Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dorothy-L Picks Favorite Mysteries

I belong to a mystery lover's list called "Dorothy-L" in honor of the great Dorothy L. Sayers, author of the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries.  The purpose of the list is to discuss mystery books old and new, with occasional forays into movies, TV and other media as long as the topic is still mysteries.  I've been introduced to a number of new authors this way, rediscovered some old favorites and added to my knowledge of the genre.  Each year, Dorothy-L subscribers are invited to send a list of the best books they've read in the past year, whether or not the books are new.  A wonderful crew of volunteers tabulates the results and produces a list of the top vote-getters.  In reverse order, here's a baker's dozen of top titles:

13. The Queen Of Patpong  by Timothy Hallinan

12. Little Elvises by Timothy Hallinan

11. Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson

10. The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen

9. Ghost Hero by S. J. Rozan

8. A Red Herring Without Mustard by C. Alan Bradley

7. Northwest Angle by William Kent Krueger

6. The Affair by Lee Child

5. Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson

4. Hell is Empty by Craig Johnson

3. Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

2. One Was a Soldier by Julia Spencer-Fleming

And the book most voted as a favorite was:

1. A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny

As you may notice, some authors had more than one book listed as a favorite.  When they compiled the list by number of times an author's work was listed, the winner was again Louise Penny, followed by Julia Spencer-Fleming. The next ten authors were Craig Johnson, Timothy Hallinan, C. Alan Bradley, Lee Child, Tom Franklin, Kate Atkinson, Tess Gerritsen, S.J. Rozan, Michael Connelly and William Kent Krueger.

There's a really fascinating range of authors and subjects!  Louise Penny is a Canadian author who writes about Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, head of the homicide department in Three Pines, Quebec. Julia Spencer-Fleming's books are set in Miller's Kill, New York where ex-Army chopper pilot Clare Fergusson has taken up a post as as priest at St. Alban's, the Episcopal chuch. Craig Johnson's books take us to the American West where Walt Longmire helps deliver justice. Timothy Hallinan's Poke Rafferty thrillers are usually set in Bangkok, Thailand, where the ex-pat American is making his home.  C. Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce is a precocious eleven year old in 1950s England with a penchant for chemistry and mysteries.

 Lee Child has been topping the best seller list with his Jack Reacher books for years, and soon Tom Cruise will be playing the ex-military man in a movie version of One Shot. Tom Franklin's first book was a collection of short stories entitled Poachers, the title story of which was chosen as for the anthology Best Mystery Stories of the Century. He's since done three standalone novels which cross several genres, but most have a Southern setting.    Kate Atkinson has been getting much buzz lately for her series with Scottish detective Jackson Brodie; "Cold Case" was the name of the PBS series which aired recently.  Tess Gerritsen's books inspired the series "Rizzoli & Isles;"  her most recent book is The Silent Girl. S.J. Rozan has won just about every mystery award around for her books. Her series characters are Chinese-American Lydia Chin and her partner Bill Smith who are  private investigators in New York.  Michael Connelly is a former crime-beat journalist who has written three very popular mystery series with characters Harry Bosch, Mickey Haller and Jack McEvoy. The recent movie "The Lincoln Lawyer" was based on one of the Mickey Haller books.  William Kent Krueger uses the Minnesota landscape to great effect in his Cork O'Connor mysteries.  Cork is a former Chicago cop who retires-- or tries to retire--to the backwoods area in this series that features strong and memorable characters. 

The complete list of authors and titles is here:  Dorothy-L picks for 2011

If you love mysteries, but haven't read these authors, give them a try! Their work covers a wide assortment of sleuths, settings and even time periods.

No comments:

Post a Comment