I almost wasn’t going to do something this week. I tend to read within a genre, and I’ve already raved about most of my favourite fantasy authors in the last three Top Ten Tuesdays. Somehow, I didn’t think a list of “ten books I’d recommend to people who already know that I like these books” would be the most thrilling way to spend any of our time.
Then I remembered my other favourite genre, one which hasn’t received enough representation on this blog because I don’t actually have any intention of writing within it. As much as I’m a fantasy girl through and through, mystery actually held my heart through most of my teens, and as soon as I started thinking about it I got all warm and fuzzy, so I guess they’re worth passing along in hopes that anyone else feels the same!
I like to try and offer explanations behind each of my picks on these lists, but honestly, I can’t do that properly this week. It’s been ages since I’ve read most of these, to the point where all I can really remember is absolutely adoring them at the time. I remember crediting these authors with interesting characterization, with plots that were complex enough to catch my attention without driving me to distraction with convolution, and I would never recommend a book whose writing didn’t please me (except the first few Dresden books, because Travis was right, they’re worth it). I’m not entirely sure I’d feel the same way now, but the impression they left is enough for me to at least suggest them to anyone looking for an interesting mystery.
So just to miss the brief on all possible notes – here are the Top Eight Authors I’d Recommend to Potential Mystery Lovers, plus Two I’m Fairly Sure my Friend Maggie Would Add If This Were Her List.
1. Laurie R. King – Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes (series)
Now with a new cover, so you don’t keep seeing the same thing every time I recommend this book! This series highhandedly started my love of Holmes when I was about eleven. I could not be happier that she is still writing.
2. Elizabeth George – Inspector Lynley (series)
This series kept me sane while I was stranded in the Dominican Republic with my grandparents when I was fourteen. It also gave me nightmares. I loved the main character so much that I named a character of my own after him!
3. Ian Rankin – Inspector Rebus (series)
This series has made my list before, and probably will again. I got my dad hooked on it a couple of years ago after my grandfather gave it to me because he mistakenly thought it had something to do with tabletop RPGs.
4. Elizabeth Peters – Amelia Peabody (series)
Oh, how I loved this series. I don’t normally go for period novels (other than Holmes, apparently), but I happened to find this just after I’d seen The Mummy and I guess I was open to Egyptology? I’m quite glad I gave this a chance. It sticks in my head for two reasons: first, a lovely, unconventional romance and second, a child character who didn’t make me want to throw the book against a wall and storm out in a rage.
5. Agatha Christie – Hercule Poirot (series)
People who read Christie seem to have their hearts won over by whichever of her detectives they met first. For me, it was Poirot. I loved him as a nice counterpoint to Holmes, the stuffy sedentary thinker who is oblivious to his own ridiculousness. Bless him, and his square eggs. Murder on the Orient Express in particular always chilled me wonderfully when I was a kid.
6. P. D. James – Adam Dalgleish (series)
I have only read two of James’ books, and I read them out of order, but I liked them enough that I’ve bought and lost four others over the years and she’s high on my list of authors to catch up on. If I think she’s worth my own checking out, I must think she’s worth recommending to someone else?
7. Ellis Peters – Chronicles of Brother Cadfael (series)
All right, apparently I actually don’t mind period mystery series. I remember I started reading these after falling in love with the TV show (Derek Jacobi will forever be one of my favourite people ever, a status only boosted by his appearance on Doctor Who), and the books were just as glorious in their own way.
8. Dorothy Sayers – Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries (series)
Two friends recommended this series to me, and I put it off. Then Lord Peter made a small guest appearance in one of Laurie R. King’s books and I decided I needed to see what the fuss was about – and it turns out, they’re lovey!
9. Lousie Penny – Chief Inspector Armand Gamache (series)
Maggie’s own review of the latest will probably do a better job than I could at explaining her fondness for the seires, if you don’t mind potential spoilers. Penny is next on my list; you should all add her to yours too.
10. Kathy Reichs – Temperance Brennan (series)
Everyone I’ve ever spoken to about this has been clear on the importance of separating the books from the TV series. Since I’m only moderately fond of the series, I’m inclined to listen to Maggie’s suggestion and give the books a go – if for no other reason than that we need more things set in Quebec!