CIS: My classics by Cathy Ace

cathyace540Classic_Crime_150x150Not only is Cathy Ace the author of the wonderful Cait Morgan Mystery series, but she’s also the Vice President of the Crime Writers of Canada. That means she’s quite a busy lady, so we were definitely the lucky ones when she agreed to join us here for Classics in September and share her five favourite classic crime novels.

Cathy’s latest book is The Corpse with the Emerald Thumb, but watch out because on 25 September a new one is due out – The Corpse with the Platinum Hair. These two join her previous novels The Corpse with the Golden Nose and The Corpse with the Silver Tongue both of which have been reviewed on our site. That’s a lot of corpses, but that’s how we like it here on Crime Fiction Lover. If you’ve never tried one of Cathy’s books, you might be impressed with how she manages to meld a Golden Age feel into a more contemporary setting in British Columbia. Anyhow, here are her favourite classics.

pietrthelatvian100Pietr the Latvian by Georges Simenon (1930)
I grew up watching Rupert Davies play Maigret on TV. Searching out the books upon which the TV series was based, I whisked through dozens of titles, gorging myself to the point where I couldn’t read another. When I returned to Maigret about a decade ago, I read Simenon’s writing with fresh eyes. It’s simple – some might say simplistic. It tells a cinematic story without letting the words get in the way, and it builds a fabulous sense of place and atmosphere as it does so. I like it.
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MurderMustAdvertiseMurder Must Advertise by Dorothy L Sayers (1933)
I understand that some find the work of Dorothy L Sayers too wordy, sadly innocent, and requiring too great a level of suspension of disbelief. But she took me to worlds I had never encountered as a younger reader, and fascinated me. Yes, Lord Peter Wimsey can be grating, but the puzzles he faces are fun. Here he ventures into the business of advertising. Having worked in an advertising agency myself in the 1980s I thoroughly enjoy Sayers’ evocation of a world that hadn’t changed much in the intervening 50 years. The rapier thrusts of dialogue within the office environment are delightful.
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spanishcapemystery200The Spanish Cape Mystery by Ellery Queen (1935)
I vividly remember the thrill I would feel when pulling a yellow-jacketed Gollancz Thriller from the shelves of Brynhyfryd Library, close to my similarly named junior school in Swansea, and, for some reason, this one has stuck in my mind. Maybe it influenced my writing more than I thought, because here we meet Queen intent upon enjoying a holiday in Scotland, but having to solve a murder. Anyone who’s read my Cait Morgan Mysteries will know that Cait can barely get away for more than a few hours before she encounters a corpse!
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artistsincrime100Artists in Crime Ngaio Marsh (1938)
In this book, Agatha Troy enters the world of Inspector Roderick Alleyn, and nothing is ever quite the same for either of them after their first meeting. A feisty whirlwind of artistic passion buffeting the controlled life of the professional detective is bound to throw up some interesting challenges. A complex plot from the queen of complex plots, and the start of a new journey for Alleyn. Great fun!
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daughteroftimeThe Daughter of Time Josephine Tey (1951)
Hailed upon its release as “…one of the best, not of the year, but of all time” by the revered Anthony Boucher, who am I to disagree? The device of having the detective (Grant) solve a historical mystery while laid-up has been used by others since, and the investigation into Richard III’s role in the deaths of his nephews has also been tackled again. I wonder how the discovery of the remains in the car park will rekindle interest in this book, or change the way we view it. A thought-provoking read, awash with history.
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3 Comments

  1. Liz Straw Reply

    I’ve read all Josephine Tey books, Ellery Queen Books, Dorothy L. Sayers books and Ngaio Marsh Books and several of George Simeon books. I think when I was younger I just worked my way down the library shelves and when I went to Indiana University which has one of the largest libraries, I would spend time in the stacks reading odd books in there. (Probably should have been studying, but those books just called to me)

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