I grew up lucky. My parents were involved without being what we might now call helicopter parents. They made sure I knew I’d never get in trouble about my grades as long as I did my best. But it went beyond that. They were readers and for as long as I can remember, they encouraged me to read. They didn’t limit what I read either. The one rule was to come ask I if I didn’t understand something in a book or if I had any sort of question about it.
Now, that doesn’t mean they weren’t well aware of what I read. We had an extensive library at home. They made sure there were age appropriate books for me but also books that would challenge me. They took me to the library and helped me choose books, sitting down with me after work and reading with me or, in some ways even better, setting the example by reading their own books.
As I got older, they encouraged me to find types of books I enjoyed reading. Yes, non-fiction was part of it. That’s when I formed my love of history, especially military history. But I also learned to love good mysteries. So I was more than a bit interested when I saw a link to a list of the “101 Best Mystery Books of All Time” referenced over at The Passive Voice.
I’ll admit, I was a bit skeptical when I followed the link. Let’s face it, we’ve all seen similar lists and there almost always seems to be a catch. The person or organization putting the list together has some sort of agenda. With that in mind, I started looking through the list, noting something the Passive Guy did as well. The OP made no attempt to rank these books from 1 to 101. It was simply a list based on input from a number of different sources.
Maybe there was hope for the list after all.
I’ll admit it. I was pleasantly surprised as I went through the list. First of all, of the 101 books listed, I’ve read more than 75% of them. Many of those are in my personal library in either print or digital–or both–formats.
Then there’s the fact I saw only a handful of titles that caused me to scratch my head over their inclusion. The list is a nice mix of classics and newer titles.
It also runs the gamut from hard-boiled detective and noir books to cozies to pretty much every sub-genre of “mysteries”.
Take a look at it and let me know what you think. What books aren’t on the list that you’d recommend?
Before I sign off, I’ve been playing with Midjourney AI some more, trying for some inspiration images for some of my upcoming projects. Here are a few of them.
(a scene from the next Eerie Side of the Tracks novel–sans magic and spell books)
(For the next Fire Striker novel)
(Follow-up to Honor & Duty)
(Untitled project–not going to tell you where it falls into the announced plans. Bwahahaha)
Now it’s time to get to work. Until later!
Peter Tremayne’s “Sister Fidelma” series
Alexander McCall-Smith’s series like: “No. 1 Ladies” Detective Agency”, “Isabel Dalhousie”, “Detective Varg”
My father was of the belief that if we were reading, we were quiet, and quiet is good in a house with 5 kids. Every book in the house was fair game as long as we (a) didn’t snag it from someone else’s room, and (b) treated it with respect.
Mom didn’t have problems with this until the day she noticed that my chosen book for Christmas Break in 6th grade was The Exorcist. Her main concern was nightmares, so Dad had to agree that he would be the one to get out of bed when the inevitable* screaming began.
I have this same rule in place for my Dragonette. It’s a good rule if you yourself are a reader – odds are you’ve read most of the books in your house anyway.
*the inevitable screaming never occurred. Between The Exorcist, Foucault’s Pendulum, and Jesus Christ Superstar, I have an unorthodox view of good, evil, and Satan. Fear isn’t any part of it.
Your folks sound a great deal like mine. It is something I carried on with my son. Of course, that meant having to read the often unreadable or idiotic books the schools assigned for summer reading. Now he and I exchange book recommendations, something I like a great deal.
Yeah, jump scares don’t work so well when one grows up on David Drake either. 🙂
I don’t think Dad realized I was reading those, until much later though.
That said, The Warrior is probably best reserved until one has enough experience of knowledge to understand what was actually going on. Unreliable Narrators are probably one of the few story styles I’d advise younger readers either shelve until later or read under advisement, simply because the narrator is lying to the reader, and you need access to enough knowledge to know the difference.
My parents also nurtured a love a reading from an early age. I was the only one in my Junior High English class allowed to bring books from home for the novel section of the class. Everyone else had to check something out of the school library. I’ve also read over half of the books on that list, as well as other examples from some of the authors of the books I haven’t read.
I was pleasantly surprised to see James McClure on the list as it seems like that’s someone no one has heard of, but a writer I really enjoy.
I think one of the Peter Shandy cozy mysteries by Charlotte MacLeod would have been a good choice that I didn’t see on the list. Or the Lovejoy books by Jonathan Gash. Val McDermid and Mo Hayder have some police procedurals that I like. And William Kent Krueger has a series about a sheriff on a northern Minnesota reservation.
Totally agree with your suggestions–and I need to check out Krueger. I haven’t read anything by him, so thanks!