I always get a chuckle out of Elmore Leonard. Just finished Freaky Deaky and its got some good moments in it. Not laugh out loud but a kind of sly wit. The book is mostly dialogue but as any fule kno its some of the best dialogue you'll ever see.
I replied to the thread before reading everyone else's comments, having done so I'm very surprised nobody mentioned Joseph Wambaugh. His early ones like The Choir Boys, The Glitter Dome and The Delta Star are extremely funny - the blackest of black humour. They're all good but the Choir Boys is a stone classic...
I must say I also find Raymond Chandler very witty...
Thanks Paula, I'm going to look for those,never heard of any but they sound good.
I agree with Mark about Elmore's humorous books -many are hilarious (and many were made into movies) - I am totally in awe of Elmore's ability to write funny novels then gritty westerns, followed by serious crime -an amazing writer ! -I recently read 'Djibouti' and loved it but don't know whether it was more realistic or just funny .
My other favorite humorous writers are Carl Hiassen and Lawrence Shames. -Some I really like, but don't know where to classify, such as Robert B Parker's "Jesse Stone" series, or James Swain's early "Tony Valentine" series - all excellent books.
Well I feel late to the party here but endorse many of those that I've seen in these threads. I'm a Brit so it's a little harder to find some of the less well-known writers. But definitely kudos to:
The Great Elmore Leonard
Joe R Lansdale
Wambaugh's Hollywood series
James Hall (though they're not all funny)
Lawrence Block's Hitman
... wow, I'd like to have added someone new but you guys seem to have covered them all!
Ah, how about the Jacob Asch series by Arthur Lyons? And the La-La novels of Robert Campbell? Wry and humorous, both of them.
As a fellow Brit, I recommend the Inspector Morse novels by Colin Dexter.
The full on series (13 books) can be had inexpensively through Amazon UK.
I'm on the last book now sadly and I'm not sure what to read next - hence my interest in this forum topic.
Unfortunately I can't get into my fellow British authors as crime writers ... they seem to be about police procedure (Morse etc) or forensic investigators. I much prefer the US style of PIs like Elvis Cole, or books where the good guys are almost bad guys, and vice versa - as in Elmore Leonard and Joe Lansdale etc. I find a lot of UK crime fiction very parochial and unrealistic ... perhaps because I live there! That's why in my own two books I tried to create a hard-boiled detective with the characteristics of the US characters that I admired, rather than the slightly intellectualised coppers or forensic experts.
If you do like procedurals you could always try the Martin Beck books of Sjowall and Wahloo, which are very deliberate and considered. Or the slightly more comic antics of Ed McBain's Precinct 87 cops. Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch series is also good in terms of cop procedure ... though of course all of these are outside the UK and therefore might not be quite what you're looking for.
My suggestion: R.D.Wingfield and his Inspector Frost series. Sjowall & Wahloo are also good. Van de Wetering is very funny. So is HRF Keating's Inspector Ghote.
Keith and I.J.,
You've certainly read a lot of detective stories between the two of you!
As a teenager I suppose I read a lot - Dennis Wheatley, and The Saint books come to mind. Since then nothing, in the way of fiction. Apart from P.G. Wodehouse - one of his Jeeves and Wooster books made me laugh out loud when everybody else was asleep on a transatlantic flight. Very embarassing.
The Morse books have the same effect - a squeal of delight at a witticism or an unexpected change of plot.
Of course, I'm homesick for various things - real beer and sausages and taking the bus - things amply covered in the books.
Maybe I should be dragged screaming to the continent (Europe minus England) for some of I.J.'s suggested novels or here to the States for some of Keith's recommendations.
I'll let you know what happens - many thanks for the replies.
I've just finished my first Carl Hiaasen. I started with Skinny Dip. I have to say, by the end I was really sort of starting to feel sorry for Chaz. I know he pushed his wife off a cruise-liner and all that but he was fairly routinely tortured one way or another after that. Should I try another??
I've read a few others...Skin Tight (which has the same male protagonist from Skinny Dip, the name escapes me) and Star Island were entertaining but not as good. Popped my Hiaasen cherry on Skinny Dip and it is very much my favourite, and I suspect that could be the case no matter which one came first. His books are quite same-y.
Try Lucky Me. Very funny. Hit the jackpot and weep.
I like Donald Westlake...Loren Estleman...and at the risk of sounding immodest...try an excerpt of the Jake Diamond novels by J. L. Abramo on Amazon...it is free...and here is a free short story...
I've recently read and posted about 'Kiss and Tell' by TJ Cooke
mention it here because the the author uses two time strands and in one of them it allows an escape from the tension... its about unorthodox UK lawyer Jill Shadow, who goes from receptionist, to secretary, to fully fledged lawyer... her first person narrative is very funny at times. A really good read this....