My largest genre by far. There are 592 books tagged ‘mystery’ in my Library Thing library. The next closest number is ‘history’ with 246. According to my booklist, I had 398 mystery books in my house prior to my last purge. I got rid of about half of them, but because it is my favorite genre I’ve probably added about a third of that number back. Giving me roughly 260 mystery novels currently.
I read historic mysteries, my favorite settings being until recently, the medieval/Tudor era and the early Roman Empire. Lately the 1920’s have been growing on me, with 12 of the 15 books I recently purchased being set in that era (the Daisy Dalrymple series and the Phryne Fisher series).
I approached these shelves with some dread because the vast majority of these books are old friends. All the Agatha Christies, gathered from used bookstores around Morgantown while I was in college. I remember packing them up every May (more of them every year) and carting them to yet another apartment, finding new spaces to tuck them in. Many are the times I chose to reread a Miss Marple mystery rather than translate my Old English homework or work on essays. Many are still the time when I choose a Hercule Poirot over cleaning the bathroom.
The Brother Cadfael novels, collected over time from Morgantown and then used bookstores in northern Virginia. At some point I gave many of them away and then found myself desperate to read them when I was pregnant with Havoc and had to re-find them all.
The Falco series by Lindsey Davis. I found the first 3 at a mystery book store in DC and ended up buying the next few from Amazon UK, having them shipped with the Dr Who novels. Then I stopped working and had to wait a year each time for the newest ones to be published in America because I could no longer afford the exchange rate & shipping.
The SPQR series by John Maddox Roberts that I came to late, relatively speaking. I didn’t discover them until Havoc was born and I ran across the first 4 at a book overstock warehouse event. I tracked down the other 3 that had been published on half.com and since then it has become my annual Xmas holiday gift to myself to have the latest release sent to me while I visit my folks in Florida so I can read the whole book largely in one long mostly uninterrupted session.
The Thomas & Charlotte Pitt books; the paperbacks & first couple hardbacks bought at a used bookstore in the shopping plaza across from my first professional job. I bought the first 3 on Friday afternoon, devoured them in 48 hours and went back on Sunday to get the rest they had, but the store was closed so I had to wait until Monday.
There are also the Sarah Kelling mysteries and the first 4 Irene Adler mysteries (I ditched the others in the last purge), and the Hilary Tamar books and the Ben Franklin series, not to mention all the Mrs Pollifax books.
I can’t get rid of them. Maybe if I reshelve them they’ll take up less space
begins rapidly sorting books into piles by author, grouping eras together, pausing to glance at plot synopsizes…
You know, I did more or less lose interest in the Pitt novels when he was fired from the police and went to work for the Special Branch. I suppose I could get rid of those books in the series.
Then there is the Sister Fidelma series by Peter Tremayne, not to mention the Sister Frevisse books by Margaret Frazer… good stories, I like the settings and protagonists & the secondary regular characters. They are well plotted & interesting mysteries. But I have no strong bond of affection for them. No fond memories of finding them and reading them. I think I found both series from recommendations on an elist & then just bought them from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Plus they are all in my local library.
Then there are a few random mysteries that I picked up & didn’t much care for, they should go to. I could probably get rid of the Sarah Kelling & Mrs Pollifax books too, but I do find myself called to read them at odd moments & the library is not fully stocked with either series. I should probably hold onto them for now. The Ben Franklin books are in the library though and it’s been a while since I have wanted to read them. I think I went on a reading bender with them and the Justice Fielding series a year or so ago. I could probably safely list them on ebay too.
So let’s see. There are 30 mystery books going out. This is offset by the 35 mystery books that have come into the house in the past 6 months, 15 of which arrived in the last 2 weeks, giving me a net gain of 5 mysteries.
Somehow I don’t think the point of a purge is to come out ahead.