Sunday, January 27, 2013

Mystery Madness

Bridge can be deadly!

Today I sampled two of the tales in the 2012 Best American Mysteries introduced by Robert Crais. The first one, "The Hit" by Tom Andes, was a bit too over-written for me, but the puzzle was good. A fellow hires a hit man to kill his wife but who is the hitter and who is the hittee?  

Here is a slice:
    Her life no longer seemed to be happening to her but to someone else. 
    She ran a bubble bath before the kids got home, luxuriating in the folds of steam, scraping the dead skin from the balls of her feet. The flakes drifted away on the water, softened to opacity. She wondered what her life would seem like if it were on television, what some anonymous viewer in a faraway living room or den would think. She felt alienated from her own experience, atomized, like the molecules of steam rising from the water in the tub.

The second tale begins in the genteel atmosphere of the Moss Harbor Bridge Group.  Genteel, that is, until Mattie's new partner, Olivia, mouths across the bridge table: I will kill you.

Was Mattie's card playing really that bad?

Mattie, who is a meek little woman to begin with, becomes even more terrified as Olivia begins to stalk her. The suspense rises: When will Olivia strike? And where?

Here is a bit from "The Bridge Partner" by Peter S. Beagle:

    On the whole, after sixteen years of marriage, Mattie liked Don more than she disliked him, but such distinctions were essentially meaningless at this stage of things. She rather appreciated his presence when she felt especially lonely and frightened, but a large, furry dog would have done as well; indeed, a dog would have been at once more comforting and more concerned for her comfort. Dogs wanted their masters to be happy - Don simply preferred her uncomplaining.

Of course, these selections give nothing away as I wouldn't dare spoil any surprises or twist the authors have in store. 

Of the twenty writers represented here, I am only familiar with one - or is it two: Charles Todd, the mother and son writing team of Caroline and Charles Todd, who write the Inspector Ian Rutledge series and the Bess Crawford mysteries. I have heard good things about both but have not read any of them. They are on my list.

Since I mostly read classic British mysteries I am hoping to discover one or two modern authors to add to my mystery madness.

Do you have any favorites?


  1. Isn't it fun, at least once in awhile, to read authors unknown to us? We might discover a new favorite. I noticed when I was at the library yesterday they had a display of books wrapped in brown paper with a ? on each. They were promoting taking one and perhaps discovering a new author. I already had too many books checked out and coming on library loan or I would have chosen one - not sure if I'd have taken a thin one or a fatter one...hmm. If they are still there when I go back I may pick one up.

    1. Thanks for commenting. I love the idea of the books in plain brown wrappers. I wonder if I could wrap a shelf full of my own books and when I can't decide what to read next, just pull one off and be surprised!