New Reading Discovery-Robert B. Parker and Agatha Christie

Sometimes I happen upon a new reading discovery, now to tell the truth it’s quite a shame because although they are new to me they are old to everyone else and these authors have been around for decades and in this case these two authors are dead. Now don’t ask me where my head has been, stuck in the sand, regarding either of these fine writers. Blame it on my sometimes obsession with reading interracial romance and writing it that I forget there are other writers and genres that I like and should take notice of. As you know I do love mysteries, suspense and thrillers I’m trying to get into horror but I hate to admit this, but I am actually kind of a fraidy cat when it comes to scary stuff as much as I love Edgar Allan Poe, I can’t read his stories at night. But while looking for some pulp fiction mysteries to read, I stumble across Robert B. Parker, now if you don’t know who Mr. Parker is you may know the television series from the eighties, Spenser for Hire, based on his book series. I had a huge crush on Robert Urich as a teenager. I actually had no idea there was a book series attached to this, one of my all time favorite television series, what a happy day when I discovered there was. He also writes the Jesse Stone series, they also have television movies attached to them starring the incredibly sexy, Tom Selleck. There are a plethora of books in both these series and I just started reading the Spenser one like 2 weeks ago but I have now finished five in his Spenser series including:

Pale Kings and Princes

A Catskill Eagle

Looking for Rachel Wallace

The Judas Goat

Crimson Joy

All the books were excellent, quick, funny and exciting reads. I must say I enjoy the ones where Spenser and Hawk get to banter with one another, Mr. Parker really did write some great fleshed out, interesting, slightly dangerous and sometimes lovable characters. If you like a good suspense detective novel, I’d highly recommend these, I’m currently reading Walking Shadow and The Widening Gyre at the same time. It’s just a habit, I read about five books at once. But I decided to take a slight break from reading Mr. Parker to introduce myself to another mystery writer that although I’ve seen movies and PBS series based on her novels and characters I’d never actually read one.

Don’t ask me why I’d never read Agatha Christie, I find it a terrible defect in my character at this point. The woman is a brilliant writer from just watching the movies alone, I knew that. As much as a fan of mysteries as I am, I hold my head in deplorable shame that I’m only now at this late age reading one of her books. But now that I’ve read the one, I’ve discovered a voracious appetite for all things Christie. Her books have only been outsold by the Bible and Shakespeare now that’s quite a feat. I must say after my first dip in the Agatha Christie pool of mystery with a Miss Marple mystery, A Caribbean Mystery, I am fairly hooked. It started a little slow but I was drawn in by the 3rd chapter and it had me guessing all the way to the end, took me one day to read it. She doesn’t shy away from talking about what probably would been some delicate subjects in her day for books and specifically books by a woman. I want to weep on my pillow for just discovering her stories. Next I’m on to a Hercule Piorot mystery, Death on the Nile, I’ll let you know what I think but at this point I’m sure I won’t be disappointed. I would recommend whatever genre you like, you try to discover new authors and even some older authors that may have written in that genre. What I am discovering it’s fun to discover a gem that I never knew was there and even better, I get buy more books. I really do need more shelving for this office/library.


I Love A Good Series!

I just got two new books from Amazon today, I saw them and had to order them. Both are part of a series of books I’ve been reading for awhile. I bought The Blood Red Indian Summer by David Handler, part of the Berger/Mitry mystery series and V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton, part of the Alphabet mystery series featuring the character, Kinsey Milhone. I’ve spoken about Sue Grafton before in a blog post and how much I love her as a writer. The thing I love about her is she has a series I love Series books, especially mysteries but I’ll take a series in any form. I love series because they give me a chance to really get to know a character, in depth and personal. The character almost becomes real to you, my first series was Encyclopedia Brown as a kid, I’ve loved mysteries all my life and Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol was just fantastic. If you know of or have kids that like to read this is a great set to start them off with, I also loved the Ramona series by Beverly Cleary. As a teen I started to read the Sweet Valley High series by Francine Pascal and that series is still going on it’s into the hundreds of books now. I read a lot of series now and it’s easy for me get addicted to a series in the last couple of years I’ve picked up a couple but I just enjoy having something familiar when I read, something about series feeds my need for consistency and stability. I want a great book to read but the book being part of a series makes it even better. I just don’t read series but I love books with a common thread. Here’s a list of the series that I currently enjoy.

  • Berger/Mitry mysteries by David Handler
  • Alphabet mysteries by Sue Grafton
  • Easy Rawlins series by Walter Mosley-one of my new ones and I am so thankful I found this, it’s fantastic
  • Noir Series by various authors-it does a book of noir stories for cities around the world by that city’s authors. I’ve got a couple of them and I love noir.
  • Phillip Marlowe series by Raymond Chandler-got hooked after watching the movie The Big Sleep with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.
  • The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith-got hooked after watching the show on HBO then discovering it had a book series attached to it, I almost cried I was so grateful. His writing is brilliant and beautiful.
  • Sophie Katz mystery series by Kyra Davis-about a half black/half Jewish amateur sleuth in San Francisco, it’s zany and crazy and fun.
  • Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling-well of course I read it.
  • Amanda Bell Brown mystery series by Claudia Mair Burney-first off, she’s an extraordinary writer and this series has a lot of surprises I think you’ll be delighted by if you read it. I also read the The Exorsistah series by her.
  • Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I love Sherlock Holmes and am now enjoying the entire classic series of stories.
  • Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond series by Peter Lovesey- a new one from across the pond but so far, so good.
  • Domestic Equalizers series by Dixie Cash-these are hilarious!
  • Hobart Lindsey/Marva Plum series by Richard A. Lupoff- it’s an old mystery series but it’s really well done.
  • Joanna Brady mystery series by J.A. Jance-this is good one but she’s got three other series that I want to get started on also.
  • Starletta Duvall mystery series by Judith Smith-Levin-excellent series, she passed away a few years ago so she no longer writes the series but if you can find all of them, read them.
  • Lizzie Stuart mysteries by Frankie Y. Bailey-smart and enticing reads
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan-brings back memories of my childhood favorites, now I love them.

See I told you I like series, if you’re a mystery reader many of these are fantastic and one or two feature a love story and a couple feature a bw/wm interracial love story. I say check them all out. I always get so excited when one of my series get a new book. With the two new ones I just got today, I’m about to burst and can’t wait to read them. I’m still catching up on the Alphabet mysteries though and still at Q is for Quarry so I got a ways to go till V but I’m looking forward to it. I hope I introduced you to some great reading, enjoy.

Star’s Favorite…Authors-Sue Grafton

I love a good mystery, mysteries really are my first love when it comes to books. I read mysteries as a kid and although I write some romance, give me a good mystery and I’ll put romance down anyday. I also love series books, I don’t know what it is about series that I find so appealing. Maybe it’s the fact that I get to know the character in more an intimate way. So with my love of series books with a good character, I love Sue Grafton‘s character Kinsey Milhone and her Alphabet mysteries.

I fell in love with Grafton’s writing in the 90s I didn’t start her Alphabet mysteries at the letter A, I started at the letter H is for Homicide and I still haven’t gone back to read A is for Alibi through G is for Gumshoe but at some point I will. The character of Kinsey Milhone is very basic and uncomplicated, I think that’s why I love her. Grafton writes the story around the mystery and Kinsey Milhone makes that happen. You know about Kinsey, who she is, how she got to the point of being a private investigator, who with and where she hangs out but the story is the mystery the background stays background. The best thing is you could start anywhere in the series and not be lost. At this point I’m on S is for Silence, I’m actually three books behind but it gives me something to look forward to. I don’t know what will happen when Grafton finally gets to Z, I figure the series will discontinue. But I hope Sue Grafton keeps writing, she pens an engaging, great, edge of your seat mystery.

Her writing, even in a series, is never stale or contrite, you want to continue to read even as Kinsey takes on a new mystery. I look forward to her books coming out and seeing what unforeseen adventures our protagonist will face. It’s pretty plain spoken mystery at the same time complex enough to leave you wanting more but not intimidating to the reader. I like that kind of good, simple and pure writing. Sometimes I think writers make things complicated to seem deep but they just lose the reader and are unable to connect. Writing is for the reader not the writer and I think Grafton knows that and does it well. That’s why her series is still going and a bestseller. If you like mysteries and series, this definitely one to check out.