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Monday, July 6, 2015


Since retiring I have 'rediscovered' reading for pleasure. Mostly I borrow books from the library and although I try to read from a variety of genres, my absolute favourite is Crime/Detective fiction. But it's getting harder to find books in the library on the shelves or trolleys as other people have obviously 'beaten me to them'! I do use the 'Hold' facility of course but still like to check the shelves just in case an unread book by a favourite author is there! 
I had noticed this Sue Grafton book a little while back but wasn't really keen on borrowing it as it was short stories...not a favourite genre of mine! (I can be quite intractable at times!!! Lol) 
But eventually I did borrow it and loved it! The first part of the book is a series of short stories featuring the PI, Kinsey Milhone, written over a number of years. I found that I didn't mind the brevity of each story after all. But it was the second part of the book that really got me in. These personal 'stories' were written after Ms Grafton's mother died. Some are written in first person, others in third person, which was a very effective literary device. 
We learn that both Sue Grafton's parents were alcoholics...her dad was a 'functioning alcoholic'. He was a crime writer too, but he was also a lawyer with his own law firm. Sadly, her mother was not so able to cope...she was unable to look after her 2 daughters and lay on the sofa all day. Grafton's writing showed the rawness of the hurts that she suffered as she watched her mother's health continue to decline. She wrote of the times her mother was admitted to hospital for treatment. After weeks n hospital her mother would be the happy vibrant woman she had once been...but it never lasted. 
Her parents' marriage did not survive so the Sue took on the role of mother to her mother. Now writing this down for this post I realise how 'heavy' the second part of the book was, but I'm glad I read it. And I was so lucky that also on the shelf that day was another of Sue Grafton's novels and it was one I hadn't read :-). I enjoyed it too. 

I realised that due to the relative scarcity of my favourite authors on the library shelves, I needed to find some new ones. Friends gave me some suggestions but none of those were on the shelves, so I 'Googled' crime writers. Armed with this list, I have since discovered Cath Staincliffe, who also wrote 'Blue Murder' TV series and also the Scott and Bailey TV series. The books I borrowed feature a female PI, Sal Kilkenny. 

I also rediscovered Susan Hill and her Simon Serrailer character. And at the moment I'm reading another author new to me, Deborah Crombie. 
Do you have a favourite author? Are there any other 'Crime fiction' aficionados out there? :-)


doodles n daydreams said...

I'm also reading a lot more since I retired and trying all sorts of genres and authors at the moment. Thank goodness for the public library.


barbara woods said...

i love her books, Try J A. Jance she is good to

Lin said...

What a sad read but also I am sure very powerful I have not read any of her books although we have some here as Philip has read them. I too love the Simon Seraillier books although have only read a couple. Have you read Stephen Booth's books set in Derbyshire and also Peter James set in Brighton? Then there is Peter May set in the Shetlands. For a lighter read although still crime try 'Bruno, Chief of Police' by Martin Walker. These are set in France, not far from where we live and everyone needs (would love) a Bruno in their lives!! Happy reading. xx

Anonymous said...

Yes Maria, there is another crime fiction reader out there and she is sitting right here.
Thank you for your list of authors that are new to me. Michael Connelly is my author of choice, fortunately he is prolific so there is plenty to read.

We are so lucky in Brisbane to have good libraries, not just book borrowing but lots of other things happening. I've learned so much from gardening workshops at various libraries around town.

Best wishes

Bev C said...

Hello Maria,

I love reading, any books! Usually one or two a week. Not crime fiction but a author with only her first book out is Renee Knight with a book called Disclaimer. It was one I couldn't put down. Here in WA we can borrow books from other libraries so I am always looking at the State website to get books.

Happy reading.