Since we’re right in the middle of the year I thought it might be interesting to share with you my best reads so far. This being too early to issue a definitive ranking I’ve decided to go instead with alphabetical order; I’m confident however that most of the items listed below will find their way to my 2020 Top Ten, with one of them – I won’t tell you which – looking like a very probable Number One.
Germaine Beaumont, LA HARPE IRLANDAISE
George Bellairs, THE DEAD SHALL BE RAISED
Agatha Christie, THE MURDER AT THE VICARAGE
Carter Dickson, THE PLAGUE COURT MURDERS
Matthew Head, THE ACCOMPLICE
Patrick Laing, THE LADY IS DEAD
Ngaio Marsh, SCALES OF JUSTICE
Patrick Quentin, PUZZLE FOR PILGRIMS
I wondered last year whether my reputation as a GAD purist was usurped as my 2019 picks were mostly of the non-traditional kind so it’s kind of a surprise to see how Golden Age mysteries and whodunits overall feature strongly on this list; only three items out of eight don’t belong in the « classical detection » genre. How long will it last? We shall see next December.
Another traditional aspect in the list, though in another sense of the word, is that most of the writers included are « old friends » – only Beaumont, Bellairs and Head are authors new to me – and none can be said to be obscure except maybe Beaumont as she remains unknown to English-language readers.
Am I becoming more conservative as I grow older (forty-five today) or is this only a passing fancy? This too we shall see next December. In the meantime, feel free to comment.