I do love discovering new detectives, well new to me at any rate, particularly when there is a whole series to keep me going. Over the lifetime of this blog I have indulged in quite a few and thought it would be fun to see how many I have read.
Donna Leon - Brunetti series. These are set in Venice and when I discovered them I was hooked. First one I read was Death at la Fenice which had the glorious combination of murder and opera, irresistible. I then plunged into an orgy of Venetian mysteries and polished off the lot in a month and then had to wait each year patiently for the next one to be published. I have found that the last two or three have lacked a certain something, not quite sure what, but I feel that the author may have begun to tire of Brunetti and Paola his intellectual wife who manages to knock up stunning lunches each day and reads Henry James for fun. I, too, have begun to tire of her and now find her perfection irritating but Brunetti continues to fascinate.
Andrea Camilleri - Inspector Montalbano. Ah these I will never tire of. I have just read and reviewed the fourteenth in the series over on Shiny New Books here so do have a read. The characters in these books are so endearing and funny and full of human frailty and the gem in the middle is Catarella, the intellectually challenged policeman who would lay down his life for the Inspector. There have been times reading these books when I have wept with laughter.
Martin O'Brien - Daniel Jacquot. These books are set in Marseilles and simply reek of fish and Galouise and are totally atmospheric. The hero, Daniel, is an ex-rugby player who wears his hair in a ponytail. Yes, I know but he is gorgeous and sexy. The stories are exceptionally well plotted and written and I simply love them.
Back in the UK I have enjoyed the Roy Grace books by Peter James. These are set in Brighton and part of their charm for me is knowing the streets and areas in which the stories are located. A long running series, I feel they need to be read in order so that you can follow the development of his character and the story of his personal life, which is tangled to say the least. Nothing new there.....
P D James - Inspector Dalgliesh. No need for recommendations from me for these simply wonderful books. Superbly written with a clarity of style which I find so satisfying to read. Dalgliesh is a fascinating character and I do wish a TV series could be made that did him justice. The originals were made back in the seventies and are a tad old hat now and the most recent with Martin Shaw, totally wooden and uncharismatic, were boring. Well I thought so, please feel free to disagree.
Susan Hill - Simon Serrailer. The charismatic Simon lives in Lafferton and heads up the specialist crime division. Devoted to his sister and her family he avoids commitment himself and when he finally falls in love, it is with somebody out of his reach. HIs family life runs alongside the current investigation and it is best to read these in order so that the reader can see the time line. Very well written and unputdownable.
And now the USA
Michael Connelly - Harry Bosch is his detective in the LAPD. Goes without saying that he is divorced and estranged from his daughter for several of the books. Gritty and realistic they are compulsively readable and as the author kindly writes at least one a year, all to a high standard, I don't have to wait too long for the next fix. He also writes books starring another character, Micky Haller, a downtown lawer who operates just on the right side of the law. Both series are excellent. A film was made of a Haller book, The Lincoln Lawyer, which follows the storyline exactly and is very good indeed.
Lee Childs - Jack Reacher. I have recently mentioned the Jack Reacher books and nothing more to add other than they are all exactly the same, same super cool dialogue, same hero, same actions, all good fun and instantly forgettable. No need to bother reading them in order as it makes no difference at all. Fun.
I am in the throes of a re-read of the books of Anne Zouroudi. Her detective, or investigator really, is the Fat Man as he is described - his name is Hermes Diaktoris and he laughs that his father gave him this name meaning the Winged Messenger. The stories are set in the Greek islands and the atmosphere, heat, smell and feeling of the sun scorched lands is on every page. Hermes rights wrongs and dispenses his own brand of justice, helping those in pain and sorrow and punishing those who have committed a crime. When asked where he comes from and who he is, his reply is that he is from Athens and is not with the police but with a 'higher authority'. I leave it to the reader to come to their own conclusion. They are excellent and I urge you to try them.
One of the charms of detective stories set abroad is the attention paid to food. Here is a link to a post of a few years ago now which illustrates the importance of food in the Italian stories I have mentioned above:
The Zouroudi books are the same. No fish and chips in the police canteen here.
I love crime fiction, have done all my life and am amazed at the ingenuity and creativity of their authors. I have not mentioned Sayers or Christie, two of my most favourite authors, saving that for another day as pretty sure once I get started on them the post will go on for reams and reams. And then there is Patricia Wentworth, Georgette Heyer, Peter Robinson Inspector Banks series, and we had better not get started on Nordic crime, that too will wait for another day
I understand that Penguin are planning on republishing Simenon's Maigret books. I am ashamed to say I have read none of them so will look forward to seeing how I get on with this author. He wrote over 100 so I am hoping that I love them on first sight as they will keep me going for some time........