Saturday, November 2, 2013

Mysteries in October and Pick of the Month

I read seven mysteries in October, plus one ghost story (novella).

The ghost story was The Man in the Picture (2007) by Susan Hill. Reading a ghost story was an experiment, since I don't remember if I have ever read one, but it did not go well. Just not my cup of tea.

Below is my list of mysteries read in October.
  1. The Mystery of the Blue Train (1928) by Agatha Christie
  2. Frantic (2007) by Katherine Howell
  3. Raven Black (2006) by Ann Cleeves
  4. White Nights (2008) by Ann Cleeves
  5. Dark Star (1991) by Alan Furst
  6. Dead Before Dying (1996) by Deon Meyer
  7. The Big Sleep (1939) by Raymond Chandler

All of the mysteries I read were very, very good. Katherine Howell and Deon Meyer were new authors (to me) and I was impressed with both of them. Howell's books are set in Australia and Meyer's are set in South Africa. Reading about countries I am unfamiliar with was an added bonus. I read the first two books in Ann Cleeves' Shetland mystery series, and plan to read more in that series. Espionage novels have always been a favorite and Dark Star by Alan Furst was an enjoyable read, slowly paced but a good story.

Two of the books were vintage mysteries. It is amusing that the author of one of them, Raymond Chandler, was very critical of the other author, Agatha Christie. I am a fan of both authors.

My pick of the month is The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler, which I have not reviewed yet. I know what I liked so much about it... The writing is beautiful. It was his first novel and many readers say it is not his best book, but I was mesmerized by the writing. I like the plot too, but that could have been because I am so familiar with the movie. I don't think this is the first time I have read a book by Raymond Chandler, but it has been many years and my memory of the books I read in my early years has faded. I was happy to see that this book exceeded my expectations.


16 comments:

  1. Tracy, you had a decent month's reading. I look forward to the Chandler review. I haven't read much from him and definitely not this one.

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    1. Col, I was very happy with this month's reading. The review of The Big Sleep will be more difficult because so much has already been said about the book.

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  2. Tracy - Oh, I know what you mean about Chandler's writing. Isn't it skilled??!! I'm glad you got a chance to read that one and enjoyed it so much. And you have some other great choices here too!

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    1. Margot, you and I agree on Chandler and especially The Big Sleep.

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  3. That's a good month Tracy! I look forward to your review of the Big Sleep.

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    1. It was a good month... at least for reading. I am also going to watch and do a post on the movie, The Big Sleep.

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  4. Great month for you as well, Tracy. I need to give The Big Sleep by Chandler a try then. I struggle with finding the right book to get into with him.

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    1. Keishon, sometimes an author just doesn't work for you. I read somewhere that if you don't like The Big Sleep, you won't like the rest. I am not so sure that is true. I will read more Chandler to see what I think. Also want to read Ross MacDonald. I know I read his books earlier, but don't know how I will l like them now. But they are set in a town like Santa Barbara, so I should enjoy that aspect.

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    2. I concur and usually I don't try to so hard when an author doesn't work for me. I do want to read one book by Chandler just to say I read one and it looks like Trouble is My Business is going well thus far. I'm on page 31 out of 169 pages. We shall see how this turns out. The Big Sleep was a DNF for the moment.

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    3. Keishon, I know what you mean about wanting to read at least one by Chandler. I am pretty sure that books by James M. Cain and Jim Thompson are going to be too gritty for me, but I have to try at least one.

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  5. Hooray for a good reading month, Tracy! One of my reading blind spots is old stuff, and I keep meaning to get to it, but it just hasn't happened yet. A goal for 2014, I think. Hope you have a good November.

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  6. Rebecca, I want to read more old stuff, more new stuff, more international mysteries, more espionage novels... The list never ends. I don't know about you but I don't have time to read all I want to read... even if I did not blog. I think my blind spot is books that are too tense, too scary in a psychological way. I am not sure I can overcome that.

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  7. Hmmm, I have not read The Big Sleep or anything else by Chandler. I have seen the movie though. I love the Bogart and Bacall chemistry, but I could not follow the movie's plot very well -- a phenomenon I gather is quite common. Maybe if I read the book, I'll figure it out. (sigh)

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    1. Kathy, the plot in the book is just about as complex, although I think they do follow through at least plot line that is left hanging in the movie. I will be watching the movie again soon.

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  8. Tracy, I'm not surprised the Raymond Chandler novel is your pick of the month. I have to go back to many of his books that I haven't read.

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    1. Prashant, I hope to read one or two more of Chandler's books in 2014.

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