Who doesn’t love “best” and “favorite” lists (especially when they’re annotated)?

June 29, 2008 at 12:23 pm (books, Mystery fiction)

An eclectic and intriguing list of favorites, appearing on Medieval Mysteries, was recently brought to my attention. (One of the things I like about this site is that it highlights works of nonfiction as well as fiction and mystery.) This particular list was compiled by M.B. Gilbride, one of the site’s three reviewers.*  It was begun as a list of “all-time favourite medieval books,” but Gilbride ranges far afield here, regarding both genres and time periods.

“M.B. Gilbride” is a heavily cloaked pseudonym. Click here for is his/her list.

Two novels included in this enumeration have also given me great pleasure: Morality Play by Barry Unsworth and The Egyptian by Mika Waltari.

This is a good place for me to plug two favorite nonfiction titles about the Middle Ages. Eric Jager’s The Last Duel is a great example of nonfiction that reads like fiction; from the halfway point to the end I couldn’t put this book down. And then, of course, there’s the book that first sparked my interest in this time period: A Distant Mirror by Barbara Tuchman.

[Barbara Tuchman, 1912-1989]

Another annnotated list that I frequently consult is “Mysteries To Take to a Desert Island” by the late Grobius Shortling (aka Wyatt James). This list mixes the “usual suspects” with completely unfamiliar authors and titles – at least, they were unfamiliar to me.

The kickoff title is A Coffin for Demetrios by the great Eric Ambler. I had the good fortune to be reading this thirteen years ago in Paris, where the culminating action of the novel takes place.

[Eric Ambler, 1909-1998]

*Please see James Munro’s clarification in the Comment section.


  1. Carol said,

    Interesting lists, Roberta. Thanks. However, I wonder why Ms/Mr Gilbride put pictures on top of several choices so they are unreadable!

  2. Roberta Rood said,

    Carol, I’ve had that problem myself with this site. It has to do with the browser with which you are viewing it.

  3. James Munro said,

    Hello. Roberta! We corresponded briefly a couple of years ago – I still remember. MBG came across this blog entry of yours and drew my attention to it. The thing is, this is MY Favourite Book list, not his. Sorry about the confusion. Neither of us understands how it occurred. He says he doesn’t mind, anyway, as several of the books here would also appear on any list of his.
    Interesting that you mentioned The Last Duel. That has been sitting on my shelf for ages, but I never got round to reviewing it. Would you like to write a guest review of it for us?
    Best wishes

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