Books To Die For: The World’s Greatest Mystery Writers on the World’s Greatest Mystery Novels

By Edited by John Connolly & Declan Burke
Emily Bestler Books 29.95 537 pages

This 537 page ‘must-have’ book for crime book lovers is packed with 121 short essays about of 104 well known mystery novelists. Between Poe’s The Dupin Tales (1841) and Mark Gimenez’s The Perk (2008), aficionados of the genre will recognize Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie, and Hammett, Stout, Chandler, Greene, Ambler, Macdonald, King, Ackroyd, and the list goes on. Their reviewers are contemporary mystery writers such as Lee Child, Laurie King, Elmore Leonard, and the book’s editors John Connolly and Declan Burke. Each chapter critiques one of a novelist’s well known works, with synopses of the careers and kudos of both novelist and reviewer. Many have written best sellers and have won many mystery writers’ best awards.

Books to Die For is packed with interesting facts. Georges Simenon of Inspector Maigret fame, for example, also wrote hundreds of other novels and novellas (some pseudonymously). And James Ellroy, aka ‘Demon Dog’, grew up with his own mother’s unsolved  murder and later wrote about it. A few writers were once espionage agents. Good mysteries come from all over the globe, from Ireland and Sweden, Canada and the USA, and more. In a word, this big book is a dedicated crime reader’s treasure trove.

Reviewed By Don Messerschmidt

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