Mystery Click to listen now or download
Lisa LC began the show with a confession: she’s not (gasp! -Agatha Christie please don’t turn in your grave) a mystery reader. However, after numerous recommendations, she finally picked up a copy of Tana French’s immensely popular In the Woods and was riveted from page one. Acknowledging that the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew entertained her as a child and confessing a contemporary love for the Maisie Dobbs series, she now understands that she’s actually a closeted mystery lover. J Lisa C then also came out of the mystery closet, and confessed her own new found appreciation of this thrilling genre.
And so our show began with recommendations for great mysteries – ones great even for people who don’t think they like mysteries. In the Woods by Tana French – Lisa LC’s review “This woman knows how to write!” She appreciated the sense of place created by the author (Dublin and Ireland in the early seventies and then post-economic boom), the feeling of suspense evoked by French and the intricately psychological aspects of this novel.
The Daughter of Time and The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey – J Lisa C likes the precise writing style, subtle and effective character development and the very British tone of these two books by Josephine Tey. Tey was a contemporary of Agatha Christie but perhaps due to lack of movies and television shows depicting her works, she’s not quite as well known.
Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton – Lisa LC was intrigued by the look at two continents – Australia and England – and the unraveling of family secrets. Bruno Chief of Police by Martin Walker is another favorite of admitted francophile Lisa LC. This is the story of a police inspector in southern France who encounters small town issues like family feuds as well big world problems such as racism and the complexities created by the EU and the euro. (J Lisa likes it as well.)
Donna Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery series – J Lisa C looks forward to every installment of this series. The books offer a chance to live a bit with a inspector, his wife and his two children – all of whom she admires. It also transports you to Venice – not a bad place to vacation, even if only in your mind.
Both Lisas love and recommend: Maisie Dobbs novels – A series of books by Jacqueline Winspear that transport the reader into post WWI England and allows insight into what it takes for people and countries to recover from such massive devastation. Louise Penny’s novels set in southern Quebec also made our cut. We love the main dectective – Inspector Gamache, his family and the characters he befriends as the mysteries unfold.
Because we can’t stop talking about books, we also mentioned the following books, many of which are definitely not mysteries: Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold – In The Woods reminded Lisa LC of The Lovely Bones - a best-selling book told from the perspective of a dead child. Still Alice by Lisa Genova – The well-told story of 50-year-old Harvard professor Alice Howland as she grapples with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Wit, A Play by Margaret Edson - A one woman play about living with cancer and dying with grace. Just Kids by Patti Smith – The best selling memoir of life as an artist and life spent loving an artist. The Tower, the Zoo and the Tortoise by Julia Stuart – A tale of a beefeater, his wife and their tortoise and of course, the Tower of London.