As I have now caught up, and am in line with the Readarama, I’m going to take this next post to rank the first ten reads in order of enjoyment. I will try to tell you a bit about each since I haven’t done that yet! In reverse order then…
10. A Caribbean Mystery – Agatha Christie
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this book, but Miss Marple is not my favourite character of all time. Out of all the Christie books I read (which is a lot!) Marple stands out for the wrong reasons. Many would disagree with me I know, but I much prefer Poirot! Anyway, the pace of this was slow and for that reason it is at the bottom of my list so far.
9. The Labours of Hercules – Agatha Christie
You may be noticing a theme here, but don’t panic! Although I have read and will continue to read Agatha Christie, she didn’t write every book on my list. Had I known I would join the challenge I might have varied the first ten a bit more, but bear with me. I’m conscious of the fact that I have just proclaimed Poirot my favourite detective, and then here he is at number 9. Let me just say this is not the best of the Poirot books, not by a very long shot. Basically, it consists of twelve short stories, each of which Poirot (sometimes extremely tenuously) links to one of the labours of Hercules. I really enjoyed some of them (The Erymanthian Boar was a favourite) but some were fairly dull and I was glad they were short.
8. Whose Body? – Dorothy L Sayers
This was the first of this classic crime author’s novels that I have read and I loved it. It didn’t quite keep me guessing until the end though, so it has ended up at number 8 so far. I did really like the main character, Lord Peter Wimsey, and I would recommend it to fans of Christie etc.
7. The Sittaford Mystery – Agatha Christie
I can feel the readership of the blog (if there is one) leaving. Stay with me and I promise books 11-20 will be much less samey. This book was brilliant. If you are not a fan of Christie, or you don’t like Poirot, Marple or both of the above, try this. It is an absolutely classic whodunit, with a seemingly impossible solution. A great read.
6. Agatha Christie and the Eleven Missing Days – Jared Cade
A fascinating read, back in January. Really interesting insight into the life of a mysterious author. Not quite exciting enough to make the top 5, but I couldn’t put this down.
5. Mrs McGinty’s Dead – Agatha Christie
I know… But bear with me. I promise the top three won’t have a single book written by Mrs C. Poirot again. Great case, got better as it went on. Kept me guessing!
4. Why Didn’t they Ask Evans? – Agatha Christie
A brilliant read. Neither of Christie’s famous sleuths feature and this had great young characters who you could really enjoy following as they blundered their way through an investigation. Very likeable with a really intriguing plot.
3. Dexter is Delicious – Jeff Lindsay
If you like crime fiction and you haven’t read Dexter yet, go out and get a copy of Darkly Dreaming Dexter now! Far better and with so much more humour than the TV series they based on it, all the Dexter books make for great reading (though the third one is a bit weird). I found myself laughing out loud in places at Dexter’s inner monologue. Yet at the same time, he is a killer and is constantly almost being caught or almost getting himself killed. Brilliant.
2. Dissolution – CJ Sansom
This was the first book I read this year, way back in January, but thinking back to it I can still remember it clearly and fondly. It is the first in Sansom’s historical (Tudor) crime series, and the second that I have read. The lead character Matthew Shardlake is a fantastic creation, and the plot so thick you feel you’ll never get past all the twists and turns and make it to the end. Such a good book. I will be reading more of this series for sure!
1. Killing Floor – Lee Child
Book seven this year was easily the best, even with the stiff competition of Sharlake and Dexter at the top. If you haven’t met Jack Reacher, Child’s dark hero, yet then waste no more time in reading one of these. This is the first in the series, but I have read two others before and it doesn’t diminish them to read them out of order. This book is so hard to put down, and moves swiftly from one event to the next. If you dont like first person narrative, some of the others are in the third person, but I loved it! From the opening line, right to the end, this is a great book, with an extremely likeable lead character. That’s why it is my best read of the year so far.