Pictured in the photo are two couples both named Harry and Fanny. On the left are my cousins from Providence, and on the right are my parents. At one time, the name Fanny was very popular for girls. You may remember the comedienne Fanny Brice who was the subject of the musical and movie Funny Girl. I must have had at least six relatives named Fanny. It may have a lot of meanings and origins in names including Frances. But “Fanny” has fallen somewhat out of favor among English speakers. Click the player below to hear the Yiddish meaning of my mother’s name, “Fanny.”
This is one of my favorite genres. I am taking the liberty of providing a list (link above) that I compiled in 2005 of authors (left-hand column) and detectives (middle column), with brief descriptions of the detective and his or her milieu. I put an asterisk next to the authors I particularly enjoyed. I also put an asterisk next to names such as Dorothy Sayers, Margery Allingham, Agatha Christie (forgive!) and Ngaio Marsh because they represent early 1930s and 1940s English women mystery writers. So the asterisk system is somewhat flawed. However, if you see two asterisks, those are the authors whose books I particularly enjoyed. For instance the character Hamish McBeth (M.C. Beaton), and the Joan Hess series about Arly Hanks in the small town of Maggody, Ark. Arthur Upfield’s Australian Aborigine detective series was great also.
If I knew of movies or TV series, I indicated that in some notes. I did catch a mistake–and you will see a hand-written note: Donald Westlake, and not Carl Haissen, wrote the Archy McNally stories about an investigator living with his parents in Palm Beach, Fla.
Josephine Tey was inexplicably omitted from the list. The Daughter of Time is one of my favorite books..
I am sure I have forgotten to put asterisks on some of the books that I have loved, but I never fool myself into thinking that my taste in literature (or anything else for that matter) will correspond to anyone else’s. If I can lead you to a fun read or two, then the list is worth it. And of course, it needs updating with the contemporary detective stories of the last decade and beyond, such as the anticipated title below.