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Old 10-30-2008, 12:59 AM   #1
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looking for mysteries, old and new

i love 20's to 40's english detective novels with long running detectives and also more modern detective novels if they aren't cutesy or romance novels with mystery plots. nothing heavy on forensics, though, and not TOO hardboiled.

i just finished The Middle Temple Murder - not bad, but not enough character for my taste. i'm trying josephine tey, although so far i'm not convinced. i enjoy peter wimsey, old agatha christie, most robert b. parker, ngaio marsh, the older 4 raymond chandlers.

i'd like to try margery allingham, but it looks like i'll have to go with pbooks for her, and some of my favorites aren't offered yet either on gutenberg or for sale, so i'd really appreciate suggestions.

thanks
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Old 10-30-2008, 04:45 AM   #2
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How about Dick Francis?
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Old 10-30-2008, 04:48 AM   #3
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Try the "Philo Vance" books which I've uploaded here. They are American, but very much in the "style" of the classic English detective novel.

I would suggest the "Dr Thorndyke" books, which I love, but I note that you say that you aren't keen on "forensic" stories, and they are the "ultimate" in that!
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Old 10-30-2008, 07:04 AM   #4
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Try The Maywrite Library: a site hosting (or linking to) free Golden Age detective novels. They are all either in the public domain or have been posted with permission.
http://home.epix.net/~maywrite/golden.htm
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Old 10-30-2008, 07:49 AM   #5
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That's an excellent resource, Patricia. We have many of the books it lists here, but by no means all. I'll have to get busy on a few of them!

One author I should of course mention to the original poster is Edgar Wallace; I've posted dozens of his books and they are precisely the sort of things that will probably appeal to her.
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Old 10-30-2008, 07:53 AM   #6
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I second that, thanks for the link Patricia, looked like lots of goodies on there.

*sigh* And my to-read list just got way longer
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Old 10-30-2008, 07:53 AM   #7
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The blindingly obvious suggestion for "English detective fiction" is, of course, Agatha Christie. 50+ of her novels are available in all the major eBook formats at any decent eBook store at very reasonable prices.
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Old 10-30-2008, 07:59 AM   #8
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Agatha Christie books aren't in the public domain?
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Old 10-30-2008, 08:09 AM   #9
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Certainly not - she only died in 1976!

Her two earliest books - "The Mysterious Affair at Styles" and "Partners in Crime" - are in the public domain in the United States only, because of the US-specific law that makes anything published prior to 1923 public domain. These books aren't public domain anywhere else (other than those few obscure places which don't have a copyright law at all, before some smart-alec points that out).
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Old 10-30-2008, 08:15 AM   #10
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Georgette Heyer wrote four or five mysteries that are very enjoyable (and quite funny). They can be read in any order, although I recommend not starting with the relatively weak Footsteps in the Dark.

Another author you might enjoy is Patricia Wentworth, whose detective is the retired governess Miss Silver.

I also recommend Cyril B. Hare, who wrote mysteries with a legal background, set in England during and just after WWII.

Edited to add: And how could I forget John Dickson Carr? Amidst the hysteria and purple prose, you'll find some of the most original and ingenious puzzles in the literature.

Last edited by wayrad; 10-30-2008 at 08:30 AM.
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Old 10-30-2008, 08:27 AM   #11
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Also, if you're at all interested in the [American] hard-boiled school of detective fiction (and mysteries) with gats blazing, and gams gamboling, and fists like accelerated sledge-hammers........well, then, you might try the large number of books I've assembled.


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Old 10-30-2008, 09:31 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Certainly not - she only died in 1976!

Her two earliest books - "The Mysterious Affair at Styles" and "Partners in Crime" - are in the public domain in the United States only, because of the US-specific law that makes anything published prior to 1923 public domain. These books aren't public domain anywhere else (other than those few obscure places which don't have a copyright law at all, before some smart-alec points that out).
Thanks. I keep forgetting that it has to do with the date of the author death and not with the date of the first printing. Wish it was, though.
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Old 10-30-2008, 10:22 AM   #13
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Oh, and some more -

Michael Innes: more literary allusions than you can shake a stick at.

Edmund Crispin: classic English mysteries, ingenious plotting, eccentric characters.

Gladys Mitchell: detective is psychologist Beatrice LeStrange Bradley, early novels parody other Golden Age writers

E.C. Bentley: Trent's Last Case is a must-read and I think it's available at PG.

Ellery Queen: Early novels are reminiscent of the "Philo Vance" books, later ones less dry, although variable in style and quality.

Last edited by wayrad; 10-30-2008 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 10-30-2008, 10:26 AM   #14
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And one of my very, very favourites: Elizabeth Peters' "Amelia Peabody" series. I know that Peters is American, but Amelia is the epitome of the Victorian English lady detective. Wonderful series! There are currently 18 books in the series.
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Old 10-30-2008, 10:30 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wayrad View Post
Oh, and some more -

Michael Innes: more literary allusions than you can shake a stick at.

Edmund Crispin: classic English mysteries, ingenious plotting, eccentric characters.

Gladys Mitchell: detective is psychologist Beatrice LeStrange Bradley, early novels parody other Golden Age writers
I too am very fond of these and have complete sets of all of them, except Gladys Mitchell, where i have about tho-thirds of her output. Unfortunately they are all on paper.

I would also add that John Dickson Carr was particularly strong on the locked-room mystery. His detective, Dr Gideon Fell, is a historian and lexicographer. Edmund Crispin's Professor Gervaise Fen frequently mentions Dr Fell.
I would start with 'The Hollow Man', also published under the title, 'The Three Coffins.' This includes a lecture on locked-room mysteries.
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