murder mysteries

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  • #602248
    kollel_wife
    Participant

    In our home we do not read library books (books from secular sources.) I have a child interested in reading murder mysteries. He brought one home which was many older stories put together under one editor. Could anyone tell me names of authors or dates published (ie prior to certain years) that avoid immorality as much as possible.

    I don’t need opinions as to whether or not you agree with us just some recommendations.

    Thank you in advance

    #857666
    yitayningwut
    Participant

    I think Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew are pretty clean.

    #857667
    Bless You
    Participant

    Kollel_Wife,

    I definitely understand your concerns. Firstly, are there any jewish libraries in your area? There are many mystery books available from jewish publishers.

    Secondly, if you do plan on going to a regular library to look for “clean” books, most libraries have a juvenile section, where many of the books are clean. Of course some aren’t, but it shouldn’t be that difficult for you to figure out which ones are clean and which aren’t. Or, if you want to limit the types of books (such as not taking out fantasy books), you should be able to easily see what type of book it is. Also, there are many classic authors, and you can ask a librarian who they are, which do not have this type of issue.

    If you do happen to a regular library together with your child, you should be able to tell them in advance that some books in the library are not good for their Neshoma, and that they can only take out books after they show them to you.

    #857668
    A Heimishe Mom
    Participant

    Nancy has a boyfriend (Ned) and one of the Hardy Boys also has a girlfriend I beleive. But if you stick with the origianl sereis and not the newer “case files” series you should be pretty ok. If you can stomach them, perhaps read them first.

    The Bobbsie Twins are kids so those should also be good – but I don’t think they involve murder much.

    Of course Sherlock Holmes is the quitessential detective.

    #857669
    Sam2
    Participant

    For someone who doesn’t read non-Jewish books at all I wouldn’t recommend Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. They are clean by almost all standards, but I would definitely understand if someone found some stuff in there objectionable (especially Nancy Drew). I would go with a young adult version of old Sherlock Holmes mysteries.

    #857670
    A Heimishe Mom
    Participant

    Most books in the library today, even the children’s section, are NOT too clean. Today’s authors manage to stick boy-girls stuff into EVERYTHING not to mention “alternative” lifestyles. There is a kosher book list that is put together by mechanchim and teachers. You can try to google for it, I really don’t know how to get it. Books only get on the list once the censors have read it. I believe that they are also “graded” to some extent. People have different levels of “acceptable.” Another good source is your children’s school library – if the have one – or their teachers.

    #857671
    OneOfMany
    Participant

    The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin. 🙂 Not sure if you’d say Sherlock Holmes is okay, but there’s that too.

    #857672
    lebidik yankel
    Participant

    I think that you could go to gutenberg (dot org) site and find old Sherlock Holmes stories and Father Brown stories (Chesterton, I think) They are superb and clean. The only drawback is the slightly dated English. Another option there is the Detective Pinkerton stories, which are true stories, although not as exciting.

    #857673
    lebidik yankel
    Participant

    What about Dvorah Doresh?

    #857674
    bekitzur
    Participant

    Assuming your son is young, The Boxcar Children is good, although most don’t have actual murder in them…

    #857675
    writersoul
    Participant

    There’s also a lot of Christian themes in Father Brown, and you may want to read the Sherlock Hoilmes stories beforehand. Most are great, though.

    #857676
    Avi K
    Participant

    Also Agatha Christie.

    #857677
    OneOfMany
    Participant

    I don’t think Agatha Christie is what kollel_wife is looking for.

    #857678
    yitayningwut
    Participant

    If he likes comics, I’d say Tintin is clean. And AWESOME.

    #857679
    kollel_wife
    Participant

    Sorry. I should have been more clear.

    My son is 16 and is too old for Nancy Drew, Devorah Doresh. Although we don’t allow library books, etc, I AM looking for non Jewish, library books for him. That author Agatha Christie sounds like what I’m looking for.

    There should be murder mysteries written before 1990 without pritzus in them. That’s what I’m asking about.

    #857680
    nitpicker
    Participant

    years ago I enjoyed murder mysteries until someone in my neighborhood was murdered. Since then, I can’t stand them.

    What I am trying to say, is that in my view, the very idea of treating a horrible thing like murder, as just a background for a puzzle, is disgusting. second I later realized that those stories and books I read were not clean in other areas either.

    #857681
    TheGoq
    Participant

    “Of course Sherlock Holmes is the quitessential detective.”

    Sherlock Holmes had a cocaine addiction.

    #857682
    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Why is Boy/Girl relationships bad but MURDER is good?

    How is it good when there is a train and a murder occurs and everyone hated a man on a train and everyone killed him. ( Murder on the Orient Express)

    Hardy Boys / Nancy Drew books yeah, maybe they have relationships, but the mysteries are non-violent

    #857683
    nitpicker
    Participant

    If you really feel that this is necessary, despite peoples comments

    there very few stories/books that will fit your requirements.

    after he completes those in a short time, what will you do then?

    in any case, if you must

    try

    “the greene murder case” by s. s. van dyne

    I hope I remember correctly that this book is fairly without pritzus but has several murders. check it out before giving it.

    #857684

    What about ??? and ???? Although, we all know who did what to whom…

    #857685
    Sam2
    Participant

    Tintin is an absolutely excellent suggestion, and one that he will probably re-read more than once. It’s a graphic novel (comic book) but I don’t think there’s a single instance of something not-Tznius there.

    #857686
    nishtdayngesheft
    Participant

    Alistair Maclean is a good author.

    #857687
    computer777
    Participant

    mary higgins clark – excellent

    #857688
    koachshtika
    Member

    The general rule is that older books are safer than newer ones. Even ‘mild’ current books will have problematic materials and lifestyles discussed in it.

    Among older books avoid pulp and noir.

    #857689
    yitayningwut
    Participant

    zahavasdad –

    Why is Boy/Girl relationships bad but MURDER is good?

    That’s a fair question, but has a pretty simply answer. You see, in most novels murder is not made out to be a good thing, while boy/girl relationships outside of the prospect of marriage are. So when you’re judging what the kid will learn from more, it’s likely the answer is the latter.

    #857690
    OneOfMany
    Participant

    kollel_wife: I only ever read one Agatha Christie novel (not even really a novel – an adaptation of a play), but it did have some romantic intrigue…although, Sherlock Holmes does sometimes too, and it’s pretty much okay. So I dunno.

    #857691
    Yserbius123
    Participant

    Sherlock Holmes is selfish, arrogant and condescending. The Hardy Boys (despite their girlfriends) are probably a better influence.

    Personally, I don’t feel that there is any problem with 99% of juvenile books written before 1980 or any book written before 1930. But if you really want your kids to read stuff that you are certain won’t have a bad influence on them, then they should only read books by Marcus Lehmann.

    #857692
    Avi K
    Participant

    The murderer is always caught which is a good message. “Murder on the Orient Express” has an interesating ending which could be the basius for a discussion.

    #857693
    writersoul
    Participant

    You’re not reading it so that the characters can be role models. Sherlock Holmes can be an unlikeable character and still have a bunch of awesome books written about him.

    I happen to love Murder on the Orient Express. To the best of my recollection it’s very clean (though there are two very minor romances).

    Funnily enough, I’m actually being a detective for Purim. You know, a big pipe, a magnifying glass, etc…

    If you want to avoid all romance then you’ll find very few books. There are some really clean (and really good) Agatha Christie books but there’s always a teeny bit.

    #857694
    hanab
    Member

    I have probably read thousands of mysteries and I can tell you there is no book (even by a Jewish publisher) that I would give to my child without reading it first.

    That said, I have found the best place to find older & cleaner books is the flea market or thrift shop. Also, since you own it (often for a mere 50 cents) you can free free to rip out a page or two or black out a line or two and still have a satisfactory book. I’ve also bought boxes of books on ebay for a few dollars (particularly if they say ‘vintage’), but I do end up throwing out quite a few. I suppose one could contact the seller & ask about the books, but you could not trust them 100%.

    I find the following clean enough for a married woman who is not ready to give up secular novels, but I don’t recommend them for a teen unless you comb through first.

    Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe series is usually clean although there are often subtle references to romances or issurim. I enjoy Mary Stewart very much but I don’t think I’ve given those to my children. Dick Francis writes mostly mysteries around horses & jockeys. You might also look at Mary Roberts Rinehart, Dorothy Gilman, Dorothy Sayers.

    #857695
    Shrek
    Member

    Dick Francis is pretty good. His mysteries center around the horse-racing world, so that might be objectionable to some. They are not “squeaky clean” but no graphic pritzus.

    #857696
    nitpicker
    Participant

    about dick francis.

    they are not merely “not squeaky clean”.

    Mr. Francis has some peculiar attitudes (peculiar to me and most of the posters here) which he always puts in the mouth of his heroes. If you are trying to be careful and proper, I would avoid these books. (sorry, I know more about this than I should. I have only read some of the RD versions. I shudder to think what may be in the originals).

    #857697
    kollel_wife
    Participant

    Thank you very much. Your suggesions were very helpful, and I wrote down a lot of the author names.

    NitPick – I also l’chatchila don’t believe murder mysteries are a good thing at all. In this case with this child, this is where we’re holding. I’d like to fulfill his need for these type of books without exposing him to pritzus.

    #857698
    nitpicker
    Participant

    to Kollel_wife.

    I understood that, which is why I even made a suggestion.

    my comments were not meant to be directed at you specifically.

    sorry if they seemed to be.

    #857699
    EzratHashem
    Member

    The approved secular booklist can be found on chinuch.org. Just type book list as the keyword. There are 2 versions, one with comments on each book and one without.

    No pritzus in tintin? How about Bianca Castifiore !! JK Really the problem with tintin is adult themes other than pritzus, and a lot of violence.

    It’s tough when you have a kid who loves to read, even though that should be a positive attribute. It’s a good question to ask, what do you do when your child finishes reading the first batch of mysteries. A kid with an unsatiable appetite for reading is never satisfied–you always need to be finding more books that aren’t objectionable.

    What about the Jewish novels? There are at least a dozen of them that are mysteries and can be found in Jewish bookstores; for example the suspense novels of Yair Weinstock.

    #857700
    Sam2
    Participant

    In the Spiders Web could keep him interested for weeks. A lot of mature content, but no Pritzus.

    #857701
    seeallsides
    Participant

    you could try old Reader’s Digest Condensed Books, at one time their standards were high and they had very good mysteries- but you would have to preread them.

    #857702
    Yserbius123
    Participant

    Harry Potter books are fine up until Book #5.

    A Rebbi I know allowed his kids to read all of them except #5.

    #857703
    mamashtakah
    Member

    You should check into finding any of the Nero Wolfe books by Rex Stout. They were written from the 30s to the 70s, and have nary a girlfriend in site. They are also language clean. I still enjoy reading them, even though I’ve read almost all of the stories many times.

    #857704
    Toi
    Participant

    Hardy boys are ok. Do not go to the juvy section in the library.

    #857705
    Yserbius123
    Participant

    Don’t forget the Perry Mason books by Earl Stanley Gardner.

    #857706
    Shrek
    Member

    Avoid “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” like the plague if you are concerned about pritzus. I’m told that the husband calls his wife “dear” in the book.

    #857707
    hanab
    Member

    Lillian Jackson Braun’s series “The Cat Who…”. The Mrs. Pollifax series is adorable, but she also has a few other books I enjoyed but would not give to my children.

    Once again, I add my caveat: nothing I recommended should be offered to a child without the mother reading it first.

    #857708
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Avoid “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” like the plague if you are concerned about pritzus. I’m told that the husband calls his wife “____” in the book.

    I’m shocked that your comment made it past moderation! 🙂

    #857709
    oomis
    Participant

    The Westing Game was an excellent novel for teens. I read it myself. it had a real Agatha Christie feel to it. Speaking of AC, And Then There Were None (AKA Ten Little Indians) was a great story.

    #857710

    Re Sherlock Holmes. I guess if it was good enough for Rav Yaakov Kamenetski, it should be good enough for your son

    #857711

    As mentioned above, you’ll find it difficult finding a never-ending source of suitable books.

    When I was younger, I spent most of my spare time reading (non-jewish) fiction. Now, looking back, I regret that no-one pointed out to me the world of non-fiction.

    There is a far wider ranger of suitable non-fiction books. Fiction is, of course, more interesting for a child, though you may though find ways of convincing him.

    #857712
    Shrek
    Member

    good one, DY!

    #857714
    EzratHashem
    Member

    Non-fiction kids books offer a broad range of topics, and are written today in a very engaging way. But don’t think they can go without supervised review! There are all kinds of stuff that comes up in non-fiction, across the board, that can include anti-creation themes, cultural pritzus & vulgarity, advancing of secular entertainment, and a host of values antithetical to Torah. In order to appeal to kids the information is no longer delivered straight and dry, but the context it is embedded in makes these books as bad as a lot of the fiction.

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