Friday, January 8, 2010

Book Bonanza

Sadly one of my colleague's sister died just before christmas. She left a collection of over 2500 novels, the vast majority of which are crime fiction. I've been a given a donation of four boxes containing 139 novels and a few collections (right). In light of my classic crime fiction curriculum challenge, I was delighted to find a number of the novels recommended so far in the boxes (starred below). Beyond the classics, I'd be interested to hear which authors you think I should tackle first? The novels include those by:

Loren Estleman (14), Bill Pronzini (10), Donald Westlake* (8), Raymond Chandler* (5), James Cain* (5), Sapper (5), Cornell Woodrich* (4), Patricia Highsmith* (4), Lawrence Block (4), Parnell Hall (4), Howard Browne (3), Max Byrd (3), Joe Gores (3), Ngaio Marsh* (3), Richard Stark (3), G.M. Ford (3), Arthur Lyons (3), Ian Sansom (3), Mickey Spillane* (3), K.C. Constantine (3), Edna Buchanan (3), Dashiell Hammett* (2), Bill Ballinger (2), Peter Robinson (2), Jim Butcher (2), Roy Hart (2), Dominick Dunne (2), John Le Carre (2), Tucker Coe (2), Kinky Friedman (2), Sarah Shankman (2), James Swain (2), Christopher Newman (2), Ed Gorman, Helen Chappell, Martin Short, Dorothy Hughes*, Paula Gosling, T. Jefferson Parker, Anthony Bruno, Sparkle Hayter, John Lutz, Dorothy Sayers*, Wilkie Collins*, Kenneth Fearing, Ellery Queen*, Josephine Tey*, Alfred Hitchcock.

Well that lot, plus the 30 plus books I already have in TBR pile, should keep me going for a while!

9 comments:

Maxine said...

Very sorry to read this news.

Of the unstarred list, I'd highly recommend Dominick Dunne - I enjoyed his books very much. Peter Robinson is a good, solid police procedural series of long standing, I have read a few and skipped about 10, which did not seem to matter. I am never very sure with these whether the detective is supposed to be sexist or if the author is, unconsciously. John LeCarre is superb in my opinion if you haven't read him, but his latter books are more overt political campaiging than the earlier ones, which are classic "MI5" spy novels.

I enjoyed T Jefferson Parker's first few but for some reason I have stopped reading them, not sure why. I read all Saki's short stories when I was young, and remember liking them but not much about them except they were kind of spooky.

Of the others, I didn't like the one Sparkle Hayter I tried very much, but if memory serves it is comic so you might like that?

I don't think I've read the others, except possibly a G. M. Ford which, if so, I can't remember content-wise.

Margot Kinberg said...

So sorry at your news...

The ones I'd have recommended are starred, but of the unstarred ones, I'd recommend K.C. Constantine - I like his Mario Balzic character. Lawrence Block, as well, actually....

Rob Kitchin said...

Maxine and Margot, thanks for the suggestions.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Sorry to hear of the death but reading these books will keep her alive. This is a fine list and I have one or two of the Coe books, which I believe are Donald Westlake.

Deb said...

I don't know which titles you have, but I strongly recommend reading some Cornell Woolrich. He wrote pulp/noir but with a real twist. His style was very cinematic and it's no surprise some of his work made it to the screen ("Rear Window," "The Bride Wore Black," "Mississippi Mermaid").

Of course, with the great writers you've listed, you could just close your eyes and pick a book at random.

J. Kingston Pierce said...

Other than the starred books, the authors I suggest you investigate first are Arthur Lyons (CASTLES BURNING, I think, is his best), Peter Robinson (I particularly like IN A DRY SEASON and CLOSE TO HOME), John Lutz (his Fred Carver series is especially solid), Loren D. Estleman (his Amos Walker books are quite traditional P.I. fare, but still satisfying), K.C. Constantine, Joe Gores, and John le Carre. By the way, "Tucker Coe" and "Richard Stark" are two of Donald Westlake's aliases; I haven't read any of his Coe novels, but I suspect they'd be worth checking out, and the Starks are usually distinctive.

Cheers,
Jeff

Rob Kitchin said...

From the comments it looks like I've inherited a pretty stellar haul. Thanks for the pointers. I'm looking forward to getting stuck into them. Should keep me going for a little while! And I'll be filing Forgotten Friday posts for the next few years.

Richard Robinson said...

Start with the Wilkie Collins. Either you'll get it out of the way or you'll discover a real gem that many think should be in that basic list of yours.

I am a bit confused on one point. I thought the requirement was pre-1970, I see many authors listed, starred, that are post 1970. Certainly I would have put one of the Cadfael novels by Ellis Peters on my list, had I thought it eligible, and likely a Pronzini as well.

Rob Kitchin said...

Richard, Wilkie Collins is on my TBR pile, thanks. Of the starred names (Donald Westlake, Raymond Chandler, James Cain, Cornell Woodrich, Patricia Highsmith, Ngaio Marsh, Mickey Spillane, Dashiell Hammett, Dorothy Hughes, Dorothy Sayers, Wilkie Collins, Ellery Queen, Josephine Tey) - I think all of the named works by these authors in the curriculum challenge were published prior to 1970. I will check that out though when I compile the final list.