I’ve mentioned some of the masters: Agatha Christie, Ellery Queen, Arthur Conan Doyle, and John Dickson Carr.
I recently came across a website in which mystery author John Verdon (I’m not familiar with him but feel I should be) lists 10 of his favorite whodunits. Conan Doyle, for Hound of the Baskervilles, is the only author mentioned above that appears on his list. Some of his picks surprised me.
His very first selection is Oedipus Rex, followed by Hamlet. He also likes Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré, Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith, and The Crossing by Michael Connelly. His entire list along with justifications appears at https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/tip-sheet/article/70916-10-best-whodunits.html.
My next post, the one that should have been here, was ready to go. But instead I felt a need to return to my favorite genre after I finished reading Anthony Horowitz’s Magpie Murders, published in 2017.
It offers all anyone could want in a whodunit, while simultaneously educating us about what a whodunit truly is. I don’t want to reveal too much because, if you like this genre, you’re sure to like this book. Let me just quote a phrase from the inside front cover flap: …this fiendishly brilliant, riveting thriller interweaves a classic whodunit worthy of Agatha Christie….
But this book goes way beyond the classical whodunit and Agatha in a masterful way, without ever leaving the genre. To me, there’s even a reminder of Hamlet. If you read Magpie Murders, I’ll be interested in hearing if you think I’m completely off my rocker about the Hamlet comment.
I like to believe I’ve been somewhat successful in creating whodunits in Math Is Murder and Murder by the Numbers, but I’ve strayed from strict compliance to the style in You’re Almost There and Patriotism.
Magpie Murders has tweaked my interest in trying one again. So I hope you’ll excuse me if I quit the blog here and spend some time trying to come up with a plot, even if I have to abandon, for a while, the book I’ve already started.
“What does this mean for me?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, you said I’d be in the book you’ve been working on. Now what will happen to me?”
“Don’t know, but we do need a brilliant non professional detective. Elmo, stop grinning.”
I’m glad I didn’t add “flawed” to the detective’s description.