Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Vintage Mystery Challenge 2012 Wrap-up

Ever the procrastinator, that's me. Truly it's not so much putting off as it is trying to find the time to sit down and type up these reports. And so here I am with my full report on last year's Vintage Mystery Challenge as hosted by Bev at My Reader's Block.

We were asked to read eight books that fit a category from a list provided by Bev. Since practically my entire life seems to be nothing but reading vintage mysteries (it only seems that way, my friends) I chose three categories and expected to read at least eight in each category. I had to make it challenging after all. I officially completed the first eight books in the category of Perilous Policemen and reviewed all eight books within a span of three months. You can see the entire list of all eight books on the very last post I wrote here. But after that I seemed to have forgotten about my other promised 16 books.

Luckily, I keep a monthly list of each book I read. And so now that the year is over I took the time to review my list hoping that out of the 116 books I read there were at least 16 that fell into the proper categories. Turns out I really did conclude the entire challenge as I outlined back in October 2011.

Deadly Decades
I was to read at least one book from each decade listed below and then one "wild card" for the eighth book.

pre-1900 - The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1870), The Mystery of Orcival (1867), The Female Detective (1864), Dorcas Dene, Detective (1897)
1900s - On the Brink of a Chasm (1900) by L.T. Meade
1910s - "The Call of Wings" one of the stories in The Hound of Death (OK, I'm cheating here)
1920s - Murder on the Moor, The Colfax Bookplate and three others
1930s - The Case of the Green Felt Hat and 20 others
1940s - Ghost Wanted and 19 others
1950s - The Gentle Murderer and 25 others

I also read four books from 1960 though only the year counted and not the entire decade. Those books were The Pass Beyond Kashmir, A Stranger in My Grave, Be Silent Love, and Play It Hard. Two of those books made my best of list for the year. Margaret Millar's book was excellent but compared to others read that month she got nudged out of the top spot. Sorry, Margaret.

Murderous Miscellany
This category was open to the contestant. I made it "Black magic/Witchcraft in the mystery novel". Much to my surprise without even focusing on that category I did in fact read EXACTLY eight books with that feature in the plot.

Old Bones
The Craghold Creatures
The Curse of the Island Pool
The Doctor's Murder Case
The Hound of Death
For Fear of Little Men
The Curse of Rathlaw
The Ninth Life by Jack Mann (not reviewed on my blog)

Now I can start up the 2013 Vintage Mystery Challenge with no guilty conscience. Leading us neatly into a segue for the next post.


  1. John: I am deeply impressed with the extent and depth of your reading in vintage crime fiction. I think it will be hard to top your 2012.

  2. Yay, John! I'm so glad that when you sat down and tallied things up you found that fulfilled your three categories. And, as always, you have amazed me with all the books you've read this year.