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As I was reading this week, I was struck by a comment that author Ben Aaronovitch has his protagonist Peter Grant say in Moon Over Soho:

Pg. 10

…so I headed over the river to the address listed on Mr. Wilkinson’s driver’s license to see whether there was anyone who loved him enough to kill him.
(The new Ben Aaronvitch book will be out Feb. 4th: Broken Homes: A Rivers of London Novel)

I love mysteries, especially the ones in a series where the main characters are well developed and introspective.  The best part of the mystery to me is the revealing bit by bit of the man or woman detective or PI, not the plot about who is murdered.  These protagonists are complex and conflicted.  They yearn for understanding and love as well as the ability to catch a thief or murderer.

How do people in books fall in love in such a way that I believe it unconditionally?
It’s a mystery to me how the author conveys such a thing.  Often the love seems doomed.
In one mystery series that I loved, there is a wife who must not be harmed by the two lovers and in another there is a husband who is ill.  Yet, the love overwhelms the two lovers whether they wish it to happen or not.  They are not people “on the make” or trying to destroy a family for their ego’s sake in either of these two mystery series.  They seem to be human beings who suddenly find a soul mate, someone they can talk to as to no one else.  

The question through several stories is whether the love can last or must it be renounced? Can it survive time spent away by one of the lovers?  Can it survive the feelings of guilt that the loss of the wife or the illness of the husband produce?

What if the lover is terribly injured?  What if the loved one dies?  What if there is a terrible misunderstanding?  A divorce?  How does the protagonist continue to work the day job when so much is happening in his love life?

The reader aches for those caught up in such troubles.  We hope they can overcome their problems and find a way to be with the one they love or to be whole again after a devastating divorce.  

After some couples manage to get together, we worry if they can stay together.

I admire Lindsey Davis for making Falco and Helena Justina’s marriage work.  They are a team.  Falco respects his wife and she helps him with his cases.  Watching the two of them together is like finding an oasis in the desert of fiction where so many couples are at odds with each other.

My readers have often commented on Sayer’s Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane.  Others have mentioned The Thin Man (Nick and Nora) by Dashiell Hammett and still others think the relationship of Parker’s Spenser and Susan is the ideal.

I am grateful when readers recommend new authors.

I have trembled through many wonderful stories and watched the characters change, grapple with life problems, heal physically and mentally and overcome difficulties.

The way they face the challenge is interesting.

My favorites:

Love is not easy for Inspector Ian Rutledge of Scotland Yard when he returns from WW I.  He can’t let people know that he carries another in his mind wherever he goes.  That other, Hamish MacLeod, seems so real to him that he speaks to him out loud and feels him at his shoulder or in the back seat of his car.

   The Murder Stone
   Test of Wills
   Search the Dark
   Wings of Fire
   Legacy of the Dead
   Watchers of Time
   A Fearsome Doubt
   A  Cold Treachery
   A Long Shadow
   The Red Door
   A Lonely Death
   The Confession
   Proof of Guilt  

A new book is due on January 21rst: Hunting Shadows: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery

In the Todd’s other series, a new book with Bess Crawford is due on Aug. 27th.  A Question of Honor: A Bess Crawford Mystery

Susan Hill’s series with Simon Serrailler and his family are heart-warming and poignant.  Can Simon love?  Can he commit to another person?  Can the woman he loves commit to him?  How can he live without her?

   The Various Haunts of Men
   The Pure in Heart
   The Risk of Darkness
   The Vows of Silence
   The Shadows in the Street
   The Betrayal of Trust
   A Question of Identity

Julia Spencer-Fleming’s series set in New York State with Russ and Clare often reduced me to tears as the two protagonists learned to communicate and share their thoughts and to appreciate each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

    In the Bleak Midwinter
    A Fountain Filled with Blood
    Out of the Deep, I Cry
    To Darkness and to Death
    All Mortal Flesh
    I Shall Not Want
    One Was a Soldier

Her newest book will be out on November 5th: Through the Evil Days: A Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne Mystery

Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache is in love with his wife, Reine-Marie, but there is a second love story involved in the series that is currently in jeopardy.

    Still Life
    A Fatal Grace
    The Cruelest Month
    A Rule Against Murder
    The Brutal Telling  
    Bury Your Dead
    A Trick of the Light
    The Beautiful Mystery

Penny’s newest book is due on August 27th: How the Light Gets In.

And my newest favorite story teller of the Chet and Bernie mysteries, Spencer Quinn, has a new book coming on September 10: The Sound and the Furry.

Who are your favorite authors and detectives?  Do you enjoy knowing them in their private lives as well as in their day jobs in the books?  Are new books coming soon?

Diaries of the Week:

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Special Notice

    SoCaliana is bringing back the Audiobooks Club on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month, starting in just three days, on August 8, 2013 at 11:00PM EDT.

Robert Fuller says:
The Rowan Tree chapter 18 is up.

NOTE: plf515 has book talk on Wednesday mornings early

Originally posted to Readers and Book Lovers on Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Progressive Friends of the Library Newsletter.


Which is your favorite mystery author?

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| 43 votes | Vote | Results

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