October 12, 2017

Favorite Mysteries

October's Monthly Recommendations topic is Favorite Mysteries. This is an excellent topic for October, don't you think? I love mysteries when they are well done, so I have a loooong list of favorites. I noticed other people were adding mysteries on their TBR. If I did that, we'd be here all day, so I'm going to limit to books I've actually read.

These are listed in no particular order.

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco - I first read this when I was in high school. I most certainly did not catch all of the things that happened, but I remember loving it anyway. I have since read it again a couple of times. It's still awesome, even though I know who did it.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon - This is the first book in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series. They are set in Barcelona and they have so much atmosphere and sense of place! And books!

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich - This is the first in the Stephanie Plum series. Stephanie is a bumbling bounty hunter who fell into the job out of desperation. She solves the mystery, which is usually something ridiculous, and she gets her man.

Into the Woods by Tana French - This is the first in the Dublin Murder Squad series. I've only read the first two, but there are at least 5 in the series now. I have a couple more. You don't have to read these in order. Basically, a minor character from one book is the main character in the next book so you don't really have to know what came before to enjoy the book you're reading.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield - Is it really a blog post if I don't mention this at least once? I think not. This book is just amazing. It's almost a cozy mystery, but it's so very creepy.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon - This fabulous book is told from the perspective of a teenaged autistic boy names Christopher. On one of his late night perambulations around the neighborhood, he finds his neighbor's poodle with a garden rake through it. He is determined to find out who killed the dog.

Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard - I might actually like the movie with John Travolta and Danny Devito better. But it very closely follows the book, so there you go. Chili Palmer is a Florida mobster in L.A. to find out what happened to a dead beat client. He likes it there and decides to get into the movie business. It's hilarious.

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz - This is the first book in the Odd Thomas series. Odd is a fry cook in a tiny desert town. He can also see dead people. The dead come to him to get help avenging their murders. He does what he can. Koontz is a big name in horror writing, which I am not usually a fan of. This series is so good, though! Odd grows as a character and the weirdo mysteries are always interesting.

The Cater Street Hangman by Anne Perry - This is the first book in the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series. Thomas is a police detective who married up. Charlotte uses her connections in high society to help him solve mysteries in this Victorian series. I like this series much more than the William Monk series by the same author.

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde - This is the first in a series that took a sharp left turn after the first couple of books. The thing I like the most about this series is how smart I feel when I catch all the literary references. At one point, there is a staff meeting and everyone is just standing around because they're waiting for Godot.

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith - I don't think I'm letting the cat out of the bag by telling you that Galbraith is a pen name for J.K. Rowling. This is the first in a series of (so far) three mysteries about Cormoran Strike, an ex-military policeman who has a false leg, and his secretary, Robin. Robin tends to carry away the novels with her brilliance and quick thinking.

Some Danger Involved by Will Thomas - Another one of those lovely Victorian mysteries. The narrator is Thomas Llewellyn who attaches himself to a detective named Cyrus Barker. Together they investigate some... interesting segments of London society.

Captain Alatriste by Arturo Perez Reverte - Set somewhat earlier than Victorian times, this series follows Captain Alatriste in 17th century Spain. He is a former soldier turned sword for hire. There is much swashbuckling.

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood - This book, though! Grace is a maid in an upper middle class household in Canada in the 1800's. Somebody dies and Grace is framed for the murder. Or is she? She knows what happened. Or maybe she doesn't. Everyone has an opinion. It's huge, but it's so good.

Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl - Fun fact, when this book first came out my library accidentally labeled it for non-fiction. This is a member of another type of book I love - school books. It takes place at a tony boarding school in North Carolina. A beloved teacher is murdered and Blue Van Meer is just enough of an outsider to solve the mystery.

Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon - Did you really think we were going to talk about mysteries and not talk about Commissario Guido Brunetti? That would be unheard of. I absolutely love this series set in Venice. The city is so vitally represented, it is a character in the book. Brunetti is one of the few detectives in literature who still has an intact family. And the members of his family are so much fun. His wife is an English literature professor and his kids are hilarious kids.

The Cat Who Could Read Backwards by Lilian Jackson Braun - This series is the one that first turned me on to mysteries. It was totally appropriate for a middle schooler. And the cats solve the mystery!!!

Dog On It by Spencer Quinn - Here's another series with animals solving the mystery. Chet is the dog and Bernie is the private detective. The stories are told through Chet's perspective and with all of Chet's particular powers of smell.

Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor by Stephanie Barron - These Jane Austen Mysteries are so incredibly fun. If Jane Austen were to have been involved in mysteries, this feels like an honest representation of that.

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones - This series is a combo paranormal-romance-mystery series set in Albuquerque. Charley Davidson is a grim reaper, meaning she helps people cross over to the other side when they have died. Sometimes they follow her around for awhile before they are ready. She halls in love with the son of Satan. It's a bit madcap and a bit steamy. But good fun all the way.

The Case of the Missing Books by Ian Sansom - Israel Armstrong moves to Ireland to become the new bookmobile driver in small tight-knit community. The only problem? What happened to all the books? This job has not turned out the way he planned. He has to live in a chicken coop, his bookmobile barely runs, and there are no books!

I don't feel like this is an exhaustive list, although it is quite long. What did I miss? What are some you would add?