I mentioned several series that I enjoy in my last post, but it was by no means a complete listing. I've been reading a lot of mysteries lately, and here are a few more of the authors that keep me returning to their works. I admit it, I'm a list maker and I feel compelled to at least mention these books in my book blog before I give them away!
The Kill Artist, by Daniel Silva (Signet, 2004)
Silva is a suspense author, but each book has plenty of murders and mystery. Main character Gabriel Allon is a complex individual who shows his humanity, but he is also an assassin. It was hard to read this book after the Boston Marathon bombing because terrorism is a featured aspect of each of Silva's novels, but every book of his is a page turner. These novels are most often written from a Zionist Jewish bias, but this one had some Palestinian perspective interjected. I read Silva's Gabriel Allon books in no particular order, but it doesn't bother me.
A Matter of Justice, by Charles Todd ( William Morrow, 2009)
A mother-and-son writing team turn out these Ian Rutledge mysteries. They have written 10 of them, and I pick them up whenever I see them available for a good price. Again I read them in no particular order. This one featured a horrific crime committed and covered up during the Boer War, but evil deeds have a way of rearing up again to haunt the survivors.
A Brew to Kill, by Cleo Coyle (Berkley Prime Crime, 2012)
Give me a trendy coffee house in Greenwich Village and some interesting characters and I'm along for the ride. So I follow the exploits of coffee house manager Clare Cosi, her ex-husband Matteo and his mother, and Clare's police Detective Lieutenant boyfriend Mike Quinn whenever I get a chance. Even though the plot was lame in this one (cup cake rivals and Brazilian mobsters in the same book), I still like the series. This book was a Christmas gift.
Murder on Lexington Avenue, by Victoria Thompson (Berkley Prime Crime, 2010)
I'm a moody reader, moving back and forth between contemporary and historical settings, cozies and more hard-boiled thrillers. I like interesting milieus and settings, characters that I can relate to and plots that are engaging on some level. In this series midwife Sarah Brandt has a social conscience that takes her into some high risk areas and situations in Turn of the Century New York city. I was a rural caseworker at one time, and I appreciate the character's efforts to help those whom society has ignored. The approach-avoidance relationship she has with Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy sometimes is tiresome, but it's part of the formula.
Naughty in Nice, by Rhys Bowen (Berkley Prime Crime, 2011)
A remaindered book I picked up because I had been reading Rhys Bowen's Juggle Red Writers' blog. This historically-based mystery features a poor relation of the queen, Lady Georgiana Rannoch. The Nice setting was fun in this book because of the rich and famous people who summered there in real life and who were incorporated into this book, e.g. Coco Chanel and her friends. Again there is a complicated, approach-avoidance romantic entanglement in this series that is part of the formula for this type of book. It doesn't bother me but it might a more discriminating reader.
I really don't see how other bloggers read and review books that publishers and authors send them. I tried it once and didn't care for the book, couldn't get in the mood to even skim it and felt guilty about it. I respect individuals who author books, but I don't want someone else to control what I read or when I blog about it. Having said that, I am envious of friends who get the books before they reach the stores, but not enough to want to be a formal reviewer!
Vintage mysteries that I plucked off my shelves and read during the last few months:
Permed to Death, by Nancy J. Cohen (Kensington Books, 1999)
This book was left on my front porch by a friend, and I got interested when I read the author's description of coming up with the idea for the setting. The plot spun off from there, but there was an amateurish quality to the book.
Mrs. Pollifax on Safari, by Dorothy Gilman (Fawcett Crest, 1977)
I've always loved Mrs. Pollifax mysteries and author Dorothy Gilman. She and her recurring character, Mrs. Pollifax, are both "Grand Dames" of the mystery genre.
When in Rome, by Ngaio Marsh (Jove, 1971)
Who is stalking a group of tourists in Rome's subterranean grotto? Roderick Alleyn removes his vacationer hat and switches back to Inspector to solve the murders that result.
Scales of Justice, by Ngaio Marsh (Jove, 1955)
Marsh as been compared to Agatha Christie, and her books are classics. I found these tucked away on some upstairs bookshelves but I had never read them.
A Little Gentle Sleuthing, by Betty Rowlands (Jove, 1990)
Author Melissa Craig has come to the Cotswolds to plot her next mystery, but the discovery of a woman's body in the nearby woods derails her writing and puts her on the trail of a deranged murderer.
Death of a Hawker, by Janwillem van de Wetering (Pocket Books, 1977)
I was interested in the Amsterdam setting of this novel when I picked it up. Definitely an old-fashioned feeling in the writing. I have enjoyed reading some of the older authors for style, plotting and just remembering the names of companies that used to publish the paperback books.