Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. The prompt for this week was Top 10 books from your favorite genre. According to Goodreads, Mystery is my biggest shelf – by far. It was hard to come up with my 10 favorites – I have 2000+ that I’ve rated – but here are 10 that I love to reread. I’m going to force myself to choose just one from each author, but it’s so hard!
The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie This one is not the first Hercule Poirot – that one is The Mysterious Affair at Styles. It’s not the most famous – Murder on the Orient Express wins that title. But for some reason, I think it’s my favorite. It’s clever, occasionally funny, and plays fair with the reader. The cover could be better, but it does hint at what’s going on in the plot.
In the Best Families by Rex Stout This series has sort of fallen out of fashion. I think that’s a shame, as it features two of the most memorable characters in mystery – Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. This is definitely not the place to start if you want to try it out – I’d suggest starting at the beginning with Fer-de-Lance – but this is where it all culminates into the most suspenseful and shocking climax.
The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King I’m going to be controversial here and say that I actually prefer King’s version of Sherlock Holmes to the original. I know, heresy! But this is an older, more mellow version of the sleuth and the writing is – sorry, Sir Arthur – much, much better. The series declines as it goes on, but the first 3-4 were just perfect, and this cover is my favorite.
Death and the Dancing Footman by Ngaio Marsh Another author who is frequently forgotten by modern writers. I will admit that her treatment of queer characters is problematic. But most mystery writers of the era didn’t even admit that they existed. This book is a Stately Home murder with our handsome copper Chief Inspector Roderick Alleyn on the scene.
Miss Seeton Sings by Heron Carvic This series might be unique in that it had 3 different authors, each of whom kept the characters in the original. Carvic created the character and his version is both funny and biting. Miss Seeton herself is an elderly retired art teach who just keeps blundering into the most appalling crimes and stirring things up, but all without realizing what’s going on.
A Late Phoenix by Catherine Aird Set in a fictional county in England, this series features a hardworking inspector, his clueless constable, and in this book, some nasty secrets dating back to World War II. Aird had to juggle the timeline around in later books to keep up with publication, but in this one, her characters are old enough to remember the war and the chaos it caused.
A Free Man of Color by Barbara Hambly Set in pre-Civil War New Orleans, everything in this series is shaped by race. The main character, Ben January, is Black. So is the victim. That means that the White police are going to hush things up as soon as possible. But Ben refuses to allow that to happen. So much history in here, and none of it pretty.
Blind Justice by Bruce Alexander This series is not very long – the author died after book 5 – but I enjoyed it so much it still makes the list. This is the first in the series about historical figure Sir John Fielding, a 18th century criminal court judge and founder of London’s first police force.
Murder With Peacocks by Donna Andrews As a Southern woman with a large extended family, I can neither confirm nor deny that this is what we are like. My family weddings never involved Spanish moss, peacocks, or murder. But murder isn’t off the table, that’s all I’m saying.
The Thin Woman by Dorothy Gilman Another great comic mystery series. Ellie Haskell is just trying to get through a family reunion when she hires a male escort to pose as her fiance. Then the aged relative dies and leaves them an inheritance – jointly. Now they’ll have to figure out how to live together before someone kills them both.
Did I tempt you with any of these favorites? What was on your list? Let me know in the comments and feel free to leave a link to your list. Happy reading!