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).


  1. 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.

    1. 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.

  2. 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)