I had so many comments and emails re my last post on Serial Detectives I am returning to this subject, not least because there were so many I missed out or had forgotten so here we go again.
First of all, in response to a comment and some emails, I have really tried to like Margery Allingham but I can't. I have read three or four of her books as I know that sometimes it can take a while to become involved. I admire the writing, which is excellent and economical, no fuss or fussiness which I cannot abide but, try as I might, I cannot warm to Campion or to the ghastly named Lugg. Sorry!
I have also tried Gladys Mitchell and failed. Ditto Edmund Crispin and Michael Innes.
I mentioned Miss Marple but of course have to also name Patricia Wentworth and her creation Miss Silver who has a lot in common with the lady from St Mary Mead. I wonder who came first? I blitzed all of these books, courtesy of a friend who had the lot, a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed them but the trouble with doing this is that you do notice recurring plot devices. In the Wentworth books there is always somebody who knows more than they are admitting to and who tries to blackmail the murderer with the result that they end up dead as well. Christie has used this a couple of times but not so often. However, I still loved them and will probably re-read them again some day.
Ngaio Marsh - I love love love these books and read the entire series (about 39) every other year or so. I was rather disappointed to read recently that Marsh was rather snide about Dorothy L Sayers and her hero and accused her of falling in love with him and wallowing in it all. Words Pot and Kettle come to mind here, as Ngaio certainly goes overboard on her 'posh inspector' Alleyn and endows him with all sorts of virtues which almost, not quite, but almost make him unbearable.
So having mentioned DL Sayers I have to say, though you know this already, that I adore Lord Peter Wimsey and the Harriet Vane books are among my most favourite of all time. Gaudy Night is just perfect as far as I am concerned and I read it at least twice a year. I do wish the series with Edward Petherbridge would be reshown on the TV as they are impossible to get on DVD unless you are in the USA and they are beautifully done.
Linda Castillo - an American writer who tells the story of the female Chief of Police in Painters Mill in Amish Country. Lots of fascinating background, gruesome murders and very well written. I have downloaded the latest on my Kindle and am already absorbed.
Tess Gerritsen - another USA writer whose stories are set in Boston. Her protagonists are Detective Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles, medical examiner. Extremely well plotted and, at times, rather scary they are very well written and I recommend them highly. Do read in order though, particularly The Surgeon and The Apprentice as these are linked. Dreadful TV series has been made which I find unwatchable.
OK am I finished? Almost but I cannot go without mentioning ScandiCrime. Henning Mankell with his Wallander books, now sadly finished, held me in thrall one summer a year or two ago when I did my usual and read the lot in one fell swoop; Camilla Lackberg who I love and Jo Nesbo who I have stopped reading for a while as some of them got a bit too near the knuckle re violence and the description of same for me to stomach.
Nobody mention Patricia Cornwall please. Started them and had to give up as the forensic detail given, which the author seemed to revel in, made me nauseous.
Must just close with a writer, Jane Casey and her Maeve Kerrigan books, which started off slowly and are now really getting going.
OK that is it. I daresay I shall do Serial Detectives three soon as I think of more. I know there are plenty and I know you will all recommend new names to me.
Keep them coming....