For some slightly different beach reading this summer, may I suggest the company of Henry Gamadge: rare book expert, occasional spy, and amateur sleuth in 1940s New York. Daly writes cozy mysteries in the vein of Agatha Christie, but the texture of mid-century American urban life is so dense that it sometimes feels like reading about an alien planet. It makes for a meta-mystery that's kind of addicting, and Gamadge is such a good guy in a sea of incompetence, pettiness, and prejudice that it's a delight to hang out with him.
Picked by Jessica in Fort Greene
Elizabeth Daly, the daughter of a justice on the Supreme Court of New York County, was a Golden Age American writer of detective stories featuring the character of Henry Gamadge, a wealthy New Yorker interested in mysteries associated with old books and manuscripts. Unexpected Night, an Honorable Mention of the Mary Roberts Rinehart Mystery Contest, is the first Gamadge story. At the time of her death, Daly had written a total of 16 Gamadge stories. Unexpected Night starts with Gamadge looking forward to a few quiet days of golf and rest in a seaside resort. But his plan is shattered when the body of Amberley Cowen is found at the base of a cliff. Although an invalid, Cowden had plenty to live for, including a large inheritance. Why did he die?