Moving on now to best mystery (and thriller) reads of 2009, I am surprised that I read as many as I did. There were 10, or 19% of the 52 books I keep saying I will have read by year's end.
The Private Patient - P. D. James
The Writing Class - Jincy Willett
The Talented Mr. Ripley - Patricia Highsmith
Obedience - Will Lavender
Ripley Under Ground - Patricia Highsmith
The Angel's Game - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Manual of Detection - Jedediah Berry
The Victoria Vanishes - Christopher Fowler
Tattoo - Manuel Vasquez Montalban
The Semantics of Murder - Aifric Campbell
Police at the Funeral - Margery Allingham
Looking over this list, I honestly don't remember the experience of reading every one of these books. I am going to have to read my thoughts on them (pause as he does so)... I really enjoyed Jincy Willett's The Writing Class for combining a wonderful sense of humor, insights about the creative process, and a mystery, and I admired P.D. James's The Private Patient for her mature hand at character development and the sophisticated craft she brings to the fashioning of a mystery, but my best 2009 read in the mystery/thriller category goes to Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley. In it she somehow creates an almost lovable psychopath - a macabre and agonizingly suspenseful read.
And for all of you who celebrate christmas - may yours be merry and bright.