"All well and good," says an older friend of mine who has recently rediscovered reading, "but I've read all the Ross Thomas you've reviewed and I don't like Michael Connelly. What else would your mother read?"
Hmm. The little list I have in mind for review involves a few Michael Connelly and several authors where the hero rarely stays in one piece, let alone the victims or the villains. What would I recommend to my mother?
Well, there's always the name I hate to mention, the dreaded Dick Francis. His books are so forelock-tuggingly spittle-licking that Telegraph readers have been roused to heights of revolutionary fervour. The Queen-Mum-Gawd-Bless-Her used to love him - so if he could get through a gin haze of royal proportions he certainly isn't taxing (ho ho) or offensive to vicars. Avoid them if horse racing leaves you cold (as it actually does my mother). If you want a light read, albeit formulaic, buy them secondhand.
What of a classic, Sherlock Holmes - four full-length and fifty-odd (if memory serves) short stories? Well, oddly, I've never yet met a female who likes Arthur Conan Doyle. Actually, I've never met a female who has tried and managed to read anything but a bit of ACD - and you'd understand why if you'd read The White Company. I assume it's the selfish bachelor in Holmes that turns them off.
Robert Parker invented a female detective - I gave those works short shrift on another post so I won't say more than that the word "execrable" comes to mind. Other female detectives - most are too lipsticky and aimed at the chicklit market. At the other extreme, Marlowe on screen might appeal, in print, no. Detective after detective can be discarded in the knowledge that none of them put their dirty clothes in the laundry basket.
Ah, inspiration! Kellerman's Alex Delaware. I will be covering several of his books soon but rich, hunky, sensitive to the needs of the lovely Robin (whose bum does look big in those overalls) - Alex is definitely on the list. Who else?
Looking further afield, at least timewise, the adventures of Brother Cadfael come to mind. Ellis Peters (a nom de plume) wrote a lot of Cadfaels, all solid and good on historical detail. If you fancy the idea of a 12th Century soldier-turned-monk on the prowl you could do a lot worse. Very readable and they don't insult the intelligence in their plots.
Going back another five hundred years and switching gender, we have Sister Fidelma, religious and lawyer, daughter of a Chief Of Ireland and intrepid traveller. Stunningly good on atmosphere and detail, moderate on plot, still very readable. Written by Peter Tremayne, another nom de plume.
Anyone who thinks I should try Claire Gulliver, Dana Sloan or Regan McHenry, I have. I'll say no more.
If mom doesn't want a book then I recommend looking at some other blogs of mine, aimed at finding presents for US Mothers Day or indeed any occasion you'd like. Begin with Gift Ideas For Moms, go forward to jewellery as a gift for your mother, all the way to Mothers Day gift baskets. Anything you buy makes mom very happy and a small commission comes my way to pay for blogging and an austere diet.