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  1. #1

    Detective Novels!

    Hello All,,
    I have read the usual (holmes,poirot ) but now i am looking for something else
    Could you please tell me a few great SERIES that I can start with! I am thinking of picking up Jack Reacher!
    I want books with great but a little flawed protagonist!
    Who uses his brains more than his muscle! A protagonist and antagonist with whom i can spend a long time with !!
    One more thing is that if you could recommend a few series along the lines of the TV show , The Mentalist !
    I think the main character in the show is great! Would like a protagonist along the same lines!


    I am looking for something with a 'detective' character! one who thinks and deduces, along the lines of poirot etc
    not where the protagonist is a a serious badass who can kick and punch away any trouble that he comes across!


    Thank you!


    i have heard of a few
    wexford, harry bosch,

    do these fall into my category?>\

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Ajax12 View Post
    Hello All,,
    I have read the usual (holmes,poirot ) but now i am looking for something else
    Could you please tell me a few great SERIES that I can start with! I am thinking of picking up Jack Reacher!
    I want books with great but a little flawed protagonist!
    Who uses his brains more than his muscle! A protagonist and antagonist with whom i can spend a long time with !!
    One more thing is that if you could recommend a few series along the lines of the TV show , The Mentalist !
    I think the main character in the show is great! Would like a protagonist along the same lines!


    I am looking for something with a 'detective' character! one who thinks and deduces, along the lines of poirot etc
    not where the protagonist is a a serious badass who can kick and punch away any trouble that he comes across!


    Thank you!


    i have heard of a few
    wexford, harry bosch,

    do these fall into my category?>\
    Reacher is a punch'n'shoot kinda guy, at least that's how he was in the first novel. It's an action/adventure series. I haven't gone back for more and probably won't.

    If you enjoyed Agatha Christie and Poirot, look for Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter Whimsey novels. These are a bit polarizing for the readership of older detective novels. Some readers love them -- the critics did -- but some other readers react strongly against Whimsey's somewhat fey behavior. I think they got better and I really enjoyed the short stories the last time I read them. Another oldie but goodie is John Dickson Carr. He wrote two series, one featuring Doctor Gideon Fell, the other Sir Henry Merrivale. The two characters are probably interchangeable, but I preferred the latter because I think Carr let loose his sense of humor more with Merrivale.

    I haven't read Wexford, but I suspect they are in the neighborhood of what you want. Ian Rankin's Rebus novels might also fit. (I'm mentioning these on reputation; haven't gotten to them myself.) I plan on diving into Dennis Lehane's Angela Genaro and Patrick Kenzie series sometime soon. I think this might be a mix of hard-boiled detective work with noir-ish setting. His stand-alone novel, Mystic River was one of the best novels I read in the Oughts, and make me interested in reading this series.

    I would strongly suggest one older series, Ross Macdonald's Lew Archer novels. These are just terrific novels. Start with The Zebra-Striped Hearse, The Underground Man or The Goodbye Look. They stem from the hard-boiled detective novels of the 1920s-1950s. Macdonald started in the mid-1940s, but by the 1960s he had moved Archer toward a more soft-boiled approach.

    I'm not sure if they're still in print, but I remember the Rabbi novels by Harry Kemelman fondly. Mostly written and published in the 1960s, they follow Rabbi David Small and his congregation; the tension between him and some of the congregation made the novels, as novels, more interesting. These are not at all hard-boiled, but more a throw-back to earlier detectives, but with the added interest of examining the Hebrew faith and watching the logic that comes from studying the Talmud applied to detective work.

    If the Kemelman novels aren't available but the premise sounds interesting, consider Faye Kellerman's work: While her protagonists aren't Rabbis, the novels are wound in with the protagonists' faith. I haven't read these, but my wife is addicted to them. She finds the premise fascinating and the characters appealing. She also likes the work of Jonathan Kellerman, Faye's husband, and his psychologist protagonist. Both of these are long series and, according to my wife, have ups and downs, but she feels recent novels have been on the up-swing.


    Randy M.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Ajax12 View Post
    Could you please tell me a few great SERIES that I can start with! [...] I want books with great but a little flawed protagonist!
    Who uses his brains more than his muscle! A protagonist and antagonist with whom i can spend a long time with !!
    From firsthand experience I can second Randy's suggestion of Ian Rankin; John Rebus is a great and (not a little) flawed protagonist if there ever was one; combined with solid plots, good side characters and an unparalleled insight in Scotland in general and Edinburgh in particular make this a highly recommened read (accompanied by a wee dram of Scotch ofc).

    You could also give PD James a try, who wrote a number of books featuring Adam Dalgliesh, perhaps a somewhat more 'solid' character than Rebus, but still interesting. Another good choice would be Henning Mankel, author of the Kurt Wallander series. Somewhat longer ago, but still fun, are the Black Widowers stories by Isaac Asimov. Hope this helps,

    Cheers,

    Sfinx

  4. #4
    Registered User Carlyle Clark's Avatar
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    I suggest James Lee Burke's DAVE ROBICHEAUX series that starts with THE NEON RAIN.

    In the movies, Robicheaux has been played by Alec Baldwin in HEAVEN'S PRISONERS and Tommy Lee Jones in IN ELECTRIC MIST.

    Robicheaux is a very flawed and interesting character--recovering alcoholic and violent but also very family oriented and moral--and is the primary reason James Lee Burke is the primary reason he received the Mystery Writer's of America’s Grand Master Award.

    There's a lot of dark humor in the novels as well.
    Last edited by Carlyle Clark; November 12th, 2011 at 10:58 AM.

  5. #5
    Thank you so much


    On this note.. could you tell me detectives similar to Hercule Poirot?

    Thank you again

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Ajax12 View Post
    Thank you so much


    On this note.. could you tell me detectives similar to Hercule Poirot?

    Thank you again
    Poirot is pretty much unique in my reading experience. The only "detective" I can think of like him is Jules de Grandin, pretty much a photocopy of Poirot featured in short stories by Seabury Quinn. De Grandin is an occult investigator, though.

    Readers and some mystery critics used to refer to the time when Poirot (and Mrs. Marple, and Tommy and Tuppence) were created as the Golden Age of the Detective Story. The writers of the period seemed to be competing to create the most idiosyncratic detective (recent TV shows like Psyche and Monk might be echoes of that).

    My favorites, of the ones I've read, were Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter Whimsey and a later creation, Edmund Crispin's Gervase Fen. Sayers is almost constantly in print. Crispin isn't quite as easily found, but I recall seeing at least a couple of his books reissued in the last decade.

    I also enjoyed a fair amount of John Dickson Carr, too (Sir Henry Merrivale and Dr. Gideon Fell), and I read a good deal of Ellery Queen (name of author, also name of detective) and enjoyed them -- there were tonal changes in the Queen approach beginning in the 1950s, when the character started acting a bit more grown up and coming across mysteries that were less adventurous larks. (That was also the time when the original writers were shopping out the character to other writers. As I recall, fantasist Avram Davidson wrote at least one of them.)

    I'm not as familiar with recent detective fiction. But my impression is that it's more serious writers mostly moved beyond personal idiosyncrasies to look at the environment of the detective. And so works like Faye Kellerman's, with it's grounding in Jewish life, religion and culture, the late Tony Hillerman with his Navaho cop, and so on.

    My other impression is the Janet Evanovich writes closer to that older mode, as does Sparkle Hayter.

    Just to mention a couple of authors who might be outside your criteria but who look interesting to me:

    I have a friend who is trying to get me to read Donna Leon's novels about Commissario Guido Brunetti, and I'm intrigued not only because of the interesting locale (Venice), but apparently the stories revolve a lot around meals and food.

    Jane Haddem's Gregor Demarkian also looks interesting; I exchanged messages with Haddam on the rec.arts.mystery bulletin board years ago, and she is one of the most formidable debaters I've come across on the Internet. I'm curious what that ability might translate to in ficton.


    Randy M.

  7. #7
    Inspector Morse books by Colin Dexter fit your criteria (and are good).
    Wexford books by Ruth Rendell are good.

    Some others:
    Lovesey, Peter - British Police procedural - Peter Diamond
    McInerny, Ralph – Philip & Roger Knight
    Walsh, Jill Paton – British Cozy – Imogen Quy
    Burley, W.J. – Wycliffe

    I like British mysteries but have only found a few that I like enough to read more than one or two.
    I also like American PI "mysteries" like Spenser. There are several authors who have followed his formula (including Dennis Lehane's Angela Genaro and Patrick Kenzie series).

  8. #8

    Re:

    Nice one.Thanks for sharing.

  9. #9
    I agree with Randy M on John Dickson Carr. His Dr. Gideon Fell mysteries are excellent. My three favorites are The Three Coffins (The Hollow Men) , The Crooked Hinge and The Case Of The Constant Suicides . Some of Carr's books contain supernatural elements. Also you might try some of his non series books like The Devil In Velvet or The Burning Court.

  10. #10
    One I haven't seen listed, unless I skimmed over it, is the Nero Wolfe series by Rex Stout. Nero Wolfe is a Holmes type character who solves mysteries with his formidable intellect, although he is very fat and eccentric and never leaves his apartment. His assistant is Archie Goodwin, who is more of a hard boiled PI type who acts as Wolfe's eyes and ears. I have read quite a few of the early novels, beginning with FER DE LANCE and have found them to be of excellent quality. There are almost literally a ton of them so I can't speak for the later ones (after around 1955 or so) but the early ones at least are very well done.

  11. #11
    Frog Lady Kaeru's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heretics fork View Post
    One I haven't seen listed, unless I skimmed over it, is the Nero Wolfe series by Rex Stout. Nero Wolfe is a Holmes type character who solves mysteries with his formidable intellect, although he is very fat and eccentric and never leaves his apartment. His assistant is Archie Goodwin, who is more of a hard boiled PI type who acts as Wolfe's eyes and ears. I have read quite a few of the early novels, beginning with FER DE LANCE and have found them to be of excellent quality. There are almost literally a ton of them so I can't speak for the later ones (after around 1955 or so) but the early ones at least are very well done.
    Love, love, LOVE Nero Wolfe.

  12. #12
    I think Ian Rankin is one the finest writer for crime fiction. His creations Inspector Rebus and dark entries are awesome. The books are written in third person limited omniscient mode, focusing on Rebus, with the point of view sometimes shifting to colleagues, petty criminals or suspects.
    Seriously it is my personal favorite.

  13. #13
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    I assume oiu have read the Miss Marple books, since you mentioned Poirot. If not tey are quite good. Also, have you tried the Nero Wolfe novels by Rex Stout? The are among my favorites.

    I also will admit to the guilty pleasure of James Patterson's Womens Murder Club books...

  14. #14
    Read 'The Big Sleep' by Raymond Chandler. It's really the quintessential hard-boiled detective novel.

  15. #15
    Do you have "Inspector Roderick Alleyn". It is a a classic detective novel.
    Detective Chief-Inspector Roderick Alleyn is a British detective who appears in thirty-two novels by New Zealand writer Ngaio Marsh. It started with “A Man Lay Dead” in 1934, when a murder game ends with a real murder. Other examples are “Vintage Murder”, “Artists in Crime”, and “Overture to Death” – where the murder method is especially interesting. As the younger brother of a baronet Alleyn is another example of a gentleman detective. He works for Scotland Yard, where he eventually reaches the rank of Chief Superintendent. Society journalist Nigel Bathgate often helps him during his investigations.

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