Sep 20, 2009

The Sunday Salon - It's a Mystery

Mystery Book Pile

After finishing - and really enjoying - The Woman in White last week, I started thinking, not for the first time, that I really ought to read more mysteries. The trouble is, the genre is so vast and so diverse that I felt a bit of that reluctance that I sometimes see on people's faces whenever the subject of reading more fantasy comes up.

It's the same with every genre, I guess: there's enough variety that there will be books belonging to it to suit everyone's taste, but how do we find them? I'm hoping that the answer will be, "why, you ask your blogging friends, of course!" I know some of you are well-acquainted with mystery, and you know my taste pretty well by now. So tell me, what should I read?

I thought it would be fun, and maybe even useful, to put together a list of characteristics that my ideal mystery would have:
  • Strong characterization. That's my number selling point for any type of fiction, really.

  • It can be dark, but ideally there wouldn't be too much graphic violence. I'm not exactly squeamish, but sometimes violent scenes have a way of repeating themselves over and over again in my head, and I'd like to avoid that.

  • It'd be atmospheric.
  • Ideally, it would have an interesting setting. I'm thinking that historical mysteries and I could become very good friends, but there are so many of them that I feel kind of lost.

  • It would deal with interesting themes. You know the ones I like: identity, power, gender, connections, social issues, and endless variations of why do people do people-ish things.

  • It would ask more questions than it would give answers. I mean this more in terms of themes than of plot. Having said that, I don't mind an open ending. I don't mind a neat resolution either, but I just don't want something that won't ask any questions about the world.

  • In a perfect world, it would be a stand alone, because I really don't need to start any more series. But you might as well disregard this, as I seem to be starting them all the time anyway.
There are a few mysteries - all of which are series, ha! - that I'm considering: First of all, the Amelia Peabody series. I know there's one of them in the picture above, but I haven't actually read any because I have volumes 5, 8 and 7 or something like that - the reason why is a not-so-long story involving my complete inability to resist book bargains. Secondly, the Brother Cadfael series of medieval mysteries. And finally, the Mary Russell series by Laurie R. King. The only but is that I haven't read all that much Sherlock Holmes yet, and I probably should do that first, no? (And no, I haven't read that big black tome in the picture yet either. Then why am I asking for other suggestions? That's a very good question. A very good question indeed.)

So I'm asking you, dear internet, to tell me which of these series I'd like best, or else to recommend something completely different. And if you're feeling chatty, you could tell me wh you think I'd like it, and I'd be even more grateful. Thank you in advance!
The Sunday

Time to announce the winners of my BBAW giveaways: The Ask and the Answer goes to She at a Book Blog, Period.

Jemima at The Reading Journey and Vivienne at Serendipity win a set of two homemade bookmarks each.

Congratulations! If you happen to see this before you hear from me, please e-mail me your addresses - my e-mail is in my profile, and you can also use my contact form.


  1. I'm a big fan of mysteries myself, and I know I've barely scratched the surface of everything that's out there!

    Have you ever read Agatha Christie? Her mysteries are set in the earlier 20th century England and I find them to be quite enjoyable. I've reviewed a few on my blog if you care to take a peak.

    And Kerrie has a great Mysteries In Paradise blog, not to mention that she hosts an Agatha Christie Carnival every month! So her site would be a great source on mysteries, too! :-)

  2. I'm afraid my entire knowledge about mysteries comes from 5-Squared's Christina, who reads mainly cozies. Those can be fun, but they are formulaic, too. Though if you like to read a bunch of cat mysteries, perusing her archives there would give you lots of choices. :D

    But seriously, I feel the same way as you about mysteries - I'd like to read more, but only ones that break out of the genre and are good books in general.

  3. I don't remember if you've read the Stieg Larsson books yet (The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire) but they are much richer stories than the usual thriller kind of book. Karin Slaughter deals with abuse of women in various guises in her mysteries.

  4. I'm a huge fan of Laurie King, particularly the Russell books. You really don't need to have more than a passing familiarity with Holmes to enjoy them. (That's all the knowledge I have, and it's never been a barrier, except perhaps in the case of The Moor). King has also written some good standalone novels set in the modern day as well as one historical mystery (Touchstone) that she has said may be the start of a trilogy.

    For classic mysteries, I don't think you could do much better than Dorothy Sayers. Her characterization is top-notch. Strong Poison is a good place to start.

  5. How serendipitous! (See my blog post today, although not a mystery per se).

    Sherlock Holmes without a doubt or question. My boyfriend is reading all of the Homes books just now and loving them (I'm thinking guest blog). Also, reading A Study in Scarlet would give you a very valid excuse to reread Gaiman's A Study in Emerald.

  6. I'd like to add more mysteries to my reading, too, so I'll be watching these comments with interest. I loved The Moonstone, and really liked Benjamin Black's (John Banville) Christine Falls.

  7. Anything by Patricia Highsmith, Josephine Tey, or Georges Simenon will be heavy on character development and go beyond your run of the mill whodunnit.

  8. Hi Ana :D

    I rarely read mysteries so I do not know what to recommend. I still have to read THE WOMAN IN WHITE I heard it is a superb mystery so I will read this one.

    I love the photo you took of your books, it has a fall look, the way the light falls on your books, very nice!

    Hope you have a nice Sunday, Ana

  9. I'd recommend Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear (strong female lead, modern themes, set in post-war England, not gory).

    But also, the Peter Wimsey series by Dorothy Sayers (written in and set in the 20s and 30s, England, gets to the nature of humanity).

  10. I adore the Amelia Peabody series! Her stories are all character-driven, and Amelia & Co. are wonderful characters. The stories are fun too. There are an awful lot of books in the series, but don't let that throw you. They're not very dark at all, but most take place in Egypt so you've got characters, interesting locations, and art history inspired mysteries. :-)

  11. So, you've probably heard this a million times but I think the one book that would fit the bill is The Thirteenth Tale. It's not a mystery in a traditional sense, but there is definitely a mystery...and I just checked your list, and you've already read it, never mind!

  12. Have you read Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley? I think it has all you are looking for. Great characters, atmosphere, ask questions. It's a period novel (just after WW2) set in England with an 11 year old sleuth. I really liked it!

  13. I also love the Laurie King books, but would also highly recommend the recently read An Expert in Murder by Nicola Upson with a fictionalized Josephine Tey as protagonist.

    But if you really want the scoop, go over and see Danielle at A Work In Progress. She is THE source for this query in my mind.

    Happy reading (with that great pictured stack)!

  14. I love the Amelia Peabody mysteries - Amelia's such a fun protagonist, and I really like it that Elizabeth Peters went with the having-a-family thing, rather than shying away from it.

    But I also do want to second the Dorothy Sayers recommendation. In the first book with Harriet Vane, Strong Poison, Harriet's on trial for (allegedly) murdering a lover who had strung her along for years refusing to get married, and then finally was like, Oh, yeah, that was all a test to see if you truly loved me. Let's get married now., which actually happened to Dorothy Sayers in real life. Except without the murder trial. So I kind of love her for killing off her jerk of an ex-lover in fiction. :) Plus, the third book, Gaudy Night, is ALL ABOUT gender roles and why people do the things they do. It's a really good book and it is set at Oxford. So.

  15. The mystery novels I've been pushing this year (and which I think tick off quite a few, if not all, of the points on your list) are In The Woods and The Likeness by Tana French. The writing here is extraordinary, far above your average mystery, but it is really the characterization that is amazing. Frensh really gets into her characters' heads in order to flesh them out and make them jump from the page. They're quite thick (450 pages or so), but I devoured them in 2 days or so because I could not stop reading.

    If you're interested, here is my review to In the Woods (which you really should read first):

  16. Well, if you liked The Woman in White, then I would recommend Lady Audley's secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon. It's a sensation novel as well and I really liked it. Also check out Agatha Christie. I love her Hercule Poirot mysteries.

  17. I'm going to second or third the Agatha Christie recommendations. I've been meaning to begin the Elizabeth Peter series for awhile now so I would like you to read that one just so I could hear your! In The Woods by Tana French was a really strong read IMO too. Sorry, but I don't have any new suggestions that haven't already been mentioned yet.

  18. I love mysteries, but find it really hard to find ones that I really enjoy. Your list of requirements matches mine and so many books fall short.

    My favourites are Out by Natsuo Kirino. This is a Japanese thriller in which a woman murders her abusive husband and then persuades her friends to help her dispose of the body. It is much more complex than that and deals with questions such as how much you'd be prepared to do to help a friend. I loved it!

    The other one I'd recommend is Little Voice by Sophie Hannah. This is a great mystery. A woman returns home to discover that her baby has been swapped to another one. No one believes her. It deals with trust and identity.

    I'm sure you'll love both - let me know if you find any other great ones.

  19. I love mysteries. When I am not reading MG or YA chances are I am reading a mystery.

    Roseanna by Per Wahloo and Maj Sjowall -

    First in a series, written about 50yrs ago by a Swedish couple. All the books were recently released. I loved this The reader can is allowed to watch the case slowly unfold. Seasons change ,other cases come in, inspectors get sick etc. I found it very interesting to watch the inspectors work

    From what you described I think you'd enjoy this.

    Yes it is a series but the books stand alone. The inspectors solve the case in one book.

  20. I second the vote for getting to know Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise. She reads many, many mystery series and has excellent concise reviews.

    Of course, I promptly went to my bookshelves and thought, "if Nymeth were here, what would I put into her hands?" You'd leave with a bagful of mysteries I recommend as among the best in their field:
    for atmosphere:
    (these next two also for affects of war on people)
    Jacqueline Winspeare: Maisie Dobbs series
    Charles Todd: Ian Rutledge series (A Test of Wills is among the best books written)
    For social issues:
    Sara Paretsky (especially women's, poverty and immigrant issues)
    Nevada Barr (environmental)
    Carl Hiassen - Florida satirical mysteries, twisted and funny
    for ghostly atmosphere, religious politics:
    Phil Rickman
    For good police procedurals (which blend the best of investigation with exploring the human heart)
    PD James
    Giles Blunt
    Elizabeth George
    Henning Mankell (Swedish)
    Arnaldur Indridason (Iceland)
    Kate Atkinson
    Ian Rankin
    Louise Penny
    for book collector mysteries
    John Dunning
    for downright laugh-aloud humour
    Janet Evanovich
    William Deverell
    for investigative journalist
    Jan Burke

    these are just some series that are among the top of the field. I've tried to pick ones that have a little extra to them.

    you also asked about stand alones:
    Judas Child - Carol O'Connell
    Death From the Woods - Brigitte Aubert
    Fatherland - Robert Harris (also alternative history, if Germany had won WW 2)
    Gorky Park - Martin Cruz Smith (about Moscow before the Iron Curtain fell)
    Red Fox - Anthony Hyde
    See? your bag would be chockful of interesting books!!

    happy reading whatever you choose, Ana. I hope that you find you do enjoy mysteries! I didn't put Agatha Christie or Dorothy Sayers or anyone else named in your comments, just because I didn't want to repeat anyone else, and to give you a variety to pick from.

    by the way, Ann at Table Talk highly recommends An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears, which I am about to pick up - it's a historical mystery, stand alone, and she says full of atmosphere and very very good.....

  21. I don't read a lot of mysteries, but I would really like to read Sherlock Holmes. I would have to buy it, though, so that will have to wait!

    I should read The Woman in White. I am trying to remember if I have it or not...

  22. Well, I do not have an mystery author to add that has not already been mentioned. I did want to say that I totally agree with your criteria for a good mystery!

  23. I'm so jealous She won!!! But the good news is that we live in the same house, so I will be able to borrow it! :D

  24. The Queen of Mystery! Agatha Christie! I absolutely love almost everything I read by her. One of my favorites has got to be The Man in the Brown Suit (there's romance in it too!) or Death on the Nile. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is pretty awesome, too. Hope you find some good ones!

    Also... WHAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTT! I won?!?! I think Lu can attest to this, but I squealed like nobody's business and danced a happy dance. Thank you so much for offering it as a giveaway! :)

  25. I'll add my voice to those who've recommended Agatha Christie, with the caveat that she might be a little shallow for you. She does do some nice things with character, and her plots are generally a lot of fun to unravel, but she's very much a product of her times. You might get the most out of her mysteries if you view them as historical documents. It can be fun, if frustrating, to track Dame Agatha's attitudes towards things like class and romantic love.

  26. I love a good mystery, too, but haven't read any in a while, I'm sad to say, so I'm no help in that category. Congratulations to your winners.

  27. I would agree with those who said, go ahead, read Laurie R. King even without much Holmes in your reading history. You don't need it to enjoy Ms. King's wonderful books.

    You might also perhaps try David Pirie's books - The Patient's Eyes, The Night Calls, and so on - which feature Conan Doyle as the sleuth and Holmes' real-life inspiriation, Dr Joseph Bell. Pirie's books tend to be a bit darker, but they are incredibly atmospheric.

    Have you read Deanna Raybourn? If not, what are you waiting for?! :) I've never been able to speak highly enough of her Lady Julia Grey series, which begins with Silent in the Grave.

    And I second the John Dunning recommendation if you're looking for something more contemporary, with a book-loving twist.

    Or, maybe -
    -C.S. Harris' Sebastian St Cyr series (a bit uneven, but enjoyable)
    -Christopher Morley's The Haunted Bookshop
    -Jedediah Berry's The Manual of Detection

  28. I'm not sure I can offer many more suggestions than what have been offered. Many of those are excellent choices that I think you might enjoy. You might also like Adrian Hyland's Diamond Dove (Moonlight Downs, in the U.S.). It is set in the Australian outback and features a very strong female protagonist.

  29. Might I suggest the Detectives Beyond Borders blog? Its keeper, Peter Rozovsky, presents the best in crime fiction from all over the globe.

  30. I find your request for strong characterization interesting since that is the number one reason I love mysteries. I think the characterization in mysteries tends to be much richer than in some other genres. Additionally I find the thematic exploration to be of a more serious nature.

    Now I have a few suggestions but I'm not really sure they meet your requirements. I didn't see anyone else recommending them! But some of my favorites are author Elizabeth George and Faye Kellerman. I think Karin Slaughter is an exceptional writer as well, though pretty gritty.

    In any case, good luck! :)

  31. There are soooo many good mysteries. You can't go wrong with Sherlock Holmes or Agatha Christie. Moonstone by Wilkie or Letter fromHome by Carolyn Hart are great standalones. I read Louise Penny's Armand Gamache series for the Canadian Challenge and LOVED them. I also like the Kate Shugak Alaska series by Dana Stabenow. Susan Albert Wittig is another favorite, both the China Bayles and the Beatrice Potter series. Not too much violence and some great humor.

  32. I'm definitely coming back to make a list of these suggestions. I love mysteries.

    As for my own suggestion - I've just finished on amazingly good story. It's called "Interred with Their Bones" by Jennifer Lee Carrell. It's creepy in spots, fast-paced for the most part, and the hook is intriguing - it has to do with the unanswerable question of who really wrote Shakespeare's plays. Added to that is the fact that I really enjoyed the main characters and you've got a good mystery.


  33. I think Arthur Conan Doyle would be a good place to start, especially with atmosphere! I don't read much mystery that is deep and moving- more of the light variety. But since she's my favorite historical author, I would have to say Georgette Heyer's mysteries are great because even if the mystery part isn't so great, her dialogue is so witty and great. I also have a bookmark in the book My Name is Red, by Orhan Pamuk, which is a historical mystery that delves into many, many issues. It's very interesting, but changes POV quite often and it wasn't really what I wanted to read for a flight home. So, I am trying to pick it up again now.

  34. The Mary Russell series is good. I've only read the first two, but the second was better than the first, so that's always a good sign. I don't think you need to have read Sherlock Holmes to get into the series--I'm not a huge Holmes fan, in all honesty, and I've only read the The Hound of the Baskervilles.

    Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels is a great writer! My mom has all of her books, which I devoured when I was a kid. My favorite series by her is the Vicky Bliss series (art historian meets art thief to solve art crimes). I was never a big fan of the Amelia Peabody books, I have to say. I just don't like them, although a lot of other people obviously do. You might want to try her books under the Barbara Michaels pseudonym, because those are a lot more Gothic. My faves are Wait For What Will Come, Wings of the Falcon, and The Sea King's Daughter.

    You might also like the Nell Sweeny mysteries by PB Ryan. Nell is a governess with a mysteries past in post-Civil War Boston. That's a wonderful series, although very dark. But it has great characters and some very powerful scenes.

  35. Oh, my, my, my! Many of my favorite authors have already been mentioned, so I will not rehash them. But here is one other that I think you would enjoy: Amanda Cross. Her detective, Kate Fansler, is the radical black sheep and only daughter of a family right out of Edith Wharton. She is also a professor of literature, and is involved (of course) with an Assistant DA. So there's a lot of literary stuff, a great deal of mystery/murder stuff, and a bit of academic backbiting. Oh yes, and when Amanda Cross wasn't busy with her mysteries, she was teaching literature and writing essays and criticism under her real name--Carolyn Heilbrun.

  36. You definitely already have some good suggestions here. I'd second "The Thirteenth Tale." Also, I'd like to toss "The Shadow of the Wind" by Carlos Ruiz Zafon into the mix. I also recommend Kate Atkinson's "Case Histories" and Laura Lippman's "What the Dead Know."

    Wilkie Collins' "The Moonstone" is also good, but it's a very different kind of mystery than "The Woman in White." Still, I think you'd like it.

  37. Good Lord I am at the bottom of the pile here! Just got back from vacation, so I'm trying to catch up! I would second (or third or fourth) The Thirteenth Tale. It is a subtle mystery, with gothic roots. Same with The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters and of course there is Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier, which is the mommy of them all I think. Of the non-Gothic mysteries, Karin Slaughter and Elizabeth George are deep and intense, and always have very interesting characters.

  38. I second/third/fourth whatever number Agatha Christie, and Sherlock Holmes. Also, The Alienist by Caleb Carr, which is a Victorian mystery. Very, very good.

  39. It's true you don't have to have read Conan Doyle to enjoy the Laurie King series--but why wouldn't you want to read them? They're so good that I saved the last one for about a year, so I wouldn't have read all of them.

    I have a recent review of King's last novel, and also Ian Pears' most recent one (after Fingerpost).

    I'm also a fan of Brother Caedfael and was an Elizabeth George fan until very recently (her series jumped the shark, I think).

  40. I definitely think you'll love the Mary Russell series (and I've only read one or two Holmes stories, so I don't think they're a prereq at all). And I really like Brother Caedfel! Have you ever read Dorothy Sayers? She's a classic, but not at all like Christie...her Lord Wimsey series (along with Harriet Vane eventually) is pretty awesome. :D

    I wasn't at all impressed with the first Amelia Peobody, but I know that I'm in the minority.

    Kate Ross wrote four wonderful regency mysteries before she passed untimely for cancer...they're out of print now, but I scored them on bookmooch. That's the closest to a standalone I can come up with.

    Oh wait-PD James' Inspector Dalgleish is a series, but each novel feels like a standlone (I haven't read them in order at all, and it doesn't bother me!) And she's written some standalones-Innocent Blood was really good.

  41. I'm dying to read the Mary Russell series!! I actually have The Beekeeper's Apprentice here too! Just haven't read it! I also bought a book that Pat mentioned to me just because I liked the cover, but it actually sounds really good! It's by Barbara's called Wait for What Will Come. If you want to read either one of those, I'd be more than happy to do a buddy read with you ;)

  42. I'm a novice at mysteries too but tried both Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes for the first time this year and would recommend both. So much fun!

  43. Thank you for my wonderful prize. I am so excited to win one of your lovely bookmarks.

    I don't read a lot of mystery books, however I do own one of the Amelia Peabody books which I lent to a friend. She told me she thought it was a wonderful read.

  44. I am in agreement with those who say you don't have to read Sherlock Holmes to enjoy the Mary Russell books.. I had seen many old Holmes movies but never read a single holmes book and LOve the Mary Russell books.
    I am also glad someone else mentioned a book Laurie R King did called Touchstone! If you like mysteries that happen in England this is another good one.

    Just in passing.. I loved Drood and Shadow of the Wind also in case you haven't read those, I would certainly recommend them.

  45. Ah man, I hate that I can't be of more help here. :( Most of the mysteries I've read in the past have been more your thriller type.
    But there is one that really jumps to mind...Mystic River by Dennis Lehane. Definitely character-driven. Not a historical setting, but still the setting is a big part of the Boston neighborhood. Definitely suspenseful, but a deeper kind of suspenseful...honestly, not at all your "typical" thriller. And hey, if I'm not mistaken, Nick Hornby really, really liked it, too!

  46. As a fantasy reader who has just started dipping into mysterys, I was really excited when I read this post. It's funny you mention that whole 'scenes replaying' thing, happens to me too, but for some reason, I end up with the gory ones.
    Anyway, John Connelly is a fantastic author- Every Dead Thing is his first. I'm not going to lie, it's dark and gory but very, very introspective and haunting at the same time. I really loved it and the subsequent books with the same detective.
    I've never had much luck with historical mysteries, but I'm excited to hear what you try and like!

  47. I wish you would add just one more mystery book to you list. I have released a book called Family Secrets or Lies by Debbie Steever. It is getting good reviews but it is hard to get it out to the public.
    Please give it a try.
    Thank you,
    Debbie Steever

  48. I haven't read Woman in White, but it's on the TBR list (I've read the Moonstone and loved it) and I'm dying to get my hands on Sherlock Holmes. It's a hard genre for me to recommend much, because I'm also just starting out in it.

    Also, have an award for you at my blog.

    Have a good week.

  49. I **love** Peters's Peabody series. So much fun! Some of the books are stronger than others, but as a whole the series is too good to miss.

  50. Hmmm ... what would Nymeth like? My top pick for you would be Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers, which I see someone else has already recommended!

  51. There're so many wonderful recommendations here! :)

    I may be biased, but I'd go with Mo Hayder's books any time! :P

  52. I'm just getting into crime books too and am finding something to suit me even though I never thought, in the past, that the crime genre was for me. I'm finding that I like those set overseas - Inspector Montalbano by Andrea Camilleri (Italy), the Icelandic author, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, and I'm currently reading an Inspector Ghote story by H.R.F. Keating which is set in India and is utterly delightful. Oh and the Inspector Gamache books by Louise Penny, set in Quebec are good. In the Woods by Tana French, set in Ireland, is one of the best crime books I've read this year. Other than all of those I would thoroughly recommend the Laurie King books you mentioned, author, Peter Lovesey, and of course you know about Father Brown. :-)

  53. I quite like the ones by Karen E. Olson. Sherlock Holmes rocks!

  54. Melissa: I haven't read her, but I've always meant to. Thank you for reminding me - and I'll be sure to check out your reviews. I'll also go visit Kerrie very soon!

    Amanda: That's how I feel about every genre, really. But I also suspect that genres are a lot more varied than they seem from the outside! I've never read a cozy, but I like the idea of them a lot!

    Jill: I haven't - to be honest I worried a bit that they might be too graphic for me. But a book dealing with abuse of women is definitely something I'm interested in!

    Teresa: I'm glad to hear you don't have to have read Holmes to enjoy them! I look forward to starting the series - I so love the time period they're set it. Touchstone also sounds like something I'd enjoy.

    Claire: I vote yes to your boyfriend guest blogging about Holmes! Other than The Hound of the Baskervilles, the only other Holmes I've read was A Study in Scarlet. And yes, "A Study in Emerald" was the reason :P

    JoAnn: The Moonstone is on the pile and I hope to get to it soon :D

    Verbatim - that sounds exactly like the kind of thing I'm looking for. Thank you so much for the suggestions!

    Madeleine: I'm glad you liked the picture :D I look forward to hearing your thoughts on The Woman in White.

    Wordlily: Both of those sound wonderful. And I'm so excited about the possible mystery challenge :D

    Through the Reading Glass: The fact that they're set in Egypt was what made me want to read them in the first place. And oooh, art history :D

    Lahni: I have, but I could always read it again :P It was such a fun read.

    Chris: I haven't, but Carl's recent review made me want to! It does sound amazing.

    Frances: Thank you! I've spent some time at Danielle's blog and made myself a list of suggestions. I'll be returning for sure!

    Jenny: Ha! I think I love Dorothy Sayers already.

    Steph: I loved your review! And I've seen other bloggers say that they were among their favourite reads of the year. To the list they go!

    Andreea: I really want to read Lady Audley's Secret - hooray for Victorian mysteries!

    Sam: lol, I'll be sure to report back if I do read Amelia Peabody before you do :P

    Jackie: Oooh, Out! Several people read that for RIP last year and I added it to my list, but I had completely forgotten about it. The Sophie Hannah book also sounds like one I'd like.

    Doret: Thank you so much for the recommendations! I'd love to read a book set in Sweden - I think the last one was Nils Holgerson two years ago!

    Susan: Wheeeeeee, Susan to the rescue :D I KNEW I could count on you! Thank you so much for the virtual bag of books :D

    Kelly: My mother gave me the complete Sherlock Holmes over a year ago and I've yet to read it! I tend to do that a lot...

    Molly: We could apply the bullet points to almost anything!

    Lu: And she'll be able to borrow Bone from you :D

    She: Thank you for the suggestions! Agatha Christie wrote so much that it's great to have an idea of where to start. And congrats again! I wish you'd vlogged the happy dance :P

  55. I haven't read any of these mysteries but I plan on reading the Elizabeth Peters one.

  56. Memory, thank you for the warning! I'll keep that in mind when I read her.

    Kathy: Well, lots of suggestions here :D

    Chelle: I don't mind dark, and atmospheric sounds good to me! Also, I looked up the Lady Grey series and it sounds fantastic!

    Wendy: Ooh, the Australian outback! I think I remember your review of that, and it sounds wonderful.

    Loren Eaton, thank you so much for the link!

    Amy: It's just because I'm a character-oriented reader, not because I assumed mysteries had weak characterization! And thank you for the recommendations!

    Framed: yay! So many suggestions! Thank you :D I love humour, so I'll be sure to check those out.

    cj: Oooh, a literary mystery! Awesome :D

    Aarti: I actually didn't know Heyer had also written mysteries! And I've see My Name is Red around, but I had no idea what it was about. It sounds like it could be great!

    heidenkind: I'll make sure to look for Peters'/Michaels' other books too. You had me at "a lot more Gothic" :P

    ds: Carolyn Heilbrun of Hamlet's Mother and Other Women fame? Ooooh! I had no idea she had also written mysteries!

    J.S. Peyton: I've read The Thirteenth Tale, and The Shadow of the Wind is on my tbr pile. Also, after reading your comment I went on Bookmooch and grabbed a copy of Case Histories :D I once read an essay by Atkinson that I loved, and I've been meaning to read her ever since.

    Sandy: I love Rebecca! And I read The Thirteenth Tale last year and really enjoyed it. The Little Stranger is on the list too - it's Sarah Waters, after all :D

    Maree: The Alienist sounds AWESOME, and I hadn't even heard of it before!

    Jeanne: I do want to read them! I just worried I might miss some of the meaning if I wasn't more familiar with Holmes, but I'm happy to hear that's not the case.

  57. Eva: I haven't read Sayers, but now that so many of you recommended her she's high on my priority list :D And I hope I'll get lucky with those regency mysteries too!

    Chris: Awesome! I'll add them to my bookmooch wishlist, and I'll let you know if I get lucky.

    Joanna: It sounds like I need to actually read that large Sherlock Holmes tone of mine :P

    Vivienne: You're most welcome! Congrats again :D

    Deslily: I remember your review of Touchstone! I definitely want to read it. And Drood and Shadow of the Wind are on the pile :)

    Debi: I've eyed Mystic River a couple of times but to be honest I *whispers* kind of hated the movie* (I hope no one will hit me :P). Do you think I'd like the book regardless? I know I shouldn't judge a book by its movie, but I might as well ask :P

    Hawkeygirl: I like the sound of introspective and haunting!

    Jules: Thank you again for the award :D And I'm so looking forward to reading The Moonstone!

    Beth: I'll make sure not to miss it then :D

    Terri B: Sayers is definitely my number one mystery priority after all these recommendations!

    Melody: I think we're all biased in our own ways :P

    Cath: The Icelandic mystery you and Susan reviewed some time ago really appealed to me. Thank you for reminding me of it!

    Alice: I remember you and Wendy and others talking about Olson - thank you for the reminder!

    Ladytink: I hope we both enjoy them!

  58. I adore vintage mystery writers such as Agatha Christie, Josephine Tey, Ngaio Marsh and Dorothy L. Sayers.

    One modern mystery author I love is Julia Spencer-Fleming. She writes the Clare Ferguson/Russ Van Alstyne mysteries, featuring an Episcopalian priest and a (married) small-town cop. I avoided this series for the longest time because of the religious aspect. I needn't have worried as it's not in the least bit preachy. Far from it.

  59. Well, crap. I just don't know. I'm pretty sure (but not positive) that I saw and liked the movie, but honestly don't really remember it. The book sticks out much more in my mind, and I loved it! So yeah, I'm of pretty much no help whatsoever. ;)

  60. 1. Oooooh! How'd you get that pretty box around your follow up comments?

    2. I'm with Debi--kind of at a loss. Mystery isn't really my genre of choice. I read too many thrillers in high school and couldn't sleep at night/tensed up (I'm the worlds biggest wimp). You know, Dickens kind of writes mysteries. Maybe not like Collins but definitely twists. Great Expectations is all about solving the mystery of identity. Our Mutual Friend is also a mystery! Dead body in the Thames at the beginning of the book!

    Have you read Lady Audley's Secret? Not quite as well-written and maybe a little predictable but another Victorian Sensationalism novel. Trollope, but I think he's dreadfullly boring. I can't remember, have you read The Moonstone by Collins? What about Drood which is about Dickens' last novel (apparently narrated by Collins).

    LOL. Eventually you do need to read Dickens. But for now I'll shut my trap.

  61. I'm still fairly new to mysteries too, and don't have anything to add, but wanted to say I've enjoyed reading through everyone else's recommendations. :)


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