Detectives, Shamus’s, Curious Amateurs


A long-ago “friend” spent all of her free time reading mysteries: murder mysteries, procedurals, hard boiled detectives, cozies, thrillers, suspense, espionage, true crime, legal, noir, capers, and dogs named Pommes-frites. At this time I joined the club and read mystery series’s such as Travis McGee, Spenser, and all of the Ludlum books available at the time. It was a good experience (the books, not the friend) and through the years I have continued to toss a juicy detective novel in with all the classics and contemporaries that filled out my reading lists.

Recently I have been watching many such stories on Netflix and similar channels. My favorite is Bosch on Amazon and I have a virgin list of Hieronymus Bosch novels in my little red notebook ready to add Michael Connelly to my reading list. But I just finished a memoir about a woman who read a book a day for a year: could I do that?

I know I cannot possibly honor this quest, yet it’s certainly tempting. Look at the long and fascinating lists of books concentrating on the likes of Nero Wolfe, Elvis Cole, Jack Reacher, Lew Archer, Ellery Queen, Adam Dalgliesh, V. I. Warshawski, and not to forget the nameless detective.


Maybe I could shoot for ten of these series mysteries each month and round out the reading list with classics and the usual fare. This seems very doable with some effort. I can’t imagine reading thirty books a month … not with Netflix beckoning.

Right now I have two or three mysteries on my projected reading list, albeit two are of the more humorous variety. I could add two or three by a couple of other authors and fill out my monthly list nicely. Then I can see if my interest continues or even grows: maybe next month I may go for those thirty titles!

Right now I list the two Pamplemousse novels for entertainment. The Woman In White is commonly considered one of the first mystery novels and is certainly a good example of the type of sensational fiction we associate with Le Fanu and the early Zola. I have already read most of the Dashiell Hammett novels and stories and a smattering of the likes of Kinsey Millhone, V. I. Warshawski, and the nameless detective. I read every Robert B. Parker book up until his death but with all the other authors writing Spenser and Jesse Stone and Cole & Hitch I have fallen way way behind.

But I started out saying I really liked Harry Bosch and I have been enjoying the old Hugh Beaumont Mike Shayne movies so I’ll start with a couple of titles from these two writers. Next month perhaps I’ll toss in a little Nero Wolfe and Lew Archer.

One thought on “Detectives, Shamus’s, Curious Amateurs

  1. Mike, you can’t go wrong with Michael Connelly’s books. I love them! Don’t just read the Bosch ones though. Take all his mystery series and read the books in order. Some of the other cases/people show up later in a Bosch book. You can read the first four Bosch books, through The Last Coyote. That one happened to be my first Connelly book. I was camping in Colorado and another reader was at the campgrounds. We traded some of our read books and I got The Last Coyote. Loved it so much that I didn’t read any of the later ones until after the first three.


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