Tuesday, September 23, 2003

It's a Mystery

Michael Blowhard this morning discusses the PI novel as a form and Jack Kelly's Mobtown in particular, which got me to thinking about the mystery genre. I've been a lover of the hardboiled PI novel, a la Chandler and Hammett for years, along with their various filmed versions. I tend to alternate my reading between political non-fiction (left leaning), popular science, science fiction, literature lite, and mysteries. But when it comes to mysteries it's gotta be a good one. My sister devours mysteries and often culls the wheat from the chaff on my behalf, and occasionally I'll stumble across something that rocks my mystery house.

A couple of recommendations in the genre...

John Dunning's two Cliff Janeway novels. Cliff is an ex cop turned book dealer who gets embroiled in literary mysteries. These are a book lover's delight full of literary backstory and are well paced potboilers at the same time. The first, Booked to Die introduces Janeway and gives an excellent introduction to the world of antiquariat book dealers. The second novel, The Bookman's Wake, centers on a rare copy of Poe's The Raven.

My other recommendation in a lighter vein is Ayelet Waldman's Mommy Track Mysteries. Ms. Waldman, who happens to be married to Michael Chabon (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay) is the author of a series of books that follow the life of an ex prosecutor who is now a stay at home mom, but can't stop getting herself enmeshed in a bit of crime solving. The first in the series (of which there are 4 to date) is Nursery Crimes, but the best in the series is The Big Nap, which involves a murder in the LA Hassidic community.

Read Michael Blowhard's take on Mobtown here.

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