Friday, February 13, 2009


The fascinating list of the various sub genres in crime fiction posted on Friend Feed here got me thinking about what books you would recommend to someone who never read any of the genre. Not quite Desert Island Books my version would be more a stuck on Dartmoor and snowed in with twelve books version. 
My younger son has being doing a Prince's Trust course on the moor this week in fairly tough weather conditions. I would have stayed indoors with my books.

Twelve books that cover most of the sub genres, and would introduce someone to the pleasures of reading crime fiction.

What would be your Dartmoor Dozen?


Blogger Mack said...

Good challenge Norman. I might have a bit of trouble with the cozy but we'll see.

I read about the Prince's Trust Course on Wikipedia. I wish there had been one of those I could attend when I was a lad.

1:13 PM  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Good question!

3:36 PM  
Blogger Dorte H said...

Here is my baker´s dozen for Dartmoor :)

Whodunnit - Agatha Christie, The Murder at the Vicarage
Locked room mystery - Anne Holt, 1222.
English country house detective mystery - Caroline Graham, Murder at Madingley Grange
The Golden Age whodunnit - D. Sayers, Busman´s Honeymoon
The Historical Whodunnit - Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone
Detective Fiction - P.D. James, An Unsuitable Job for a Woman
Hardboiled detective fiction - Ian Rankin, Fleshmarket Close
Inverted Detective Fiction - Hakan Nesser, Carambole
Thriller fiction - Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper
The caper story - Andrew Taylor, Caroline Minuscule
Suspense fiction - Stieg Larsson, Luftkastellet der sprængtes
Spy fiction - Leif Davidsen, The Russian Singer
Psychological suspense fiction - Barbara Vine, The Chimney Sweeper´s Boy

3:48 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Thanks Dorte you are quick on the draw. An interesting choice for hard boiled fiction, and nice balance between male and female writers. I shall have to study you list when I am more awake 00.15 am here in the UK.

4:17 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Mack, Jacob has Down's Syndrome and this Prince's Trust course is just another activity that we never thought he would have the opportunity to take part in.
I don't think he would regard himself as "disadvantaged" as he and his friends hired a villa in Majorca with a swimming pool for their summer holiday last year.
He is really enjoying himself despite the snow on Dartmoor.

4:36 PM  
Blogger Bernadette said...

Eeek. I don't think I could explain all the nuances of those categories to a crime fiction novice if you held me at gunpoint. I'll ponder this question and will either get back to you or will be found at a nearby pub rapidly inhaling a pint of Guinness which is the only known way to stop one's brain from exploding due to overuse

4:37 PM  
Blogger Ruth said...

This is great list, and for someone who is new to crime fiction, I really appreciate it. I will say that I've had my first exposure to hard-boiled mysteries this week with Bonnie Kozek's Threshold, and really loved the dark, edgy nature of it. It was a read way out of my comfort zone, but I really enjoyed it and will definitely read more.

8:15 AM  
Blogger crimeficreader said...

I am thinking of the range, but such is my want when it comes to the definitions proclaimed. I simply cannot find allegiance. I may better do by sleeping on this one!

5:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is very handy, as crime is a genre I have never really touched on. What would you recommend to a crime virgin to get me hooked?

Ps, I'll show this post to my daughter, she is tempted to give up her Duke of Edinburgh Award, your son sounds like an inspirational young man...

1:50 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Hi OKathleen this is a work in progress but some general suggestions will be coming up soon.

Jacob is indeed an inspiration to us all and a calming influence on the more excitable members of the family.

3:35 AM  
Blogger Philip Amos said...

I really cannot work with Steven Lewis' list. He seems to chop the first half into incoherence, and I think he's been heavily into Wikipedia, which is not a good idea on this subject. That would explain, among many things, why he attributes Sherlock Holmes pastiches to E.B. Greenwood, who writes about Tolstoy, rather than L.B. John Dickson Carr wrote some of his Holmes stories with Adrian Conan Doyle, not Arthur. I don't know how he managed to mention the locked room without putting John Dickson Carr in it. And the idea of Simon Brett's novels exemplifying psychological suspense rather boggles -- two out of his nigh fifty books come in that category. However, in the interests of helping our snowbound novice, I offer examples of certain sorts, ranging in quality from excellent to unsurpassable, all guaranteed to transport to other climes. No criteria other than quality, variety and the fact that they occurred to me in a pipe-puffing moment of repose:

Classic Whodunit: Ellery Queen The Roman Hat Mystery

Golden Age: Christianna Brand Green for Danger

Country House: Michael Innes Hamlet, Revenge

Locked Room: John Dickson Carr The Three Coffins

Historical: Elizabeth Redfern The Music of the Spheres

Farceur/Comic/Satirical: Edmund Crispin The Moving Toyshop; Robert Barnard A Little Local Murder

Pastiche: Laurie R. King The Beekeeper's Apprentice

Suspense: Celia Fremlin The Hours Before Dawn

Psychological: Ruth Rendell A Judgement in Stone

U.S.Procedural: Ed McBain Money, Money, Money

European Procedural: Sjowall and Wahloo The Laughing Policeman

British Procedural: Reginald Hill On Beulah Height

I think fans of Donald Westlake and moving pictures invented the idea of the Capers subgenre, but if there must be one, Michael Crichton's The Great Train Robbery would be a fine example of the sort. Spy thrillers as a subgenre I reject wholesale, but if I did not I should leap on Riptide and A Little White Death, two of John Lawton's wonderful Troy novels, which are never merely spy thrillers or anything else.

4:08 AM  
Blogger Philip Amos said...

Looking at my jottings, I don't remember typing my example of an inverted: Francis Iles' Malice Aforethought. Apologies.

4:44 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Thanks Philip I had posted my modifications before I read your comments. I do like your three police procedural categories and of course your choices can't be faulted. The Three Coffins is I think The Hollow Man in the UK and John Dickson Carr is the locked room exponent. Some of your selections [ eight I think] I read so long ago I have forgotten the plots but must read them again some time.
I must crank my old brain up and come up with some good suggestions.
I haven't read Malice Aforethought but they had it on TV some while ago and it was very good.

6:37 AM  

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