Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Mystery Reader

I am a mystery reader.  I have been a mystery reader for a long, long time, and enjoy many, many mystery series.  Of course, I love Agatha Christie http://www.agathachristie.com/ and am absolutely in love with the Miss Marple series http://www.agathachristie.com/story-explorer/characters/miss-marple/  and Hercule Poirot series, especially those in which David Souchet  http://www.agathachristie.com/story-explorer/characters/poirot/%20   is the star in the TV series.  With Agatha Christie, in addition to the mysteries set in England, there are many that are set in wonderfully exotic settings that are so intriguing. 

I found Susan Grafton http://www.suegrafton.com/ on my own.  I really liked her until, in the middle of the alphabet, she put Kinsey Milhone in a real predicament, then rescued here without telling the reader how (or only precursorily) Kinsey was able to get out of the predicament.  But, I stayed a fan, and the series got better.  I think Grafton was under too much pressure to produce novels too quickly...

And, because I read an article that said President Bill Clinton was a fan of Sara Paretsky's http://www.saraparetsky.com/  V I Warshawski series, I started reading those and found I was a fan. Paretsky did  not produce as many mysteries as quickly as Grafton, but hers were more well written.  And, more violent.

A friend introduced me to Dick Frances http://www.dickfrancis.com/site/DIFR/Templates/Home.aspx?pageid=3&cc=GB  and I was just enthralled.  These were great mysteries, associated with horse racing. There are a couple of continuing series, but mostly just independent stories.... Great!

The same friend introduced me to Nevada Barr http://www.nevadabarr.com/ the National Park Service Law Enforcement Forest Ranger who is involved in a series of mysteries.

The same friend introduce me to Tony Hillerman http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/h/tony-hillerman/ .  His mysteries are great!

She also introduced me to Alexander McCall Smith http://www.alexandermccallsmith.co.uk/  , who wrote several series.  However, the one my friend introduced me to was about The Number One Lady's Detective Agency http://www.randomhouse.com/features/mccallsmith/main.php  My friend shared a series of DVDs that showed the stories, but as always, the books are better.

My friend also has introduced me to China Bayles, who is an attorney who left Houston, and opened an herb shop in the Texas Hill Country.  http://www.susanalbert.com/   Fun mysteries that are set in familiar settings. 

I have gone to a couple of classes that are designed to expose the reader to mysteries: Bill Meador, who finished his career at the Lubbock Independent School District as a librarian, has taught multiple classes about these mysteries at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute http://www.depts.ttu.edu/outreach/ .  They have been invaluable to me... They have lead me to varous resources that help me with finding books, with buying books, and in general, how best to maximize your book resources.  

And, I now attend the Barnes and Noble Mystery Book Club.  We read a book by Margaret Coel, and that introduced me to the Wind River Reservation series http://www.margaretcoel.com/.

One more sight, from Bill Meador:  Fantastic Fiction http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/ gives you information about authors, and lists the series in order.  For someone like me, this is important. 

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Blogger linda said...

I must do the obligatory shout-out to Hofstra law professor/mystery writer Alafair Burkes (also, daughter of James Lee Burke).

July 08, 2010 11:00 AM  

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