Monday, March 4, 2013

Cloaks, daggers, detectives & brain teasers

I wouldn't be fulfilling my mission as as the resident bargain tipster if I didn't point out that a rather swell 15% off sale on certain mysteries is going on here through March. Included are installments in several famed, atmospheric series featuring well-rounded sleuths, including Donna Leon's Commissario Guido Brunetti (set in Venice), John Burdett's Sonchai Jitpleecheep (Bangkok), Martha Grimes' Richard Jury (whose exploits are named after British pubs), P. D. James' Commander Adam Dalgliesh (Scotland Yard), and Elizabeth George's detective Thomas Lynley (also Scotland Yard). For mystery addicts, there's nothing like an ongoing narrative in which the detective's complicated life bleeds (so to speak), into the tale, and these are some of the most rewarding of that ilk. 
P. D. James' sensitive, poetical Inspector Adam Dalgliesh as played on PBS by Roy Marsden
Dante Alighieri: medieval crimestopper?
Many mystery writers are more than willing to help you soak up some history in the pursuit of reading enjoyment, including David Wishart in Germanicus (the glory and grittiness of ancient Rome), Charles Finch in The Fleet Street Murders (the spectrum of Victorian London), Claude Izner in The Montmarte Investigation (the haunts of 1890s Paris), and Giulio Leoni in The Kingdom of Light (whose crime solver is none other than Florence's greatest native son, Dante Alighieri).  Even A-list authors are mining the genre: witness Joyce Carol Oates' Give Me Your Heart: Tales of Mystery and Suspense and Paul Theroux's A Dead Hand: A Crime in Calcutta.
Sherlock Holmes and his amanuensis, Watson
Many of the books on hand hark back to the early masters of the genre, such as Arthur Conan Doyle (The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes), G. K. Chesterton (The Man Who Was Thursday), Agatha Christie (Murder at the Vicarage), and J. Sheridan Le Fanu (Wilder's Hand). All these and more await you—for a mere pittance, mind—at the click of this link!
On another topic, Google rightfully celebrated the birthday today of the great South African singer Miriam Makeba. In this vintage clip she sings her joyful hit "Pata Pata"—doesn't it make you so happy to be alive?


  1. I had no idea Miriam Makeba had a fan in John F Kennedy, he was in fact such a fan he set up a meeting with her at The White House in 1962.

  2. Talk about a cold case! Germanicus was the father of Caligula, the grandfather of Nero. Yet by all accounts, he was a capable and decent chap. Of course, he ends up murdered. Did anyone at that time ever die in his bed?
    I wish I could avoid peeking at the last pages of mysteries, but I always do.

  3. Oh those Miriam Makeba videos brought a lot of smiles on a cold winter's day!