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1) Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, definately. Though it's hard to stick with one story since most of the short stories are excellent; but a as a novel Hound of the Baskervilles is very good and a cornerstone of the mystery genre I think.
2) Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter mysteries. Sayers' stories brought a new, intellectual flair to a genre that wasn't known for its appeal to deep thinkers.
Any others you can think of?
In more recent times, P.D. James is a must read starting with Cover Her Face. I would add Reginald Hill, Colin Dexter, and John Harvey as well.
For instance, which Dorothy L. Sayers book is a must-read?
I confess I've never actually read Dick Francis. Anyone want to enlarge on his appeal, strengths, characteristics?
The books are told in first person and do contain somewhat graphic violence (though it seems less so to me now than it did 30 years ago). The puzzles are generally interesting and Francis tends to explore a different facet of racing with each book and eventually branches out into other professions such as pilot, glass-blower, banker, etc. One reviewer once said that part of the fascination was to see how the horses would be worked into the plot of each book. For instance the investment banker was involved in financing the syndication of a stallion purchased for stud purposes.
My husband feels that the last half dozen or so are weaker stories than the earlier ones and I have noticed that my personal favorites are mostly among the first half of his works.
And, for a taste of the WWI era, I will also recommend Gillian Linscott. Perfect Daughter in particular, though I haven't yet read everything by Linscott, but if what I've read so far is anything indicative of her other books, she's truly stellar work and should be listed as a sampling of what modern British authors can do.
There was a question on the LJ Baker Street community which was the 'one' Sherlock Holmes to read - I think the consensus was The Sign of the Four for the novels, though the short story choice was a bit up in the air...
A quick addition - I haven't read that much Chesterson, but surely some of his Father Brown would also make the list? After all, it's our group's picture :)
I'd agree that the earlier-to-middle ones are the best. I have the latest (first in six years), and it (Under Orders) isn't bad, but there's a bit of rust showing.
JTS was one of those strange writers who wrote under a variety of names, in a variety of styles. Should you be interested, there is a rather good Jack Trevor Story web site, run by Guy Lawler.
Just remembered - you might know of Jack Trevor story as the man who wrote The trouble With harry, which became a Hitchcock film.
I'm another fan of Dorothy Sayers and, like several others here, liked Murder Must Advertise and Gaudy Night most.
Dorothy Sayers was a good stylist. She wrote a short story, about a man who attempted to murder someone by pushing him through a plate glass window, that actually made me faint. Her description of what happened to the victim was so vivid that I passed out while sitting down in my armchair.
But back to mysteries. Has anyone else read anything by Elizabeth Lemarchand? It's been a while but I do remember enjoying them. I think they were written in the '70's.
Ruth Rendell's inspector Wexford is pretty good, though I don't own any, and can't remember the titles of those that I enjoyed.
For Dexter the last Remorseful day is probably the best IMO but you need to have read some of the previous to get a feel for the characters.
You are a logical candidate for joining Bookmooch. Today there are 32 copies of her books available.
Could be, but I've had bad experiences with such things. Besides it takes away the fun of trying to find ALL the little bookshops in the Netherlands. I've only visited about 50 yet...
meets NYPD Blue with more than a little of the tv series, The Shield. Darkly humorous. I think the first featuring Brant is A White Arrest (1998)
Also, I've just started his Jack Taylor series about a former member of the police force (the Guards) is a finder of things and helper of people since they don't appear to have private detectives. The Guards is the first in this series.
Couldn't get the touchstone to work - English title is The Gyrth Chalice Mystery.
I would also mention the "Gideon of the Yard" series written by John Creasey using the pen name J. J. Marric.
I don't think so...he seems to be concentrating on Peter Diamond lately.
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Ngaio Marsh is a New Zealander and not British (unless she has, unbeknown to me - but quite possibly - taken out British Citizenship).
I know this "Commonwealth" thing is quite confusing!
His PI, Nick Sharman, patrols the mean streets of south London. Some of the novels were adapted for TV in the 1990s with Clive Owen playing Sharman, who, although a fine actor, was not the right man for the job. Many are, quite wrongly, out of print at the moment.
Christopher Brookmyre's so-called "Tartan Noir" is good fun too. Imagine Carl Hiaasen if he was Glaswegian.
Speaking of Glasgow, the British crime book I've probably enjoyed most recently was Louise Welsh's The Cutting Room.
Looking forward to reading Hare's Tragedy at Law next, then two Francis Iles classics - Malice Aforethought and Before the Fact. Francis Iles also wrote as Anthony Berkeley.
Pamela, quartzite: nice thoughts on the part of both of you.
Grammath, I look forward to checking out the books you mention.
My own current TBR, looked forward to, include Peter Dickinson's The Old English Peep Show, and Michael Innes' Seven Suspects, aka Death at the President's Lodging. Also, Hare's The Wind Blows Death/When the Wind Blows. :)
The only annoying thing about this book (at least to me) was the title. I shall read more of this Inspector Banks series.
Donnish detective stories really charm me. Especially whimsical ones, like his and Michael Innes'.
Hm... I have a feeling there's an unread Edmund Crispin in the house...
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