Thursday, 24 November 2016

2017 Reading Challenges - Mystery Series - The Sleuths...

Bonnie displays her normal enthusiasm for my Blogging
As I moved into our den to get ready to take book jacket photos for today's Blog, the puppies followed me in. Bonnie is comfortably ensconced on one of the many pillows we have scattered around the house for them. Next week she will look totally different as she and her companion, Clyde, will be visiting the hair stylists..

No, no, this is my seat, not for stupid books!
Clyde, meanwhile, decided to get into the middle of the action and plopped himself down on the chair that I use to pose my books. He wasn't very happy when I shoved him over to the pillow with Bonnie so I could take my photos, especially when Bonnie absolutely refused to move over to let him share with her. She can be a selfish doggie. Anyway, he is back on his chair and she is on the pillow and I'm ready for my next instalment of my 2017 Reading Challenges.

Yesterday, I highlighted the 10 books I plan to start off with of my Mystery series; those that have Cops or other governmental types that are crime solvers. Today, I'm moving into the realm of the Private Eye, the detective for my ten choices. Like yesterday's group, I hope to read at least 25 books in this section. I have started with the first ten that I plan to read. So, here we go, or as the puppies say... 'Get the lead out old man, it's almost time for our walkies and lunch!!'

The Sleuths

1. Trent's Own Case by E.C. Bentley (Trent #2, 1936) - I've read one of the three Trent books written by Bentley and enjoyed it very much. Trent is a similar character to Dorothy L. Sayer's Lord Peter Wimsey, another sleuth that I like to read.

"Philip Trent returns! The hero of E.C. Bentley's masterpiece, Trent's Last Case, returns when the murder of a generous but most unpleasant philanthropist brings several of Trent's friends under suspicion. Shocked by the confession and suicide attempt of Bryan Fairman, a research scientist in the victim's employ, Trent investigates. And the first clue he turns up point straight at himself."

2. A Comedian Dies by Simon Brett (Charles Paris #5, 1979) - I've read some of Simon Brett's Fethering mysteries and enjoyed. The reason I started searching for his books was because Jo, my wife, had been listening to the Charles Paris mysteries on BBC Radio, with Paris played by the multi-talented Bill Nighy. I've managed to find a few of the Paris mysteries but was hoping to wait until I found the first book. But, no more waiting, I'll start with Number 5.

"'Oh keen, and so wrong!' In the case of the comedian electrocuted in midact, Charles Paris was bombing. From the comely widow to the even comelier ex-girlfriend, from the desperate TV producer to the sleazy agent, all of Charles' suspects averred that he was wrong. But while Charles-the-detective bumbled from clue to clue, a most unlikely thing occurred: Charles-the-sometimes-tipsy-actor got a job playing the straight man to a veteran comedian on the comeback trail. Just as Charles was about to find out what it was like to make people laugh (professionally, that is), his pet murder case began to come clear. And the answer to who really knocked whom dead, and why, would be the most unfunny thing of all..."

3. The Judas Pair by Jonathan Gash (Lovejoy #1, 1977) - Another new series for me, but not unfamiliar as I always enjoyed the TV series starring Ian McShane as the lovable antique collector, Lovejoy. I was happy to discover the books and happier to manage to find the first in the series.

"Not so long ago, like any other antiques dealer worth his salt, if you had asked me to find the Judas Pair, I would have laughed till I fell down. Everybody knew that they simply don't exist.
The antique business is riddled with myths and this supposedly exquisite, unique pair of 18th century duelling pistols was one of the greatest. Even when a thoroughly respectable new client offered me hard cash to track them down, I had to tell him that the pistols were a fantasy.
But he knew different, The Judas Pair, you see, had been used to murder his brother..."

4. The Wrecker by Clive Cussler (Isaac Bell #2, 2009) - I have to admit that I started buying the odd Clive Cussler book so I could start the Dirk Pitt adventure series. But, instead, I find myself turning to the books featuring Van Dorn Detective Agent, Isaac Bell. I will read the other series as well, but for now, I'll read the 2nd book in this series.

"1907: In a year of financial panic and labour unrest, a series of train wrecks, fires, and explosions sabotage the Southern Pacific Railroad's cascades express line. desperate, the railroad hires the fabled Van Dorn Detective Agency, who send in their best man, Agent Isaac Bell.
Bell quickly discovers that the saboteur is known as the Wrecker - a man who recruits poor, down-and-out accomplices to attack the railroad, and then kills them afterwards. The Wrecker traverses the vast American West, striking at will and causing untold damage and loss of human life. But just who is he? And what does he want?
Whoever he is, whatever his motives, the Wrecker knows how to wreak havoc, and Bell senses that he is far from done. In fact, his quarry is building up to a grand act unlike anything ever committed before. And if Bell doesn't stop him in time, more than a railroad could be at risk - it could be the future of the entire country."

5. Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear (Maisie Dobbs #2, 2004) - I do like historical mysteries and I also like strong female leads. Maisie Dobbs, budding private eye, fits both of those ideas. I enjoyed the first book very much and have been looking forward to reading Maisie's next case.

"Jacqueline Winspear's marvellous debut, Maisie Dobbs, won her fans from around the world and raised her intuitive, intelligent, and resourceful heroine to the ranks of literature's favourite sleuths. Birds of a Feather, its follow-up, finds psychologist and private investigator Maisie Dobbs on another dangerously intriguing adventure in London ' between the wars.'
It is the spring of 1930, and Maisie has been hired to find a runaway heiress. But what seems a simple case at the outset soon becomes increasingly complicated when three of the heiress's old friends are found dead. Is there a connection between the woman's mysterious disappearance and the murders? Who would want to kill three seemingly respectable young women? As Maisie investigates, she discovers that the answers lie in the unforgettable agony of the Great War."

6. After You With the Pistol by Kyril Bonfiglioli (Charlie Mortdecai #2, 1979) - This is the 2nd book in the Charlie Mortdecai trilogy. The first was a fun, enjoyable read. I hope this is the same.

"Charlie Mortdecai - degenerate aristocrat and victim of his own larceny and licentiousness - has no idea. Until it is made clear to him that he must marry the beautiful, sex-crazed and very, very rich Johanna Krampf. The fly in the ointment is that Johanna thinks nothing of involving poor Charlie in her life-threatening schemes such as monarch-assassination, heroin smuggling and - worst of all - survival training at a college of feminist spies. Perhaps, it's all in a good cause - if only Charlie can live long enough to find out."

7. The League of Frightened Men by Rex Stout (Nero Wolfe #2, 1935) - Nero Wolfe is one of the classic characters in the detective genre. In fact, I found it interesting as I was reading a Gregor Demarkian mystery the other day to discover that Demarkian states that if he was to model himself after a famous detective, it would have been Wolfe - mainly because he could then just solve his mysteries while not leaving his desk. I've read a collection of three Nero Wolfe short stories so far. This is the second book in the series.

"Paul Chapin's college cronies never quite forgave themselves for instigating the tragic prank that left their friend a twisted cripple. Yet with their hazing days at Harvard far behind them, they had every reason to believe that Paul himself had forgiven them - until a class reunion ends in a fatal fall, and the poems, swearing deadly retribution, begin to arrive. now this league of frightened men is desperate for Nero Wolfe's help. But are Wolfe's brilliance and Archie's tenacity enough to outwit a killer so cunning he can plot and execute in plain sight?"

8. Katwalk by Karen Kijewski (Kat Colorado #1, 1989) - I can't remember is someone in one of my Goodreads' groups recommended this series or if I just liked the cover and character when I was searching through my local. At any rate, I'm looking forward to giving this new series a go.

"Meet Kat Colorado, a thirty-something California P.I. with nerves of steel and a passion for tipping the scales of justice in the right direction.
Kat's friend Charity Collins dispenses hard-hitting advice in her syndicated column, 'Consult Charity,' but when her estranged husband, Sam, depletes their common funds by $200,000, Charity turns to Kat Colorado for help.
Nobody believes that Sam dropped the big bucks at the gambling tables, so Kat takes off for Vegas in search of the truth...and Charity's half of the money. Following Sam through a trail of glitz and grime leads right into a rats' nest of sleazy real estate deals, heavy-hitting mobsters, and contract killings. But Kat's not about to back off, even though prowling the low life has put her right at the top of the syndicate hit list."

9. Grave Secret by Charlaine Harris (Harper Connelly #4, 2009) - With the exception of her Aurora Teagarden series, which I've tried but never really grabbed me, I've enjoyed all of the series I've explored of Charlaine Harris. Sookie Stackhouse is an excellent fantasy, Lily Bard is a strong mystery solver and Harper Connelly is one of the more interesting characters I've met. This is the 4th and last book in this series.

"Lightning-struck sleuth Harper Connelly and her stepbrother Tolliver take a break from looking for the dead to visit the two little girls they both think of as sisters. But as they travel to Texas, memories of their horrible childhood resurface...
To make matters worse, Tolliver learns that his father is out of jail and trying to re-establish contact with other family members. Tolliver wants nothing to do with the man - but he may not have a choice in the matter.
Soon, family secrets ensnare them both, as Harper finally discovers what happened to her missing sister, Cameron, so many years before. And what she finds out will change her world forever..."

10. The Cuckoos Calling by Robert Galbraith (Cormoran Strike #1, 2013) - I enjoyed J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter books but have been avoiding trying her move into the world of mystery/ thriller. But I hear so many good things about the Cormoran Strike books that I have decided to give them a try.

"When a troubled supermodel falls to her death from the balcony of her London home, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts and calls in private detective Cormoran Strike to investigate.
Strike is a war veteran - wounded both physically and psychologically - and his private life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline but it come at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model's world, the darker things get and the closer he comes to terrible danger."

So there you go, my planned first 10 books in my Sleuth challenge. Next in line with be some of the Canadian books that I would like to read.

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