Get Blog Posts Via Email

View RSS Feed


BOOKS TO DIE FOR by John Connolly and Declan Burke: Book Review

My favorite mystery book store, Mainely Murders in Kennebunk, Maine, puts out a terrific monthly newsletter.  One of the books Paula and Ann highlighted for February sounded fascinating, so I ordered it.  The book’s subtitle, The World’s Greatest Mystery Writers on the World’s Greatest Mystery Novels, says it all.

The book begins with The Dupin Tales by Edgar Allan Poe (1841) and ends with The Perk by Mark Gimenez (2008).  There are names familiar to all mystery lovers:  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Dame Agatha Christie, Patricia Highsmith; and names not so well known or totally unknown (to me, at least):  Robert Wilson, Peter Temple, Perihan Magden.  There are books from England, France, Italy, South Africa, Switzerland, and of course the United States.

What makes this anthology so interesting to me is that rather than the novels being the choices of only the two editors, Connolly and Burke went to 119 contemporary mystery authors, asking each to choose a mystery that had had a great influence on him or her.  Those writers chose books ranging from the expected (Linda Barnes wrote about The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Conan Doyle) to the unexpected (Liza Marklund wrote about The Ghost of Blackwood Hall by Carolyn Keene).

Also interesting to me are which books were chosen and which were not.  I’m a huge Agatha Christie fan, but the two books picked for this anthology, Murder on the Orient Express and Endless Night, would never have made my list; I much prefer The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and And Then There Were None/aka Ten Little Indians.  In addition, Raymond Chandler leaves me cold, yet his Farewell, My Lovely and The Little Sister are on the list.

I can’t decide what is the best part of Books to Die For; whether it reminds me of books I’d read but really would like to re-read (The Steam Pig by James McClure) or books I’d never heard of but sound terrific (The Long-Legged Fly by James Sallis).  Either way, thanks to Paula and Ann for alerting me to Books to Die ForCheck out their website ( for everything you want to know about mysteries and sign up for their free monthly newsletter.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Reads blog at this web site.


Leave a Reply