Reading the Alphabet in 2017

I am posting this not as a brag, but people who write usually read a lot.  I always wanted to write mystery stories, ever since the Hardy Boys and Sherlock Holmes in elementary school.  I have written a number of mystery short stories, but even I thought they weren’t very good.  I am not recommending the following books, although some were really good reads.


In 2015, I accomplished something that I had tried to do in 1996.  I read 26 books (actually a lot more) with an author whose last name started with each letter of the alphabet.  In 1996, I could not find an “X”.  Thanks to Chamblin’s book mine in Jacksonville, FL, I found the “X”, actually two.  Thanks to the Jackson Street Bookstore in Omaha, NE, I have found a few more.  In 2017, I have accomplished the feat for the third consecutive year, and I have a few more “X” authors to keep the string going, although I’m looking for next year’s “Z”.


Okay, the “X” authors are Chinese writers.  Their last name is their given name and their first name is their family name (Common among most Asian cultures).  But that doesn’t change the feat when considering “last names”.


Here is a list of one book for each letter this year, 2017.  The tables that follow will show books for the two previous years.  In some cases, the book is the only representative for that letter of the alphabet.  In other cases, the book was memorable for one reason or another.


The Alphabet Challenge of 2017

A Albom, Mitch For one more day Heartwarming, nice mother’s day book
B Baantjer, A. C. DeKok and the Romantic Murder A Dutch author, funny
C Coehlo, Paulo The Spy A Biography of Mata Hari
D Dixon, Franklin W. The Shore Road Mystery Hardy Boys are still good reads at 60+
E Elkins, Aaron Dead Men’s Hearts I’ll add some Janet Evanovich later, but this Gideon Oliver story was good.
F Francis, Dick and Felix Crossfire I have Ian Fleming, Jasper Fforde, and others in the queue.
G Goldsborough, Robert Fade to Black I love Nero Wolfe, even when not written by Rex Stout.
H Higgins, Jack East of Desolation Treasure Hunting in Greenland
I Iles, Greg The Bone Tree 2nd in Natchez Burning Trilogy
J Jance, J. A. Left for Dead A good Ali Reynolds mystery
K Keller, Timothy The Prodigal God In depth study of Jesus’ parable
L Ludlum, Robert The Ambler Warning A good spy story
M Metaxes, Eric Bonhoeffer Biography
N Nesbo, Jo The Redeemer A good Harry Hole mystery
O Oliphant, B. J. Deservedly Dead Shirley McClintock at it again
P Patterson, James 12th of Never Behind on the Women’s Murder Club Series
Q Queen, Ellery Player on the Other Side A nice Ellery Queen puzzle
R Rankin, Ian Resurrection Men John Rebus, getting into trouble
S Simenon, Georges Belle An American novel by the author of Maigret
T Thoene, Bodie Prague Counterpoint Zion Covenant, Part 2, intrigue in Nazi held Europe
U Upfield, Arthur Murder Down Under Napoleon Bonaparte solves another case
V Van der Wetering, Jan The Maine Massacre Another Dutch author, de Gier / Commissaris go the USA, leaving Grijpstra behind
W Woods, Stuart Worst Fears Realized A good Stone Barrington
X Xianliang, Zhang Getting Used to Dying Fictional Autobiography of a Chinese Dissident
Y Young, Karen Belle Point Ugly politics and secrets of a MS Delta family
Z Zerries, A. J. The Last Van Gogh Recovering art stolen by Nazis

Total Books = 68 as of 7/29/017

Total pages thus far = 22,428


The Alphabet Challenge of 2016

A Allingham, Margery The Fear Sign Albert Campion mystery
B Biggers, Earl Derr The Black Camel Charlie Chan mystery
C Carr, John Dickson To Wake the Dead Gideon Fell, locked-room mystery
D Deaver, Jeffery Solitude Creek Kathryn Dance
E Evanovich, Janet Wicked Charms Lizy and Diesel fun romp
F Fleming, Ian For Your Eyes Only James Bond short stories
G Grafton, Sue X Kinsey Millhone
H Hillerman, Anne Rock with Wings Anne following father Tony
I Iles, Greg Natchez Burning 1st in series
J James, P. D. An Unsuitable Job for a Woman Non-series mystery
K Kaminsky, Stuart M. Always Say Goodbye  
L Lewis, C. S. Surprised by Joy  
M Mortimer, John Rumpole on Trial Wonderful Horace Rumpole
N Nance, John J. Fire Flight  
O Omartian, Stormie The Power of a Praying Grandparent  
P Pronzini, Bill Masques Shenanigans at Mardi Gras
Q Queen, Ellery Face to Face Ellery Queen
R Rendell, Ruth Shake Hands Forever Inspector Reg Wexford
S Silva, Daniel The Rembrandt Affair Gabriel Allon at his best
T Truman, Margaret Murder at the Opera Mac Smith and wife
U Uris, Leon The Haj  
V Viets, Elaine Shop ‘Til You Drop A dead-end job mystery
W Wouk, Herman The Winds of War  
X Xiaolong, Qiu Enigma of China Good picture of China today
Y Young, Karen Never Tell  
Z Zimmerman, Bruce Blood Under the Bridge  

Books finished = 152

Pages read = 52,460


The Alphabet Challenge of 2015

A Allen, Steve Murder on the Atlantic Steve Allen mystery
B Blackstock, Terri Last Light Restoration Series, Book 1
C Charteris, Leslie The Saint Closes the Case Simon Templar, at it again
D Dexter, Colin He Wench is Dead Insp. Morse
E Evanovich, Janet Explosive Eighteen Behind on Stephanie Plum
F Floyd, John M. Fifty Mysteries Fun logic puzzles in MS
G Gardner, Erle Stanley The Case of the Careless Kitten Perry Mason
H Hammett, Dashiell Nightmare Town Short Stories, one w/Sam Spade
I Iles, Greg Blood Memory  
J Johansen, Iris Firestorm  
K Koontz, Dean Forever Odd Odd Thomas
L Lee, Tosca Havah, the Story of Eve  
M Mankell, Henning The Man from Beijing  
N Norman, Geoffrey Sweetwater Ranch  
O Oliphant, B. J. The Unexpected Corpse Shirley McClintock at it again
P Parker, Robert B. Hundred-Dollar Baby Spenser
Q Queen, Ellery The Devil’s Cook One without Ellery Queen
R Rollins, James Bloodline Sigma Force
S Stout, Rex Her Forbidden Knight Also Sansom’s Dominion
T Thor, Brad Black List Horvath and company
U Upfield, Arthur The Will of the Tribe Napoleon Bonaparte
V Van der Wetering, Jan The Corpse on the Dike Grijstra and de Gier
W Wentworth, Patricia The Clock Strikes Twelve Maud Silver
X Xiaolong, Qiu Death of a Red Heroine Chen Cao
Y Yarbro, C. Q. False Notes Charlie Spotted Moon
Z Zimmerman, Bruce Thicker Than Water Quinn Parker

Books finished = 132

Pages read = 47,200


Add yours →

  1. I love this! I have read a book or two on your list, but you’ve given me more to add to my “want-to-read” list!

    By the way, I love reading children’s books, even at 35. A lot of them are better than the novels for “adults!”


    • I agree regarding a children’s or young adult book. My favorite diversion is the mystery genre. I love picking up a Hardy Boys or other book designed for younger people, especially if I’ve just read a meaty hard-boiled detective story. C. S. Lewis wrote that fantasy can be enjoyed by the old as well as the young, and maybe more so.

      Liked by 1 person

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