Monday, February 6, 2012

Mysteries and Detective Novels

If you enjoy the detective stories of Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers, we have many of their novels.  Look in the PR6005 .H66 range on the lower level for Christie, and PR6037 .A95 for Sayers.

We also have detective novels by several of their contemporaries who are less well known today.  Here are a few of my personal favorites, and representative novels by each:


Nicholas Blake (C. Day Lewis)

The Beast Must Die (PR6007 .A955 B38)

"I am going to kill a man.  I don't know his name, I don't know where he lives, I have no idea what he looks like.  But I am going to find him and kill him."  So begins The Beast Must Die, with the diary of Frank Cairnes,  whose son has been killed by a hit-and-run driver.  The police have been unable to trace the driver, so Cairnes tracks down the person responsible, and plans to take the law into his own hands.  But matters take an unexpected twist.  

Carter Dickson (John Dickson Carr)

The Judas Window (PS3505 .A763 J8 1938)
James Answell's first meeting with his prospective father-in-law, Avory Hume, doesn't go quite as planned.  Hume proposes a toast, Answell passes out after drinking-and wakes to find Hume dead, with a crossbow arrow in his heart.  The door is locked on the inside, and apparently nobody else could have entered or left the room.  Answell is arrested, and the man he chooses to defend him is Sir Henry Merrivale-a brilliant detective, but not the most polished of lawyers (in his last case, he addressed the jury as "Well, my fatheads").  Carter Dickson, who also wrote as John Dickson Carr, is the master of the "impossible" crime.

Anthony Berkeley

The Poisoned Chocolates Case (PR6005 .O855 P82 1929)

Joan Bendix dies from an overdose of chocolates laced with poison.  Scotland Yard is unable to solve the case, so they offer it to the Crimes Circle, a club of six amateur criminologists eager to try their hands at detecting.  All six claim to have solved the case-but their solutions are all different.  The Poisoned Chocolates Case is widely considered one of the best detective novels ever written, but it's also a brilliant spoof of the genre.

Edmund Crispin

The Long Divorce (PR6025 .O46 L6)

Cotten Abbas is a peaceful English village where nothing ever happen, except for a series of particularly vile anonymous letters. and an apparent suicide. and the murder of a young man who claimed to be on the track of the poison pen writer.  Inspector Casby finds that the clues all point to one suspect:  Dr. Helen Downing, his fiancée.

*This blog post authored by Reference and ILL Librarian Dr. Arthur Robinson.

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