We are delighted to welcome Lynne from the wonderful blog Words of Mystery as our guest blogger today. Lynne and I first met at a publisher’s event lo so many years ago, and have shared our joint love of mysteries ever since. Lynne also posts a “Mystery Mondays” review feature on her blog that is well worth checking out, especially if you are looking for recommendations for new reads. Lynne may be found online at @WordsofMystery . Thanks for joining us today!
I can’t really pinpoint where or when my love for mysteries started, but if I were to make a somewhat educated guess, I’d say it was from reading the original Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle back in elementary school.
However, it wasn’t until sometime later that I really got into mysteries. The following list below is a list of mysteries in various formats that really got me into the mystery genre and that I still enjoy today.
Case Closed aka Detective Conan
This still running series follows Kudo Shinichi who is a high school detective, often aiding the police in their cases. One day while trailing a couple of suspicious men, he is attacked and drugged by members of the crime syndicate, the Black Organization. Instead of killing him, the poison turns him into a child. Kudo then adopts the alias of Conan Edogawa and continues to solve mysteries by tagging along with his childhood friend, Mouri Ran, and her father, Mouri Kogoro, who is a private detective (both of whom are unaware as to his true identity). All this while trying to find a way to return back to normal and take down the Black Organization. This series has been running for over 20 years and has expanded into a long running anime series as well as quite a few movies. Personally, I prefer the anime over the manga even though the manga was how I got started on this series.
What do you get when you put a playboy, a writer with writers-block and a detective who is obsessed with catching her mother’s murderer? Well, throw in some playful, flirty banter and you’ve got the basic premise of the show, Castle. Now in its eighth season, the series stars Nathan Fillion & Stana Katic as the crime solving duo of Rick Castle and Kate Beckett. And while the story has evolved beyond its basic premise as the characters undergo character development and many life changes, the humour that balances out the dark moments in the show and that drew me to this series in the first place is still there.
The cool thing about this TV show is that it has led to “Richard Castle” books in real life so viewers can now pick up the Nikki Heat novels that are inspired by Detective Beckett in the show.
The Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny
First book: Still Life: The Inspector Gamache series is probably my all-time favourite mystery series and it’s basically my go-to recommendation for mystery lovers. If you love gorgeous writing and brilliant character stories, then this series is a must read. Also, it doesn’t hurt that this series has a strong Canadian connection due to its author and setting. In fact, Three Pines, where many of the books take place, is inspired by the small Quebec town that the author resided until recently.
Ava Lee series by Ian Hamilton
First book: The Water Rat of Wanchai; Prequel: The Dragon Head of Hong Kong: The Ava Lee series by Ian Hamilton follows Ava Lee, a kick butt Chinese-Canadian forensic accountant who specializes in collecting and recovering massive debts. Her work often takes her all over the world and into many life threatening situations. Fortunately for her, she is often underestimated which works itself into her favour. Currently there are 8 books in the series, with a new one set to come out in early 2017.
Inspector Ramirez series by Peggy Blair
First book: The Beggar’s Opera: Penned by a former Canadian lawyer, the Inspector Ramirez series initially centers on Inspector Ricardo Ramirez, head of the Major Crimes Unit of the Cuban National Revolutionary Police who is trying to do his job to the best of his abilities in a society that severely limits his authority. The interesting thing about Inspector Ricardo Ramirez is that he has the ability to see the spirits of the murder victims who, while they cannot speak, are able to provide him with some aid and occasional entertainment/annoyance as he works his cases.
Later books also introduce readers to Detective Charlie Pike, an Aboriginal Canadian detective who works on the Canadian cases that have links to Ramirez’s cases in Cuba. The fourth book in the series, The Umbrella Man, is out this June and is high on my wish list of books I want to read.
A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
This one’s for all you YA lovers. A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro is narrated by Jamie Watson, a descendant of the famous Dr. Watson, friend of Sherlock Holmes. Set in a boarding school, Jamie encounters Charlotte Holmes, the descendant of the famed Sherlock. Together, the two of them find themselves embroiled in a mystery when it appears that they are being framed for the murder of their classmate. The first in a trilogy, A Study in Charlotte is a refreshing, feminist take on the classic Sherlock Holmes story.
So there you have it. These are my recommendations for mysteries. If you’re curious and want more recommendations, be sure to check out the Mystery Monday review feature that appears sporadically on my blog.