November 2019 Crime & Mystery Book Subscription Box
How on Earth did I choose the books?
The Autumn box is perhaps the most difficult box of the year to select books for, the publishers make it difficult by releasing a tonne of great books around September in time for the Christmas build up.
Starting the monthly crime subscription did mean I got to choose a couple of extra crime novels from this wonderful glut of titles (The Long Call by Ann Cleeves and The Lying Room by Nicci French), so how on Earth did I choose?
I am privileged to get to read ARCs, advanced review copies, from a range of publishers and I read a lot of great books. I make notes as I go along on themes, characters, how the books make me feel, how much the books made me think or laugh or gasp or root for the characters and anything else that stands out. To anyone else these probably look like a mess of ramblings in a variety of colours, but it’s all part of the process 😊
After, I look at what novels will work together well and will fit in the boxes. I try to include a range of books particularly as I am quite a mood reader, sometimes I fancy something to make me laugh, or something cosy or something historical, or on a roller coaster thrill ride.
The first book choice was The Conviction of Cora Burns by Carolyn Kirby and published by No Exit Press a small independent publisher that have just won the CWA Dagger Award for Best Crime & Mystery Publisher 2019! I read this book at the beginning of the year and it stayed with me for a long time.
It is a Victorian Gothic mystery, perfect for curling up with in the autumn (dark nights and Halloween!). It has a unique protagonist, born in prison and raised in the workhouse Cora Burns is flawed yet affecting.
The book tackles the question of nature versus nurture and Cora Burns seeks to unravel the terrible secrets in her past and strives to be a better person for the future.
It also has a suitably creepy Victorian scientist, Thomas Jerwood, whose thirst for scientific discovery overrides any thoughts about the effects his experiments might have on his living subjects. Just who and what he is studying unfolds as the book goes on!
The second book choice was The Burning Land by George Alagiah. George Alagiah is a well-known journalist and broadcaster from the BBC’s News at Six and this is his first foray into fiction.
It’s an interesting setting in the turbulent, post-apartheid South Africa and Alagiah uses his experience and knowledge of the country and politics in this period to great effect here. It’s a powerful novel, and it’s not just about politics it’s a great murder mystery which I wanted to share with you.
You may be aware that George Alagiah has been fighting bowel cancer for a number of years. Shortly after I entered discussions with his publisher it was announced that this had returned and that he would be beginning cancer treatments again. Despite this, George still took the time to give us an in-depth interview and sign additional copies of his book just for us. His strength and work ethic are incredible and I hope he has the opportunity to write many more books.
The book that completes our trio is The Truants by Kate Weinberg. I like a book that pushes boundaries and is not constrained by categories and genres and The Truants is a great example. It is a crime & mystery novel and it is also much more, I really enjoyed the university setting and the coming of age element to the novel.
There is a professor and students but they are not stereotypes and the dynamics between them were really interesting and fresh. As a classic crime fan I loved that Agatha Christie references are threaded through the novel and the ending brought it all to a satisfying conclusion (just like Agatha Christie’s novels do).
So there we are, my thoughts on the novels from the November 2019 crime & mystery book box. As you enjoy reading these, I am already preparing for the next boxes...
Do let me know what you all thought of the choices, I'd love to hear!
Hi, I'm Louise the founder of My Chronicle Book Box and I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog post.
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