My first new find in the mystery book discussion list (firstname.lastname@example.org) was Thomas Perry. His character Jane Whitfield helps people disappear. The series so far is: Vanishing Act, Dance for the Dead, Shadow Woman, The Face-Changers, and Blood Money. In checking for more information on him, I ran across a strong recommendation for his novel Butcher's Boy. (Rumored in 2002: a movie is planned starring Halle Berry as Jane Whitfield.)
Since then I discovered Janet Evanovich's humorous mystery series, Margaret Lawrence's historical mysteries, Michael Connelly, Daniel Lehane, and G.M. Ford -- and many more collected on the Mystery-B theme pages, like humorous mysteries, female private eyes, bounty hunters, and historical mysteries.
Sharyn McCrumb has several different series characters. Her most serious and critically respected series is "The Ballad Novels" based in the Appalachians and includes If Ever I Return, Pretty Peggy-O, The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter, She Walks These Hills, The Rosewood Casket, and The Ballad of Frankie Silver. Her latest is The Songcatcher, which features ancestors of Sharyn's instead of Nora Bonesteel and Spencer Arrowood, and isn't exactly a mystery, but is definitely a ballad novel. A more light-hearted series features medical examiner Elizabeth MacPherson, but hardly ever any autopsies. The first I read was Highland Laddie Gone, a loving spoof of all American re-enactments of the Highland Games. An even more light-hearted series features Jay Omega. It starts with Bimbos of the Death Sun and continues with Zombies of the Gene Pool, and sends up science fiction fandom. If you take your fandom altogether seriously, you probably won't enjoy the Jay Omega books.
One of my favorites among series is the books about forensic anthropologist Gideon Oliver, by Aaron Elkins. More forensic mysteries are compiled at the Mystery-B website.
On the border between fantasy and mystery, there is The Holmes-Dracula File, by Fred Saberhagen.
Margaret Atwood wrote a novelization about a historic character accused of murder, called Alias Grace. I haven't read it yet myself, but in the book discussion group I am falling behind on it got a very good rating.|| Synopsis | About the Historical Letter | Text of the Letter | Grace Marks on being released from prison | Reviews of Alias Grace
Some intriguing referrals I've gotten that I haven't yet followed up on:
David Carkeet has a linguist hero Jeremy Cook in mystery novels: Double Negative, The Full Catastrophe, and I believe a third one. He has also written I Been There Before, in which Mark Twain is brought back to life (by Halley's Comet) in the late 20th Century and, of course, continues to travel and to write.
Jimmy the Kid by Donald E. Westlake is a fictional treatment of author copyright, one of Westlake's comic "caper" novels. Another new one by Westlake that intrigues me is Murder by Downsizing.
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