I’ve been putting myself to sleep listening to Phoebe Reads a Mystery ever since the pandemic forced us all indoors back in March. This is no coincidence. Phoebe Judge has been reading a chapter a day from classic mystery novels since the day that she had to shelve/modify her plans for the next season of her two podcasts Criminal and This is Love.
I wondered at where her knowledge of classic mystery novels came from until this morning when I listened to this episode of Criminal while trying to make my sinuses clear so I could put the CPAP mask on and finally be able to sleep.
My fingers just itch when I see something that says ‘murder.’Marilyn Stasio
In that episode of the show featuring the writer of the Crime column that still can be found in various daily newspapers (including the NY Times) Phoebe mentions two or three of the novels that she has been reading over the course of the last
three four months.
I cut my eyeteeth on trashy mystery novels. I read through every copy of the Hardy Boys mystery series that was on hand at the Leoti library. I then went on to read a good portion of Nancy Drew. From there I read nearly all of the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I never read Agatha Christie. I think I grew tired of the mystery novel when the sheer number of mystery novels seemed to blur together after a while. Pulp fiction is like that. Instead I moved on to Tom Swift and then to non-serialized fiction, finally settling on a fondness for what would probably be called hard Science Fiction.
I still love a good mystery when I can find one, which isn’t often. I liked the Da Vinci Code as I have mentioned previously on the blog. The problem with Dan Brown (like the pulp authors of yore) is that he only knows one kind of mystery story to tell, and so he retells it over and over again in each novel that he writes. I’ve sworn off reading anything else he writes because of previous experiences with his work.
I started in on reading the Millenium series by Stieg Larsson. I had gone so far as to buy hardback copies of his first three books after watching the first movie adaptation, but like so many of my later book purchases they have gone unread for years. I’ve only recently discovered that I have a hard time reading other people’s words on the printed page. I’m not sure why this is but I’m going to blame Meniere’s for it until I can find a better explanation.
The Wife had a subscription to the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine right up until the last few years when we let most of our remaining subscriptions to periodicals lapse. She reads on her Kindle now. I have listened to all of my books since discovering my reading problem. I wish I could still find pleasure in reading, but can’t.
Now that I’m listening to someone else read the story, I’m less inclined to judge a story harshly (see Bucky Dent) I judge more on the quality of the voice than I do the overall content of the story. As long as I can get the story to make sense in my head I will probably stick with the reader to the end. Phoebe Judge has that quality of voice. Much like Maria Hinojosa, I will listen to Phoebe Judge read just about anything.
Having said that, I’m finding I like Agatha Christie’s works as read by Phoebe. I hope that Agatha Christie Limited (as Phoebe discusses in this episode of the Mystery show) doesn’t get in the way of her reading more of Agatha Christie’s work to us in the podcast. I’d hate to have to find someone else to read it to me, and I doubt that I would be as happy with their voices as I am with Phoebe Judge. Would saying please help?
People should be interested in books, not their authorsAgatha Christie