Art courtesy of David Teniers the Younger 1610-1690
So many crime novels, so many good authors, so little time. Do you cross borders for books? Travel around the world via the printed page or app to sample a recommended author? How many authors of crime, suspense, noir, cozy and detective fiction that you read come from a nation other than your own?
As an American, I read Nancy Drew during childhood, later learned about the Navajo Tribal Police with Tony Hillerman’s Jim Chee and Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, studied the alphabet with Sue Grafton, and the law with John Grisham. I read every book written by Dennis Lehane and Elizabeth George. Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent had me on the edge of my seat and Mario Puzo’s The Godfather is said to have enthralled the mob as well as his readers. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird remains a must for any author while Walter Mosley’s writing entertained a president as well as many of us who borrowed the book from the library and...for a book I return to whenever I need to escape I choose Jack Finney’s Time and Again.
I admit to being hooked by British detectives. I’d go anywhere with Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse and cannot put down the Dalziel and Pascoe mysteries by Reginald Hill. Daphne du Maurier wrote Rebecca—I’m sure—for the romantic teen-ager that was once me—there’s still a bit of the romantic hanging around my book shelves and P.D. James with her Commander Adam Dalgliesh is on my top shelf. I join every lover of mysteries by begging and borrowing every Sherlock Holmes written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the Miss Marples and Hercule Poirots penned by Dame Agatha Christie. Then there’s J.J. Marric a.k.a. John Creasey who wrote about Commander George Gideon.
Canada is home to Louise Penny and her Inspector Armand Gamache—her newest came out this month. Israel has Batya Gur with Detective Michael Ohayon. The Welsh gifted us with Ian Rankin and the fun loving Alexander McCall Smith. The French are known for George Simenon’s Inspector Maigret. Italy for Umberto Eco and The Name of the Rose and Russia Feodor Dostoyevsky’s works live on—think of Crime and Punishment. Swedish crime novels are in today—what American can resist Steig Larson’s heroine? Then there is the Wallender series by Henning Mankell with his unshaven, melancholy hero.
What country do you reside in, where do the characters you write about live and which “crime” authors have you read that are from other nations?