Fiction Friday: The Age of the Detective


Happy Friday everyone!!!  We are quickly approaching mid-October which means Halloween is just around the corner.  On dreary fall days, there’s nothing better than curling up with a cup of tea and a good novel, especially if it is a good detective novel.  If you are like me, then you love a good scare during the Halloween season.  With that in mind, for our very first Fiction Friday, we will be diving into the world of Detective Novels.

Detective novels have always had their place in the market from as early as Edgar Allen Poe’s Auguste Dupin stories.  What I find to be most interesting is that our starring detectives come in all shapes and sizes; from petite but spunky Veronica Mars, to sharply inquisitive Sherlock Holmes, composed and mustached Hercule Poirot, strong-willed but physically disabled Cormoran Strike, and even the classic Nancy Drew.  This genre seems to be experiencing a heyday moment with the revamp of the BBC’s Sherlock, the Sherlock Holmes movies with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, the Veronica Mars movie and novels, and not to forget or exclude the less traditional but nonetheless rapturing The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo novels and movies.

Detective Novels and the crime/mystery genre may not be for everyone, but I thoroughly enjoy a good twist and turn as I read through a story.  However, it isn’t the crime or the unexpected twists and turns in these novels that keeps my attention.  The best thing about Detective Novels are the detectives themselves.  The detectives are always flawed; they are not perfect human beings.  In fact, sometimes, they are not very lovable heroes or heroines.  They usually do not live very glamorous lives, they can be selfish, they can have their moments of weakness, but at the end of the day they are smart, skilled, and we always end up rooting for them in the end, no matter how many times they’ve let us down in their personal lives.

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

I am currently reading The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith, aka J.K. Rowling.  This is the second book in the Cormoran Strike Detective novels, and it is a follow up to the highly successful The Cuckoo’s Calling.

The Silkworm

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Cormoran’s story picks up about eight months after the conclusion of his last tale.  *Spoiler Alert* If you have not read The Cuckoo’s Calling, jump down to the next paragraph.  Cormoran Strike’s business is picking up thanks to his new notoriety in solving Lula Landry’s case. The lovely Robin is still his assistant and her role and presence in this series appears to be growing.  Strike has stayed busy with his steady influx of new clients, and the novel opens with a disappointed Strike because many of his cases are simply discovering cheating spouses and crooked individuals.  When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days—as he has done before—and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.  Mrs. Quine appears to be a helpless old woman who tugs at Strike’s heartstrings, and he accepts the case without a second thought, even though it is highly likely that he will not get paid for his services.  But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives—meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.  When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before.

Amazon & Book Depository

In case you unfamiliar with Cormoran Strike and have not read The Cuckoo’s Calling, my friend Natalie, who has an outstanding literary blog, wrote her review of the first book in the series here: Fashion Friday: Wearing THE CUCKOO’S CALLING

The Cuckoo's Calling, Natalie Ramm

Do you want more Detective Novels?  Here is a list of some of my favorites and some of the ones that are on my list to read next:

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Murder on the Orient Express

A thrilling classic from the grand dame of mystery, Agatha Christie.  And Then There Were None, is one of the best-selling mystery novels of all time, but Murder on the Orient Express is fantastic and features the detective Hercule Poirot.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Just after midnight, a snowdrift stopped the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train was surprisingly full for the time of the year. But by the morning there was one passenger fewer. A passenger lay dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside.

Amazon & Book Depository

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Hound of the Baskervilles

You should read all of the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but if you can only read one then this is the one. This is a classic among classics featuring the dynamic duo of Holmes and Watson.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Holmes and Watson are faced with their most terrifying case yet. The legend of the devil-beast that haunts the moors around the Baskerville families home warns the descendants of that ancient clan never to venture out in those dark hours when the power of evil is exalted. Now, the most recent Baskerville, Sir Charles, is dead and the footprints of a giant hound have been found near his body. Will the new heir meet the same fate?

Amazon & Book Depository

The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie

The ABC Murders

I read this Hercule Poirot mystery one summer at the beach and I must have re-read it every summer after that for a few years.  An absolute classic!

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Alice Ascher, a shopkeeper in Andover, is bludgeoned to death at her place of work. Next to die is Miss Bernard in Bexhill, then Mr. Clarke in Churston. More disturbing than the alphabetic sequence of the killings or the ABC Railway guide that the killer leaves at the crime scenes are the taunting notes warning Hercule Poirot before each murder.

Amazon & Book Depository

A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

A Study in Scarlet

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

In the debut of literature’s most famous sleuth, a dead man is discovered in a bloodstained room in Brixton. The only clues are a wedding ring, a gold watch, a pocket edition of Boccaccio’s Decameron, and a word scrawled in blood on the wall. With this investigation begins the partnership of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.

Amazon & Book Depository

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Mikael Blomkvist, a once-respected financial journalist, watches his professional life rapidly crumble around him. Prospects appear bleak until an unexpected (and unsettling) offer to resurrect his name is extended by an old-school titan of Swedish industry. The catch—and there’s always a catch—is that Blomkvist must first spend a year researching a mysterious disappearance that has remained unsolved for nearly four decades. With few other options, he accepts and enlists the help of investigator Lisbeth Salander, a misunderstood genius with a cache of authority issues. Little is as it seems in Larsson’s novel, but there is at least one constant: you really don’t want to mess with the girl with the dragon tattoo.

Amazon & Book Depository

Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham

Veronica Mars

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Ten years after graduating from high school in Neptune, California, Veronica Mars is back in the land of sun, sand, crime, and corruption. She’s traded in her law degree for her old private investigating license, struggling to keep Mars Investigations afloat on the scant cash earned by catching cheating spouses until she can score her first big case.  Now it’s spring break, and college students descend on Neptune, transforming the beaches and boardwalks into a frenzied, week-long rave. When a girl disappear from a party, Veronica is called in to investigate. But his is not simple missing person’s case. The house the girl vanished from belongs to a man with serious criminal ties, and soon Veronica is plunged into a dangerous underworld of drugs and organized crime. And when a major break in the investigation has a shocking connection to Veronica’s past, the case hits closer to home than she ever imagined.

Amazon & Book Depository

For all of those Veronica Mars fans out there, I highly recommend purchasing the audiobook version of this story as it is narrated by Kristen Bell.

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

This is the first installment of a large series of novels written about the delightful detective Mma Precious Ramotswe, the first female private investigator in Botswana.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Precious Ramotswe in Botswana sits in the shade and ponders the wisdom of her cattle farmer father, observes her neighbors, and cares for employers and subjects with humor. A clinic doctor has two different personalities depending on the day of the week. A Christian sect member vanishes. A witch doctor may have the bones of a kidnapped boy in his magic kit.

Amazon & Book Depository

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Adventures of Sherlock HolmesThe Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson.  Need I say more?

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: Goodreads, Amazon, & Book Depository

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes: Goodreads, Amazon, & Book Depository

The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene (Nancy Drew #1)

The Secret of the Old Clock

The very first Nancy Drew mystery in the wonderful series.

Goodreads, Amazon, & Book Depository

In the Woods by Tana French (Dublin Murder Squad #1)

In the Woods

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers, and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.  Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a twelve-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox—his partner and closest friend—find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him and that of his own shadowy past.

Amazon & Book Depository

If you’re in the market for a good mystery, not necessarily a Detective Novel, then check out these titles:

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.

Amazon & Book Depository

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Shots rang out in Savannah’s grandest mansion in the misty,early morning hours of May 2, 1981. Was it murder or self-defense? For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares. John Berendt’s sharply observed, suspenseful, and witty narrative reads like a thoroughly engrossing novel, and yet it is a work of nonfiction. Berendt skillfully interweaves a hugely entertaining first-person account of life in this isolated remnant of the Old South with the unpredictable twists and turns of a landmark murder case.

Amazon & Book Depository

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

Amazon & Book Depository

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

The Shining GirlsSynopsis (from Goodreads):

Harper Curtis is a killer who stepped out of the past. Kirby Mazrachi is the girl who was never meant to have a future.  Kirby is the last shining girl, one of the bright young women, burning with potential, whose lives Harper is destined to snuff out after he stumbles on a House in Depression-era Chicago that opens on to other times.  At the urging of the House, Harper inserts himself into the lives of the shining girls, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. He’s the ultimate hunter, vanishing into another time after each murder, untraceable-until one of his victims survives.  Determined to bring her would-be killer to justice, Kirby joins the Chicago Sun-Times to work with the ex-homicide reporter, Dan Velasquez, who covered her case. Soon Kirby finds herself closing in on the impossible truth…

Amazon & Book Depository

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

The Count of Monte Cristo

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

“On what slender threads do life and fortune hang.” Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dantès is confined to the grim fortress of If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and he becomes determined not only to escape, but also to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration. Dumas’ epic tale of suffering and retribution, inspired by a real-life case of wrongful imprisonment, was a huge popular success when it was first serialised in the 1840s.

Amazon & Book Depository

Still want more recommendations?  Go check out this list of 50 Essential Mystery Novels That Everyone Should Read By Emily Temple on Flavorwire.


1 thought on “Fiction Friday: The Age of the Detective

  1. Thanks for the shout out! I’m a huge Veronica Mars fan and also LOVED The Shining Girls. Great picks!!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close