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Topic: What are your favorites?

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Subject: What are your favorites?
Date Posted: 9/21/2009 2:37 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 137
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I always like getting new recommendations of books to read  from people, often they are books I may have never picked out on my own, but read to try to reach out of my self-imposed coccoon.   I see alot of people asking for recommendations, based on some authors that they like.  I think that is great,  but I always like some suggested reading based on what other people like.   In other words,  what are 2 of your  favorite mystery/thrillers ,and a few words on why?    Thanks for all suggestions!

Date Posted: 9/21/2009 6:50 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,603
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Two current (and very different favorites)

Deborah Crombie's series featuring Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James, which is a British police procedural series. The mysteries are interesting, the characters are well-developed and grow over the course of the series, and the writing style is easy to read. In short, she tells a good story! The first book in this series is A Share in Death, and they only get better from there.

Colin Cotterill's Dr. Siri Paiboun series, which is set in 1970's Laos. I love this series because it's so different! Dr. Siri is 72 years old, looking to retire but was appointed the national coroner of Laos by his party, the Communist Party. He doesn't dare refuse for fear of reprisals, so he has to learn to "play the political games" that go with his job. This story also features some great secondary characters and the author has a wonderful, lyrical way with words. The first one is called The Coroner's Lunch and I highly recommend it if you're tired of the "same old, same old." This series doesn't get posted on PBS very often though and I usually end up getting them through the library--in fact, the most recent one called The Merry Misogynist is waiting at the library now for me to pick up. (Yay!)


Date Posted: 9/22/2009 4:40 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 137
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Cheryl,  They  both sound like interesting series, and I am definitely curious enough to try them.  Thanks for the info.


Date Posted: 9/23/2009 8:45 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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The Arkady Renko Series by Martin Cruz Smith - I enjoy the foreign location and cultural details (Russia) and rooting for the underdog (Arkady).

The Inspector Lynley series by Elizabeth George - again, I enjoy the foreign location (UK) and George's earlier books had some great plot lines with plenty of red herrings and twists. The relationship between Lynley and Havers is unique and interesting.

Date Posted: 9/23/2009 9:09 PM ET
Member Since: 9/30/2006
Posts: 7,024
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Catherine Coulter has a great series about the FBI starring husband, wife agents Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock.  There are several in the series so if you like them there are alot to choose from.  I read them in order and I think it works better that way, but don't worry if you start somewhere else, you'll still like them.

Date Posted: 9/23/2009 9:21 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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I was having so much trouble answeing this - but, I guess I have to say Wilkie Collins and the four great novels he wrote in the 1860s:  The Moonstone, The Woman in White, Armadale and No Name. 

Also, Dorothy Sayers Wimsey novels.  They're unmatchable, I think.

Date Posted: 9/24/2009 2:52 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,136
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My two favorite "serious" mystery series writers are Phil Rickman and Charles Todd.  Phil Rickman writes about Merrily Watkins, a female priest in a small town in England, who has also reluctantly taken on the job of parish exorcist.  That adds a touch of "paranormal" to the stories, but it's very understated and completely believable--I actually see it as psychological, not paranormal or religious.  Rickman is great at creating atmosphere, and the characters are very believable to me--I look forward to each book like I'm going to visit with old friends.  I accidentally read the second book in the series before the first, so had to go back and read the first--which is not as good as the later books.  Charles Todd has been discussed here recently, he writes about Ian Rutledge, the World War One veteran who returns to his job as a police inspector, while dealing with the psychological trauma he went through in the war.

As far as cozies go, I like Hazel Holt (again, for the small town British atmosphere) and the Donna Andrews "bird" series, for the humor.

Date Posted: 9/26/2009 7:30 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 137
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Thanks for all the great suggestions.  I realized that I haven't answered by own question.  James Rollins' Sigma Force novels - while they may be more thriller than mystery, I enjoy the historical/mystical aspect of them, as well as the adventure/mystery plots.  My old standby, if I can't find anything else to read is Jonathan Kellerman's Alex Delaware series.  The main characters are like old friends, and I feel comfortable with the books after picking one up after not having read any of them for 6 months. 

Date Posted: 9/26/2009 9:53 PM ET
Member Since: 1/9/2006
Posts: 760
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A book that is one of my all time favorite mysteries is very graphic and, well, rather explicit.  But it was one of the best written, most well constructed mysteries I've ever read. Mercy by David Lindsey

Date Posted: 9/29/2009 6:06 PM ET
Member Since: 5/20/2008
Posts: 2,161
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authors I LOVE:

Patricia Wentworth- cozy mysteries featuring a spibster sleuth and her knitting needles. Great WWII atmosphere, lots of info about rations, fashions at the time, etc. Often set in the classic British Country House setting. Usually a side romance between the other characters. Miss Silver has a penchant for the victorian and loves to quote Tenneyson! A good one to start with is "Through the Wall" or "the Clock Strikes Twelve".

Edmund Crispin- lovely English series featuring an Oxford Don named Gervase Fen. He is totally self absorbed and arrogant, and rather than offend anyone, they just roll their eyes at him as he is so preposterous as to be comical. Very "British humor". Light but written beautifully. A very literate writer- themes often include music since Bruce Montgomery (Crispin) was a composer. WWII setting in several. A good one to start with is "Swan Song".

Emily Brightwell- modern author who writes cozy mysteries featuring the housekeeping staff of a Scotland Yard Inspector. I like these for the interaction between the characters. It has a "Murder She Wrote" set in Cabot Cove feeling- you love everyone, and enjoy their teatime conversations about murder and mayhem. The omnibus of the first three is frequently on PBS "Mrs. Jeffries Learns the Trade" an excellent credit bargain.

Gladys Mitchell- considered in the top three of female Golden age Detectives in England.  Her heroine, Mrs. Bradley was socially modern and liberal. Shes a wealthy psychoanalyst. Crimes often involve the occult.  Good ones to try are "Rising of the Moon" which is an amazing piece from the perspective of a twelve year old child, but eery. Good for Halloween- the killer is a wicked one for sure! For more with Mrs. Bradley, I would recommend "Mystery of a Butcher Shop" which is her first and has a twist ending. Mrs. Bradley mysteries are the best when they involve younger boys, who Mitchell enjoyed writing about as a teacher herself in a school setting.