In the second installment of “books I would re-read” I consider mysteries. This strikes me as perhaps a peculiar category because once you’ve read a mystery, you know how it turns out. That is, unless you’ve forgotten, which for some of the mysteries on this page, is the case for me. For all of them, it is the mastery of the story-telling, how the author has woven the plot. So here are some mysteries so good, I’d be happy to enjoy them again.
G. K. Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday. This fantastic story, subtitled “A Nightmare” concerns the infiltration of an anarchist group, where nothing that occurs is as it seems. A wild romp!
Agatha Christie, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Many consider this one of her best. Poirot comes out of retirement to solve this murder, and I loved the surprise ending.
Agatha Christie, 4:50 from Paddington. Mrs. McGillicuddy is sure she has witnessed a murder, yet no body is found. Enter her good friend, Miss Marple! With Agatha Christie, I just had to include two to get in a Poirot and a Marple.
Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone. This is considered the first and one of the greatest mysteries, centering around a diamond from India. Collins created the art. Another of his masterpieces is The Woman in White.
P.D. James, A Taste for Death. James’ Adam Dalgliesh, a poet and detective, has some of the most penetrating insights into the human soul of any detective. This is one of the best in the series, but it might be time for me to re-read them all!
Charlie Lovett, The Bookman’s Tale. Peter Byerly has recently lost is wife at a young age and moved to the village of Kingham, England, living in the cottage he and Amanda renovated just before her death. In an effort to resume his bookselling career he peruses the shelves of a local bookseller. Inside a volume on literary forgeries, he discovers a watercolor that must be a hundred years old that could have been a painting of his wife. His quest to find the origin of this work results in his being framed for a murder.
Louise Penny, Still Life. This work introduces us to Chief Inspector Gamache and Three Pines. I am new to this series and only beginning my first reading. But I can tell there is plenty here for re-readings should I live that long!
Elizabeth Peters, The Crocodile on the Sandbank. This is the first of Elizabeth Peters’ (Barbara Mertz) Amelia Peabody stories. My wife and I had ten years of delight reading through this series, but that was a decade ago.
Dorothy L. Sayers, The Nine Tailors. The setting, in a country church, the nine bells that are the nine tailors, provide a wonderful backdrop for a mystery regarding a mysterious scrap of paper, a grave with the wrong body in it, and an absent-minded rector. Many consider this Sayers’ best. I concur.
Josephine Tey, Brat Farrar. Brat Farrar is an orphan, a doppelganger of Simon Ashby’s missing brother Patrick, and is persuaded by a former friend of Simon’s to impersonate the brother. He succeeds, yet unknown to him, Simon is on to him but does not say anything. The plot hinges on discovering why.
I’m sure you will have many others to add to this list and that you might have a few of your own. But these, especially the ones that are part of a series, offer the promise of many diverting evenings sheltering at home.