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Maigret

Most Underrated Mystery Novel and Why?

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In your opinion, what's the most underrated mystery novel you've ever read? Not the best, not the most well written, or even the most clever, just a book you think doesn't receive the attention it deserves.

 

To me it either goes to Casebook of the Black Widowers by Isaac Asimov, or Body Blows by Marc Strange. Black Widowers was recommended to me by another series and I probably wouldn't have heard of it otherwise. None of the other mystery fans I know seem to have heard of it. It is an older series (I believe one of the first stories was published in 1977.), but the age of a series doesn't seem to affect it that much. I can understand why it isn't popular, it isn't as dramatic or action packed. I mean, the entirety of one story takes place during a dinner. However, the mysteries are very puzzling (I can never figure them out) and the protagonist is very differently presented. The story is led entirely by the minor characters around him, the protagonist only has a handful of lines of dialogue and that's when he's deducing an answer. It's not a favorite and most certainly isn't on any of my top ten lists, but I think it's interesting and worth a read.

 

Now, Body Blows was never a book I could picture myself reading. In fact, if it wasn't on sale for two dollars at a local used book store I never would have picked it up, but worse case scenario I wasted two bucks. However, it was not a waste at all. I won't deny Joe is one of those detectives that never gets out of his own head, constantly focuses on unimportant aspects of the story, and almost stubbornly refuses to put any enthusiasm into solving the case. You know the type, one of those modern hard-boiled thuggish sorts. However, I find myself oddly liking him, as far as detective's go I'm repulsed and at the same time enamored with his easy going method of solving the case. Not to mention the case itself was truly hard to figure out, but towards the end it becomes more than a little underwhelming. Instead of a climactic conclusion, the ending just sort of fizzles out into nothing and people are disturbingly calm about all the things that happen in the falling action. It's nothing noteworthy, so I'm not really surprised when people tell me they don't know it. Still, I think it deserves some attention because of the protagonist is such a cliche, but at the same time completely likable. It's an interesting look into characterization if nothing else.

 

Okay, so what's your pick? 

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Payment Deferred - by C.S. Forester. Published in 1926. Not one of his naval stories. A tale that reminds us that many crimes are committed by very ordinary people, and tells us how the consequences of those crimes begin in small ways and then mount up and mount up... It's a story that grips from start to finish.

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Payment Deferred - by C.S. Forester. Published in 1926. Not one of his naval stories. A tale that reminds us that many crimes are committed by very ordinary people, and tells us how the consequences of those crimes begin in small ways and then mount up and mount up... It's a story that grips from start to finish.

I must look for this, still in print?Good writer.

I'm afraid I can't think of any, the problem is that only the good ones seem to stick in the mind, and in my case  even the good ones fade from memory!

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