Aug 8, 2005

Some Good Mystery Books

Mystery might be my favorite genre to read. When I was in eighth grade, I was reading a lot of Agatha Christie, so my English teacher, Ms. Riddell, turned me onto Martha Grimes, and I've been reading the Richard Jury series ever since (for almost 20 years - boy, that makes me feel old). I'm not a big fan of Ms. Grimes's other work, but I love the Jury series, and I've even gone back recently and reread the early books. Jury is a detective with Scotland Yard, and in the first book, he becomes friends with a former lord, Melrose Plant (who gave up numerous inherited titles just because). The way their friendship develops through the novels makes me feel like they and the other recurring characters are old friends. And the mysteries themselves are good - I've yet to guess whodunnit and why.

In the last few years, I've been reading Faye Kellerman's Peter Decker series, which is interesting because of LAPD Detective Decker's relationship with Rina Lazarus, an Orthodox Jewish widow with two young children. The mysteries are intriguing, but I found a couple of the later books a bit dark and a bit strained.

A couple of years ago, I enjoyed reading several books by T. Jefferson Parker. I liked that his stories are set in Southern California, where I live, and the mysteries are compelling. Actually, they're a little too compelling, which is why I stopped. I'm terrified of snakes, and one story involved a massive snake - and yet, I had to keep reading because I had to know what happened. But that might have been the last book by Parker that I read.

A more light-hearted series is the Marcus Didius Falco series by Lindsay Davis. The series is set in ancient Rome, and makes for good entertainment but not nail-biters.

Finally, I just read a mystery by Denise Hamilton. Her protagonist is Eve Diamond, a reporter for the LA Times. I enjoyed it, but didn't think it was spectacular. Eve just isn't a character I really bonded with as I read, so I'm not sure if I'll read any more.

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