Summer reading: Mystery writer Alan Bradley’s top book picks

Alan Bradley has myriad of fans who eagerly await each installment in his Flavia de Luce mystery series. And now there’s word that the rights to the stories have been optioned by director Sam Mendes for adaptation as a TV series.

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Elephant's Breath & London Smoke by Deb Salisbury

Elephant’s Breath & London Smoke by Deb Salisbury

Vengeance by Benjamin Black

Vengeance by Benjamin Black

The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny

The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny

The Sultan's Wife by Jane Johnson

The Sultan’s Wife by Jane Johnson

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

Alan Bradley author of Flavia de Luce

Author Alan Bradley

Alan Bradley has myriad fans who eagerly await each installment in his Flavia de Luce mystery series. And now there’s word that the rights to the stories have been optioned by director Sam Mendes for adaptation as a TV series. But the time between optioning and hitting the small screen can be lengthy, so while you eagerly await the next puzzle Flavia will unravel, here are some summer reading recommendations the author has for you.

The Sultan’s Wife by Jane Johnson, $23.
Jane Johnson’s gorgeously written The Sultan’s Wife cost me two days of writing time – even more if you count the hours I spent scurrying to find her earlier books. Poison and black magic in 1677 Morocco plus an intrepid Englishwoman taken captive by Barbary corsairs. What more could a reader want?

The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny, $28. I’m marking the days on my calendar until publication of Louise Penny’s forthcoming The Beautiful Mystery. A chance to return again with Inspector Armand Gamache to the village of Three Pines is as refreshing a boost as you can get legally nowadays. Everyone to whom I’ve recommended this series has thanked me profusely, and I think you will, too.

Vengeance
by Benjamin Black by $30.
Booker Prize winner John Banville, under the pen name Benjamin Black, is well into a new detective series featuring Dublin detective Quirke (no first name), of which the soon-to-be published Vengeance is the latest.
If you love literary mysteries, look no further. All the textures of darkness make his dissections of the human soul wonderful to read and horrible to contemplate.

Elephant’s Breath and London Smoke by Deb Salisbury, $41. This is one of those serendipitous finds that you’re always hoping to happen upon. If you’ve been hunting for work that culls the names of fabric colours from books printed between 1380 and 1922, your search is over. From Aaz to Zulu Pink, this has to be the most, um, colourful book I’ve ever read. I just can’t quit picking it up. Hmmm, I wonder what ‘Puke’ looked like? Or “Mouse in a fright?” “Virtuous toad,” tennis shoes, anyone?

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