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I would start with
"Woman in White" by Wilkie Collins
I welcome more recommendations
For convenience I will list all the books in this Reply
Book Title Author Recommended By
Last Edited on: 9/25/07 8:34 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Classic: "The Hound of the Baskervilles" by Doyle, since you've already listed The Woman in White.
Modern: Oh, gosh, hard to pick - would be a tie between "A is for Alibi" by Sue Grafton or "The Beekeeper's Apprentice" by Laurie R. King.
But I could probably list 50 must-reads just off the top of my head.
Here are a few favorites (mostly OLDIES):
Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters
Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allen Poe
Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L. Sayers
The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne
ETA: If I could only recommend ONE of these it would be "Crocodile on the Sandbank."
Last Edited on: 8/26/07 8:44 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Any book by Michael Connelly. But if you are going to read his books, and any in the Harry Bosch series, go back to the beginning ... the book that got me hooked on him ... "Black Echo."
Definitely Elizabeth George's series about Inspector Lynley. Read them in order, though. Sometimes I wish that I hadn't read them yet so that I could have the thrill of reading them for the first time again.
Since Murder On The Orient Express, The Hound of the Baskervilles and DaVinci Code have already been listed, here are other candidates for "toppers" :)
I could go on since I have not even named some of my favourite authors - Dorothy Sayers, P.D James, Jonathan Kellerman, Jeffery Deaver, Martha Grimes, Elizabeth George, Elizabeth Peters, Ian Rankin, Ruth Rendell and so on. Pretty much anything by these authors is worth reading.
Last Edited on: 9/23/07 8:48 AM ET - Total times edited: 1