This post is in honor of my upcoming Mystery Takeover of Facebook’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Readers’ Lounge this Thursday from 10 am to 1 pm. Stop by to talk about mysteries, play games, and access exclusive giveaways and prizes.
My Favorite Mystery Novels
I have always loved mysteries. As a kid, I was enamored by the likes of Nancy Drew, The Boxcar Kids, and Encyclopedia Brown. Even though I write mostly sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, I still enjoy curling up with a cozy mystery on the occasional dark and stormy night. Also, almost every great book has an element of mystery to it, and I try to keep that tradition alive in my stories.
A Fatal Inversion by Barbara Vine, Ruth Rendell
Ruth Rendell, writing as Barbara Vine, pulls a rare magic trick with the characters mentally and physically fleeing from the consequences of events that occurred decades ago, while keeping the central incident hidden until the very last pages. This story of a young heir to a large estate, a hot, rainy summer, and a series of poor choices reminiscent of everyone’s wild days turns into a taut, claustrophobic thriller.
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
In this Agatha Christie novel, each of the ten characters gets their study; no one is who they say they are, or even who they think they are. The story has many twists that keep you guessing – if you can avoid spoilers for this famous novel.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
The movie was well done, but it does not do justice to the book’s multiple narration format. Where Amy has “gone” and why is up for debate along with the nature of villainy and the reliability of each of the book’s narrators.
My last two favorite mysteries are series:
The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris
This series of novels checks off all my boxes: vampires, Louisiana, magic, and fun! These stories revolve around a telepathic waitress and her adventures with local paranormal personalities. The writing is a little pulpy, and some of the books withhold too much, so you don’t get the chance to figure out the mystery, but overall, these books are fun and fast reads.
The "Cat Who" Books by Lillian Jackson Braun
These nearly never-ending adventures of aging journalist Jim Qwilleran and his two preternaturally intelligent Siamese cats are my favorite mystery novels. The mysteries are relaxing and comfortably formulaic, though well-written. Many fans enjoy the grittier early stories, which cover Qwill and the cats as they solve mysteries related to his job at a big city newspaper. But I prefer the later books following Qwill’s relocation to the sleepy, idyllic (yet somehow still crime-ridden) Moose County.
Thanks for reading and don’t forget to join me in the Fantasy & Science Fiction Readers’ Lounge this Thursday!