Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Book Christmas Advent Calendar, Day 8: Mystery books for the Christmas tree - meme from Kerrie

    Kerrie over at Mysteries in Paradise has a cool meme going, where she lists the 10 books she would give as presents this year.  The 10 books are the 10 best mysteries she has read this year.  Her post is here.
      I think this is a super idea.  The 10 best books read, or you could do 10 best books in a genre, or whatever you like.  So I was looking through the list of books I've read this year - 78 so far, including 34 mysteries - and this is the list of books I would give as Christmas presents this year.  I don't do a points rating like Kerrie does, I go by how I remember the stories and if they have a hold on me still.  And how much I enjoyed them!

Susan's 10 Mystery books for the Christmas tree
1. Like This, Forever - Sharon Bolton.  LOVED this mystery. Review here.
2. The Detective's Daughter - Lesley Thomson.  Reviewed here last week.  I just gave a copy to my mother for her birthday (so already given!). 
3. Talking To the Dead - Harry Bingham.  Another different main character, she suffers from Cotard's disease, where she thinks at one point earlier in her life she is dead.  Now recovering, Fiona Griffiths starts working as a constable.  Very interesting character, and the other characters are good.  Really enjoy the second one, as well, Love Story, With Murders.
4. True Murder - Yaba Badoe.  Chilling.  Suspenseful.  Wonderful characters, and creepy in places. Highly recommended.  Unforgettable gut-clenching ending. 
5. The Man on the Balcony - Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo.  Number 3 in the Martin Beck mystery series from Sweden.  A chilling story of the abduction and murder of young girls, and how the police have to hunt for him with very few clues.  Will they find him, or not?  A mistake is made early on by Beck, which makes the reader (at least I did!) spend my time going, "come on Martin!  Think!"  The painstaking investigation is representative of a true policeman's work.  Very good and suspenseful.
6. To Darkness and Death - Julia Spencer-Fleming. Reviewed here.
7. Invisible City - Julia Dahl. Reviewed here last week.
8. The Magus of Hay - Phil Rickman. Reviewed here.
9. White Bones - Graham Masteron.  Reviewed here.
10. The Outcast Dead - Elly Griffiths.  The latest in the Elly Griffiths mystery series, as good as all the others.  This series is consistently good with all the characters, though sometimes the plot can be a little uneven. Not in this case. A set of bones is uncovered during an excavation, and Ruth is called in.  She identifies a female skeleton and a child's skeleton.  The female skeleton has a hook for it's arm.  Norfolk just happens to have a historical figure of a woman in the Victorian century who ran an orphanage for unwanted children, and several disappeared.  She was hung for the murder of them.  Is this her skeleton?  Dark, disturbing, and at the same time sad.  Ruth doesn't believe in the folktale told about Mother Hook who sold her children to the resurrection men for money.  For, along with the bodies, she uncovers a journal.  Very good mystery, unputdownable as ever with Elly Griffiths.  Several side stories also advance, which I love to see in a mystery series.  And we discover a little more about Ruth herself and her relationships in her family.  A solid mystery with several macabre elements.  Highly recommended as they all are in this series.

Bonus mystery:
I really wanted to add the first Anna Dean mystery, Bellfield Hall, featuring Miss Dido Kent, though I couldn't think of who likes Jane Austen type writing as much as I do.  If you know someone who loves Jane Austen, then this is the mystery book for them.  Fun, and as close to Jane Austen as we can get if she were to write a mystery.

I liked doing this so much, I think I will do a separate list tomorrow that includes the other different genres I read this year, as I read some good fantasy and non-fiction and found a new poet I love.

So there you have it.  What would you give as a Christmas present that you really enjoyed this year? 


Kerrie said...

Thanks for participating in the meme Susan. I love seeing what others would choose

litlove said...

I do love a good mystery so I am making a note of all the titles I haven't heard of before reading your post. It's funny - I find it so much more relaxing to read about people killing each other than falling in love! I can see you are getting ready for Christmas, Susan - hope you have a truly wonderful festive time with your family.

Belle Wong said...

I'm behind on the Elly Griffiths series so it's nice to know the books continue to be good solid reads. I need to go check out the rest of the books in your list!

Susan said...

Kerrie: thanks so much for doing the meme, it's a fun one to do!

litlove: that is interesting that you prefer murders to love stories as relaxing! lol I read so many Harlequin romances as a 13 year old that I can't read romances at all now. though Bridget Jones Diary is my version of light and relaxing fun :-) Thanks for the good wishes for Christmas, I hope for the same for you, litlove. A wonderful season filled with joy for you and yours.

Belle: It is such a good series. I really enjoy it. I think it is among my top 10 favourite mystery series now, it's that good. I just saw that she has a new one coming out next April :-) you have lots of good reading ahead!