"Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."
from Speedy Death
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 by Cachoo; 02-24-2012 at 06:46 PM.
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.
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.
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
Barbara Cleverly - Joe Sandilands
PJ Tracey (With this one, you really must read Monkeewrench first)
Laurie R. King - the Sherlock Hlmes & Mary Russell series
Jim Butcher - The Dresden Books. Chicago, hard-boiled detective. Who's a wizard.
I know that I'm missing tons more.
Last edited by znachki; 02-24-2012 at 08:33 PM.
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.
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.
Disclaimer: The post contained herein represents the opinions of a fan and may or may not bear any relation to reality.
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" .
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
Just found the name of the author who wrote the Henry II era mysteries. It's Ariana Franklin. These books are wonderful-a very intriguing heroine unlike most I've read about.
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 by emason; 02-24-2012 at 11:17 PM.
I love Dick Francis, always a good read may he RIP
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. I hated Murder on the Orient Express with a passion because
Spoilera break in the rules of a whodunnit.
Spoilernot 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?