Tuesday, August 14, 2007

My Favorite Mystery Authors and Why #2

Hope y'all enjoyed yesterday's groaner! As promised, here is the second part of my favorite mystery authors. I could write on mystery writers I enjoy for days but I wouldn't presume to bore y'all that long -- two blogs is plenty!

* Martha Grimes' Richard Jury series is interesting because she's an American author who writes very English murder mysteries. Her Inspector Jury is the only relatively sane one of the quirky ensemble of characters she's built for this series that is really rather a fun read. All the books' titles are real names of English pubs, e.g., The Man with a Load of Mischief. Her plots are interesting, well-organized and punctuated with humor which keeps me coming back with each new book.

* Carl Hiaasen's Florida mysteries are another fun read loaded with satire and some of the most improbable characters ever to appear in print. A veteran reporter for the Miami Herald, Hiaasen's books are a send up of the industries and culture of Florida from theme parks to fake environmentalism. If you haven't a good sense of the absurd, you'll hate this series.

* John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee series is also set mostly in Florida -- his hero resides in his houseboat, The Busted Flush, moored at Slip F-18, Bahia Mar, Fort Lauderdale. He is nominally a salvage consultant and what he salvages can cover a broad and dangerous spectrum. And yeah, he always gets the girl -- well almost.

* Sharyn McCrumb's Appalachian mysteries are set in the mountains of North Carolina and have roots in the old legends and culture of that area. Her central character, Nora Bonesteel, has "the Sight" and is acquainted with the spirits that roam the mountains. The rest of the characters are pretty much "down home folks" who respect Norah as the elder of the tribe as it were. Ms. McCrumb writes poetic descriptions of the area and its history while presenting interesting complex plots and I like that a lot.

* John Sandford's "Prey" series is not for the faint of heart or to be read at bedtime. This Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist writes some of the most insidious villains -- usually serial killers -- I've ever read. His tough-guy, cop/hero, Lucas Davenport, is pretty amazing, too -- he reads classic poetry, plays strategy games, and designs gaming software when he isn't busy catching bad guys. The series is set in Minneapolis but he also sometimes travels in his pursuit of justice but never by air -- I think it's the only thing that scares him. The word 'prey' is always in the title of each book. I find this series interesting because of the well-developed characters and plot and the authenticity of the portrayal of the police.

Well, that's it! I hope that if you're a mystery lover like me, you found some new reading material and if you aren't -- maybe you'll become one! I read a couple other series as well and there are a couple more I plan to try. So many books . . . so little time . . . sigh.

Happy Blogging!!!!!!!!!!!!!



  1. Well, I've been catching up on your doin's and you have had a hectic time of it. Hope life is calmer now and your noisy neighbors get evicted soon.

    When I get into mysteries, I have enjoyed Tony Hillerman. Mainly I enjoy the description of the West's Four Corners area. Also, I have always been intrigued with American Indian culture and their belief system. Hillerman incorporates Indian spiritual beliefs into his stories demonstrating how they make solving each crime different from crime-solving off the reservation. He treats the culture with respect. Unfortunately, the movies adapted by Sundance (Robert Redford's son, I think) from two of Hillerman's books for PBS movies, didn't reach a quality level to do justice to the book series. The writing is simplistic, resulting in relatively quick light reading for these books.

  2. Kay, I think I have read one of Hiassen's books, but none of the others. I have comcentrated on Patterson and Baldacci lately, and like them both.

  3. Jo -- I like Tony Hillerman, too -- for the same reasons you do!

    Judy -- Patterson is a relatively new addiction for me -- I really love his Alex Cross series. And Baldacci is on the "gotta read list."

  4. I'm a big fan of Jonathan Gash's
    "Lovejoy Mysteries", although I'm not generally a fan of the genre. I think it's because of the humor that laces these books.

    I admire your appetite for books; my own has significantly diminished with the advent of blogging!

  5. I just finished "Invisible Prey;" and I've read Grafton and Hillerman as well.
    Two others that I follow are Jonathan Kellerman's "Alex Delaware" series and Robert Tanenbaum's "Butch Karp."

  6. Steph -- I enjoy the Lovejoy series, too! It's fun! I miss the series they used to show on A&E! It was a hoot! And yeah, blogging cuts in to reading time!

    AQ-- I read Kellerman and Tanenbaum, too, although I've just got started on the latter. Why am I not surprised that you enjoy Sandford, too? I have a hard time keeping up with all the writers I enjoy.

  7. kay,

    I love to read Hiassen's books. I think I commented once about the character in "Skinny Dip" who stole all of the roadside memorials he could find and erected them in his back yard.

    His name was Tool and he drove a big Lincoln and looked for crosses and flowers by the side of the road.

    You are right about the reader needed a well developed sense of humor. Hiassen's books are strange but very interesting and funny.

  8. Janet Evonovich is my favorite.
    Thanks for your list. I will check them out in the library.
    I love books on tape too, because I drive long distances.

  9. Hi Kay: Looks like some good reading! I haven't read mystery since the Fletch series back in the '80s!

  10. Have you read Harlan Coben? He's my favorite author. "Promise Me" and "Tell No One" are two of his best. I'll have to check out John Sandford. Sounds like my kinda writer.

  11. I like Elizabeth George mysteries. She is an American author who writes realistic mysteries set in Britain. Sometimes her books are hard to plow through but usually worth the effort.

    I just finished David Baldacci's "The Collectors" An interessting read.

    I have enjoyed Elmore Leonard's books for quite some time now. Also for a light mysteries with a lot of steamy love stuff, you cannot beat Sandra Brown.

  12. I'm gonna look for Coben, Scarlet -- he's one I've missed

    Donald -- you need to get caught up!

    Annie -- I love Evanovich! Her Stephanie Plum series is a hoot!

    I've read Elizabeth George, Chancy and I agree with you on her. Baldacci is pretty good -- and your call on Sandra Brown is spot on. Elmore Leonard is a classic.

    Glad to know another Hiaasen fan, Nancy! He is so off the wall!

  13. I LOVE Travis McGhee! I will have to make note of the author of the Appalachian mysteries you mentioned...sounds right up my alley! Thanks!

  14. Meeeeeeeee too, Ronni! I always had this urge to head down to Lauderdale & beg him to take me for a boat ride!
    I hope you enjoy McCrumb's work -- let me know!


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