Monday, September 22, 2014
Inquiring Minds and All That
I have a really bad habit of random questions floating into my mind like butterflies and-- instead of doing anything with them-- I just let them float on out. I'm trying to turn over a new leaf; therefore, I will occasionally post one that I've actually managed to capture on a Post-It note.
At first I thought about doing this on my blog's Facebook page, but I had another think about it and decided to broaden the scope. You see, I'm really interested in your answers, so whether it's easier for you to respond here or on Facebook, I hope you'll share your opinions. Here goes!
Which mystery series that are no longer being written do you miss the most?
I know that I've become attached to a mystery series or two over the years, and when this question came to mind and I first began making my list and checking it twice, the first place I went to was my "Favorite Mystery Series" page here on my blog. My first go-through left me with about 12-15 names-- way too many for this post.
So I went through that first list a second time and narrowed it down to eight. Then a third time to five. The fourth time was the charm: I successfully forced my list down to two names-- the two authors whose series I miss the most. What may or may not be surprising is how different the authors and their books are.
There are many reasons for an author to stop writing a series-- losing interest, losing a publisher, or family obligations could be a few; but the saddest reason of all is the author's death.
Leighton Gage, who lived in Brazil , wrote a contemporary police procedural series set in Brazil whose main character is Chief Inspector Mario Silva. The first book, Blood of the Wicked, was amazing, but each successive book was even better than the one before it. When someone likes to read mysteries set all over the world and asks me for a recommendation, Leighton Gage's books always jump to mind first. He immerses you in the country, its customs, and its politics in a way that is poetic and profound, and his cast of characters is superb-- a mix of intelligence, humor, cunning, and persistence.
A Leighton Gage novel has always given me the best in entertainment and enlightenment. Pancreatic cancer stole a gifted writer from us much too soon, and no matter how many books I have stacked to the ceiling, I will always regret that a new Leighton Gage mystery is not among them.
Fidelis Morgan is probably a force of nature. Born in a gypsy caravan, she's an actress, a playwright, she's written non-fiction and-- my absolute favorite-- a series of historical mysteries featuring the Countess Ashby de la Zouche (former mistress of Charles II) and her faithful maid, the busty Alpiew. The Countess is an older woman now. She's lost her looks, she has no money, her house is falling to bits, and she's taken to writing gossip for a London scandal sheet to keep body and soul together. It's amazing how much trouble one can get into looking for gossip....
The four books in the series are gems of setting, character, mystery and (often) laugh-out-loud humor. I've seldom read books by any other author that have so completely immersed me in a time and place. Unnatural Fire, The Rival Queens, The Ambitious Stepmother, and Fortune's Slave are near and dear to my heart, and-- personally-- I think her publisher should be tarred, feathered, and ridden out of town on a rail for dropping her. (That bit of exaggeration should tell you how much I love this series!)
Well, those are my two choices. It's your turn. What mystery series do you miss the most? I may have missed some jewels, so... Inquiring minds want to know!