Sunday, July 19, 2015

I Love British Mysteries--Then and Forever

By Leann

Like many of you, Agatha Christie was my first introduction to British mysteries and I was about ten
when  I started reading her books (with a dictionary right beside me). Little did I know it would become a love affair that would last my entire life. Not only do I adore the puzzle and the character development, but it's the respect for language and setting that means so much to me.

When I took a 5 day workshop taught by Elizabeth George in  the late '90s, she gave a quote I have never forgotten--and I am not sure who to attribute it to, but it went something like this: A good book puts you in the arms of a loving narrative. She went on to
say that if you feel that love from the beginning of the book, you can suspend your disbelief immediately. It doesn't matter what genre, it's just the truth about a good book. British writers do this so well.

The other thing I love is how well British authors weave scenery into the story. The landscape sets the tone for each scene and I try very hard to remember that when I am writing. Perhaps that's why I write about the South even though I am from the North. I truly felt as if I had moved to a foreign country when we left New York for Texas and this helped me realize just how important atmosphere as defined by locale is to the narrative.

There are many more beloved foreign writers in my slew of books now.
I have come to enjoy Scandinavian mysteries almost as much as the UK writers. (And yes, Stieg Larrson's title for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was actually The Man Who Hated Women.) Not that I don't love American writers, too. I have many many favorites and have enjoyed so many books in my life. (I am currently reading Linda Castillo's most recent Amish mystery). I just love to read and no day is complete with reading. And if you don't adore books, then it's my belief you can never become a writer. I think writers absorb stories as if they were athletes working out. I need the workout to strengthen my writing muscle--my brain.

Tell me what authors put you in the arms of a loving narrator. I'd love to know.