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Topic: Mystery Recommendations

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Subject: Mystery Recommendations
Date Posted: 6/22/2009 3:55 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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I love mysteries, but I've been having some trouble finding anything that's been really grabbing me recently, so I would love to get some recommendations.

I love, love, love the golden age writers.  But I've read most of them, and the ones I haven't read I'm rationing out.  I also really like classic hardboiled detective fiction (Hammett, Chandler, Cain, et al).  I also love dark creepy psychological stuff like Patricia Highsmith.

I really like Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine, I'm a little meh about PD James, I went through a big James Ellroy phase a while ago.  I really loved Lauren Henderson and Sparkle Hayter's very modern and well-written books.  I'm currently enjoying Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs books.  I've been reading M.C. Beaton and I'm a little disappointed.  She's an okay writer, but the mysteries themselves are just so simple, I've been a little underwhelmed.  I loved Sarah Caudwell's four books and Amanda Cross, too.

I'm a little stumped about where I should go next.  Any suggestions would be much appreciated!


Date Posted: 6/22/2009 4:08 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2007
Posts: 2,408
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Try Elizabeth George's Lynley/Havers series.  Her series in publication order is here: http://www.stopyourekillingme.com/G_Authors/George_Elizabeth.html

If you like the Maisie Dobbs series, you might appreciate the Ian Rutledge series by Charles Todd.  The books are set in England just after World War I.  The are quite a bit darker than the Maisie Dobbs books but they are excellent: http://www.stopyourekillingme.com/T_Authors/Todd_Charles.html

Others will offer their suggestions as well, I'm sure.

Date Posted: 6/22/2009 4:26 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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I will take a look at Charles Dodd, that definitely sounds like something I would like.  I read one or two Elizabeth George books ( I liked the BBC series), but I didn't enjoy them as much as I expected to.  Maybe I'll give them another shot

ETA - I cannot tell you how much I love your signiture quote!

Last Edited on: 6/22/09 4:38 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/22/2009 4:47 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,603
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Deborah Crombie! The Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James mysteries offer the best of both worlds--great characters AND well-plotted mysteries that are well-written. During this past year, she's rocketed right up to my top five favorites and is one of the few series I am totally caught up with and eagerly waiting for the newest release.


Date Posted: 6/25/2009 12:44 PM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2005
Posts: 504
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If you liked Sarah Caudwell's books, you will probably like Ruth Dudley Edwards. She writes mysteries that are also social satires. They are all good but Publish and Be Murdered is my favorite.

Have you read Patricia Moyes?  I consider her part of the Golden Age writers, but I know others who don't.  Classic British detective stories.

Date Posted: 6/25/2009 8:36 PM ET
Member Since: 2/27/2009
Posts: 22,618
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wise-cracking PI (Sam Spade style)


Robert Crais - his Elvis Cole series starting with The Monkey's Rain Coat

G. M. Ford - His Leo Waterman (a slight screwball spin in this one at time) series and his Frank Corso mysteries (police detective)

Lawrence Block - his Matt Scudder series 

Dennis Lehane - his Kenzie, Gennaro mysteries (darker than most)

if you can find them, Charles Knief wrote 4 John Caine mysteries, very Travis Magee in style, set in Hawaii

Earl Emerson - Thomas Black mysteries

ANdrew Vachss - his Burke novels (very grim books)

Jack Kerly - his Carson Ryder series

Also try Charlie Houston, Sean Chercover, Richard Hawke and David Housewright


Supernatural suspense sytle mysteries

F Paul Wilson - Repaiman Jack series

John Connolly - his Charley Parker series

Preston Child - the Pendergast series

Last Edited on: 6/26/09 4:07 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/26/2009 12:30 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,940
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I second the Jack Kerly, Carson Ryder series - great mysteries. I also enjoy Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch series.

Date Posted: 6/26/2009 4:49 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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Thank you all so much.  These are great!

I think I may be the only person on earth who is not in love with Dennis Lahane, though.

i have to agree with the people who don't consider Patricia Moyes as one of the Golden Age writers.  I'm pretty much a pre-war/Detection Club purist on that front.  Speaking of which, if anyone comes across any of the three Dorothy Sayers edited Omnibus of Crime anthologies, they are truly spectacular.

Date Posted: 6/26/2009 8:10 PM ET
Member Since: 2/27/2009
Posts: 22,618
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ACtually, I'm not a big fan of Lehane.  I liked his A Drink Before the War and Darkness, Take my hand and them quit in the middle of his third book.  I just thught him such a downer.


I have found Rys Bowen's Her Royal Spyness and A Royal Pain were just excellent cozies set in 1932 London.  Her writing is as smooth as silk, but the mystery in the first book is slight and somewhat better in book 2, but still not the strong suit.


Also check out Will Thomas' Barker and Llewelyn series set in late 1800's London starting with Some Danger Involved.  I just bought Charles Finch's A Beautiful Blue Death, also an historical mystery that comes very highly recommended.


Alice Kimberly (AKA Cleo Coyle) writes the haunted Bookshop mysteries that has the ghost of a hardbiled late '40's PI helping the bookshop owner firgure out mysteries.  Part Agatha Christie and part The Ghost and Mrs Muir.

Last Edited on: 6/26/09 8:18 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 6/27/2009 10:43 AM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 4
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Have you tried LInda Fairstein?  She has a lot of books out there. I just finished her book "The Bone Vault" and really enjoyed it.

Date Posted: 9/21/2009 1:44 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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This is an acient thread, but I just wanted to say THANK YOU, now that I've read some of your suggestions.

Cheryl - particular thanks for introducing me to Deborah Crombie who has pretty instantly become one of my favorites.

In light of recent events, I thought a big shout out to how consistantly awesome everyone on this board is was in order.

Date Posted: 9/26/2009 7:50 PM ET
Member Since: 9/2/2005
Posts: 395
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Jeffrey Deaver's Lincoln Rhyme series is really good.

The Monkeewrench series by PD James is another favorite (but needs more books!)

Thoma Perry's Jane Whitield series is good, she's part Native American so there is a little bit of Indian mysticsm in the storeis which makes it interesting to me.

Stephen White's  Dr. Alan Gregory series.

I 2nd the Pendergast series - excellent!!

Tess Gerritsen (not the romance books!) Jane Rizzoli & Maura Isles - excellent series.

Date Posted: 9/26/2009 9:48 PM ET
Member Since: 1/9/2006
Posts: 760
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I LOVE to recommend Charles_Kneif .  He only wrote 4 books, but they were very well written.