Sunday, June 26, 2011

Full circle for Rendell's Wexford

We're on the same page as British crime writer Val McDermid, who pays tribute to Baroness Rendell of Babergh as her favorite mystery writer on Vintage Crime/Black Lizard's website. She remembers reading Detective Inspector Reg Wexford’s beginnings in From Doon With Death (1964) and being "bowled over."
It’s one of a handful of crime novels that shaped my own ambitions in the field. The classic Rendell hallmarks were all there right from the beginning—the sense of place, the delicate filleting of the characters’ psyches, the avoidance of the prosaic both in character and in motivation....Patricia Highsmith is often cited as the mother of the psychological suspense novel. But for my money, Ruth Rendell’s influence has been far greater.
The Monster in the Box is supposedly the last novel in the Wexford series from the winner of the silver, gold, and diamond daggers from Britain's Crime Writers Association and the Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Award. Thankfully, the prolific wordsmith shows no signs of letting up on her stand-alone titles.
Another renowned crime writer whose novels are consistently excellent is P. D. James. We have the first in her Adam Dalgliesh mystery series, 1962's Cover Her Face, in an attractive commemorative paperback.
I count the novels of both of these writers as must reads. What mystery writers make your list of "dying" to have their latest?

Cool bookstore name sighting: One More Page in Arlington, VA. My sentiments exactly.


  1. Though I've never been much of a mystery reader, I must admit I've been swept up in the Scandinavian Big 3: Larsson, Mankell and (new to me) Nesbo. Maybe I need an overly bleak, snowy landscape to keep me rapt!!

  2. I am keenly interested in reading Nesbo after reading an article by Wendy Lesser in The Threepenny Review about how much she loves him/her.