Your Favorite Detective Novels

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Holley Calmes, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. Holley Calmes

    Holley Calmes Well-Known Member

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    Over the past ten years or so, I have been obsessed with detective/crime/murder mysteries and novels that are well written, or maybe not so well written but fun. If it says "Edgard Award Nominee" I'm your girl! I just wanted to know who you all liked in this genre. I'm always looking for new writers, so I hope you will recommend some.

    I just got through with all the Peter James I could get imported from Britain. When my darling Karen Slaughter recommended him as "the best," I had to give him a try, and he is more than great....

    Just starting up Ian Rankin. Just finished the latest Elizabeth George and Deborah Crombie. Actually reading "Raylan" by Elwood Leonard just because I think Timothy Olyphant is gorgeous.

    So-bring it on! Who are your faves? (Dorothy Sayers....my fave. I identify so with Harriet Vane...)
  2. Buzz

    Buzz Well-Known Member

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    Ever a Russian writer called Boris Akunin? If you liked Agatha chistie, hen you may like Akunin. How about a novel called The Memory Man by Lisa Appignnesi. Not your regular crime story but a mystery novel nonetheless and very interesting.
  3. attyfan

    attyfan Well-Known Member

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    My favorites are the classics (Christie, Sayers and Marsh) and the historicals ... everything from Stephanie Barron's Jane Austen series to Fiona Buckley's Ursula Blanchard, and further back to Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael books
  4. Grannyfan

    Grannyfan Active Member

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    They're not detective stories, but mysteries byThomas H. Cook are great. He won an Edgar Award for The Chatham School Affair. I've liked all his books, but the two most recent ones not as much as the earlier ones.
  5. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

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    I know this is probably a totally obvious recommendation but have you read Agatha Christie's books? I love them and they are rather quick reads.
  6. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

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    Ian Rankin and Michael Connelly are my favorites.
  7. Orable

    Orable New Member

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    A few years ago someone from FSU recommended the Julian Kestral mystery series by the late Kate Ross to me. I wholeheartedly second that recommendation! Some of the best writing and character-building I've seen! Kestral is a 19th Century British dandy who solves murder and other kinds of mysteries. Like a well-dressed Sherlock Holmes or a non-criminal Neal Caffrey (White Collar).
  8. jbjanderson

    jbjanderson New Member

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    I absolutely love the series by Julia Spencer-Flemming - the mystery aspect is okay, but the characters are great and I cannot put the books down. First book is called In the Bleak Midwinter.
  9. LilJen

    LilJen Well-Known Member

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    Dorothy Sayers & PD James.
  10. Cupid

    Cupid Well-Known Member

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    Sue Grafton's series. I am now working on her latest "V" is for Vengeance that I got for Christmas. For some reason, I can't get into this one and she's always been one of my favorite authors and sometimes I would finish a book in 1-2 days.
  11. rfisher

    rfisher Satisfied skating fan

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    :lol: Do you want it broken into sub-genres?
    Cozies, Police procedurals, romantic suspense, speciality (knitting, cooking, etc.,) animals, etc., etc., ?
  12. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    My absolute favorite is Sayers's Lord Peter Wimsey series. (Harriet Vane is the best heroine ever!) Second favorite, Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe series. In third place, probably Margery Allingham's Albert Campion series.

    This is a great thread!
  13. Garden Kitty

    Garden Kitty Tranquillo

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    Louise Penney is wonderful! I love her books.
  14. Holley Calmes

    Holley Calmes Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the ideas. Yes, I have the latest Louise Penney in que for next. I love her! I love Juia Spencer-Flemming too. I'm trying to think of the name of the author, unfortunately deceased, who wrote the mysteries set in the time of Henry II with the female/physician-trained heroine? I cannot think of her to save my life, but I adored those books-there were about 4. Love the Masie Dobbs books too.

    Looking forward to Ian!

    Edited to include:

    Edna Buchanan and her Miami set mysteries
    Martha Grimes! She's fantastic - two series, Richard Jury mysteries...
    Deanna Raybourn - a guilty pleasure. Part mystery, part bodice ripper and totally fun
    Jacqueline Windspear
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012
  15. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

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    I recommend Barbara Hambly's Benjamin January series. The lead character is a black Paris-educated physician in New Orleans in the middle 1800's.

    They are fast-paced, and interesting historical reads as they focus on the seldom heard about black middle class.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012
  16. MikiAndoFan#1

    MikiAndoFan#1 Well-Known Member

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    A few months ago, I read Yrsa Sigurdardóttir's Ashes to Dust. I loved every bit of it and highly recommend it!
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012
  17. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

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    If it's historical mysteries you fancy, try C.S. Harris' Sebastian St. Cyr series. Regency England, plots rooted in the social and political turmoil of the times and a main character the author describes as "Mr. Darcy with a James Bond edge." "What Angels Fear" introduces the cast which develops through the following five volumes. The newst one "When Maidens Mourn" comes out in March.
  18. merrywidow

    merrywidow Well-Known Member

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    Sue Grafton, Susan Wittig Albert, Janet Evanovich, Linda Barnes, Nevada Barr, Mary Higgins Clark, Margaret Coel, Ken Follett, Earlene Fowler, Joan Hess, etc.. If you like Agatha Christie then try Patricia Wentworth's Miss Silver series, same era as Christies.
    There is a great internet site for fiction of all sorts...fantasticfiction.co.uk/. It lists all books by author.
  19. euterpe

    euterpe Well-Known Member

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    I loved the "Rabbi" mysteries series by Harry Kemelman. They are no longer in print, but you can get used copies from Amazon.com.
  20. attyfan

    attyfan Well-Known Member

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    That is another great series.
  21. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    :lol: Leave it to FSU to inform me of Akunin! That is, I've heard of him but didn't know he was a mystery writer.

    The Julian Kestral and Sebastian St. Cyr series sound interesting. Will check with our library. Thanks, guys!
  22. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

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    OMG! I love her too. I don't know why she isn't up there with other authors of the genre. I copied some of her awards:
    Awards
    2002 Agatha Award for In the Bleak Midwinter
    2003 Anthony Award for In the Bleak Midwinter
    2003 Macavity Award for In the Bleak Midwinter
    2003 Dilys Award for In the Bleak Midwinter
    2003 Barry Award for In the Bleak Midwinter
    2007 Nero Wolfe Award for All Mortal Flesh
    2007 Gumshoe Award for All Mortal Flesh

    I'm glad to know of someone else here who enjoys Clare and Russ and an interesting cast of characters. I'm not sure if they fit the detective mold like other titles/authors mentioned here but getting to know these people coupled with the mystery is worth the read.

    In the detective genre I've become a big fan of Charles Finch's series featuring gentleman detective Charles Lenox:
    A Beautiful Blue Death, The September Society, The Fleet Street Murders, A Stranger in Mayfair and A Burial at Sea are set in Victorian England and are good mysteries imho. There is life after Sherlock after all. Finch has been nominated for a couple of awards (including The Agatha.)
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012
  23. algonquin

    algonquin Well-Known Member

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    In the cozy detective genre, I liked Ryhs Bowen's Contastable Evan Evans series. I don't care for her recent series. G.M. Malliet's books are worth reading. I really liked Death of a Cozy Writer and Death and the Lit Chick.

    The Case of the Missing Servant by Tarquin Hall is pretty good.
  24. Orable

    Orable New Member

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    Very cool - I'm gonna check these out. Thanks!
  25. pollyanna

    pollyanna Don't blink

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    Loved Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories when I was wee, and am still of fan of all things Agatha Christie (I adore Miss Marple), but my favorite detective novel of all time is still Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon. In fact, I love all of Hammett's and James Cain's novels.

    Also a big fan of the Cadfael series.
  26. Rob

    Rob Beach Bum

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    Haha, I first learned of Akunin at a Skate America practice! He was recommended to me by Mr. MorganaLefay.
  27. znachki

    znachki Active Member

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    A total mystery fan here. Where do I start? OK first, with this website:

    Stop, You're Killing Me! http://www.stopyourekillingme.com/

    Authors, titles, series orders, breakdowns by genre, vocation, time period.

    The only mysteries I'm not a fan of are all of the new cozies, with themes (cooking, wines, baking) and punny titles. Just can't do them.

    I'll try to avoid the ones that others have listed, but there may be some duplicates. I love, among others, Elizabeth George & Ian Rankin, but others have already chimed in there. I'm just going to list the authors.

    Val McDermid - Tony Hill
    Garry Disher
    Barbara Cleverly - Joe Sandilands
    PJ Tracey (With this one, you really must read Monkeewrench first)
    Charles Finch
    Laurie R. King - the Sherlock Hlmes & Mary Russell series
    Bruce Alexander
    David Liss
    Anne Perry
    Elizabeth Peters
    Will Thomas
    Victoria Thompson
    Clare Langley-Hawthorne
    Eliis Peters
    Jason Goodwin
    Walter Mosely
    Jim Butcher - The Dresden Books. Chicago, hard-boiled detective. Who's a wizard.

    I know that I'm missing tons more.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012
  28. Grannyfan

    Grannyfan Active Member

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    I've read a couple of these and enjoyed them very much.
  29. Grannyfan

    Grannyfan Active Member

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    I've seen some episodes of a British series called Touching Evil. Is this what they're based on?
  30. znachki

    znachki Active Member

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    No, the "Wire in the Blood" series is based on the Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series.
  31. smurfy

    smurfy Well-Known Member

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    I enjoy...
    Sue Grafton, previously mentioned
    John Sandford (Minneapolis detective), broody Lucas Davenport
    Sara Paretsky, VI Warshawski
    have not read in ages, but used to read Robert Parker - Spenser series
    And now I have some new ones to check out.
  32. AYS

    AYS Cruder than you thought

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    Love the Kestrel books! I am so sorry she wasn't able to write more of these, I have 3 and I think that was all she wrote. I also definitely second the CS Harris St. Cyr ones, similar type of hero.

    I got completely addicted to the JD Robb (aka Nora Roberts) "In Death" series last year and have now read them all (with one due out around now, I think. It is officially a sightly futuristic (set in ~2060) hard-assed female NYPD detective and the plots are usually great, but it is just as much about the characters/relationships. Note: The series must be read in order, and the first is actually not the best in terms of plot, but introduces the main characters.

    I've been really disappointed with Elizabeth George after adoring her for years. I started and put down her most recent. :(

    PD James also has passed her peak, but enjoyed many of those over the years.
  33. Cyn

    Cyn Well-Known Member

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    I'm not really a fan of Detective novels, but my Ex was. Because his job required long flights, he always packed a book to read to pass the time. If he forgot to pack one, he would grab one at the store at the airport, referring to them as "mind candy" :lol:.

    The books he generally read were the ones written by James Patterson (the Alex Cross series - Kiss the Girls and Along Came A Spider being two of his more popular novels) and Patricia Cornwell (the Dr. Kay Scarpetta series - which were focused primarily on forensic evidence as Scarpetta was a medical examiner).

    I read both of the Patterson novels listed above, and Cornwell's novel, The Last Precinct. The Patterson novels at least kept my interest, though the descriptive parts of what the killer(s) did to the victims were a tad too graphic for my liking (they were written in real-time as opposed to the detective surmising what happened to them).

    The Cornwell book, OTOH, I found to be amateurishly written and the plot rather predictable and wouldn't recommend it to anyone. If her other novels are of this calibre, avoid them at all costs.

    *******

    I don't know if you enjoy the True Crime genre, but if you haven't read any of them, I highly recommend the ones written by Vincent Bugliosi, a former District Attorney for the Los Angeles Superior Court. In his career, he won 105 of 106 Felony cases, and received convictions in all of the 21 murder cases he prosecuted.

    He (along with co-author Curt Gentry) wrote the Holy Grail of True Crime books, Helter Skelter which, needless to say, is about the crimes, prosecution, and 1st Degree Murder convictions of Charles Manson, Susan Atkins, Leslie Van Houten, and Patricia Krenwinkle), is absolutely gripping (to date, this is the #1 selling True Crime book of all time). It's a long read (690 pages), but 100% worth it. I pull it out of my shelves of books and re-read it every few years as it's that good. Then again, I have a weird obsession when it comes to the Manson murders - I wrote a paper on the Manson Family from the perspective of Cult Behavior for my Abnormal Psychology class in college (I minored in Psychology), and since then (especially now with the Internet able to provide a shitton of information unavailable or extremely difficult to access back when I was in school

    Another Bugliosi book I highly recommend is Outrage, in which Bugliosi analyzes and delivers an excellent yet scathing criticism of Marcia Clark's and Christopher Darden's prosecution and failure to convict O.J. Simpson of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Amazon listing for "Outrage"/Customer Reviews

    Two other outstanding True Crime books by Bugliosi are And The Sea Will Tell and Till Death Us Do Part. Both books are about cases Bugliosi tried (and received convictions) for murder
  34. rfisher

    rfisher Satisfied skating fan

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    It came out Tuesday. :)
  35. Holley Calmes

    Holley Calmes Well-Known Member

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  36. znachki

    znachki Active Member

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    Cyn - you picked exactly the wrong one to read! I used to read her books - until I read "The Last Precinct" (if that's the one with the weird cat digression?). Hated it. Coincidently, it was about this time that I discovered Kathy Reichs (Temperence Brennan), and never looked back!
  37. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    Wire in the Blood and Touching Evil are two entirely different series, although Robson Green starred in both. Touching Evil was created by Paul Abbott and written by Abbott and Russell T. Davies. Wire in the Blood is based on characters created by Val McDermid.

    ETA: Sharon Kay Penman has written some historical mysteries. I remember really liking The Queen's Man, the first in the series. I read it quite a while ago, but IIRC the queen of the title was Eleanor of Aquitaine.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012
  38. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

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    I've never heard of the Kestral books but I will certainly check them out. I hate it when a career is cut short by death, illness, writers block..anything. I was thinking about Caleb Carr and "The Alienist" and "The Angel of Death" which were set in the Gilded Age in the US. I loved them and I know he went on the to write an authorized Sherlock Holmes novel but I would have loved to see a continuation of the first two titles. I don't know why but there is something about all of the forensic science we have now that sends me running back to a previous age sometimes when it comes to mysteries.
  39. skatemomaz

    skatemomaz 4 More Years

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    I love Dick Francis, always a good read may he RIP :(
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  40. escaflowne9282

    escaflowne9282 Well-Known Member

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    I love detective fiction, in particular murder mysteries from the Golden Age (1920s-1940s) Among my favorite authors are

    Agatha Christie- she was the first murder mystery author I started to read(the Bobbsey Twins/Hardy Boys/Strattenmyer Syndicate do not count). I think my favorite book by her is Towards Zero which is one that I immediately had to reread after finding out the killer's identity. I also loved the Murder of Roger Ackroyd which apparently is considered
    a break in the rules of a whodunnit
    . I hated Murder on the Orient Express with a passion because
    not only is the ending a total cop-out, but Poirot let's them all get away with it which goes completely against his character to do so
    .

    John Dickson Carr/Carter Dickson- wrote many novels in the "locked-room" genre, where the identity of the killer isn't as perplexing as how they managed to pull off the crime. My favorite of his is probably The Crooked Hinge in which the final twist just caught me off guard completely.

    Ellery Queen- his earlier books have a challenge to the reader, which I'm finding interesting. The problem with many of his books is that they are somewhat dated in their content so you have to read them almost as a period piece.

    As for more modern ones. I recently read The Paris Enigma by Pablo de Santis and The Tokyo Zodiac Murders by Soji Shimada (his only English translated work!). I recommend both.

    Are there any other "locked-room" fans. Any recommendations on more modern works?
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