Best of 2012: Crime and Clothes

A lot of crime stories feature on Clothes in Books (reflecting the reading habits of the proprietor), and it is traditional to produce a Best-of list at the end of the year. (At Mysteries in Paradise, plenty of crime bloggers have linked in to their lists, so you can find dozens of recommendations.)

So – we’ve picked some random categories:

Best New Crime Books this year (ie published in 2012): A tie between Catriona McPherson’s
Dandy Gilver and a Bothersome Number of Corpses - latest in this wonderful historical series - and Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go Bernadette? – a hilarious and accurate look at life in Seattle as a Yummy Mummy (failed) goes missing.

(Another great Dandy Gilver book gave us an excuse to look at gloves, a topic we do enjoy.)

Books that everyone else read ages ago, but it took us a while:
SJ Watson Before I go to Sleep 

Denis Lehane:
Gone Baby Gone 

and Moonlight Mile by the same author

Simon Lelic's Rupture

--- all of them highly recommended as thrillers.

The Book that was better than a much more famous one:

The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen by Lindsay Ashford (pub 2011) – a fascinating murder story and about a million times better than the best-selling Death at Pemberley (a book that surely was only published because of the name of the author).
This entry has a picture that might be of JA herself:

---and there’s a hilarious bit about wearing purple in this one.

Great re-reads from classic eras:

Peter Dickinson Death of a Unicorn (1984) - posh girls, pencil skirts and the male voice

Margery Allingham’s Tiger in the Smoke – so good we had to feature it twice

For Diamond Jubilee reasons, we read a whole load of books first published in 1952, and this thriller was one of the very best, and the best at creating that post-war atmosphere.

Josephine Tey’s Brat Farrar (1949) – doubles, impostors and horses, and you can read it over and over. 

Also Miss Pym Disposes.

John & Emery Bonett’s No grave for a lady (1959) – forgotten authors now, but a great ensemble murder investigation, set in a holiday hotel, and  with important details on stockings.

New discovery: Christobel Kent. We featured A Party in San Niccolo on the
blog, and recommended A Time of Mourning as being even better – part of a new series with her Italian detective Sandro Cellini, a Florentine private eye.

Pretty good book, but also enabled us to use a fabulous picture on the blog - the one at the top of this column. The book also gave us the wonderful phrase 'One block west of the light' 
- Terence Faherty’s Live to Regret from 1995

Re-read and hugely enjoyed: some Agatha Christie, some Gladys Mitchell, an old Sue GraftonRaymond Chandler, and Daphne du Maurier,

We rang in the New Year with Dorothy L Sayers’ 
The Nine Tailors - after starting the blog with Have His Carcase and revisiting it for the 300th entry

In total, 63 crime stories featured on the blog this year – you can see a list of all of them by clicking on the Crime Fiction tab above.

More Best Of 2012 later in the week. For picture credits follow links to the original entries.


  1. I think you and I are on the same wavelength when it comes to re-reads Moira. Interesting you liked Simon Lelic's Rupture. I listened to it as an audio book and I found it unusual and very compelling.

  2. I was enthralled by Rupture while reading it. Afterwards I had a few 'hang on a a minute...' afterthoughts - but I think any book that becomes unputdownable is well worthwhile, even if it isn't perfect in retrospect.

  3. I enjoyed this list tremendously. Reminds me I need to go back to the Myst in Paradise post and check out more that I missed.

    I want to read the Dandy Gilver books. But my favorites on this list are Peter Dickinson and the other classic mysteries. Dickinson is an all time favorite of mine, but I haven't read The Death of a Unicorn (and I just recently got a copy at a book sale).

  4. Thank you for an interesting list of books. Your categories are intriguing.


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