, Muskogee, OK

October 7, 2012

Celebrate mystery series this week

Roy Rouell
Books & More

— The game is afoot this week during National Mystery Series Week, celebrating much-loved whodunnit’s such as Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Nick and Nora, Nero Wolfe, Miss Marple and the like.

Modern crime fiction has been around since the 1800s, starting with Edger Allan Poe’s Murders in the Rue Morgue starring Monsieur Auguste Dupin. Dupin became the inspiration for Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot. Poe’s writing also set up several of the major elements of detective fiction that are still used.

Since the1800s mystery and detective fiction has grown as a genre and now includes supernatural mysteries, historic murder mysteries, and superhero detectives. These offer adventure in books, on the big screen, and TV. Even supernatural sleuths such as Harry Dresden have captured the public eye with the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher.

Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files focuses on Harry Dresden, a wizard in modern day Chicago who works as a private investigator and consultant for the police. He is often called out to assist on cases the police department finds to be unusually savage and suspect something more than natural is happening. The series is written like the hard boiled PI novel with Harry narrating his cases. The first in the series is titled Storm Front.

If you grew up with superheroes, Batman: the Ultimate Evil by Andrew Vachss is a novel involving the world’s greatest detective battling a real world evil. The novel follows Batman’s alter ego Bruce Wayne as a slight alteration to the origin of the Caped Crusader is presented. With the realization that Bruce Wayne’s mother was a child advocate who battled a trafficking ring, Bruce Wayne is drawn into the battle as he tries to take down a child trafficking ring. Vachss includes a non-fiction article to tie the novel to real life. The themes of child trafficking and abuse gear this novel to a mature audience.

The more down-to-earth might instead like to investigate the world of amateur and private detectives, rife with police procedure and forensics. And there are serial killers who hunt down criminals, such as Dexter.

Victorian era fans might try the Detective Murdock Series by Maureen Jennings, which starts with Except the Dying. The series is set in Canada during the late Victorian period and the turn of the century. Detective Murdock is a detective in the Toronto police force and uses his intellect and determination to help solve murders. You can also witness Detective Murdock’s investigative skills coupled with early forensics on the Canadian series Murdock Mysteries available for viewing on a popular subscription internet movie site.

To learn more about series, access the NoveList database on  www.eok.lib Click on the Research tab, then scroll down to NoveList and enter your preferences. Fantastic Fiction ( is another great resource for identifying series by genre.

Information: Muskogee Public Library, (918) 682-6657 or (888) 291-8152.