I’ve been banging on about mystery novels since 20th December 2010 and, at an average rate of 2.32 days per post, we hit post number 600. I didn’t do anything special for the 500th post – mainly as I didn’t notice it coming until I was writing the relevant review – so I thought I’d do something a little different for this one.
I’ve done various Top Five posts throughout the last four years – Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Gideon Fell, Henry Merrivale, Non-Series Carr and Paul Doherty – so here’s another one. The Top Five Underappreciated Books – the very best books that haven’t had as much attention as others. I’ve been delving through the stats page that WordPress gives me and have come up with these.
- Yesterday’s Papers by Martin Edwards.
Actually, most of the Harry Devlin posts don’t get much traffic – there’s also All The Lonely People, Suspicious Minds, I Remember You, Eve Of Destruction and Waterloo Sunset. Well-constructed mysteries with a strong believably-flawed central character with the background of 1990s Liverpool, these are always entertaining reads. And if you like these, there are also Martin’s Lake District series – reviews of The Cipher Garden, The Arsenic Labyrinth, The Serpent Pool and The Hanging Wood are hereabouts as well.
- The Ambush Of My Name by Jeffrey Marks
OK, the book’s a little silly in places, but this historical whodunnit, with not-yet-President Ulysses S Grant as detective and one of the daftest endings I’ve read but Marks gets away with it. There’s also a review of the sequel, A Good Soldier as well. Must get round to reading book three.
- Dream Of The Dead by M G Scarsbrook
A theatrical whodunit – a policeman from a London acting dynasty investigates an intricate murder plot while getting advice from absinthe induced visions in his old family theatre. Yes, that last bit sounds weird, but this is a cracking read and well worth a look.
- Thirteenth Night by Alan Gordon
Another theatrical entry, but in a different way. A sequel to Twelfth Night – by that Shakespeare bloke – revealing the truth between the lines of that play, combined with a clever mystery. Winner of the Grand Puzzly for 2013, this needs more of an airing. It probably has more of impact if you know the original play, but it’s well worth a look.
- Shadows In The Night by Jane Finnis
Aurelia Marcilla, a Roman innkeeper at a tavern on the road to York, is drawn into the struggle against The Shadow of Death, a hidden figure determined to drive the Romans back home. A clever mystery with some great sequences that still takes time to build characters. The villain is pretty spottable, but that doesn’t detract from a great read.
Well, that’s the top five – although I could mention a heap from the usual suspects – Paul Doherty, Michael Jecks and Kate Ellis. Now I have at least four more books shooting to the top of my TBR list (M G Scarsbrook hasn’t published the sequel to Dream… yet). Do check out the full reviews by clicking on the link. Back soon for more authors that I sort of forgot about.