Category Archives: Mysteries

120, rue de la Gare

120, rue de la Gare, by Léo Malet, is one of the very first French “romans noirs,” a phrase taken from a series of novels published under the rubric Série Noire. The French were very much influenced by American authors … Continue reading

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The Law and the Lady

Wilkie Collins wrote four major novels during the 1860s, and they made his reputation as an author of excellent literary sensation fiction: The Woman in White, The Moonstone, No Name, and Armadale. I read The Woman in White when I … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction, Mysteries | 14 Comments

Le Port des brumes (Death of a Harbormaster)

The second book I taught in my French Crime Fiction class this semester was an early novel from a favorite author: Georges Simenon. Simenon (who was actually a Belgian, but who’s counting) wrote nearly 200 novels over several decades, as … Continue reading

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The Bones of Paris

I’ve been a fan of Laurie King’s Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes mysteries, as well as her present-day Kate Martinelli series, since 1995. Enjoying those series as much as I do can sometimes mean that I’m initially disappointed when King writes something … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mysteries | 8 Comments

A Spy by Nature

I chose this book because of Litlove’s recommendation of Charles Cumming as an author of spy novels — a genre I enjoy when they’re any good, and by this time I would follow Litlove anywhere! Spy by Nature, written in … Continue reading

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Grey Mask

Patricia Wentworth’s first Miss Silver mystery doesn’t have nearly as much to do with Miss Silver as I’d have liked. The mystery is a nicely­-tangled (if slightly loosely­-plotted) Golden Age affair of blackmail, mistaken identity, frivolous flappers, a plump inheritance, … Continue reading

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The China Governess

Julia and Timothy are determined to get married, despite her father’s objections. But Timothy wants to wait until he can figure out the secret behind his parentage. He was brought to the Kinnit home as a baby as London was … Continue reading

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Arsene Lupin, Gentleman Thief

This semester, I’m teaching a class on French crime fiction. Although the genre started in France roughly when British and American crime fiction did (which is to say around the middle of the 19th century), I’m staying inside the 20th century, mostly … Continue reading

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Dreaming Spies

The publication of a new Mary Russell novel is always a source of celebration. I’ve been following this series by Laurie King since its early days, shortly before the publication of the fifth book in 1999, and I remain impressed … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mysteries | 13 Comments

A Fatal Grace

I mentioned right around Thanksgiving that I’d read the first in Louise Penny’s series of mysteries about Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, and the village of Three Pines in Quebec. That it took me only two months to read the next … Continue reading

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