This is a new feature here at NightlyReading where Alejandro will give suggestions of books that he has found. This will include different genres featured each week. I hope you enjoy, please let him know your thoughts by posting a comment or visiting his Goodreads page:
This Week in the Literaturey Post, I’ll start a cycle with different styles of mystery & detective novels , which are always popular among readers. I’ll start with “Cozy Mysteries” concerning those mysteries that are investigated by people who are not professional detectives ( nor the police or private) and usually out of an initial murder that triggers the story , rarely there is more violence in the rest of the plot. Also known as ” Amateur Detectives” this genre also is characterized in that they are usually female characters as the main ones in the novels, where they encounter the mystery by accident, unintentionally , but their natural instincts cause hopelessly involved in the investigation, in many cases even against the wishes of the police or any other agency that runs the official investigation. In this style there are many series of books, actually really many, so my intention is to focus in those I considered of greater merit , fame or their characters differ from each other to provide variety within this saturated genre, but I invite you to make their own investigation ( pun intended ) and find the series of your taste.
Respect to respect deserves. And the character of “Jessica Fletcher” played by actress Angela Lansbury, was the main character in the TV series “Murder, She Wrote”. This series ran for 12 seasons from 1984 to 1996 and at its prime had 23 million viewers, which allowed Lansbury charged the sum of $ 1 million per episode. The character of Jessica Fletcher is inspired by one of the iconic characters of Agatha Christie “Miss Marple” (which I almost will talk about). And the overwhelming success of the character of Jessica Fletcher launched a series of original novels that were “written” by her, obviously a publicity stunt where writer Donald Bain was the real author of the novels. Such novels continue the adventures of Jessica Fletcher contributing stories different to those seen in the TV series that began in 1989 but as a test of the charisma of the character of Jessica Fletcher is that although the TV series was canceled, the series of novels still ongoing with 40 books already published and another announced for April 2014 , so Jessica Fletcher does not intend to “retire” and continue discovering mysteries.
Jessica Fletcher is a widow and retired English teacher who lives in the coast town of “Cabot Cove”, who decides to start a career as a writer of mystery novels. Her intelligence and observation skills soon would be useful when either in her town, as in other cities (either visiting her endless amount of family and friends ) or on tour promoting her books , she meets crimes
(usually murder ) where she resolved, often counting with the support of local authorities , but sometimes not .
Agatha Christie is undoubtedly the most famous mystery author of the history, where the Guiness Records named her the best-selling novelist of all time with over 4 billion copies of books sold. Prolific author of over 95 books including novels and collections of short stories. Creator of multiple detectives that has become as famous as the writer. This time I will comment on “Miss Marple ” (the full name is Jane Marple ) is an elderly spinster who lives in the British town of “St. Mary Mead” where soon gain the reputation of an amateur detective. The character of “Miss Marple” arose due another of her novels , “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd ” ( a mystery of Hercule Poirot , which I will discuss in another post) there is a secondary character, “Caroline Sheppard ” with virtually identical to Miss Marple role , but when was adapted to the theater , the writer assigned to adapt the novel, replaced the character of Caroline Sheppard by a young girl, which saddened Agatha Christie and prompting her to decide to give a “voice” to old ladies giving life to “Miss Marple “. This resulted in 12 novels and 20 short stories collected in various anthologies. Besides, “Miss Marple” became the archetype for any writer wishing to venture into the creation of “cozy mysteries”.
Sister Mary Helen is not the first or last character which is a nun who spends her free time solving mysteries, and before and after its creation have emerged fictitious nuns and priests in similar roles, but what makes it different and completely unique to Sister Mary Helen is that her novels were written by a real nun, Sister Carol Anne O’Marie of the Roman Catholic congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Candorelet. Sadly Sister O’Marie died in 2009 due to Parkinson’s disease,
but in life, apart from her hobby as a writer was in charge of a shelter for homeless women in Okland, California. Her character, the old nun, Sister “Mary Helen” was located in San Francisco, California, which is where the author was born. In life, Sister O’Marie was able to wrote 11 novels of her character Sister “Mary Helen”.
Maybe this novels are not rated well, but I found the premise of this series, very interesting and different from the myriad of “cozy mysteries” that saturate the market of today novels. The author Isis Crawford, born in Egypt while her parents were there with the Diplomatic Corps, then her family moved to the United States, while her father became an university professor, her mom founded a restaurant with catering service. This inspired her to conceive her series of novels known as “A Mystery with Recipes” where the sisters “Bernadette and Libby Simmons” have started a catering business where they encounter unexpected murders in the places that they are contracted. Apart from that premise , the novels are characterized by the title ” A Catered … ” and using in each book a different theme in each, either typical events of a catering such as weddings and birthdays, as well as special dates such as Christmas and Halloween . At the time, Isis Crawford has published nine novels using the sisters “Bernie & Libby”.
The author Kate Carlisle, which has won several literary awards, is the creator of the series “A Bibliophile Mystery” where her main character is “Brooklyn Wainwright”, a young expert in the restoration of rare books, first editions and the like, and is involved in solving crimes, in some cases because it happens to be the prime suspect. In the stories usually an important factor is the
involvement of a first edition and / or unusual edition of famous books such as “Faust” or “Beauty and the Beast” to name a few.
Nancy Drew is one of the most famous and popular juvenile detectives that ever existed. It was created in 1930 by Edward Stratemeyer, who had previously designed the “Hardy Boys” ( a team of juvenile detectives of brothers), looking with “Nancy Drew” to capture interest in female readers for stories similar to what was achieved with the “Hardy Boys” . The success of both series is that in the 70s animated cartoons were created of combined teams with boys and girls such as “Scooby- Doo” and “Clue Club”. The success of Nancy Drew has managed to publish over 175 novels to date ( including the original “run” of 64 novels ) achieving sales of over 80 million copies and translated into 45 different languages. Nancy Drew has become an icon of the feminist movement to be one of the first female characters who were the main character in her own stories, and where important women have admitted that they are fans of the character such as Judges of the Supreme Court, Sandra Day O’Connor and Sonia Sotomayor, as well as in politics as Hillary Clinton and Linda Bush. The name of the “author” of “Carolyn Keene” was a pseudonym created by the publisher, which actually have been many writers who collaborated with the book series. Having been created in the 30s, it is clear that after his original “run” of 64 books (considered the best of all), the publishing house has gone through several “updates” of the character to keep her on pace with changes in society.
See you next week!