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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

On Mysteries


I have to admit I’ve never been much of a mystery reader. Perhaps I’m just too impatient. I often don’t like wading through a lot of red herrings to find out whodunit. Lately, however, I’ve found some mysteries that engage me – Stieg Larsson's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire come to mind. I’m waiting anxiously for his last book, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest due out soon in the U.S.

There are other mystery writers that I have happened upon and enjoyed immensely. Laurie King's The Beekeeper’s Apprentice introduced me to the fictional Mary Russell, an assistant to Sherlock Holmes. Holmes turns out not to be the misogynist that his creator Conan Doyle made him out to be. In later books in the series, Russell and Holmes marry. King’s newest in the series is The God of the Hive.

I discovered Lisa Scottoline after she appeared at a library event. I’ve been a fan of her sleuths Benedetta “Bennie” Rosata and Mary diNunzio ever since. Whereas Larsson’s and King’s mysteries often have a serious edge, Scottoline’s mysteries, such as Killer Smile and Dead Ringer, are just plain fun – and they feature lots of Italian pasta!

Years ago I picked up a book called The Devil’s Teardrop by Jeffrey Deaver because it was set in Washington, D.C. I couldn’t put it down. It opens on New Year’s Eve with a grisly machine gun attack at the Dupont Circle Metro. The mayor receives a note that the attacks will continue every four hours until midnight unless a $20 million ransom is paid. While Deaver’s violence can be a bit graphic, I’ve tried to read almost everything he has written, including his Lincoln Rhyme novels. Denzel Washington played the quadriplegic sleuth in a film version of Deaver’s The Bone Collector.

From Larsson’s dark characters to Deaver’s lightning plots, I guess I enjoy a good mystery now and then, after all.

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