Crime and Mystery: The 100 Best Books Paperback – Nov 19 1996
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From Library Journal
This is a remarkably balanced and highly entertaining collection of essays reflecting one writer's ideas about what constitutes the best in crime and mystery fiction. The two-page essays extend from Poe's Tales of Mystery and Imagination through P.D. James's A Taste for Death , forming a sort of history of the genre. Each essay contains a synopsis of the plot or theme, a critical assessment, and a list of first and recent editions. Keating, a prolific mystery writer, seems an ideal choice to compile such a work, and his wit and intelligence make these essays as much fun as they are informative.Lonnie Beene, West Texas State Univ. Lib., Canyon
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Keating -- himself a celebrated mystery writer -- puts together a list of 100 books worth checking out. As noted in other reviews here, some are out of print, but I've found many of them at the local library, at used-book stores and even here at Amazon.
If you only like to read contemporary works, this isn't the book for you. It was originally written in the '80s, I believe, so it doesn't include authors who have made the scene in the past 10 or 15 years. However, if you like to read works that are a bit off the beaten path, Keating's recommendations are a real boon. His capsule reviews read like a shot, and he does a good job of giving you the flavor of each cited novel in just a few pages. Very cool.
You'll find many of the usual suspects here -- Christie, Sayers, Queen, Chandler, Hillerman, Westlake, MacDonald, Stout, James, etc. But you'll also find some great tips on authors you probably wouldn't stumble upon unless you've read this book. I had never read any works by Nicholas Blake, Peter Lovesey, Margaret Millar, Arthur Upfield or Jacques Futrelle until buying Keating's book, and I've enjoyed reading all of these authors.
A fine book to have on hand whenever you're wondering what to read next.
(FYI: Patricia Highsmith wrote the intro only, so don't expect to get any of her recommendations here.)
That being said, if you just want the list, go to a book store, pick up this book, and memorize the list, then put it back. You're wasting your money if you think this book is going to give great insight into the mystery genre.
The best way to find new authors/books to read is to do a little research. You like mysteries, right? What would one of these detectives do to solve the problem? Read up on the authors you really admire and you'll run across numerous references to their greatest influences.
Also, I'm not a profressional critic, but some very notable mystery/crime novelist were conspicously left off the list. James Ellroy was one of the most notable. Oh well...