fredag den 8. januar 2010

Classic Crime Fiction Curriculum Challenge

Rob, The View from the Blue House, has come up with a new meme:

The Classic Crime Fiction Curriculum Challenge.

Here is Rob´s basic idea:

“I’ve read several hundred crime novels but nearly all of them are from the contemporary period. This is the year I intend to right that by reading some of the crime fiction canon. What I need though is a curriculum - a list of ten must-read crime fiction classics.”

Excellent idea, and here is my own list, based on the principle that you can only recommend what you have read. So my excuses to the rest of the world for this rather biased list; I know I have always favoured British crime fiction.

Edgar Allan Poe, The Tell-Tale Heart (1843) – a fine, Gothic short story

Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White (1859) – considering how old this one is, it is a great mystery, full of suspense and atmosphere.

Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend (1865) – an all-time favourite of mine. Compelling characters, but I admit that some readers may find it too easy to guess the mystery.

Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902) – I saw the film when I was far too young (six or seven years, perhaps, hiding behind an armchair), and it scared the daylights out of me for days. The book was not quite as horrible, yet a fine old classic.

Agatha Christie, The Murder at the Vicarage (1930) – the first Miss Marple story where Christie does not quite seem to have made up her mind what kind of person Miss Marple is.

Agatha Christie, Cat Among the Pigeons (1959) – Hercule Poirot can be a bit too smug for me, but I love this story for his interesting sidekick, a young, very observant school girl.

Dorothy L. Sayers, The Nine Tailors (1934) – interesting setting (including a snowstorm) around a huge village church and a team of bell ringers.

P.D. James, Cover Her Face (1962) – the first Adam Dalgliesh story, a closed circle mystery.

Sjöwall & Wahlöö, Roseanna (1966) – fortunately, the first of this series which has inspired so many Scandinavian crime writers comes within the 1970 limit. The first, but also one of the best among them.

Ruth Rendell, Sins of the Fathers (1967) – in my opinion the second Chief Inspector Wexford story is more interesting both with regard to plot and characters than the first.

Should you feel like participating by writing your own list, Rob would be very pleased, and if you should feel like reading some of my recommendations, I would be very pleased.

An addition:
Many years ago I read Rex Stout´s Too Many Cooks (1938) - a tasty American read, Rob!

9 kommentarer:

Jose Ignacio Escribano sagde ...

Dorte, thanks for sharing your list.I must definitively give Wilkie Collins another try. So far I’ve only read The Moonstone, and I do agree with Maxine that The Moonstone has not stood well the test of time.
By the way I just got Barbara Vine The Birthday Present on my TBR pile.

Xavier sagde ...

Very good list! I see that we have both picked Christie, Sayers and Collins even though we didn't chose the same books, and we are in agreement about The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Dorte H sagde ...

Jose: I have also read The Moonstone, but The Woman in White intrigued me much more (warning: I read it some years ago so I don´t quite know what I would think today).

Xavier: thank you. I could have recommended several Christie and Sayers, and a few Conan Doyle´s, but I have only read two by Collins ;)

Anonym sagde ...

Dorte - I am very impressed with your list. You've chosen some fascinating and certainly groundbreaking mysteries!

Dorte H sagde ...

Margot: I did my best, but it is embarrassing that there is only one American on it. I have read a few short stories by some of the American golden age writers, but none that really grabbed me.

Elizabeth Spann Craig sagde ...

Great list! You're going to have fun with this one.


Dorte H sagde ...

Elizabeth: thank you!

Beth F sagde ...

This sounds fun -- good luck and enjoy!

Dorte H sagde ...

Beth: thank you.