No, I haven’t fallen off a radio telescope after saving the world but the observant among you will have noticed that I have now completed the original purpose of this blog which was to review all eighty of Agatha Christie’s mystery novels and short story collections. So next month will feel a little strange as it will be the first in four and half years where I have no plans to read anything by the Queen of Crime.
But I will be continuing to work on my other projects. I have forty more Sherlock Holmes adventures to re-read, eighty-one more of the 100 Greatest Literary Detectives to get (re-)acquainted with and more Japanese mystery fiction to enjoy as soon as someone can translate it.
I would like to take this opportunity to praise those who inspired me to blog.
My journey back to crime fiction began when I picked up two of the British Library Crime Classics short story collections in some sort of offer alongside “And Then There Were None” which I wanted to re-read following the 2015 BBC TV adaptation. In searching for a complete list of BLCC titles I found Martin Edwards’ excellent blog Do You Write Under Your Own Name? where he covers a wide range of books from early to modern, easily obtainable to rare. Although he is now destined to be remembered more for his non-fiction work on the genre he continues to write a number of series of novels. Of the few that I have read I would most recommend “Yesterday’s Papers” which features his first series character, Harry Devlin.
From Martin’s blog I found my way to many others starting with, if I remember correctly, In Search of the Classic Mystery by the Puzzle Doctor. As well as being a prolific reviewer he has had great success in resurrecting lost author Brian Flynn. My favourite of the five I’ve tried so far is The Mystery of the Peacock’s Eye.
The best thing about following other bloggers is that you find out about books and authors that you wouldn’t have done otherwise. Were it not for Kate at Cross-Examining Crime I would have been very unlikely to try the work of Celia Fremlin nor ever have sought out a copy of the amazing The Deadly Percheron by John Franklin Bardem.
Similarly, associating the name Ira Levin primarily with “Rosemary’s Baby”, I would have missed out on the excellent A Kiss Before Dying if I hadn’t read Aidan’s review at Mysteries Ahoy!
Then there’s Brad at Ah Sweet Mystery! who has forgotten more about the works of Agatha Christie than the rest of us will ever know. His pieces which cover her works thematically are thought-provoking but it is his book report on The Moai Island Puzzle by Alice Arisugawa which has stuck most in my mind.
And if you’ve followed the previous link then that ties us nicely to JJ at The Invisible Event. A keen student of the impossible crime, it’s down to him that I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed the complete works of Rupert Penny, starting with The Talkative Policeman. He has recently taken his vast knowledge of the genre and used it to create the brilliant The Red Death Murders – if you have’t read it yet get yourself a copy and then buy more copies to give to all your family for Christmas.
Thanks for reading and here’s to the next five years’ of blogging!