Some of my favorite books:
Harriet the Spy, Louise Fitzhugh
The best “good book for bad kids” ever! Harriet may be the reason I became a writer.
Playing Beatie Bow, Ruth Park
Abigail chases a strange girl and finds herself in Victorian times, where she is trapped until she fulfills a destiny she can’t comprehend.
Trixie Belden Mystery Series
Unlike Nancy Drew, who was 18 and had a car, unlimited freedom and a boyfriend, Trixie was someone I could relate to. She was often in trouble with her parents, struggled in school, and dragged her unsuspecting but loyal best friend into dangerous escapades.
The appeal of Trixie, including how she differed from Nancy, is explored in Carolyn Carpan’s excellent book, Sisters, Schoolgirls and Sleuths (Scarecrow Press, 2009).
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Agatha Christie
Dame Agatha reinvented the genre and may have invented the unreliable narrator. I can’t add much to the praise that has been heaped on this classic whodunit.
The Fourth Wall, Barbara Paul
Someone is viciously terrorizing the members of a theatre troupe. The police can’t figure out who it is, so the playwright and her friends take matters into their own hands. This book will grab you from the first line, but it is not for the faint-hearted.
The Turquoise Mask, Phyllis Whitney
Ms. Whitney was known for her ability to create vivid settings. She hit the bull’s-eye with this story of a young woman who comes to New Mexico to meet her deceased mother’s family, of whom her father never spoke. She quickly learns why when she is greeted with hatred and suspicion.
Just One Look, Harlan Coben
I have yet to read one of his plotting masterpieces I didn’t like. This one may be the best yet. A mysterious photograph sends a husband and father on the run–and his wife investigating who and what the man she thought she married really is. Don’t stop to catch your breath after the story’s climax. As usual, Mr. Coben hits us with more surprises on the last handful of pages.
There Was An Old Woman, Hallie Ephron
Excellent domestic suspense about a young woman, Evie, whose tenuous relationship with her mother takes a turn for the worse when she discovers evidence that her mother has begun to collapse mentally. Something doesn’t add up, however, and she joins forces with Mina, the elderly next-door neighbor, to find out what is really happening. This isn’t a classic mystery in that bodies don’t drop onto the pages, but wondering what will happen, both to Evie and Mina, will keep you turning the pages.
A Brilliant Death, Robin Yocum
Two teenage boys, Mitch and Travis, spend several years in 1970s Ohio trying to discover what happened to Travis’ mother. The young woman supposedly drowned in a boating accident, but since her body was never found, Travis doesn’t believe the story his father told him. At several points this book was so suspenseful I almost didn’t dare to read further. I’m glad I did.
I had the honor of reviewing A BRILLIANT DEATH for the Killer Nashville site.