Thursday, November 19, 2009

How Do You Like Your Mysteries?

We have so many mysteries in our collection at DPPL that it's tough to figure out what to read next. Some people like cozies - books without graphic violence that often take place in small villages, with amateur sleuths who seem to solve crimes faster than the police. Many of these cozies involve cats --->
and of course, many involve dogs. (Maggie is not fond of dog mysteries, although she does enjoy Rita Mae Brown's Mrs. Murphy series as that cat is so much smarter than Tee Tucker the dog.)

Other readers enjoy "hard-boiled" or "noir" mysteries. These are dark, more graphically violent, and usually feature a tough detective. One of the "classic" hard-boiled writers is Raymond Chandler with his tough guy detective Philip Marlowe. Michael Connelly, Ian Rankin, and Sara Paretsky are just a few authors who write in the hard-boiled style today. (Yes, I count V. I. Warshawsky as hard-boiled. She's a tough investigator who frequently gets beat up and her Chicago settings are always dark and gritty, especially in the later books in the series.) For more dark and gritty Chicago settings try State Street and Their Kind of Town by Richard Whittingham.

Of course there's loads of mysteries that fall in between cozy and hard-boiled. Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series has plenty of violence, but it's tempered with lots of humor and crazy characters. (Did anyone count how many cars were destroyed in Finger Linkin' Fifteen?) Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon series is slightly darker than Evanovich, but not quite in the hard-boiled category. Other middle of the mix authors might include Ben Rehder's Texas game warden series and In the Woods by Tana French.

Then we have historicals - think Anne Perry, Elizabeth Peters and the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear. These books take you to a special time and place in the past.

And don't forget British police procedurals - Peter Robinson, Elizabeth George, P. D. James, and Caroline Graham are just a few of the authors writing about modern police action in Britain.

There's something for everyone, including loads of sub-genres - pets, culinary cozies, knitting mysteries, tea-shop settings, quilting, candle-making, teddy bear collecting, and on and on it goes.

Stop by the 3rd floor Readers' Services desk for more mystery ideas and let us know about your favorite, or least favorite, mystery style. We want to have your comments!

Posted by Linda K. (and her cat Maggie)


Roberta said...

I vote for hard-boiled, but mostly because I distrust caterers who keep stumbling over bodies while they're baking cookies.

Europa said...

I enjoy an English cozy but it seems to me that there is more murder in England than there are people. Are the same people getting murdered twice? Why so much murder in Oxford? Why so much murder at the vicarage? Does it have someting to do with cats?

Sheila said...

Hard boiled, for me! I love Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder series. However, I've been known to read the "Cat Who" series.

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