Having been reading through a backlog of British Crime Classics (just finished ‘Death Makes a Prophet’ by John Bude, which I quite enjoyed without feeling inspired to review) I have got to thinking about how many of them that I’ve read so far, that I would ever consider rereading. And I think that the number would be very few.
With the exception of Anthony Berkeley’s The Poisoned Chocolates Case, which I already owned and love, I might reread Antidote to Venom by Freeman Wills Croft, possibly Death of Anton by Alan Melville (though not Quick Curtain by the same author) and possibly The Notting Hill Mystery by Charles Warren Adam, which has a particular old fashioned style and multiple point of view approach which appeals to me (I love Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone so much, that I would swap it for all the Dickens ever written, including the alternate universe finished version of Edwin Drood in which it turns out it was all an opium dream).
So, I’ve mildly enjoyed most of the books (except the Mavis Doriel Hay’s, all rather poor in my opinion) and am generally pleased that they are in print (especially as a vast number of people will disagree with me about the quality – which is as it should be. Dissension is the spice of life (well, unless it kills you)). But if I’d read almost any of them as my first introduction to classic crime, I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t be such a fan as I am now. Whereas, I have reread almost all of Agatha Christie, several Margery Allinghams, all of Cyril Hare and Edmund Crispin (with the exception of Glimpses of the Moon) and a couple of John Dickson Carrs, among others. As for Dorothy L Sayers – whose books were my first introduction to detection, in my mother’s slightly scuffed omnibus edition which sat next to a John Wyndham omnibus on the shelf and is therefore mixed up obscurely in my love of sci-fi as well – I reread all of them every few years, and enjoy something different in them every time.
So I’m still going to persevere with the series, in hopes of finding a neglected author that I’ll love as much as those. But I was wondering, are there any books (in any genre) that you have found in some way excellent but would not reread? And which authors have dragged you into a genre so completely that you’ve waded through a fair amount of meh, just to find that ‘wow!’ again?