What’s the best mystery novel you have ever read?
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. Hands down.
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In fact, now I kinda want to read it again, except my Kindle was stolen back in April. Guess I better get a nice, solid copy. This, by the way, is exactly the kind of book that should have a special edition: leatherbound, gilt edges, illuminated chapter headings…
Someone find me this book and send it to me.
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A Kiss Before Dying by Ira Levin. He pulls off a neat trick with the narration. Here’s Stephen King talking about it: “[the novel’s] real screeching bombshell is neatly tucked away about one hundred pages into the story. If you should happen upon this moment while thumbing randomly through the book, it means nothing to you. If you have read everything faithfully up to that point, it means … everything.” Levin is a good writer. He’s done credible work in SF (This Perfect Day) horror (Rosemary’s Baby) and mystery (Kiss Before Dying).
My life story…:)
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Sci-fi, and not strictly a mystery, but it kept me guessing and paid off nicely:
The Inverted World — Christopher Priest
Anything involving Encyclopedia Brown.
Being not so much a reader, I was going to say this or Nancy Drew, but another book came to mind – it featured the Brady Bunch and pirates and it was really scary, and I might have been 9 or 10 when I read it.
In all seriousness and currency, I would take the suggestions on this page, because I really think I would like a good mystery novel.
The Alienist by Caleb Carr. It brings psychology and forensics into late 1800′s New York. Bonus, Teddy Roosevelt is NY Police Cheif at the time and takes a nice big part in it.
I’m reading that right now! It’s really good.
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If you enjoy it, the follow up “The Angel of Darkness” was also very good.
“I, Robot” was pretty kewl.
I’m still waiting for US Robotics to stop making 56k modems and switch to humanoid robots…
Shouldn’t that be “WE, Robotics”?
“The Doorbell Rang by Rex Stout. Actually, any Nero Wolfe mystery is pretty great.
The Lincoln and Child Agent Pendergast Series. There are 11 books with the 12th on the way
Josephine Tey’s “The Daughter of Time”. Trying to solve a 500 year old mystery from a hospital bed is a pretty clever plot device and Tey nails it. A close second is Christie’s “Murder of Roger Akroyd” simply for the amazing twist at the denouement. Christie lays it all out for you but I defy anyone who doesn’t know the trick beforehand to guess the guilty party.
I loved this book. It started me on an intensive search of the history of the time, and I became an ardent Yorkist. I also learned that the guy who wins the war gets to write the history. One of my concentrations while getting my degree in history was medieval England. All thanks to Josephine Tey. Her other books are excellent as well. I believe she only wrote 6 mysteries.
Yes, “Daughter of Time” gets my vote too. Loved Sherlock Holmes when I was about 12, and then graduated to Ellery Queen mysteries at about the same time. But then they had a book faire my first year of junior high, when I was the same age, and I somehow got the Josephine Tey book. A history lesson wrapped in a fascinating modern murder mystery cloak.
That started a half-century (and counting) of being a Ricardian. I’ve got a foot-width of notebooks and research for my own Richard III history some day.
Bottom line, I can’t think of any other mystery book that could have had such a far-reaching, long-lasting and transcending (into broad historical interest) effect on a kid.
Just riveting, that.
Not a bog mystery reader, but one series that has captured my attention is the SPQR series by John Maddox Roberts.
I read a lot a YA fiction as well and the Sally Lockhart novels by Phillip Pullman are very good. Start at the beginning with The Ruby in the Smoke and you’ll be hooked.
Thanks for the question, Chris, it’s the most useful!
AND the answer is The Purloined Letter, by Poe.
Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep or pretty much anything else by him.
“There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.”
? Raymond Chandler, Red Wind: A Collection of Short Stories
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