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Mystery Science Fiction

Ros, Evergreen Library

Can’t decide whether it’s a mystery or a good science fiction novel you would like to read? You can have both! Here are three books that combine elements of both mystery and science fiction/fantasy under their covers.

The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters.
Asteroid 2011GV1 is going to hit Earth in six months. It will devastate our planet, wipe out civilization, and there is nothing that can be done. People are walking away from their jobs, the economy is plunging, and society is breaking down. This first in a trilogy has Detective Hank Palace investigate a suspicious suicide in a city where many people are choosing death in advance of the asteroid. Winters’ hard-boiled detective novel deals with the value of life in these circumstances, the reasons to keep working (or not) when life is about to end, and the role for justice in the few months remaining for pre-apocalyptic America.

The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon.
A mystery noir, written with a nod to the likes of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, this novel is also an alternative history based in the Federal District of Sitka. Chabon considers a world where the Jews of the Holocaust have settled in a part of Alaska after World War II. With no Israel, this temporary refuge has been leased from the Alaskan Native tribes. Now sixty years have elapsed since the war and the lease is almost up. Within this climate of uncertainty Detective Meyer Landsman investigates a murder that has political and religious implications. Hasidic Jews are a Mafia-like presence, Yiddish is the primary language, and good delis are on every street corner.

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde.
First in a science fantasy series, Detective Thursday Next is assigned to a unit that specializes in literary crimes. Set in an alternative 1980s England, Next uses time travel as one tool in her current assignment: to find the kidnapped Jane Eyre and return her to her novel. As defender of the Prose Portal, the gateway between fiction and Thursday’s world, it is up to her to solve this crime before more characters are taken and even murdered. Full of wit and literary allusions.