Monday, September 1, 2014

Ten Crime/Mystery Novels That Have Affected Me Most

The "Name 10 Books That Have Influenced You" (and don't think too long about it) meme is going 'round Facebook again. And, of course, I did it--it's about books and I can't resist lists. But then I thought why not do ten crime/mystery novels that have influenced my reading in some way? So I did. And here they are:

1. The Celebrated Cases of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: The first serious mysteries I ever read. Nancy Drew may have been my gateway to reading, but Holmes was my introduction to master detectives. This volume was a Christmas present from my parents.

2. Murder on the Calais Coach (aka Murder on the Orient Express) by Agatha Christie: The first Christie I ever read. I got it at the annual book fair at our elementary school (along with At Bertram's Hotel--which I thought little of at the time and have yet to reread). My mom was a bit worried about me and my fascination with murder.... [I tried to find the exact cover--the book is packed away--but I could not find the little hardback that I loved.]

3. Cat of Many Tails by Ellery Queen: The first Queen novel I sampled. And quite a good one.

4. Bodies in a Bookshop by R. T. Campbell: One of my very first academic mysteries--and you all know how I adore those.

5.  If Death Ever Slept by Rex Stout:Not my all-time favorite Nero Wolfe, but the first one I ever read. My introduction to that orchid-loving detective and his right-hand man, Archie Goodwin.

6.  Smallbone Deceased by Michael Gilbert

7. Death & Letters by Elizabeth Daly: For about ten years I abandoned mysteries--my first love--for the siren call of science fiction. I discovered Elizabeth Daly and her character Henry Gamadge in a tiny little public library in rural Indiana...and fell in love with mysteries all over again.

8. The Three Coffins by John Dickson Carr: My first, I believe, Carr novel. But certainly not my last--I'm still working my way through them all.

9. Anatomy of a Murder by Robert Traver: One of the first novels I read that was based on a real case.

10. The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers: My very first WWII Pocket Size Edition. Found at my very first Red Cross Book Sale here in Bloomington. I now have an obsession with these tiny-sized books and I must grab them up whenever I see them. We will also allow this Sayers book to stand in for all books in the series.


Anonymous said...

Fantastic choices Bev, though I have yet to read "Bodies in a Bookshop" by R. T. Campbell so thanks for that reminder chum!

J F Norris said...

I like this idea! I think I'm going to post my own list on my blog later tonight. I'd pick two of the books you listed, one Conan Doyle novel and seven other writers you don't list here, but I know you've read. My lifelong love affair with mysteries started with Encyclopedia Brown when I was in elementary school so I'd have to include that book even if it isn't adult.

Bev Hankins said...

I look forward to seeing your list John!

Xavier said...

Great list!

We have the same edition of The Nine Tailors (found mine at Shakespeare & Co. in Paris, a fantastic bookstory which Martin Edwards recently blogged about)