Today on The Point we talked about mysteries! If you missed the show, you can listen online. By the way, the great photo that WCAI used to illustrate the radio show was taken from the back cover of Killer Verse: poems of murder and mayhem. Jennifer Gaines of the Woods Hole Library (and enthusiastic mystery reader) joined Mindy Todd and Jill Erickson for a lively discussion on what a mystery is and why one kind of mystery appeals to one person and not another, not to mention the plight of a library cataloger trying to decide where to SHELVE a novel that might be a mystery and might not.
Jennifer asked if we could post our mystery lists, and they are now posted! The lists include Stand-Alone Mysteries, Mystery Series Set in Foreign Cultures, and Mysteries Set in the United States.
I mentioned the Twitter conversation with Neil Gaiman‘s twitter followers, which began here, and then continued over here. And thus began a cataloging conversation for the ages between an international world of public and academic librarians, and just readers who love Neil Gaiman. As Susan Wyndham commented: “Great question, great discussion. Can we have librarians unleash Dewey knowledge every week? Are there other tricky books?” To which Mr. Gaiman wrote: “probably another question for the librarians.” The conversation itself surrounded Gaiman’s newest book Norse Mythology, and you will see in the link that we have decided to put one copy in fiction and one copy in non-fiction.
But I digress! The real discussion was about how deeply librarians care about where to put mysteries, and thus what IS a mystery, and also some great books about mysteries. The list of books discussed are below. We hope you enjoyed the show! We did!
MYSTERIES, American in which winter weather figures heavily:
William Kent Krueger: character Cork O’Connor in Minnesota;
Julia Spencer-Fleming: “novels of faith, murder, and suspense” Characters Rev’d Clare Ferguson & police Chief Russ Van Alstyne, upstate New York, town in the farm and factory land nestled against the Adirondacks, In the Bleak Mid-Winter, etc.
Louise Penny: province of Quebec, village of Three Pines
MYSTERIES/Thrillers, Scandinavian Noir
(Sweden) Hennig Mankell, Kurt Wallender series; Steig Larsson, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, etc.
(Norway) Jo Nesbo; Karin Fossum
(Iceland) Arnaldur Indridason
(Denmark) Peter Høeg , Smilla’s Sense of Snow
MYSTERIES, Travel Destinations
Cara Black: Paris
Martin Walker: South of France, the Dordogne with his Bruno, Chief of Police
Donna Leon: Venice
Janwillem Van de Wetering: Amsterdam
MYSTERIES, crossed with historical fiction
Jacqueline Winspear: Maisie Dobbs, mostly WW1, English nurse
Todd, Charles: Bess Crawford, WW1 battlefield English nurse (also Inspector Rutledge) “vivid period mystery series” (New York Times Book Review)
Kuhns, Eleanor: Will Rees, weaver, Shaker communities, 1790’s
King, Laurie R.: Mary Russell/ Sherlock Holmes
MYSTERIES, Cape Cod and the Islands There are lots, but these are the ones we talked about:
Craig, Philip: The Vineyard, fishing derby, Z
Phoebe Atwood Taylor, Cape Cod in the 1920’s, sleuth Asey Mayo charges along the sandy back roads of the Cape in his roadster
MYSTERY, LIBRARIES (who knew?)
Jenn McKinlay: Due or Die
The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Mystery by John Charles, Candace Clark, Joanne Hamilton-Selway, and Joanna Morrison. (See how many people it takes to describe what a mystery is!)
The Encyclopedia of Murder and Mystery by Bruce F. Murphy
Arthur and Sherlock: Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes by Michael Sims
On Conan Doyle or, The Whole Art of Storytelling by Michael Dirda
Buried Angels by Camilla Lackberg (And the Wellfleet copy is back! And copy should be available very soon!)
Killer Verse: poems of murder and mayhem edited by Harold Schechter and Kurt Brown
Pistols and Petticoats: 175 years of lady detectives in fact and fiction by Erika Janik
Women Crime Writers. Four Suspense Novels of the 1940s edited by Sarah Weinman
Women Crime Writers. Four Suspense Novels of the 1950s edited by Sarah Weinman
The Arvon Book of Crime and Thriller Writing by Michelle Spring and Laurie R. King
The Strand Magazine (Feb.-May 2016 issue has interview with Mark Gatiss, co-creator of Sherlock.)
Louise Penny mysteries. The first one in the series is Still Life.
Michael Connelly mysteries. The first one in the series is The Black Echo.