Friday, October 1, 2021

Reading Summary for September 2021

September was another very good reading month. This month's reading was all crime fiction. Two books of the eight I read were spy thrillers, but I count those in crime fiction. 

Crime Fiction

The Lady Vanishes (1936) by Ethel Lina White

The Lady Vanishes was originally published as The Wheel Spins in 1936. Two years later the book was adapted to film by Alfred Hitchcock, with the title The Lady Vanishes, so many editions of the book have the same title as the film. I had seen the film many times, and now I am glad that I have also read the book. The book is more suspenseful and serious, with more realistic characters, but both are good. See my full review here.

Murder (1987) by Parnell Hall

Murder was the second book in the Stanley Hastings series. Stanley is a bumbling private detective (sort of). His primary work is following up on accident reports where people want to sue for damages, but in the two books I have read, he gets involved in investigations on the side, helping people who need favors or at the request of his wife. This is a humorous series where Stanley handles serious crimes and helps people out. See my review here.

The Chinese Shawl (1943) by Patricia Wentworth

The fifth Miss Silver mystery by Patricia Wentworth. I love the Miss Silver series, and this one was especially good, with the wartime setting. I am trying to finish all the books in this series set during the war or immediately afterward before I move on to later ones or Wentworth's novels that don't feature Miss Silver.

Blackout in Gretley (1942) by J. B. Priestley

This is the second book I have read by Priestley. My husband got it recently and liked it very much. The setting and genre were perfect for me, World War II espionage fiction, with the protagonist trying to locate Nazi spies in a Midlands town in England. 

A Siege of Bitterns (2014) by Steve Burrows

This is the first book in the Birder Murder Mystery Series; the main protagonist is DCI Domenic Jejeune. He is the new DCI in the Norfolk town of Saltmarsh. A TV presenter and ecological activist is murdered, and Jejeune is heading the investigation. Birding is big in the area, and Jejeune is a birder. I loved the passages about birds and the ecology of the area and the mystery was handled well too. Check out Rick Robinson's review at Tip the Wink.

The Stranger Diaries (2018) by Elly Griffiths

This is a modern mystery story with gothic elements. I have never been a big fan of gothic stories, but I enjoyed this one. For me it was a slow read, but I was always eager to get back to reading the book. I liked the structure of the book with the story told from the viewpoint of three characters, and the book framed by a ghost story, which is slowly revealed throughout the book. This was the perfect read for R.I.P. XVI (Readers Imbibing Peril).

Home to Roost (1976) by Andrew Garve

Andrew Garve is a pseudomym of Paul Winterton, who wrote over 40 detective and adventure books between 1938 and 1978. Home to Roost isn't a straightforward mystery or detective story, more of a suspense novel, told in first person by a successful author who writes adventure novels. This is the first book I have read by this author, and I will be reading more of his books. The novel was published in 1976 and is the first book I read for the 1976 Club

Catch a Falling Spy (1976) by Len Deighton

Originally published in England under the title Twinkle Twinkle Little Spy. Len Deighton is one of my favorite authors, and this is a cold war spy novel. The narrator is nameless, although I am not sure he is the same nameless spy as in Deighton's earliest novels. The action starts and ends in Algeria, with hops to France, Ireland, and several locations in the US. A very complex story, not for everyone but perfect for me. Another book I read for the 1976 Club.

The plant shown immediately above is Veronica (Spiked Speedwell). The plant shown at the top of the post is Tibouchina heteromalla (Silver leafed Princess Flower). Both are entirely new plants to me, and we bought them to plant in our yard this year.


Cath said...

Two of these really appeal, Blackout in Gretley and 'definitely' A Seige of Bitterns as I have a passing interest in birds. I shall look those up. I own The Stranger Diaries and hadn't thought it would make a good autumn read, not realising that it's a bit gothicky. I'm a huge fan of her Ruth Galloway books. A good reading month for you, Tracy.

pattinase (abbott) said...

A very poor reading month for me. Do you finish every book you start? It seems like it.

Emma at Words And Peace / France Book Tours said...

awesome month! I have added Wentworth to my TBR!
Here is what I read in September, 5 mysteries on my list:

Rick Robinson said...

You had a wonderful reading month! The on-and-off-again reading ennui I’ve been working through continues to affect. My best read for the month was the Krueger, no question. Like Patti, I’ve been sending books back to the library partially or even completely unread(!).

I wonder if the many book challenges in which you participate drives your numbers up?

Sam said...

I absolutely love the way you keep bringing classic crime fiction to my attention. Sometimes you just remind me of books and authors I really want to read someday, but most of the time you are introducing me to new material and thanks for that.

Margot Kinberg said...

You have some excellent reads here, Tracy, and some really talented authors, too. I like Elly Griffiths' writing very much, whether it's one of her series or a standalone. And few people come close to Len Deighton when it comes to an espionage/thriller novel. I see you got some Golden Age crime fiction in there, too. I'm glad you had a good month.

TracyK said...

Cath, not only is The Stranger Diaries gothicky, but it is set in the last half of October into November and there are Halloween celebrations, etc. Perfect for this time of year.

I think you would like both Blackout in Gretley and A Seige of Bitterns.

TracyK said...

Patti, I very rarely start a book and decide not to read it. I have found that so many books get better in the second part or have a great ending, and I hate to give up on them. I also don't take a lot of chances on unknown books, although that happens more lately. I do sometimes read one book by an author and then don't try another one if I am not impressed, but even then I prefer to give them a second chance.

TracyK said...

Emma, it was a good reading month. I am glad you plan to read something by Wentworth. I will come by and see your September wrap up.

TracyK said...

Rick, I am sorry about your continuing reading ennui. But it is good that the Krueger book was a bright spot.

It might be that the reading challenges push me to read more. Unfortunately I don't do that well with many of my challenges. Usually they require reviews and I have a hard time keeping up with that.

TracyK said...

Sam, thanks. I try to always read and review some classic crime fiction in each month. Although, for every type of book I read, I am better at reading than reviewing. New authors are a challenge sometimes, you never know what to expect.

TracyK said...

Margot, I was happy to find a book by Griffiths that I liked a lot. The Ruth Galloway books bother me with the present tense writing style, and I am not as fond of the personal stories in those books as most readers are. But each book I read in that series impresses me more, so I keep trying more of them.

And you know I am a devoted fan of Deighton's books. The Bernard Samson books are my favorites.

Mary R. said...

I have really liked the birder mysteries in that series. Glad you enjoyed the first one!

TracyK said...

Mary, that is good to hear. I am looking forward to reading the next birder mystery.

col2910 said...

Looks like a decent month's reading Tracy. I found my copy of Murder yesterday which I would have ignored if you hadn't just read it. I must make time for some Deighton as well! Maybe 2022.

CLM said...

Andrew Garve! That is a name I haven't heard for a long time!

My parents read a lot of Andrew Garve, so I read a few too, although I don't remember them at all. I just took a look at the titles to see if any struck a bell and Murder Though the Looking Glass sounds very familiar. Ah, too many books waiting for some attention!

Today is my monthly substitute librarian gig at a lovely library walking distance from a former apartment. Naturally, it is a good 30 minutes plus from where I live now. It is going to rain so I assume parents will bring in their (masked) children and being busy makes the time go quickly.

Kay said...

So glad you enjoyed The Stranger Diaries and I totally agree that it's a perfect October book or a R.I.P. book. I've got the second that series to read at some point before long.

Neeru said...

You seem to have a good reading month Tracy. Glad you found a copy of Priestly's book.

TracyK said...

Col, it was a good month. It has been a while since I focused only on crime fiction. I am glad you found your copy of Murder, hope you enjoy it. I hope to read more Deighton, probably in 2022 also.

TracyK said...

Constance, it is good to hear that your parents both read books by Andrew Garve. I must have had Home to Roost a long time based on the id number in my cataloging system. The other two I have I found at the book sale nine years ago. So I am overdue to read some of this author's books.

That substitute librarian gig sounds interesting. Is it volunteer or paid?

TracyK said...

Kay, I will definitely be reading the 2nd book following The Stranger Diaries soonish. I got a copy at the book sale, but I don't know if I will try to fit it in before the end of the year.

TracyK said...

Neeru, the Priestley novel was a good read, and it was my husband who found that it had been recently reissued by Valancourt Books. We both enjoyed it. I had forgotten that you had reviewed it last year on your blog.

He also recently purchased another Priestley, Saturn Over the Water, which seems to be an adventure / thriller set in South America, mostly.