My Top 3 Reads for #MysteryBookMay
Have you heard? #MysteryBookMay is almost over, and today I'm rounding up my top 3 mystery books from this month to celebrate—all without spoilers!
May belongs to many beautiful things—like violets, scented spring air, family picnics and rainy afternoons... But to me, May also belongs to Poirot marathons, Sherlockian deductions, cyanide-poisoning, and light-hearted BBC mysteries. I made sure to put a few mystery books into my reading pile for the month in honor of the theme, and these three that I've picked to share with you were each incredibly different, and didn't leave me for a while after I finished them. If you have read any of these here listed, do drop a comment below and let me know your thoughts!
Starting with the best of the best, my gem of the month, we have...
1. The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie is undeniably deserving of her title as the Queen of Mystery, and she proves it here with this, her first published novel, and the first to feature our beloved Belgian detective, Monsieur Hercule Poirot.
Summary: Set against the backdrop of WW1 England, Hercule Poirot, a Belgian refugee and detective, takes on the case of the death of Mrs. Inglethorp, the wealthy matron of Styles Court who dies suddenly by strychnine poisoning. The circumstances surrounding her death at first appear to be a straightforward murder, but the mystery proves no such thing. Everyone at Styles Court is harboring secrets, including Mrs. Inglethorp's much younger husband, her vengeful step-sons, a specialist on poisons who happens to be in the neighborhood at the time of the murder, and the young pharmacist in residence at Styles.
What I thought...
I think this might have just made it to my top 5 Christies...and that's saying a lot! This is a fantastic introduction to Poirot—and Christie as a whole. The plot and characters were top-notch, and I enjoyed seeing the beginning of Hastings and Poirot's working relationship. As usual, Christie kept me guessing through every twist and turn, and through just about every page I would change my mind as to 'whodunnit' until Poirot finally explains to us exactly what his "little grey cells" have been up to. After reading, I went ahead and watched the adaptation from ITV's Poirot starring David Suchet, and was delighted to see that Poldark's Trenwith House was used as Styles Court!
2. Look Into My Eyes (Ruby Redfort Book 1) by Lauren Child
All right, this one's aimed for an age range of 10-14, but that doesn't mean one can't read Ruby Redfort at any age and still find them to be incredibly gripping entertainment. If you've got young tweens or are yourself a young reader—or actually are just someone who loves a good, light-hearted mystery in general, this one's for you.
Summary: Ruby Redfort is not your average thirteen year old, she just so happens to be a genius kid with a nose for trouble and a talent for top-level code-cracking. When Spectrum, a top-secret spy agency, recruits her to crack a code for which a previous agent was bumped off by the villains of Twinford for getting too close to, Ruby ends up taking part in a bigger mystery that could cost her her life and the livelihood of those around her.
What I thought...
This is my third time reading this first installment in the 6-book Ruby Redfort series. What can I say, I've been infatuated with Lauren Child's work since I was a youngster watching Charlie and Lola and reading the Clarice Bean novels. Ruby is such a fun character, from her ice-cool confidence to her high-tech spy gadgetry, and no matter how old I get, I don’t think I’ll ever stop feeling like I definitely want to be a bit more like her. While this was a wonderful introductory book to the series, I can’t help but feel like every following book just gets better and better. Consequently, I don’t love this one as much as I do the others, which are phenomenally clever mysteries. In all truth, I can’t recommend this series enough, especially for tweens. They’ll be hooked—as will you!
3. The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie
Another mystery featuring Hercule Poirot, this one deviates quite a bit from Christie's normal style, and is often considered one of her best—a fan-favorite for mystery lovers.
Poirot receives a mysterious letter from a plotting serial killer: A is for Mrs. Ascher in Andover, B is for Betty Barnard in Bexhill, C is for Sir Carmichael Clarke in Churchston. How long will the killer continue down the alphabet until his identity is discovered? The murders appear to be only connected by the alphabet—but is something bigger underlying the killer's scheme, linking these murders together?
What I thought...
This one's a fan-favorite, so I had my hopes up, but all in all, this Poirot just wasn't my cup of tea. Unlike Poirot's usual cases, the serial killer mystery seemed too dissimilar to all the cozy cleverness I usually expect from him. The book works backwards, deviating from Christie's usual style; we know who the enigmatic A.B.C. is early on, while we wait for Poirot to catch on to his heels. There's plenty of twists and turns, barring spoilers, but the ending's revelations felt too abrupt and twisted. I didn't feel like Christie gave us time to actually wrap our heads around the bigger mystery before it was revealed. With that said, I definitely thought about this one for a while after reading and have grown to appreciate it more since finishing it. Though it wasn't to my personal taste, it's worth a read, and a vast majority of mystery lovers hold this one up high as a Christie favorite.
Those are my top 3 picks for #MysteryBookMay! If you've read any of these three mentioned, or want to share some of your own mystery picks of the month, do drop a comment below! I'd love to hear from you. :)
This is the last blog post for May before June rolls in...! Can you believe it? I've got a lot of exciting things coming up on the blog this month, and I can't wait to share them with you. Don't forget to sign up for my newsletter before I send out June's update with special bonus content! Have a splendid weekend, and happy mystery reading!