Announcing the Mystery Autumn 2002 Book Sense 76 Top Ten

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

The pad is on press now and will be in the October white box mailing. You can also click here for the list in PDF format. Thanks!

[email protected]

1. THE NO. 1 LADIES' DETECTIVE AGENCY, by Alexander McCall Smith (Anchor, $11.95 paper, 1400031346) "The detective, a good-hearted, ample Botswanan lady, unravels local crimes with keen logic. Her description of life in a small African town is winning as well. Just wonderful books." -- Blanchette Bailey, Baileywick Books, New Milford, CT (The sequels are also coming in new Anchor editions at $11.95. Out now, The Tears of the Giraffe; coming November 8, Morality for Beautiful Girls.)

2. DARK END OF THE STREET, by Ace Atkins (Morrow, $23.95, 0060004606) "An engrossing music mystery that takes Atkins' New Orleans blues scholar to Memphis and the Delta. People who haven't yet read Atkins can pick up this third entry without missing anything. This is Atkins' best book by a mile, and I think he's poised on the brink of bestsellerdom. Discover him now." -- Ted O'Brien, Garden District Book Shop, New Orleans, LA Also a HarperAudio (0060526955)

3. NO GOOD DEED, by Manda Scott (Bantam, $22.95, 0553802674) "Orla McLeod is as deep undercover as you can get in a den of drug dealers, when she is rescued from certain death by a nine-year-old boy. The line between good and evil is blurred, as a Special Branch operation goes horribly wrong. Great characters and a dizzying plot pull you into the dark and gritty world of the Scottish drug scene." -- Kathy Magruder, Lee Booksellers, Lincoln, NE

4. DO NO HARM, by Gregg Andrew Hurwitz (Morrow, $24.95, 0060008865) "This is an old-fashioned, riveting page-turner, with fascinating characters from both the medical and law enforcement worlds, each with their own agenda for the villain. A guaranteed winner." -- Betty Shine, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA

5. CRIME SCHOOL, by Carol O'Connell (Putnam, $24.95, 0399149287) "O'Connell is terrific. I felt I was one of the detectives and 'part of the game,' following the many leads. The characters are fascinating, especially, of course, Kathy Mallory, NYPD detective." -- Sheryl Cutleur, A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books, San Francisco, CA

6. LAW OF GRAVITY, by Stephen Horn (HarperCollins, $24.95, 0060194413) "Philip Barkley is barely hanging on to his job at the Justice Department. Assigned to 'look into' the disappearance of a Senate aide, but not too closely, he does find something. This has an ending that will surprise even hard-core mystery fans. Don't start this if you have anything else on your schedule." -- Teresa Speir, Coast Books, Gulfport, MS

7. BLACK RIVER, by G.M. Ford (Morrow, $24, 0380978741) "This is a tough, atmospheric crime novel with a complex, realistically rendered protagonist who, unlike many 'hardboiled' characters, avoids caricature. Ford's dialogue is top-notch, and, while there's enough of Ford's dark dry wit to appease fans of his earlier work, this novel should introduce the author to a whole new audience." -- Patrick Millikin, Poisoned Pen, Scottsdale, AZ

8. THE LAST TEMPTATION, by Val McDermid (St. Martin's/Minotaur, $24.95, 0312290896) "British D.I. Carol Jordan has been recruited for an undercover job in Germany. Two gripping plots unwind simultaneously, with a famous serial killer profiler providing the connection. A phenomenal novel." -- Megan O'Bryan, Scott's Bookstore, Mt. Vernon, WA

9. BLOOD ON THE TONGUE, by Stephen Booth (Scribner, $25, 0743236181) "English detectives Cooper and Fry are on the case of three dead bodies and a missing baby, along with a mystery unsolved since 1945. Stephen Booth has to be one of the best new English mystery writers. This book is great." -- Caddy Flaherty, The Toadstool Bookshop, Milford, NH

10. THE FRACTAL MURDERS, by Mark Cohen (Muddy Gap Press, $13.95 paper, 097189860X) "This is a first novel from a small press that is a real find. It follows an investigation into three seemingly unrelated deaths in three different states that appear to involve fractal geometry. It is full of suspense and wit that pulls you along; it is fun, quick, intelligent, and compelling." -- Douglas A. Carlsen, Whitman College Bookstore, Walla Walla, WA

Here are some rediscoveries:

"When I founded this shop in '90, I was asked to list my five all-time favorite mysteries. Peter Lovesey's The False Inspector Dew was one of them. Since then, I've read hundreds of wonderful books, but it is still one of my top five. First published in 1982, it remains brilliantly baffling!" -- Bill Farley, Seattle Mystery Bookshop, Seattle, WA

"There is a delightful series of books, written by Constance and Gwenyth Little and set in the '30s and '40s, that never ceases to entertain with witty dialogue and marvelous characters. The Great Black Kanba, set on the trans-Australian railroad, is one of our favorites. The period atmosphere and intrigue doesn't get any better than this. The Little sisters wrote 21 screwball comedy mysteries; 11 have been reprinted so far in The Rue Morgue Press' effort to make all available in paperback." -- Barbara Douglas and Martha Farrington, Murder By The Book, Houston, TX


The Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale, AZ, has its own thriving publishing arm. Just a few of its recent offerings:

Hot Pursuit, by Nora Kelly: "Professor Gillian Adams has moved back to London to live with her longtime lover, a Scotland Yard Inspector, but she returns to the untimely death of her best friend and the interference of a dangerous stalker. There's lots of action and romance here." -- Bob Spear, The Book Barn, Leavenworth, KS

Past Imperfect, by Kathleen Hills: "When a childhood friend is murdered, Constable John McIntyre is back in St. Adele for the first time since he left as a boy to fight in WWI. Never can I recall reading a mystery that transported me so completely to another place and time. I was captivated by this gentle mystery with its appealing main character, whose memories of boyhood paints a portrait of life in rural Michigan in the first half of the 20th century." -- Karen Spengler, I Love a Mystery, Mission, KS

The Camel of Destruction, by Michael Pearce: "Captain Garth Owen is head of the British CID and responsible for maintaining the peace in 1910 Cairo. To do this, he has to manage the frequently labyrinthine law, but Owen holds his own with good humor, and solves the mystery of a murder/suicide of a bank teller as well. Sheer delight." -- Kathy Ashton, The King's English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, UT