Sunday, January 6, 2013

New (to me) Authors, October - December 2012

Today I am joining in on the meme on best new-to-me crime fiction authors 2012 at Mysteries in Paradise. The goal is to share authors that are new-to-us this year, especially the ones we liked.

This meme runs at the end of each quarter. Check out other posts for this quarter.

In the last quarter of 2012, I read five books by authors that I have never read before. Three were vintage mysteries.
  1. The House Without a Key by Earl Derr Biggers
  2. The Greene Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine
  3. The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon
  4. A Trace of Smoke by Rebecca Cantrell
  5. The Cape Code Mystery by Phoebe Atwood Taylor

My top new author out of this group is Rebecca Cantrell. A Trace of Smoke is the first in a historical mystery series, set in the years between World War I and World War II, starring Hannah Vogel, a crime reporter in Berlin.  If I had not had other reading commitments at the time, I would have started reading the second book in the series immediately.

While reading the first half of this book, I was not so sure. I wasn't comfortable with the author's style of telling the story. But at the halfway point, all of a sudden I was hooked by the story, by the character; the last few chapters were a roller coaster ride. The book did not end at all like I expected, and I liked the ending a lot.

Of the vintage authors I read for the first time, I was most impressed with Earl Derr Biggers. I will definitely be reading the rest of that series also.

The book I read was the first Charlie Chan mystery, The House Without a Key. I have seen many of the Charlie Chan films, and I have always enjoyed them, but I had not read any of the books. I was pleasantly surprised that I found this first book very enjoyable. The book has a complex plot that held my interest.

Both of these books were borrowed from my husband. He has copies of the entire series for both of those (lucky me).


Prashant C. Trikannad said...

I have heard about the top three authors, especially S.S. Van Dine, whose real name was Willard Huntington Wright. I have read his "Twenty rules for writing detective stories" which first appeared in a magazine.

TracyK said...

The first book I read by S. S. Van Dine did not appeal to me very much, but I still plan to read more of his mysteries.

Judith said...

Hi Tracy,
I enjoyed the quirkiness of the Yiddish Policemen's Union, though I can't recall which year I read it. Haven't read anything by Chabon since, though I know he's got a new one available.

Wishing you loads of leisure for reading,
Judith (Reader in the Wilderness)