The rigors of the mystery test our panel. We debate authors, series, and definitions. And we have quite a list. 


Before we got started on our mysteries,

Nancy Decided to add to our stack of sad books.


“The Velveteen Rabbit,” by Margery Williams

“The House of Mirth,” Edith Warton

Charlotte’s Web,” by E.B. White

“When Breathe Becomes Air,” by Paul Kalanithi. This book is an account of the death of the author, a surgeon who wrote about his late stage cancer. Nancy says the writing is magnificent.


This book belongs with the other recent great books on dying, “ Being Mortal,” by Atul Gawande and “How We Die,” by Sherwin Nuland.





Throughout this show we debate the difference between thriller and mystery and crime novels and end up suggesting, like always, that maybe we should stop categorizing every thing. But, really, how can we stop. It is what we humans do. Well actually there are two categories of humans, ones who make categories and ones who don’t.


Nancy tells us she is looking for a new favorite mystery author.  Maybe she will find one in this list of books we brought up this episode.



Gaudy Night,” by Dorothy L Sayers, who our special guest, dance writer and broadcaster Marcie Sillman calls the first great feminist mystery writer. Her books are full of romance and suspense.


Marcie has been enjoying what she says is the page turning series by Julia Spencer Fleming, the Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne series.  Nancy and Marcie say these books have to read in order to really appreciate.


Carolyn Heilbrun (writing as Amanda Cross) created an erudite and literary series featuring Kate Fansler.  The first, and Nancy’s favorite is “In The Last Analysis.”

After a while they become more about academia with lots of upper-class repartee.


Books featuring the character Martin Beck and really all the mysteries written by the Swedish couple, Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö. Back in the 60’s and 70’s.


Alan Bradley’s series about the very young detective, Flavia de Luce. ( )

Marcie just discovered Peter May’s Lewis Trilogy set on the Outer Hebrides. (@authorpetermay)

Charles Todd’s Inspector Rutledge mysteries set after World War One.

Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawsky(@saraparetsky)

Craig Johnson’s Longmire

Robert Crais

Elizabeth George


“Norwegian By Night,” by Derek B. Miller

“I Am Pilgrim,” by Terry Hayes

Neanderthal,” by John Darden

Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich

The Rabbi Small series by Harry Kemelman

The Decker and Lazarus series by Faye Kellerman

Sneaky Pie series by Rita Mae Brown

Spenser series by Robert Parker

Graham Greene

John Banville writing as Benjamin Black

Richard Price, “Lush Life” and “The Whites.”

The Easy Rawlins series and the Leonid McGill series by Walter Mosley.

Sue Grafton, the Kinsey Millhone series.


A few mystery writers living in Puget Sound and Washington State.


G.M.Ford, “Who the Hell is Wanda Fuca?”

Earl Emerson’s various series of books

“Oxygen,” by Carol Casella, plus the next two in the series.

“Animal, Vegetable, Murder,” and “Forget You Ever Knew Me,” by Judith Dailey


Back in the wider world,


“Bridge of Spies,” by Olen Steinhauer and the rest of his books in that series and his new series too.

Ross MacDonald’s books who Nancy argues has a unique voice and a vision for a better world.


And when Nancy goes back to reread books, she goes back to her old Rex Stout series of Nero Wolfe paperbacks. Lot’s of people agree.

“Nerve,” “Odds Against,” “Reflex” just a few of the best by the great Dick Francis.

“Gorky Park,” and more by Martin Cruz Smith


Various books by Stuart Kaminsky

The Kemal Kayankaya series by German author Jakob Arjouni

The author Robert Crais, who Marcie says, like Ross MacDonald, features a detective who wants there to be good in the world.


Good Reading!