Re: RARA-AVIS: you're HOW old?

From: Karen Anderson (
Date: 10 Jan 2000

De-lurking to answer...

>I'm curious about your ages and reading history.

   I'm 45. I got to crime fiction in a roundabout way. When I was in junior high, my uncle gave me THE COMPLETE SHERLOCK HOLMES for Christmas, and I was fascinated. But there wasn't much crime fiction in the house. My dad liked spy and war novels, so it was on to Ian Fleming, Richard Mason's THE WORLD OF SUZIE WONG, Lederer and Burdick's THE UGLY AMERICAN, and some Norman Mailer. I think there was a Mickey Spillane in there somewhere. Most of high school and college I spent in a love affair with southern fiction.

While living in Italy in the 1980s I had access only to Italian-language books. I thought that crime fiction would be fairly easy to read. However, Italians don't write much of it, and English and American crime fiction does not translate well into Italian. But the Inspector Maigret series by Simenon went easily from French to Italian, and so I read everything in the Maigret series that was available. Back in the states, I read it all again, in English. Soon after that I came across a book by Arthur Upfield, and became as entranced by his Australia as by Simenon's France. I've since re-read the Holmes stories, and I went through period of reading pre-War English mysteries (Marsh, Sayers, Innes).

My interest in crime fiction is eclectic. I've read Chandler, Hammett, and Ross MacDonald, and I follow Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Greg Rucka, K.C. Constantine, and Archer Mayor. I was intrigued by Michael Pye's TAKING LIVES (a grisly "psychological"), but don't know if I'd read another of his; I read Crumley's THE LAST GOOD KISS and didn't think it fulfilled the promise of its beginning. I've been lurking on RARA-AVIS to get ideas for what to read in the hard-boiled subgenre. I just found an old paperback of Thompson's THE KILLER INSIDE ME and was duly impressed; I'll be looking for more of his books.


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