Thursday, 4 September 2014

Thursday Lists: Best Books and Crime Fiction



My online friend Noah Stewart tagged me in a post asking for a list of ten books that have affected me over the years: “without taking more than a few minutes and without thinking too hard, and in no particular order.”

I’d been thinking of doing more lists on the blog – such posts are always popular – so this seems a good way to start off a new meme:



List on Thursday



Noah’s suggestion is one of those Facebook memes that presumably is circulating all the time – I think I might have done it before but have decided not to look till after I’ve created my current list.


I would undoubtedly choose a different group if I did it next week. Many of the books have appeared on the blog, and there are links to the entries.

These are my first ten choices: 




No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod 




The Pursuit of Love/Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford

Bridget Jones Diary by Helen Fielding

The Dead by James Joyce 

Gretta listens in The Dead


Remembrance of Things Past by Proust

The Collected Letters between Evelyn Waugh and Nancy Mitford

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Topaz as the Angel of Death



Housekeeping by 
Marilyn Robinson

Wolf Hall by 
Hilary Mantel

Parade’s End  by 
Ford Madox Ford






Noah and I know each other via a Golden Age detective story group: so I’ve decided to do a separate list of 10 great mystery/crime/detection books – NOT because I think they are inferior to any other books, but in order to get more books onto my list. My own rules were: no living authors, not more than one book by any writer.



Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie

The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L Sayers
Guess which book?


Thus Was Adonis Murdered by Sarah Caudwell

Tiger in the Smoke by Margery Allingham 








Green for Danger by Christianna Brand 

Living in a wartime hostel with a murderer - Green for Danger


Crooked Hinge by John Dickson Carr

A Kiss Before Dying by Ira Levin

The Nebuly Coat by J Meade Falkner

The Ingenious Mr Stone by Robert Player

Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey 


I really enjoy reading other people’s lists, so please add your own list, or link to a blogpost, in the comments. And thanks to Noah for the suggestion. 

26 comments:

  1. Moira, what an eclectic list of books to have read and reviewed! However, it doesn't serve my cause because, barring Christie and Waugh, I haven't read any of the other authors, some of whom I have tucked away in a corner of my mind.

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    1. What about doing a blogpost on your own favourites, Prashant?

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    2. Moira, I do a quarterly review of books snd short stories I read but they don't amount to anywhere close to the number of books you and our fellow bloggers read and review.

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    3. I think you do pretty well - especially as you have a busy job...

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  2. Ah, Sarah Caudwell - what a great writer. So sad that there weren't more of that little series.

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    1. I know - to write so slowly and to die so young... Someone should have chased her to make write more....

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  3. Moira - What a terrific list! I agree that all of the choices on your crime fiction list are excellent!! And I like the variety in your choices, too. I'll be really interested if you do check your other list to see how it compares to this one.

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    1. Yes I must do that. I think there's probably quite a large pool of book titles, and I could choose a different 10 every day...

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  4. I am in agreement with Tiger in the Smoke, it was the first Margaret Allingham book that I read. I just loved it! 5 Little Pigs is an interesting choice of an Agatha Christie, definitely a good book but not as well known as some others. I would find it hard to pick just one book per author!

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    1. My other favourite Christie's tend to be more the funny, racy, incident-filled ones - Death on the Nile, with that strange collection of people on the boat. But there's something about the atmosphere of Five Little Pigs that mesmerizes me.

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    2. Death on the Nile has to be one of my top three Christie's (it is too difficult to narrow it down!) I really like the tv adaptation as well, with Emily Blunt. If you ever see it on ITV, I recommend watching :)

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    3. Yes I like the TV version - I am not such a purist about the TV Christies as some people are, even though they changed a lot. And the Five Little Pigs adaptation is my very favourite....

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  5. I think you enjoyed this exercise as much as I did. I confess it's going to take me a while to figure out my 10 crime books rather than just books; that might need more thought. Thanks for playing along with my proposal!!

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    1. I did Noah, you are absolutely right. And you have inspired me to try to do some more lists. Thanks for the tag: it WAS fun.

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  6. Moira: My discussion of your choices will be short as the only book I have read is Wolf Hall. I liked the book but did not find it great. If you could add to your first list your 11 - 20 maybe the discussion could be longer.

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    1. I'm sure we'd have something in common Bill! I don't really know much about your reading apart from crime and I'm sure plenty of law books. I'll watch out for indicators on your blog...

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  7. Wonderful stuff Moira - fromt he crime list I have not read the Player or the Caudwell - from you main list it's the Robinson and the MacLeod that I clearly need to bone up on - thanks.

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    1. All recommended. I've never found anyone else who has read the Player, though it seems to me to be a truly great crime book - it deserves cult classic status.

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  8. Great post, Moira- though I've only read 3 out of the 20. I think I need to read Sarah Caudwell soon!

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    1. I think you'll love her. She writes so well, there's something very satisfying about her books. I hope you enjoy...

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  9. Of the crime fiction list, I have read 5. I was not as impressed with Thus was Adonis Murdered as others have been, but I am determined to continue the series, especially as I have copies of all of them. I may get to the other five eventually, A Kiss Before Dying and The Nebuly Coat.

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    1. A Kiss Before Dying had one of the best surprises I had ever read - I have never re-read it, and am not sure if it is a great book in other ways, but it earned its place by its twist! I'd love to see your list Tracy....

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    2. And I would love to do such a list ... but I don't think I can. I cannot remember much about what I read 10 years ago, and I have been reading books for 50 years. Maybe I will troll my mind for books I actually remember in some way from from all my years of reading, and surely if I remember them now, they meant something to me then. But it would take a while. Which doesn't fit the constraints above.

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    3. I used to panic if someone asked me for a list, because it would never be definitive, I would always think afterwards I should have added or subtracted something. But nowadays I am much more casual and think the point is making the list of the moment and not worrying about it too much - no-one is going to call you a liar...

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  10. I do like lists. I don't think I have read any of your 20, though 3 or 4 are lurking in the library......Levin, Caudwell, Brand, Allingham.

    Maybe I'll do a list post soon.

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    1. Yes you should - I really like reading other people's, so it seemed logical to do more of my own. Will look forward to your list of books with the most murders, the most imaginative violence, the sneakiest PI etc etc...

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