Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Who Done It!

I love a good mystery.  I have to admit though that the books I like have to be of a certain kind since I truly hate gore, and certainly don't want to know the personal details of the character's love life.  I have over the years devoured mysteries such as the Cadfael series by Ellis Peters, and of course the wonderful Miss Jane Marple by Agatha Christie.

After many years the number of mysteries that can still fill my personal criteria has dwindled since I've read a goodly number of them already.  So this summer has been the time to look for a lighter fare to read, or what everyone seems to call a summer read.  My personal reading list this summer has included the Evan Evans series by Rhys Bowen, and a whole catalog of Torie O'Shea mysteries by Rett MacPherson. 

My personal criteria for any good mystery even in the summer begins with great characters, and of course an interesting story line.  Some good first books in a series can sometimes end up being way too formulaic if an author continues to stay safe by using or even replicating part of the original story lines.  This fixed sort of book seems way too prevalent on the market today and you have to be very discerning to discover new authors who actually create great stories and great characters too. 

One way might to discover what you're looking for is to pick the brains of your friends who just might have a similar tastes in books as you.   Another avenue might be to frequent sites online like Stop You're Killing Me (http://www.stopyourekillingme.com/) or Cozy Mysteries. List (http://www.cozy-mystery.com/).  Both sites offer interesting sleuths who work in a wide range of places and centuries.  Another place to look online, though not an exclusively mystery driven site, is Fantastic Fiction (http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/).  I found my own personal favorite author Candace Robb there.

If you're looking for good medieval mysteries you can't match Ellis Peters books (The pen name for Edith Pargeter) which are centered around a12th century Welsh monk called Cadfael. Another great character is the 13th century Roger the Chapman who can be found in the books by  Kate Sedley. These two are just a taste of the mysteries and writers available today.

So, how do you find that just right book to read?  Whether it's a a fluffy summer read, or that intensely dark mystery for those dark days of winter don't guess at what might be a good read but take a little time to find the exact one to fit the bill!


Ellie said...

I read blogs to find out good references! I love to read reviews and I will check out these links!

Come see me, I have something for you ;-D

Robert V. Sobczak said...

I need to dive into a good book. I got in three this summer ... not enough!

Ciss B said...

Thanks, I will check out your site!

Only three? I do that many in a week! Of course I am an English major and have been obsessed with books since I was a kids too. :-)

Patricia Stoltey said...

Hi Ciss -- I've been reading a lot of the guest posts and interviews at my blogger friends' sites and have discovered some great reads. Lately I've been on a dark thriller kick, but I'm also fond of good mystery series, mainstream novelists like Jodi Piccoult, and YA novels. My TBR stack is getting pretty tall.


Robert V. Sobczak said...

I'm a Sherlock Holmes fan from way back. I rank them in my Top 10 of any book (lump them all together as one) that I've ever read.

Ciss B said...

I also find good reads amongst those who share their blogs with us. I am a voracious reader and at the moment mysteries are my food of choice. I'm also a history buff and can often find myself deep in a biography quite easily. But honestly I am enjoying the last (at the moment) of Kate Sedley's Roger the Chapman mysteries which focus on crimes in medieval England.

I too love Conan Doyle's brilliant detective and have almost all of the Sherlock Holmes stories and books courtesy of my eldest son. I've read them through more times than times than I can mention.

celticmusicfan said...

i lovew Maeve Binchy's books as well as anything that is good for my current mood. I dig Agatha Christie because my aunts were great influences when i was a child. There's also perry Mason mysteries which i read in high school.

Ciss B said...

Maeve Binchy is of course the best! After all she is a Celtic, Irish writer who shares that experience so well in her books. I love Miss Marple by Agatha Christie so much, and though many don't like the book character, Sherlock Holmes continues to fascinate me.

I actually haven't read Perry Mason since high school either - and that's a long, long time ago for me! Erle Stanley Gardner developed quite the character who could put facts together really well. Since he had been a lawyer himself he was able to create a really strong mystery as well.

meam wye said...

Your post has reminded me how much I used to love reading Perry Mason series by Erle Stanley Gardner! Have got almost his entire collection .... got some from my father, rest from searching old/new book shops all over the city. Quite some time since I've read one.

Ciss B said...

I really enjoyed those Perry Mason mysteries when in high school too.

I think I love old, used bookstores as much too. They hold old memories, or sometimes new ones that I just love to discover. Being an old English teacher means I love enjoying books of all sorts. Guess I'm what you might call addicted! :-)