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JOINT POST: MR and OB Talk Genre: Mystery

Still Life - Louise Penny The Alienist - Caleb Carr The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield Murder on the Orient Express - Agatha Christie

Can I say that I am loving these joint posts? Cause I am loving them.


I love the enthusiasm I am seeing from everyone. The people throwing out helpful suggestions to people who don't want to read about things that are too gory, and those who are down for the buddy reads. I really want to do every buddy read out there right now, but if I do, I will never be able to finish this bingo. 


Tomorrow Moonlight Murder is going to be putting out a post on "Diverse Authors Can be Spooky Fun!" so keep an eye out for that!



Genre: Mystery is so broad that I don't think anyone should have any trouble finding books to fit this. However, in case people are still looking, according to Wikipedia:


"Mystery fiction is a genre of fiction usually involving a mysterious death or a crime to be solved. In a closed circle of suspects, each suspect must have a credible motive and a reasonable opportunity for committing the crime.

Sometimes mystery books are nonfictional. "Mystery fiction" can be detective stories in which the emphasis is on the puzzle or suspense element and its logical solution such as a whodunit. Mystery fiction can be contrasted with hardboiled detective stories, which focus on action and gritty realism."

"Mystery fiction may involve a supernatural mystery where the solution does not have to be logical, and even no crime involved."


Moonlight Murder:


I've been reading mysteries since I picked up my first Nancy Drew when I was in the fifth grade! I've probably read more mystery than any other genre, so narrowing this post down to just a few possibilities is really, really hard.

First, I'm going to point to two mystery series that I think are some of the best of contemporary crime writing. These series, in my opinion, transcend the mystery genre and illuminate aspects of humanity and community in the way that only a truly exceptional mystery writer can. I am listing the first book of the series, and then I'll say a few things about the point at which, in my opinion, the series really takes off.

1. Still Life by Louise Penny (the Inspector Gamache series). I really can't say enough about this series. Louise Penny is an exceptional writer of great perception, and Three Pines, the small town at the center of this series is a modern day Shangri-La, existing just outside of the mapped world. The series is fantastic, and takes off at book 5, The Brutal Telling. The 6th book, Bury Your Dead, is not merely a great crime story, it is a great novel in its own right.

2. In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer Fleming (Rev. Claire Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne). This series starts strong and keeps a steady upward climb. It is, again, more than just a series of crime stories - there are strong theological and moral questions that are grappled with by the characters, and there is heartbreak and, occasionally, poor decision making along the way.

Now, more to the point, here are three stand-alone mysteries that would be great for this bingo game:

1. The Alienist by Caleb Carr. This book was huge when it was published and remains an innovative and fascinating mystery, set in fog-shrouded, turn of the century New York City.

2. The Secret History by Donna Tartt. This was another incredibly popular book at the

time it was published. It is a bit long-winded, but is great fun.

3. Post Mortem by Patricia Cornwell. OK, this isn't really a stand-alone because it was a springboard for Cornwell's long-running Kay Scarpetta series. But, honest to God, this is the scariest mystery novel I've ever read. You don't have to read the rest of them if you don't want to, but read this one and you will sleep with the lights on.

As for me, I'm planning to read Obsidian's suggestion of The Thirteenth Tale because it looks awesome!


Obsidian Black Death:


Who doesn't love a good mystery? A good mystery that can keep the reader guessing to the end is always a good time for me. It seems like lately though I have not read a lot of mysteries that have enthralled me from beginning to end.

Here are two classic mystery novels (you do not have to pick classic mystery books) and one mystery novel that I think can be interesting for those of you still looking for book selections for this square.

1. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (I finally read this book for the first time this year, and yeah it's really really good. It also fits some other squares out there).

2. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (when I read this book for the first time years ago I was blown away by the reveals. It also fits the Gothic square as well).

3. Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot #10) by Agatha Christie (once again the reveal to this mystery was astonishing to me. I also loved that Christie included a drawing of the train to show where the passengers were sitting as well. Definitely a fun one to read).


Other posts in this series:


OB & MR talk magical realism


OB & MR talk supernatural


MR and OB talk locked room mysteries