Friday, August 26, 2011
Five Best Books: Genre Reads
5 Best Books is a weekly meme hosted by Cassandra at her blog, INDIEREADERHOUSTON Each week we're handed a new topic - this week, 5 Best Genre Reads.
Well...let's see. I'm a mystery-lover. I talk about mysteries quite a lot here on My Reader's Block. I wonder if I can come up with a list that isn't entirely made up of titles I keep plugging all the time. I think I'll narrow it down and go with my top five academic mysteries. For my purposes an academic mystery must have one or more of the following: a professor or teacher acting as the primary (amateur) detective; a professor or teacher as the victim, culprit or essential main character; and/or a school or university setting.
1. Bodies in a Bookshop by R. T. Campbell (synopsis & my thoughts available by clicking title)
2. Gaudy Night by Dorothy L Sayers: When Harriet Vane attends her Oxford reunion, known as the "Gaudy," the prim academic setting is haunted by a rash of bizarre pranks: scrawled obsentities, burnt effigies and poison-pen letters — including one that says, "Ask your boyfriend with the title if he likes arsenic in his soup." Some of the notes threaten murder; all are perfectly ghastly; yet in spite of their scurrilous nature, all are perfectly worded. And Harriet finds herself ensnared in a nightmare of romance and terror, with only the tiniest shreds of clues to challenge her powers of detection, and those of her paramour, Lord Peter Wimsey.
3. Death in a Tenured Position by Amanda Cross: When Janet Mandelbaum is made the first woman professor at Harvard's English Department, the men are not happy. They are unhappier still when her tea is spiked and she is found drunk on the floor of the women's room. With a little time, Janet's dear friend and colleague Kate Fansler could track down the culprit, but time is running out....
4. The Weight of the Evidence by Michael Innes: Meteorites fall from the sky but seldom onto the heads of science dons in redbrick universities; yet this is what happens to Professor Pluckrose of Nestfield University. Inspector Appleby soon discovers that the meteorite was not fresh and that the professor's deckchair had been placed underneath a large, accessible tower - he already knew something of academic jealousies but he was to find out a great deal more
5. Death's Bright Dart by V. C. Clinton-Baddley: The speaker stepped to the podium. The audience waited expectantly. But before the celebrated scientist could utter a word, he clutched his neck, gasped and fell to the ground--the victim of a poisoned dart. Clearly someone at the conference could handle a primitive blowpipe with deadly precision. The inquisitive Dr. Davie did some research of his own and discovered that each of the distinguished scientists had something to hide. Now he had to discover which one was venomous enough to kill in order to protect his secret.