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This month begins the thirteenth year of Marilyn’s Mystery Reads.  It’s hard to believe that I’ve been blogging about mysteries for such a long time.  But the books just keep on being written and published, and I just keep on reading them, and by now blogging about my favorites seems to be something I need to do.  Plus the positive feedback I’ve received over the years inspires me to keep writing.

Speaking of continuing to do something I love, I’ll be teaching my twelfth course at BOLLI (Brandeis Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) starting later this month.  My topic for the spring semester is WHODUNIT?:  DOWN THESE MEAN STREETS, taken from Raymond Chandler’s essay about the type of man (remember, this was written in 1944) who is a private investigator.

But times have changed, and women as well as men are walking these streets, aware of danger but determined to bring justice to those who have been wronged.  The women protagonists are as tough and skilled as the men, and the cases that clients bring to them are as difficult and dangerous as those faced by Philip Marlowe (Chandler), Sam Spade (Dashiell Hammett), or Lew Archer (Ross Macdonald).

During the ten week course, we’ll be reading the following eight books, which feature both male and female protagonists and were written by male and female authors: Hard Time by Sara Paretsky, An Unsuitable Job for a Woman by P. D. James, The Bitterroots by C. J. Box, Butchers Hill by Laura Lippman, The Galton Case by Ross Macdonald, The Last Place You Look by Kristin Lepionka, Stalking the Angel by Robert Crais, and Come to Grief by Dick Francis.

Some of these authors will be familiar to class members, and others will be unfamiliar; one of the best parts of teaching these courses is introducing mystery readers to authors they haven’t read before.

As always, I invite you to read along with us beginning with Hard Time on March 6th.  Perhaps you too will be introduced to a writer who is new to you; if that’s the case, just think of all the wonderful mysteries by that particular author yet to be read.


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