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Date Posted: 12/14/2011 6:38 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,603
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This was VERY difficult...given that I have read over 200 books and about 90% or more of them are mysteries...but this is what I eventually settled on. Even with the honorable mentions listed, there were a LOT of excellent books that didn't make the list!

TOP TEN MYSTERIES (in no particular order...but I did cheat a little, counting series books that I read this year in the same series as one entry)

1. A TRACE OF SMOKE/A NIGHT OF LONG KNIVES by Rebecca Cantrell (#1 & 2 Hannah Vogel series)

2. BREATHING WATER/THE QUEEN OF PATPONG by Timothy Hallinan (#3 & 4 Poke Rafferty series)

3. AMONG THE MAD/THE MAPPING OF LOVE AND DEATH/A LESSON IN SECRETS by Jacqueline Winspear (#6, 7 & 8 Maisie Dobbs series)

4. THE VICTORIA VANISHES by Christopher Fowler (#6 Bryant & May mysteries)

5. A RED HERRING WITHOUT MUSTARD/I AM HALF SICK OF SHADOWS by Alan Bradley (audio) (#3/4 Flavia de Luce series)

6. SNAKESKIN SHAMISEN/BLOOD HINA by Naomi Hirahara (#3/4 Mas Arai series)

7.  LOVE SONGS FROM A SHALLOW GRAVE by Colin Cotterill (#7 Dr. Siri Paiboun series)

8.  GUNSHOT ROAD by Adrian Hyland (#2 Emily Tempest mystery)

9. BURY YOUR DEAD by Louise Penny (#6 Three Pines mystery)

10. THE WEAVER AND THE FACTORY MAID/FAMOUS FLOWER OF SERVING MEN/MATTY GROVES by Deborah Grabien (#1/2/3 "Haunted Ballad" mysteries)

Honorable mention:

A FIELD OF DARKNESS by Cornelia Read (#1 Madeline Dare mystery)

CHILD 44 by Tom Rob Smith (#1 Leo Demidov mystery--note: I didn't like the second one nearly as well)

IN THE SHADOW OF GOTHAM by Stefanie Pintoff (#1 Simon Ziele historical mystery)

THE LIONS OF THE NORTH by Edward Marston (#4 Domesday medieval mysteries)

THE PURE IN HEART by Susan Hill (#2 Simon Serrailler mystery)

THE CASE OF THE MISSING SERVANT/THE CASE OF THE MAN WHO DIED LAUGHING by Tarquin Hall (audio) (#1/2 Vish Puri mysteries)

FROM THE GROUNDS UP/A CUP OF JO by Sandra Balzo (#5/6 Maggy Thorsen mystery)

TO FETCH A THIEF/THE DOG WHO KNEW TOO MUCH by Spencer Quinn (audio) (#3/4 Chet & Bernie)


1. THE WEE FREE MEN/A HAT FULL OF SKY/WINTERSMITH by Terry Pratchett (Discworld fantasy series, Tiffany Aching sub-series)

2. THE LAST KINGDOM by Bernard Cornwell (#1 Saxon historical fiction series)

3. THE LAST ARGUMENT OF KINGS by Joe Abercrombie (#3 First Law fantasy trilogy)

4. THE WARDED MAN by Peter V. Brett (#1 Demon Cycle trilogy, fantasy)

5. PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith (audio)

6. THE EAGLE'S BROOD by Jack Whyte (#3 Camulod Chronicles historical fantasy)

7. DOWNPOUR by Kat Richardson (#6 Greywalker paranormal mystery)

8. BLOODSHOT: CHESHIRE RED REPORTS by Cherie Priest (#1 Cheshire Red paranormal)

BOTTOMS--WORST MYSTERIES (that I actually finished...DNF's not counted)


CAT OF THE CENTURY by Rita Mae Brown

CUT SHORT by Leigh Russell

DEAD CONNECTION by Alafair Burke (audio)

PRETTY GIRL GONE by David Housewright

THE INDIAN BRIDE by Karin Fossum

Looking forward to reading all of your lists!


Last Edited on: 12/22/11 6:30 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/14/2011 6:42 PM ET
Member Since: 4/1/2011
Posts: 272
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I'll play! Like you, Cheryl, I rarely finish mysteries I don't like. If it hasn't grabbed me by page 50, forget it. Here are my Top & Bottom 10 mysteries for 2011, in alphabetical order by author's last name...


  1.    Frostbitten, by Kelley Armstrong (stretching the genre)
  2. Open Season, by C.J. Box
  3. The Affair, by Lee Child
  4. The Sentry, by Robert Crais
  5. Vanished, by Joseph Finder
  6. The Lock Artist, by Steve Hamilton
  7. A Bad Day for Sorry, by Sophie Littlefield
  8. Faces of the Gone, by Brad Parks
  9. Buried Prey, by John Sandford
  10. Clare Fergusson Series, by Julia Spencer-Fleming (I read all of them this year and they were all terrific.)


  1. The Tawdry Yellow Brick Road, by David Bischoff
  2. Blood Men, by Paul Cleave
  3. Split Second, by Catherine Coulter
  4. Last Bus to Woodstock, by Colin Dexter
  5. Orange Crush, by Tim Dorsey
  6. Chains of Folly, by Roberta Gellis
  7. The Butcher’s Theater, by Jonathan Kellerman (couldn’t finish)
  8. Liar, Liar by K.J. Larsen
  9. Change of Heart, by Jodi Picoult (stretching the genre)
  10. The Laughing Policeman, by Wahloo & Sjowall

Top 6 Other Genres (I couldn't come up with 10, the first 3 are fiction, the others are non-fiction)

  1. Side Jobs, by Jim Butcher (audio read by James Marsters)
  2. Widdershins, by Charles deLint
  3. The Story Sisters, by Alice Hoffman
  4. The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book, by Timothy Beal
  5. When God is Gone Everything is Holy: The Making of a Religious Naturalist, by Chet Raymo
  6. Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe, by Greg Epstein


Last Edited on: 1/1/12 3:41 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/14/2011 8:28 PM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2006
Posts: 929
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I'll have to give this some thought and right now I'm not sure I have time to think. LOL





Date Posted: 12/15/2011 6:10 PM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2008
Posts: 2,207
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I'll play, too, but it'll take me a week or so to get the information. I've been tracking my reading for a VERY long time so I definitely can refer to my 2011 reads.

I may have a problem coming up with BOTTOMS MYSTERIES as I won't finish a book that doesn't grab me, though I have finished a couple of duds this year so I could finish off a series.


Date Posted: 12/15/2011 10:50 PM ET
Member Since: 2/16/2009
Posts: 485
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Great idea, Cheryl - saving my spot!

Date Posted: 12/16/2011 7:02 AM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2007
Posts: 2,408
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Not sure I'll be able to come up with complete lists but I"ll give it a shot!

Date Posted: 12/17/2011 2:27 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 3,153
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Not sure I can come up with ten  - so many were in between for me but I will try.   Here are my best reads from the challenge: 

Still Life by Louise Penny

A Minnesota Story of Moonshine and Murder by Mary DesJarlais

In Cold Pursuit by Sarah Andrews

The Last Child by John Hart

Gunshot Road by Adrian Hyland

Last Edited on: 12/24/11 5:31 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/22/2011 6:30 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,603
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Just doing a bump--at work today but it is REALLY quiet and needed a break from actual reading, so decided to work on my lists. :)