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Reading Lists

Recommended Mystery Fiction

a“A” is for Alibi

by Sue Grafton

A tough-talking former cop, private investigator Kinsey Millhone has set up a modest detective agency in a quiet corner of Santa Teresa, California. A twice-divorced loner with few personal possessions and fewer personal attachments, she’s got a soft spot for underdogs and lost causes. Eight years ago, Nikki Fife was convicted of killing her philandering husband. Now she’s out on parole and needs Kinsey’s help to find the real killer.


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anAnd Then There Were None

by Agatha Christie

Considered the best mystery novel ever written by many readers, And Then There Were None is the story of 10 strangers, each lured to Indian Island by a mysterious host. Once his guests have arrived, the host accuses each person of murder. Unable to leave the island, the guests begin to share their darkest secrets--until they begin to die.

 

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hThe Hound of the Baskervilles

by Arthur Conan Doyle

Terror stalks the Devonshire moors as a long-forgotten horror reawakens to haunt the last remaining heir of Baskerville Manor. Widely considered to be Conan Doyle's finest work, The Hound of the Baskervilles features the famous detective Sherlock Holmes and his faithful colleague Dr. Watson as they grapple with a mysterious power from the unseen world.

 

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lLaura

by Vera Caspary

Laura Hunt was the ideal modern woman: beautiful, elegant, highly ambitious, and utterly mysterious. No man could resist her charms—not even the hardboiled NYPD detective sent to find out who turned her into a faceless corpse. As this tough cop probes the mystery of Laura’s death, he becomes obsessed with her strange power. Vera Caspary’s haunting novel is remarkable for its stylish, hardboiled writing, its electrifying plot twists, and its darkly complex characters—including a woman who stands as the ultimate femme fatale.

 

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mMaisie Dobbs

by Jacqueline Winspear

Maisie Dobbs isn’t just any young housemaid. Through her own natural intelligence—and the patronage of her benevolent employers—she works her way into college at Cambridge. When World War I breaks out, Maisie goes to the front as a nurse. It is there that she learns that coincidences are meaningful and the truth elusive. After the War, Maisie sets up on her own as a private investigator. But her very first assignment, seemingly an ordinary infidelity case, soon reveals a much deeper, darker web of secrets, which will force Maisie to revisit the horrors of the Great War and the love she left behind.

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mThe Maltese Falcon

by Dashiell Hammett

The Maltese Falcon (1930) set the standard by which the private eye genre is judged. Sam Spade is hired by the fragrant Miss Wonderley to track down her sister, who has eloped with a louse called Floyd Thursby. But Miss Wonderley is in fact the beautiful and treacherous Brigid O'Shaughnessy, and when Spade's partner Miles Archer is shot while on Thursby's trail, Spade finds himself both hunter and hunted: can he track down the jewel-encrusted bird, a treasure worth killing for, before the Fat Man finds him?

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moMoonstone

by Wilkie Collins

Alongside Edgar Allan Poe in America, Britain’s Wilkie Collins stands as the inventor of the modern detective story. The Moonstone introduces all the ingredients: an English country setting, an exotic background in colonial India, the theft of a fabulous diamond, and a murder with assorted suspects. Adding spice to the recipe are unexpected twists, a bit of dark satire, a dash of social comment, and an unusual but effective narrative structure. Eleven different voices relate parts of the tale – revealing as much about them as about the mystery of the missing Moonstone.

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rRebecca

by Daphne Du Maurier

This is the chilling classic of a girl haunted by her own imagination and by the ghost of Rebecca de Winter. After honeymooning in Italy the dashing Max de Winter returns with his innocent young bride to Manderley, the beautiful family estate in Cornwall. Yet the former mistress' disturbing presence lingers throughout the house. Du Maurier's shy heroine is tortured by constant comparisons to the glittering socialite who was her predecessor and she is heading towards tragedy and despair when Rebecca herself appears.

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sShe Walks These Hills

by Sharyn McCrumb

Applying her psychic talents to two mysterious cases, policewoman Martha Ayers attempts to settle local superstitions about a two-hundred-year-old ghost while tracking down an escaped prisoner in this multi-layered Appalachian mystery

 

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wThe Wind-up Bird Chronicle

by Haruki Murakami

In a Tokyo suburb a young man named searches for his wife's missing cat.Soon he finds himself looking for his wife as well in a netherworld that lies beneath the placid surface of Tokyo.Haruki Murakami vaulted into the first ranks of international fiction writers with this heroically imaginative novel, which is at once a detective story, an account of a disintegrating marriage, and an excavation of the buried secrets of World War II.

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9-22-11



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