Did Santa (or anyone else, for any reason or holiday whatsoever) bring you a new Kindle from Amazon this year? Yes, I know there are other models of ebook readers, but I have to stick to what I know, which is the Kindle. And if you have a new one, or even an old one, you may be looking for some ideas about Kindling books - that library of traditional mysteries you've always wanted to carry around with you but never had enough baggage room before.
Well, here are a few suggestions to help you load your Kindle with some fine reading material for a long winter's night or two.
To begin at the beginning, why not "bulk up" and get The Classic Mystery Collection (100+ books and stories) for just $2.99. That includes ALL of the original Sherlock Holmes stories - the four novels and the 56 short stories. It has Hercule Poirot's debut appearance in Agatha Christie's "The Mysterious Affair at Styles" and also her first book about Tommy and Tuppence, "The Secret Adversary." Two of Chesterton's books of Father Brown short stories are here, along with "The Man Who Was Thursday." Ever read E. C. Bentley's "Trent's Last Case"? It's here. And a whole lot more. Sure, there's a lot of "stuff" you may not like - or you may discover some new authors whose works demand exploration. It's worth a shot.
One of my all-time favorite mysteries, still at the top of most lists of "impossible crime" books, is John Dickson Carr's The Hollow Man, originally published in the U. S. as "The Three Coffins," now newly re-released as a Kindle book. if you have never read this one, you are in for a treat. What is it about? In the very first paragraph, Carr sets out this challenge to the reader:
“To the murder of Professor Grimaud, and later the equally incredible crime in Cagliostro Street, many fantastic terms could be applied – with reason. Those of Dr. Fell’s friends who like impossible situations will not find in his casebook any puzzle more baffling or more terrifying. Thus: two murders were committed, in such fashion that the murderer must not only have been invisible; but lighter than air. According to the evidence, this person killed his first victim and literally disappeared. Again according to the evidence, he killed his second victim in the middle of an empty street, with watchers at either end; yet not a soul saw him, and no footprint appeared in the snow.”
And that's exactly what you will get.
Another of Carr's impossible crime masterpieces, written as Carter Dickson and featuring Carr's other great creation, Sir Henry Merrivale, is "The Judas Window," with one of the nicest locked room explanations you'll ever encounter. As Sir Henry reminds you throughout, the solution was simply that the murderer used a "Judas Window" to carry out the crime in a locked and bolted room. What's that, you may ask? Why almost every room has one...if you know where to look...
And there's so much more...for example:
- The Nine Tailors, by Dorothy L. Sayers, my favorite Lord Peter Wimsey book;
- The House Without a Key, by Earl Derr Biggers, the book that introduced the great Chinese-American detective Charlie Chan;
- The Roman Hat Mystery, starring Ellery Queen, the detective, and written by Ellery Queen, the writer (Frederick Dannay and Manfred B. Lee), featuring a murder in a crowded Broadway theater.
I'm sure you get the idea. There are lots and lots of mysteries eagerly awaiting placement on your Kindle; you can build a TBR pile that is the envy of those of us with teetering hard copy piles. The cold, dark and stormy nights are approaching - be sure your ebooks are ready!
(Disclosure to keep the gummint happy: if you should actually buy something via one of my links to Amazon, I get a few cents - literally - as a commission. Now don't you feel better for knowing that?)