Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Underrated Authors or Books in X genre — I chose mystery. And by “underrated”, I mean “less well-known or widely-read than they ought to be.” In a few cases, that’s because their books are no longer in print, or hard to get in the U.S.
In alphabetical order:
- Cathy Ace. Contemporary mysteries that remind me of British Golden Age writers like Christie and Tey. There are four in her series featuring a forensic criminologist with an eidetic memory.
- Catherine Aird. Her British police-procedural cozies convinced me there was such a subgenre, and her dry, understated humor is delightful. Read the early ones first; some of the newer ones aren’t quite as good for some reason. Particularly recommended for fans of Christie and Marsh.
- Rhys Bowen. She’s written three series: the light, frothy Royal Spyness historicals, the more serious Constable Evans series set in contemporary Wales, and the Victorian-era Molly Malone series. I’ve yet to read the Molly Malones, but both other series are good at what they do.
- Deborah Crombie. Sensitively written police procedurals that remind me, somehow, of delicate, intricate pencil drawings. Contemporary British mysteries by an American who lived there for over a decade. Her detectives, Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James, are convincingly complex and imperfect but easy to get attached to.
- Hannah Dennison. A newcomer, but one to watch. (See my review of Murder at Honeychurch Hall.)
- Carola Dunn. She’s best known for the Daisy Dalrymple historical series set in Britain between the wars, but her 1960s-era Cornish Mysteries are quite good and relatively unknown. Too bad there are only three so far.
- Charles Finch. Victorian-era British murder mysteries with a private detective (Charles Lenox.) Well-written, with a Victorian flavor to the prose that’s never overdone.
- G. M. Malliet. Particularly her Max Tudor series. It’s just getting started, but I thought the first two were pretty good. Contemporary British cozies, sort of.
- Patricia Moyes. Somewhat eccentric but well-plotted British mysteries featuring British inspector Henry Tibbett.
- Ellis Peters. Not for her justly-acclaimed and widely-known Cadfael novels featuring a 12th-century monk, but for her contemporary novels. (Well, contemporary when she wrote them, in the 1950s through ’70s.) Especially the George and Dominic Felse mysteries.