Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Five female mystery authors who can put a smile on your face.

"... In England I find it does not make one popular to kill people."—Georgette Heyer, The Unfinished Clue 141

Joan Hess. I prefer Hess's Claire Malloy series (with Claire's dramatic daughter who always Speaks in Initial Capitals) to her Maggody novels, but few authors understand small-town weirdness better than Hess. (Also check out Hess's books under the pseudonym Joan Hadley)

• Georgette Heyer. Most critics declare that Heyer's romances are superior to her mysteries (perhaps because the latter were written with her husband), but her mysteries have much fun and ingenuity to offer. Winners include Behold, Here's Poison; Envious Casca (dubbed by Dean James as "the house party from hell"); The Unfinished Clue; and Why Shoot a Butler?. However, I found the solution to A Blunt Instrument to be unconvincing.

Constance and Gwenyth Little.  A headless nurse in The Black Stocking. 'Nuff said.

• Charlotte MacLeod. When Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn showed up in Chinese disguise in The Family Vault and Professor Peter Shandy covered every inch of his house in tacky Christmas decorations to revenge himself on college colleagues in Rest You Merry, I realized I was in a different universe—and a very funny one.

1 comment:

barbara fister said...

You just put a smile on my face, reminding me of how much I enjoyed Charlotte McLeod's Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn books many years ago.

I find Kate Atkinson makes me smile, partly because she can be so funny and partly because she sometimes finds such a perfect and inventive way to say something it makes me happy. Liza Cody's Eva Wylie series also cracked me up, but was also touching. Must go find the ones I haven't read.