Friday, December 2, 2016

Six classic mysteries

Charles Finch is a graduate of Yale and Oxford. He is the author of the Charles Lenox mysteries. His first novel, A Beautiful Blue Death, was nominated for an Agatha Award and was named one of Library Journal's Best Books of 2007, one of only five mystery novels on the list. His first contemporary novel, The Last Enchantments, was published in 2015.

In 2014, for USA Today, he tagged six classic mysteries every fan should read, including:
A Great Deliverance by Elizabeth George (1988)

If you like, you can draw a picture of two opposing strands of mystery: the British one (the tidy drawing room solutions of Holmes and Poirot) and the American one (the messier darkness of Archer and Highsmith's other great creation, the title charlatan of The Talented Mr. Ripley).

Elizabeth George combined them. She gave murder back to the upper classes – one of her detectives, Thomas Lynley, is an earl – but she's an American, and all of her books, especially her early ones, have terrific psychological depth. She understood what Somerset Maugham said: that murder is so fascinating to us because it's the one act a person can't take back. In A Great Deliverance, a woman is found sitting with an ax beside her father's corpse, and immediately admits: "I did it." What follows is totally gripping, blending the old and new traditions of the mystery novel.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue