Friday, May 22, 2009

"M" is for Mystery

I've always loved a good mystery story. I remember collecting the Nancy Drew books (I still have them) and wishing I could find myself caught up in a real-life drama like the heroine: bank robberies, kidnapping, stolen jewelry, and secret passageways were all in a day's work for Nancy and her buddies. I've started exploring some authors of mystery stories, particularly historical mysteries, that I think are going to be interesting.

Margaret Frazer writes "medieval mysteries" which are rich in historical detail and feature Dame Frevisse as the central character. I have The Sempster's Tale waiting in my to-be-read pile, but some other intriguing titles in this medieval series are The Hunter's Tale, The Prioress' Tale, The Maiden's Tale, The Squire's Tale, among others. Looks like a fun read.

Anne Perry is the author of Victorian era mysteries which are noted for their accuracy in social mores and etiquette of the period. I recently read Callander Square, featuring Inspector Thomas Pitt and his wife, Charlotte, as the central characters. Lots of elements that I enjoy in a story: a Victorian setting, high society, backstairs gossip, and a shocking discovery. Some of Perry's other Victorian mysteries are Southhampton Row, Ashworth Hall, and Paragon Walk, to name just a few.

When I picked up Alice Kimberly's book and read "A Haunted Bookshop Mystery," I had to have it. What's not to love about a ghost in a present-day bookshop that helps the owner solve real-life mysteries? I've just begun The Ghost and the Dead Man's Library and it is very quick, light, humorous reading. Other books in the series are The Ghost and the Dead Deb and The Ghost and Mrs. McClure.

Dorothy Sayers's Gaudy Night is also waiting on my list of TBR. Her Lord Peter Wimsey series was written in the 1930's, so they are reminiscent of Agatha Christie's tales. Some intriguing titles I'd like to explore are The Unpleasantness at the Bellonna Club, Whose Body?, Hangman's Holiday, and Strong Poison.

If CSI meets the Roman Empire appeals to you, you will enjoy Ruth Downie's two books, Medicus and Terra Incognita. I did.

Lastly, I'm completing Tasha Alexander's And Only to Deceive. I don't necessarily share the author's love of the writing of Homer, so I'm not finding the central character's passion for The Illiad or the central storyline very compelling, but the writing is very charming and elegant and true to the Victorian era.
"Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable."
Louisa May Alcott

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Favorite Period Dramas

Mount TBR

Joanne's to-read book montage

On a Highland Shore
A Light on the Veranda
The Queen's Vow: A Novel Of Isabella Of Castile
The Edwardians
Maisie Dobbs
Howards End
Lady's Maid
Instruments Of Darkness
When Maidens Mourn
Where Shadows Dance
What Remains of Heaven
Where Serpents Sleep
Why Mermaids Sing
When Gods Die
Before Ever After
The Sugar Queen
Garden Spells
After the Night

Joanne's favorite books »