11 Awesome Murder Mysteries

This is my 100th post. Huzzah! It’s been fun writing about all matter of things from Chicago adventures, travel, hot chocolate and more. Thanks for reading.

I have decided that I’m going to post 3-5 times a week instead of every day. I’ve got some projects coming up that I’d like a little bit more time. So I’m going to shoot for at least Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

So I’ve talked about my favorite books of 2013 and my favorite Young Adult and Children’s books. Now, I’m going to talk about one of my favorite genres of literature: the murder mystery. I’m obsessed with a good mystery and there is nothing like finding a new book or series. I like mysteries so much that in recent years, I’ve had to make the effort to read other kinds of books. So I’m going to write a list of my favorite books and series in no particular order.

1.  Fer de Lance, Rex Stout
This is the first book in the Nero Wolfe collection. Nero Wolfe is this gourmand detective who cultivates orchids and never leaves his NY Brownstone. He’s lazy but a genius. Archie Goodwin, his right hand man, is probably one of my favorite characters in literature. He’s a fast talking ladies man who drinks milk. He pushes and prods Nero Wolfe into taking work. The mysteries are clever in themselves. This series is also neat because you don’t have to read it in order. Also, there is an amazing AMC series called Nero Wolfe that is worth watching a beautiful Timothy Hutton as Archie Goodwin.

2.  Whose’s Body, Dorothy Sayers
This is the first of the Lord Peter Whimsy stories. Lord Peter Whimsy is a British aristocrat who feels that he has to bring justice to the world by solving crimes. Dorothy Sayers wrote in the golden age of Crime and is a wonderful writer as well as mystery writer.

3. Death at La Fenice, Donna Leon
I’ve mentioned how awesome Donna Leon in a previous post. She writes about contemporary Venice with lead character Commissinario Brunetti. He strives to find justice in a world filled with corruption and distrust. The stories focus on different aspects of Venetian life.

4.  Thus Was Adonis Murdered, Sarah Caudwell
This four book series is about a group of barristers (English lawyers) who get themselves into trouble. The main character Hilary Tamar is an Oxford Don who has to solve the mystery. One amazing thing about the series is that you never know the gender of Hilary.

5. Art of the Murder, Jose Carlos Somoza
This brilliant and terrifying book imagines a future where art has progressed to the point that people are the art. Canvases and marbles are considered ancient history like papyruses today. There are a series of murders going on that have to be stopped.

6. Roman Blood, Steven Saylor
This series takes place in Ancient Rome. The main character is Gordianus the Finder who is a freeman hired by wealthy and poor Romans to solve their murders. It goes into the politics of Ancient Rome. Cicero is a regular client of Gordianus.

7. The Raphael Affair, Iain Pears
This is the first of the Art History Mysteries. Jonathan Argyll, a British art historian, teams up with Flavia di Stefano, a deputy in the Italian Art Squad to solve heists and other art mysteries. They somehow make you want to love Rome.

8. Instance of the Fingerpost, Iain Pears
I mention a second book by Iain Pears because this one is a not a part of the Art History Mysteries. It’s about a crime in 17th century England that is told from four points of view. It’s quite masterful as you see how much the narrative changes from person to person.

9. The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler
This is one of the classics. It would be considered noir if the main detective wasn’t such a decent guy. They are set in Los Angeles with Philip Marlowe as the main character. He is a heavy drinker with his own sense of morality. The books are beautifully written.

10.  A Morbid Taste for Bones, Ellis Peters
This mystery is set in the Medieval ages where the sleuth is a monk, Brother Cadfael. He is a justice-loving man who used to be a crusader who decided to join the order for peace and quiet. It’s sweet and charming. There is a tv show where Derek Jacobi plays Brother Cadfael too.

11. The Daughter of Time, Josephine Tey
I’ve mentioned this one before. Inspector Alan Grant is held up in the hospital and starts delving into the mystery of Richard III and the princes in the tower. This is the most compelling book about someone reading. It really blew me away!

That’s all for now!

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