So I have been collecting recommendations for authors on the lines of Dorothy Sayers and Josephine Tey. Last week I went to the library and got a stack of books for my trip. So here is the short version:
Ngaio Marsh - Final Curtain
I had never heard of her stuff, and I really enjoyed this one. Very thorough on the characterization and there were fun and sympathetic characters while the plot wasn't totally implausible. I will be looking for more of her stuff. It may not be representative, as the first half is told from the perspective of the Detective-Inspector's wife and I don't know if she ever shows up again, but she is a particularly enjoyable character.
Margery Allingham - Black Plumes
This was the darkest in tone and there was a complete dearth of sympathetic characters. It was a little dated, but my real problem was there were just too many miserable, uninteresting or unbelievable people and I thought the twist at the end was a little too out-of-the-blue. I may try a different one before I write her off completely, but so far I have to say she may just not be my style.
Patricia Wentworth - The Ivory Dagger
I am trying not to hold it against her that in her first book that I grabbed, the butler did it. But there were well-drawn characters and an interesting story and I liked the combo of Miss Silver and Inspector Abbott. It is a little fluffier than the others and everyone ends up happily ever after (other than the murderer, and the murder-ee) but not too twee to be enjoyable.
Alan Bradley - The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
Flavia de Luce started out as an irritating character, but she has definitely grown on me. As a modern comparison to these older writers, this stood up well. It is similar in tone, and the overly descriptive writing sometimes gets wearing, but the characters are written well enough for me to give the next book a shot.
And now my mom wants to give me some Simenon. We'll see how he stacks up.
Also, as a logophile, I am trying to arrest the decline of my vocabulary as I get farther away from all of my English classes. Here are the new words I collected from the most recent batch:
rubicund - of a reddish color; ruddy; rosy
epergne - a large table centerpiece consisting of a frame with extended arms or branches supporting holders, as for flowers, fruit, or sweetmeats
verjuice - the acid juice of unripe grapes, apples, or crab apples, formerly much used in making sauces, etc.
tumulus - the mound of earth placed over a tomb
All definitions from here. Not the most useful batch this time, but enjoyable all the same. And spellcheck hates them all.