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Old 04-16-2012, 01:48 PM
Christopher Robin Davies is offline
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Let's talk about our favorite mystery novels


My personal favorites are the Lord Peter Wimsey and Philip Marlowe novels. I love Sherlock Holmes too though techically most of those are short stories rather than novels. Most contemporary mystery stuff does nothing for me I am afraid but I am open to recommendations that might change my mind. Anybody care to talk about the stuff they like best?
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Old 04-16-2012, 02:00 PM
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Well, one of my favorite novels of all time, The Brothers Karamazov, is really a murder mystery. Does that count?

You'd probably say no. So, if we stick just to novels you'd find in the Mystery section at Barnes and Noble, my favorites are...



Agatha Christie: Curtain, and The ABC Murders

Dick Francis: Banker

Gregory McDonald: Fletch, Flynn's Inn, and The Buck Passes Flynn

Ellis Peters: The Leper of St. Giles (or almost any of her Cadfael series)
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Old 04-16-2012, 02:27 PM
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I just bought the complete Sherlock Holmes novels for my nook, and I'm happily working my way through them. I also like the Nero Wolfe series, though I can't say that I really like any of Stout's other works. In particular, I've tried to slog my way through the Mountain Cat Murders at least three times, and failing each time. I really think that Stout hit upon a winning formula with Archie, Nero, and the setting, and when he tried to get away from that formula and setting, he just didn't distinguish himself.

My personal preference is science fiction/fantasy mystery. Larry Niven has written a number of short stories and novels that are science fiction (they take place in the future, with future tech) that are essentially mysteries, and they work well. For instance, in Dream Park, there's a theme park that allows people to use costuming and holo tech to portray various gaming classes, and one plot is about how the gamers go about winning the game, but the real story is a mystery about how a man died. Niven plays fair, he gives the appropriate clues to the readers, and you don't have to know about a rare poison that someone from Alpha Centauri B IX would commonly carry about its person.
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Old 04-16-2012, 02:57 PM
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I'm a sucker for Nero Wolfe as well--got hooked when the series was on A&E. Very slowly working my way through the canon in publication order; my last was Over My Dead Body. (I've read a number of the books already, but lost track of which ones, so I've started over with Fer-de-Lance.)

Bonus: I used to live next door to the location of Wolfe's brownstone, per the plaque erected by the NYC Wolfe Pack.

Last edited by LawMonkey; 04-16-2012 at 02:57 PM.
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Old 04-16-2012, 03:26 PM
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I also love Lord Peter Wimsey. Other current favorites include:
Edmund Crispin, The Moving Toyshop. Lunacy set in Oxford.
The Nero Wolfe series. I read them all, in order, within a few months. Keeping them for long winter night rereads when I get old.
Laurie King's The Beekeeper's Apprentice. This is Holmes as I fantasized him when I read the Conon Doyle stories.
Margery Allingham's Albert Campion stories. She was a contemporary of Dorothy Sayers. The series started out light and frivolous, but became more accomplished as it went on.
John Dunning, The Bookman's Wake
Kate Wilhelm, the Constance and Charlie mysteries, starting with The Hamlet Trap.
Vicki Lane, Signs in the Blood, set in the North Carolina mountains.
Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody series. Laugh out loud funny spoofs of the Victoria Holt type of Victorian romantic suspense. The author has a Ph.D. in Egyptology, so she knows her stuff. But her sense of humor is even better.
Alan Bradley, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Precocious child chemist in 1950's England solves the mysteries.
Arturo Perez-Reverte, The Club Dumas and the Flanders Panel. One about literature, one about art, both wonderful. Author Spanish, settings Europe.
Lisa Lutz. The Spellman Files series. Contemporary San Francisco setting. Very funny modern detective family, narrated by the bad girl of the family.
L.C. Tyler. The Herring Seller's Apprentice. Modern England, a mediocre mystery writer and his obnoxious, pushy agent. Intelligently humorous.
Alfred Alcorn, Murder at the Museum of Man. Satiric and good.
Oh, I've liked Tony Hillerman and Aaron Elkins, Martha Grimes, and a host of others. But the ones above will survive the next move.
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Old 04-16-2012, 11:10 PM
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I listen to a lot of mysteries on my iPod.

Grew up on Lord Peter, and have listened to them all, as well as Chesterton's Father Brown books.

Contemporary authors I love:

Sue Grafton (A is for Alibi, etc... S is for Silence is my favorite);
Dick Francis and son Felix;
Brad Meltzer (Zero Game and The Millionaires are fun "innocent-characters-caught-up-in-a-thriller" books);
Nevada Barr (Flashback is the perfect double-mystery).

Oh, and Lawrence Block writes books with a burglar-for-hire, Bernie Rohdenbarr, that are hilarious.
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Old 04-17-2012, 07:40 AM
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Just off the top of my head...

Lois McMaster Bujold's The Mountains of Mourning and Diplomatic Immunity. (SF mystery)
Charlotte MacLeod's Wrack and Rune and The Luck Runs Out. (Humorous mysteries)
Harry Kemelman's Saturday the Rabbi Went Hungry and Tuesday the Rabbi Saw Red.
Gregory McDonald's Fletch's Fortune and Confess, Fletch.
Agatha Christie's Mrs. McGinty's Dead and Cat Among the Pigeons.
Susan Conant's Bloodlines.
Dick Francis' Nerve.
Erle Stanley Gardner's The Case of the Ice Cold Hands.
Robert Barnard's Death by Sheer Torture.

I also enjoy Donna Andrews' mysteries, but can't pick a favorite.
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Old 04-17-2012, 08:12 AM
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Bonus: I used to live next door to the location of Wolfe's brownstone, per the plaque erected by the NYC Wolfe Pack.
You and a whole bunch of other folks, including some fish.

I second Stout's Nero Wolfe and Chandler's Marlowe. I'd say the Big Sleep is my favorite mystery of all.
Amelia Peabody is also good. Her spouse (called by the Egyptians, "The Father of Curses", is fighting for his life, and Amelia says, "I'm sure that Emerson was enjoying himself immensely..."
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Old 04-17-2012, 08:17 AM
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Sherlock Holmes (novels and stories)

Robert H. Van Gulik's Judge Dee novels, set in T'ang dynasty China, and using elements taken from Chinese mystery novels written hundreds of years ago. Van Gulik plays fair, too -- if a clue is a linguistic one, he gives it to you in English form (Van Gulik was a Dutch diplomat writing about Chinese history in English. And other languages, too. The man was astonishing)

Fredric Brown's mysteries. Brown has, sadly, faded from the scene, but he was a helluva science fiction, fantasy, and mystery author, who wrote in a simple, direct, yet compelling style. He also came up with the most amazing stories and twists that show nifty insight into human psychology. One short story has the reader as the victim. Another is a Deal-with-the-devil story that is not fantasy. Great stuff. Throughout the 1950s he cranked out at least a mystery novel a year, and at least one was in print up until sometime in the 1990s. Now I don't see his stuff on any bookstore shelves. Read his first novel, The Fabulous Clipjoint, which won him an Edgar. Or The Screaming Mimi. or The Night of the Jabberwock, which is a Lewis Carroll-themed murder mystery. Several of his works have been filmed, but greatly changed from the originals. I'd love to see the Screaming Mimi done straight.


Lindsay Davis' Marcus Didius Falco mysteries set in ancient Rome. I have to read more of these. My wife's read them all.

Rex Stout's Nero Wolf novels. It took me a while to get into these, but they're worth it. I also like Robert Goldsborough's sequels, which i've finally read the last of.
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Old 04-17-2012, 08:47 AM
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Just curious- is there such a thing as a good, compelling mystery that doesn't involve someone being murdered?
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Old 04-17-2012, 09:03 AM
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I keep returning to Nero Wolfe. I've read most of them a hundred times in the last 20 years or so but I keep going back. I haven't managed to get through all of them, I don't think, because neither my hometown library nor the one in the city where I currently live HAVE them all, unfortunately. I don't like Goldsborough's pastiches, though...even if new Wolfe books are set in the modern day, they should never have Archie using a computer to keep the orchid records! And while part of the charm of Stout's NW mysteries is the sense of timelessness in them (things barely change at all from the earliest to the latest books), stretching that another 40/50/60 years is a little much.

Last edited by jayjay; 04-17-2012 at 09:03 AM.
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Old 04-17-2012, 09:13 AM
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Just curious- is there such a thing as a good, compelling mystery that doesn't involve someone being murdered?
Certainly. Several of the Holmes stories (as Watson himself admits) "have no actual legal crime" in them. One of the Judge Dee stories in the volume Judge Dee at Work has no crime in it vat all. There are several mysteries that revolve around the solutions of thefts, rather than murders, although murders are often involved. I suspect this is more to give a note of urgency and seriousness in many cases -- if nothing is at stake, why go to all the trouble of solving the thing/
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:23 AM
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As I've posted in previous threads of this type, I encourage all Holmes fans to check out The Secret Files of Sherlock Holmes and its sequels, all by June Thomson. She writes fantastic pastiches - gets the dialogue, characterization, atmosphere, etc. perfectly right. Several of her stories are as good if not better than Conan Doyle's.

Dan Chaon's Await Your Reply is an excellent recent mystery. Darkly engrossing - highly recommended.

Robert B. Parker's Spenser books are worth a read. A smart, wisecracking private eye and nice New England atmosphere. My favorites: Looking for Rachel Wallace, The Widening Gyre, Pale Kings and Princes, and Paper Doll.
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:35 AM
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My favorites are historical mysteries. Recently I have enjoyed Ariana Franklin's short series, set in England during the reign of Henry II, that begins with Mistress of the Art of Death.

I love Barbara Hambly's Benjamin January mysteries, which are set in New Orleans in the 1830's. January is a "free man of color", a former slave who was educated in Paris but has returned to his childhood home after the death of his wife.

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Lindsay Davis' Marcus Didius Falco mysteries set in ancient Rome. I have to read more of these. My wife's read them all.
You might like Ruth Downie's Medicus series, about a Roman army surgeon stationed in Britain at the beginning of Hadrian's reign. They have a bit less historical information than the Falco books, but their tone is similarly amusing.

Last edited by Eleanor of Aquitaine; 04-17-2012 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 04-17-2012, 11:20 AM
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Any Agatha Christie - I love them all.
Eliazbeth George -Inspector Lynley and Sargeant Havers are a great team.
Caroline Graham - Midsomer Mysteries
Ellis Peters - Brother Cadfael
William Marshall - Yellow Thread Street Mysteries. I got hooked on them. Very funny. Think of Barney Miller set in Hong Kong.
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Old 04-18-2012, 06:53 AM
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Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose is a Holmes homage set in the medieval period with a monk named William of Baskerville taking on the main role. Very well done.

I recently discovered the Charlie Chan series by Earl Derr Biggers (I was already familiar with the movies, but not the books) and was surprised by how good all six books were.

And I'm a big fan of both Chandler and Hammett.
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Old 04-18-2012, 07:23 AM
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Now I don't see his stuff on any bookstore shelves. Read his first novel, The Fabulous Clipjoint, which won him an Edgar. Or The Screaming Mimi. or The Night of the Jabberwock, which is a Lewis Carroll-themed murder mystery.
Good recommendations. One of the good things about e-books is that many of those older, hard-to-find-in-print books are becoming accessible again. The Fabulous Clipjoint is available free, and the other two you mention have cheap e-editions on Amazon.
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Old 04-18-2012, 07:46 AM
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Seconding Bujold, Ellis Peters, and of course Holmes. Another SF mystery is Asimov's The Caves of Steel. Asimov plays fair
SPOILER:
the detective doesn't know any more than the reader. As the detective is the POV character, you the reader know he's guessing again for the big reveal, after several incorrect guesses. And the murderer is the last person you'd suspect.
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:16 AM
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SS-GB by Len Deighton and Fatherland by Robert Harris are both good murder mysteries set in an alternative universe in which Hitler won WWII. The first is set in Occupied London not long after the German victory and focuses on a British police detective. The second is set in Berlin in 1964, just before the first summit meeting between Hitler and President Kennedy... President Joseph Kennedy, that is. The protagonist is a very conflicted SS criminal investigator.

Both books are very different in characterization, plot and tone, but are definitely worth a read.
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:30 AM
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Something about Florida mysteries gets to me.
MacDonald's Travis McGee and Tim Dorsey's Serge Storm are my guilty favorites.
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:35 AM
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Any Agatha Christie - I love them all.
Eliazbeth George -Inspector Lynley and Sargeant Havers are a great team.
Caroline Graham - Midsomer Mysteries
Ellis Peters - Brother Cadfael
William Marshall - Yellow Thread Street Mysteries. I got hooked on them. Very funny. Think of Barney Miller set in Hong Kong.
I share My Beloved's interest in the Yellowthread Street series(Sci Fi, set at a Hong Kong Science Fiction convention, is a hilarious mess of a mystery). I also like J.D. Robb's In Death series. J.A. Jance's J.P. Beaumont books, the Nero Wolfe books, and a few others.
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:14 PM
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Seconding Bujold, Ellis Peters, and of course Holmes. Another SF mystery is Asimov's The Caves of Steel. Asimov plays fair
SPOILER:
the detective doesn't know any more than the reader. As the detective is the POV character, you the reader know he's guessing again for the big reveal, after several incorrect guesses. And the murderer is the last person you'd suspect.
Asimov likewise plays fair in The Death Dealers, a straight murder mystery with no sci-fi, where

SPOILER:
the professor-turned-amateur-sleuth POV character lays out everything we've learned for the big reveal -- which prompts his irritated prime suspect to accurately point out why none of it proves anything but all of it arguably counts as weak evidence against someone else. The cop listening to this back-and-forth now knows exactly as much as us and our hero, and seems as unimpressed as the suspect when he steps in to condescendingly explain to the foiled detective that (a) the accused is completely right, since (b) you don't have anything like this, or that, or the other thing, and -- oh, shucks, did I just now use what you told me to bluff the guy into confessing, one whole decade before Peter Falk started in as Columbo? And here I thought you were the smart one.
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Old 04-18-2012, 01:53 PM
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Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose is a Holmes homage set in the medieval period with a monk named William of Baskerville taking on the main role. Very well done.

I recently discovered the Charlie Chan series by Earl Derr Biggers (I was already familiar with the movies, but not the books) and was surprised by how good all six books were.

And I'm a big fan of both Chandler and Hammett.
I've only read two of the Charlie Chan novels, but I agree, they were very good, and far better than latter day readers might expect.

The movies are sometimes embarrassingly dated and racist, and make many of us expect the worst- but Earl Derr Bigger's Charlie Chan is a lot like Lieutenant Columbo- a guy with a VERY sharp mind who's regularly underestimated because he seems so humble and self-effacing.

Last edited by astorian; 04-18-2012 at 01:54 PM.
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Old 04-18-2012, 04:12 PM
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Just curious- is there such a thing as a good, compelling mystery that doesn't involve someone being murdered?
The best one ever is Josephine Tey's The Franchise Affair. It's wonderful. One of my favourite mysteries of all time.

Sophie Hannah's Hurting Distance doesn't have murder either, and it's also excellent.
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Old 04-19-2012, 01:36 PM
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The best one ever is Josephine Tey's The Franchise Affair. It's wonderful. One of my favourite mysteries of all time.

Sophie Hannah's Hurting Distance doesn't have murder either, and it's also excellent.
It is a shame that Tey doesn't get more respect or reading. Agatha Christie would have killed to have written anything as good as 'The Franchise Affair' or 'The Daughter of Time'.
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Old 04-19-2012, 02:23 PM
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I'm not a big fan of conventional mystery genre-type novels (Ellis Peters' Cadfael series is the exception), so my favorite mystery novel is Peter Høeg's Smilla's Sense of Snow. It's basically only a mystery on its surface -- it's more about cultural issues in Denmark, and the protagonist is extraordinary. If you've read a slew of books by male authors who can't write female characters for shit, this book is the antidote.
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Old 04-19-2012, 03:02 PM
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One of my all-time favorite books is "The Daughter of Time" by Josephine Tey.

Elizabeth Peters wrote two other enjoyable series besides the Amelia Peabodys, and I mention this because one of them (the Jacqueline Kirby series) also features a book about Richard III. It is called "The Murders of Richard III" and is quite good. I actually enjoy anything by Peters. Her other series is the Vicky Bliss series.

I'm currently reading a series set in Victorian England about a high-born man who is a detective. Apparently this was a less-than-honorable profession in those days. The author is Charles Finch and the detective is Charles Lenox. Very enjoyable.
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Old 04-19-2012, 03:16 PM
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My big three are Ed McBain, Andrew Vachss and Kinky Friedman.
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Old 04-19-2012, 03:54 PM
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I'm an Agatha Christie girl... not too early and not too late. Say, 1940-1960.

It's become such a cliche that it can be hard to appreciate, but at the time I first read Murder On The Orient Express I didn't know the solution to the mystery. Reading the book was one of the most thrilling literary experiences of my life. It's sheer genius.
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Old 04-19-2012, 04:15 PM
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Will Thomas' Barker and Llewelyn series.
Harlen Coben's Myron Bolitar series.
Richard Stark's (aka Donald Westlake) Parker series.
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Old 04-19-2012, 04:18 PM
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Anything to do with Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot. I also really liked Ten Little Indians.
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Old 04-19-2012, 07:05 PM
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Randall Garrett's Lord Darcy stories.
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Old 04-19-2012, 08:10 PM
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One of my all-time favorite books is "The Daughter of Time" by Josephine Tey.
It's one of mine, as well.
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Old 04-19-2012, 10:05 PM
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My big three are Ed McBain, Andrew Vachss and Kinky Friedman.
I love Andrew Vachss as well.

In general I don't like the dark side of life when it comes to reading. Real life is dark enough, so I would rather read "cozy mysteries."

But I love Andre Vachss. I read all of the books available some years ago.

I then moved on to more comfortable mystery books. Life is hard enough, one doesn't need to read about the really horrible dark side of life. Which unfortunately, Vachss is more than familiar with. And which the rest of us should not be avoiding, since we should all be vigilantly tryng to correct the horrible things that Vachss talks about. Things that he has firsthand knowledge of.

I'm ashamed of myself, and will look out the books Vachss has written since the last book I read of his.

And I will continue to try to help the best I can . I don't have the means to help the people Vachss writes about ,since I have no knowledge of them in my town, but I can help the Lighthous Mission in my town. It is a homeless shelter, and I will do what I can.

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Old 04-20-2012, 01:00 PM
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I'm a big fan of Val McDermid. Her Tony Hill novels are literary potato chips for me. Glancing over a single page compels me to keep coming back for more. Her best work though (IMHO) was the standalone novel A Place of Execution, one of the most ingenious mystery stories I've ever come across. I haven't gotten to see the movie version of it that came out a couple of years ago, but I've probably read the book eight or nine times.
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Old 04-20-2012, 01:14 PM
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Dashiell Hammet.

Robert B. Parker's Spencer and Jesse Stone novels.

Lee Child's Reacher novels are kinda sort whodunnits; he just writes damn good stories.

John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee novels.

And Isaac Asimov's stories about R. Daneel Olivaw (Naked Sun, Caves of Steel, etc.) are good whodunnits as well.
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Old 04-20-2012, 04:16 PM
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Many, many of the writers already mentioned would also get my vote: Dorothy L Sayers, Ellis Petters, Lindsey Davis and Josephine Tay. One other I would go for from the Golden Age of British whodunits would be Ngaio Marsh's Inspector Alleyn stories - better writer than Christie, less high brow (and more prolific) than Sayers.

One thought on Josephine Tay:
SPOILER:
Daughter of Time is brilliant but historic research has moved on and only the die-hard Ricardians would be quite so certain of Richard's innocance and Henry's guilt.
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Old 04-20-2012, 04:33 PM
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Of the modern mysteries, the books I try to never miss, and will go out and buy in hardback as soon as they come out, are Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch books, and Martin Cruz Smith's Arkady Renko series.
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Old 04-20-2012, 06:09 PM
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Martin Cruz Smith's Arkady Renko series.
Thanks, lawoot!
I've only read Gorky Park. The ones with the fall of the Soviet Union should be interesting.
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Old 04-20-2012, 06:51 PM
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Will Thomas' Barker and Llewelyn series.
Harlen Coben's Myron Bolitar series.
Richard Stark's (aka Donald Westlake) Parker series.
Will Thomas posted here to answer a question. I lost track of Barker and Llewely, I'll have to remedy that.
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Old 04-20-2012, 08:07 PM
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I'm all about Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brody novels these days: Case Histories, One Good Turn, When Will There Be Good News? and Started Early, Took My Dog. Character driven with several smart, gritty, interwoven plot lines and a likable sad sack of a flawed hero. What's not to love?
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Old 04-22-2012, 01:04 AM
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Ah, time for my semi-annual rant:

I like mysteries that you can figure out before the end (and not just two pages before all is revealed, please!). As far as I'm concerned, they're the only type of mystery story that's worthy of the name. Anything else is should be categorized as "crime" (perhaps "suspense"), as far as I'm concerned.

As such, most modern books fall far, far short of my standards, especially since my favorite subgenre is the locked room mystery, which is incredibly hard to write well, especially if you care about making a gimmick that hasn't been done before (or at least camouflaging it well enough so it doesn't look like it has). Paul Halter is a gift, but he's only now being translated out of French. Edward Hoch, RIP, also wonderful. There are some Japanese authors, I understand, that I'd love, but they haven't been translated yet.

(Anyone with suggestions that fall in spheres I'd be interested in, PLEASE share!)

ETA: Oh, and far as classics go, John Dickson Carr is, of course, king, although I wish Christianna Brand had written more.)

Last edited by Leaper; 04-22-2012 at 01:05 AM.
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by CalMeacham View Post
Sherlock Holmes (novels and stories)

Robert H. Van Gulik's Judge Dee novels, set in T'ang dynasty China, and using elements taken from Chinese mystery novels written hundreds of years ago. Van Gulik plays fair, too -- if a clue is a linguistic one, he gives it to you in English form (Van Gulik was a Dutch diplomat writing about Chinese history in English. And other languages, too. The man was astonishing)

.


Lindsay Davis' Marcus Didius Falco mysteries set in ancient Rome. I have to read more of these. My wife's read them all.

Rex Stout's Nero Wolf novels. It took me a while to get into these, but they're worth it. I also like Robert Goldsborough's sequels, which i've finally read the last of.
Surprised to actually know someone else who enjoyed Van Gulik, used to love his stories but they're mostly unobtainable now in the U.K.

Lindsay Davis's books were readable to start off with but became more and more menopausal, until they became very odd and unreadable to someone who wasn't a broody, middle aged female.

Tried to read her last two and gave up on both of them .
Totally dreadful.

My own candidat is Inspector Morse, an intellectual police detective who works in the university city of Oxford.

Used to enjoy Ed McBain but he jumped the shark some time ago.

Bernard Knights medieval mysteries are good also, and accurate.

When a period piece has "Now'ist" thinking behind it or gets it wrong, I stop reading.
  #44  
Old 04-22-2012, 11:18 AM
Christopher Robin Davies is offline
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Originally Posted by Lust4Life View Post
Surprised to actually know someone else who enjoyed Van Gulik, used to love his stories but they're mostly unobtainable now in the U.K.

Lindsay Davis's books were readable to start off with but became more and more menopausal, until they became very odd and unreadable to someone who wasn't a broody, middle aged female.

Tried to read her last two and gave up on both of them .
Totally dreadful.

My own candidat is Inspector Morse, an intellectual police detective who works in the university city of Oxford.

Used to enjoy Ed McBain but he jumped the shark some time ago.

Bernard Knights medieval mysteries are good also, and accurate.

When a period piece has "Now'ist" thinking behind it or gets it wrong, I stop reading.
What does Now'ist mean?
  #45  
Old 04-22-2012, 11:53 AM
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What does Now'ist mean?
I assume "Now"-ist. Modernist. Putting modern ideas of social equality and social justice into non-modern characters' worldviews.
  #46  
Old 04-22-2012, 12:44 PM
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I assume "Now"-ist. Modernist. Putting modern ideas of social equality and social justice into non-modern characters' worldviews.
Spot on !


Or the character who is an eccentric who believes in frequent washing in the Middle
Ages, or is shocked by sudden death or disfigurment etc.

Last edited by Lust4Life; 04-22-2012 at 12:47 PM.
  #47  
Old 04-22-2012, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Lust4Life View Post
Surprised to actually know someone else who enjoyed Van Gulik, used to love his stories but they're mostly unobtainable now in the U.K.

.

Odd. They've just republished them in the US -- I saw new editions in a bookstore last week.
  #48  
Old 04-23-2012, 01:24 PM
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Just curious- is there such a thing as a good, compelling mystery that doesn't involve someone being murdered?
How close do you want to miss it?

SPOILER:
Consider, say, DIAL M FOR MURDER: the inheritance-hungry husband is guilty of attempted murder by setting up his perfect alibi and hiring someone else to off her; his wife isn't guilty of anything upon killing that guy in self-defense; the husband presumably earns himself a second attempted-murder charge (and other stuff besides) by messing with the evidence to make it look like it wasn't self-defense but murder, for to get her sentenced to death -- and then we see the proto-Columbo, who knows no more than we do, try to uncover what really happened with hours to go before she'll be executed; it's not a whodunit for us, but a compelling howcatchem!

And, since the sleuth succeeds in time, you could argue that nobody actually gets murdered; it has all the sizzle of a murder mystery, but never bothers with the steak!
  #49  
Old 04-25-2012, 12:37 PM
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Odd. They've just republished them in the US -- I saw new editions in a bookstore last week.
Sounds good, hopefully they'll reprint them over here as well.
  #50  
Old 04-25-2012, 12:49 PM
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I'm another Agatha Christie fan -- I read lots of her books when I was a teenager and young adult. Some of my favorites of hers are:

The ABC Murders
Three Act Tragedy
One, Two, Buckle my Shoe
After the Funeral
Cat Among the Pigeons


and of course,

Murder on the Orient Express
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