Fear in Writing: Absolute Favorite MYSTERIES

Today in Literary History

Today in Literary History...December 14, 1907: Rudyard Kipling receives the Nobel prize for literature, the first English-language writer to do so.ud

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Absolute Favorite MYSTERIES

I apologize for skipping a day when I said I would be blogging this week. Travel and The Sick Bug hit harder than I expected this week. But happy holidays and here is today's post...

Today - because this is a mystery writer's blog - we are discussing our absolute favorite mystery books. And I mean of all time.

I won't give you choices. You must really dig deep and think. Think. THINK.

Here are mine:

Louise Penny's Still Life
Caleb Carr's The Alienist
Arturo Perez-Reverte's The Club Dumas
Val McDermid's A Place of Execution
Agatha Christie - anything with Hercule Poirot

What have I forgotten? What should I read that I have missed? There are many more "near favorites," but this is the Tip of the Top List (at least as of today).


  1. Mine are more Thrillers, but I must say:

    "Velocity" Dean Koontz
    "Brimstone" Preston \ Child
    "Fractured" Karin Slaughter
    "The Footprints of God" Greg Iles

    Man, you are making me think here. think, that I need to go back an re-read these gems...

  2. And Then There Were None - Agatha Christie

    I've read that book to several grade 8 classes over the years. They think I'm nuts at the beginning - there's a lot of background info kids need before they can enjoy the story (British life, social classes, language lessons...), but every class absolutely loved it. I've met many of these kids years later, and it's amazing how many talk about that book.

  3. Why didn't they ask Evans? by Agatha Christie
    ABC Murders by Agatha Christie
    Anything by Val Mcdermid (especially Tony Hill/Carol Jordon series)

  4. J.m.- I don't remember Velocity specifically, but I'll have to revisit it...I love a good Preston/Childs book! And I have read every Greg Iles at least twice, though I'll admit Footprints of God took me two reads to make it to my good reads list. Great additions!

    Jemi- By far my favorite Christie as well. I had forgotten! Thank you for the reminder! I am glad you are passing it along to future mystery lovers.

    Anne Elle- Totally on board with Val McDermid. Keep hoping for more! And I don't know that I have read 'Why Didn't They Ask Evans?' A fault on my part I need to correct. Thanks for the response.

  5. Great choices! I'd suggest:

    - Nearly any of Rex Stout's mysteries starring Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin; the mysteries are often great, the stories are usually great, and the characters are always great.

    - Christopher Fowler's Bryant & May mysteries are just amazing gems that capture the spirit of old school British mystery, with a sort of post-X-Files edge. And the crotchety old sleuths are just a hoot. All the books are great, but it's easy enough to start at the beginning with "Full Dark House," which has a very cool double narrative set during both WW2 and the present.

    - P.D. James is another favorite author of mine. I love the mysteries I've read starring Commander Adam Dalgliesh ... but the title I'd put at the top of the list stars a different sleuth, Codelia Gray, in "An Unsuitable Job For a Woman."

    - John Dickson Carr, "The Three Coffins" (aka "The Hollow Man") from the 1930s is a grand locked-room/impossible crime mystery with such an audacious solution that the reader either LOVES it or HATES it.

    - Gregory Mcdonald's first two Fletch novels, "Fletch" and "Fletch, Confess" are hilarious, in addition to being clever mysteries. Some of the later books are fun (or at least readable), but those first two just sparkle. They won back-to-back Edgar Awards, the first time an author ever did that with a single series. (Maybe the record still holds?)

  6. Happy Holicays and thanks for the post!

  7. Thank you, Chris! You add interesting commentary and I'm glad you found my blog...I have Christopher Fowler on my To Read List, but the others aren't ones I had considered recently. The List is growing...I should have posted this BEFORE Christmas!

    Kimberly- Happy holidays to you as well!