Saturday, August 13, 2011

Five Best Books: Real People in Fiction

The 5 Best Books meme is hosted by Cassandra at Indie Reader Houston.

This week we are asked to list our Five Best Books: Real People in Fiction. Cassandra chose books with real authors in fictional books. I may not quite stick to that--I'm afraid I may have trouble coming up with five choices with any sort of real people in them. But here goes--in no particular order:

1. Oscar Wilde in the mystery series by Gyles Brandreth. (OW & a Death of No Importance; OW & a Game Called Murder; OW & the Dead Man's Smile; OW and the Vampire Murders) Well-researched and all of Wilde's mannerisms and bon mots are used to good effect without being overdone. Wilde makes for a fascinating amateur detective.

2. Alice James---and brothers Henry and William--in What Alice Knew: A Most Curious Tale of Henry James and Jack the Ripper by Paula Marantz Cohen. Brother Henry may get top billing in the title, but Alice steals the show in this very interesting retelling and solving of the Ripper murders.

3. Josphine Tey (Elizabeth Mackintosh) in Nicola Upson's mystery series (An Expert in Murder; Angel with Two Faces; Two for Sorrow). A good series starring the Golden Age mystery writer in mysteries of her own. Upson does a good job with time period and inserting Tey into mysteries without making it seem contrived.

4. William Powell and Myrna Loy in The William Powell and Myrna Loy Murder Case by George Baxt. Baxt does a nice line of celebrity murder cases (Hitchcock, Bogart, Clark Cable, Dorothy Parker, etc). But this one is my favorite.

5. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain in Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. I was already a Civil War buff of sorts when I read this one. But this is the book that really got me interested in the officer from Maine who held Little Round Top. Shaara does a very good job with the large cast of characters--giving each one, from both sides of the war their moments. I also like his portrayal of General Buford.


Anonymous said...

Oh, all mysteries? I remembered another one: The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfield - it has Feud go to New York if I remember well.

I haven't read any of your list, but I like the idea of real people in mysteries! Thanks for your list.

Bev Hankins said...

Not quite all mysteries (last one is Civil War). I read The Interpretation of does have Freud in it. It wasn't one of my favorites, though, I'm afraid.

Yvette said...

Bev: I like the sound of that Civil War book. I've never read any Michael Ahaara. I'm adding this to my list.

Also WHAT ALICE KNEW. Great choice.

I'd like to read the George Baxt Hollywood mysteries. I love Stuart Kaminsky's books set at the same time.

Cassandra said...

I've heard good things about What Alice Knew before, and I always like a good Jack the Ripper story. I'm going to have to check that one out.

Great list! Thanks for posting!