Thursday, May 30, 2019

Tie, cufflinks, jokey soap?

Question: Father’s Day is June 16th – so there’s time for you to recommend some crime-themed reading that could be a useful gift idea for dads of different ages, and with different interests…and allow those reading the blog to order it, and get it in time to wrap it!

by Catriona

Ha! For a start, I would never get my dad a book. He has read every day of his life since he learned to read, avidly and voraciously, and so have I but I don't think we've ever read the same thing. Not once.

Except wait. I bought him Pete Souza's OBAMA: AN INTIMATE PORTRAIT for Christmas last year. (Not only bought it, but posted it to Scotland. Ouch. (This last Christmas, the population of the UK was mostly giving each other Michele Obama's BECOMING. Multiple copies changed hands in the same households. Our count was a modest three.))

But taking dads in general, rather than my dad in particular:

How about a Texas twofer? One of Bill Crider's Dan Rhodes mysteries and one of Terry Shames' Samuel Craddock mysteries would make a nice Father's Day bundle. I'd probably go for:

which is one of the more delightfully daffy entries in Bill's series, but I'd start off with Terry's debut:

And as I handed the books over, I'd deliver the great news that there are many more in each series.

For a complete change of pace, place, and voice - maybe for an Anglophile dad, one who used to insist he wasn't actually watching Masterpiece Theatre on a Sunday night on PBS, he was just being on the couch while it showed, but who slowly got hooked, one who'sall over the detectives and The Crown now, and working up to Call The Midwife? For him:

Despite the title and the girl on the jacket, this fantastic series opener is set in various arenas of a man's world: a special ops unit during WWII, the seedy last days of variety theatre and the Brighton police force of the 1950s. You can smell the mothballs and taste the Spam. 

An absolute shoo-in for a Father's day present  would be any one of Naomi Hirahara's Mas Arai mysteries. They all concern a Pasadena gardener-landscaper (Mas Arai) and Naomi's own dad Isamu was a Pasadena gardener-landscaper. Come on! Actually, on second thoughts, letting a dad know that a writer has created a seven-novel-long tribute to her own father is maybe raising the bar a bit too high. But the books are all total bangers and, not to trade on cliches and masculine stereoptypes, but one of them has got sports too.

But what if the dad in question is a new dad - harried and knackered and covered in sour milk that was briefly stored in a small stomach before hitting his shirt? He might not be in the market for any kind of novel at all. That's a job for short story, non? You could do a lot worse than one of Eric Beetner's UNLOADED anthologies. 

Now, granted, these two collections are chockful of my pals but I'm not shilling; it's the other way round. These writers are people I've sought out as pals because they've got the kind of wit, heart and entertaining take on life that happens to make for a good short story too. 

So, there's my smorgasbord of dad-worthy crime fiction. Have a happy Father's Day.

By the way, the title of this blog is a quote from Dinnerladies (extreme Brit TV), when Bren is trying to guess what a man might want for a present. Tony's answer is "Never get a man a tie. We've got them. It's like getting a plumber a bit of copper piping."

1 comment:

Frank Zafiro said...

Ya can never go wrong with a Beetner title.... and some other great suggestions, too.

I like how you and your dad have never cross-read -- it's an interesting phenomenon!