This Sunday, June 12th, at 2PM, MysteryPeople is celebrating International Crime Fiction Month with a panel discussion on our favorite international crime fiction. The panel will include booksellers Scott Montgomery and Molly Odintz, authors Janice Hamrick and Mark Pryor, and KAZI Book Review host, Hopeton Hay. To give you some idea of how the conversation will go, both Janice and Mark have listed three of their favorites.
Janice Hamrick’s Top International Crime Fiction Picks
The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
Written by a Scottish man, the series is located in Botswana and features a female detective (Precious Ramotswe). I enjoy the entirely different world – McCall Smith grew up in Rhodesia and lived and worked in Botswana for a number of years. I also like the gentle pacing of the novels.
The Storm by Neil Broadfoot
Set in Edinburgh, this novel starts with the brutal murder of newspaper editor in front of investigative reporter Doug McGregor. This is one of the new examples of a genre they’re calling Tartan Noir and published by a very small independent press called Saraband. I discovered it because my daughter was the proofreader.
Acqua Alta by Donna Leon
Set in Venice during the “high water” flooding that occurs during the winter, Leon’s Inspector Brunetti investigates murder in the art world. Leon is an American ex-pat living in Venice and her setting is as much a character as any other. A really nice series.
Mark Pryor’s Top International Crime Fiction Picks
Seeking Whom He May Devour by Fred Vargas
Like all her books, Vargas infuses this story with odd characters, suggestions of magical realism, and wonderful snippets of French life. The protagonist Chief Inspector Adamsberg is both quirky and brilliant, using his imagination as much as solid clues to solve this and all his mysteries.
In The Woods by Tana French
I don’t think there’s any more lyrical writing in crime fiction today. This is French’s first novel and maybe her best because the plot is realistic and compelling, the characters engaging, and the prose masterful. I’ve wondered about a couple of her subsequent plots, but even then her writing keeps me hooked.
The Other Side of Silence by Philip Kerr
This is a brilliant series generally but there’s something about the post-war setting in France that makes this one special. The protagonist, Bernie Gunther, is his usual cynical and pragmatic self, and this time he’s mixing it up with writer Somerset Maugham and some delightfully naughty British spies. I’m a busy man and can rarely say this: I read this book in one weekend.