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Customer Discussions > Mystery forum

What's your favorite all-time favorite mystery book

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Showing 1-25 of 508 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 5, 2009 6:33:41 PM PDT
I have been reading your all's posts for a few days now and have come to realize that I have stumbled over the best read group of people around. You have gone over reviews, authors, new books, why you like or dislike a book - everything that would make this post interesting. But, so I can make us a list of all time favorites, please send book title, author (if you remember) and why you liked it and whether sub-genre (such as funny, hard-boiled, cozy, etc.)
If that is more than you want to type, just name and author would be great. And, I'll keep you a running small list of who's ahead. I hope lots of you respond cause we'll end up with a nice list to read
next winter.

Posted on Apr 6, 2009 12:41:39 AM PDT
Barkingmad says:
> nice list to read next winter.<

Sounds good to me; just what I need ! I keep taking samples on my Kindle of recommended mystery books. THEN . . . I keep rereading Sherlock Holmes stories for the umpteenth time. Haven't found anything else I want to read past the sample yet.

Favorite I suppose is The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I like Doyle's stories because they are serious but not too gory. The characters are not all modern and depressed ( and depressing ) for lack of a better description. I enjoy the superhero like qualities of Holmes. I am a sucker for the old British ambiance but could not get into Lord Peter Wimsey / Dorthy L. Sayers.

Warning: the attraction to Sherlock Holmes stories may be a guy thing. Lisa, my life partner doesn't read them at all though she watches the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes videos often.

For humorous mystery I have read ( too many times and still look forward to the next time ) Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams. I just finished The Long Dark Tea Time of The Soul by DA. I enjoyed it but not as good.

Lisa won't touch a Douglas Adams book except maybe with a long handled shovel to carry it out side to the trash. Ha Ha Ha I think that is almost as hysterical as DA's books . . . Ha Ha Ha.

Patricia please add your all time favorite and why you liked it and whether sub-genre


Posted on Apr 6, 2009 2:31:19 AM PDT
My great love in the mystery genre is the detective novel (especially the P.I.), so my choice(s) follow easily:
1. THE MALTESE FALCON (Hammett) - the book which originated the concept, and
2. THE LONG GOODBYE (Chandler) - which perfected it.
Both give you great dialogue, characters, setting, atmosphere, and pace.
I've read each at least 5 times over the years, which is the best recommendation I can offer for any book.

Posted on Apr 6, 2009 6:24:31 AM PDT
Uprising! by David Irving.

Posted on Apr 6, 2009 6:41:33 AM PDT
R. E. Conary says:
DAY OF THE JACKAL by Frederic Forsyth

Part police procedural, part thriller. Not sure why this is my favorite, but I keep going back to it (and the movie version) time and again over the years.


In reply to an earlier post on Apr 6, 2009 8:21:04 AM PDT
KathyB says:
I have a list...but you asked for an all-time favorite:

Rebecca ---- Daphne du Maurier

If you'd like the rest, let me know!!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 6, 2009 3:25:13 PM PDT
frosty7530 says:
Kathy, I love Du Maurier! It's been so long since I've gread a great gothic "chiller"! CDM was so CONSISTENTLY good! I can't think of 1 bad/dissapointing read. If only she and the Bronte sisters could have lived & kept writing forever! I've read some good Anne Rice, her Witching Hour was a masterpiece, as well as her 1st novel, Feast of All Saints, more gothic history-romance than a mystery. I also like mystery writer Tess Gerritson, but she does not the same as DuMaurier/ she's great, but it's a different genre than a gothic.

I would love to see rest of your list!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 6, 2009 4:12:12 PM PDT
janebbooks says:
Susan and Kathy: I too love DuMaurier. But years ago I had to find a substitute---Barbara Michaels. Her
SHATTERED SILK is superior. Ms Michaels also writes as Elizabeth Peters. As Peters she has at least three character series (Amelia Peabody, Vicky Bliss, et al) but every one of Michaels is a stand-alone. They are gothic thrillers---often contemporary.
And as I've said on another thread, I am very fond of the Jane Whitefield series by Thomas Perry. Jane is a
Seneca native American who helps people disappear. Perry's first Jane is VANISHING ACT---I eagerly awaited
every new book in the series! So original!
REC, I'm not forgetting your favorite. I've read (and seen the movie) of DAY OF THE JACKAL multiple times.

Posted on Apr 6, 2009 4:15:30 PM PDT
R. Larkin says:
That's tough! I have been reading mysteries for over 50 years. One that has stayed with me for many years without rereading (must have given it away) is Josephine Tey's DAUGHTER OF TIME.

KathyB, I agree, REBECCA is another haunting oldie but goodie.

I have also begun collecting and rereading Robert van Gulik's charming JUDGE DEE stories about a real magistrate in 7th century China.

Dorothy Sayers' LORD PETER WHIMSEY series had some very good ones.

All of these have stood the test of time for me. There are a lot of good newer books, but unless I can remember them for a looong time after reading them, they don't get that gold star!

I know I broke the rules by not limiting myself to ONE favorite, but considering how many years and how many thousands of books have passed through my hands, please forgive me!

Posted on Apr 6, 2009 7:17:35 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 6, 2009 7:26:46 PM PDT
Larkin - I liked the Judge Dee mysteries. Been years since I read them!

I not sure I can pick just one book, but possible the 4 books by Clayton Rawson - Death from a Top Hat, Footprints on the Ceiling, The Headless Lady, and No Coffin for the Corpse
The detective is a retired magician, Merlini. They were published between 1938 and 1942 and are possibly the best 'locked room' mysteries written. The do get republished time to time. I bought my current copies used on Alibris.

I would not argue with either The Maltese Falcon or The Long Goodbye recommended by Howard Gardner Stevenson. The archetypes of today's hard boiled PI.

I'd add Josephine Tey's Daughter of Time. Inspector Alan Grant is confined to bed and is given an historical murder to solve - did Richard III really murder his nephews to become king of England? I think Amazon still has a reprint available.

Posted on Apr 6, 2009 7:46:00 PM PDT
The Deborah Knott series by Margaret Maron; anything written by Dick Francis, especially the books with Sid Halley. Francis, a former jockey, weaves mystery, characters, and horse racing time and time again in his novels. And as a reader, you will feel part of Deborah Knott's extended family; Maron is magical as she couples mystery with Knott's family, nuclear and extended.

Posted on Apr 7, 2009 6:56:58 AM PDT
The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie King comes immediately to mind, but I'm sure there are many others!

Posted on Apr 7, 2009 7:11:10 AM PDT
Auntie Lynn says:
Any of that Lord Peter Wimsey stuff - you get a little fun and style with your read...

Posted on Apr 8, 2009 1:01:56 PM PDT
deebotte says:
I would have to go with Murder by Impulse by D.R. Meredith as it starts the 5 book series that is my all-time favorite. I also love Someone is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe by Nan and Ivan Lyons and the young adult mystery The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (my copy is 20+ years old and I still pull it out every now and then for a re-read).

Posted on Apr 8, 2009 2:56:54 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 8, 2009 2:59:28 PM PDT
A customer says:
Patricia: I don't like conventional mysteries, and yet I've read 18 Inspector Maigret novels by Georges Simenon and have three more on their way to my local library. They're short, compact police procedurals with plenty of dialogue. Reading them is like snacking on a delicious treat between meals. I can't recommend any one book -- start anywhere.

Also, if you like beautifully written thrillers that take place in southern Louisiana, James Lee Burke is your man. The Neon Rain is the first in his Dave Robicheaux series, and it's best if they're read sequentially. Heaven's Prisoners (also a movie) and Black Cherry Blues follow.

Posted on Apr 10, 2009 10:08:21 PM PDT
I have read lots of the authors mentioned. but by far the Best mystery I have read is Ruth Rendell's Judgement in Stone. The first page tells what happened in the end and the book explains just why and how this terrible murder occurred.

Posted on Apr 10, 2009 11:30:40 PM PDT
Joy Sparks says:
The novel that changed my life is John le Carre's "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy." Had tried "The Spy Who Came In From the Cold" but was too young to appreciate it. In fact, I refused to read him for years afterward.
"Tinker, Tailor" made me realize I'd never be able to write as well yet I was compelled to take it apart, word by word, punctuation and all and discovered I wanted to become an editor -- which I
Imagine my utter shock when, having read the book three times, I watched the magnificent BBC six-episode miniseries and learned that the identity of a killer had gone completely over my head -- that's how elegant, intricate, and eloquent le Carre's writing is.
Another landmark mystery is "The Wind Chill Factor" by Thomas Gifford. It's a book I'd love to re-read for the first time over and over again. The sequel "The First Sacrifice" 20 years later was a disappointment simply because there's no way it could live up to "Wind Chill."

Posted on Apr 12, 2009 1:17:52 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 12, 2009 1:19:59 PM PDT
Barkingmad says:
OK I would like to see this discussion keep going ! The recent book on Kindle Dog On It

Dog on It: A Chet and Bernie Mystery (The Chet and Bernie Mystery Series Book 1)

Made me think of the book bellow that I am recommending as a favorite. So I will add Sinbad and Me by Kin Platt ( may have to find it at the library )

I read this as a kid. It is a nice thick book and not as simplistic as the cover suggests. In my late thirties I dug up a copy at the local library and reread it out of nostalgia ( I had moved back temporarily to my home town to take care of my Mom who was now in a nursing home and to take care of the property.

I found the book to still be a great book !

Jugging by the price of the used copies there are a few out there who agree.

I got the Kindle sample of Dog On It but I am on the fence can some one push me over or agree it is just OK but not great?

Posted on Apr 12, 2009 6:36:09 PM PDT
No way to choose between THE DAUGHTER OF TIME, Josephine Tey and A PLACE OF EXECUTION, Val McDermid.......choosing a favorite is hard, but I've read both those multiple times. ANY James Lee Burke is always a favorite, LOVE Hiaasen for sheer fun, and Connolly's bookend novels, THE POET and THE NARROWS.

Posted on Apr 12, 2009 11:04:08 PM PDT
Definitely the Daughter of Time also WILDFIRE AT MIDNIGHT by Mary Stewart, LIARS AND TYRANTS AND PEOPLE WHO TURN BLUE by Barbara Paul, SKELETON CREW by Beverly Connor. This last is such a favorite that I probably read it at least once a month.

Posted on Apr 13, 2009 7:42:28 AM PDT
Susie Q says:
In my opinion, you can't beat the Cat Who mystery series. A few of the later books weren't as "fleshed out" as the earlier ones but it's difficult not to fall in love with Mr Q and his housemates. I also love anything that Carol Higgins Clark has a hand in, plus the B & B series by Mary Daheim. I miss Anne George and her hysterically, witty mysteries and Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie are always a hit with me. Phillip Craig's J. W. Jackson series set on Martha's Vineyard is always a good read as is Laura Child's Tea Shop series. I could go on and on as I am a very devoted fan of the "cozy!" Happy reading everyone!

Posted on Apr 13, 2009 10:08:11 AM PDT
If you think Sayre's is good I definitely recommend Margery Allingham.. I wrote a review of her in the insomniac thread. Could copy it here if anyone's interested (that thread is so long it's hard to find stuff).

I think my all-time favorite is Janwillem Van Der Wettering's Rattle Rat, but Elizabeth George gives him a run for his money in an entirely different style.

Posted on Apr 14, 2009 10:08:17 AM PDT
A. Bergeron says:
The Poet - Michael Connelly
A Maiden's Grave - Jeffery Deaver

Posted on Apr 14, 2009 10:40:08 AM PDT
I'm sorry, I can't pick just one.

The Nine Tailors, Sayers
The Doorbell Rang, Stout
Drink To Yesterday, Coles
Murder with Peacocks, Andrews
Advice Ltd., Oppenheim
Killer Dolphin, Marsh
Audition for Murder, Carlson
When in Greece, Lathen

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 14, 2009 10:50:21 AM PDT
Loving Sherlock Holmes is definitely NOT a guy thing. I grew up adoring the stories. I read Nancy Drew as a child, but loved the Hardy Boys just as much. I really like James Patterson. His Alex Cross books are good, but a couple of his stand alones I could not put him, such as You've Been Warned and The Quickie. If you've never read the great Agatha Christie, please give her a try. I loved Miss Marple and Poirot along with Tommy and Tuppence as well. It was either Lisa Jackson or Lisa Gardner that wrote a book called The BAd Husband. It was about a woman married to an abusive cop. I am not sure if it classifies as a mystery. I could go on and on lol
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Discussion in:  Mystery forum
Participants:  266
Total posts:  508
Initial post:  Apr 5, 2009
Latest post:  Nov 29, 2012

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