Friday, January 31, 2014

50 Essential Mysteries Everyone Should Read

This not my list; I found it at a place called Flavorwire,  but it's interesting as  point of departure.  Of the 50, I have read 29, which I have listed here in the order they appeared on Flavorwire (with a few comments).

Conan Doyle, Arthur.  Hound of the Baskervilles.
Sayers, Dorothy L.  Gaudy Night.
Ambler, Eric.  A Coffin for Dimitrios.
Chandler, Raymond.  The Big Sleep.
Hammett, Dashiell.  The Maltese Falcon.
Christie, Agatha.  Murder on the Orient Express.
James, P.D.   An Unsuitable Job for a Woman.
Poe, Edgar Allan.  The First Detective:  Complete Auguste Dupin Stories (The Murders in the Rue
      Morgue; The Mystery of Marie Roget;
      The Purloined Letter).

Carr, Caleb.  The Alienist.
Himes, Chester.  A Rage in Harlem.
Collins, Wilke.  The Woman in White.
Auster, Paul.  The New York Trilogy (The Red Room;
      Ghosts; City of Glass).  (God, how I hate
      these books.)

Moseley, Walter.  Devil in a Blue Dress.
Cain, James M.  The Postman Always Rings Twice.
Le Carre, John.  The Spy Who Came in From the

Hansen, Joseph.  Fadeout.
Eco, Umberto.  The Name of the Rose.
Tey, Josephine.  The Daughter of Time. 
(Nowhere near her best work.)

Fleming, Ian.  From Russia With Love.
Highsmith, Patricia.  The Talented Mr. Ripley.
Turow, Scott.  Presumed Innocent.
Forsyth, Frederick.  The Day of the Jackal.
Buchan, John.  The 39 Steps.
Follett, Ken.  The Eye of the Needle.
Spillane, Mickey.  I, The Jury.
Greene, Graham.  The Third Man.
Ellory, James.  The Black Dahlia.
Smith, Alexander McCall.  The No. 1 Ladies Detective
       Agency.  (I disliked this so much, I have yet
      to read another of his books.)

McDonald, Ross.  The Blue Hammer. 

And here are the ones I have not read, also with the occasional comment:

Barnes, Julian.  Arthur and George.  (Once owned it.)
Du Maurier, Daphne.  Rebecca.  (Saw the movie.)
Whitehead, Colson.  The Intuitionist.  (Never heard of
      it, or the author.)

Chabon, Michael.  The Yiddish Policemen’s Union. 
(On the shelf.)

Ishiguro, Kazuo.  When We Were Orphans,  (Never
      heard of it; have heard of the author.)

Faye, Lyndsay.  Dust and Shadow:  An Account of the
      Ripper Killings.  (Never heard of it, or the author.)

Rinehart, Mary Roberts.  The Circular Staircase.
Dunne, John Gregory.  The Confession.
Millar, Margaret.  Beast In View.
Lehane, Dennis.  Mystic River.  (Started it,
      couldn’t finish it.)

Berger, Thomas.  Sneaky People.  (Know the author,
      not the book.)

French, Tana.  In the Woods.  (My wife has it on the
      shelf, but she has not read it, either.)

Vine, Barbara (Ruth Rendell).  A Dark-Adapted Eye. 
(Know the author; have read some of her
       books as Rendell, started this one and put
      it down.)

Traver, Robert.  Anatomy of a Murder.  (Saw the

Larsson, Stieg.  The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. 
(Started it; found it unreadable.)

Neely, Barbara.  Blanche on the Run.
Hoeg, Peter.  Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow. 
(Started it, couldn’t finish it.)

Conrad, Joseph.  The Secret Agent.  (I don’t know,
      but I just never got around to it.)

Nesbo, Jo.  The Snowman.  (Read a couple of
      Nesbo’s books, never wanted to read another.)

Caspary, Vera.  Laura.  (Saw the movie.)
Leonard, Elmore.  La Brave.  (I may be the only
       mystery fan in the world who’s not crazy
      about his work.)

So I have owned 7 of them, started 4 of those.  I've seen movies made from 3 more.  But 11 of them I have never even attempted. 

I'll be back tomorrow (or sometime soon) with some comments about authors who don't appear on the list.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Somebody to Love

I woke up this morning with a voice in my head.  Grace Slick's voice.

When the truth is found to be lies
and all the joy within you dies

Which may not be the most cheerful two lines to wake  up to.  And, then, of course,

 don't you want somebody to love
don't you need somebody to love
wouldn't you love somebody to love
you better find somebody to love

And I'm back in 1967, Surrealistic Pillow has just been released, and my musical world is changing (an you can listen to the whole thing here).  I don't think there'd ever been a voice in rock-and-roll quite like Grace, maybe not ever in any musical genre. 

When the garden flowers baby are dead yes
and your mind , your mind] is so full of dread

Challenging, daring, compelling you to listen.

 your eyes, I say your eyes may look like his
but in your head baby I'm afraid you don't know where it is

 And, yes, I did want somebody to love, and, yes, I did need somebody to love.  But it would be a while. 

don't you want somebody to love
don't you need somebody to love
wouldn't you love somebody to love
you better find somebody to love….love

 And then I did find somebody to love...