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Mysteries have been around for many years. I thought what I would do tonight is take three mysteries which have been written at various times in history and see how past and present collide. From the far past we have Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the first Sherlock Holmes story A Study in Scarlet. One of America’s mystery giants was Tony Hillerman and he is represented by the 1971 story The Fly on the Wall. From the present we have one of England’s most revered writers P.D. James with her new book Death Comes to Pemberley.

Arthur Conan Doyle created his famous sleuth in 1887 and mysteries have never been the same. Through his short stories and a couple of longer novels Sherlock Holmes became a fixed part of history. Even when Doyle got sick of him and tried to kill him off he refused to stay dead.

A Study in Scarlet is actually two stories combined into one. The first story concerns the case of the death of E.J. Drebber that Scotland Yard calls Sherlock Holmes in on. The other is the story in America of Jefferson Hope and the Mormons in Utah.

This is the story where Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson first meet. The story is structured in a way that we will become familiar with in other stories. Holmes makes deductions that Watson can’t follow and we the puzzled reader come along hoping like Watson that it will all make sense in the end.

Many critics have felt that the entire story in Utah was really unnecessary and the story would read better without it. I disagree. Of all the stories about Sherlock Holmes this is the one where the background of the villain humanizes the book. The story concerns a scout named John Ferrier and the child Lucy who were rescued from certain death in the desert. It is also a love story between Lucy and Jefferson Hope. The book depicts Mormons and their history in a very prejudicial light.

When the story moves back to London it takes on the familiar feel of a Sherlock Holmes story. Holmes immediately deduces poison and continues to make fools of Scotland Yard. Holmes uses what we will come to recognize as his usual trickery to get the killer in his grasp and to confess.

What makes the story most interesting for me is the introduction of the characters. We get our first look at the eccentric Holmes. It is also the first introduction to Watson. We realize that Watson is more than a sounding board and narrator for the stories. Without Watson the stories would be virtually unreadable because Holmes by himself becomes a very irritating character and it is the humanity of Watson that makes him tolerable to the reader. The couple of stories without Watson proved that he was essential to the stories.

Tony Hillerman was one of America’s great mystery writers. He is best known for his Navajo mysteries. The Fly on the Wall was written in 1971 and is not a Navaho mystery. This book is very much a political thriller.

John Cotton is a respected political correspondent for a paper somewhere in the American heartland. A colleague, Merrill McDaniels comes in as Cotton is writing his daily column. McDaniels is in a “happy” drunk state and tells Cotton he is on to a major story. He offers to let Cotton in on it. A little while later McDaniels is dead on the rotunda floor and a mysterious man is rifling through his papers looking for his notebooks.

Cotton finds a hidden notebook and decides to see if he can figure out what his colleague was working on. A second death follows a day or so later when a friend borrows Cotton’s car and is run off of a bridge in a hit and run accident. From this point on it becomes a race for Cotton to keep alive from people threatening to kill him while he tries to find out what the real story is that McDaniels was working on.

Like all of Hillerman’s books the characters are very well drawn out. You get to know and understand Cotton and the people who surround him in the book. Hillerman never retreats to cheap theatrics in his writing. He was one of the authors I could give to my Mom to read because he never used sex or profanity. What he did best was good crisp dialog and stories that were intriguing.

The book was written in 1971 so the technology is dated but the political intrigue is timeless. It is a good introduction to Hillerman’s novels.

P.D. James has been a staple of English mysteries since her first novel Cover Her Face was published in 1962. Her main character is Adam Dalgliesh from Scotland Yard. Death Comes to Pemberley is her newest book. It is different from her regular works. This was meant as an homage to Jane Austen and her book Pride and Prejudice. The story takes place in Pemberley where Elizabeth and Darcy have lived for six years with their two children. Elizabeth’s sister Lydia shows up in hysterics claiming that someone has killed her ne'er-do-well husband George Wickham. Wickham is soon found bent over the very dead Captain Denny.

The story soon goes into the arrest of Wickham, the trial, servants, intrigue, a baby of dubious antecedents, and everything that is typical of Masterpiece Theater.

I am a fan of P.D. James but I have to admit that this book just didn't do anything for me. It was meant for Jane Austen fans and I’m not a reader of her books. The story was slow moving and there really were no surprises in it. Unfortunately my main impression of the book was boredom. I have read most of James books and liked them. I can appreciate what she was trying to do here. I imagine if people are big fans of Jane Austen they will enjoy the book more than I did.

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Originally posted to Readers and Book Lovers on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I don't think so. (16+ / 0-)
    I imagine if people are big fans of Jane Austen they will enjoy the book more than I did.
    I am a big Austen fan and absolutely hated the PD James novel. Here is my take on it.

    I think the more you love Jane Austen's light touch the more you dislike James' ponderous tome.

    Thanks for an intriguing diary!

    •  Nice to Know (9+ / 0-)

      I'm not the only one who couldn't stand the P.D. James book. It was just plain boring and I had a hard time finishing it.

      "A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." Oscar Wilde

      by michelewln on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 05:27:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I mentioned your review in my comment below - (12+ / 0-)

      but I type so slowly that you beat me to it by ten minutes. Well, I also stopped by P. D. James' wikipedia page mid-comment.

      If an author's good, I'd much rather they make some ambitious mis-steps, than that they write the same book thirty times. But every author needs a good editor, to say that this particular soufflé just isn't rising.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 05:34:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I adore P.D. James and I adore Dear Jane but (11+ / 0-)

      there is no way I even want to read that book.

    •  Thank you for the warning! (4+ / 0-)

      P&P is one of my favorite books, particularly because of that light touch you mention. The parts of the "sequel" you quoted seem leaden-- overstuffed with dull language and draggy detail. Austen is quick with insights and delightful with dialogue, and where she adds detail, it's amusing. I would never describe PD James in those terms, to say the least.

      Your review reminded me of Robert B. Parker's attempt to finish a novel Raymond Chandler had started. Imo the result (Poodle Springs) was a disaster. Parker was always terse in that never-use-adjectives, never-use-any-word-but-"said"-to-indicate-dialogue way. Chandler was full of vivid riffs and surprising metaphors. I can hardly think of two writers with more different styles.

      But as Robert Benchley said, "After an author has been dead for some time, it becomes increasingly difficult for his publishers to get a new book out of him each year."

      "Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn't the work he is supposed be doing at that moment." Robert Benchley

      by scilicet on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 05:02:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Because of Parker's use of "said" (4+ / 0-)

        I can't listen to his audiobooks. I tried, but spoken aloud, the dialogue structure is irritating.

        •  I agree -- nothing but "said" is clunky in audio (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Brecht, RiveroftheWest

          I don't know how many articles I've read warning writers to use only "said," and to avoid adjectives, adverbs, long sentences, similes, and other unmanly flourishes. They cite masters of dialogue like Elmore Leonard, whose prose is wonderful and spare. But writing can be good in many different ways, and I like variety. So when I listen to Tana French books, or Neal Stephenson's, I bliss out on their generous use of metaphors, and I love J.K. Rowling's adjectives & adverbs.

          "Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn't the work he is supposed be doing at that moment." Robert Benchley

          by scilicet on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 01:31:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialog (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RiveroftheWest

                                                                           - Elmore Leonard

            The rule only works if you're Elmore Leonard (or Raymond Chandler, Mark Twain, or an equally pithy writer). Here's the whole rule, expanded, in a marvelous Guardian article, which asked for 10 rules from Elmore Leonard, Diana Athill, Margaret Atwood, Roddy Doyle, Helen Dunmore, Geoff Dyer, Anne Enright, Richard Ford, Jonathan Franzen, Esther Freud, Neil Gaiman, David Hare, PD James, AL Kennedy, Hilary Mantel, Michael Moorcock, Michael Morpurgo, Andrew Motion, Joyce Carol Oates, Annie Proulx, Philip Pullman, Ian Rankin, Will Self, Helen Simpson, Zadie Smith, Colm Tóibín, Rose Tremain, Sarah Waters, and Jeanette Winterson:

            3 Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue. The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in. But "said" is far less intrusive than "grumbled", "gasped", "cautioned", "lied". I once noticed Mary McCarthy ending a line of dialogue with "she asseverated" and had to stop reading and go to the dictionary.

            "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

            by Brecht on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 02:20:28 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Oh I don't know... (4+ / 0-)
        "After an author has been dead for some time, it becomes increasingly difficult for his publishers to get a new book out of him each year."
        Robert Ludlum and John Gardner kept "writing" books long after they died. Lord knows L. Ron Hubbard kept "writing" books for decades after his death.
    •  My friends and I not only didn't finish it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      michelewln, RiveroftheWest

      We barely started it and abandoned it in a second-hand store (where it still languishes). We are all Jane Austen fans, but the Pemberley book is just bad writing, a bad book. Written by an unknown, it would never have been published, I hope.

      Ponderous is a good word for it; not only the size of the book, but the elephantine pace of it.

      I hate to be negative about writing or books....

  •  P. D. James got me reading mysteries - (15+ / 0-)

    I used to have the same problem with them as with 50% of SF: Good ideas, but not enough 3D characters or fine writing.

    Perhaps that's a bit heretical to say in a diary on mysteries. I apologize for my prejudice. I've since realized that every single genre has good novels in it, if you look for the cream.

    Anyway, my aunt reads mysteries all the time. So, one visit, having read the books I brought with me, I picked up a Dalgliesh mystery. I found fine writing and some very well-drawn, living, breathing characters. I've tried about five (Dalgliesh & Gray) since then, and enjoyed each of them.

    On this particular book, Susan from 29 agrees with you - but at greater length, with more vehemence.

    I'd like to try The Children of Men, which sounds like an interesting, and more successful, departure from P. D.'s usual wheelhouse.

    Thanks for the interesting diary, michelewln.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 05:28:15 PM PDT

  •  I love the Sherlock Holmes (13+ / 0-)

    stories - I can read them over and over.  I also am a fan of Tony Hillerman.  I've never heard of The Fly on the Wall.  I will look for it.  I will say that I have trouble reading mysteries written in the late 20th century.  I keep getting irritated by someone looking for a pay phone and not being able to look things up on the internet.  Older mysteries don't bother me, but for some reason, the ones written just before cell phones and internet do bother me a lot.

    I'm still traveling around the world from home - just finished one of the best mysteries about Scotland - Beneath the Abbey Wall  by D. A. Scott.  The descriptions of the Highlands was very intriguing.  And I'm starting Buried in a Bog by Sheila Connolly, which takes place in County Cork, Ireland.  I can't say much about it yet - I just started it.

  •  My mystery reading this past week (8+ / 0-)

    was a complete departure from my norm, by reading an Agatha Raisin from several years ago. A Spoonful of Poison was a good break because it did not irritate me as many of the earlier Agatha Raisins do (though why I continue to read the travails of that infuriating woman is a good question).

  •  I like Science Fiction better than Mysteries (15+ / 0-)

    but I'm a fan of Tony Hillerman's stories (about the Navajo and Apache detectives) and the Easy Rawlins stories (about an African-American detective in 1940s and 1950s Los Angeles) by Walter Mosley. And the 1930s stories about Lord Peter Wimsey by Dorothy Sayers, which are set in England.

    I don't really care about who was killed or who the killer was, but Hillerman tells about American Indans, Mosley tells about black people in LA, and Sayers tells about upper class people in England. All three authors  transport me to a different culture in another time. I like that. It's almost like science fiction. You think about a different culture and try to figure it out.

    And, yeah, someone gets murdered and the detective eventually figures it out, but the most interesting part is the cultural stuff -- how people interact with each other in different cultures.

    "Stupid just can't keep its mouth shut." -- SweetAuntFanny's grandmother.

    by Dbug on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 11:17:11 PM PDT

    •  I just finished a Neal Stephenson thriller, (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dbug, Brecht, rl en france, michelewln

      Reamde. For someone known for his SF, he could not possibly have done a better job. The book started a bit slowly, with a main character who didn't grab me. But soon the action shifted to introduce wonderful and unusual characters in several countries (and online). The action got breakneck and for the last third, I dropped all pretense of doing anything but listen (audiobook). I am in awe of the way Stephenson juggled so many settings/people/events without ever being even slightly confusing.

      Cryptonomicon remains my favorite of the books of his I've read. I bought Snow Crash and Anathem today but I loved Cryptonomicon so much I can't imagine liking them better. (But luckily I don't have to, I only have to like them.)

      "Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn't the work he is supposed be doing at that moment." Robert Benchley

      by scilicet on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 05:25:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  'Cryptonomicon' was the best novel (I've read all (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        michelewln, scilicet, RiveroftheWest

        but 1/2 of his books). The Baroque Trilogy is delightful, enormous, overwhelming, and very Baroque (plots with patterns with filigree on top).

        Snow Crash was my second favorite. Rich and brave. But it shares the weakness of Reamde: He had to throw a lot of coincidences in the last 100 pages, so he could get all his characters together, and tie up his loose ends.

        But I enjoyed the thrill ride of Reamde, and loved the whole video game scenario. The spy/gangster element, and the gang becoming a supportive group as they got to know each other were well played, too.

        Anathem I found weird. Ask plf515, he's a big fan, and has reviewed several Stephensons.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 09:58:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Started Anathem last night (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Brecht, RiveroftheWest

          and I'm having the reaction I initially had to Reamde -- it's slow to engage me. And because it's science fiction, my laziness gets in the way, too -- if I'm going to learn about exotic places and situations, I like it if they're real(ish) because then maybe I'll know something transferable e.g. if I go to the place or encounter it again in fiction. I shake off the laziness eventually in SF books I like, but I'm still a bit crabby about it in Anathem, since I'm only a few hours into it.

          I agree with everything you said about Reamde.

          I'll have to try again with the Baroque trilogy. The opening of the first book struck me as somehow kids' book-like, and I wasn't in that mood or something, couldn't get into it.

          "Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn't the work he is supposed be doing at that moment." Robert Benchley

          by scilicet on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 01:48:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  'Anathem' is by far his weirdest book, I found. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RiveroftheWest

            I found it abstruse, and it's the one I haven't finished yet. I'll return to it one day: Stephenson has a fertile imagination, so I know that reaching so boldly into new territory will be exciting, when I get there. And it did start to pick up, drama-wise, once the main character left the gates and went into the town and the factory.

            "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

            by Brecht on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 02:27:49 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Agree on Anathem n/t (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RiveroftheWest

              When a whole nation is roaring Patriotism at the top of its voice, I am fain to explore the cleanness of its hands and the purity of its heart. - Emerson

              by foolrex on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 05:30:46 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I'm about halfway through it now (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Brecht, RiveroftheWest

              and past the point where I wonder if I'm going to keep on -- I know I will because I'm invested enough in the characters at this point and I feel at home in that world. But not a heck of a lot has happened so far, after many hours of listening, and the one big dramatic event would have been very small potatoes in Cryptonomicon or Reamde. I imagine it'll have more tension and action now, and I'm looking forward to seeing where it's going. But I have to say, it helps that it's an audiobook & I've been doing a lot of things that make listening to audio convenient. I'm not sure I'd have stuck with a print or ebook this long waiting to bond with it.

              "Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn't the work he is supposed be doing at that moment." Robert Benchley

              by scilicet on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 07:41:04 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Love Stephenson! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RiveroftheWest, Brecht

          Agree that Cryptonomicon may be his best, but I found The Baroque Trilogy (with its many ties to Cryptonomicon characters) a great delight. (Think I will enjoy most of his books MORE now that I have a Kindle - books that big are tough to read in bed!)

          Also agree on your assessments of Reamde and Snow Crash.

          When a whole nation is roaring Patriotism at the top of its voice, I am fain to explore the cleanness of its hands and the purity of its heart. - Emerson

          by foolrex on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 05:34:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Hillerman and Holmes (10+ / 0-)

    Hillerman's books are kind of the inverse of Holmes.

    The Holmes stories were set at the time of the Industrial Revolution, when people were shifting toward a strong interest in science, new technology, urbanity, and so forth.

    When I look at Hound of the Baskervilles, as I see it, Holmes is the contemporary, sophisticated, educated, scientific, prosperous, urbanite who heads into the countryside to deal with a case in which the rural and small town people exhibit their superstitions, lack of education, and general denseness.

    In Hillerman's novels, it is often the people in the rural areas, usually on the reservation, who are the target of criminals who are most likely to be sophisticated, educated, prosperous, and, often, powerful.

    The Navajo characters are usually poor, maybe toward middle class, but not powerful, rich, greedy, etc.

    Many of the Navajos are indeed influenced by what Sherlock Holmes would consider to be mere superstitions. Sometimes, the Navajo characters behave in a way that causes harm to others because of their spiritual beliefs--such as when they fear a witch is trying to harm them and act defensively--but more often the traditional beliefs have a positive effect on characters rather than negative.

    Hillerman clearly liked and respected people who live in small towns, rural areas, and reservations, and was more likely to see the wealthy and/or powerful city dwellers who are greedy for more as the villains.

    And, of course, he has his cops from the Navajo Tribal Police solving murders that the FBI can't.

    •  Holmes says, in one of his stories, that the (5+ / 0-)

      countryside is the most dangerous area.  He prefers the cities because it's safer there.  Of course, that's not word for word, but he makes the point to counter the idea that the countryside is more peaceful, bucolic and that people are better there.  I don't know if it's just because Holmes has so thoroughly studied the people in cities that he's more comfortable amongst them than he is in the country, and I don't know if that was Doyle's point of view.  

      I think of that occasionally when I read about how crime is so rampant in cities (like Chicago's having so many gun crimes) and then I counter that by reading about the militias and survivalists who've moved to the country and especially mountain areas so they can stockpile their guns and interact with as few people as possible.  There may be less crime in the countryside, but there's nobody to help you should it occur and nobody may even know about it for years, if ever.

      •  When it comes to gun crime (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ColoTim, michelewln, RiveroftheWest

        Always remember that population density is important. People with an agenda  like to pretend that Chicago's gun crime numbers are indicative of something horrible. But the per capita numbers are less than a third of the numbers for Louisiana and Illinois' overall are far lower than 29 other states. Yes, lots of people get killed by guns in Chicago, but that's because Chicago has a huge population (2.7 million). All big cities have high crime stats. If you have eight crimes per million, in New York City, you'll have 64 crimes. In ALL of Wyoming, you'll have four crimes. Does that mean Wyoming is more law abiding? No. It just means that Wyoming only has 576,000 people, statewide.

        Righties like to bring up Chicago stats because Obama is a Chicagoan and they get to take a backhanded dig at him while pretending to make some kind of valid point.

        In the real world, Chicago gun deaths are down by 34% from this period in 2012 and falling. This is due to increased policing and crackdowns on illegal gun trading. It has nothing to do with private gun ownership (which is down, per capita). Louisiana gun rates remain high.

  •  I am a major P.D. James fan and a major Austen fan (4+ / 0-)

    But the two just don't mix. I don't think P.D. James gets that the magic of Austen is not found in her characters, but in the subtlety of the interactions between them. This book is plodding and dull, with none of the wry humor and self awareness of the best Austen. Yet, it does not have the intricate plotting and realistic narrative of the best of James. A disappointment.

    •  My one problem with the memoir (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      michelewln, Brecht, RiveroftheWest, kurt

      was that there seemed to have been no editing whatsoever!
      I don't know if it indicated Hillerman's advancing years, or if he always needed that much editing, but good lord, for all the money that man made for his publishers, they couldn't spring for a proofreader? It's insulting! I was angry on Hillerman's behalf. And this was a paperback, so they'd had an opportunity to do some revisions. It's been aehile, so maybe they got to it eventually, I don't know.

      That said, he led an interesting life, and seemed to be a genuinely decent man.

      Hillerman is what got me reading mysteries. I'd been snobbish toward that genre, and when I picked up Hillerman, I was entranced by the setting among the Navajo, and proceeded to read all of them. It's amazing how much one can pick up about the culture just from reading Hillerman. Not details, necessarily, more of a gestalt.

      From there, I discovered other authors I liked, and realized just how broad the genre has gotten. There are well-written mysteries of literary quality. I especially like mysteries that introduce me to a different culture, or some obscure field of interest, and I enjoy following characters through a series.

      I belong to a book group that is "Armchair Travel Mystery". Perfect! Lots of international mysteries, many in translation, plus a few historical, and some that are only loosely mysteries. As we say, ALL good fiction is mystery! Most, anyway. there's always something to be resolved, right?

  •  Has anyone read (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    michelewln, Brecht, RiveroftheWest, jabney

    Hand for a Hand by T. Frank Muir?

    I'm only writing this because the book so irritated me I was wondering of anyone else had the same reaction. I don't know anyone else who reads as much as I do and I haven't been able to complain about this book to anyone by my long-suffering wife who is very patient with me.

    Have you ever hated something so much you just need to talk about it?

    I never got beyond the first 60 pages, but I was just appalled by the story. In those pages you find that hero is having an argument with everyone he knows and apparently knows no one who isn't an utterly horrible person. His boss hates him, his ex-wife hates him, the local press hates him and prints nasty front page stories about him. Oh, yes and he hates his current partner simply because the man raped his 15 year old daughter ten years ago and never went to jail or even lost his job as a cop for it. And the hero is a drunk.

    Apparently the author once read that conflict drives a story and decided that meant that every page has to contain at least one vicious argument.

    Anyway, I've wanted to vent about this awful book for weeks now.

    I feel better.

  •  We read Study in Scarlet (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    michelewln, Brecht, RiveroftheWest

    in my book group, and since we reside in Salt Lake City, we found it to be a hoot. We're not generally big fans of the LDS Church, but the Mormons in this story are so over-the-top villainous! Plus, Conan Doyle obviously never traveled here. I think he has them take a stagecoach from Philly or somewhere to Salt Lake, and it only takes an hour? Hee.

    None of our members are practicing LDS, though a few were raised in it. Most of us moved here from elsewhere, but we've been here long enough to find the dated and dramatic anti-mormon propaganda in this story to be pretty funny. Not Conan Doyle's best, but it was an interesting read.

    I highly recommend Julian Barnes' "Arthur and George", which is a fictionalized account of an actual case that Conan Doyle himself got involved in as an advocate for a falsely accused second-generation Indian immigrant. Beautifully written.

  •  Hillerman and Peeking at Another Culture/Society (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, Brecht

    One of the delights of Hillerman is that in addition to the mystery, you get a peek into another culture. This might be suspect and off putting had not the Navajo people awarded him with a "Special Friends of the Dineh Award." His sensitivity, respect for and insight into various tribal practices are a huge part of the pleasures of his books.

    I have found a few other authors who provide some insights into a few other cultures while telling some good mysteries. For example:

    Eliot Pattison - his Inspector Shan series is packed with info about the Tibetan culture and especially conditions since the Chinese occupation

    John Burdett and Timothy Hallinan - both authors cover Bangkok from slightly different angles: Burdett more seedy and Hallinan more romanticized

    Colin Cotterill - post-Khmer Rouge Cambodia, from the perspective of an aging coroner who has lived through it all

    Just a few . . . but love my mysteries (and Nordic police procedurals)

    When a whole nation is roaring Patriotism at the top of its voice, I am fain to explore the cleanness of its hands and the purity of its heart. - Emerson

    by foolrex on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 05:51:52 PM PDT

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