Well, well, well. Since starting the blog, I’ve read and reviewed 50 books. I think it’s safe to say that my reader’s block seems to have been overcome. So, without further ado, I think it’s time to look at the Top Five Mysteries of the first Fifty.
Slightly edging out Nightshade by the same author, I’ve put this at number five as it’s a recent read and I need to give it some distance before evaluating it properly, but this, along with The Death Maze by Ariana Franklin have restored my faith in the existence of the decent historical mystery.
A masterclass in how to create a surprising solution from a small group of characters without cheating. I’m still kicking myself as to how long I let this book fester on my shelf before picking it up.
The best of the recent Queen novels that I’ve read – possibly as it is the one of the few on the bibliography that are not re-reads, but a clever, just-about-guessable, plot with Ellery on fine form, nowhere near as insufferable as in the early books. I know I’m supposed to prefer The Greek Coffin Mystery (which is also excellent) but I don’t. Sue me.
A masterpiece in misdirection and characterisation, I had forgotten just how good this book was. It’s the only re-read in the top five, but it needs re-iteration. If you like mysteries at all, go and get a copy of this book. It’s reissued and available on Amazon (oddly credited to John Dickson Carr) so there’s no excuse. Get it now!!!
One of the inspirations for starting the blog, the third Mervyn Stone book is dazzling in its cleverness and simplicity. Never was there a book that, for me, gave that essential part of the best mysteries – the need to kick yourself repeatedly that you didn’t see what is perfectly obvious now that it’s been explained to you. It’s out in paperback now, so go and get it – and the other two, Geek Tragedy and DVD Extras Include Murder – the second of which should really be in this list as well, but I decided to limit it to one per author.
Thumbs down to The Nine Giants by Edward Marston, Water-Blue Eyes (Ojos de Agua) by Domingo Villar and The False Inspector Dew by Peter Lovesey. Yes, I know everybody else in the world loves the last two, but we’re all individuals.
So, before I launch into a Life of Brian routine, many thanks to all my readers, especially to Sergio for the recommendations of some excellent books. Here’s to the next fifty…