Retro Reading: Murder Ink, by Dylis Wynn

Murder Ink
Dylis Wynn

Originally published in 1977, Murder Ink is subtitled “The mystery lover’s companion,” and that description is absolutely adequate, because this book is a collection of essays, reviews, trivia and tidbits all about mystery fiction. Gems include an ad-flyer for the perfect Gothic nightgown, a discussion of pen names, and even one author’s fantasy of dining with Nero Wolfe.

My experience with Murder Ink goes back to 1984. My stepfather picked up a copy on a discount table, and it quickly became mine. After all, I’m constantly reading, and I love mysteries.

Ms. Wynn compiled a revised version of Murder Ink in 1994, but I don’t have a copy of it (yet). She also released a volume called Murderess Ink that focused on women in mysteries, which I’ve read, but don’t own.

Even though the original Murder Ink is pretty dated now, I still love it, and I find myself responding to different selections at different times. For example, a recent game of CLUE made me remember the poem in Murder Ink all about the game.

Book Review: Real Murders by Charlaine Harris

Real Murders
by Charlaine Harris
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When a friend gave me almost the entire collection of Charlaine Harris’s Aurora Teagarden mysteries to read, I was a little bit leary. After all, this was the same woman who had captured my attention with the Sookie Stackhouse books. How would her earlier series compare?

I had nothing to worry about, at least with book one, Real Murders. It’s the story of a serial killer who is committing crimes and staging them to look like famous murders of the past, and it’s quite entrancing. Already, I’m eager to see what happens next with Aurora “Roe” Teagarden, mild mannered librarian.

In truth, these books are somewhat akin to literary air filters, washing away the fast-paced, sex-laden stories that are so prevalent today (not that I mind sex, really, but, still…) and replacing them with slower, gentler stories where plot and character are explored with a sense of graciousness.

I’ve no idea what I’ll find in book two. But I’m looking forward to the experience.