Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mystery Novel Writers

Today is the first day of my winter break and I have proceeded with my plan to read as many mystery novels as possible. This semester was hellish, probably the most difficult I've ever had, so massive doses of light reading are in order.

I've noticed, though, that all mystery writers whose work I follow are women. Ruth Rendell, PD James, Tana French, Minette Walters, Laura Lippman, Louise Penny, Lisa Gardner, Tess Gerritsen: these are, in my opinion the best detective authors writing today.

So where are the men? I tried reading the series by James Lee Burke and John Sandford but they turned out to be immensely boring. Have male authors given up on the mystery genre?

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

12 comments:

el said...

Could one call Sir Arthur Conan Doyle a mystery writer too? Among them my mother loves Agatha Christie. I took for her Tana French's and Ian McEwan's books from the library, so thank you for your recs! Hope you continue with Book Reviews, even if they seem to tag behind in the poll. Are you planning to change the frequency of posts about various topics, according to the poll's results, or is its' function merely to satisfy your curiosity?

Recently ended reading Azhar Abidi's novel, “The House of Bilqis,” and really loved it. Here is a good, short interview with the author:
http://pakteahouse.wordpress.com/2009/04/22/the-house-of-bilquis-tales-of-pakistani-diaspora/
The book isn't long and is very easy to read, much easier than I would judge from the interview.

Would you enjoy something like:
"From the Borderlands - Stories of Terror & Madness" - edited by Elizabeth E. Monteleone and Thomas F. Monteleone ?
Very good collection of short stories, imo.

On another topic, have you seen this blog?
http://jonswift.blogspot.com/

The late (see last post) author, a journalist, has written in the most entertaining way I've seen about news, feminism, etc. You can check the tags, if you wish. (If you know somebody half as good, many of your readers would enjoy the recommendation.)

BenYitzhak said...

I'm really better versed with Fantasy, I haven't read any of those authors. I have read some Agatha Cristie and of course Sherlock Holmes. I'd say my favorite mystery novel is "To Say Nothing of the Dog" by Connie Willis.

However, I have been reading some "Fantasy Mystery."

Like the Dresden Files by... Jim Butcher, I think. The books are fun to read, but they aren't literature I feel the need to keep in my library. Simon Green has a similar series. Patricia Briggs has one too, but with a Woman who can turn into a coyote rather than a mage.

When it comes to standard Mystery, I had fun with "Edward Trencom's Nose: A Novel of History, Dark Intrigue, and Cheese"

At least, I think it was mystery. I found it at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstores; they only carry four types of novels, and it wasn't Fantasy, Science Fiction, or Horror.

Clarissa said...

el: I was talking about the writers who are alive and actively writing now. As great as Conan Doyle is, he isn't producing anything new.

Thank you for the Jon Swift link. You should have warned me that the blog was humorous. I followed the link at 4 a.m. and for a while was appalled that anybody would send me to a self-declared conservative lover of Rush Limbaugh. Eventually, my sense of humor did kick in, though, so thanks for the link!

I don't think I will change what I post based on the poll. Even if everybody chooses, say, feminism, when I have nothing of interest to write, I won't address the topic. The poll is just for my curiosity.

BenYitzhak said...

With a name like Jon Swift, you should expect it to be satire. After all, it was Jonathan Swift that wrote "A Modest Proposal."

Ryan said...

I think that the mystery genre in itself is sort of dying out, so maybe it just seems like male writers have also gone to pasture. The last mystery/crime novel that I read, Blood, Money, Power, is by a woman named Michele Marie Tate, and seems to be broad enough to go beyond as a simple mystery. The gender tipping scale could be complete coincidence, though.

Tom Carter said...

I'm presently reading The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon. Great book with a strange but interesting plot premise; I highly recommend it. Chabon also wrote The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, one of my favorite novels.

I've read everything James Lee Burke has written, some more than once. How could anyone not like his work, Clarissa? The characters alone (including the three-legged coon) are worth the ride!

I tried reading P.D. James a couple of times, but it was so boring I couldn't go on. I guess there's no accounting for taste. :)

sheddingkhawatir said...

For male mystery writers, I'd highly recommend Jasper Fforde and Tony Hillerman. Fforde's books might be particularly appropriate for a literature professor recovering from a hard semester. Hillerman died in 2008, but I would think still counts as contemporary. Since you didn't mention them, I'd also like to recommend two of my favorite female mystery authors, Elizabeth Peters and Sharyn McCrumb. They don't appeal to everyone, but are at least worth checking out.

Elisabeth said...

Henning Mankell is the one you want! His books are brilliant, and translated into English (as many of the Scandinavian crime writers are now - Mankell is Swedish). For another Swede, try Stieg Larsson (who died a couple of years ago), especially his first one which is called 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' in English. Also, I've heard a lot of good about Jo Nesbø's series about 'Harry Hole' - Nesbø is Norwegian.

Happy reading!

Pagan Topologist said...

Rosemary Edgill published three mystery novels set in the New York City Pagan community several years ago. I really enjoyed them. I don't think she stopped because they were not selling.

NancyP said...

Try Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther series. The character Gunther is a cop and then a P.I. in pre-Nazi and then Nazi Germany. The first three novels are in an omnibus paperback published by Penguin (I think) under the title "Berlin Noir".

Clarissa said...

Thank you, everybody, for these great recommendations. It's wonderful to see so many mystery lovers visit the blog. Now I will have enough stuff to read to last me a long time.

Jennifer said...

A great mystery novel: The Manual of Detection. Off-beat and very well written.