Mmm. Mysteries. I am sure I have said it (many times) before, but I love mysteries and I could easily subsist on a steady diet of only mysteries when it comes to reading. I do like a bit of variety, though, and there are too many other subjects (and stories) that I am interested in, so mysteries just get shuffled in with all my other reading. And there has been a lot of it (other reading that is) this year. Book subscriptions, readalongs, memoirs and numerous other reading tangents. So my mystery reading, despite this photo, has been sort of slight this year. As a matter of fact so far I have only read one (one!) mystery. I am feeling pangs of withdrawal and think I need to do something about it.
Lately I've been spending more reading time with the mysteries I've started over the course of this year (including pulling one out of my 'set aside for later' pile) and am trying to catch up a bit on those in progress books. I've mentioned a few of these already. I'm nearing the end of Hotel Paradise by Martha Grimes, which has been a reread. I plan on continuing on with Emma Graham. Cleo Coyle's On What Grounds, the first in a series of coffee house cozy mysteries, is pure unadulterated fluffy reading. It's a very 'cozy' cozy. Although there is a hunky detective, this is most decidedly a mystery with an amateur sleuth.
I love Peter Lovesey's Peter Diamond mystery, another first in a series set in Bath, The Last Detective. This one is a solid police procedural with a likable though flawed (how could it be otherwise) detective, and it even has literary overtones as one of the characters is an academic who in the course of the story must put on a Jane Austen in Bath exhibit, a prospect he is not happy about since Jane Austen didn't like Bath!
I had this overwhelming urge to pick up a vintage crime novel, and after much consideration decided it was time to try Patricia Wentworth's first Miss Silver mystery, Grey Mask, which I am thoroughly enjoying and may well finish tonight. She reminds me a lot of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple. Miss Silver is quite formidable (and knits a mean sock).
And then there is Lucretia Grindle's The Faces of Angels, which is more a psychological crime novel set in Florence, Italy. I started this last year but got sidetracked. I've always wanted to get back to it and finish it, so maybe now is the time. With the drastic change in the weather here from winter to summer (don't worry, though, we're going to revert back to winter again in just a day or so), I think it's time to revamp my Summering in Italy reading (which never quite took off last summer, so I hope to make a better show of it this summer).
So these are the mysteries I'm currently spending time with.
And then there are the books I'm 'thinking about reading'. I'm always thinking about reading something new, even before I have turned the last page on a book that is still underway (I know I should focus more on what is in hand, but I can't help myself). Since I am close to finishing a few mysteries, the question of what next is not a question I ask lightly. This takes much pondering and browsing. I have about seven or eight bins of mysteries as well as a towering bedside pile and a few on a shelf in my bedroom bookcase devoted to mysteries. I can (literally) spend hours shifting books around, reading the blurbs, dipping into stories. Trying out the books in search of just the right one to match my mood.
And I am an equal opportunity (mostly) mystery reader. I have loads of vintage crime novels by well known and not so well known authors, cozies, thrillers, crime novels, police procedurals, historical mysteries, noir, mysteries in translation . . . Just about every subgenre (is that the right term?) to fit any possible mood.
So this is a pile of possible mysteries that are under consideration. By no means comprehensive or complete. I'm not entirely sure what I'll want next. A little American noir by Cornell Woolrich? (Waltz into Darkness or Rear Window and Other Stories). More vintage/Golden Age crime? Gladys Mitchell came to mind today (The Mystery of a Butcher's Shop). Another Summering in Italy possibility by Christobel Kent? (Drowning River). Straightforward crime? (The Rage by Gene Kerrigan). Or maybe a new release from the library? (Crossbones Yard by Kate Rhodes or The Other Child by Charlotte Link).
And I didn't even include the newest Claudia Pineiro novel, or something by Evelyn Smith, who I just discovered, or Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine who I am thinking of rereading this year. (I'll look back on this post and this photo in a month or so and will probably have chosen a totally different book than what appears in my pile!).
You see, I am totally spoiled for choice. Choosing is, of course, half the fun, but it can be a difficult deciding. No doubt that is why I have more than one mystery on my pile right now.
Have you read any particularly good mysteries/crime novels this year? Do tell!