I made the comment last week that I read more mystery than romance. Someone suggested that I write about some of my favorite mystery authors. I will gladly do so and look forward to your comments and perhaps your own recommendations. I don’t think I could run out of reading material if I had five lifetimes, but I am always willing to try new books and authors if I like the sound of them. Sometimes I wish I didn’t like the sound of quite as many as I do!
I like a lot of British mystery authors, including many of the older ones. It is fun watching detectives and amateur sleuths solving puzzles without any of our modern resources. I am gradually (re)reading through Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple books and will get to the Hercule Poirot ones again after those. Someone mentioned Patricia Wentworth on Facebook a while ago, and I am reading my way through her books and thoroughly enjoying them. They are not unlike the Agatha Christies. The Ngaio Marsh books are waiting in the wings to be read again. And I love the Georgette Heyer mysteries almost as much as I love her Regency and Georgian romances. Lord Peter Wimsey of the Dorothy Sayers mysteries is one of my favorite characters in all literature. I love the P. D. James Adam Dalgliesh mysteries, largely because they are beautifully written, and I like what I have read of Ruth Rendell–I have much to catch up on there. The M. C. Beaton Hamish Macbeth books are lightweight but fun. Often when I am between books and don’t quite know what I want to read, I’ll search out the next of those on my list and load it into my KIndle.
I have some American favorite mystery writers though I tend to shy away from many of the grittier, more brutally violent books. I love the Lee Child books despite the question of hygiene (those of you who know them will also know what I mean). And I try to close my mind to the knowledge that–bizarrely–Tom Cruise was chosen to play Jack Reacher in the first movie. I enjoy Richard Stevenson’s Donald Strachey books and Harlan Coben’s Myron Bolitar series. Michael Connelly has been a long-time favorite, particularly because I like his characterization of Harry Bosch and, to a slightly lesser degree, of Mickey Haller. I like the Robert Parker books, and I love Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe series, mainly because of the snappy style in which they were written.
Goodness, this is getting to be a lengthy list. My most recent favorites are similar to each other in many ways. I have recently discovered Donna Leon’s Brunetti mysteries, set in Venice. I love it when I come late to a series and know that I have many hours of wonderful reading ahead of me. And I adore Louise Penny’s Gamache series, set in Quebec. The mysteries are great, but it is the characterization that makes the series outstanding. There are many recurring characters, all of them total individuals who grow and change with each book.
A few people last week suggested that I might enjoy Deanna Raybourn’s Lady Julia Grey mysteries. I had read and enjoyed another of her books, but not this series. I am currently reading the first, Silent in the Grave, and enjoying it immensely. I love the wit with which it is written and the character of Lady Jane herself. I am delighted that there is a whole series awaiting me.
I could probably go on and on, but it is your turn. Do you have any comments on any of the writers or series I have mentioned? Do you have any favorites of your own? Or are there other genres you prefer to mystery or romance? I do not, by the way, like the genre known as romantic suspense. I like a romance or a mystery. With a few exceptions, I get irritated when the two are mixed together. The romance tends to slow down the mystery, and the mystery takes the focus off the growing love story.
Since we are headed into December, I’ll give away Christmas books this week. To one person who leaves a comment below before the end of next Friday, December 6, I’ll send signed copies of the two-in-one CHRISTMAS BEAU/CHRISTMAS BRIDE and of A CHRISTMAS PROMISE. Last week’s winner was Jadi (last name not known yet). Congratulations to her and thank you all for the really interesting comments.