Booking Through Thursday: Mystery or Love Story?

All things being equal, which would you prefer–a mystery? Or a love story?

See, my instinct when faced with a question like this is to, well, question it. What kind of mystery? What kind of love story? Why can’t they be in the same book? While I’m unfairly prejudiced against mysteries, I’m still always looking for the one mystery that can redeem the genre for me. And I’m always looking for good queer romance. Ultimately, I don’t have a preference—my only preference is for well-written books.

10 thoughts on “Booking Through Thursday: Mystery or Love Story?

  1. I’ll offer a few suggestions for mysteries that might be your cuppa tea. Since you enjoyed Bledsoe’s Dark Jenny, you might like some non-fantasy private eye books. Bledsoe is basically doing a riff on Raymond Chandler, author of The Big Sleep and my favorite, The Long Goodbye.
    Dashiell Hammett’s best work was compared to Hemingway. He wrote The Maltese Falcon, The Thin Man, and the Glass Key, among others.
    For female authors of private eye novels, try Sue Grafton and Marcia Muller. Should have some of those at your local library.

    Since much fantasy is basically historical fiction with magic, you might enjoy some historical mysteries. Sharon K. Penman writes straight historical novels but she also has a mystery series about a man who acts as an agent for Eleanor of Aquitaine. Lot of Game of Thrones type stuff going on. Court intrigue and murder. The first book is The Queen’s Man. Penman’s website is here:

    You might also try literary award winner Sharyn McCrumb’s “Ballad” novels, which include She Walks These Hills and The Rosewood Casket, which take place in the Appalachians. Earlier in her career, McCrumb wrote some lighter mysteries, including a series about a woman named Elizabeth MacPherson which are a lot fun. My favorite is Missing Susan, but Sick of Shadows (Tennyson!) is very good as well.
    She also wrote a mystery set at a SF Convention that you would probably find hilarious called Bimbos of the Death Sun, and a sequel, Zombies of the Gene Pool. McCrumb’s website is here:

    Anyway, just some thoughts.

  2. If you’re looking for a good mystery, I passionately adore Tana French. But she’s a genre-bender. But yeah, she does gorgeous things when she plays with genre conventions.

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