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Old 05-05-2019, 09:24 AM
RobDog is offline
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Originally Posted by Sangahyando View Post
The Matthew Shardlake novels by the British author C.J. Sansom ...
Seconded. I found all of the Shardlake novels consistently engrossing.
Old 05-05-2019, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Sangahyando View Post
At the risk of annoying nitpickery -- the initial "Worldwar" series (1942 and succeeding years) comprises four books. The sequel series (events 20 years later on) comprises three. I personally consider Turtledove's "Worldwar" cycle good throughout -- save for the one final book Homeward Bound, set chronologically later than the rest, which seems generally reckoned -- including by me -- awful; I don't recall ever finding anyone with a good word to say for it.
Oops. You're right. I miss remembered the number of books. You're also right about the final book. It was so bad it soured me on the entire follow up series.
Old 05-05-2019, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Wheelz View Post
I've enjoyed Jim Butcher's Dresden Files novels.
Originally Posted by Gyrate View Post
Likewise Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London series.

I'll also second (or third) the various Jasper Fforde books. Incredibly clever, funny and well-plotted stuff (apart from the Nursery Crime books which are a bit rough).
Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
The Old Man's War series by John Scalzi - military sf, thought-provoking, funny and thrilling in all the right places.
I'll +1 all these series, and -1 Xanth, and then add a couple more recommendations:

1) The Rook is the first in a series, of which only two are written, but they're both long and self-contained. They follow a London government agency that deals with supernatural threats, which is a super-hackneyed idea at this point, but they're really fun, and actually made me laugh aloud a couple of times.
2) A Crown for Cold Silver is the first of a completed trilogy, epic fantasy with a fair amount of gross-out humor (I remember the phrase "bloody snot-rockets" describing a form of magical travel) and protagonists who are, shall we say, flawed. It's not especially silly, but it's got a lot of bleak humor, a lot of moments of horrified laughter. I enjoyed them immensely.
Old 05-05-2019, 12:50 PM
Tapiotar is offline
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The Spellman Files novels by Lisa Lutz. Mysteries that had me howling with laughter. Must read in order, as there are arcs of character change and development and people and events.
Old 05-05-2019, 06:10 PM
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commasense is online now
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Thanks for all the great suggestions, folks.

I have read all of Sherlock Holmes, and my father is a published Sherlockian, member of the BSI, etc.

I have read one or two Ellery Queen novels, but they just didn't grab me. I also read at least one Stainless Steel Rat book, and enjoyed it. I may look at some of the others.

And I'll start looking over the many interesting recommendations here, some of which I've heard of but never read (Flashman), but most of which are new to me.

BTW, here's another short series I really enjoyed that perfectly typifies what I'd like more of: Zakour and Ganem's Plutonium Blonde, Radioactive Redhead, etc. Funny satirical sci-fi.

Thanks again, and keep them coming. I'm sure I'm not the only one who'll find something interesting to read here.
Old 05-06-2019, 10:34 AM
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I'm currently working my way through the Commonwealth works of Peter F. Hamilton. These are mainly space operas that span through the course of centuries. I finished Pandora's Star and am halfway through Judas Unchained. You say you like mysteries, and there is a long-running mystery through these titles that has yet to be resolved (grrr), and the ones responsible are slippery, ingenious, and tend to die when they get caught. At first, the protagonists hear conspiracy theories that sound too much like hack fiction, but later turn out to be true. This is running underneath space exploration, alien invasions, and VIPs who preserve themselves for centuries so their dynasties don't die.

I've also read the Void Trilogy (which takes place 1200 years after the above) and The Night's Dawn Trilogy, which is a different universe, but the same level of galactic detail. I'll take up The Chronicle of the Fallers series next.
Old 05-06-2019, 11:53 AM
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For your consideration: Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael series. A 12th century monk who suffers from Jessica Fletcher's disease: Whenever he's around people seem to die under mysterious circumstances. Brother Cadfael is a well-traveled man, having served as a Crusader in his youth, and is currently the abbey's herbalist. He pokes into the various mysteries with a skeptical eye and what passes for a scientific worldview in that time and place.

Not great literature; the series is somewhat formulaic. However, it gives a very entertaining view of an interesting time and place: England and Wales during the reign of Stephen, with perpetual civil war between him and the Empress Matilda. Both have reasonable claims to the throne and roughly equal forces. The common folk are generally keeping their heads down, going about their daily business, and hoping the war stays far, far away. The view of the daily business of the common folk is very well done; the characters are not archetypes, but ordinary people.

Old 05-06-2019, 12:24 PM
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Cadfaell is a good series, and Ellis Peters gave me permission to use the name for my Society for Creative Anachronism character.
Old 05-06-2019, 09:10 PM
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I don't know how well they've aged since I read them as a teenager in the 80s, but I really enjoyed the Fletch novels by Gregory McDonald. They were fun, irreverent, sexy, and addictive. There was also a spin-off series based on a police detective character ("Flynn") from one of the Fletch novels.
Old 05-07-2019, 04:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Shoeless View Post
Another vote for Jasper Fforde. Plenty of chuckles, tons of literary references (more than half, I'm sure, went completely over my head), very entertaining. I still can't help but giggle every time I see a "TJ Maxx" store.

One note of caution: you definitely want to read them in order. A friend of mine gave me a copy of "The Eyre Affair" (the first in the series) and then I just read the others whenever I could find one at the local library. Several plot points made no sense until I read an earlier book that I had skipped.
Yes, this is important - Fforde sets up some things literally a couple of books in advance of their payoff, and you need to read them in order to get the full benefit of it.

Originally Posted by Whack-a-Mole View Post
If you want humorous fantasy then I would suggest:

- Myth Adventures series by Robert Aspirin
I enjoyed these (particularly with the Foglio illustrations) but they run into the problem of every book ending with "We've solved this problem, but now we have a bigger problem!". There is no closure ever.

- Xanth series by Piers Anthony (frankly he went way too far with those and they got tiresome but good fun for several books)
Nope. I'm not saying there's nothing worth reading in the Xanth series but there are so many better books to spend your time reading, especially considering that the books rapidly just become strings of bad puns sent in by readers. Also, the whole underaged sex thing (although it's less of an issue in the Xanth books than in some of his other writings).

Originally Posted by Quartz View Post
I'll echo the recommendations of Flashman and Rivers of London. I gave up on the latter after two poor works and the author seeming to concentrate no graphic novels but was persuaded to return with the latest in which he closes off the first arc.
The graphic novels are not required reading for the series, although they are occasionally referred to. I have to admit I haven't really liked any of the graphic novels apart from "Detective Stories"; if you can borrow them (my library had all but the first one) they're worth reading for completeness' sake but otherwise you're not missing much. Oh, and there's a character in "Cry Fox" who is important later in the series but again, it's not necessary as such.


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