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November 16, 2005


Mysteries... I like J.D. Robb books; The Eyre Affair by ?? was clever and it has sequals but I haven't read them,... My guilty pleasure is romances so I don't have so many.

If you like priest mysteries, have you read Julia Spencer Fleming's books about Clare Ferguson, an Episcopal priest who regularly gets involved in murder investigations and the like? They are not Great Literature, but they are entertaining.

Oh! I loooved Gaudy Night!

Favorite authors:
Sara Paretsky (tough-talking female PI in Chicago)

Faye Kellerman (Orthodox Jewish woman meets cop)

Jonathan Kellerman (psychologist and cop solve murders by delving into the psyche-side of the mystery world)

Laurie King (two series. One is set in contemporary times and has a cop in San Fran. as its hero; the other is "Sherlock Holmes meets a brilliant woman who is his match" and pays homage to Sayers). My favorite contemporary writer.

Marcia Muller (female PI in California. Each novel gets better than the one that came before. Thoughtful writing, good plots.)

They're not academic mysteries, and they involve regular old detectives/police, but if you haven't read Elizabeth George or Ruth Rendell, definitely check them out - great characters etc. as well as being wonderful mystery novels. (That is, as long as you like stuff set in Britain.) P.D. James is also excellent.

WN, have you tried the Canadian mystery author Gail Bowen? She writes about a political science professor in Saskatchewan. I reread the books often for Bowen's adroit character studies. I'd love to hang out with her protagonist and family in real life.

Unfortunately, Bowen's books can be hard to find in the U.S.

hey, not academic mysteries, but I'm a big fan of the Nevada Barr series--each set in a different national park.

I too love Gaudy Night, I re-read it not for the mystery part, but for love of the characters. I'm also a sucker for series.

Meg is not a scholar, but I recommend the Meg Lanslow Mystery series by Donna Andrews. They are light and fun. Meg is a blacksmith with a crazy family. She is usually involved with keeping her family from getting arrested for various murders that seem to happen around her. Quite fun. The first is Murder with Peacocks.

I also love to pick of a Spenser novel from Robert B. Parker or a Dick Francis mystery. They aren't all stellar, but dependable and great escape books I can't put down.

For more bookish mysteries try The Bookman series from John Dunning. The first is Booked to Die. He is an ex-cop turned bookseller.

Any of the Blanche White mysteries written by Barbara Neely.

A different kind of murder mystery. I so love those books.

I always like to put in a vote for Reginald Hill's Dalziel and Pascoe police procedurals--his Joe Sixsmith novels, not so much--and Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus. (The downside to Hill is that the novels have to be read in order, or they won't always make much sense.) And I really enjoyed the late Joseph Hansen's Dave Brandstetter series.

Academic and a mystery, but no murder. Moo, by Jane Smiley

I'm loving these comments; reading suggestions galore! Winter break, here I come (well, in a month or so).

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Who is this What Now?

  • I'm an English teacher at Fabulous Girls' School (FGS). I'm a convert to Judaism. I am partner to D. We live in an adorable, messy little house in Adventure City. Two cats -- the Muse and the Contemplative -- live with us and keep life at home plenty adventurous.

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