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Spenser's Mystery Bookshop

Catalog updated 12/13/14!

Two subjects are battling for attention as the autumn settles in:  the economy and the election.  Each subject is resonating with echoes of the other, but at least one will be behind us very shortly.  Thanks goodness, already.  It's been a long campaign, and a very noisy one—not to mention a very nasty one.   If we can get lost in a book right about now, so much the better.   But where are the books, once thick on the ground, that caught our attention to the point that we were anxious to get back to them when we put them down?

Remember those books that we hated to leave, that never left us?  Chinaman's Chance by Ross Thomas was one, or maybe the first Raymond Chandler I ever picked up.  Certainly John D. MacDonald's The Deep Blue Goodbye or any other of his Travis McGee novels can be numbered among them.  But we all remember our own engagements with favorite authors who captured our imaginations and wouldn't let go.

More recently, I've seen that R.D. Wingfield's Frost novels, A Frost at Christmas, A Touch of Frost, Night Frost, Hard Frost, Winter Frost, and A Killing Frost appeal to readers' imaginations in just that way.  I've started to reread them, myself.  The multiple strands of the stories featuring the scruffy, laconic, impolitic Detective Inspector Jack Frost defeat memory and are consistently engaging, although it has become difficult to disengage the novel's anti-hero from the performance by David Jason in the television series, "A Touch of Frost."  Wingfield wasn't a fan of the representation of Frost on the screen, possibly because his character may be far nastier and off-putting than Jason plays him (with that winning little glimmer in his eye).  But however you take on the novels, they are a wonderful reminder of what it was like to get lost in a fictional landscape.

I've recently discovered that John Lawton's novels featuring London Detective Inspector Frederick Troy (Black Out, Old Flames, A Little White Death, Riptide (Bluffing Mr. Churchill in the US), Blue Rondo (Flesh Wounds in the US), and Second Violin).  I had read Black Out and Bluffing Mr. Churchill and enjoyed them immoderately.  It was only when I picked up Second Violin that I recognized that Lawton had created a history of Troy and his family, starting before World War II and continuing into the 1960's.  These are as much political and historical thrillers as they are mysteries and do not fail on any count.  Second Violin conveniently offers a list of the novels in chronological order, but starting with any one of them now available in paperback would be perfectly acceptable.  Then you'd have the opportunity to reread your first choice in order, as I did, and it's even more involving the second time around.

By the way, as for the awful economic environment:  as we wait for those with more authority (if not more wisdom that any of us) to actually do something to alleviate this mess, you might be interested in reading The Great Crash, 1929 by John Kenneth Galbraith.  It's eminently accessible and a great read.

—Kathy Phillips

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Spenser's Mystery Books
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This Month's Featured Titles

Free shipping for any order that includes a featured book!

[cover]
City of Dragons
by Kelli Stanley

[cover]
Good Morning, Midnight
by Reginald Hill

[cover]
The Shadow Warriors
by Judith Copek

[cover]
The Spenser Companion
by Dennis Tallett

Read more about our featured titles.