West Tisbury Public Library
West Tisbury Free Public Library
NOVEMBER 28, 2014

Reader's Advisory - Mystery

Notes on Mysteries by
"a dedicated mystery reading library patron",
Virginia Jones
Personal Favorites from Virginia Jones 7 December, 2009

Andrea Camilleri
Ann Granger
Bartholomew Gill
Caroline Graham
Deborah Crombie
Gerald Hammond
Jill McGown

JJ Marric
M C Beaton
Margaret Duffy
Minette Walters
P D James
Peter Lovesey
Rebecca Tope

Reginald Hill
Rhys Bowen
Robert Barnard
Roderic Jeffries
Ruth Rendell
Stephanie Barron

New Favorites:

Suzette Hill, “A LADY”  (Dido Kent series), and
Rose Melikan (THE BLACKSTONE KEY) – this is the first in a series;
second has been published. 
Graham Thomas,

G S Malliet (three books and counting)


Julian Symons
Agatha Christies
Edmund Crispin
Michael Gilbert
Michael Innes
Margery Allingham
Gladys Mitchell
Ngaio Marsh
Cyril Hare
Freeman Wills Crofts
Dorothy Sayers
Mary Roberts Rinehart
Patricia Wentworth
Desmond Bagley
Colin Watson
John Buchan
EX Ferrars
Catherine Aird
Nicholas Blake
James Anderson
Georgette Heyer
(yes, Georgette
Heyer) – now being republished; these
are beautifully
written and very
good mysteries.

Phoebe Atwood
Josephine Tey


Manning Coles

Erskine Childers (THE RIDDLE OF THE SANDS) – This is a major piece of literate fiction and should be in every library.   It is also a classic
sailing story.  Erskine Childers life was a fascinating story of
philosophical contrasts.   MUST HAVE BOOK.  A movie was made but
it is unavailable in US regional format…too bad; it must be wonderful.

Eric Ambler

Michael Gilbert

Romantic suspense:

Mary Stewart
Helen McInnes
Daphne du Maurier  (the queen of the lot)
Jane Aiken Hodge
Joan Aiken
Elizabeth Peters (not my favorite but she is OK)

Murder in the Stacks: Reader's Advisory for Mystery & Detective Fiction
Dear Steve:

I'm so glad that you are working on this.    Here are some of my suggestions.   I will also send you the personal favorite mystery list which is just a short selection of some of my personal favorites.


Here is an excellent source of information and links.   Another is (and
I may have the web address incorrect):  
http://lib.www.library.phila.gov.   You can find all sorts of readers advisories on this website.    I like both better than NoveList -- and I share your reservations -- or perhaps we're thinking similarly.........
the two above are much more user (common ordinary reader) friendly.

www.ruemorguepress.com -- small press in Colorado (I think) run by Tom and Enid Schantz.   Publishes some original mysteries in paper back and republishes (extensive list) older and out of print mysteries.   Excellent selection and website has a lot of info.   They also have a used/old/out of print book business and you can get on their mailing list.

www.mystgalaxy.com -- the bookstore in San Diego that I was talking about this morning.   They have a very comprehensive website about books (mysteries, sci fi, vampires, zombies, etc.) plus a printed newsletter:  THE PLOT THICKENS.    They sponsor all sorts of events and readings.

www.poisonedpenpress.com is another publisher of mysteries and
they have www.poisonedpen.com as their website for a major
bookstore in Arizona.    Good folks to deal with;  I've ordered a lot of books from them.    They used to publish a very informative monthly newsletter/catalogue which seems to have gone the way of too many other things in the age of computers.

www.mysteryscenemagazine.com -- interesting and full of reviews although a lot of the magazine is devoted to upcoming mystery
writer conventions and the prizes for various categories and sub
genres.   Also www.strandmag.com which publishes articles, reviews, short stories and interviews.   I prefer the latter to the Mystery Scene Magazine as it is more substantive and less "fluff."

If readers "google" or "Ask Jeeves (ask.com) for various genres of
books you will get a wealth of choices.   For instance:   golden age mysteries and/or golden age mystery writers.   Or try the same
searches for specific authors.   Many authors have their own websites, or there are fan club websites, and there are usually links to other similar authors or books.   For instance:    www.angelathirkell.org or www.barbara-pym.org.   Both of these are British authors who
wrote good stories about women and families, often located in various country towns and struggling with issues resulting from various wars, etc.    These are wonderful authors (DE Stevenson, Elizabeth Cadell, Lillian Beckwith -- writing about Scotland, etc.) and they write a very literate, intelligent, charming story.    Many of these women (as with the mystery writers) were writing because they needed money having been left as widows with young kids and no income (WW I or WW II)
or because they were academics but needed additional income, etc.    Even though they wrote because it was a vocation rather than an avocation they wrote extremely well.

Other great British writers (more contemporary) are Mary Keane (actually Anglo Irish I think), Mary Sheepshanks (writes as Mary
Nickson too), and a slew of others.    There is something about the British novels that really engages me;   I just can't get into American female writers;  in fact I seldom read anything by American authors except non fiction.

More to come as I think of them.  By the way, if all else fails, amazon.com or amazon.co.uk are great sources of information.   So is the website for Powells Books in Oregon (mentioned by Nelia today).


Mystery Novels of the Golden Age HERE

British Golden Age: HERE
Intuitionist Writers - by Michael E. Grost

The Top 100 Crime Novels of All Time - HERE
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Steam Pig: A Lieutenant Kramer and Detective
Sergeant Mickey Zondi Investigation (9781569476529): James McClure: Books HERE

These police procedurals were wildly popular when first published.    I may have a copy of several of James McClure's books.  If so I will give them to the library since they seem to be becoming popular again.

MYSTERY AUTHORS Personal Favorites
from Virginia Jones
7 December
Some of you may be attending the Reader's Advisory Group workshop
for the mystery genre at the WT Library.  They are to help the staff
develop their knowledge and a better appreciation for mysteries so
that they can better help library patrons.    I'm going to attend as
a rep of the Trustees.    For a lark I jotted down the names of some
of my own personal favorite authors.   While some are still writing
(such as PD James at almost 90) and some are really recent
(LC Tyler) many are old and out of print.   If anyone would like to borrow some good mysteries I have a lot of these in paper back and would be happy to loan.

I don't do pedophiles, twisted torturers, psychotic terrorists and
violent serial killers so while these aren't cozy mysteries, they are
also not terribly noir.

If any of you have favorites to add (you'll note a British bias)
please send them along.   I know that some of you love Ellis Peters
and the authors who write in a historical vein;  I'm not very
familiar with those authors.

Just a few tasters:   Suzette Hill -- her new series starting with A
LOAD OF OLD BONES starring a dog, a cat and a parson.  If you had
told me that I would read, and actually enjoy a book about those
principal characters I would have suggested that someone had been
smoking something funny before breakfast.   They are really fun.

Nicholas Blake:   wrote a series of books about Nigel Strangeways,
taking place just before, during and after WW II in
England.    Nicholas Blake was Cecil Day-Lewis the Poet Laureate
(and a member of the Communist Party apparently), and the books
are very, very well written.

And I've been re reading Gladys Mitchell and Margery Allingham -- you
can't beat these two.    Also try Rose Melikan and "A Lady" (Dido
Kent series -- in the WT Library.

For those who knit:   the showing of THE EDGE OF THE WORLD at the
Chilmark Library last Thursday, and Trudy Taylor's beautiful Fair
Isle sweaters was memorable.    If you want another movie in the
same vein and by the same director:   I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING
which I think is in WT Library.

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