Good Reads: September 2019
The Witch Elm by Tana French
Since 2007, Tana French has gained a devoted following with her acclaimed Dublin Murder Squad series. This new stand-alone novel (loosely based on a legendary true crime story) serves as a great illustration of her strengths as a writer and shows why she’s hailed as one of the best newcomers to the mystery genre.
The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale
Don’t miss this non-fiction account of one of England’s very first detectives—one who inspired authors like Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, and Arthur Conan Doyle. The genius is that this book almost immediately feels like a classic whodunnit work of fiction: but everything you’re reading actually happened. Once you pick it up, you won’t put it down until it’s finished.
Crooked House by Agatha Christie
Tired of gimmicky modern mysteries? Agatha Christie won’t let you down. Her later period works like 1949’s stand-alone Crooked House has both historical and narrative depth and is a great example of an established author relishing in her craft. (It’s also a series on Amazon Prime starring Glenn Close.)
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
The death of Abraham Lincoln’s 11-year-old son, Willie, in 1862 shook the man to his core. Newspapers reported that the grief-stricken Lincoln visited the crypt on numerous occasions, weeping over his son’s body. Acclaimed short story writer George Saunders takes this as the subject of his first novel and with a masterful interweaving of the historical and supernatural creates a beautiful father-son story like no other.
Mary: Mrs. A. Lincoln by Janis Cooke Newman
Misunderstood and often misrepresented, Mary Todd Lincoln gains a new level of respect in this passionate work of historical fiction by Janis Cooke Newman. Beginning in the insane asylum from which she later escaped, Cooke lets the character of Mary tell the reader about her life so that we may know her mind and her vibrant spirit and come to appreciate and embrace her complexities.
Lincoln by Gore Vidal
Gore Vidal brings Lincoln to life in this masterful work where historical fact is deftly woven with beautifully observed fiction, lively dialogue, and realistic depictions of many of his closest compatriots. You will have to remind yourself on many occasions that you are in fact reading a work of fiction and not an in-the-moment biography.