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Old 10-30-2008, 10:49 AM   #16
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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.
Each Josephine Tey book is different so you should try a couple of them. I really like them.

Craig Rice and Amanda Cross can be recommended. They write about the same characters. Sarah Caudwell wrote four books about English barristers which are very funny and entertaining.

Among newer stuff I like Colin Dexter, Ruth Rendell, Sara Paretsky and Sue Grafton.
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Old 10-30-2008, 10:56 AM   #17
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Among newer stuff I like Colin Dexter, Ruth Rendell, Sara Paretsky and Sue Grafton.
Sounds as if we have similar tastes in crime fiction! Have you tried Ian Rankin's "Inspector Rebus" series? They're excellent.

Another author I enjoy, when I'm in the mood for something a little different, are Elizabeth George's "Inspector Linley" series (another case of an American writing "British" crime drama). They are very "deep" psychological dramas, but engrossing once you get into them (MUCH better than the TV adaptations, which I don't think are at all well done.).
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Old 10-30-2008, 11:05 AM   #18
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well i'll be bookmarking this thread for my own use since i too love old mysteries, and this is an excellent list ; all the ones i've read on it i love, which makes me quite eager to try the ones i've not read yet. some excellent recommendations here already. might i add Dashiell Hammett as well, if only for The Thin Man which is near the epitome of a Golden Age detective novel, with an elegant, cocktail-drinking, wise-cracking detective, his beautiful, elegant, cocktail-drinking and wise-cracking wife, and their not-so-elegant but just as wise-cracking dog. That book was also made into a series of brilliant films starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. the quality drops off near the end but the first few are gold.

also, i'm quite surprised no-one has mentioned Anna Katherine Green ! many of whose books are available here (thanks Patricia !). i've just discovered her and she's really quite good. also, Mary Roberts Rinehart (also available here i believe). i've only read one or two so far but you might enjoy her as well.

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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
thanks for this patricia !
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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.
definitely second JD Carr (aka Carter Dickson, by the way) !! excellent intrigues and often very very funny. Watch out for the Plague Court House (or something like that) though ; just when you least expect it, scary !
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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.
Trent's Last Case is excellent, i just read it recently. i'm adding all the others to my list.

tompe and harry, i agree, Ian Rankin, Colin Dexter and Elizabeth George are also quite good in the more modern vein although also (ironically) much blacker than a lot of the "golden age" stuff.
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Old 10-30-2008, 11:08 AM   #19
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Sounds as if we have similar tastes in crime fiction! Have you tried Ian Rankin's "Inspector Rebus" series? They're excellent.
I have read the first seven of them but stopped then for some reason. They were very good but maybe became to mainstream "literary" for my taste.

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Another author I enjoy, when I'm in the mood for something a little different, are Elizabeth George's "Inspector Linley" series (another case of an American writing "British" crime drama). They are very "deep" psychological dramas, but engrossing once you get into them (MUCH better than the TV adaptations, which I don't think are at all well done.).
I have read the first five. But then there was some things that I thought was not so good. In some of the books it was really noticeable that this was an American trying to write British.
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Old 10-30-2008, 11:11 AM   #20
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It's not an oldie, but Jo Walton's book, Farthing, had sort of that gumshoe vibe. It was one of the TOR freebies from last spring.
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Old 10-30-2008, 11:13 AM   #21
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I have read the first seven of them but stopped then for some reason. They were very good but maybe became to mainstream "literary" for my taste.

I have read the first five. But then there was some things that I thought was not so good. In some of the books it was really noticeable that this was an American trying to write British.
hm, i'll have to see how i like them as i go along. i've only just started reading ian rankin and Elizabeth George so i haven't read too many of them yet. i do agree with you though that Elizabeth George does sometimes come across as an american trying to write english, i've noticed that already... and her intrigues seem much more american to me than english.
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Old 10-30-2008, 11:14 AM   #22
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It's not an oldie, but Jo Walton's book, Farthing, had sort of that gumshoe vibe. It was one of the TOR freebies from last spring.
damned ! i'll have missed out on that. i didn't bother to subscribe to TOR because i expected them all to be Science Fiction.

oh well, there are plenty of other books to read...
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Old 10-30-2008, 11:15 AM   #23
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I have to take Elizabeth George in small doses - I've only read the first seven so far (the last one I read was "Playing for the Ashes"). I probably read one about every 6 months or so. I have to be in the right "mood" to read one; they can be very "depressing".

I understand what you mean about Ian Rankin - I think the early Rebus books are a lot better than the later ones.

Colin Dexter's "Inspector Morse" series, on the other hand, are among the small list of books that I read over and over. I never tire of them. I love the "Morse" TV series, too.
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Old 10-30-2008, 11:18 AM   #24
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Hmmm, just remembered an author I read ages ago, but I can't for the life of me remember either the name or the title of the book.

But it was about a doctor that recieves a package with the wrong adress on it and get involved in rescuing a russian scientist from a place called Novaja Zemlja up in the arctic sea.

Anyone have any idea what book and author I'm rambling about?
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Old 10-30-2008, 11:18 AM   #25
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i do agree with you though that Elizabeth George does sometimes come across as an american trying to write english, i've noticed that already...
Funnily enough I haven't found that myself; she's not made any obvious "slip-ups" that I've noticed. Elizabeth Peters, on the other hand, although she has a wonderful British "atmosphere" to her books, does make the occasional mistake (such as using the American "railroad" rather than the British "railway", or saying "visit WITH someone").
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Old 10-30-2008, 11:24 AM   #26
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I have to take Elizabeth George in small doses - I've only read the first seven so far (the last one I read was "Playing for the Ashes"). I probably read one about every 6 months or so. I have to be in the right "mood" to read one; they can be very "depressing".
Well, the later ones get even more depressing, Harry. I've read all of them and have decided not to bother any more. I even gave away the paper copies.

I also like PD James, Ruth Rendell's Wexford series, and Janet Neel's stories. All three ladies are baronesses: life peeresses in the British House of Lords. (Janet Neel is Baroness Janet Cohen.)

If you like Early PD James and Ruth Rendell's Wexford novels then you may well enjoy Dorothy Simpson's detective novels.
It's also worth mentioning Peter Robinson's atmospheric Yorkshire detective series.

And, Harry, if you haven't yet come across her, you MUST try Margaret Doody. She has a series with Aristotle as the detective, set in Athens, Eleusis and elsewhere in the ancient world.
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Old 10-30-2008, 11:33 AM   #27
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Well, the later ones get even more depressing, Harry. I've read all of them and have decided not to bother any more. I even gave away the paper copies.
Oh dear, that does sound ominous . I'll try the next couple and see how the story develops. I'm getting a bit fed up with his never-ending love affair with "Lady Helen" - just MARRY the woman, why don't you?

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And, Harry, if you haven't yet come across her, you MUST try Margaret Doody. She has a series with Aristotle as the detective, set in Athens, Eleusis and elsewhere in the ancient world.
I've not read those particular ones - thank you for the recommendation. I do read a lot of "historical" detective stories. I love Lindsey Davis' "Falco" series, and also the books of Stephen Saylor (the early ones of which, at least, are based around Cicero's legal cases and are extremely well researched). More modern (in their setting, that is - they are older books) are the "Brother Cadfael" stories of Ellis Peters, which are also very good.
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Old 10-30-2008, 11:35 AM   #28
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Funnily enough I haven't found that myself; she's not made any obvious "slip-ups" that I've noticed.
What I reacted to was the whole upper/lower class thing. It seemed to me that she had read Dorothy Sayers and tried to imitate it in some way.
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Old 10-30-2008, 11:38 AM   #29
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What I reacted to was the whole upper/lower class thing. It seemed to me that she had read Dorothy Sayers and tried to imitate it in some way.
Yes, I see what you mean. Not being personally acquainted with any of the "aristocracy" myself I've no idea how accurate (or otherwise) is the portrayal of that aspect of them. I don't personally find it objectionable, but obviously everyone's tastes differ.
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Old 10-30-2008, 11:45 AM   #30
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I have to take Elizabeth George in small doses - I've only read the first seven so far (the last one I read was "Playing for the Ashes"). I probably read one about every 6 months or so. I have to be in the right "mood" to read one; they can be very "depressing".

I understand what you mean about Ian Rankin - I think the early Rebus books are a lot better than the later ones.

Colin Dexter's "Inspector Morse" series, on the other hand, are among the small list of books that I read over and over. I never tire of them. I love the "Morse" TV series, too.
i saw the Morse TV series as well, i agree, brilliantly done. really a great adaptation, for once. and great books too, although i've not read all of them.
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Well, the later ones get even more depressing, Harry. I've read all of them and have decided not to bother any more. I even gave away the paper copies.
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Oh dear, that does sound ominous . I'll try the next couple and see how the story develops. I'm getting a bit fed up with his never-ending love affair with "Lady Helen" - just MARRY the woman, why don't you?
yes to be honest i'm not too eager to try Elizabeth George again for a while (if at all). and i won't say anything specific so as not to spoil things for you but the ones i've read are not in order (i read what i could find at my library) and yes, the later ones do get even worse. i had a hard time getting through the last one i read.

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What I reacted to was the whole upper/lower class thing. It seemed to me that she had read Dorothy Sayers and tried to imitate it in some way.
yes i agree with that. also, there seems to be a very "american" feel to the intrigues : i think i feel the american story-telling tradition (including the noir / hardboiled genre) coming through despite her attempts to stay in the english style. i'm not sure how well i can explain this but for instance where the Inspector Rebus mysteries are bleak, Elizabeth George's books are sordid. There's a sort of sensational quality to them which seems very american to me, despite the english setting.
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