October, 2022: The British are Coming, The British are Coming!!

Not to worry friends, no Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, no British Invasion by the Beatles, but rather British mystery books are on my mind! I really find nothing more enjoyable than curling up on a cool/cold winters night and reading a good mystery book. How about you? And as the years have gone by I find that British authors top my list. So much so that I do not even know where to start my reading list.

         Of course no list of mystery authors is complete without the books of Agatha Christie. Many of you are familiar with Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, but how about her Tommy and Tuppence books? I always like to start at the beginning, so there sits her very first book “The Mysterious Affair at Styles” where we are introduced to Poirot, and we find Tommy and Tuppence in her next book “The Secret Adversary.” And where do I find most of these book that I want to read? On my Kindle. Yes, I love Kindle anthology books and so many of Christie’s works that I have yet to read or reread are found on my Kindle in “The Agatha Christie Collection.”

         I used to love watching Lord Peter Wimsey on PBS and he is the creation of another one of the great ladies of British mystery, Dorothy Sayers. I have all of her Peter Wimsey book on Kindle and many times you can find them on sale. Two of my favorite TV shows from this series, Busman’s Honeymoon and Murder Must Advertise are waiting for me in “The Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries Volume 3.” Yes, that good old aristocrat Lord Peter is all set to entertain me this winter. Bring on the eggnog, I am hunkering in with Lord Peter.

         If you like gentlemen sleuths then the works of Charles Finch are really good. I began this series about 5 years ago with his award winning “A Beautiful Blue Death.” This series now contains 14 volumes and I really want to go back to the beginning and follow the exploits of Charles Lennox as he solves mysteries of Victorian Era London.

         Not many are familiar with the works of Bruce Alexander who authored the 11-volume Blind Justice series built around the historical figure Sir John Fielding. Fielding was partially blind, but was an 18th century magistrate in London at the Bow Street court and developed the Bow Street Runners who were the predecessor of Scotland Yard! Anyway, Fielding is featured in this mystery collection that begins with the aptly titled “Blind Justice”, I have read about half of this series and think I need to dip my toe back into it because it is extremely well researched and written.

         I love the Agatha Raisin series on AcornTV and it’s there that I discovered M.C. Beaton. Beaton is a wonderful British cozy mystery writer, her Agatha Raisin books are set in the idyllic Cotswold village of Carsely and features a memorable cast of supporting characters, and there are 33 books in this series. Easy to read, and easy to visualize everyone if you have seen the TV shows, she starts out with the hilarious “The Quiche of Death” in which death comes to Carsely as a result of the towns annual Quiche baking contest. And if you like Scottish settings, Beaton has another wonderful series of books set in the Scottish Highland village of Lochdubh and featuring Hamish Macbeth, and it all starts with “Death of a Gossip” and also has 33 books in the series. Whew! That’s a lot of mystery.

         Finally, I have been stocking up on a lot of books from the British Library Crime Classics and one of my favorite “old and unknown” authors is E.C.R. Lorac who has 46-volumes in his Chief Inspector Ronald MacDonald mysteries. One of my favorites is Book #37, “Murder in the Mill-Race”, and I have picked up a few more for my Winter’s delight.

         If you like reading many different authors in one easy format then you can join me as I read the British Library Crime Classics edited by Martin Edwards, the dean of British mystery reviews! There are many books in this series, but why not get ready for the Holidays with his collection titled, “A Surprise for Christmas and Other Seasonal Mysteries.” These are fun stories from names many of us have never heard of, but who certainly keep us awake into the wee hours of the night.

         Well, I cannot wait to get started! So many British mysteries by authors both known and unknown, and I have only scratched the surface. I may just have to come back in a few months with another installment of The British Are Coming, The British Are Coming!!

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