It’s handy how libraries have those stickers that tell you which books are sci-fi, westerns, mystery, romance, etc. I avoid the westerns and the romance novels, and I used to avoid the mysteries. But don’t ask me why I steadfastly avoided them – it’s a mystery to me now.
What’s strange is that I can’t remember anymore why I thought I wouldn’t like mysteries. Did I think they’d be scary? Boring? Silly? Poorly written?
What changed my mind wasn’t any particular book or books, as far as I can remember, but the fact that I needed a steady supply on books on tape to listen to while I rode my exercise bike. By excluding mysteries, I limited myself to a much smaller number of books. There are a lot of mysteries on tape (these days, on CD), and once I discovered how much I enjoyed them, it gave me a huge number of new books to listen to and enjoy.
Mysteries actually turned out to be the best books to listen to while riding the exercise bike, because, more than other books, they pushed me to get myself out of bed to get further in the book and get to the bottom of the mystery. Some of my favorites have been the Mrs. Pollifax books by Dorothy Gilman and the Brother Cadfael series by Ellis Peters. These are so good that I read all the books in print that I couldn’t find on tape at the library. They’re also the only mysteries I’m inclined to reread, as they’re interesting for more than just finding out what happens.
I’ve listened to several of Mary Higgins Clark’s mysteries, though I lost interest in her books after a while. I enjoyed several books by Patricia Cornwell, and everything I listened to by Tony Hillerman. Other authors I have enjoyed (and would listen to more of their books if the library had them) are David Baldacci, Kathy Reichs, Phillip Margolin, and P.D. James. (One I haven’t enjoyed enough to listen to more than one title by is Sue Grafton.)
Right now I’m listening to one (purchased from the library when they removed it from their holdings) by Elizabeth Peters. I enjoy it, but I have to admit that it’s not gripping enough to get me eagerly out of bed in the morning to find out what comes next. Fortunately the next one in line (similarly purchased from the library) is by David Baldacci. As I remember, his books are real page-turners – or in this case, would that be pedal-turners?