Monday, 24 December 2012

More Year End Review - Individual Challenge

It turns out this might be my last BLog for a few days. The missus surprised me with a Xmas trip to Calgary to visit my daughter, her boyfriend and their family. It might also be a relatively short post as I need to get up stairs and start packing.. lol

One of my challenges for 2012 was to focus on my mystery / thriller/ spy novels. I decided to work through my authors alphabetically, from A - Z, reading one book per author. Little did I realise how many mystery writers I have on my book shelves. Over the course of the year, fitting in my other challenges and trying to read a couple of freebies a month, I managed to work my way up to the G's, reading 39 books.

5 Roundabouts to Heaven
I started while we were still in England visiting family and friends for Xmas. So my first book actually was a B - author, John Bingham as I didn't have my whole library with me.. ;0). From there it's been a journey, so many different styles, countries. Some books have disappointed, but for the most part I've enjoyed immensely.

Below is my list -
with -
1. John Bingham - Five Roundabouts to Heaven (finished 10 Jan 2012, 3 stars)
2. Rennie Airth - The Blood-Dimmed Tide (finished 12 Jan 2012, 3 stars
3. Margery Allingham - Black Plumes (finished 21 Jan 2012, 4 stars)
4. Karin Alvtegen - Shadow (finished 28 Jan 2012, 4 stars)
5. Kingsley Amis - Riverside Villas Murder (finished 3 Feb 2012, 4 stars)
6. A.C. Baantjer - DeKok and the Death of a Clown (finished 12 Feb 201, 3 stars)
7. Nevada Barr - Track of the Cat (finished 19 Feb 12, 3 stars)
8. Mark Billingham - Buried (finished 25 Feb 2012, 4 stars)
9. Nicholas Blake - A Tangled Web (finished 03 Mar 2012, 4 stars)
10. M.C. Beaton - The Potted Gardener (finished 8 Mar 12, 3 stars)
11. Giles Blunt - By the Time You Read This (finished 12 Mar 12, 4 stars)
12. John Buchan - Greenmantle (finished 24 Mar 12, 4 stars)
13. Jan Burke - Sweet Dreams, Irene (finished 4 Apr 12, 3 stars)
14. W.J. Burley- Wycliffe and Death in a Salubrious Place (finished 10 Apr 12, 3 stars)
15. John le Carré - The Spy Who Came In From The Cold (finished 15 Apr 12, 5 stars)
16. G.K. Chesterton - The Secret of Father Brown (finished 22 Apr 12, 3 stars)
17. Lee Child - 61 Hours (finished 27 Apr 12, 3 stars)
18. Agatha Christie - The Mysterious Affair at Styles (finished 17 May 12, 4 stars)
19. Barbara Cleverly - The Damascened Blade (finished 21 May 12, 4 stars)
20. Michael Connelly - City Of Bones (finished 25 May 12, three stars)
21. Joseph Conrad - The Secret Agent (finished 3 Jun 12, 4 stars)
22. Colin Cotterill - The Coroner's Lunch (finished 15 Jun 12, 5 stars)
23. John Creasey - Death on the Move (finished 23 Jun 12, 2 stars)
24. Elizabeth Daly - Arrow Pointing Nowhere (finished 28 Jun 12, 3 stars)
25. Lionel Davidson - A Long Way to Shiloh (finished 18 Jul 12, 3 stars)
26. Jeffery Deaver - The Bodies Left Behind (finished 18 Aug 12, 3 stars)
27. Len Deighton - The Ipcress File (finished 28 Aug 12, 3 stars)
28. Arthur Conan Doyle - A Study In Scarlet (finished 22 Sept 12, 4 stars)
29. John Dunning - The Sign Of The Book (finished 27 Sept 12, 3 stars)
30. P. N. Elrod - The Dark Sleep (finished 06 Oct 12, 3 stars)
31. Janet Evanovich - Seven Up (finished 9 Oct 12, 3 stars)
32. Elizabeth Ferrars - :The Crime and the Crystal (finished 17 Oct 12, 3 stars)
33. Karin Fossum Don't Look Back (finished 22 Oct 12, 4 stars)
34. Ian Fleming - Live and Let Die (finished 21 Oct 12, 3 stars)
35. Ariana Franklin - Grave Goods (finished 1 Nov 12, 4 stars)
36. One More River - Nicolas Freeling (Didn't finish, stopped reading 3 Nov 12, 2 stars)
37. Night Soldiers - Alan Furst (finished 17 Nov 12, 3 stars)
38. The Perfect Husband - Lisa Gardner (finished 25 Nov 12, 3 stars)
39. Deception on His Mind - Elizabeth  George (started 18 Dec 12)

Old favourites
 It was nice to refresh my memories on many old favourites. Authors such as Nevada Barr (the Anna Pigeon US Park Ranger series), Canadian Giles Blunt with his Cardinal series set in my old home town of North Bay, WJ Burley's Wycliffe mysteries set in England, Barbara Cleverly's Joe Sandilands mysteries set during the Raj in India, John Dunning's Bookman series, featuring not only  a good mystery, but also book shops and hunting for antique books, Janet Evanovich's humorous Stephanie Plum adventures in New Jersey. So many familiar and enjoyable books that I don't often get an opportunity to read as I've so many other books on my shelves to pull down and enjoy.

There have been a few new authors to try out as well. I honestly have tried to avoid starting new series, but when how can you resist when you go to a book store and start wandering around the book shelves. And watching mysteries on TV as well and discovering they are based on mystery series; it makes you want to read them as well. Some of my favourite new series/ authors included; Mark Billingham's Tom Thorne mysteries, set in London; MC Beaton's Agatha Raisin books, a nice chuckle and a great parlour mystery; Lee Child's larger than life Jack Reacher adventures;and Karin Fossum's Swedish mysteries.

But my favourite mystery of the year; both as a new series and just for pure enjoyment was Colin Cotterill's The Coroner's Lunch, featuring Dr Siri Paiboun, the Chief Coroner of the new Communist Republic of Laos. The story was interesting, humorous, with an abundance of wonderful characters. I got the same feeling from it that I did from The Number One Ladies' Detective Agency when I read it for the first time. I look forward to reading more of Dr Siri Paiboun's mystery adventures.

It's been a great year of reading. I plan to continue with this challenge in 2013. I'll highlight some of the authors and books in a future Blog, when I look forward to 2013.

To all, have a wonderful, peaceful Xmas and I wish you the very best for 2013.   Now off to wake the missus and start packing.. ;0) 

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