Pat Conroy is a really good writer.
That kind of generic praise will not win me a job as book reviewer, but it's true.
I'm listening to his South of Broad in audio book form and it's really, really good. It's the librarian in me that compels me to give you some advice. Although I'm not an actual librarian, I can parlay my love of books into a bossy post for this website.
Does his name sound familiar? He is the author of "Prince of Tides" which was made into a movie. Barbra Streisand starred, for those of you who know who Barbra Streisand is.
I should say I really enjoyed the first half of the book when it told the story of the protagonist's childhood. The next section is allright, but now it's dragging.
Anyway. It's dark and wintry out there, so why not cuddle up with a good mystery? Agatha Christie is the old standby, and for good reason. You could branch out with a new author, like Dorothy Sayers. She's not new, but an English author from early in the past century who wrote the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries. My mother-in-law told me about Mary Roberts Rinehart, an American who published her first book, The Circular Staircase, in 1908. Back to English people with Arthur Conan Doyle. Who doesn't love Sherlock Holmes and his funny little hat?
I love the phrase "hard-boiled detective stories". I finished The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler earlier this year. All I could think about as I read were hard-boiled eggs.
The library abounds with lists of mysteries, and book stores have staff recommendations so you are sure to enjoy a good read without having to spend too much time searching it out. Don't forget about the internets! It is full of websites with more than enough information to get you on the path to a good whodunnit.
There's always the classic The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, credited with starting the thriller genre. (Mom, you're totally going to love this story! I hope you find the box it's in this year!)
What is it about England that is synonymous with murder mysteries? Is it the fog on the moors? The tea? Crumpets? The notoriety for bad teeth? I don't know the answer to this, but to say that plenty of great stories come from the isle. Even if you're not into mysteries, you have to be intrigued by the foggy moors in Wuthering Heights.
Turn off the tv, build up the fire, brew some tea, send the kids to bed early (with a good book of their own to read before turning out the lights), and get down with litrahtyur. Off you go.