Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Top 5 Favorite Mysteries

I am a mystery girl. I come by it honestly through my mother. She always read Agatha Christie books, and we would spend every afternoon watching reruns of old TV shows like "Murder, She Wrote" and "Magnum, P.I." I have always gone straight for the mystery section at the library. And regardless of what I intend to borrow, I inevitably come out with a mystery.

I've come up with a list of some of my favorites. Some of these are listed as the series; I couldn't pick just one. If you like intrigue, danger, romance, and adventure as much as I do, head to your local library and borrow one today.

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins - War, murder, family secrets, and legend come together in this late 19th century novel. This is one of the books that started the genre as we know it today. Formatted as a series of letters, a few different characters present their take on the story. You might think this would be confusing but Collins is a master and you never miss a beat. Don't let the size of the book scare you off. You'll fly through it.

The Kathryn Swinbrooke Mysteries by C.L. Grace - Medieval murder mysteries top my list (just ask my sister). This series follows a female physician in Canterbury, England, in the 15th century. The hot (yes, I said HOT) King's Commissioner, Colum Murtagh, joins her in solving a variety of murders, including my personal favorite, a double poisoning. Kathryn has her hands full avoiding death, keeping Colum in line, and keeping the rushes on her floors clean.

The Matthew Bartholomew Chronicles by Susanna Gregory - Another medieval murder series, this time taking place in the university town of Cambridge in the 14th century, but also starring a physician. Gregory weaves some intricate plots that kept me guessing, which is why I got hooked on them. Matt makes an interesting sleuth. He's book smart, not quite so street savvy, and a little bit of a wimp. But he's intelligent and always manages to flush out the killer. His buddy Brother Michael is a loose monk who adds a nice balance to Matt's more serious nature.

The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe - Technically a gothic romance it involves a lot of mystery so I'm adding it here. The heroine is not quite as strong as we like them in the 21st century, but the story is packed with intrigue, danger, unexplained happenings, and scary gothic Italian castles. Really, people, it doesn't get much better than that! I will warn you that the first half of the book is the set up to the main plot so it requires patience. It was the late 18th century so we'll cut Ann some slack in that department.

The Tommy and Tuppence Series by Agatha Christie - By far my favorite Christie sleuths, it's a shame she didn't write more books with them. She did, however, write loads of short stories featuring the duo. Christie weaves mystery with some spy games in these War time books. T & T make a cute pair, and a fearsome couple if you've killed anyone lately.

If you're on Goodreads, follow me to swap recommendations and reviews.

What are your favorite mysteries?

Amy =)

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