Read along with The Poisoned Martini …
The British Isles have long been a source of intriguing mysteries. In fact, Judith Flanders’ 2013 book, The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Revelled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime, touches on this very topic. True crimes perpetrated by Jack the Ripper, infamous body snatchers William Burke and William Hare, and others were sensationalized in Victorian newspapers and captured the public’s attention. This in turn inspired mystery writers and our continued fascination with gruesome crimes.
As before with previous discussion series, I invite readers of The Poisoned Martini to join me online in sharing their love of mysteries. Comment on this post with some of your favorite mystery titles set in or by authors from Great Britain and Ireland, and join me in reading the selections for the series, “Murder in the British Isles.”
The series kicks off in January. Read any title in the Tony Hill and Carol Jones series by Scottish author Val McDermid. Psychologist Tony Hill has issues. While he can’t seem to solve his own problems, he does manage to help the police solve cases. His first case, The Mermaids Singing, appeared in 1995; the eighth and most recent book is Cross and Burn, released in 2013. The Hill/Jordan series is the basis for the TV series, Wire in the Blood.
Then in February, read any book in the Constable Evan Evans series by author Rhys Bowen. Constable Evans sought peace and quiet in Lanfair, Wales, but has found anything but in this cozy series, beginning with 1997’s Evans Above. Rhys Bowen is the pseudonym of author Janet Quin-Harkin. As Bowen, she writes the popular Molly Murphy mysteries set in turn-of-the-century New York City and the 1930s London set Royal Spyness series.
March brings us to Ireland for Tana French’s debut mystery, In the Woods. This 2007 debut novel received numerous awards. A Dublin detective must relive the horrors of his childhood in a case that mimics one he survived.
Finally, in April, enter England. Read any book in the Ben Cooper and Diane Fry series by Stephen Booth. Crime writer Booth sets his police procedural series about the investigations of two young police detectives in Derbyshire, England. Black Dog (2000) is the first book in the series, and the 13th and most recent, published in 2013, is Already Dead.
Discover these thoroughly British, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh mysteries, starting January. In the meantime, don’t forget to check out previous discussion series, “A Taste of Murder”, “Unusual Sleuths”, “Unearthing Murder”, “A Little French Murder”, “Purr-fect Murders”, “Murder by Decade” and “Grande Dames of Mystery.” Click on series titles for the relevant book lists.
Reviews for the books in the “Murder in the British Isles” series should appear around the middle of the month for which they’re selected. Look for them and share your thoughts on these reads from across the pond!
I love the cozy crime genre and in fact I write my own mysteries. But my favourites have to be Josephine Tey and ‘The Singing Sands’, (of course) Agatha Christie and ‘ The Murder of Roger Ackroyd or Murder is Easy, Arthur Conan Doyle, ‘A Scandal in Bohemia’, Christopher Fowler’s Bryant and May and last but not least Terry Pratchett and his stories of Commander Vimes and the nightwatch. We have so many brilliant mystery authors in this country it’s really hard to pick my favourites, but I think these are definitely the ones that influence my writing.
I recently read Tey’s The Daughter of Time and would definitely read more of her Inspector Grant series. It’s interesting how you’ve equated Pratchett with the crime/mystery genre. The Discworld books I’ve read have been staunchly fantasy, but I haven’t read the ones focused on Commander Vines and company. I’ll have to add one to my long list of books to read.
I’ve only read the ones featuring Vimes. Snuff (the latest Vimes) definitely involve a mystery surrounding Goblin murders! Here’s my GoodRead if you’re interested. I have very eclectic tastes lol