Sunday, January 4, 2009

The ten best murder mysteries.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Today I found myself thinking about the ten best mystery novels ever written. It's not that I have any idea what they are. In fact, I'm sure they are different for different people. Some people read cozies, and some read more violent novels. Some like puzzles and some like humor.

I Googled to see what other people thought, and lo and behold!, everyone has a different opinion. Even books like Alexander McCall Smith's The Number One Ladies Detective Agency books (which I enjoyed) end up on the mystery shelves of your local book store.

What we read tells a lot about who we are. This Christmas, I saw my sister, and she told me, "You haven't changed much." When I argued, she told me, "You were always for the underdog." And so when I write fiction, I write about struggling people.

I read about them too. I enjoy books like the Easy Rawlins books. I enjoy being taken to places I've never been and meeting people like I've never known. I enjoy watching people with weaknesses and struggles try to overcome. And I don't require that they always win. I just want a good story.

So I am more likely to prefer stories with people who have real struggles.

One time I read all or most of the Agatha Christie books. I enjoyed them and were amazed at a few of them. Like everyone else, I still remember The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Murder on the Orient Express, and the like. But after a while it occurred to me that puzzles are not what really rings my bell. People do. I like stories of people and the things they do.

What kinds of mystery stories do you like? What would you put on your "ten best" list of murder mysteries?


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