English Mysteries Club discussion

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Book Chat > Must-Read/Best English Mysteries All-Time

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message 1: by Holly (new)

Holly Mascaro (birdbrainbooks) (birdbrainbooks) Would love people to list their must-read English mysteries, what they consider some of the best.


message 2: by John (new)

John Frankham (johnfrankham) | 209 comments Holly - hi. If you look on Wikipedia for 'The Top 100 crime Novels Of All Time', you will find two lists of these. I find I have read almost all the first 25 of the CWA list, and can recommend all of them.

My favourites are Margery Allingham's Campion books, Michael Innes' Inspector Appleby books, and Edmund Crispin's Gervaise Finn books. Also Josephine Tey's Inspector Grant, Agatha Christie, PD James, Dorothy Sayers, Patricia Wentworth, Ellis Peters, Elizabeth Peters' and many others.

But the lists are only up to 1990. There are many current ones - Mankell, Nesbo, Kerr, Camilleri, Leon, many of these Italian or Scandinavian.

Happy reading. I'm sure many others will be more specific.


message 3: by Caroline (new)

Caroline | 18 comments Peter James, P.D. James, Nicci French, Val McDermidm M.C. Beaton, Jane Casey,and yes, The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, Edward Marston,S.J. Bolton, Simon Beckett, Elizabeth Haynes, C.J. Sansom, Peter May, to name but a few ....


message 4: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 1663 comments There are plenty of lists similar to the one John mentioned. One I like is linked here

Personally I love the Golden Age mysteries best: Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Margery Allingham, Josephine Tey, Ngaio Marsh, Patricia Wentworth, Edmund Crispin, Michael Innes, John Dickson Carr, Cyril Hare, etc.

But I also like Minette Walters, Elizabeth Peters, early Martha Grimes, Bruce Alexander, Kate Ross, Sarah Cauldwell...


message 5: by Leslie (last edited Feb 08, 2014 08:49PM) (new)

Leslie | 1663 comments John wrote: "My favourites are Margery Allingham's Campion books, Michael Innes' Inspector Appleby books, and Edmund Crispin's Gervaise Finn books. Also Josephine Tey's Inspector Grant, Agatha Christie, PD James, Dorothy Sayers, Patricia Wentworth, Ellis Peters, Elizabeth Peters' and many others..."

Hahaha, I just posted my list but I should have just said "what John said"!


message 6: by Susan (new)

Susan Barlow | 7 comments I love the Peter Robinson Inspector Banks mysteries. I think the author may be Canadian, but the mysteries are set in Yorkshire.


message 7: by G (new)

G Hodges (glh1) | 30 comments Don't forget Peter Lovesey and Quintin Jardine. And if I was forced to recommend one specific book, it would be The Daughters of Time by Josephine Tey. Everyone has their own tastes, but I think this is wonderfully written and a nice little excercise.

The Daughter of Time (Inspector Alan Grant #5) by Josephine Tey by Josephine Tey Josephine Tey


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Agatha Christie's Miss Marple and the Poirot books are mystery essentials, as are Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy Sayers, Margery Allingham, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, E.W. Hornung, and more modern authors such as Emily Brightwell, Carola Dunn, and Rhys Bowen.


message 9: by Ellen (new)

Ellen | 144 comments I can certainly second many of the authors and titles mentioned here. I also like the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear. I'm also a big fan of Dick Francis.


message 10: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 1663 comments Ellen wrote: "I can certainly second many of the authors and titles mentioned here. I also like the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear. I'm also a big fan of Dick Francis."

Oh yes - I have read all of Dick Francis' books at least twice! Thanks for the reminder Ellen :)


message 11: by Diane (new)

Diane Ellen wrote: "I can certainly second many of the authors and titles mentioned here. I also like the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear. I'm also a big fan of Dick Francis."
I always liked Dick Francis books because they featured a hero. A real old fashioned, bona fide hero who stuck to his principals no matter the cost.
I haven't read any in over 10 years. I don't know why and I hope they haven't changed.


message 12: by Trelawn (new)

Trelawn I would also give my vote to DL Sayers, particularly Gaudy Night and Clouds of Witness. For Sherlock fans I'd recommend House of Silk by Anthony Horrowitz. Also love PD James' Death Comes to Pemberley is fab. another favourite is evil under the sun by agatha christie.


message 13: by Selmah (new)

Selmah Smith | 5 comments Tops for me among modern English mysteries are: Deborah Crombie,Cynthia Harrod-Eagles,Martin Edwards,Jim Kelly. Mark Billingham. Peter Robinsonis Canadian but I would list him here too.


message 14: by John (new)

John Frankham (johnfrankham) | 209 comments Been listening to the complete Sherlock Holmes over the last two weeks while walking the dogs and gardening. A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of Four, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes heard so far.

They stand up really well, and make brilliant listening.


message 15: by Dave (new)

Dave Spillane Check out any of the Mrs Bradley mystery's by Gladys Mitchell


message 16: by GeraniumCat (new)

GeraniumCat | 18 comments Dave, we have a thread dedicated to Gladys Mitchell. Do come and tell us which of her books are your favourites!

The Golden Age books are the ones I enjoy most, but I am always on the lookout for newer authors too - Robert Barnard, Peter Lovesey, Colin Watson, Sarah Cauldwell, Hazel Holt from the next generation or two, and from current writers I particularly like Martin Edwards and Ann Cleeve, and some of the people writing books with period settings, like T.E. Kinsey and Guy Fraser Samson. There are some modern Campions too - I haven't read any yet but am hoping they are good! Jill Paton Walsh's Wimsey books divide opinions but I enjoy them, and liked her Imogen Quy books. I also want to recommend the Theodora Braithwaite series by D. (?) Greenwood. Apropos of the lattrr, we haven't talked much about clerical mysteries yet, but I love them! Perhaps a topic for a separate thread, Jean?


message 17: by Bionic Jean (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) | 1599 comments Mod
GeraniumCat wrote: "we haven't talked much about clerical mysteries yet, but I love them! Perhaps a topic for a separate thread, Jean? ..."

Sure, if you think there are enough?


message 18: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 92 comments GeraniumCat wrote: "I also want to recommend the Theodora Braithwaite series by D. (?) Greenwood. Apropos of the lattrr, we haven't talked much about clerical mysteries yet, but I love them! Perhaps a topic for a separate thread, Jean? ..."

I love D.M. Greenwood and also Kate Charles. I need to find some more clerical mysteries so I'd appreciate a separate thread to get some suggestions.


message 19: by Bionic Jean (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) | 1599 comments Mod
It's posted LINK HERE


message 20: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 92 comments Thanks Jean


message 21: by Bionic Jean (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) | 1599 comments Mod
You're welcome, Ruth and Jodie :)

Would anyone else like to list their must-read English mysteries or authors here?


message 22: by Candy (new)

Candy Tiley | 33 comments Susan wrote: "I love the Peter Robinson Inspector Banks mysteries. I think the author may be Canadian, but the mysteries are set in Yorkshire."

I got caught up in this series and I really like it. I also like the Inspector Thanet series by Dorothy Simpson.


message 23: by Bionic Jean (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) | 1599 comments Mod
Oh yes! I haven't read Dorothy Simpson for years :) I rather like John Penn too. (It's a pseudonym of Palma Harcourt with husband Jack H. Trotman). And Margaret Yorke is similar.


message 24: by Icewineanne (new)

Icewineanne | 115 comments Bionic Jean wrote: "Oh yes! I haven't read Dorothy Simpson for years :) I rather like John Penn too. (It's a pseudonym of Palma Harcourt with husband Jack H. Trotman). And [author:Marga..."

Forgot about Margaret Yorke Jean! Thanks for reminding me. I really enjoyed the books of hers that I read years ago. Time to fish out her other books 📚 😊


message 25: by Dorothy (new)

Dorothy  (vilette) | 181 comments Candy wrote: "Susan wrote: "I love the Peter Robinson Inspector Banks mysteries. I think the author may be Canadian, but the mysteries are set in Yorkshire."

I got caught up in this series and I r..."


I think that Peter Robinson was born in Yorkshire but now lives in Ontario, so we can claim him as a Canadian author :-)


message 26: by Icewineanne (new)

Icewineanne | 115 comments Dorothy wrote: "Candy wrote: "Susan wrote: "I love the Peter Robinson Inspector Banks mysteries. I think the author may be Canadian, but the mysteries are set in Yorkshire."

I got caught up in this ..."


He lived here (Toronto) for a number of years Dorothy but moved back to the UK some years back.


message 27: by Dorothy (new)

Dorothy  (vilette) | 181 comments Icewineanne wrote: "Dorothy wrote: "Candy wrote: "Susan wrote: "I love the Peter Robinson Inspector Banks mysteries. I think the author may be Canadian, but the mysteries are set in Yorkshire."

I got ca..."


Thanks for the update.


message 28: by Bionic Jean (last edited Apr 26, 2020 02:51PM) (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) | 1599 comments Mod
LOL! Can we claim him back for England then? I've only read one that I can remember, but it certainly felt Yorkshire!


message 29: by Icewineanne (new)

Icewineanne | 115 comments Bionic Jean wrote: "LOL! Can we claim him back for England then? I've only read one that I can remember, but it certainly felt Yorkshire!"

Ha Ha.....he was born in Leeds & lived there until adulthood so that certainly more than qualifies, Jean. He moved to Canada in his 20’s to do his Masters & PhD and ended up living here for about 30+ yrs. I miss the days when we used to see him in the local pub.


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