I'm looking for my next mystery to read - could be a series, but doesn't have to be. I've loved Kate Atkinson, Tana French, Louise Penny, and Susan Hill, to give you a sense of my faves. Thanks!
For quick hits, I got hooked on Lawrence Block -- he has a couple of great series, including a noir-ish formerly louche detective named Mathhew Scudder who works in Hell's Kitchen. He also writes a funny series about a contract killer, and a series about a burglar named Bernie Rhodenbarr.
I spend time each year in Ft. Myers, and always manage to gobble up a few books by Randy Wayne White, who writes in great depth about the history of Pine Island Sound.
You might also want to check out Laura Lippman, George Pelicanos, Harlen Coban (NJ stories!) and Dennis Lehane.
If you enjoy short stories, the Best American Mystery Stories, anthologized each year, are fantastic. Last year's collection was edited by Laura Lippman.
My all-time favorite mystery writer and high on my list of all-time favorite novelists in any genre is Patricia Highsmith. But I've had people return her books unfinished. They're pretty unnerving. She wrote Strangers on a Train and the Mr. Ripley series.
The Judge Dee series by Robert H Van Gulik. Start with The Chinese Gold Murders. Sixteen books.
Not a series, but I loved The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair. And less literary than Tana French, but I love Lisa Scottoline as well.
Sounds like you are in search of some great writing that happens to be in the mystery genre--I highly agree!
You already have either read or have been recommended some of my very favorites. So a couple of perhaps not-as-evident reads by good writers:
Chesterton's Father Brown Mysteries. He was a poet, a Christian theologian, and he also wrote some of the earlier "procedurals".
Faulkner's Knights Gambit stories which are lighter than his novels but still well done.
Ruth Rendell's Inspector Wexford series. An incredibly wonderful writer who also writes very engaging characters. I like her even better than PD James (another excellent writer who happens to write mysteries).
Howard Fast, the historical fiction writer, wrote mysteries under the name of E.V. Cunningham. His Masao Masuto mysteries about a Japanese American detective are fun.
Some years ago, while on vacation, I came across several Maigret books in Readers Digest form. Absolutely loved them. Back home I bought a stack more and found them rather disappointing. Poor translation.
Definitely worth a try.
Apollo_T said:Some years ago, while on vacation, I came across several Maigret books in Readers Digest form. Absolutely loved them. Back home I bought a stack more and found them rather disappointing. Poor translation.Definitely worth a try.
If you can find the original Penguin Paperbacks translated by Helen Thomson, they are the best : http://www.trussel.com/maig/penguin/penguin.htm#1970
I love the Matthew Shardlake mysteries by CJ Sansom. Set in Tudor England, very smart and true to the period. For something more modern, I love Donna Leon's books about a detective in Venice.
I got addicted to the "Zen" series on PBS, but found the books disappointing. Completely different from the shows, and strangely, not as satisfying to me.
Perhaps it was Rufus Sewell who made it addictive for you?
Martha Grimes. All her books are named after a pub in the book.
Love Ruth Rendell too. If you haven't read them, Rex Stout's books are great fun.
To jog my memory, I looked up mystery fiction series. One of the series that came up as the best was the Saint Germaine Liturgical Series by Marc Schweizer. I only read one but it was weird and funny. I might have to revisit.
Any of Walter Mosely's Easy Rawlins series.
Anything by Edith Pargeter (Ellis Peters), including the medieval detective Brother Cadfael series. And the Harriet Vane and Lord Peter Wimsey series by Dorothy L. Sayers. I discovered both via the PBS Masterpiece Mystery! series, and they're even better books.
Anyone say Elizabeth George yet?
kismet said:Anyone say Elizabeth George yet?
But seriously. What's a good place to start in the Lynley series? The first one I tried did not appeal.
mfpark said:Perhaps it was Rufus Sewell who made it addictive for you?
Certainly, that is a possibility.
But it was really more than that. The TV script writers took many liberties with the books, rewriting a lot of the plots and taking the unfolding of many important events out of order, even eliminating some characters and changing the personality of others. Notably, his mistress Tania in the books is far less sympathetic than the woman in the TV show. In the books, she is pretty greedy and more than a little whiny/suspicious. Even Zen in the books is less likable (OK, that could be about Rufus Sewell). But when I read the books I was most amazed at how different the plots were. The show was a lot tighter, and the progression made perfect sense to me. The books... not so much. That is almost unheard-of for me, to prefer a show or movie to the original books.
The Ruth Galloway Mysteries are also wonderful, she's a single, somewhat awkward archeologist living in England with an interesting cast of characters. There's a charm and cleverness to the writings. The Shetland mystery series is also excellent ( TV portrayal not so much). Start Elizabth George at the beginning of the series, part of the pleasure is watching the development of the characters. She has some additional writing that I did not warm up too. Also she gets a little kooky introducing animals later in the series but has left that behind, thank heavens. I'm also addicted the Gemma James/ Duncan Kincaid mystery series ( I think 18 books so far) Two detectives in London, ( modern time). I apologize for not having authors names, a quick Google, kindle or nook search will supply them. Second the Matthew Shardlake, excellent series. Thanks for the suggestions, always looking for a new series! Val McDermid is an excellent mystery writer based in Scotland as is Ian Rankin ( John Rebus series)
Thanks for all of these great suggestions! I just read a Ruth Rendell book, her last as it turns out, a standalone book called "Dark Corners" and it was a great way to be introduced to her. I will read more for sure and check out some of the other recos. Thanks!
marylago said:Martha Grimes. All her books are named after a pub in the book. Love Ruth Rendell too. If you haven't read them, Rex Stout's books are great fun.To jog my memory, I looked up mystery fiction series. One of the series that came up as the best was the Saint Germaine Liturgical Series by Marc Schweizer. I only read one but it was weird and funny. I might have to revisit.
Loved every one of Grimes' pub books! Some 22 or so. I actually miss the wonderful characters in her books, the locale, humor, and not too grizzly murders.
Speaking of grizzly, I am struggling to get through the latest Maitland book with Cormoran Strike. Strike and Robin make an interesting PI team, but the crimes and fetishes are way over the top!
I thought the most recent Strike/Robin book was the best. I really love the character development, especially watching Robin grown into her own person & role.
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