Recommend mystery fiction, especially mystery fiction by authors whose works were adapted into Alfred Hitchcock Presents episodes
June 11, 2012 3:08 PM   Subscribe

Recommend mystery fiction, especially mystery fiction by authors whose works were adapted into Alfred Hitchcock Presents episodes

I'm not familiar with any mystery fiction, but I've been a longtime fan of Alfred Hitchcock Presents which makes me think I'd enjoy mystery in book form.

I'm a fan of the short story form and somehow think I'd prefer mystery in that form rather than in novel form. But feel free to recommend any quality mystery fiction -- especially that which was adapted into Alfred Hitchcock Presents episodes.

posted by GlassHeart to Writing & Language (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Patricia Highsmith would be a good place to start. She's the author of Strangers on a Train which was adapted into a Hitchcock movie but she also wrote a lot of short stories. According to this wiki, she also wrote one episode for the (I'm not sure whether it was an original screenplay or adapted from one her short stories Alfred Hitchcock TV hour.

Highsmith also wrote The Talented Mr. Ripley as well as other books with Ripley as the main character. The Wim Wenders film The American Friend is an adaptation of Ripley's Game.
posted by kaybdc at 3:18 PM on June 11, 2012

Library of America published two collections of crime fiction, one "30s to 40s", the other "50s to 60s." They're wonderful, and Google will show you them quickly enough. The collections contain both the stories that kaybc mentioned, and more.
posted by Stagger Lee at 3:25 PM on June 11, 2012

Ray Bradbury wrote a short story called "Touched With Fire" that was later adapted into an Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode titled "Shopping For Death" (available on Netflix).
posted by cp311 at 3:26 PM on June 11, 2012

I think you would enjoy the work of Ruth Rendell (she also writes novels under the pen name of Barbara Vine). Many of her short stories and stand-alone novels (I'm not thinking so much of the Inspector Wexford series) have an element of the sort of thing you're looking for.

Specific recommendations:

Short story collections
  • Piranha to Scurfy
  • The Copper Peacock

    Novels (published under the name Barbara Vine)
  • Asta's Book
  • Gallowglass
  • A Dark-Adapted Eye
  • A Fatal Inversion

    I find her work compelling but sometimes quite disturbing--by which I mean the ending of a book will sometimes stay with me. I read one of these novels over a decade ago and I will still sometimes think of the ending and shudder.

  • posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 3:44 PM on June 11, 2012

    Robert Bloch penned The Sorcerer's Apprentice, and also a little something called Psycho.
    posted by dortmunder at 4:24 PM on June 11, 2012

    Let me also point out that Ed McBain was the screenwriter for The Birds
    posted by dortmunder at 4:32 PM on June 11, 2012

    It may help you to have this Wikipedia list of AHP episodes with their writers. Among them: Evan Hunter (aka Ed McBain, author of the 87th Precinct novels), A.A. Milne (Pooh), Roald Dahl, and John Cheever.
    posted by MonkeyToes at 4:35 PM on June 11, 2012

    Strong Poison, Dorothy Sayers. I think a story like it was adapted for Hithcock Presents? Not 100% certain.
    posted by stoneandstar at 5:01 PM on June 11, 2012

    I really enjoyed 64 Great Murder Mysteries, found thanks to this AskMe.
    posted by invisible ink at 5:01 PM on June 11, 2012

    Er, that should be 65.
    posted by invisible ink at 5:04 PM on June 11, 2012

    On MonkeyToes's list, I noticed lots of Cornell Woolrich and Stanley Ellin, and they are both fantastic. Also at least one Lillian de la Torre, who was great.

    I would probably skip Adela Rogers St. Johns; her style reads as terribly dated now.
    posted by Sidhedevil at 5:58 PM on June 11, 2012

    The modern heir to Cornell Woolrich in my opinion is Megan Abbott.
    posted by Sidhedevil at 5:59 PM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

    Seconding Dahl and Woolrich and Bloch. Avoid Sayers, she's not what you want.

    There were a number of anthologies of stories from Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, and I bet you'd like those stories if you can find them. There is a list of them all, including contents. Names that crop up a lot there might also be of interest to you.

    Something like Twilight Zone: 19 Original Stories on the 50th Anniversary, or a similar collection, would also be worth a look.
    posted by wdenton at 6:48 PM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

    Sayers is great, but her writing is the epitome of the "English cozy." I have no idea how they made a Sayers story or book fit the noir-ish tone of Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

    Celia Fremlin is another writer who comes to mind who has that same bleak, slightly snarky tone.
    posted by Sidhedevil at 6:58 PM on June 11, 2012

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