Reading the Detectives discussion

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message 1: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8599 comments Mod
I'm just starting a legal thriller, The Collini Case, which has me wondering if anyone has favourite books and writers in this genre?

I haven't read very much in this vein, but I love the Rumpole of the Bailey books by John Mortimer and also used to enjoy the TV adaptations starring Leo McKern. I've read also one or two by John Grisham , many years ago now, and there must be others but my mind is going blank...


message 2: by Marcus (new)

Marcus Vinicius | 169 comments I'm intending to read Jonh Grisham books. See the movies years ago and like it a lot.


message 3: by Rosina (new)

Rosina (rosinarowantree) | 695 comments Sarah Caudwell wrote four legal based mysteries. The plots usually turn on some legal matter, but they're a lot of fun. Not much courtroom stuff.


message 4: by Gary (last edited May 30, 2017 04:24AM) (new)

Gary Sundell | 260 comments Courtroom drama by definition ummm...errrr.... Perry Mason by Erle Stanley Gardner.


message 5: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) The Judge Dee books are quite good although maybe not exactly what some would call legal/ courtroom fiction.....but they are a darned good read.

Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee (Dee Goong An) by Robert van Gulik by Robert van Gulik


message 6: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8599 comments Mod
Thanks for all the suggestions - Sarah Caudwell is someone I've been meaning to read, and I must also try Perry Mason.

The Judge Dee books sound interesting and very different, with their Chinese historical setting - I'd never heard of these before.


message 7: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 1311 comments I like Perry Mason. Grisham, to me, is like eating air.


message 8: by Gary (new)

Gary Sundell | 260 comments Gardner had another series of books, 9 in total, featuring DA Doug Selby. Also his character Donald Lam in the Bertha Cool Donald Lam series, which he wrote under the name of A.A. Fair, is a former lawyer turned private detective.


Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1150 comments I enoy both Mason and Grisham's books.


message 10: by Rosina (new)

Rosina (rosinarowantree) | 695 comments I enjoyed Marcia Clark's Blood Defence, and the sequel


message 11: by Tania (new)

Tania | 402 comments Jill wrote: "The Judge Dee books are quite good although maybe not exactly what some would call legal/ courtroom fiction.....but they are a darned good read.

Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee (Dee Goong An) by Robert van Gulik by..."


I love the Judge Dee books. I wouldn't have thought of them for this, but you are right. A very different kind of courtroom drama.


message 12: by Sandy (last edited May 31, 2017 04:39PM) (new)

Sandy | 2628 comments Mod
Tania wrote: "Jill wrote: "The Judge Dee books are quite good although maybe not exactly what some would call legal/ courtroom fiction.....but they are a darned good read.

[bookcover:Celebrated Cases of Judge D..."


Yet another book on my TBR that I want to get to.


message 13: by Annabel (new)

Annabel Frazer | 301 comments As Gary knows I am reading one of the Doug Selby books by Erle Stanley Gardner at the moment. I like ESG but I've got to admit this one isn't really capturing my imagination. It reminds me of Chandler in that there are a lot of characters you are only introduced to very briefly, all telling lies about where they were when, so you have to have a very clear mind about the timeline and the geography to get things straight. Perhaps I'm not concentrating sufficiently, as I feel a bit lost!

I enjoyed my first Perry Mason book though a couple of months ago and plan to read more of those. I like the frivolous titles - also, my impression of ESG so far is that they are fairly gentle - not too much violence or darkness. I had to give up on Kathy Reichs even though I love her writing style because there were just too many traumatic cases involving children.


message 14: by Betsy (last edited Jun 01, 2017 07:40AM) (new)

Betsy | 170 comments I read the Doug Selby books many years ago, and liked them. I like Perry Mason too, but I think I like the tv series better than the books in some ways. I've often thought that ESG wasn't too fond of women since most of his female characters are weak, whining or manipulative. His strong women are often the murderers with a few exceptions.


message 15: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8599 comments Mod
Annabel wrote: "I had to give up on Kathy Reichs even though I love her writing style because there were just too many traumatic cases involving children."

I gave up on a book I tried a little while back for the same sort of reason - I don't remember who the author was but it was the sort of thing that gives me nightmares.


message 16: by Annabel (new)

Annabel Frazer | 301 comments That's interesting about ESG and women. The ones I have encountered so far in his books are mostly either predatory man-eaters or supportive but subservient. But I feel the same is even more true of John Le Carre. His female characters are absolutely shocking - did he have a bad marriage?


message 17: by Marcus (new)

Marcus Vinicius | 169 comments I'm intending to read John Le Carré books. Are they considered legal (thriller) or mystery fiction?


message 18: by Lady Clementina (new)

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1150 comments Marcus wrote: "I'm intending to read John Le Carré books. Are they considered legal (thriller) or mystery fiction?"
Spy/thriller I think


message 19: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 1311 comments ESG also wrote as A. A. Fair and had a female private detective.


message 20: by Carolien (new)

Carolien (carolien_s) | 467 comments There are quite a few American authors that I enjoy in this genre.Lisa Scottoline and Scott Turow come to mind. Both Linda Fairstein and Sara Paretsky's books have a legal tone.

I have to admit I haven't read many British authors although both P.D. James and Stuart MacBride tend to have some legal aspects included in their books. James was a magistrate if I remember correctly. French police procedurals also tend to have a more legal flavour as their prosecutors have substantial investigative powers.

I'm studying law so I enjoy the comparisons with the different legal systems. South Africa's legal systemis Roman-Dutch with a dose of English common law and we don't have a jury system so it's always interesting to understand how the systems work.


message 21: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8599 comments Mod
I remember reading one or two by Scott Turow - interesting point that police procedurals can have a legal flavour, Carolien.

Studying law must give you a real insight into this type of book - does it frustrate you when you feel an author has got a legal procedure wrong? I suppose this would arise most for you with South African writers.

As a former local newspaper sub-editor, I sometimes find it frustrating when I notice that an author has slipped up on some kind of procedure I know something about, such as what papers in the UK are allowed to publish during a case.


message 22: by Carolien (new)

Carolien (carolien_s) | 467 comments Judy wrote: "I remember reading one or two by Scott Turow - interesting point that police procedurals can have a legal flavour, Carolien.

Studying law must give you a real insight into this type of book - doe..."


I don't know overseas court procedures well enough to get too worried about it.

Every time somebody raves about Gone Girl, my basic reaction is that a much better version of it was written 20 years ago and it's called Presumed Innocent.


message 23: by Lady Clementina (new)

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1150 comments Carolien wrote: "Judy wrote: "I remember reading one or two by Scott Turow - interesting point that police procedurals can have a legal flavour, Carolien.

Studying law must give you a real insight into this type ..."


That reminds me Presumed Innocent has been waiting on my TBR from quite some time. I keep adding to it incessantly and then end up forgetting some of what I put there.


message 24: by Marcus (new)

Marcus Vinicius | 169 comments The last NYTimes Book Review has many recommendations about (modern) mysteries and thrillers readings, including reviews about the works of Scott Turow and John Grisham.


message 25: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 1311 comments I like Scott Turow's books. I went to one reading he did. It was packed with family and friends. He now lives in my hometown.

He doesn't generally make errors. He was formerly in Chicago's US Attorney's office and was a major player in the Greylord trials - when they finally decided there had been enough legal corruption. Getting tickets fixed was one thing, fixing a murder trial was another.


message 26: by Lady Clementina (new)

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1150 comments Henry Cecil's books are also based around lawyers and courtrooms but they are more in the humour/comic genre though there is an element of murder in some of them.


message 27: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8599 comments Mod
Lady C, you've reminded me that I read a lot of books by Henry Cecil when I was a teenager - I think our local library had a whole shelf of them - but I don't really remember them at all now! Yet another author to revisit...


message 28: by Lady Clementina (new)

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1150 comments Judy wrote: "Lady C, you've reminded me that I read a lot of books by Henry Cecil when I was a teenager - I think our local library had a whole shelf of them - but I don't really remember them a..."
He's great fun- I didn't "discover" him till after I studied law- it was the owner of one of my favourite bookshops that recommended them to me.


message 29: by Carolien (new)

Carolien (carolien_s) | 467 comments Lady Clementina wrote: "Henry Cecil's books are also based around lawyers and courtrooms but they are more in the humour/comic genre though there is an element of murder in some of them."

Will have to take a look at him, sounds fun.

Here's an interview with Turow courtesy of this month's edition of The Big Thrill http://www.thebigthrill.org/2017/05/b...


message 30: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 2628 comments Mod
I've added Henry Cecil to my always increasing TBR.


message 31: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Me too. The books sound somewhat Rumpolesque.


message 32: by Gary (last edited Jun 04, 2017 09:34AM) (new)

Gary Sundell | 260 comments Lady Clementina wrote: "Carolien wrote: "Judy wrote: "I remember reading one or two by Scott Turow - interesting point that police procedurals can have a legal flavour, Carolien.

Studying law must give you a real insigh..."


The movie version of Presumed Innocent was filmed in part at what we refer to as the Old County Building in Detroit. When I started practicing law in 1979 it was still in use as one of the trial court buildings in Wayne County, MI. I attended hearings in that building as a young lawyer. The building was also used for the filming of some scenes in the movie Hoffa. The building hasn't been used for court purposes for many years at this point.

Did we discuss Anatomy of a Murder yet? It was written by Michigan Supreme Court justice. The movie with Jimmy Stewart playing the defense attorney against George C. Scott as the state prosecutor is a classic. The Duke Ellington music is really cool too.


message 33: by Jill (last edited Jun 04, 2017 04:58PM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Anatomy of a Murder was a very enjoyable film but I have not read the book (which I assume is equally well done). But another one pops to mind which was also made into a film. It is a play about the 1925 Scopes "Monkey Trial" in which a teacher in Tennessee is brought to trial for teaching evolution. The performances in the film by Frederic March and Spencer Tracy were, in my opinion, some of their best work. Of course, the play and the film do not use the real names of the actual lawyers in the case which were William Jennings Bryan for the state and Clarence Darrow for the defense. I read the play many years ago and was moved to find the film.........and was glad that I did!!

Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence


message 34: by Betsy (new)

Betsy | 170 comments Of course, one of my all-time favorite book/movie combinations is "Witness for the Prosecution." The cast of the film was superb, and the book was great.


message 35: by Gary (last edited Jun 04, 2017 08:06PM) (new)

Gary Sundell | 260 comments Inherit the Wind was also filmed for TV in 1999 starring George C. Scott and Jack Lemmon and in 1988 starring Kirk Douglas and Jason Robards.

Witness for the Prosecution was filmed for TV starring Sir Ralph Richardson as Robarts and Dianna Rigg as Christine Vole.


message 36: by Abbey (new)

Abbey (abbess) | 93 comments Anatomy of a Murder

one of my fave movies!! And the book *is* superb btw. Wouldn't mind rereading it... SOMEtime...

hey, do people's TBRs *ever* lessen???!!!! mine always only grow. ...exponentially...


message 37: by Abbey (new)

Abbey (abbess) | 93 comments Betsy wrote: "Of course, one of my all-time favorite book/movie combinations is "Witness for the Prosecution." The cast of the film was superb, and the book was great."

Wonderful movie (the Powers/Deitrich & Laughton one) but they used the play ending albeit slightly re-arranged for emphasis. Have you seen the newest incarnation with Toby Jones? SUPERB, but they used the original short story, which is very slight but gorgeous, written ten tears earlier than her novella long version from which came the play.

and IMO the Richardson/Rigg version was laughable in too many places. Rigg was 'way, 'way, WAY over-the-top and her performance only made me laugh, it looked as tho the director had no control over her performance. Made me sad, the potential was excellent.


message 38: by Lady Clementina (new)

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1150 comments Abbey wrote: "hey, do people's TBRs *ever* lessen???!!!! mine always only grow. ...exponenti..."

Mine never do- however much I try to control myself...


Hilary (A Wytch's Book Review) (knyttwytch) I keep nibbling mine down - and then come on a thread like this and end up adding the same number if not more back!


message 40: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) I just realized that in post #33, I used a play/film that is not fiction. Yikes.............but it was still worth mentioning. Sorry about that.


message 41: by Marcus (new)

Marcus Vinicius | 169 comments I'm started John Grisham's book "A Time to Kill". His first one, I learned. Let's see if I will liked it.


message 42: by Rory (new)

Rory (thefauxpoe) | 7 comments I've always wanted to read a Perry Mason book but there's so many of them, which would be a good place to start?


message 43: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 1311 comments The first one is The Case of the Velvet Claws. I don't know if it is the best but it sets out the relationships between the three principals.


message 44: by Rosina (new)

Rosina (rosinarowantree) | 695 comments I remember AP Herbert's Uncommon Law: Being 66 Misleading Cases when it was televised in the 1960s. The book looks a bit pricy, and isn't really part of the criminal/legal fiction genre, just humour.


message 45: by Betsy (new)

Betsy | 170 comments I am not a fan of Velvet Claws because of the character, Eva, but as you say it does introduce the three main characters. You certainly don't have to read them in order either since each is a stand alone with little refererence to the other books.


message 46: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 1311 comments True. I am reading it in order this time and it reminds me how slowly I am progressing since I'm only on #3, The Case of the Lucky Legs.


message 47: by Lady Clementina (new)

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1150 comments I've never read them in order- must do that some time.


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