SHOP PRODUCTS
Houzz Logo Print
ginny12first

Mysteries--desperate for recommendations

ginny12
18 years ago

I love Agatha Christie mysteries but I bet I've read them all five times. I'm looking for other mystery writers like that. Preferably British. No sex and violence. Love the pre-WW2 period but it can be more recent.

I've read Dorothy Sayers several times over. Have also read most of PD James but her attitude towards life is too dark. The Amelia Peabody mysteries are too lightweight. I've also read all of Mary Higgins Clark tho they are just pretty good, in my opinion.

I'm desperate for some suggestions. Any good ideas?

Comments (103)

  • annpan
    18 years ago

    Have you read any books by Pamela Branch? Murder's Little Sister is original and funny.

  • biwako_of_abi
    18 years ago

    I was glad to see this thread again and have been skimming through it. Has anyone mentioned Jane Langton's mysteries? I really enjoyed all of them. I also want to second or "third"--as the case may be--Josephine Tey and Arthur Upfield, with his Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte mysteries set in Australia. I have collected what I could of Georgette Heyer's, Tey's, and Upfield's mysteries, because I so enjoy rereading them.

  • ccrdmrbks
    18 years ago

    Stephanie Barron writes a series with Jane Austen as the "heroine/amateur mystery solver." After I had talked myself into ignoring the fact that it was JANE AUSTEN as a fictional character, I enjoyed them. (Had to read the first one-beloved aunt waiting for my opinion.)

    Hazel Holt writes a contemporary series set in a village on the coast of England.
    Peter Tremayne writes a series set in 8th century Ireland with a female "advocate" as the "detective" and tons of social history that I find very interesting.
    It has been mentioned-but if your local library doesn't have some of the authors you are interested in, a great place to sample many authors is paperbackswap.com.

  • JGCollins
    18 years ago

    Douglas Clark is not listed above. You may find his books amusing. Try "Roast Eggs." To read, not to eat.
    Yes to Iain Pears, MC Beaton!
    Alexander's Sir John Fielding books are tedious.
    Nancy Bell's "Restored to Death" has a deus ex ending, and involves no effective detection.
    Dorothy Cannell is very funny, but can descend into silliness.
    Lese Majeste department: Many of Agatha Christie's earlier books are hopelessly dated, and some of her plots are flawed.

  • Marial34
    18 years ago

    Has anyone mentioned the Miss Seeton series yet? By Heron Carvic and others. Kind of cozy but with subjects like child murders thrown in with all the humor.

    Mrs. Pollifax is an American 'spy' you might enjoy too.

    I am enjoying this thread and making a note of a lot of ones I have not ready yet.

    Maria

  • Marianne018
    18 years ago

    I have enjoyed Harry Kemelmann's books about Rabbi Small.

  • ccrdmrbks
    17 years ago

    pulling up for new mystery searcher! Welcome!

  • dynomutt
    17 years ago

    Ok, how about the grand-daddy of them all -- Edgar Allan Poe? His Murders in the Rue Morgue has been said to be the forerunner of the modern mystery.

    And I haven't seen anyone mention the Perry Mason series by Erle Stanley Gardner. Yes, it's not British but they're good reads.

    How about the Charlie Chan series (by Earl Derr Biggers)? I think you can get cheap softcover versions of his adventures.

    There's a bit of violence and sex but Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade series are great to read. I was intrigued after seeing "The Maltese Falcon" and I was very surprised to see that the book was as good as the movie. His other books are highly recommended as well.

    Oh, and how about Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca?

  • ccrdmrbks
    17 years ago

    I just discovered Anne Morice-written in the 70s and 80s, an actress married to a Scotland Yard Inspector. I like them, and my library has a lot of them. Check SYKM for the list!

  • J C
    17 years ago

    I haven't read through this whole thread (no time, I'm afraid!) but wanted to mention the Brother Cadfael series by Ellis Peters. There are many! I found Cadfael to be a very appealing detective and Peters writes beautifully.

  • ccrdmrbks
    17 years ago

    And Gladys Mitchell-she wrote the Mrs. Bradley mysteries-the PBS series is fun, the books are batter. Diana Rigg is too pretty to play Mrs. Bradley-who is described as a yellow-complexioned woman with clawlike hands.

  • ginny12
    Original Author
    17 years ago

    As I bumped this up last fall, and having been the one who started the thread lo these many months ago, I didn't want to do it again. I'm so glad others have as I think there's so much great info here. Wish I could say I've discovered a great new mystery writer to add to the list but no luck. Am reading Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse books. Even the ones I saw on PBS are quite different in the books, equally good in their own way.

  • sherwood38
    17 years ago

    I haven't re-read all these threads-but - I have been enjoying reading the series of books these past months by Lisa Gardner and her FBI profiler Quincy.

    Alex Kava and her series about FBI agent Maggie O'Dell....and I just read the 1st book in the series by C.J. Box about his Wyoming Game Warden Joe Pickett - all which I recommend and should be read in order written.

    And if you haven't 'discovered' Michael Robotham I recommend him too-his first one called Suspect and the 2nd called Lost-both take place in England.

    Pat

  • ccrdmrbks
    17 years ago

    that would be "the books are bEtter"...no baking here-too hot.

  • twobigdogs
    17 years ago

    For mysteries set in Amsterdam, try Jan Willem van der Wetering. His two detectives, Grijpstra and deGier are total opposites but between them, somehow manage to nab the bad guys. Read them in order, starting with Outsider in Amsterdam.

    PAM

  • ccrdmrbks
    17 years ago

    Simon Brett-all set in England, and he does do two series, one built around Mrs. Pargeter, the widow of a man who left her, besides his fortune, his network of "men who can get done whatever you need done...but don't ask any questions." There IS honor among these thieves. The other series stars Charles Paris, a slightly over the hill, never quite made it to the top actor with a way of figuring out mysteries and a taste for Bell's whiskey.

    Jane Haddam-a series about Gregor Demaekian, a retired FBI agent who ran the "psycho-crime" unit...he comes home to his Philadelphia Armenian-American neighborhood after his wife's death, but is called to consult on many crimes-several at the behest of his friend the Cardinal.

    Mary Daheim-two series set in the Washington State area.

    Susan Moody-her amateur detective is a bridge expert-the card kind.

  • patsylr1
    17 years ago

    I just finished a book that I enjoyed a lot : Still Life by Louise Penny. This is the first in a series set in Quebec featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Quebec Surete. It won both the Arthur Ellis Award from the Crime Writers of Canada and the New Blood Dagger from the Crime Writer's Association in Britain,both for best first crime novels.
    It was just released this month in the U.S.
    It's beautifully written and full of charming and eccentric characters.

  • gooseberrygirl
    17 years ago

    Just wanted to chime in with the series by Susan Wittig Albert where "Beatrix Potter" is the detective. I love this series. Definitely cosy. English village life. The three titles in the series so far, in order, are The Tale of Hill Top Farm, The Tale of Holly How, and The Tale of Cuckoo Brow Wood.
    Also there is the Malice Domestic series of which I just read one mystery from earlier....they are short mysteries which I usually don't care for but the one I read tonight was very funny and different called The Corbett Correspondence by E.Marston and P.Lovesey. This type of collection of short mysteries is a good way to discover new authors....I'll be looking for those two again.

  • ccrdmrbks
    17 years ago

    Just finished the first Beatrix Potter book but S.W.Albert. I liked it, although I did find it derivative of other anthropomorphic books. I had flashbacks to the animals in Rita Mae Brown's "Mrs. Murphy" series-especially when Albert's animals decry the paucity of humans' sensory abilities, and when the cats hide behind furniture and eavesdrop-shades of Mrs. Murphy, Tucker and Pewter! There is also a scene where the three of them start running cross-country and have a conversation with an owl-just like the owl that lives in the barn in the Brown book.
    However, this owl also has links to A.A. Milne-the sign on his Observatory door, for instance, and his advanced degree.
    Overall, though, I did like it, and will read more. I guess I'm just a sucker for talking cats......

  • gooseberrygirl
    17 years ago

    At a recent book sale I found a great fun book called The Armchair Detective's Book of Lists. Lists, lists, lists of all kinds relating to mysteries....awards, best ofs, etc. This one was published in 1996 I think, and sadly I have not found that any further were published, although there were two before 1996.
    Anyway it has been fun.

  • granjan
    17 years ago

    I read several books about a female journalist and a mysterious male boarder in Gold Rush San Francisco. They were delightful but have no idea who wrote them or how to find out. Any ideas?

  • ccrdmrbks
    17 years ago

    There's a juvenile series by Barbara Steiner. There is also a male journalist (Ambrose Pierce) and sidekick series written by Oakley Hall listed on "Stop, You're Killing Me" under California-set in 1880 San Fran., and Shirley Tallaman wrote two books about a woman attorney in 19th century San Fran. That's all that comes up on SYKM.

  • granjan
    17 years ago

    Not the Oakley Hall series and she wasn't an attorney, but thanks. What's SYKM?

  • ccrdmrbks
    17 years ago

    StopYoureKillingMe.com-a fabulous mystery resource.

  • granjan
    17 years ago

    Thank you! Just found the series by Dianne Day. Fremont Jones who owns a typewriter service in SF, not a journalist. Found it under CA listings. What a great site!

  • ccrdmrbks
    17 years ago

    It is-very useful-I bookmarked it on the library desk computers and we use it all the time for patrons. It's great for those "which comes next?" questions and for "Who else writes like ****?" questions.

  • pam53
    17 years ago

    patsy-glad you liked Still Life as I just bought it. I notice the new PJ Tracey is also out so suppose that will be next. I have been hoarding my Borders gift cards.

  • ccrdmrbks
    17 years ago

    New York City during WW II- a private eye's secretary, unpolished but street savvy with a heart of gold and a will of steel, is left to run his agency and keep the business going until he returns from the war-the slang, the clothes, the attitude are all classic.

    This Dame For Hire and Too Darn Hot : a novel by Sandra Scoppettone.

  • granjan
    17 years ago

    So ccrdmrbks, can you recommend anyother sites like SYKM that help the absent-minded find titles and authors? Was trying to think of the title/author of a auto-biography of a woman who grew up in Australia or New Zealand and had a unique childhood. Became president of one of the sister schools and first name was Jill, last name stars with C, I think.

    I've got dozens of those!

  • Kath
    17 years ago

    The book you are thinking of may be Road from Coorain by Jill Ker Conway.

    And my favourite 'look it up' site is fantasticfiction.co.uk. This site has all kinds of fiction.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Fantastic fiction

  • ccrdmrbks
    17 years ago

    that's the one I would recommend for general fiction and others.

  • patsylr1
    17 years ago

    Pam, let me know how you liked it. She has a sequel coming out this fall.

  • ginny12
    Original Author
    16 years ago

    Now that it's high summer and time for vacation, I thought it would be a good time to bump this thread. Has anyone discovered any new mystery authors we should know about? Especially those set in England--a vicarious vacation.

  • carolyn_ky
    16 years ago

    Not English, and not cozy, but in re-reading the thread I don't see James Lee Burke listed. His major series is set in southern Louisiana, and he is one terrific writer.

    In the past year I have found John Harvey whose detectives work in Nottingham. I like him a lot--a bit reminiscent of Ian Rankin but neither the stories nor the main characters are as dark.

  • sovra
    16 years ago

    Oh, gosh,

    What about the Tommy Hambledon books by Manning Coles? They're out of print, but I've found them at libraries and (on a few lucky occasions) used book stores. They're mystery/spy stories, with settings in England and Europe. I think they span from WWI to a vaguely post-WWII era. They're clever and some of the humor is very Wodehouse.

  • twobigdogs
    16 years ago

    No one has yet mentioned Margaret Yorke. She writes a mystery series set in a modern-day but yet the land-that-time-forgot English village. The main character is Mrs. Mallory and she is a widow who is attached to her pets, and somehow finds herself mixed up in mysteries, much like Miss Marple.

    John Dunning writes a mystery series about a cop-turned-used book store owner in his series set in Denver, Co, USA. The first one is called Booked To Die. Modern day, bits of violence but nothing very graphic.

    PAM

  • ginny12
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    Bumping this up for those interested.

  • carolyn_ky
    15 years ago

    Ann Purser has written seven books, each with a day of the week in the title, set in a small English village. The main character runs a housecleaning agency and encounters mysteries galore. Very "cozy" books.

  • ccrdmrbks
    15 years ago

    two new series I have discovered in the last few weeks-

    The Three Pines series by Louise Penny-gorgeous writing

    The Tyndal Priory series by Priscilla Royal

    and an old writer that I just discovered: Michael Underwood
    Check them out below!

    Here is a link that might be useful: stop you're killing me

  • ginny12
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    Bumping this up for those interested in the topic.

    And will add the mysteries by Cynthia Riggs, set on Martha's Vineyard. All the titles have a wildflower in the name and the author is 9th generation on the island. Fun to read in order as the characters are developed. Lightweight but fun.

  • ccrdmrbks
    13 years ago

    bringing up for Iris

  • ginny12
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    An author I fervently recommend is Magdalen Nabb. She was an English woman who lived in Florence for many years and set her mysteries there. Inspector Guarnaccia is her detective and he is appealing, self-effacing, intuitive and inexorable. The mysteries are all based on true crimes and characters from Florence and Tuscany but are fiction.

    I absolutely loved these books--read them one after the other as fast as I could. So sad that Nabb died before her time a few years ago so no more to come. They are set in our time and should be read in order.

  • iris_gal
    13 years ago

    Thank you. This thread has kept me from the gardening and a possible bee sting.
    I see many old favorites and more exciting, new authors to try.

    One of my favorites not listed is Robert Van Gulik, Dutch, world reknown expert on China, son of a diplomat I believe and wrote about Judge Dee in the Tang dynasty.
    Warning, one book has descriptive scene - 'drawn & quartered' for a mean malevolent being.

    Was Nevada Barr mentioned? Her lonely ranger, Anna Pigeon, works in the natl. parks. Rarely have physical locales' descriptions stayed with me as strongly. I can still go back to the depths of Lake Superior or the Anasazi cliff dwellings. Perhaps a bit on the dark side.

  • carolyn_ky
    13 years ago

    I have just found out that the Murder One bookshop on Charing Cross Road in London has closed. My heart is broken.

  • ccrdmrbks
    13 years ago

    I HATE to hear things like that.

    New recommendation:
    David Roberts. His series features a "second son" British aristocrat and a feisty upper class woman who has joined the Communist Party and become a war journalist. Spanish Civil War, run-up to WW II.

  • carolyn_ky
    13 years ago

    I am just about finished with my first S. J. Bolton book, Sacrifice, and really liking it. It is set in the Shetland Islands and seemingly involves old Viking legends.

  • ginny12
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    As this seems to be a subject of ongoing interest, and we have reached the 100th post, I will begin a new thread, tho I am bookmarking this one for all its valuable content.

  • ginny12
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Bump

  • ginny12
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Bump, for all its helpful info re mysteries.

  • woodnymph2_gw
    5 years ago

    This thread is a duplicate of one other here. Do we need both? I posted my response on the other, longer thread.

Sponsored
Potomac Shores Cabinetry
Average rating: 5 out of 5 stars10 Reviews
Loudoun County's Well-Designed Spaces and Custom Crafted Cabinetry