Thursday, August 1, 2013

Mysteries in July and Picks of the Month

Crime fiction is my favorite genre, even though I have been reading more widely this year. In July, I read seven crime fiction novels. Only one vintage mystery this month, by Agatha Christie. Two books translated into English from Swedish, one published in 1965, the other in 1993.

These are the books I read in July:
  1. Mind's Eye by Håkan Nesser
  2. Green-Eyed Lady by Chuck Greaves
  3. Open Season by Archer Mayor
  4. Plots and Errors by Jill McGown
  5. A Question of Identity by Susan Hill
  6. The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie
  7. Roseanna by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö
Of all the books I read this month, I actually rated Plots and Errors by Jill McGown the highest (on Goodreads). The author was talented and versatile, and I enjoyed rereading the book. But it was a re-read, so I don't want to choose it for Pick of the Month.

Of new reads, I enjoyed the two books by Swedish authors the most. They were very different. Mind's Eye by Håkan Nesser and Roseanna by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö are my joint Picks of the Month.

Mind's Eye (1993) features the depressive Inspector Van Veeteren, a very talented and determined detective. I found all the characters to be interesting and believable. The book was more of a psychological study than a fairly-clued mystery.

I have not reviewed Roseanna (1965) yet. Detective Inspector Martin Beck is also talented and determined, almost obsessed with his job. The book is very slow to start, very unlike today's books where the author is usually working to grab the reader immediately. The body of a dead girl is found, the autopsy reveals that she has been brutalized, but the body was in water for a while, so there is a lot of guesswork. There is a long and painstaking investigation to find out who she is and then how and where the death occurred.

The Crime Fiction Pick of the Month meme is hosted at Mysteries in Paradise. Bloggers link to summary posts for the month, and identify a crime fiction best read of the month. Check out the link here to see the other bloggers picks.

12 comments:

  1. I just received my copy of McGown's first book after your glowing review and am really looking forward to getting into it. ROSEANNA is the first of the series and is definitely a bit slow and is not my favourite of the Beck books (that would be THE ABOMINABLE MAN or THE LAUGHING POLICEMAN probably) but they are all worth while - thanks TracyK.

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    1. Sergio, the first McGown book was one of my favorites, too, so I hope you like it. Re Roseanna, I assumed that the series gets even better as it goes along, and I am looking forward to continuing the series.

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  2. What a great, varied list, Tracy! I liked Nesser a lot, and Roseanna makes for a good discussion, I think.

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    1. Thanks, Rebecca. It is amazing how many great Swedish authors and crime fiction series there are.

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  3. Very interesting list. I too like Nesser and the Martin Beck is probably one of my favourite crime series overall. Roseanna is perhaps not my favourite of the series, although I think it is very realistic in showing just how long some police investigations do take. But, like Sergio above, I prefer The Laughing Policeman or The Man on the Balcony.

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    1. Marina, I will be continuing both series and I am really looking forward to reading the books. I have waited too long to get into the Martin Beck series.

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  4. I love both the Hakan Nesser and Sjowall/Wahloo choices! You're in for a treat just discovering the Martin Beck books, it's a really great series.

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    1. Marie, I am excited about continuing that series. I think I may have read some of the novels many years ago, but they are like new to me...

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  5. Hakan Nesser is a very good author, has depth, can write characters and has an quirky sense of humor. In the middle of mayhem and murder, Van Veeteren thinks up something very witty.

    Sjowall and Wahloo are always good. This is reminding me to read The Abominable Man, which is in the middle of the out-of-control TBR pile(s).

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    1. Kathy, Just based on the one book by Nesser I have read, I agree. I am glad I have finally started both of these series.

      Are there other Swedish authors you particularly like?

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  6. Some great reading there, Tracy. Well done!

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    1. Thanks, Sarah. It was a good reading month, and a good year so far.

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