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Old 06-28-2011, 04:59 AM   #46
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Chandler spent many of his early years in England. His spelling is at times more British than American. I wonder if his years in rainy England brought his experience of California into stellar relief.

In any case, Chandler gets my vote. He is F. Scott Fitzgerald with bullets and just as much liquor. Must one be an alcoholic to be a genius author in America (or anywhere)?

I think the Long Goodbye takes the prize. I must try Hammett, but I find it hard to believe he is in the same league as Chandler. He transcended the genre. His characterization and description are sublime. Bloody dense read at times.
Chandler is not particularly to my taste but I agree that he is a great writer.
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Old 06-28-2011, 06:06 AM   #47
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I'd find it impossible to choose one, but if I had to pick the best author of mysteries, for me it would probably be Dorothy L. Sayers. Her "Lord Peter Wimsey" books are my favourite crime novels as a series
I tend to agree.

If one wants to take another perspective on european crime writing in the 1930s:

Friedrich Glauser
(1896 to 1938) wrote some neat stories about "Wachtmeister Studer", a fictional swiss policeman from Bern. The german texts are out of copyright and have been added to the Patricia Clark Memorial Library here on MR by mtravellerh.

As far as I can see there are ebooks of english translations of "Wachtmeister Studer" ("Thumbprint") and "Der Chinese" ("The Chinaman") over at amazon.

Mind you, I don't know if they "work" as translations, as the originals derive some of their feel by occasional use of the local language. But the way Glauser develops his stories and characters should work alright.
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Old 06-28-2011, 11:22 AM   #48
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Chandler is not particularly to my taste but I agree that he is a great writer.
Chandler wrote mostly good scenes, with not so much of a plot to hold them together.
A large part of his short stories, even if not connected between them, ended up as chpaters in his longer novels.

The short stories are better than the full novels, IMHO.

Back to the OP's question:

For mysteries, I really love Georges Simenon and Ellery Queen.
I also think that Asimov's Caves of Steel is a very good mystery novel, at least in the Si-Fi genre.

If I was requested to write a "best of the century" list, I'd manage to include also:

Jack and Jill and Pop Goes the Weasel by James Patterson
The Coffin Dancer and The Blue Nowhere by Jeffery Deaver
The Millennium Trilogy (at least the first instalment) by Stieg Larsson
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (which will be included in the best Historical Fiction, too)

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Old 06-28-2011, 09:11 PM   #49
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exactly! peter, harriet, peter's family and his inspector feel like people you might know. agatha christie's characters never feel that fully fleshed to me.

i've read some ngaios. my favorite is probably "black as he's painted", despite its typical period racism. i love two of the characters - i found them delightful. i like all the earlier ones, actually, and would probably start with artists in crime rather than black as he's painted.

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That's one reason that I prefer Dorothy L. Sayers; her characters feel like "real people", rather than Agatha Christie's 2-dimensional ones.

Has anyone read Ngaio Marsh? I haven't read any of her books. How does she compare with Sayers and Christie?
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Old 06-29-2011, 01:13 AM   #50
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Cheers, Harry! That's what makes a horse race.



Murder Must Advertise, without Mary Sue Vane, is my favorite, also.

Of Sayers, Christie and Marsh, can I put in a plug for Josephine Tey?
+1 for Josephine Tey. I was going to list her "Daughter of Time" as one of my favorite mysteries. But is it the best of the 20th century? I'm not qualified to say. I know that it is for me.
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Old 06-29-2011, 07:41 AM   #51
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The best crime/mystery novel of the Twentieth Century

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+1 for Josephine Tey. I was going to list her "Daughter of Time" as one of my favorite mysteries. But is it the best of the 20th century? I'm not qualified to say. I know that it is for me.
Also for me
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Old 06-29-2011, 08:36 AM   #52
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Well, if it has to be a novel, I'd vote for Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird. Not usually thought of in this genre, but it does fit and it is a book that continues to reverberate across the literary world.

However, why go the novel route when there are so many real-life crime and mystery events that have been written about. How about, for example, these three:
  • Honor Killing by David Stannard, which is about the killing of a native Hawaiian in the 1930s by the people who framed the boy for rape (needless to say, whites). Story involves the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Congress, Hawaiian royalty and more. Clarence Darrow to the defense.
  • Sacco and Vanzetti: The Men, the Murders, and the Judgement of Mankind by Bruce Watson. Sacco and Vanzetti were anarchists but did they really do the crime for which they were executed.
  • The Trial of The Scottsboro Boys by David Aretha. Framed for rape and convicted. A tragedy of justice.
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Old 06-29-2011, 09:10 AM   #53
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Great - I see that Amazon sell all of Josephine Tey's books. Now definitely on my "to read" list!
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Old 06-29-2011, 09:18 AM   #54
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Great - I see that Amazon sell all of Josephine Tey's books. Now definitely on my "to read" list!
For those in 50+ public domain countries, Josephine Tey's novels are available here at MR.
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Old 06-29-2011, 10:06 AM   #55
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Smile Josephine Tey downloads

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For those in 50+ public domain countries, Josephine Tey's novels are available here at MR.
I have downloaded them all from MR to my kindle with no problems.
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:15 AM   #56
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For those in 50+ public domain countries, Josephine Tey's novels are available here at MR.
Alas, the UK is a "life+70" country, so I shall be honest and buy them.
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:41 AM   #57
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Alas, the UK is a "life+70" country, so I shall be honest and buy them.
I believe Josephine Tey left her estate to the National Trust so hope they will get something from the sales.

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Old 06-29-2011, 01:06 PM   #58
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Well, if it has to be a novel, I'd vote for Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird. Not usually thought of in this genre, but it does fit and it is a book that continues to reverberate across the literary world.

However, why go the novel route when there are so many real-life crime and mystery events that have been written about. How about, for example, these three:
  • Honor Killing by David Stannard, which is about the killing of a native Hawaiian in the 1930s by the people who framed the boy for rape (needless to say, whites). Story involves the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Congress, Hawaiian royalty and more. Clarence Darrow to the defense.
  • Sacco and Vanzetti: The Men, the Murders, and the Judgement of Mankind by Bruce Watson. Sacco and Vanzetti were anarchists but did they really do the crime for which they were executed.
  • The Trial of The Scottsboro Boys by David Aretha. Framed for rape and convicted. A tragedy of justice.
Maybe we should have a true crime thread .
Plenty of great crime nonfiction out there-often more interesting than the fictional stuff. I'll take the liberty of posting your examples on the Nonfiction Recommendations Thread, if you don't object.
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Old 06-30-2011, 05:39 PM   #59
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If you like "puzzle mysteries," try anything by John Dickson Carr, who also wrote under the name Carter Dickson.

But of course, that deviates from the thread topic.

So...Anatomy of a Murder by Robert Traver. Unfortunately, not in ebook.
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Old 06-30-2011, 06:36 PM   #60
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Shame the TV series is so bad really.
But regardless of the TV series, the books are really good.

There are some major glaring errors in the TV series. Rizzoli is a blond and Isles has black hair. So they have the wrong people playing the parts just on character descriptions alone.
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