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01 April 2010

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I love mysteries. However, I agree with you that Lisa Scottaline’s mysteries are just ok. If you have read one, you have read them all. What I do recall from the few Scottaline books I have read is that the main character is always a wise-acre. That reminds me of V.I. Warshawski books, a series of mysteries by Sara Paretsky that I really enjoyed.

Of course, I also adore Agatha Christie, but I think more because of the atmosphere, the snapshot of life in England in the thirties and forties and because of the great characterizations of Miss Marple and Poirot than the actual plot.

More favorite mystery writers of mine are Elizabeth George and P.D. James. I just checked out “The Man from Beijing” by Henning Mankell from the library. I have never read any of his Wallender series or seen the TV show, but the fantastic reviews I read of this book made me really, really want to read it.

The very best way to enjoy a Lisa Scottoline mystery is to listen to the audio versions read by (and only by) Barbara Rosenblat. Trust me on this. I'm picky picky picky about readers, and Rosenblat is the best for Scottoline's Philadelphia lawyers.

Marija, I am not a big fan of audio books, I prefer to read. But I did listen to a book called "The Laughter of Dead Kings" by Elizabeth Peters last summer (road trip) and it was read by Barbara Rosenblat. You are correct, she is FANTASTIC. I was very impressed.

Ruthiella,
Thanks for the reminders about Elizabeth George and P.D. James--I've read books by them both but it's been a long time, and I'd be interested in reading more. If you haven't seen any of the PBS shows of Wallender featuring Kenneth Branagh, by the way, you must correct that immediately. Branagh's fantastic.

I usually like wiseacre characters, but Scottoline's DiNunzio didn't strike me as all that wise-cracking. Maybe she developed into it over the course of the series.

Marija,
Hey, thanks for the suggestion (particularly on the reader). I tend to listen to classics on tape, but I'd be interested to hear the Philly accent. One of my favorite things about the movie "A History of Violence" (which was dark, dark, dark, but which I really enjoyed) was William Hurt's Pennsylvania accent. Evidently he worked with locals a lot to get it just right. (Although, I've never been to Philly or PA, so I couldn't tell for sure if he was nailing it, but it sure seems like he tried.)

I also love Elizabeth George. But another writer whose early books made a huge impression on me was Martha Grimes. I think the first Richard Jury mystery is called "The Man with a Load of Mischief".

Thanks, Marmota,
I've never tried Martha Grimes, but I'm interested in learning more about the genre. I'll put her on the list! I also like Minette Walters (British author, there's a surprise) although her books could arguably be considered more as "thrillers."

I've read one or two Minette Walters, and she also is good, but definitely not the same flavor as the other authors mentioned above.

Oh, Marmota, you're totally right. Walters is much, much darker. I shouldn't have thrown her into the conversation, I was just thinking along lines of "mystery authors I like."

I have to completely agree with Marija. Scottoline's books are best enjoyed being read by Barbara Rosenblat. That is how I got hooked on L.S.'s "Rosato and Associates" novels.

If I remember correctly "Everywhere . . ." is before Mary works for Benny Rosato. The later books in the "Rosato" series are much better because they include Benny Rosato, Mary DiNunzio, Judy Carrier, and [sometimes] Anne Murphy working together. For me the "Rosato" books aren't good because of the mysteries [which are standard fare], but are great because of the interaction between the main characters. The later books feature much more of Mary's parents . . . who are classic! Also, once the "Rosato" characters are better developed in later books, they all definitely have their own brand of Stephanie Plum-ish wise-arsery, which can be great fun.

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