Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Reading Summary for March 2021

I read eight books in March, in addition to short stories from various sources. One of the books was nonfiction, and the remaining were crime fiction. Of the crime fiction books I read in March, four were vintage mysteries (before 1960) and three were contemporary novels. This was another month where I read three books by Agatha Christie, all in the Hercule Poirot series. I am very close to finishing all the novels in that series. 


Nonfiction / Self Help

Essential: Essays by The Minimalists (2012) by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus

This book could be considered self help or personal development, with a little bit of philosophy thrown in. The authors of this book have a blog, The Minimalists, which has been going for over ten years now. If you are at all interested in minimalism, this book may be interesting. 


Crime Fiction

Cat Among the Pigeons (1959) by Agatha Christie

This novel in the Hercule Poirot series is set primarily at the prestigious Meadowbank School for Girls in England, but the action begins with international intrigue in the fictional country of Ramat. I enjoyed the story. My review is here.

Three Act Tragedy (1934) by Agatha Christie

This is the ninth Hercule Poirot novel, following Murder on the Orient Express. There is a large cast of characters, but the main ones are the renowned actor, Sir Charles Cartwright, now retired; Mr. Satterthwaite, his friend; Dr. Bartholomew Strange, a specialist in nervous disorders; and Miss "Egg" Lytton Gore. The gentlemen are all older; Miss Lytton Gore is a much younger friend. The structure is like a play; the first act is Suspicion, the second act is Certainly, and the third act is Discovery. This began too slowly for me but I ended up liking it overall.

Dead Man's Folly (1956) by Agatha Christie

This was the third Hercule Poirot novel that featured Ariadne Oliver, the mystery writer, as a character. In this case, she has been invited to run a Murder Hunt game for the village summer fête, and Poirot is invited to give the prizes away. Miss Oliver has a key role in the story, but she shows up at the beginning, fades into the background for a good while, and then comes back to help a bit at the end. As always, a good read, but not one of Christie's best.


I Hear the Sirens in the Street (2013) by Adrian McKinty

This is the second book in the Sean Duffy series set in Belfast in the early 1980's, during the Irish Troubles. I read this for Reading Ireland Month at 746books. Based on these two books, it is a very good series. My review is here.

The Secret Place (2014) by Tana French

This is the fifth book in Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad series and my second read for Reading Ireland Month.  I have enjoyed all the books in the series, so far. My review is here.

Stage Fright (2003) by Christine Poulson

This is the second book in a series about academic Cassandra James, the head of the English Department at Cambridge University's St. Ethelreda's College. In this one, the story centers around a stage production of East Lynne. I loved this story; the characters are fantastic, the pacing is good, and there is just enough tension. See my review here.



The Rubber Band (1936) by Rex Stout

This is the third book in the Nero Wolfe series, and I have read it several times. This time I read it in preparation for the 1936 Club and will be reviewing it soon.


31 comments:

pattinase (abbott) said...

A long time since I have read Rex Stout. Should pick one up.

TracyK said...

Patti, the last Nero Wolfe book I read was about a year ago. I like to read them more frequently than that because they are so much fun, even when I know the end, and they read very quickly.

Cath said...

A good reading month, Tracy! I must see if I can find that Poirot, fancy I have it 'somewhere'. LOL! Oddly enough I also read 8 books, 1 non-fiction and 7 fiction. Happy reading in April, definitely Spring here. :-)

dfordoom said...

I've read all the early Nero Wolfe novels, the pre-war ones, and I've liked them all (SOME BURIED CAESAR being my favourite).

One of the things I really want to do this year is to read more of the Nero Wolfe novellas. The handful I've read so far have been absolutely terrific.

Lex @ Lexlingua said...

I owe a lot to The Minimalists. They have a post about how to set up a blog, which is how I set up my current one. 😂 Didn't know they have written a book on essays in general too. Interesting.

Glad so many Christies here. As for Tana Fench, I love her books, but I always feel that the ending takes something away. Some supernatural quirk, or weird psychological quirk, that I just didn't see coming. Anyways, they are always entertaining / engrossing at any rate.

~Lex

Margot Kinberg said...

I'm impressed with the way you've gotten through so much of Christie's work, Tracy. And the rest of your picks for March are great, too. Looking forward to what you read in April!

TracyK said...

Cath, I don't know what I will do when I run out of Poirot novels to read. (Reread them, probably.) Actually, I will move on to Miss Marple but not read them so fast. And read some Patricia Wentworth books.

Eight seems like a good number of books in a month. I wish I was doing better at nonfiction; I have only read two nonfiction books so far this year. But maybe I will do better at that later in the year.

TracyK said...

Dfordoom, SOME BURIED CAESAR is also one of my favorite books by Stout. I enjoy the books with Lily Rowan in them. I like THE LEAGUE OF FRIGHTENED MEN, it also has some great characters in it.

I have read all the novellas at least once, but I don't tend to reread them as much. I should get back to them also. I am getting more into short stories in general lately, so they may appeal more to me now.

TracyK said...

Lex, I saw that "how to" for starting a blog at The Minimalist site. Although I did not dig down into all the steps. That looks useful and it looks like it worked great for you.

I have read a lot of Agatha Christie's books in the last six months. And I enjoy each book I read... Very surprising. Re Tana French, I remember that the ending disappointed me in the first book and this last book. Don't remember the other three so well. But still, I enjoy the books.

Rick Robinson said...

Nice reading month!

I’m still disappointed my library system doesn’t have that Poulson, I’d like to try it. I may have to buy it. I’m reading short stories at the moment.

TracyK said...

Margot, I am very surprised that I have kept up this pace of reading the Hercule Poirot series. It has been fun. I am eager to see how my reading in April goes.

TracyK said...

Rick, I am sorry you are having trouble finding Christine Poulson's book through the library. Reading short stories sounds good. I have started so many short story books and I need to finish some of them.

Rick Robinson said...

I don't understand why Poulson's books are unavailable in the THREE county library systems I have access to. I guess I could try inter-loan, but I'm swamped with books right now anyway.

I was going to suggest Marple as the way to go after Poirot. Or, have you read all of Bill Pronzini's Nameless books?

Rick Robinson said...

...or, Allingham, or Marcia Muller?

TracyK said...

Rick, I do want to read more Miss Marple books because I have the DVD set of the Miss Marple Collection with Joan Hickson. But more Allingham would be good. I do need to read more Bill Pronzini, but also I have considered reading the next Sheriff Dan Rhodes book by Bill Crider. I have only read one book by Marcia Muller but would like to read more.

Sam Sattler said...

Interesting reading month, Tracy. I think I've read just about all the Rex Stout novels, some more than once, but I've still not read one of Agatha Christies. I finally figured out why that is...I've yet to come across a movie made from one of her books that I could stand to watch all the way through. That may not be, I realize, be Christie's fault, and I do need to give one of her books a try.

TracyK said...

Sam, Rex Stout is my favorite mystery author. So it is good to get to know another reader who enjoys his books. Agatha Christie is another favorite, but I just started reading her books regularly after I started blogging and I have read Rex Stout's books throughout my life, starting in my teens.

I have enjoyed many film adaptations of Christie's novels, but they nearly always change the story a lot and the film versions can't have the same depth as the books. When I read the first one she wrote, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, in my preblogging days, I was disappointed, but I have grown to appreciate her gifts the more I read. However, they are not for everyone.

Katrina said...

I'll be taking part in the 1936 Club, I wish I had been able to get my hands on the Rex Stout book in time for it. I really like the sound of the Christine Poulson series.

TracyK said...

Katrina, I am going to attempt to review more books than usual for the 1936 Club. Hope I haven't bitten off more than I can handle.

Christine Poulson's series is very good. This one is her earlier series; she has a more recent one. I like both of them.

Rick Robinson said...

The only copies I have found of the Poulson books are ebooks at $12 a pop, or used hardcovers on ABE. So I ordered two used hardcovers, the first 2 in the series, for a bit less than the one ebook. They'll take a few weeks to get here, probably, but as I said I'm swamped with books just now anyway. I'm sure I'll love them.

Rick Robinson said...

Oh, and my goal has always been two books a week, eight a month, 104 a year. You're right on track!

TracyK said...

Rick, I am so glad you found copies of the books at a reasonable price. I do hope you like them. And I know what you mean about being swamped with books.

I agree, eight books a month is perfect.

Mary R. said...

Lovely summary of your month's reading! I have read many Nero Wolfe books but missed this one; will need to hunt up a copy.

Peggy Arthurs said...

An Agatha Christie kind of month!

TracyK said...

Thank you, Mary. The Rubber Band was a good Nero Wolfe, fun to read even when I know how it ends.

TracyK said...

Peggy, I am enjoying overdosing on Hercule Poirot. Soon I will have read them all and can read some Miss Marple and the standalone books that I have not yet read.

Rick Robinson said...

Will you also read the Tuppance and Tommy books?

TracyK said...

Rick, I know I read those years ago, but recently (since I started blogging) I have only read The Secret Adversary and the short stories (Partners in Crime). I do have the other three in the series and I am sure I will read them sometime, especially the third one, N or M?.

Rick Robinson said...

Happy Easter to you both!

TracyK said...

Thanks, Rick. I hope you and Barbara are enjoying Easter. It is warmish and beautiful today here.

col2910 said...

Glad you had a decnet month's reading, Tracy. McKinty would be the one for me.