Ten Favorite Mystery Authors by Helen Smith
The first mysteries I read as a child were in a series known as The Five Find-Outers and a Dog. These were a group of British children who got involved in mysteries in the school holidays. They were led by a domineering and resourceful boy called Frederick Algernon Trotter, known as Fatty, who liked to dress up in wigs and theatrical make-up to outwit local criminals and the local village policeman.
The first grown-up mysteries I read were by Agatha Christie. I preferred Miss Marple to Poirot as a character and I also enjoyed some of her stand-alone books. The stories are always extremely well-plotted. I love watching the feature-length adaptations of her books on TV.
Ngaio Marsh was a New Zealand writer who wrote about a detective in the British police force called Inspector Allingham. I discovered her after reading Agatha Christie—both writers wrote during the Golden Age of detective fiction.
Dorothy L Sayers
Dorothy L Sayers is another writer from the Golden Age of detective fiction. Her main character is amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey, who later teams up with detective novelist Harriet Vane. Dorothy L Sayers’ work is notable for its humor and fine prose.
Arthur Conan Doyle
Like Agatha Christie’s books, the Sherlock Holmes stories are so popular that they are still being adapted for film and TV. I loved reading the stories when I was younger. Like everyone, I have a favorite screen version of Sherlock Holmes. Mine is Jeremy Brett who played the detective in a British TV series.
Two mystery novels by Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White and The Moonstone, are available free for ereaders as they’re out of copyright. It’s definitely worth looking them out if you haven’t come across them. They’re involving, entertaining stories. In The Moonstone, events are told from several points of view, and the story unfolds with humor and intrigue.
M C Beaton
M C Beaton is a prolific author of the Agatha Raisin and Hamish MacBeth series as well as historical romances. I loved the slightly surreal TV adaptation of the Hamish MacBeth novels that was made by the BBC and aired in the 1990s. I’d like to watch it again. If you haven’t seen it and you get the chance to watch it, do check it out.
Alexander McCall Smith
Alexander McCall Smith is another prolific writer of mysteries and romance. His female detective, Precious Ramotswe, is probably his most famous character. She runs a private detective agency in Botswana. These novels have also been filmed for television. The settings and the characters are as important as the mystery element of the books and TV episodes—the charm is in the story-telling as much as in the puzzle set out in the mystery.
Charlaine Harris is probably best-known for the Sookie Stackhouse stories that have been successfully adapted for television. She has also written a couple of mystery series featuring strong, interesting female characters—and plenty of humor. In the Aurora Teagarden series, a group of people who are interested in real crime stories meet regularly… and get mixed up in real murders. In the Shakespeare series, Lily Bard is a young woman who works as a cleaning lady. She finds herself solving crimes when people are murdered in the town of Shakespeare where she is hiding from a dark past.
Patricia Highsmith wrote psychological thrillers and is well-known for the standalone books that were adapted into films—for example Strangers on a Train—as for her series about Tom Ripley, a murderer who kills his rich friend and goes on to kill again. Her books and short stories are intelligent and beautifully-written.
I have picked up a few more authors to read. What about you?
Three Sisters and Showstoppers are two novella-length stories in the Emily Castles mystery series. The first full-length novel, Invitation to Die, will be published by Thomas & Mercer in October 2013.
The Emily Castles mystery series is set in present-day London. It features twenty-six-year-old Londoner Emily Castles and her neighbor, eccentric philosophy professor Dr. Muriel Crowther. In Three Sisters, Emily goes to a party in a big house at the end of her street. She’s sure she witnesses a murder, but no one will believe her. She teams up with Dr. Muriel to investigate.
In Showstoppers, Emily helps out at a local stage school run by her neighbor, Victoria. Soon she’s mixed up in a blackmail plot and two deaths. Emily and Dr. Muriel team up to prevent further a massacre live on stage during the end of term show.
Praise for the Emily Castles Mystery Series
Fast-paced, funny, and mysterious… Helen Smith is a master story-teller.
~Socrates Book Reviews
It grips you from the very beginning.
~Babs Books Bistro
Bright, colorful and full of surprises.
~Amazon Vine Reviewer
Fast-paced and unusual, I highly recommend this one.
Praise for Helen Smith
Smith is gin-and-tonic funny.
Author Helen Smith
Helen Smith is a novelist and playwright who lives in London. She’s the author of bestselling cult novels Alison Wonderland, Being Light and The Miracle Inspector as well as the Emily Castles Mystery Series.
10 winners will each receive a Kindle Ebook copy of Showstoppers & Three Sisiters