Valerie Biel writes the Circle of Nine series. You can find out more about her here.
A happy ping told me that my preorder of JD Robb’s latest book arrived on my Kindle today. Shadows in Death is the 51st book in the homicide detective “In Death” series set in futuristic New York City written by Nora Roberts as JD Robb. Eve Dallas kicks butt by day (and by night) and always catches the murderer. It doesn’t hurt that she gets to chase suspects with her gorgeous, billionaire Irish husband at her side. The rest of the recurring cast of characters are delightful and fun and have been developed over the course of numerous books. Eve is definitely one of my favorite sleuths. But why? She’s tough but vulnerable at times. She’s a smart ass who is frustrated by stupidity, and she sticks up for people who don’t have anyone else. Her background as an abused child (and there’s a very long story there), makes her even more likeable as she’s overcome so much. So, twice a year, I get my Eve Dallas fix! That book is waiting for me right now. I shall write fast!
Trixie Belden was my first mystery-series obsession. My sisters (I’m the youngest of six) had read themselves up until a certain point in this series and then unceremoniously abandoned her for more enticing teen reads. I sank into these well-worn (shall we say—tattered) mysteries, completing one after another. When I came to the end of what was in the bookshelf, I would tag along with my mom to her weekly hair appointment so I could go to the dime store for the next one in the series. The series has 39 books, written between 1948 and 1986, and I own most of them. Do you remember Trixie? Thirteen-year-old Beatrix Belden lives at Crabapple Farm in Sleepyside-on-Hudson in New York with her parents and three brothers. When a lonely, rich girl moves into the Manor house next door, Trixie becomes fast friends with Honey Wheeler and they soon find themselves solving their first case. The best thing about Trixie is that she listens to her gut instincts, even though she’s often admonished for jumping to conclusions.
My Nancy Drew years overlapped with my Trixie Belden years a bit. Older, more sophisticated, and impressively accomplished, Nancy Drew’s mystery-solving capabilities were enticing. It makes me laugh a little now to read how she was described as “a fine painter, speaker of fluent French, skilled moto boat driver, a sure shot, an excellent swimmer, skillful oarsman, expert seamstress, gourmet cook, a fine bridge player, brilliant at tennis, golf, dancing, and riding—plus she could administer first aid like the Mayo brothers.” Phew! The series began in 1930 and ended in 2003 with a number of adaptations along the way—plus a few TV series and movies. A couple of years ago, I read Christine Keleny’s Will the Real Carolyn Keene Please Stand Up, a detailed look at the different authors who took on the persona of Carolyn Keene for prolific series’ creator Edward Stratemeyer, who also created the Hardy Boys and the Bobbsey Twins. (Were you a fan of those, too?)
With Trixie and Nancy as my gateway drugs to mystery binge reading, I moved on to Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone, The Women’s Murder Club by James Patterson, and the laugh-out-loud antics of Stephanie Plum created by Janet Evanovich. And then Faye Kellerman, Lisa Unger, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Stieg Larsson, Lee Child, Lisa Regan, Stuart Woods, Patricia Skalka, and so many, many more.
I’m so very curious who your favorite sleuths are . . . who tugged you into mystery reading? Which series has you eagerly awaiting the next release?