely over the top bad guys (horribly scarred religious nutter and (and) an assassin employing the mysterious poisons of the Sth American Indians): "The Ghost"; "The Pilot".

Give me a break. There's even someone called Von Daniken. OK, I concede that it's not this bloke but let's not get intertextual with our crazies. 

You've been warned. 

Rating: 2/10.

If you liked this... lost, lost cause. Doesn't anyone write quick thrills espionage like Alistair MacLean anymore?

Monday, December 6, 2010

{review} rome & a villa

Eleanor Clark Rome and a Villa (first edn. 1950; revised edn. 1992)

Rome and a Villa

Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli, near Rome, is well worth visiting, especially if you also squeeze in a trip to a more modern take on the lust for civilised country living and visit the Villa d'Este with its unbelievably beautiful water gardens. Italian gardens are a particular shade of green which seems resistant to the seasons; even in winter, when I visited, these gardens were spectacular. Water features were very important to the ancient Romans and turn up on both small, large and enormous gardens. Hadrian's Villa, the emperor's bolt-hole from the Roman rat race, easily qualifies as ginormous. Built for the Emperor Hadrian, who reigned from AD 117-138, this villa is astounding.

Eleanor Clark (1913-1996) went to Rome on a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1947. She planned to write a novel. Instead she fell under the spell of the city and her surrounds and produced the most idiosyncratic account of the world she discovered that I have read. Her description of a meander through Hadrian's Villa lies at the core of her book: it is a deeply personal interpretation of what she saw as she wandered (and doesn't stand up too well to hard-nosed archaeological analysis) and she perfectly captures the bewildering maze of buildings in the complex as she tries to link what she sees with what she knows about Hadrian and his egomaniacal project: "the sick screaming I." 

Built up around the chapter on the villa are Clark's impressions of Rome as she makes her way about the city. Clark's Rome is one dealing with the aftermath of fascism and standing on the cusp of the la dolce vita. In sometimes a mere paragraph she pins down a building, a curiosity, a custom, a saint, a martyr, a prince, a staircase, an icon, a genius (Raphael: "Died aged thirty-seven, of overwork."), ruins, cats, gardens, law and order, whatever captures her skilled eye in "the great assault of Rome... total and terrible." There are also chapters on the pilgrims at Holy Year celebrations (1950; and revisited by Clark in 1975), the Pyramid of Cestius and the Protestant Cemetery in Rome (where Keats and Shelley have grave monuments), Roman poetry and Rome's take on Sicilian banditry, among other things. 

Piranesi - Pyramid of Cestius

The sheer jumbledness of this offering can be off-putting and I experienced a few moments of "not another list" irritation. Yet Rome is jumbled and Rome is irritating. But if you let yourself wander, forget your schedules (and don't write that novel!), you'll agree with Clark that in Rome, "You walk close to your dreams." 

Rating: 7/10.

If you liked this... bear in mind that it lacks almost all practical application as a travel guide. In this category I would also include such delightful early 20th century travelogues as those by E.V. Lucas in his series 'A Wanderer in...' (sc. Florence; Venice; Rome; etc.).  These seem to be available as e-books about the place.

Keat's grave monument in the Protestant Cemetery, Rome

Saturday, December 4, 2010

{weekend words}

I was reminded of Alfred, Lord Tennyson's gorgeous, sexy poem 'Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal' while reading (the excellent) The Girls of Slender Means by Muriel Spark:
Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white;
Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk;
Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font;
The firefly wakens, waken thou with me.
Now droops the milk-white peacock like a ghost,
And like a ghost she glimmers on to me.
Now lies the Earth all Danaë to the stars,
And all thy heart lies open unto me.
Now slides the silent meteor on, and leaves
A shining furrow, as thy thoughts, in me.
Now folds the lily all her sweetness up,
And slips into the bosom of the lake.
So fold thyself, my dearest, thou, and slip
Into my bosom and be lost in me.
Titian's Danaë (1553: Prado, Madrid)

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Begging to join the groaning shelves this week:

The Serbian Dane (Eurocrime)

I keep hearing good things about 
Leif Davidsen's

Monday, November 29, 2010

{review} out of print

Bertha M. Clay Fetters of Fire (London: Robert Hale & Co.; n.d. [c.1937])

Bertha M. Clay is a pseudonym of Charlotte M. Brame (1836-1884) although it was also used by other writers and this potboiler certainly seems to be one of those hundreds (!) of books issued under the pseudonym. There's a nice bit on the various Clay suspects in the New York Times of 1914. If I had to guess, I'd say Fetters of Fire was from around 1910 but there are no absolute giveaways. I can't see it in any catalogues before 1912 and this edition seems to be from sometime in the later 1930s. It is an ex-library copy which happily retains a bit of glued on dust-jacket:

In a fit of foolhardiness the heroine Margaret Thornton marries the dastardly George Aston, despite not liking him and, indeed, despite saying this when he asks for her hand:
I don't think I even liked you, Mr. Aston. To be perfectly truthful, I was rather afraid of you, and avoided you.  A clergyman's daughter, placed as I am, has remarkable experiences. My father is too poor to pay a curate, and a great deal of the out-door work devolves upon me. I have heard of you among the workers, and you are well hated everywhere. A hard and cruel man they call you. And once I saw you beat a horse unmercifully. It was I who wrote to the Prevention of Cruelty authorities.
Of course, Aston is a thorough brute ("To my mind he's got the face of a murderer"), and jealous, and the rest of the book describes the lengths Margaret must go to escape these "fetters of fire" which bind her to the odious Aston. Divorce is nigh impossible for a wronged woman of this era. 
I'll break you -- I'll smash you -- ruin you and your family -- in a social sense. And she shall feel the full force of my hatred and vengeance.
Margaret flees to an old school-friend in London who is by far the most interesting character in the book: Edith Janson, a self-sufficient lady journalist who specialises in interviewing celebrities. She has "never yet seen the man for whom I would give up my freedom, and glorious independence." Quirkily, in another scene we read that, "Long practice had given her the agility of a man in jumping from moving vehicles". 

Luckily for Margaret, Edith interviews the celebrated engineer and inventor Patrick Ward who needs a "refined young lady to be a companion to my little daughter" and Margaret is dispatched to the safety of the countryside.  Patrick Ward also has secrets and the household includes a mysterious mad wife, a devious Indian ayah, a handful of loquacious old servants and the child Dolly. And how the coincidences pile up: Patrick has had unfortunate business dealings with the crooked Aston. Will Patrick defeat his enemy and regain his wealth? Can Margaret hide her attraction for Patrick ("She had the usual subtlety of women, and her powers of intuition revealed something deep down in her heart which filled her with sorrow and dismay")? What will happen when Aston finds his runaway bride? Whose child is Dolly really? Why do madwomen always have access to deadly weapons? Why don't people slap the thoroughly irritating heroine when she faints all the time?
I swear that there shall be no divorce, Margaret Aston... I coveted you months since -- I laid little traps to win you; I won you, and I am going to keep you. You are a desirable woman, Margaret, and I admire your splendid spirit. You are not one of those wishy-washy creatures to be broken into subjection...
A strangely addictive load of tripe.

Rating: 4/10

If you liked this... oh dear. Um... Something with a high level of hysteria and chapters  with titles like 'A Woman's Choice'. That'd be Ethel M. Dell's The Way of an Eagle (1912). Read for free on Project Gutenberg.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

{weekend words}

Suffice it to quote the answer which Anatole France gave to a philistine who admired his library and then finished with the standard question, "And you have read all these books, Monsieur France?" "Not one-tenth of them. I don't suppose you use your Sèvres china every day?"
Walter Benjamin (1892-1940), 'Unpacking My Library: A Talk About Book Collecting' (1931), in Illuminations [quotation p.62 in my Fontana 1973 edition, translated by H. Zohn with an introduction by Hannah Arendt].

Illuminations: Essays and 

{READ IN 2018}

  • 30.
  • 29.
  • 28.
  • 27.
  • 26. The Grave's a Fine & Private Place - Alan Bradley
  • 25. This is What Happened - Mick Herron
  • 24. London Rules - Mick Herron
  • 23. The Third Eye - Ethel Lina White
  • 22. Thrice the Brindled Cat Hath Mewed - Alan Bradley
  • 21. As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust - Alan Bradley
  • 20. The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches - Alan Bradley
  • 19. Speaking from Among the Bones - Alan Bradley
  • 18. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman
  • 17. Miss Ranskill Comes Home - Barbara Euphan Todd
  • 16. The Long Arm of the Law - Martin Edwards (ed.)
  • 15. Nobody Walks - Mick Herron
  • 14. The Talented Mr Ripley - Patricia Highsmith
  • 13. Portrait of a Murderer - Anthony Gilbert
  • 12. Murder is a Waiting Game - Anthony Gilbert
  • 11. Tenant for the Tomb - Anthony Gilbert
  • 10. Death Wears a Mask - Anthony Gilbert
  • 9. Night Encounter - Anthony Gilbert
  • 8. The Visitor - Anthony Gilbert
  • 7. The Looking Glass Murder - Anthony Gilbert
  • 6. The Voice - Anthony Gilbert
  • 5. The Fingerprint - Anthony Gilbert
  • 4. Ring for a Noose - Anthony Gilbert
  • 3. No Dust in the Attic - Anthony Gilbert
  • 2. Uncertain Death - Anthony Gilbert
  • 1. She Shall Died - Anthony Gilbert

{READ IN 2017}

  • 134. Third Crime Lucky - Anthony Gilbert
  • 133. Death Takes a Wife - Anthony Gilbert
  • 132. Death Against the Clock - Anthony Gilbert
  • 131. Give Death a Name - Anthony Gilbert
  • 130. Riddle of a Lady - Anthony Gilbert
  • 129. And Death Came Too - Anthony Gilbert
  • 128. Snake in the Grass - Anthony Gilbert
  • 127. Footsteps Behind Me - Anthony Gilbert
  • 126. Miss Pinnegar Disappears - Anthony Gilbert
  • 125. Lady-Killer - Anthony Gilbert
  • 124. A Nice Cup of Tea - Anthony Gilbert
  • 123. Die in the Dark - Anthony Gilbert
  • 122. Death in the Wrong Room - Anthony Gilbert
  • 121. The Spinster's Secret - Anthony Gilbert
  • 120. Lift up the Lid - Anthony Gilbert
  • 119. Don't Open the Door - Anthony Gilbert
  • 118. The Black Stage - Anthony Gilbert
  • 117. A Spy for Mr Crook - Anthony Gilbert
  • 116. The Scarlet Button - Anthony Gilbert
  • 115. He Came by Night - Anthony Gilbert
  • 114. Something Nasty in the Woodshed - Anthony Gilbert
  • 113. Death in the Blackout - Anthony Gilbert
  • 112. The Woman in Red - Anthony Gilbert
  • 111. The Vanishing Corpse - Anthony Gilbert
  • 110. London Crimes - Martin Edwards (ed.)
  • 109. The Midnight Line - Anthony Gilbert
  • 108. The Clock in the Hatbox - Anthony Gilbert
  • 107. Dear Dead Woman - Anthony Gilbert
  • 106. The Bell of Death - Anthony Gilbert
  • 105. Treason in my Breast - Anthony Gilbert
  • 104. Murder has no Tongue - Anthony Gilbert
  • 103. The Man who Wasn't There - Anthony Gilbert
  • 102. Murder by Experts - Anthony Gilbert
  • 101. The Perfect Murder Case - Christopher Bush
  • 100. The Plumley Inheritance - Christopher Bush
  • 99. Spy - Bernard Newman
  • 98. Cargo of Eagles - Margery Allingham & Philip Youngman Carter
  • 97. The Mind Readers - Margery Allingham
  • 96. The China Governess - Margery Allingham
  • 95. Hide My Eyes - Margery Allingham
  • 94. The Beckoning Lady - Margery Allingham
  • 93. The Tiger in the Smoke - Margery Allingham
  • 92. More Work for the Undertaker - Margery Allingham
  • 91. Coroner's Pidgin - Margery Allingham
  • 90. Traitor's Purse - Margery Allingham
  • 89. The Fashion in Shrouds - Margery Allingham
  • 88. The Case of the Late Pig - Margery Allingham
  • 87. Dancers in Mourning - Margery Allingham
  • 86. Flowers for the Judge - Margery Allingham
  • 85. Death of a Ghost - Margery Allingham
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
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