Saturday, February 4, 2017

Reading in January 2017

I read eight novels in January but not all of them were in the crime fiction genre.

Mildred Pierce is a novel by a crime fiction author, James M. Cain, but it is not a mystery. It is the story of a divorced mother of two girls who struggles to support herself and her daughters during the Great Depression. The novel was made into a movie with Joan Crawford in 1945 and a TV miniseries starring Kate Winslet in 2011, so probably most people know about this book and it needs no introduction.

The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier is hard to categorize but it is somewhere in the fantasy / science fiction / apocalyptic story spectrum. From the book description: "The City is inhabited by those who have departed Earth but are still remembered by the living. They will reside in this afterlife until they are completely forgotten [by anyone left on Earth]."  A fine book that I am very glad I read.

The six crime fiction books I read were:

Smiley's People by John le Carré
The final book in the Karla Trilogy. In the books that make up the trilogy, Smiley is on a quest to uncover Karla, the Russian agent who was running the mole in MI6 who was uncovered in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

Hide and Seek by Ian Rankin
The second book in the Inspector Rebus series, and the first book I read for the Read Scotland 2017 challenge.
Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler
The second book in the Philip Marlowe series. As I said in my review, "The picture of Los Angeles in 1940 was interesting, the characters were well defined, and the descriptions of the area and the characters were breath-taking."
Flowers for the Judge by Margery Allingham
This is the seventh book in a long series of novels featuring Albert Campion. I am rereading this series and I enjoyed reading this again hugely. It is a story about murder in a publishing house.


This is a Bust by Ed Lin
Published in 2007, this book is the first of three books featuring Robert Chow, a Chinese-American policeman in New York's Chinatown. It is set in 1976, and Chow is a Vietnam vet and an alcoholic. Sounds like it would be depressing, but overall, it is not.
The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie
A book in the Hercule Poirot series, published in 1936. Captain Hastings is visiting Poirot, back from his ranch in South America. Poirot receives a letter hinting that a crime will take place in Andover. Thus begins a series of murders, each set in a different city. The presence of Captain Hastings as narrator is a plus for me.


Plans for Reading in February

Richard Robinson at Tip the Wink suggested Short Story February, where we will focus on short stories during that month. On February 1st, I finished a book I started in January (Last Rights by Barbara Nadel) and I will be reading a book for the Crimes of the Century meme at Past Offences, but other than that I will focus on short stories this month.

I have now read seven stories in two anthologies, In Sunlight or In Shadow: Stories Inspired by the Paintings of Edward Hopper and Manhattan Noir 2: The Classics. Both of these anthologies were edited by Lawrence Block. I also plan to read from Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi. I am sure I will find other sources for short stories during the month. I have a lot of  anthologies on my shelves.




15 comments:

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    1. It was a great month, Peggy. I will be slowing down a bit in February, but more Read Scotland in March, I am sure.

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  3. You got some very interesting reading done this past month, Tracy. I like the mix of more contemporary and more classic novels, too. Impressive

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    1. Thanks, Margot. It was a good mix and somewhat unusual for me. And all were worthwhile reads.

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  4. Thanks for the mention of The Brief History of the Dead, a novel of which I've not heard. It sounds right up my alley, and it is on shelf at my library down the street too. I'll read it soon.

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    1. You are very welcome, Howard. Brockmeier's book was a great read and different and I hope you will like it too.

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  5. I've read six of those - cool! An impressive month (and you did much better than I did) ...

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    1. This was more books than I usually read in a month, Sergio, and so many good books in one month. I was surprised when I wrote this up that I had given so many 5 stars.

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  6. Impressive, Tracy! I'm going to have to pick up Ian Rankin one of these days. I find his paperbacks everywhere.

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    1. You should try one of Rankin's novels, Prashant, if you can find them easily. This one was a good read, and I understand that the books get better after this one.

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  7. Hey Tracy,

    Great reading list! I've read two off of this list. Farewell, My Lovely, was the first Raymond Chandler I really enjoyed! And I thought Mildred Pierce was James. M. Cain was riveting from start to finish. I always tell myself to watch the HBO adaptation but I am in no hurry. --Keishon

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    1. Keishon, I have been eager to get to Farewell, My Lovely ever since you read it and liked it so much. I was very pleased with it too. I would like to see the HBO miniseries of Mildred Pierce, also, since I have heard it was very close to the book. We will get to it sometime, I hope.

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  8. A great, varied list Tracy - you always seem to manage that.

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    1. I read several really good books in January, Moira, and a good mix. I am slowing down in February and reading mostly short stories. I am liking that.

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