Cerebral Mysteries

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Cerebral Mysteries

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Dec 22, 2011, 9:19pm

Hullo All. Just recently found this group, and thought perhaps you could give me some pointers.

I haven't been reading any mysteries (well hardly any) for quite a few years so feel I don't know much about more recent authors. I'm looking for suggestions for books, or series, that are more cerebral in nature.

Authors of mysteries that I enjoy: Anne Perry, Elizabeth George, Dorothy Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, Marjorie Allingham - hmm. All women. Odd.

I like historical settings, although contemporary is fine too. I like strong women, characters that are fleshed out, and complex villains who aren't all black (and heroes that aren't all white). Exotic settings a plus.

I've got a few books in my wishlist that I've seen mentioned around LT but wondered if you all could help me narrow my search.

Thanks in advance.

Dec 22, 2011, 11:47pm

My go to rec is Reginald Hill's Dalziel and Pascoe boks. Also I saw you left of P.D. James queen of cerebral. If you like a little humor try the four by Sarah Caudwell and you might enjoy the Lydmouth series byAndrew Taylor and the Inspector Morse by Colin Dexter, Stephen Booth and John Harvey.

That Sarah Caudwell touchstone is acting up Thus Was Adonis Murdered for a title.

Dec 23, 2011, 10:55am

Charles Todd - post WWI.

Dec 23, 2011, 2:03pm

E. X. Ferrars will supply lots of alternative motives, solutions, possibilities, from each of her characters.

Dec 23, 2011, 4:05pm

Thanks so much for the suggestions. Taking notes :)

WRT PD James, I have read some of hers, but so very long ago I couldn't remember much about them. The others I shall investigate!

Dec 25, 2011, 12:59am

My all-time favorite should suit you: Michael Innes.

Dec 25, 2011, 10:42am

Maurice Proctor wrote some great police procedurals.

Can't beat Reginald Hill for cerebral!

Edited: Apr 2, 2012, 11:37pm

This is not British or Irish, but I highly recommend the Commissaire Adamsberg mysteries of Fred Vargas. They are beautifully written (and translated) and complex; feature fascinating folklore; and the characters are wonderful.

Apr 3, 2012, 8:21am

#8 Thanks! I've added the first one to the wishlist.

Apr 3, 2012, 12:33pm

Nicholas Freeling might be another possibility, if you are prepared to include a British writer who set practically all his stories either in Holland or in Alsace (I think there's one of the Van der Valk stories set in Dublin...).

Edited: Apr 4, 2012, 8:04am

Peter McGarr Mystery series by Bartholomew Gill. These are police procedurals that take place in Ireland.

Jun 7, 2012, 1:54pm

Take a look at C. J. Sansom, the first in the series is Dissolution.

Aug 1, 2012, 9:58am

Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear. She's a private dectective in the years after World War I. Interesting to compare with Dorothy Sayers. Additionally, Jill Paton Walsh has written a couple of sequels to the Wimsey series--not bad.

Oct 10, 2012, 11:55am

I have very similar tastes to you - Elizabeth George. Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy Sayers and Marjorie Allingham. I've not read much by Anne Perry yet. I also highly enjoy Martha Grimes's Richard Jury and Melrose Plant series, and Deborah Crombie's Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James.

Martha Grimes's are witty and her characterizations are very good. When I read a new Jury and Plant novel, I feel as though they are good friends that I haven't seen for some time. Deborah Crombie reminds me a little of Elizabeth George.

I also enjoy quite a few of the others listed - Reginald Hill's Dalziel & Pascoe are particular favorites. Along those lines, perhaps not quite as cerebral, but good nonetheless is Peter Lovesey's Peter Diamond series and Hen Malin series.

P.D. James 's Dalgleish series is wonderful, and I also enjoy her few Cordelia Grey novels. Jacqueline Winspear is not bad, I don't enjoy her as much as some of the others.

Peter Robinson and Caroline Graham are also not bad - probably second tier to the others mentioned, but certainly good reads - they both write about Inspectors in Britian. I know that a lot of people like Ruth Rendell, haven't read much of hers, but she is another along these lines.

Georgette Heyer is another of the "Queen's of Crime' along with Marsh, Sayer, and Agatha Christie, whom you do not mention, but I assume that you have read.

Along more modern lines, I have really enjoyed Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce series, which is set in 1950's England.

Take a glance at the mysteries on my profile, since we have similar taste, you may find some others that you like.

Oct 11, 2012, 10:27am

Thanks for all the great suggestions!

I have read most of the Richard Jury series and am now even re-reading them. Also, yes, I've read most of Christie. I've read Georgette Heyer ages ago (I think) but not her mysteries, I don't believe. I've got a few of them now in the TBR.

I've tried the first Reginald Hill on audio and really didn't much care for the reader. I can't find a reasonably priced ebook for book 2 but if I do I'll continue that series.

I've read Maisie Dobbs and really enjoyed it so will continue with that series sometime or other.

Also have read Dissolution and will continue that series.

Will investigate Nicolas Freeling, Fred Vargas, Maurice Proctor Sarah Cauldwell and Peter McGarr.

Colin Dexter, Stephen Booth and John Harvey are all in either my TBR or Wishlist.

Oct 11, 2012, 6:10pm

Unfortunately, with the earlier Reginald Hill books, they were out of print for a while. Felony & Mayhem started republishing them just a few years ago, and were only publishing them a few at a time. I don't think many are out in ebook format - I know I had to either pick them up from my library, and for the earlier ones that had not been republished by Felony & Mayhem, I got them through Abe Books, half.com, or ebay.

Love to hear if you find anything else that you particularly enjoy.

Oct 13, 2012, 2:46am

I have just rediscovered Cyril Hare and it is very cerebral; I suspect that I am being fed clues but have no idea whodunnit yet.

Has anyone mentioned Josephine Tey? Brilliant!

Oct 17, 2012, 9:22am

I have just discovered Agatha Christie, after reading Endless Night. Wonderful. Will be reading more from her, hopefully.

Edited: Oct 17, 2012, 10:11pm

gogglemiss - Endless Night was a great Christie. You should also try: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, And Then There Were None, Murder on the Orient Express, A Murder is Announced, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, The ABC Murders, Sad Cypress, Five Little Pigs and Crooked House which I believe are widely considered to be among her best novels.

Personally, I also enjoyed Murder at the Vicarage - it remains one of my favorites. After 40 plus years of reading Christie, she is still one of my favorite authors, and I still enjoy reading her books (I own almost every one!) In my opinion, although there are many, many great mystery writers out there, no one tops Christie.

I do hope you will get to enjoy the rest of her books.

Oct 17, 2012, 6:18pm

18> The A.B.C. Murders was my first Christie. How I envy you.

Oct 17, 2012, 10:12pm

20> Could be a new topic - "Do you remember your first Christie?" I believe mine just happened to be Murder at the Vicarage!

Oct 30, 2013, 2:47pm

> 19 I love Christie and have several of her works. I have all of the Miss Marples on DVD and some of the Poirot on DVD. I am an avid fan of Masterpiece Mystery and they often show Christie films. Hope this counts almost as good as reading them. I think Miss Marple is my favorite character from Christie's books. I love the time period in which these stories take place.

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