Detectives on The Point: Part Two!

Nelson Ritschel, Author and Professor in the Humanities Department at Mass Maritime Academy, rejoined Mindy Todd and Jill Erickson this morning for part two of detective fiction on The Point. If you missed the first discussion on detectives, you can listen to that here.

You will no doubt be disappointed, as I was, that there is not one library in CLAMS that has copies of the Frank Cullen and Donald McNeilly murder mysteries set in the theatre world of Boston which were so well described by Nelson! UPDATE … Falmouth Public Library now owns a copy of Murder at the Tremont Theatre!

Thanks to all of you who called, emailed, and tweeted your suggestions!


Nelson’s Picks

Murder at the Tremont Theatre: the first Porridge Sisters Mystery by Frank Cullen and Donald McNeilly

Murder at the Old Howard: the second Porridge Sisters Mystery by Frank Cullen and Donald McNeilly

Murder at the Orpheum Theatre: the third Porridge Sisters Mystery by Frank Cullen and Donald McNeilly

Murder at the Gordon’s Olympia: the fourth Porridge Sisters Mystery by Frank Cullen and Donald McNeilly

To see what Boston used to look like take a look at Lost Boston by Jane Holtz Kay, where she juxtaposes the new and the old. You might also enjoy Lost Boston by Anthony M. Sammarco.

The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett

The Return of the Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett

In a House of Lies by Ian Rankin

The Beat Goes On by Ian Rankin

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

Lost Stories by Dashiell Hammett

Nightmare Town by Dashiell Hammett

The Big Sleep & Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler

Raymond Chandler: Collected Stories by Raymond Chandler

(And I just read this: “Dorothy Parker wrote that Hammett’s detective was so hard-boiled ‘you could roll him on the White House lawn.'”


Jill’s Picks

Dark Nantucket Noon by Jane Langton. The series stars detective & former Harvard professor Homer Kelly.

The Late Monsieur Gallet by Georges Simenon. Detective Chief Inspector Maigret is the detective and he loves eating and smoking. The complete list of the new translations can be found at Penguin Random House.

December Heat by Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza. Inspector Espinosa is the detective, and he lives in Rio de Janeiro. Originally published in Portuguese.

Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers introduced Lord Peter Wimsey, aristocratic sleuth. I am particularly fond of  Gaudy Night which features Harriet Vane.

A Presumption of Death by Jill Paton Walsh & Dorothy L. Sayers. Walsh finished a Lord Peter Wimsey left unfinished for 60 years by Dorothy Sayers, and is continuing to write new mysteries starring Lord Peter, Harriet Vane and other Sayers characters.

What Would Maisie Do? by Jacqueline Winspear.

Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her by Melanie Rehak. And to answer Mindy’s question about what color Nancy Drew’s hair was: “The blond, blue-eyed teenager, affectionately called ‘Curly Locks’ by her father, was an all-around knockout, ‘the kind of girl who is capable of accomplishing a great many things in a comparatively short length of time.” Although in the introduction the author writes of Nancy’s “trademark red-gold hair.” (We may have to reread the original versions of the books!)

Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley. Easy Rawlins is a Louisiana-born detective living in L.A. There are 14 novels in the series.

Sleuths, Sidekicks and Stooges by Joseph Green and Jim Finch. This is an astonishing annotated bibliography of detectives, their assistants and their rivals in crime, mystery, and adventure fiction, 1795 – 1995.



The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King, the first Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes mystery.

Danny Beckett series by Tyler Dilts.

Dog On It by Spencer Quinn, the first in the Chet & Bernie series.

And from one twitter listener: “Hmm. In no particular order, John Cardinal, Easy Rawlins, Sherlock Holmes, Lew Griffin, Harry Bosch, Smilla Jaspersen, Cass Neary, Bruce Medway, Philip Marlowe, and Coffin Ed and Gravedigger.”

A listener sent an email after the show yesterday in which she highly recommends the British Library Crime Classics (which we do too) and suggests the blog “In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel.”

 The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri, the first in the Inspector Salavo Montalbano series, set in the fictional Sicilian town of Vigata.

Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon, the first in the Police Commissario Guido Brunetti, set in Venice.



2 comments on “Detectives on The Point: Part Two!

  1. Sandra Greene says:

    Love mysteries. My current favorites are Cars Black and Louise Penny.

    1. Jill Erickson says:

      Thanks for sharing your current favorites!

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