British & Irish Crime Fiction Message Board

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British & Irish Crime Fiction Message Board

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jul. 25, 2006, 3:02 am

I've heard Ian Rankin was much influenced by Muriel Spark - odd as that may be (though given her Aiding and Abetting it may NOT be odd at all). His obituary for her mentioned doing his college dissertation on her novels. But what little I've seen of Rankin's work seems darker and more violent than I usually can stomach. I haven't gone so far yet as buying any. Have I just caught unrepresentative snatches of his work, or is it worth going on with in spite of squeamishness?

- And if so (in either case), what Rankin books would you recommend to start with?

jul. 25, 2006, 3:03 am

A side issue: does this group encompass espionage? As Graham Greene, Alan Furst, le Carre, Eric Ambler, Maugham's Ashenden, et al? Just wondering. And thinking about other possible, complementary groups. - Thanks to BoPeep for starting this one!

jul. 25, 2006, 4:59 am

Ian Rankin - I started at the beginning of the Rebus series (Knots and Crosses (say it aloud in an Edinburgh accent for the pun), and to be honest although the style changes through the series I think you might regret it if you began halfway through and skipped back later. The continuity in the series is extremely good and sometimes quite important. It's dark in places but less so if you get to know him a little first, I think. :)

That said, there are a couple of short-story collections so starting with one of those would be less traumatic to the storyline. Beggar's Banquet has 7 Rebus stories and a number of other non-series tales; there's also a Complete Short Stories out now, but that includes the Rebus anthologies too.

jul. 25, 2006, 5:00 am

I can't see why espionage can't be included! I will write a fuller blurb for the group when we know what we want, but I'll go and add that in now.

jul. 25, 2006, 5:40 am

Wonderful, BoPeep, thank you! The new heading looks great!

jul. 25, 2006, 5:44 am

Thank you for the answer on Rankin. Apparently my Edinburgh accent is defective. A pity given the Scottish blood - but then it and the accent have been acclimatising to the New World for some three hundred years...

7hailelib Primer missatge
jul. 25, 2006, 9:40 am

Espionage does belong here. On my shelves I include it as a sub-genre along with suspense. The only books that might be be thought of as belonging here but are in another place in my house are the suspense books written by some of the writers that still include a strong romance element and who began their careers as traditional romance writers.
As far as 'British' mysteries go we tend to read bth the 'cozy' and the Scotland Yard types.
Tricia aka hailelib

jul. 25, 2006, 1:57 pm

Heehee, I'm amused (I amuse easily) to see that four of you own The Moving Toyshop - I don't, although I've read it probably several dozen times now. I used to live about 150 yards from the location of the crucial shop (and am now about three miles away). There's a lot of fun crime fiction set in this city - our genuine murder rate is considerably lower than Morse et al would have you believe. :)

Must buy my own copy of TMT one of these days...

jul. 25, 2006, 1:58 pm

Knots and Crosses - say 'naughts and craughsses'. ;-)

10quartzite Primer missatge
Editat: set. 23, 2006, 2:36 pm

Great group! Happy to be here. My recent reading falls mainly in this category. Currently, I'm reading Killing of a Unicorn by Marjorie Eccles--good so far. This weekend I read Robert Goddard new one Never Go Back, having just finished All Fun and Games until Somebody Loses an Eye by Christopher Brookmyre. Thumbs up on all. Also recently read on older book Murder Amid Proofs by Marjorie Bremner set in a London magazine office. I only have one Rankin, and have not read it yet, so can't comment there, except my impression that the books are dark and violent has kept it from floating to the top of my to read list (so far).

jul. 25, 2006, 6:43 pm

Ooh, marvelous! I love the picture - and I love Chesterton.

I'm delighted to see we have enough copies of The Man Who Was Thursday and a PROPER array of Edmund Crispin's books (I'm grinning) - but also deeply envious of you, BoPeep! To live in Oxford, so close to the scene of the crime...! I've a very different sort of passion for Inspector Morse - far less gleeful - but sincere enough when not utterly depressed by the books. The last three or so I read were disappointing. What I love most in both authors is their very different intelligence and literacy. Daftness and disillusion.

Curiously, I know of no mysteries set in my own city (though Walter Mosley's Easy Rawlins grew up here); yet I'm sure our actual crime rate is by far the greater.

(Yes, I mentioned American mysteries! Sorry! :) )

12Sarahsponda Primer missatge
jul. 25, 2006, 9:33 pm

I tend to read crime fiction in bouts -- I'm in the middle of a P.D. James run right now -- and have a question about order. I'm usually a stickler for reading series in their proper order, but does that matter so much for mysteries that have the same protagonist?

This probably depends on the book; I've read a random smattering of Poirot books and don't feel like I'm missing much. Conversely, it was important to me to read all the Sherlock Holmes stories in order. Thoughts?

My first James was An Unsuitable Job for a Woman and I just finished Cover Her Face, since it is the first Dalgliesh book. Should I track down a copy of Unnatural Causes or can I jump around?

*Must find some Edmund Crispin*

jul. 25, 2006, 9:42 pm

To fill in the gap, I just started the Hardboiled/Noir Crime Fiction group... which should encompass a lot of the best American mysteries (or so I think) though in this case there's no respect of nationality. It's just an easy and obvious complement to this one... the best I could think of at the moment. :)

jul. 25, 2006, 9:45 pm

Good question, Sarahsponda. I'd like to hear the answer, myself! :)

I agree with you on Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes, both. In Doyle there may be uneven development; but in Christie, there's hardly any at all.

jul. 26, 2006, 9:12 am

There are many American writers who write the North American version of the cozy and/or amateur detective mysteries so hard-boiled/noir misses a lot of these.

Some series don't seem to spend much time on changes in the main character and his general situation in life while others seem to spend a lot of time on this. When I was going through my James stage I didn't notice that it made much difference what order I read them in. On the other hand I think Dorothy Sayers should probaby be read in order as there are definite differences in Lord Peter in the early and later books. How much of this is due to the advent of Harriet?

jul. 26, 2006, 9:29 am

Yes, hailelib, I know - but I really dislike some of them. They're far too cute... particularly some modern, popular ones. (Others, of course, are more than fine. I really enjoy John Dickson Carr, for an early example.) Also, though I think it's excellent for this group, I didn't want to limit the provenance of the story. But another group (or two or three) is all it needs. :)

Much of Lord Peter's change is due to Harriet, no doubt - but also much to Sayers' uncertain viewpoint (or so I felt). It doesn't read at all like a long-planned sequence of development, nor a purely natural one. But I love the result anyway. Her ouvre is one of those I cherish, without thinking it always well-concieved.

I'm curious what people's favorite Wimsey stories are, and whether anyone's read a good biography of Sayers?

Off the subject: How happy I am to see NINE copies of a work by Josephine Tey! (Though I prefer Brat Farrar.) Does anyone know of other 'historical mysteries solved by hospital-bound inspectors' - besides Dexter's The Wench is Dead?

jul. 26, 2006, 10:15 am

The Marcus Didius Falco novels definitely need to be read in order - Lindsey Davis has said that she can't and won't go back to write anything of his early life as he changed so much after meeting Helena...

jul. 26, 2006, 12:31 pm

On James, P.D. , I think something is gained by reading the Dalgliesh books in order, but not so much that one need be too strict about it.

I agree with Eurydice that some of the American cozies are dreadful. Naming no names......

I have read a good biography of Dorothy Sayers, but unfortunately it is in storage, and I am not sure of who wrote it.

jul. 26, 2006, 12:47 pm

On the P.D. James question, I agree with quartzite. I've read several in the Dalgliesh series but not in order. I think it is more a matter of personal preference. The stories themselves do not really feed off each other.

jul. 26, 2006, 10:09 pm

>>I'm usually a stickler for reading series in their proper order, but does that matter so much for mysteries that have the same protagonist?

jul. 26, 2006, 11:51 pm

Thanks for the input, everyone! This site is bad for my To Be Read List (growing exponentially! Augh!).

jul. 27, 2006, 2:20 am

"his site is bad for my To Be Read List (growing exponentially! Augh!)."

No kidding!

23sherubtse Primer missatge
jul. 27, 2006, 11:11 am

I have recently (within the last few years) become interested in British spy and crime thrillers.

As others have mentioned, I read books in chronological order, even if I have to go to great lenths to obtain them!

Past reads have included all of the Rebus stuff (Knots & Crosses is probably my favourite, but Resurrection Men would come 2nd), all of Forsyth's stuff (probably my favourite here is The Deceiver), and Mo Hayder's books (though I find them unnessarily lurid).

My "to-do" list includes Minette Walters as well as John Harvey. I have started reading the Frank Elder novels, with Ash & Bone being great!

Tashi Delek,

jul. 28, 2006, 3:56 pm

Eurydice asked about people's favorite Wimsey. I have to admit I adore Dorothy L. Sayers. My laptop is even named Lord Peter just so I can say to my fiance, "Lord Peter and I are going to the coffee shop!" I was very disappointed when I decided that an IBM (Lenovo) ThinkPad was more practical than an ibook or power book, because ThinkPads just aren't up to Lord Peter's standard for sartorial elegance. Anyway, my favorite Lord Peter stories are Gaudy Night and Murder Must Advertise. Gaudy Night can be a bit hard going at times, it is very introspective and revolves largely around a subject that must have been close to Sayers own heart, that of women's education and the role of the educated woman. The same applies for Murder Must Advertise actually. Sayers was actually working in an advertising agency, I believe, when she started writing the Lord Peter novels. I am fascinated by the insight it lends to office conditions of the period. Really, why don't we get a tea trolley everyday?

jul. 28, 2006, 8:18 pm

Since Dick Francis is certainly British and certainly writes about crime, it seems likely that some here will embrace the following news with pleasure (if not joy, glee, or something):

After a six-year hiatus, he's written a new book.

jul. 28, 2006, 8:27 pm

shuebtse, your comments about British spy thrillers reminded me of Len Deighton's SS-GB. It's a genre-bending alternative history thriller. It's WWII and Great Britain is under Nazi occupation. This is awesome, suspenseful and page-turning.

jul. 28, 2006, 8:57 pm

Dick Francis--has he really?? I'd been afraid he wasn't able to write any longer. What a wonderful piece of news! May he live to be 100 and find he has many more stories to tell.

jul. 28, 2006, 9:08 pm

I read somewhere that Francis was very affected by the death of his wife leading to a long dry spell. The article said that his son has begun helping him and that he has been writing again.

jul. 28, 2006, 9:35 pm

hailelib, click the link I posted and you'll go to my blog post about this news. There's a link to the Guardian (or Grauniad) interview with Francis in the post.

She was his principal researcher, evidently, so when she passed away he just quit. Now he's back.

jul. 29, 2006, 2:27 am

Katissima, Gaudy Night and Murder Must Advertise are my favorites, as well. I'm also fond of Busman's Honeymoon, though I feel some of it moved awkwardly.

How marvelous you could find something to call Lord Peter! I have to admit an enormous fondness for him - and Bunter.

jul. 29, 2006, 2:28 am

Confession time: I've never read a Dick Francis. What are they like, and where (when I find time) should one start?

jul. 29, 2006, 10:04 am

Dick Francis learned the writing craft as a reporter which has, I think, influenced his style. He's a great story teller but one of the fascinations is 'how is he going to get the horses in this time?'. (His first career was as a jockey.) Personally, I would recommend starting with the early ones and moving forward. Some of my favorites are Smolescreen, Enquiry, and High Stakes.

jul. 29, 2006, 10:06 am

Sorry. That's Smokescreen.

jul. 29, 2006, 12:24 pm

I agree SS/GB is great. For Dick Francis, I would recommend starting with the two Sid Halley stories Odds Against and Whip Hand.

I have just started The Megstone Plot by Andrew Garve, who I also like a lot. To start with I would go with The Cuckoo Line Affair

jul. 29, 2006, 12:32 pm

Dick Francis feeds my love of horses and my love of mysteries at the same time. His protagonists are frequently steeplechase jockeys or otherwise involved with the sport, usually of high moral character and immune to pain. He writes in the first person. He doesn't feature the same characters over and over, although some appear in more than one book, so it isn't all that important where you start, or in what order you read them.

jul. 29, 2006, 12:34 pm

Yes, and Sid Halley is one of my favorites as quartzite said. Those stories would make a great intro to the work of Dick Francis. I'd say if you aren't swept up by those two, you won't become a Francis fanatic.

jul. 29, 2006, 1:52 pm

Francis was a Champion Jockey (even riding for the Queen!) before he started writing.

I like Halley, but there are about five I'd pick as favorites ahead of the ones featuring Sid (to each his dagnab own, sez Pogo). Nerve might have been the first one I read.

They show you parts of racing beyond the "They're off!" part of it on the track, which interests me. How horses and people are transported to tracks (Rat Race, Flying Finish), life in the towns which do or did revolve around training horses, etc.

As laytonwoman3rd says, the lead characters have morals and high pain thresholds. There's usually a mild romance involved too.

jul. 29, 2006, 2:17 pm

I also like Busman's Honeymoon, although really I don't think I've ever read any Sayers that I don't like. I've been reading the Laurie R. King mysteries, and I was delighted by Lord Peter's cameo in A Letter of Mary. Another wonderful homage to Lord Peter is in Connie Willis' To Say Nothing of the Dog. I think it was that book that first introduced me to Sayers, and interested me in mysteries in general. Of course, now I need to broaden my horizons. What is the next step from Sayers? Any suggestions?

jul. 29, 2006, 3:22 pm

Another nice thing about the authors mentioned so far is that they tend to show up in used bookstores (rather, their books do!). Forex, the other day I was in the one nearest me and there, priced but still unshelved, was a box which contained about 20 different Agatha Christie books. Dick Francis shows up frequently as well.

In these days when a new paperback runs $7.99, that's a big plus.

jul. 29, 2006, 5:29 pm

Re: Dick Francis. Most public libraries will have several of his books for those who like to try before buying. I also liked Nerve but the books featuring Sid Halley come pretty far down on my list . However my husband thinks they are among his best. To each his own...
Some people who like Sayers also like Allingham featuring Albert Campion as the main character.

jul. 29, 2006, 6:30 pm

Thank you to everyone for the Dick Francis suggestions: I'll write them down on my hard-copy 'used bookstore' list. Or maybe try the library, as hailelib suggests.

I agree with Linkmeister on the beauty of being able to buy books so cheaply. It can be anything from a big plus, to a positive essential!

Now, myself, while I actually enjoy the older TV adaptations of Campion mysteries, starring Peter Davison, I don't enjoy the books at all. I've even gotten rid of some. My own idiosyncrasy here. I don't like Ngiao Marsh, either, and theoretically I should. So, my own suggestions would be: Agatha Christie, if you don't own her, Josephine Tey, Edmund Crispin, and, if you will forgive an American interjection, Rex Stout and perhaps Dashiell Hammett. Rex Stout is actually calculated as the second 'most similarly tagged' on Sayers' author page, or I wouldn't follow through on my impulse to bring him up. (See The Black Orchid, however, for why I might want to.) Hammett is an easy introduction to the alternative hardboiled school, and one of the acknowledged masters. Good if you'd like a change. But I agree all of the others are good starting-points, whether I prefer them or not; and Tey and Crispin are two of my all-time favorites, with links to Sayers of intelligence and literacy. (Though Edmund Crispin was wonderfully daft, as well. :) ) Hope this helps...

jul. 29, 2006, 6:31 pm

Aargh... forgive the mis-typing on the link above.

jul. 29, 2006, 9:35 pm

I think the pommies rule - Minette Walters, Elizabeth George (some better than others) Georgette Heyer, Reginald Hill, just discovering Ian Rankin. I've always found Allingham hard to follow - does this make me a bit dumb?

jul. 30, 2006, 7:10 am

The aforementioned P.D. James is a good follow on to Sayers. Sarah Caudwell's book are brilliant and should appeal to any Sayers fan. And I think Reginald Hill mentioned above is one of the most intelligent writers of mysteries today. His series is definitely improved by reading in order as there is a lot of character development. A Clubbable Woman is the first, and still a bit rough around the edges, but the series moves forward from strength to strength.

jul. 30, 2006, 6:57 pm

Yes, Sarah Cauldwell is wonderful - very hard to find her books here. She is brilliantly funny. As a lawyer, I really nejoy the absurd spin she puts on the legal aspects.

jul. 31, 2006, 8:35 am

Eurydice - You don't like Ngaio Marsh?? I like her better than Agatha Christie becuase her plots are actually a lot more realistic. I still love Christie but her "killer was really this person disguised" and some of her very intricate plots feel too much like Scooby Doo antics to me.

jul. 31, 2006, 5:57 pm

Ha, my laptop is named Bunter - he's a black and silver Vaio.

Murder Must Advertise is probably my favorite non-Harriet novel, though I love Gaudy Night and the last chapter of Busman's Honeymoon is so very touching.

I was introduced to Lord Peter via my present-boyfriend (we weren't dating at the time, when I first started reading them) but I first heard of him via, indeed, A Letter of Mary and To Say Nothing of the Dog.

I'd honestly recommend Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series (starting off with The Eyre Affair particularly if you're fond of TSNotD.

jul. 31, 2006, 6:16 pm

I second the recommendation for Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series; I just finished it last week. Incidently, Something Rotten felt a bit rushed to me, almost as if Fforde was anxious to get it over with. But they are very funny books, especially if you're at all familar with classics.

jul. 31, 2006, 6:41 pm

At long last I managed to get my hands on a hardcover copy of Something Rotten on the bargin book section, so I've now the series complete. But I do agree that there's something vaguely not quite there with it, though I do love some of the historical and fictional characters introduced here.

There's something to the series which makes them feel like you're part of a massive inside joke in the literary universe. And besides, who wouldn't want to live inside of a book for awhile?

ag. 1, 2006, 2:36 am

And besides, who wouldn't want to live inside of a book for awhile?

No kidding! I've only read The Eyre Affair, ages ago, but expect all the discussion will nudge me into seeking out the rest.

Meanwhile: no, I do not like Ngaio Marsh. Christie's early antics were rather fun; the only Marsh I've read was merely awkward. Perhaps I'm wrong; but I didn't like it. And I always want to like Margery Allingham; but I don't, quite. Maybe it's Lugg. I'm a Bunter loyalist, and I can't get my mind around Lugg. :D

However... give me the names of the top two or three best Marsh books, and when I see one of them for cheap, I'll give her another try.

ag. 1, 2006, 3:02 am

Marsh is Roderick Alleyn, right? I saw half-a-dozen of her books at the local used bookstore the other day. I think I read a few of those from my public library a zillion years ago; maybe I should try again.

ag. 1, 2006, 3:42 am

Yes, that's right.

ag. 1, 2006, 4:22 am

As far as Jasper Fforde goes I think the Nursery Crime books The Big Over Easy and The Fourth Bear work better as mysteries than the Thursday Next books.

ag. 1, 2006, 5:26 am

I've read quite a few Marsh and I know there was one that I really liked. As I go through and put my already read books into here I will keep my eye out for it and tell you the name.

ag. 1, 2006, 8:23 am

trying again as first post failed....

My personal favourite Ngaio Marsh is Artists in Crime. That was the first one I read, after watching an excellent BBC adaption about a decade ago. I agree that some of her later ones were more awkward, particularly ones set in the late 50s & 1960's. The 'hip mod drug slang' was simply embarrassingly wrong.
I think Agatha Christie also had a similar uncomfortableness in some of her later books.
Other Ngaio Marsh titles that I favour are Death in a White Tie, Swinging in the Shrouds, Clutch of Constables & Opening Night. She's excellent when including theatre or Troy's painting within the story context. ryn

ag. 1, 2006, 1:27 pm

I too have never quite warmed up to Ngaio Marsh, maybe because I can't pronounce her! I decide I should read them , get through one, and then pick up something else instead.

Just got he new Alan Furst Foreign Correspondent, now I have two to read since I haven't opened Dark Voyage either.

ag. 1, 2006, 7:18 pm

I agree Agatha Christie was awkward in some of the later books: Passenger to Frankfurt, which many of you share, I hated so much I got rid of it.

quartzite: I've been wanting to get Foreign Correspondent, and debating whether or not to read an earlier book first. There are clear economic advantages, and perhaps others, to starting with an older volume. But I find it very tempting. Please let me know what you think of the two - and earlier Alan Furst books you may have read. Thanks!

ag. 2, 2006, 6:33 am

Of course, Ngaio Marsh (Nye-oh) doesn't really belong in this group, being a New Zealander... but I don't think we'll be too picky about that. ;-)

ag. 2, 2006, 9:11 am

Marsh was a New Zealander but her detective was very British!

ag. 2, 2006, 1:18 pm

Hey, Commonwealth members count! And Hawai'i was briefly a British possession, so my home state should count too!

However, we have no literary crime tradition to speak of out here in the mid-Pacific.

ag. 2, 2006, 2:41 pm

Linkmeister, what about Charlie Chan, the famous sleuth from the 30s, created by Earl Derr Biggers?
He was from your state!

ag. 2, 2006, 2:59 pm

Charlie Chan was an HPD detective, but:
The formula was, for the most part-- Charlie Chan of the Honolulu Police Force, crack detective and worldwide celebrity, happened upon a good case of murder in an interesting or exotic locale, usually not Honolulu.

The closest we've got is Steve McGarrett of Hawaii Five-O.

I was grumbling about this on a Hawai'i message board and got no answers: how come we haven't developed authors who write fictional accounts of the corrupt political system that's in bed with land developers? Florida has several authors who have done that, and our growth has been just as horrible. If I could write, there's a market niche waiting to be filled. ;)

Ah well, that complaint belongs in the Crime, Mystery forum, not here in the British group.

ag. 2, 2006, 3:20 pm

Pretty much anything by Alan Furst is very good stuff, so you can easily start with older, cheaper books and wait to get deal on The Foreign Correspondent. I think The Polish Officer was his first book, and some claim that Dark Star is perhaps his best. I love them all.

ag. 2, 2006, 6:21 pm

Thank you, quartzite. I'm glad of the reassurance. Furst sounds excellent... and right up my alley.

ag. 2, 2006, 7:04 pm

Regarding Agatha Christie's books, it's certainly not necessary to read them in order, but it's good to be aware that she occasionally gives away the ending of previous books. Also I'd strongly recommend reading A Caribbean Mystery and Nemesis together, since Nemesis is a sequel of sorts to A Caribbean Mystery.

Agreed on avoiding her later books (unless, like me, you're a rabid completist), but I adore her earlier ones.

ag. 2, 2006, 8:02 pm

Does Elizabeth George come within this group? Like Ngaio, she is not British, but her detective(s) are, and the works are set in UK. Same issue with Barry Maitland, living in Australia but writing British police procedurals.

ag. 3, 2006, 6:04 am

Speaking of espionage, is anyone an E. Phillips Oppenheim afficionado? I was wondering if anyone knew which of his extensive list of books were spy/thrillers as opposed to mainstream or mystery type works? Or if there is a resource that details it.


ag. 3, 2006, 7:30 am

I read light thickens when I was doing my final year exams because it goes into detail with the production of Macbeth and that was the play I was studying! I've read it again and enjoyed it.

ag. 5, 2006, 7:19 am

I think Ihave read one E. Phillips Oppenheim, sort of old fashioned spy stuff, but I can't remember which title. I just finished Reginald Hill's The Stranger House , not Dalziel and Pascoe, but I still enjoyed it.
One older set of books that I recommend are those by Cyril Hare. Soem have a strong legal element, others don't. With a Bare Bodkin set in a mythical World War II ministry is my personal favorite, though some critics laud The Wind Blows Death.

ag. 5, 2006, 7:40 am

I read With a Bare Bodkin for the first time last week. I did enjoy it... especially the end; and expect to buy more Cyril Hare, though in no insane hurry. ;)

ag. 7, 2006, 4:38 pm

Parelle, I just named my new cell phone Bunter (I like to name things...especially technological equipment. Call it a "quirk). I felt kind of bad though because my cell phone is definitely more elegant than Lord Peter the ThinkPad. I am definitely going to try some Ngaio Marsh, although right now I am plowing through Laurie R. King's Mary Russell books (another example of a non-British writer and a thoroughly British detective. I mean how much more British can you get than Sherlock Holmes?) I love Jasper Fforde, although more for his zany ideas and characters than his prose or plots I think. And I've always wondered what it was about Margary Allingham. I've always WANTED to like her as well, but I am pretty ambivalent. I think I actually like watching her books done as the Peter Davison adaptions better than reading them. Speaking of TV detectives; they are showing Inspector Morse on PBS in NC right now. I'd never watched any before. Now I have another great series to add to my Netflix queue!

ag. 7, 2006, 7:58 pm

Katissima, give my regards to Bunter and Lord Peter. I'm envying you things to name. Perhaps my next cat....

Quite the reverse of Allingham in books or adaptations, though I do like Morse adaptations very much, I like several of Dexter's books still better.

ag. 8, 2006, 11:40 am

There were a few mentions of Jasper Fforde upthread and I agree that his Nursery Crimes books are more mysteries than the Thursday Next series. I'm about halfway through his brand new one, The Fourth Bear right now and it's definitely as good as the others.

ag. 8, 2006, 7:44 pm

Re Message 26 Jeanhl

No, I have never read anything by Len Deighton.

I once watched a movie made from one of his books, starring Michael Caine, and thought that it was boring.

That put me off his stuff....Perhaps I should have another look.


ag. 10, 2006, 3:49 pm

Eurydice, Was Inspector Morse TV or books first? I definitely have to try Colin Dexter.

ag. 10, 2006, 4:01 pm

Morse was definitely books first. The first ones were published in the mid 70s.

ag. 11, 2006, 12:45 pm

I have a two volume Edmund Crispin omnibus (which I don't think I've added yet). I tried to start at the beginning and read The Case of the Gilded Fly, but I never finished it. What is the best Edmund Crispin?

ag. 13, 2006, 5:21 am

Has anyone ever heard of Catherine Aird (I appoligize if it was mentioned earlier) - quartzite I see you have 19 of her books. I recently picked three up at the good will, on the top of the book they say "The Very Best in British Mystery"

ag. 13, 2006, 5:36 am

I picked up The Flood in paperback yesterday, in lieu of a new Rebus novel. It's not really crime but I think it might come in under mystery... and it's very tempting to ditch the book I'm currently reading and launch into it. Ian Rankin's just so readable!

ag. 13, 2006, 5:41 am

Hi everyone, I am new to this site. I have recently read Dexter Dias 'Above The Law' Very good thriller. This is a new author to me, there is a shortage of British legal system writers, and I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

ag. 13, 2006, 7:18 am

Catherine Aird is one of my favorites, and a lot of other peple seem to have her stuff. Her books are slightly old-fashioned, and slightly humorous, basically very competent blends of police procedurals and English village mysteries. Her chief detective Inspector C.D. Sloan is great and very straightforward, the humor is provided by his boneheaded constable and equally boneheaded Superintendant who are basically cariactures. The various suspects are usually interesting and well-drawn. Squarely in the traditional school of British mystery.

ag. 13, 2006, 8:05 am

Ohh thanks quartzite - sounds good. Now there goes another few books that I should get around to reading. Wish I had more reading time!

ag. 13, 2006, 9:34 am

I have several by Aird as well and my husband and I both enjoyed them. She lived in Kent and wrote about places and types that she knew well.

ag. 13, 2006, 9:26 pm

Aird is a must read, then!

ag. 14, 2006, 9:18 am

Thanks quartzite I have also managed to get a swap going on my book site for a Catherine Aird Collection. With the Sara Woods 'Proceed to Judgement' thats two new authors for me from this site!! I think it was hailelib who suggested Sara Woods so thanks to you both. I am 'thedoodler' I have forgotten to sign in again!!!

ag. 15, 2006, 10:10 am

I have a bit of a penchant for W.C Burley's Wycliffe series. Kind of comforting and solid but with some very sinister tones. I also have a guilty pleasure... M.C Beaton's Agatha Raisin novels. Like Mills and Boon but with corpses.

ag. 16, 2006, 11:58 am

I like Agatha Raisin. I should also mention Monsieur Pamplemousse in the same breath, I think, and Ophelia O.

88tripleblessings Primer missatge
ag. 17, 2006, 1:42 am

For those who enjoy the Ian Rankin series with Detective Inspector John Rebus, here are some suggestions:

Rebus's Scotland is described by Ian Rankin as "partly my autobiography, part biography of Rebus, and partly a book about modern-day Scotland, where it's going and where it came from."
It's a companion book to the Inspector Rebus mysteries, illustrated with atmospheric black and white photographs by Tricia Malley and Ross Gillespie, who create the jacket covers for the Rebus novels. It's a fascinating read for Rebus fans, or for those who are interested in Edinburgh, Fife and modern-day Scotland.

The Skinner books by Quintin Jardine are another series of police procedurals set in Edinburgh. The mood is less dark, more of a thriller and suspense genre. It's important to read these in sequence, beginning with Skinner's Rules and Skinner's Festival, as the Detective Chief Inspector's personal life is central to the stories. There are terrorist attacks, organized crime rings, and crimes which threaten Skinner and his family. The Edinburgh and East Lothian setting comes through strongly, and the local dialogue is realistic and enjoyable.

Jardine writes another series about Blackstone and Primavera that I don't enjoy nearly as much. They have too many improbably situations, a main character who is too arrogant and silly for my taste, and there is too much sex and silly adventures, not enough detection.

There is another good Scottish series set in Glasgow by Peter Turnbull. I have only a few of them, but they are very good. They are true police procedurals, featuring the police detectives of P Division, with no one lead character. Big Money is an especially memorable plot about a Post Office robbery on pay-day.

Any other recommendations for Scottish mystery series?

ag. 17, 2006, 3:42 pm

I second Peter Turnbull, quite good stuff. I read one Skinner and dropped it. I recently bought Cold Granite by Stuart MacBride but have not read it yet. Christopher Brookmyre is definitely Crime on the thriller side of Mystery, but I love his stuff-action packed and funny, too.

Editat: ag. 24, 2006, 7:07 pm

For those devout Edmund Crispin fans, might I suggest the extremely extensive Michael Innes Appleby books? Less fanciful, perhaps, but definitely the same world. He also, I think, wrote as somebody far more impressive than a mere crime fiction writer, as they sometimes do, the poor sillies.

Incidentally, what are people's thoughts on M.C. Beaton's Agatha Raisin series (English Cozies - just found that term on Amazon, and have to say I love it)?

Personally, I find them generally poorly written, outrageously homophobic (in fact generally with stupid and unpleasant comments throughout, like a Daily Telegraph Outreach Programme ......) and yet, strangely compulsive - gosh, I'm reading the sixth.....

Sometimes the books just come alive (especially through dialogue) and suddenly the fact that the author wrote the rather successful 'Hamish MacBeth' series doesn't come as a surprise. About six to go - so I suppose that's a confession.

ag. 24, 2006, 8:53 pm

Katissima asked me a question, I see; I'm sorry to be so long in even reading it. The best - or certainly most famous - Edmund Crispin mystery is The Moving Toyshop. Quality varies, but I've enjoyed most of those I have.

In response to red_guy, I have enjoyed some Michael Innes very much, though I miss Crispin's outright and inspired daftness. However, I may not have read the best books/short stories. (Simply picking up a little in used bookstores, unmethodically.) What would your top choices be?

ag. 26, 2006, 1:28 pm

Last week I finished Paint, Blood and Gold by Michael Gilbert and it was a reminder of just how good a writer he was. His mysteries and thrillers are well-written, fun, and encompass a wide variety of stories. Reviews all note his strong story-telling, and he is endlessly inventive. Some favorites are Smallbone Deceased, Close Quarters, and The Crack in the Teacup, but frankly any of them are good.

I've just gotten several additional books by another favorite M.R.D. Meek .
Her series character, Lennox Kemp, is a disgraced and disbarred lawyer, attemting to redeem himself, which lends a bit of seedy, noir sadness to the more traditional English small town murder mystery. It's a series best read in order, I think Hang the Consequences is the first one.

Editat: set. 11, 2006, 6:02 am

Earlier Tim said that some boards were becoming monologues, and as I see I was the last to post here, I am getting a guilty feeling. Come on, guys, if I am going to keep posting I need infield chatter, something to give me cover!

My recommendations for this week something new, something old.

New: Stephen Booth who is writing those gloomy Yorkshire mysteries full of people with complicated relationships that seem to go with that geographic territory. His first in the series was The Black Dog and the most recent is Scared To Live.

Old is relatively obscure, but one of my favorites Douglas Clark and his Masters and Green Mysteries. Police procedurals, they involve cases that you have a strong medical or scientific mystery behind the murder method and/or solution, and I found this element especially interesting. One reviewer complained that the antagonism between the two officers became tedious, but by mid-series it reverses itself and I found the chumminess more annoying than the antagonism! That is a very minor element of the stories though, so don't let either put you off. My very favorite is Table d'Hote, but others such Roast Eggs and Sick to Death are also very enjoyable.

set. 10, 2006, 8:36 am

It's been a while since I read any of the Douglas Clark mysteries but several are still on my shelves. Do you think they are worth rereading?

set. 10, 2006, 8:46 am

The series is one that I reread occasionally, so I think they hold up to it.

Editat: set. 11, 2006, 12:40 pm

Thanks. Lately we have been reading a lot from our own shelves and it's nice to know which author to try next.

set. 10, 2006, 10:08 pm

Quartzite, I feel the same way on some other groups, at least a couple of which you're familiar with. However: please don't stop posting. I think groups often need a strong presence or two to keep going. My attention's been elsewhere.

However: thanks for introducing titles and authors I'm not familiar with. I always end up needing new names, especially in mysteries, whatever else I happen to be reading. Actually, both Michael Gilbert and M.R.D. Meek, from the post before last, sound quite appealing. Given my passion for tea, a decent mystery titled The Crack in the Teacup is well-nigh irresistible! (Alas the dregs of 'mystery writing' that profane both it AND tea... Not that I said anything! ;) )

set. 11, 2006, 10:26 am

Quartzite - don't stop posting! I simply haven't bought or read any crime fiction lately, that's my excuse. But it doesn't mean I'm not reading your posts! (Except when I go away for the weekend... :-D)

set. 16, 2006, 5:38 am

I second the Stephen Booth recommendation. The mood is dark, but the atmosphere, suspense and police procedures are very good. My husband got me into the series, and we're waiting for the new one to come out in paperback.

set. 16, 2006, 1:53 pm

This week's author is Dorothy Simpson, another writer of tradiitonal small-town British police procedurals featuring Inspector Luke Thanet. Without the comic touch of Catherine Aird, they are good solid mysteries. The victims tend to be mostly women. I think the early ones are The Night She Died, Close Her Eyes, and Puppet for a Corpse.

set. 21, 2006, 1:11 am

Quartzite, I am going to sit here copying recommendations down before the next trip to Murder by the Book. :) Or anyplace else likely.

Thank you for keeping ideas coming. They're most welcome.

I've never read Aird. But from the contrast in your post, she sounds appealing. Where should I start?

set. 21, 2006, 1:46 pm

I think some of the early ones that set the tone are Passing Strange, Parting Breath and Henrietta Who?

Editat: set. 23, 2006, 2:37 pm

Pick of the week is Peter Dickinson who is leads a double life as a YA author and as a crime writer. His mysteries tend to be quirky and bit difficult to categorize, offering a great variety. A few feature Inspector Pibble, but they aren't really police procedurals. My favorite Pibble is Sleep and His Brother. Another book that always sticks in my mind is Death of a Unicorn for its interesting characters. Two books feature an alternate history set of British royalty, one of which is King and Joker. A more recent work is one of the looks back at events in the distant past at a truth swept under the carpet Some Deaths before Dying.

Just corrected the touchstones on message 10 so they work now.

set. 25, 2006, 7:51 pm

Sounds excellent, quartzite. Some Deaths Before Dying is now in my Amazon cart - which, though it proves nothing, probably means it will soon be bought. :) The diversity of Dickinson's output is particularly appealing.

oct. 1, 2006, 1:46 pm

I have the new Dick Francis in hand. Titled Under Orders, featuring Sid Halley. And I'm off to my easy chair!

Editat: oct. 2, 2006, 11:56 am

This week I want to recommend Jill McGown who has an excellent police procedural series featuring two romantically involved detectives. In this respect they are somewhat similar to those of Deborah Crombie, but I like them better. I think Murder in the Old Vicarage is the first.

I have been watching the Frost series on DVD, so I think it only fair to put in word for the great and all too few books (only five) starting with A Touch of Frost by R.D. Wingfield. Gritty, dark and yet darkly funny they are a real treat.

Editat: oct. 6, 2006, 11:24 pm

Like laytonwoman3rd, I grabbed the new Dick Francis novel, Under Orders, as soon at it came in. I thought it started a little stiffly, but once Mr. Francis had warmed up, things smoothed out most satisfactorily. Certainly, I thought it a vast improvement over both Second Wind and Shattered.

If it's not too late to chime in, my favorite Francis mysteries have got to be Reflex, For Kicks and Banker. It's so hard to choose just one.

Before this gets too long, Stuart MacBride, mentioned upthread, just rocks. Both Cold Granite and the recently released second in the series, Dying Light, are gritty, horrifying, wickedly funny and full of quirky characters. I can hardly wait for the next one.

ETA: MacBride's Dying Light is coming up in the Touchstone thang as the Davis/Falco "A Dying Light in Cordoba" mystery, hee!

Editat: oct. 14, 2006, 2:20 pm

Oh, excitement! I just picked up The Accomplice by Elizabeth Ironside, which has now been released in its first US edition (hardcover) by those nice folks at Felony & Mayhem. Heading off to read!

Editat: nov. 2, 2006, 11:10 am

Last month I finished the new book by Benjamin Black, the pseudonym of John Banville and his first work into what is to become a series of mystery/crime fiction books, Christine Falls. The U.K. edition is currently available but the U.S. edition won’t be on the shelves until March.

The setting is 1950's Dublin and Boston, and the main character is a pathologist by the name of Quirke who first appears in a drunken state and subsequently sleeps it off in the morgue, but not before he observed an obstetrician falsifying a young woman’s death certificate. Without letting on too much, Quirke subsequently follows the trail of the former life of the young woman, and in the process there’s some intriguing plots involving The Mother of Mercy laundry, the sinister Knights of St. Patrick, and an enterprise involving the smuggling of surplus babies from Ireland to Boston whereby nurses and nuns are recruited as couriers. And best of all, saints be praised there’s a plot!

I’m a not a mystery/crime fiction aficionado so I’m not real familiar with that genre, but the short, staccato prose I found in the few works of Ken Bruen and Denise Mina that I’ve read are absent. However, all the inveterate trademarks of Banville’s writing appear once again - lyrical prose (without the big words this time, no need to have Brewer’s or the OED handy), impeccable sense of time and place, vivid descriptions of loneliness, fear and pain and just enough drips of information to keep the imagination bubbling. Bottom line, thanks to the caesarean of those annoying, obscure words Banville has a habit of using and the toned down prose, it’s effluent and a definite page turner. Anyone who enjoyed the Denise Mina books will love Christine Falls.

nov. 2, 2006, 1:31 pm

it’s effluent

The book seemed to be pretty good up to this point. But now I think I'll pass it. :-)

Editat: nov. 11, 2006, 10:41 am

My recommendation of the week is Frances Fyfield, who also writes as Frances Hegarty. She has two series characters and also writes stand alones. Helen West, crown prosecutor, who dates detective, takes center stage in a series of London myseries with a sad grey mood, and usually some suspense like A Question of Guilt. Sarah Fortune, a red-headed attorney, with emotional issues and a penchnat for damaged souls, is the lead in somewhat less orthodox series, also with strong suspense element like Perfectly Pure and Good.

nov. 13, 2006, 3:18 pm

You asked about Crispin, I agree with Eurydice, The Moving Toyshop is not only the most known, but also one of the funniest. But if you like the really weird stuff, read Glimpses of the Moon, it's amazing!

You say you miss Crispin's weirdness in Inness. I know what you mean, but have you read Appleby's End? That beats a lot of things, I find!

nov. 13, 2006, 7:16 pm

I just finished Dick Francis's new book Under Orders and reviewed it within LT. Short version: I'm glad he's back, but the rust showed. Sid's as interesting as ever, but some of the writing style is off a little from what I'm used to with Francis.

des. 5, 2006, 7:54 am

Just a couple of general questions in case anyone knows - has anyone else come across J B O`Sullivan, author of the Steve Silk mysteries (UK, `40s, `50s I believe).

Also, what about George Bellairs ? I know from work that he has a dedicated following out there. In fact, when we stocked a selection of `40s Foyles Thriller Book Club titles in our shop, they sold poorly, except for George`s works, which went like lightning.

There is a site for him (in real life he was a banker/philanthropist from Salford, Mancs), as far as I recall, it`s pretty good.

Editat: des. 9, 2006, 6:00 pm

Have just reread Margery Allingham's The Fashion in Shrouds. So snobbish, so racist. "It made one gasp and stretch one's eyes." But I enjoyed it.

des. 10, 2006, 1:51 pm

I'd like to second quartzite's recommendation of Jill McGown, "who has an excellent police procedural series". They _are_ excellent. I cannot think of any other living writer of detection fiction who equals her mastery of plot. My own favourite is Death of a Dancer.

des. 10, 2006, 2:23 pm


Allingham is a funny one. I`ve mentioned this elsewhere, but as a bookseller I had some reservations about selling her appalling Police at the Funeral - then again, I fundamentally don`t think booksellers should act as self-appointed censors.

I do have her Tiger in the Smoke in my own collection, which is a much-cherished classic. Then again, it is equally the work of a lunatic ! As I understand it, she believed that the introduction of the welfare state in the UK post-World War Two would bring the country to a state of anarchy. If the book`s anything to go by, she seemed to think the devil himself was behind it all ! From what I`ve picked up, I think she was easily bonkers enough to believe such a thing quite literally.

They don`t make them like that anymore !

des. 10, 2006, 3:05 pm

nick: she seemed to think the devil himself was behind it all ! {the welfare state}

pamelad invoked a bit of Belloc - your message calls up another:
Oh! let us never, never doubt
What nobody is sure about!

des. 10, 2006, 3:39 pm

I`l pay you a compliment, Artisan.

I just dropped into to LT to put something on another thread. I was planning to go `direct to go` without looking left or right, but I saw your name and had a look as I knew it would be something entertaining.

You might have a point - when I was young and unemployed I`d have readily believed the devil ran some social security offices in Nott`m !

des. 10, 2006, 11:03 pm

Yeah ,he was busy in south wales too.

des. 11, 2006, 2:05 am

I prefer UK crime books because they tend to refer to the details of the crime in less detail, and concentrate more on the clever detecting of the crime. US crime stories, like their films, seem to really enjoy horrifying the reader/viewer. I like the intelligent detectives like Morse and Dalgleish. I recommend Reginald Hill too. I like espionage fiction too, and Len Deighton, John Le Carre and Ted Allbeury are among my favourites. They are all men with the experience to write about what they knew, and are excellent writers.

des. 11, 2006, 12:26 pm

I'm with you, Vivien. I have given up on so many US writers, who all seem to think the essence of a good story is to have the detective in fear of his/her own life from the terrifying serial killer.

des. 11, 2006, 12:52 pm

Agree 100% with both Vivien and artisan.

des. 18, 2006, 6:42 pm

123 >"Agree 100% with both Vivien and artisan."
oh, me too, me too. I also get so tired of the tough hard boiled female detectives who 'pack guns' - as if that is feminist and independant, somehow! It has been said by someone cleverer than me (whose name escapes me for the minute) that the sign of degeneration in a tv or book series is when every story line embroils the main character's safety, or that of a family member. For example, IMHO, The X-files got so dull when they abandoned investigating weird occurances and focussed entirely on a conspiracy that involved Fox and Dana personally. And the heinous work of Patricia Cornwall would have to be the epitome of this technique.

des. 18, 2006, 7:14 pm

I like James Lee Burke, but wouldn't want to be hanging around with Dave Robicheaux - all of his women have sticky ends. Greater love hath no woman, that she should lay down her life for the sake of the plot.

And I like Kinsey Millhone, but wish she wouldn't moan whenever she eats a hamburger. You wouldn't catch Miss Silver doing that, or Harriet Vane.

des. 18, 2006, 9:12 pm

Re: 117. I'm completely shocked. I've been reading Allingham for a couple of months now and am 'gutted' she was a reactionary. Boy, do I feel stupid. I've been enjoying the derring-do of Albert Campion and his spiffing pals over several novels and had not noticed anything more reactionary than 'yer actual' Agatha Christie and others of that ilk. The Tiger in the Smoke was very exciting and led me onto the rest. *choked.

I feel compelled to say I don't like Rankin. I have a crush on Rebus, but find something lacking in the novels. Can't put my finger on it. It doesn't stop me reading them, though. I feel the same about P D James and also continue to read her novels, though I prefer her writing style.

des. 18, 2006, 9:15 pm

all of his women have sticky ends

OH, I am so tempted! But I will not touch that with a ten-syllable metaphor - or a six-foot Pole, for that matter.

Editat: des. 19, 2006, 4:48 pm

Thanks for your restraint Artisan. Very British, to meet a sticky end. Very John Buchan.

Hera, John Buchan is good for adventure. You might also like The Riddle of the Sands.

Editat: des. 31, 2006, 2:24 pm

I have just realized that no one has yet mentioned the really good Christianna Brand whose best known book is Green for Danger but who has a number of books that stand up there with best of British Mystery. I would also like to put in a plug for another of my obscure favorites Delano Ames and his Jane and Dagobert Brown duo, with I think She Shall Have Murder being my favorite.

des. 31, 2006, 1:48 pm

Oh, my, I just read all 129 messages at a sitting. To just respond to the latest one, thanks for mentioning Christianna Brand. I enjoyed her books, but it's been several years ago. As I recall, she didn't write very many, but they were good ones.

des. 31, 2006, 11:56 pm

I also like Christianna Brand's books. A couple of other recommendations. Nancy Spain's Miriam Birdseye novels are worth looking out for - dry and witty. The tone reminds me a little of Sarah Caudwell's. A recent discovery is Death of My Aunt - also very dry. Unsentimental, undomesticated characters and no gore.

Editat: gen. 22, 2007, 1:44 pm

I've just finished the latest, just out, Graham Hurley book 'One Under' which continued the high standards set in the previous six D.I. Joe Faraday series.

I'm about to start 'Over the Edge' by Stuart Pawson, the tenth D.I. Charlie Priest mystery published in 2004. I've read most, but not all these, and enjoyed them all.

juny 21, 2007, 4:16 pm


#124 akenned5
I stopped reading Patricia Cornwall (who I enjoyed immensely in her first few novels) not only because she put her main character in jeopardy over and over, but because her main character insisted on doing stupid things, totally outside her job description, that put her in jeopardy over and over. And then, of course, Cornwall simply jumped the shark with Benton's "death". I also got terribly tired of Scarpetta's total inability to relate in a sensitive, caring sort of way to ANYBODY.

#125 pamelad
I, too, like James Lee Burke, but I sure would like to ask him why he seems to enjoy killing off the good women so much. In Star Trek (TOS) we used to call that the "red shirt" syndrome. You see a guy in a red shirt and you know he's doomed by the end of the episode. A woman marries Dave Robicheaux, and you know a few books down the bayou, she's bound to die. You'd think even a fictional woman would catch on to that history, wouldn't you?

des. 27, 2007, 11:35 pm

I haven't seen anyone else mention one of my guilty pleasures - Simon Brett's mysteries featuring the perpetually underemployed actor Charles Paris. Very mournfully funny.

Editat: des. 28, 2007, 3:24 pm

I like Simon Brett's Charles Paris and his long-suffering ex-wife, too.

des. 30, 2007, 2:40 pm

I'm trying to remember a book I read about 4 years ago - but think it was not particularly new even then - British murder mystery set in Oxford. Pretty sure it was part of a series. Can anyone think of a series that is set there?

Editat: des. 31, 2007, 2:23 pm

There are many mysteries set in Oxford. The most prominent series was the Inspector Morse series by Colin Dexter. If that was not it, can you provide a little more detail?

des. 30, 2007, 8:52 pm

Your question jogged my memory and "Jericho" came to mind. I did a little Googling and now I know the book was The Dead of Jericho by Colin Dexter. And I thought I had read my first Dexter novel only a few months ago! Obviously I read one a few years's to the middle-aged memory!

gen. 3, 2008, 3:19 pm

I just Mooched a book by Patricia Hall. She is new to me - have anyone read her work? The book is set in Yorkshire.

Editat: gen. 3, 2008, 5:04 pm

Long ago, in 112, Blackeminence preceded my new love for Michael Innes, a fling of a few months (however destined to last). I've only read the post, and apt suggestion, now. Appleby's End, and others, are fully whimsical enough for me! ;) (Thank you.)

As for Charles Paris mysteries, I've never read one, but think I heard half of an adaptation on BBC Radio 4, recently. Give me a top suggestion or two, chamekke, and I'll keep an eye out!

Other good suggestions are, I hope, filed away from my quick, overdue reading.

Editat: feb. 8, 2008, 7:23 pm

I am on my third J.R. L. Anderson mystery featuring Colonel Peter Blair Death in the Caribbean. The other two were Death in the Thames and Death in the City. They all have a sailing or boating angle and are enjoyable, fast moving and well-written, though the plots are bit far-fetched. They remind me of some Andrew Garve works.

feb. 8, 2008, 4:05 pm

#141 quartzite - I'm glad you mentioned the "sailing or boating" angles in the J.R.L. Anderson books. Those are the angles I enjoy (as well as "music angles"). If anyone else has suggestions along these lines I'd be glad to hear them.

feb. 8, 2008, 7:46 pm

I think my favorite sailing mysteries are by Sam LLewellyn such as Blood Knot and Deadeye. Bernard Cornwell did a couple of sea mysteries including Wildtrack and Desmond Bagley like Golden Keel, and finally Hammond Innes with books like The wreck of the Mary Deare

feb. 27, 2008, 7:06 pm

Just got in a box from mostly mysteries, the haul includes The Cipher Garden by Martin Edwards,
The Act of Roger Murgatroyd by Gilbert Adair, A Quiet Belief in Angels by R.J. Ellory, Deadly Code by Lin Anderson and finally the The new John Harvey book Cold in Hand. Now I just have to figure out where to start.

abr. 6, 2008, 4:11 pm

(Message 142)


Ron Faust is an American who sets most of his novels in international waters, on various sailing vessels. Most of his stories are one-offs, but of late he has been writing a series character based out of Florida. Anyway, if the sailing part is more important than the British part, you may want to give him a try. He lays down a very literate track.

abr. 7, 2008, 8:07 pm

#143 - quartzite, thanks for the suggestions. I began one of Sam Llewellyn's books some time ago and was enjoying it until a rather graphic piece of writing depicting the hunting exploits of one (or was it two?) of the characters. That was enough for me I'm afraid!

I'll certainly look out for the Cornwell, Bagley and Innes books.

#145 - Hog, thanks to you too - Ron Faust is now on my TBR list (and the sailing part is definitely more important to me than the British part).

Oh, the lists, the lists.....

Editat: juny 20, 2008, 12:56 pm

I am currently reading I've Heard the Banshee Sing by Paul Charles a great series for this thread as features Inspector Christy Kennedy a Northern Irish police detectiveiman in London and in this particular book a suspicious death in London has taken him back to Ulster.

Editat: jul. 19, 2008, 1:29 am

I am just finishing Christine Falls by Benjamin Black (John Banville).
Having read and admired Banville's The Sea, I was curious to see how he handled crime fiction.

Well, both The Silver Swan and Christine Falls have left me uncertain as to whether I want to read more of "Benjamin Black".
Somehow the female characters seemed less than convincing to me, and the hold that the Irish state religion had over the Irish is just so depressing. The books are set in the 1950s - Obviously things have changed a lot since then.

"Uncomfortable" probably just about sums up my reaction to these two books, and I'm not sure why.

jul. 19, 2008, 7:16 pm

Further to my above post, I woke up this morning wondering whether my discomfort with Black/Banville's attempts at crime fiction might have something to do with the faint whiff of prurience and misogyny that I seemed to detect - the former more evident in The Silver Swan. Perhaps "misogyny" is too strong a word. I'm not interested enough to return to either of these two books to confirm my inference.

What do other readers of The Silver Swan and Christine Falls think?

jul. 25, 2008, 3:12 pm

inspector morse??

ag. 12, 2008, 9:06 pm

I'm reading my first mystery by Roy Lewis. Most Cunning Workmen is the 2nd Arnold Landon mystery, and it's set in Northumberland. What confuses me is Lewis's Arnold Landon books were on a list of archaeological mysteries, but this book is not archaeology.

Anyone familiar with this series? Do later books in the series have an archaeology focus? Or have I been misled?

ag. 14, 2008, 1:10 am

No, not personally.

Last night, I started Laidlaw, by William McIlvanney, based on the recommendation of an H.R.F. Keating essay. It's set in Glasgow, c. 1977. So far: dark, hard, and brilliant.

gen. 3, 2009, 10:58 pm

I can't remember if I read about this author here or another book site but I wanted to thank whoever suggested his series. I like British mysteries since I travel to the UK, I recognize places or put new ones on my wish list as I read. This series about two elderly London detectives has a fascinating back story, raising issues about the changes in western society in the last 50 years. Most thought provoking for me has been the question of increasing anonymity as people tend to be urban and internet dwellers. The lack of alliance and responsibility to be part of your "tribe" has scary consequences in actions people feel are now acceptable. For example, the mother who went on myspace and impersonated a teen boy to bully her daughter's school rival. If you want some thought provoking reading, do consider Mr. Fowler.
Happy New Year to y'all

gen. 5, 2009, 2:27 pm

Do you mean the books by Christopher Fowler?

gen. 20, 2009, 5:16 pm

Just read She Shall Have Murder by Delano Ames. British, forties, light and amusing. Good recommendation, Quartzite. Thank you.

gen. 21, 2009, 11:21 am

I like the other Jane and Dagobert books, but I think that first one is the best.

gen. 21, 2009, 4:27 pm

I had never read the Delano Ames books until last fall. I was pleasantly surprised.

feb. 27, 2009, 8:01 pm

I just finished Exit Music by Ian Rankin. Good-bye Rebus.

març 15, 2009, 8:48 am

Reading Information Received by E. R. Punshon. First published in 1933, it's light and entertaining so far.

març 17, 2009, 7:45 am

I am in the middle of The Unfinished Clue by Georgette Heyer, and I like it a lot.

març 20, 2009, 8:58 pm

I've just started Christine Falls and am enjoying it enormously. I love that it shows a time and a place that are so foreign to us today and I loved the brief appearance of Brendan Behan in the bar Quirke took his niece at the beginning of the book.

maig 30, 2009, 1:53 pm

I'm reading The Lighthouse, by P. D. James;my first by her. At first I felt quite distant from it all, but once the investigation actually started it picked up.

I wanted to read it as it was a choice for the Guardian Book Club back in April:

abr. 27, 2010, 7:54 pm

About a quarter of the way through Priest by Ken Bruen. Not a lot of laughs in this one.

maig 28, 2010, 2:54 pm

I'm currently reading my third Ruth Rendell End in Tears and this is another Inspector Wexford story. I have now read two Wexford books and one stand-alone. I find the Wexford novels so uninteresting. I really don't care about his private life and his crabby wife and dumb children. I find there is so much more macabre humour in Rendell'sstand-alone work. This one is very dull so far.

Editat: gen. 22, 2014, 11:56 am

Aquest missatge ha estat marcat com abús per més d'un usuari i ja no es pot veure (mostra)
Hi folks,

I've just joined Librarything though I have been on Goodreads for a while.
To introduce myself:
I have five mysteries available on Amazon Kindle and one romantic suspense, as well as an SF book.
There is plenty of crime in the SF one which is set in a future London.

Murder At Irish Mensa
Murder At Scottish Mensa
Murder At Dublin Mensa
Murder At Kildare Mensa
Murder At Wicklow Mensa.

Silks And Sins (romantic suspense)

Dining Out Around The Solar System (SF)

I read a lot of crime, procedurals and cosy mysteries more so than serial killers. I enjoy Stephen Booth, Peter Robinson, Linda Fairstein, Donna Leon, Sue Grafton, Carol Lea Benjamin, Ian Rankin, Donna Andrews and many more.

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