Women Writers of Mystery

This summer I’ve been enjoying the Women of Mystery – the many women who write fictional mystery novels.

I’ve been reading, listening to, and watching their mysteries – and enjoying participating in the process of trying to solve the mystery while developing an appreciation for their detectives.

For years, I’ve been a fan of Agatha Christie. Her detectives – Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot have eccentric personalities enjoyable to watch while they search for the clues to solve each crime.

A Christie novel that has always been a great read is now available on Acorn Tv.  If you’ve not watched “And Then There Were None”  and you like Christie, it’s worth watching.

P.D. James’ writes engaging crime stories that are solved by Inspector Adam Dalgliesh.  Several of the audio versions of  P.D. James mysteries are well done with different voices for each character. I’ve enjoyed “Shroud for a Nightingale”, “A Private Patient” and  “An Unsuitable Job for a Woman.”

Sue Grafton is on her next-to-the-last crime mystery for Kinsey Millhone, the private detective who stars in Grafton’s alaphabet mysteries. “Y is for Yesterday” is slated for publication on August 22.

I’ve been a fan of  the British television series, “Vera”,  for a few years.  The first six series are currently available on Acorn TV.  It was a delight to see Series 7 released for the U.S. just this week.  And finally, Ann Cleeves first book with DCI Vera Stanhope was recently released in Kindle format on American Amazon.   I look forward to reading it.

Cleeves’ crime mysteries incorporate Cleeves’ own background as a probation officer, an auxiliary coastguard and a bird observatory cooke. Cleeves will receive the Crime Writers’ Association Diamond Dagger Award, the highest award in Britain for crime writers, this fall.

Nevada Barr’s Anna Pigeon crime mysteries have made the miles pass for me. I have listened to several of Barr’s mysteries while I drove long-distance treks across the country. Anna Pigeon is a national park ranger, as was Barr. Piegeon is stationed at national parks around the United States where, at some point during the novel, a crime is committed and Ranger Pigeon must find the guilty party or the murderer, without being murdered herself.

“Boar Island”, the most recent novel provided engaging distraction while I drove for a 2-day drive earlier this summer.  Pigeon took the role of Acting Chief Ranger at Acadia National Park in Maine.

Two women mystery writers who I’ve recently discovered are Louis Penny and Carola Dunn.

Louis Penny is a Canadian author whose Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is modeled after Penny’s husband who recently passed.  The setting is Three Pines, in Quebec, Canada.  The first mystery in the series “Still Pines” was not as gripping as I might have liked — perhaps because I watched the highly abridged version via Acorn TV before finishing reading the book.  I should have known better.  However,  the second book in the series, “A Fatal Grace” was a good read.  I am currently reading Penny’s 3rd book on Kindle, but not far enough in to tell you if it is better than “A Fatal Grace”.

Carola Dunn writes a 4 book cozy series of Cornish mysteries hat I am listening to on my iPod. The engaging part of this cozy series is that the author, Dunn, lets you work out some of the details of the crime before Eleanor Trelewyn, a well-traveled, likable widow tells her sergeant neice, Meagan or Megan’s boss, DCI Scumbull.

How great to have so many talented women crime writers to provide interesting characters and challenging puzzles for their readers.