About Me

Aidan in front of his bookshelves

When asked to describe the blog, I generally refer to it as covering mystery fiction old and new – but mostly old which I think is a pretty solid description. I would estimate about two-thirds of what I write about are back catalog works of authors, often from the Golden or Silver ages of detective fiction. In addition I also really enjoy reading works of crime fiction in translation.

Were you to ask those who know me about my taste in crime fiction, I suspect most would reference my interest in what is usually termed inverted mysteries. I have read and written pretty widely on the subject, offering up my thoughts on individual titles as well as the sub-genre as a whole (one of my blogging highlights was appearing on one of the first episodes of the Golden Age detective fiction podcast In GAD We Trust to discuss the form).

I have written before about the origins of my love of mystery fiction but for those who are new to the blog, it was an interest born in my childhood. In my early years as a reader I discovered series like The Three Investigators, The Secret Seven, and the Five Find-Outers at my local library and graduated to the Poirot and Miss Marple stories as well as the Lord Peter Wimsey stories.

My interest in mystery fiction faded in my teen years but it was rekindled as an adult around the time I first started working in public libraries. The series I particularly credit is I. J. Parker’s Akitada series, set in feudal Japan. I devoured those books, loving both the historical setting and the recurring characters and soon found myself hungry for more. Before long I was browsing mystery blogs looking for recommendations, beginning my education in the mystery genre.

These days I like to think my tastes are wide and varied, ranging from traditional detective stories in the Golden Age style to noir and works that blend multiple genres. I try to make it a point to write about whatever I finish, making this a catalog of most of what I have read (there are a few exceptions, either because I had little to say about something or – more often – because by the time I had time to write the work wasn’t fresh enough in my mind).

If you have questions or want to reach out to me, you can find me on twitter @mysteriesahoy or contact me via the email form on this site (under About on the main menu).

Getting To Know Me

Where are you from? I grew up in Cornwall in England. I emigrated to the United States over a decade ago and currently reside in Atlanta, Georgia. This may explain the occasional inconsistent bit of spelling or grammar – I have hit that point where the two styles of English blend together. My apologies for when that happens.

What do you do? I am a librarian (and at this point I need to make it clear that any opinions stated anywhere on this blog are my own and not those of my employer) and I am currently going to school to pursue a postgraduate degree in my field.

What are some of your earliest literary memories? Some of my happiest memories of childhood are closely connected to my local public library, picking out picture books and later delving into the Choose Your Own Adventures, mysteries, and Terry Pratchett novels.

The first book I can recall reading by myself was C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe after watching the BBC adaptation in the eighties. That more than anything kickstarted my love of reading and rewatching that adaptation is something of a tradition for me.

Let’s talk mysteries – specifically, what is your favorite one? There are lots to pick from – I have reviewed well over 500 here and I have read quite a lot more – but I have a very easy choice: Ira Levin’s A Kiss Before Dying. It’s a remarkable read, packed with striking characters and, in particular, a truly despicable murderer. Follow the link to watch a video in which I talk rhapsodic about why its brilliant!

Who is your favorite crime author? This is a really tough one to answer as I am always finding and falling in love with new authors. Christie is probably my most read, although I have more reviews of Bellairs on this blog. I would say that I probably feel most attached to I. J. Parker’s Akitada mysteries so let’s plump for those!

What was your first mystery story? Either Enid Blyton’s Five Find-Outers series or The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. It’s tough to remember the order at this stage.

Who is your favorite sleuth? Akitada. The characterization is rich and convincing. It is one of those series you have to read in order to really appreciate the way the character and his household develop.

Have you ever met a crime writer? Other than my father? While I have met some writers, almost all of those meetings are from outside the genre. I get far too shy when meeting those whose work I love.

When do you write your blog posts? I try and write them as soon as possible after finishing a book. Typically that is later at night.

Why do you write about old novels rather than bestsellers? I became passionate about mystery fiction through exploring authors’ backlists. While discovering a brand new writer is fun, I really love exploring those back catalogs and seeing how an author’s style and themes develop over time.

Have you ever tried writing your own mystery? Yes. I have never tried to get anything published so far. My best effort – an impossible crime short story – needs a thorough rewrite that I never seem to have the time to do. Perhaps some day…

What are your 3 Favorite Movies?

1. The Third Man
2. The Seventh Seal
3. High and Low

What TV shows do you love? Doctor Who is probably my most enduring TV obsession – I blogged about it before starting Mysteries Ahoy! – but I also love Running Man and The Sixth Sense.

What was the first concert you went to? It was Supergrass playing at the Eden Project.

Which countries have you been to? Other than the UK and the USA, I have visited Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? Jeju Island in Korea. I would love to visit the lava caves and Gimneyeong Maze Park.

What accomplishment are you most proud of? I am very proud of my family and the person my daughter is growing into. It’s mostly her achievement but I am happy with my own small contribution to it. Recently she has started taking her own interest in mystery stories which has been the source of much delight!

When you’re having a bad day, what do you do to make yourself feel better? Buying books is the obvious answer. I love to browse bookshops like my local independents or secondhand bookshops for older titles. As you can see from the state of my TBR Pile, purchases far exceed my ability to read them.

What is the scariest movie you’ve ever seen? I try to avoid scary movies but I still get creeped out by thinking about The Witches.

If you could shop for free at one store, which would you choose? Powell’s bookstore. I would buy all the books…