Sunday, November 5, 2017

Reading Summary for October 2017


It felt like I read fewer books in October, but it wasn't that bad, it just took me 18 days to finish two of the books, Emma and Strangers on a Train. Whiteout was also read during that time but it doesn't really count because even at 128 pages, a graphic novel doesn't take that long to read.

My project through December of this year is to read one book a month by Jane Austen, as a part of the Jane Austen Read All A-Long at James Reads Books.  In August I read Pride and Prejudice (a re-read)  and in September I read Mansfield Park. October's Austen book was Emma, and as I said, it took me a while. I did enjoy the book but it was slow going. My thoughts on the book are HERE.

I did not realize until I had listed all the books I read this month that four of my five crime fiction books were written prior to 1960. That surprised me because lately I have been reading a higher percentage of contemporary novels.

And these are the five crime fiction books I read in October:

Whiteout (1991), a graphic novel written by Greg Rucka, illustrated by Steve Lieber
This is a mystery / thriller set in Antarctica featuring Carrie Stetko, U.S. Marshal. The story has been adapted into a movie of the same title, which I have yet to see.
Strangers on a Train (1950) by Patricia Highsmith
This is a fairly well-known novel, and also has a movie adaptation, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The basic story is that two men meet on a train, and one of them suggests a murder pact. If they each murder a person that the other wants to get rid of, then they can get away with the perfect crime. A very good novel, but a disturbing read. Peggy at Peggy's Porch very kindly sent me this book, which I have been planning to read for years. 

Murder on the Blackboard (1932) by Stuart Palmer
Another book that has been adapted into a film. Oh no, a trend. It was not exactly deliberate, but I have had the Hildegarde Withers Mystery Collection from Warner Archives for quite a while, and wanted to read the book first.
Hildegarde Withers, a third-grade teacher in New York City, finds the dead body of an attractive young music teacher, Anise Halloran, in the cloakroom. Miss Withers calls in her friend Inspector Piper, but by the time he arrives, the body has disappeared. This is a complex mystery with a large cast, which also was a lot of fun to read.


Landed Gently (1957) by Alan Hunter
Another mystery novel with a large cast that confused me, and a lot of red herrings. But that was OK, because I found the hero, Inspector Gently, very charming and I liked that there were multiple investigators. Gently is visiting with the Chief Constable, Sir Daynes Broke, to get a chance at some pike fishing over Christmas, when a visitor at nearby Merely Hall is murdered. Being a guest of the Chief Constable, Gently cannot officially investigate the crime.


Envious Casca (1941) by Georgette Heyer
A country house mystery, with a corpse in a locked room, and a smallish set of residents and guests who are almost all suspects. I read a few of Georgette Heyer's mystery novels decades ago, and liked them well enough, but I was very surprised that I enjoyed this book so much. In a month of very good reading, this was easily my favorite read. Another one set at Christmas.

22 comments:

  1. Tracy, Georgette Heyer continues to be on my list of authors to read. Our good friend Yvette has reviewed some of her books on her fine blog, which is when I decided I ought to read Heyer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me, too, Prashant. I want to read more of them now. I am glad I started with Envious Casca.

      Delete
  2. Strangers was disturbing, Tracy! Have yet to read any of the George Gently books although I pick them up when I see them. I enjoyed the TV series. Watched it on Netflix. We are visiting my son in Maryland and they have a Wonder Books store here. We went last night. Fantastic mystery selection! Their credit card machine was down though and I didn’t have any cash so she set my books aside and I’m going back today to pick them up. They are having a sale buy 2 mass market paperbacks get 2 free! To my surprise the Penguins, which I had mostly picked up, are included in that. That means I can get more! They had lots of Georgette Heyer so I’ll get those! Got 2 Michael Gilbert’s too. Love this store! A lot I order from Amazon come from Wonder Books.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Strangers was a tough read. I had to limit how much I read every night on that book after I got about a third of the way in. I also want to read The Talented Mr. Ripley which I think will be equally disturbing, then I will have to determine if I want to read more or not.

      Wonder Books looks great (I looked them up online). Have a good time in Maryland with your son and family.

      Delete
  3. I am tempted to try the Gently book. So sad the last episode of the TV series is here. I have really enjoyed it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know how similar the books are to the TV series, Patti, since I have only tried the one, but I will be reading more, whatever I can find. I think it has the right blend of not too violent, not too cozy for me, and with some humor. We have only watched Season 1 and parts of Season 2 but we are hooked on the series and will continue to watch more.

      Delete
  4. I just reread Envious Casca, under the title A Christmas Party. Like you I enjoyed it very much even though I remember who the murderer was.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, once you have read Envious Casca it would be hard to forget who the murderer was.

      Delete
  5. It's quality, more than quantity, of books read, Tracy. I'm glad you had some enjoyable reads this month. I always think it's worth reading some of the earlier books; some of them are classics for a reason, and even those that aren't can be interesting looks at the genre.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Margot, the last three reads of the month were all on the humorous side, although not the laugh out loud type.

      Delete
  6. I'm waiting for Envious Casca to arrive, I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, Katrina. It was a pleasant surprise.

      Delete
  7. I've read tons of Georgette Heyer's Regency romances but only one of her mysteries, Footsteps in the Dark. It was huge fun but I gather her other mysteries are more serious and darker. So I really must try one or two.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had never thought that her mysteries were dark, Cath, although lately I have heard of a couple of them referred to that way. I do have a copy of Footsteps in the Dark; I will try that one soonish.

      Delete
    2. A friend (I think more of a cosy fan) described them that way, said she didn't like any of the characters either. I don't think that'll worry me to be honest as I tend more towards the mid-range of murder mysteries rather than the cosy end... I don't like a lot of gore but otherwise can take most things.

      Delete
    3. When I was thinking about Envious Casca, Cath, I realized that there was not one really likable character (OK, maybe one and then the policemen), yet they were all interesting to read about and even more so as the story developed. So I guess that was why I ended up liking the book so much.

      Delete
  8. I enjoyed reading Envious Casca by Heyer and Strangers on a Train by Highsmith. So glad you enjoyed both! --Keishon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Two very different books, Keishon. I do like to mix up books so some lighter ones give a break from the darker ones.

      Delete
  9. I didn't really like the Highsmith book when I read it. I'm glad you enjoyed the George Gently book, I managed to find one of those myself recently after complaining I've never seen any anywhere ever. I've also been enjoying some of the repeats of the TV adaptation in the last few weeks, plus the final series ending episode.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Col, I read your review after I finished the Highsmith book, and I was interested to hear that it took you a long time to get through it, because I could only read a limited amount every night. I had this feeling of dread when I was reading it. I did think it was good and maybe could read it again now knowing the outcome.

      We are still enjoying the George Gently TV series and I will now have to find more of the books.

      Delete
  10. So glad you enjoyed Envious Casca, one of my favourites! Strangers on a Train is an interesting read... very clever, though I wouldn't say I loved it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am very fond of Envious Casca, Moira. I paid much more than I had planned to when I finally saw a copy, and it was well worth it. So glad I read it now.

      I admire any writer like Highsmith who can tie me up in knots while reading, but want to take a rest from that kind of reading now. I was surprised at the ending.

      Delete