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Sandraseahorse

Recommendations for a Mother's Day present crime novel

I wasn't sure whether to post this under the crime section or not but I'm looking for advice on a book to buy my mother as a Mother's Day present.

She is a fan of the golden age detective style novel - definitely not hard-boiled stuff.  She loves Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh, quite likes P.D. James and enjoyed the early books of Alexander McCall Smith (she thought the No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency books got a bit too formulaic).

I'm looking for works which feature a high body count, no gruesome post mortem details, no sex and no bad language.  I wondered about Margery Allingham's books or Cyril Hare's "With A Bare Bodkin", which Mike Harvey reviewed some time ago.

I'd be grateful for any suggestions.  I know it's over a month to Mother's Day but her birthday is in early March and we are going over for that weekend and I'd like to take the present over then.
Ann

Sandra has she read any Josephine Tey? I think she is a fantastic crime writer but they were written a long time ago. My favourite is The Singing Sands but The Franchise Affair is excellent and very unusual too. She has a highly strung detective who has links to the theatrical world but the body count is not high. She died in 1952
http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/t/josephine-tey/
Chibiabos83

Ann beat me to it - I was also going to mention Josephine Tey, though the only one I have read, The Daughter of Time is probably unrecommendable due to a very low body count.
Evie

I used to love Margery Allingham's Campion books, but can't actually remember any details now!  And the Peter Wimsey books by Dorothy Sayers are great fun too, of course.  I have only read a couple of those, but enjoyed them a lot.
Ann

Chibiabos83 wrote:
Ann beat me to it - I was also going to mention Josephine Tey, though the only one I have read, The Daughter of Time is probably unrecommendable due to a very low body count.


Well actually, Chib, the body count in the 15th century was remarkably high due to the Wars of the Roses Wink
The Daughter of Time is a brilliant book and I think caused the founding of the Richard 111 society. I have a non fiction book called Richard 111 The Black Legend, which I probably mentioned before in this context, which starts with a graceful tribute to Josephine Tey and the immense influence her book had.
county_lady

Has she read any by Ellis Peters? She wrote a series of Felse stories as well as the brilliant Cadfael books.
http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/p/ellis-peters/
Sandraseahorse

Thanks for all the suggestions.  My mother loves 20th century "period" who-dunn-its but isn't really into historical fiction.  I didn't realise Josephine Tey and Ellis Peters wrote detective novels aside from  their historical detective series.  You've given me a lot to go on.
Caro

Has she read Simon Brett?  Not a great writer, but in the style of those others I think and quite entertaining. Called "in the Golden Age" styl in wikipedia.  He has three series, one with Charles Paris, one with Mrs Pargeter and the Fethering series with two neighbours solving crimes.

Georgette Heyer wrote whodunnits in the 1930s and 40s and they are quite entertaining.  

If she wants body counts I could recommend the one I read recently Old School Ties by Paul Thomas, but she might be put off by the f... and c... words on most pages.  I thought of re-reading this and counting the dead people. There were a lot - but it is a slightly over-the-top sort of comic style perhaps a little like Harlan Coben or Carl Haiasan maybe.  (I am not recommending these to your mother.)

But for an American take would she like Janet Evanovich with her mad family, very sexy boyfriends and rather haphazard style of solving crimes?  These are comic and fluffy and fun.  

Cheers, Caro.
Castorboy

Caro wrote:
Has she read Simon Brett?  Not a great writer, but in the style of those others I think and quite entertaining. Called "in the Golden Age" styl in wikipedia.  He has three series, one with Charles Paris, one with Mrs Pargeter and the Fethering series with two neighbours solving crimes.

I'd second Caro's views on Simon Brett. The Paris series features show busines crimes while the Feathering series is set on the South Coast of England.
Not_Smart_Just_Lucky

In the unlikely event that there's any Agatha Christie that she hasn't read, 'And Then There Were None' is one to go for, definately
Sandraseahorse

Thanks everyone. Not Smart But  Lucky, she's read and got ALL the Agatha Christie's.  

I should have thought about Simon Brett as he lives not all that far from me and I've heard him speak three  times, once on the topic of detective literature.  He mentioned his Paris series but I didn't realise he had done a Fetherings series set on the south coast.
lunababymoonchild

Dunno about golden age detective but Ian Rankin's Rebus doesn't have graphic blood curling accounts of murders and there is no swearing.

It might not be suitable, which is why I hestitated to recommend it but just thought I'd mention it in passing.

Luna
lunababymoonchild

Also, and not that I've actually read any, but what about Colin Dexter's Morse series?  Or R D Wingfield's Jack Frost series?

Luna
MikeAlx

Would Michael Dibdin's Aurelio Zen books fit the bill? (Not read them, but heard a radio adaptation a while back)
Evie

Or if she would like something a bit more exotic, there are the novels of Donna Leon, set in Venice and featuring the lovely Commisario Brunetti.

Or Iain Pears's romps set in Italy featuring an Italian policewoman in the Rome police Art Theft detective squad and her British art historian boyfriend - great fun, very soft boiled, more mysteries than murders.
Sandraseahorse

In case anyone is interested, in the end I bought my mother Josephine Tey's "The Singing Sands".  She found it a bit slow to start with but then she became gripped with it and thoroughly enjoyed it.  

Thanks everyone for all the suggestions.
Castorboy

Sandraseahorse wrote:
In case anyone is interested, in the end I bought my mother Josephine Tey's "The Singing Sands".  She found it a bit slow to start with but then she became gripped with it and thoroughly enjoyed it.  

Thanks everyone for all the suggestions.

I heard a BBC - probably Home Service - serialisation of the book in the 1950's and I always meant to read it, but forgot! I think the vlllain whistled 'La donne est mobile' (apolgies for the spelling) when making contact with his gang.
Ann

I think that was one I recommended, Sandra Very Happy . I love that book.
Casterboy you must be thinking about something different as the villian had no gang. I suppose an adaptation might have completely changed the plot!

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