The case of the missing curated recommendations
March 8, 2012 5:30 AM   Subscribe

I like mysteries. I don't have a good way of finding new ones. What are some blogs that review mysteries?

Ideally I would find a blog that mostly likes authors I like. Some of my favourites are Susan Hill, Tana French and Carol O'Connell -- authors who don't, exactly, follow the rules. I like historical also. I don't like "this famous real person secretly solved crimes". I am not into thriller or too much graphic description of gruesome crimes. I am tired of serial killers. I like some cozies. I don't want supernatural creatures most of the time. I like financial crimes or other things which aren't murder. I am indifferent as to whether the book follows the cop or the lawyer or both. In general, I tend to prefer mysteries written by women, so I want a site that has at least an approximately equal number of reviews of male-authored and female-authored books (at least 40% female authored).

Although I don't mind specific recommendations for books/authors, I am really looking for a site that writes regular reviews. It doesn't have to be entirely mystery reviews.
posted by jeather to Writing & Language (10 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure how closely it resembles what you're looking for, but I know that The Strand Magazine, both in its pages and on its website, does regular reviews of mystery novels and interviews with prominent authors. In addition, they regularly feature newly published stories and re-releases classics from authors like Graham Greene, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, P.G. Wodehouse, etc.

If I recall correctly, Ellery Queen Magazine also regularly reviews mysteries.
posted by Buddy-Rey at 6:28 AM on March 8, 2012

Stop, You're Killing Me!

Library Journal's Mystery Reviews

This site has tons of links you might find helpful.

I've found's recommendations to be spot on. They can give you recommendations based on books you've already read.

See if your local public library has access to the NoveList database or Books & Authors Database, or a similar database. These databases give lots of recommendations for books. If your local library subscribes to either of these databases, you should be able to access them at home with your library card. Ask your librarian for more information.

Also, ask your librarian for recommendations! We LOVE helping people find something they'll want to read.
posted by stampsgal at 6:28 AM on March 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

I guess I wasn't clear.

I do not want an automatic recommendation machine like GoodReads or NoveList. I do not want to go to the library to ask librarians (and hope I find an anglophone) each time I want a new (to me) mystery. I do not want a roundup of all the new books coming up, or something with a brief description of the new books, or something with a one sentence review of a bunch of new books. I already know about the various awards.

I want a blog (singly written or otherwise) where there is a reasonably long review written at least once a week on a mystery novel, new or not. I want this blog to feature non-gory, non-thrillers, and have at least 40% of their reviews on average be about novels written by women. I have lots of these for SFF, but none for mystery.
posted by jeather at 7:01 AM on March 8, 2012

Check out stampsgal's third link; of those listed in the blogs section reviewingthe evidence is particularly good in my opinion.

Sarah Weinman has stopped updating her original blog but check out her Tumblr for reviews, which she is still publishing on a regular basis.
posted by BibiRose at 8:04 AM on March 8, 2012

By the way,

I want this blog to feature non-gory, non-thrillers, and have at least 40% of their reviews on average be about novels written by women.

I can't think of any existing blog which exactly fits your specification; if there were to be one it would probably be written by, well, you.
posted by BibiRose at 8:14 AM on March 8, 2012

Barbara Fister and Auntie M Writes are two very good mystery book bloggers.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:39 AM on March 8, 2012

Have you looked at the Seattle Mystery Bookshop website?
posted by crush-onastick at 1:34 PM on March 8, 2012

My ears are burning.

You might find these bloggers worth following for non-gory non-thrillers (mostly):

Keishon's blog
Lourdes Vernard
Lesa Holstine
Kittling Books

Terrific reviewers who are not US based (so sometimes review books that need to be ordered from abroad are

Maxine Clarke, Petrona (UK)
Bernadette, Reactions to Reading(Australia)

Several of these reviewers hang out at the Crime and Mystery Fiction FriendFeed room, which is a place to keep up with new reviews, interviews, and such.
posted by bfister at 3:29 PM on March 9, 2012

NPR publishes reviews of mysteries on a regular basis.
The Mystery Strumpet column in Bookslut, an online book review website
Otto Penzler's blog (also check out his anthologies if you like short stories)

Not on the internet, but sources of new authors nonetheless:
The Best American Mystery Stories anthologies, published annually
The Akashic Noir series

I've had the most luck finding book blogs by people with similar tastes by searching for the names of specific authors and books that I liked, and reading the blog entries that come up. (Sometimes searching for two authors who are similar to me but not obviously related works well here. And it helps if the book is somewhat obscure, or not of recent publication.)
posted by Bufo_periglenes at 2:00 AM on March 24, 2012

P.S. A few recommendations, by way of my mother (who, from what you say, may have tastes similar to yours—she likes well-written, non-gruesome murder mysteries).
Donna Leon, Andrea Camilleri, Iain Pears, Cara Black, Ian Sansom, Magdalen Nabb, Janwillem van de Wetering, Leonardo Padura, Dorothy L. Sayers
posted by Bufo_periglenes at 2:10 AM on March 24, 2012

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