Mystery Books 2000-2009
Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
World-renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a mysterious symbol seared into the chest of a murdered physicist. While there, he discovers evidence of the resurgence of an ancient secret brotherhood known as the Illuminati, who have a deadly vendetta against the Catholic Church. Sequels The DaVinci Code and Inferno also feature Langdon on a quest riddled with ancient codes and secrets.
Angels & Demons was first published by Pocket Books, New York in 2000. First editions can list for around $500, to over $1200 if signed. First editions have stated “First Pocket Books hardcover printing May 2000” with a full number line on the copyright page.
Mystic River by Dennis Lehane
Sean, Jimmy, and Dave were childhood friends in Boston until a mysterious car pulls into their neighborhood and kidnaps Dave. He is sexually abused for days before escaping and returning home. Twenty-five years later another abduction brings the three boys together again - Sean is a homicide detective, Jimmy is an ex-con whose daughter is found murdered, and Dave shows up at his own house covered in someone else's blood. A 2003 film adapted from the novel Mystic River, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Sean Pean, won two Academy Awards.
Mystic River was published by William Morrow, New York. First printings have stated ‘First Edition’ on the copyright page with a full number line. Signed first editions can list between $75 and $150.
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
The second novel by author Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones is about a young girl, Susie Salmon, who is raped and murdered. The story is told from Susie’s point of view, after her death, as she watches her family resume their life and come to terms with her death.
The Lovely Bones was first published by Little, Brown, and Company, Boston in 2002. The original dust jacket has quotes by Margot Livesey and Michael Chabon on the rear cover, along with the first-run print date stated on the lower-edge of inside flap: '0702'. The copyright page has a full number line ending with 1 and 'First Edition' stated.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
This tale is told from the perspective of Christopher Boone, a fifteen-year-old with Aspergers. In the novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Christopher, who knows a lot of facts but understands little about humans, sets out to solve the mystery of the murder of his neighbor’s dog. The title of the book comes from an observation by Sherlock Holmes in Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story “The Adventure of Silver Blaze.”
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time was published simultaneously for adults by Jonathan Cape and for children by David Fickling Books in 2003. Signed first editions can list over $400.
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Shadow of the Wind is the first book of four in the Cemetery of Forgotten series by the Spanish novelist Carlos Ruiz Zafón. The novel follows a boy named Daniel and his quest through postwar Barcelona for a mysterious author. It is a book within a book, for after finding reading the novel The Shadow of the Wind by author Julian Carax, Daniel searches for his other works, only to find someone has been systematically destroying them. Daniel uncovers a doomed love story in his search, tangled up with dark secrets and murder.
The Shadow of the Wind was first published in English in 2004 by Penguin Press, NY, and Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London. The original Spanish edition was published by Planeta books in 2001. Signed first editions can list between $250 and $475.
Still Life by Louise Penny
The first of the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny, Still Life takes place in the rural village of Three Pines, south of Montreal Canada. Miss Jane Neal has been shot in the head with an arrow, and although the locals believe their beloved neighbor was the victim of a hunting accident, Chief Inspector Armand suspects murder.
The first edition of Still Life was published by Headline in London, 2005, and states ‘First published in 2005’ on the copyright page. The first US edition was published by Minotaur in 2006 and has a full number line and ‘First St. Martin’s Minotaur Edition: July 2006” on the copyright page. First editions can list from $350-$500.
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
The debut novel of author Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects, follows newspaper journalist Camille Preaker as she returns to her hometown to report on a series of brutal murders of two preteen girls. Camille is fresh from a brief stint at a psychiatric hospital and has a history of cutting words into the hidden flesh of her body, a habit she picked up after the death of her first half-sister. Her second half-sister is thirteen, but Camille barely knows her as she takes up residence at her mother’s old Victorian house. Nominated for Best First Mystery Edgar Award.
The book was first published through Shaye Areheart Books on September 26, 2006, and has subsequently been reprinted through Broadway Books. True first editions can list for a few hundred dollars. ‘First edition’ is stated on the copyright page with a full number line.
In the Woods by Tana French
In the Woods is Irish-American author Tana French’s debut novel - a mystery thriller about a pair of Irish detectives and their investigation of the murder of a twelve-year-old girl that is hauntingly similar to a murder witnessed by one of the detectives as a boy in the same woods. The novel won several awards including the 2008 Edgar Award for Best First Novel, the 2008 Barry Award for Best First Novel, the 2008 Macavity Award for Best First Mystery Novel, and the 2008 Anthony Award for Best First Novel.
In the Woods was first published in Ireland as a large paperback edition by Hodder Headline Ireland in 2007. It was later released as a hardcover by Hodder & Stoughton, London, and Viking Adult, New York in 2007 as well.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is an award-winning crime novel by the late Swedish author and journalist Stieg Larsson, the first in his "Millennium Trilogy". After his death in November 2004, Larsson left three unpublished novels that made up the best-selling trilogy. In The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, journalist Mikael Blomkvist teams up with a troubled and tattooed computer hacker named Lisbeth Salander to solve a forty-year-old mystery.
First published in Sweden as Män som hatar kvinnor ('Men Who Hate Women'), the first English editions of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo were published in 2008 by MacLehose Press, London, and in the US by Alfred A. Knopf the same year.
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
This debut novel by Alan Bradley introduces eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison. In the summer of 1950, Flavia finds a dead bird with a postage stamp pinned in its beak, and not long after she witnesses the death of a man in the garden of her family’s once-grand mansion. Rather than being afraid, Flavia is enthralled and eager to explore the mystery. To date there are ten books in Bradley’s Flavia de Luce series, starting with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie was first published by Delacorte Press, NY, and Doubleday, Canada, and Orion, London, in 2009. First editions have a full number line.
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Author Bio: Amy C. Manikowski is a writer, bookseller, trail-diverger, history buff, and pitbull lover. She graduated from Chatham University with an MFA a while ago, and after wandering aimlessly settled in Asheville NC.