British Mysteries from Book to Screen

Today’s post comes to us from our Deputy Director Deb, who loves a good mystery!

Many devoted mystery readers began with Agatha Christie’s classic golden age mysteries featuring Miss Jane Marple and Hercule Poirot. I certainly did! These distinctly British offerings are a perfect gateway into the world of mysteries. And like so many other British mysteries, they have been made into marvelous television series, which you can watch using the library’s new streaming video service, Acorn TV. Or you can download the books in e-book or e-audio from the library’s website.

Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple are both well represented on Acorn TV and in our e-book and e-audiobook collections. Consider reading or listening to Murder on the Orient Express, The ABC Murders or The Mysterious Affair at Styles. Check out Acorn TV and watch Marple, Agatha Christie’s Partners in Crime, The Agatha Christie Hour and Agatha Christie’s Poirot. Also try Christie’s classic locked-room mystery, And Then There Were None, considered to be the world’s best-selling mystery, available in e-book and e-audio and on Acorn.

The Agatha Raisin series by M.C. Beaton features a middle-aged woman who sells her London PR firm and moves to the country (the Cotswolds, to be precise), where, in true amateur detective fashion, she encounters—and solves– murders galore! Try the first book in the series, Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death, available in both audio and ebook. Or read any of the others—like so many long-running mystery series, it isn’t necessary to read them in order. Then watch Agatha Raisin on Acorn, a top pick for fans of cozy British mysteries.

One of my favorite village cozy series, also by M.C. Beaton, features the unambitious and charming policeman Hamish Macbeth who patrols the village of Lochdubh in the Scottish Highlands. I have listened to all of them on audio. The reader, Graeme Malcolm, imbues the audiobooks with such charm and personality that I’m betting you, too, will be hooked! We have more than a dozen titles available on e-audio, including Death of an Honest Man and  Death of a Gossip. Then check out Hamish Macbeth on Acorn.

The Phryne Fisher series by Kerry Greenwood, featuring a glamorous private detective in 1920s Melbourne, is actually Australian, but close enough to fit in with our British theme. The supremely independent Miss Fisher has class, sass and the means to pull it all off! Try Cocaine Blues, the first in the series, or The Spotted Dog. The clothes alone make the series worth watching Miss Fisher on Acorn!

Ann Cleeves’ series featuring Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope is considerably darker than the other series in this post. DCI Stanhope is a solitary, obsessed, caustic, brilliant investigator near the end of her career working in northern England. Try listening to the first in the series, The Crow Trap, or read The Seagull. And be sure to watch Vera on Acorn TV.

Set in Ireland, the long-running Jack Taylor series by Ken Bruen has been thrilling readers (and now TV fans) for years. Taylor is a classic ex-cop turned seedy private eye prowling the underbelly of Galway. Try e-book or e-audio  Galway Girl or e-audio Purgatory and check out Jack Taylor on Acorn.

Sample Some Tasty “Cozy Mysteries”

The words “cozy” and “mystery” may not seem to go together at first glance, but with the growing popularity of the mystery novel subgenre,  they somehow do. What makes a mystery “cozy”? They are usually set in small towns, with amateur or atypical sleuths solving the crimes, and Angela Lansbury in Murder She Wrotethere isn’t a lot of swearing, gore, or sex. Think “Murder, She Wrote” with a hundred different themes.

The theme of the series is usually evident in the series name and the often-punny book titles. There seems to be a theme for every interest: Knitting (Dyeing Wishes : A Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery), Gardening (Harvest of Murder : A Gardening Mystery), Books & Reading (If Books Could Kill: A Bibliophile Mystery), and of course, Cats (Paws and Effect : A Magical Cats Mystery). But one of the biggest themes is Food.

We’ve assembled some mysteries sure to appeal to the Foodie and Amateur Detective in you!

Goldy Bear MysteriesCatering to Nobody by Diane Mott Davidson by Diane Mott Davidson. This series follows caterer Goldy as she solves murders and tries to keep her fledgling business afloat. Catering is a risky business indeed!

Hannah Swensen MysteriesThe Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke by Joanne Fluke. Hannah Swensen is a cookie baker whose gingersnaps are almost as tart as her mouth and whose penchant for solving crime definitely stirs things up.

Bakeshop MysteriesMeet Your Baker by Ellie Alexander by Ellie Alexander. Welcome to Torte – a small-town family bakeshop where the coffee is hot, the muffins are fresh, and the cakes are definitely to die for.

Comfort Food MysteriesDo or Diner by Christine Wenger by Christine Wenger. Trixie Matkowski  agrees to take over her aunt’s diner in upstate New York, and is looking forward to the small town atmosphere she knew as a child…. until murder is on the menu.

Tea Shop MysteriesShades of Earl Grey by Laura Childs by Laura Childs. Theodosia Browning is the  owner of Charleston, South Carolina’s  Indigo Tea Shop, where a mystery is always brewing…

Cheese Shop MysteriesThe Long Quiche Goodbye by Avery Aames by Avery Aames. Charlotte Bessette runs Fromagerie Bessette, or as it’s more commonly known by the residents of small-town Providence, Ohio – the Cheese Shop. Another small town with a large number recipes to make and murders to solve.

 

Cozying Up With New Cozy Mysteries

reading

It seems that in November and December, our feet don’t stay planted in one spot for too long.  Be sure you take some time to put your feet up and take a step away from all the hustle and bustle by picking up a new cozy mystery to read!

twice-told-tailTwice Told Tail (A Black Cat Bookshop Mystery) – Ali Brandon – While being suspicious of an anonymous online bidder who is offering a lot of money for one of her antique books, Darla Pettistone is roped into helping bridezilla Connie Capello get ready for her big day until their shopping excursion ends in murder.

deck-the-hallwaysDeck The Hallways (A Fixer-Upper Mystery) – Kate Carlisle – While trying to transform a Victorian mansion into apartments for homeless families in time for the holidays, contractor Shannon Hammer must pull-off a Christmas miracle to save her father from prison and find the real killer of a miserly bank president.

hooking-for-troubleHooking For Trouble (A Crochet Mystery) – Betty Hechtman – When she believes she has witnessed a murder, Molly Pink, the founder of the Tarzana Hookers Yarn University, calls in her ex, homicide detective Barry Greenberg, who reports that nothing is amiss, forcing her to unravel the clues herself to find the truth. Includes recipes and crochet patterns.

we-wish-you-a-murdWe Wish You A Murderous Christmas (A Year-Round Christmas Mystery) – VIcki Delany – When the son of Jack Olsen, who owns the Yuletide Inn, decides to no longer celebrate Christmas at the Inn, sending the local shopkeepers into a tizzy, Merry Wilkinson is faced with a holiday homicide when he is found stabbed to death.

the-goodThe Good, The Bad, And The Guacamole (A Taste of Texas Mystery) – Rebecca Adler – When her best friend, Patti Lopez, is accused of murdering her ex-boyfriend, smooth-talking country crooner Jeff Clark, Tex-Mex waitress and part-time reporter Josie Callahan must put her sleuthing skills to good use to serve up the real killer.

shadesShades of Wrath (A Caprice De Luca Home Staging Mystery) – Karen Rose Smith – Hired to decorate a run-down mansion, which will now house Kismet, Pennsylvania’s women’s shelter, home stager and stray animal rescuer Caprice De Luca must instead design an investigation that will expose a crafty killer after the shelter’s director is murdered.

firstFirst Degree Mudder (A Pacific Northwest Mystery) – Kate Dyer-Seeley – An outdoor writer, Meg Reed, deciding to take her job to the next level, trains hard for Mud, Sweat & Beers, an extreme 5K mud run, only to find herself getting down and dirty in a murder investigation when her coach, Billy the Tank, is found dead.

crime-and-catnipCrime and Catnip (Nick & Nora Mystery) – T. C. LoTempio – Agreeing to look into the disappearance of a museum director’s niece, caterer Nora Charles and her faithful feline, Nick, are plunged into a world of coded messages, false identities and murder where they must solve this mystery in order to survive. Includes sandwich recipes.

prose-and-consPros and Cons (A Magical Bookshop Mystery) – Amanda Flower – When she finds one of the members of the local writing group dead right before the annual Food and Wine Festival, Violet, after the shop magically tells her she will need to rely on the works of Edgar Allan Poe to solve the murder, must act fast before someone else’s heart beats nevermore.

better-off-threadBetter Off Thread (An Embroidery Mystery) – Amanda Lee – While playing elf to Captain Moe’s Santa for sick children at a local hospital, embroidery shop owner Marcy stumbles upon the dead body of the hospital’s administrator and must, with the help of her police officer boyfriend and her Irish Wolfhound, find out who is trying to pin this murder on Moe.

frosty-the-deadFrosty The Dead Man (A Snow Globe Shop Mystery) – Christine Husom – When she finds Mayor Lewis Frost, Frosty to his friends, dead, apparently struck by the snow globe she sold him earlier that day, curio shop owner Camryn Brooks must shake things up to find a killer who is cold as ice.

ghostsThe Ghosts of Misty Hollow (Ghost of Granny Apples Mystery) – Sue Ann Jaffarian – While visiting a best-selling crime writer who needs her input as a medium, Emma Whitecastle is immediately contacted by a family of ghosts who originally owned the historic Massachusetts farmhouse and need her help in locating the spirits of their two children who disappeared, which results in the appearance of a dead body.

spouseSpouse on Haunted Hill (Haunted Guesthouse Mystery) – E.J. Copperman – When the cops show up at her doorstep, searching for her ex-husband who, owing some scary people a lot of money, has disappeared and left a body in his wake, Alison Kerby, with the help of ghosts Maxie and Paul, sets out to find her ex and clear him of the murder before the bad guys get to him first

A New Batch Of Cozy Mysteries

autumn reading

Finally!  The cool weather is here!  If you like it hot and humid, this was the perfect summer for you.  Hope you were able to enjoy some cozy mysteries by the beach, pool, or in some air conditioning!  Now Fall is here and we have a bunch of new titles for you to snuggle up with.  Enjoy!

digging up the dirtDigging Up The Dirt (A Southern Ladies Mystery) – Miranda James – When eligible bachelor Hadley Partridge returns to Athena to restore his family mansion, he finds a dead body and he must weed through the clues to discover the killer.

 

cancelledCancelled by Murder (A Postmistress Mystery) – Jean Flowers – When the dead body of fabric-shop owner Daisy Harmon is found after a massive storm, postmistress Cassie Miller is asked by Daisy’s widowed husband to find the truth before someone else is swept away by a killer.

murder of a crankyMurder of a Cranky Catnapper (A Scumble River Mystery) – Denise Swanson – When her pet-therapy project ends in murder, Scumble River School psychologist Skye Denison Boyd must find out who killed a curmudgeonly school board member before she meets the same fate.

no farmNo Farm, No Foul (A Farmer’s Daughter Mystery) – Peg Cochran – When the minister’s wife is murdered on her property during a fundraiser for a local church, Shelby McDonald, the owner of the Love Blossom Farm in the small Western Michigan town of Lovett, must dig in her heels and find the killer herself.

behind-chocolateBehind Chocolate Bars (A Chocolate Covered Mystery) – Kathy Aarons – While preparing for the annual West Riverdale Halloween Fair, business partners Michelle and Erica find themselves trick-or-treating for the truth as they try to prove the innocence of one of Erica’s comic-book club members when he is accused of murder. Includes chocolate-making recipes.

hammettThe Hammett Hex (A Book Collector Mystery)  – Victoria Abbott – While on a romantic trip to San Francisco with Officer Tyler Smiley Dekker, Jordan Bingham, in the process of returning a rare copy of Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest for her employer, discovers that someone is trying to kill them.

high-kicksHigh Kicks, Hot Chocolate, and Homicides (A Happy Hoofers Mystery) – Mary McHugh – When the Happy Hoofers score a gig at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall with the legendary Rockettes during the Christmas Spectacular, the toe-tapping troupe must solve a murder in between rehearsals and sightseeing before someone else dances to their death.

its-your-partyIt’s Your Party, Die If You Want To (A Liv and Di In Dixie Mystery) – Vickie Fee – While planning a riverboat gambler-themed engagement party, a murder mystery dinner for charity, and a businesswoman’s’ retreat, party planner Liv McKay must solve the murder of a party girl with a penchant for married men, but her efforts are thwarted by a killer with one seriously haunting vendetta.

killing-thymeKilling Thyme (A Spice Shop Mystery) – Leslie Budewitz – When she encounters an old friend who disappeared years ago, and who then is murdered only days later, spice shop owner Pepper Reece digs up the dirt on Seattle’s Pike Place Market to catch a killer only to place her own life in danger.

masking-for-troubleMasking for Trouble (A Costume Shop Mystery) – Diane Vallere – When the venture capitalist who was trying to push out local businesses, including hers, is found dead during a Halloween party, costume-shop owner Margo Tamblyn is the top suspect and must unmask the real killer before she is forced to wear prison stripes.

semi-sweetThe Semi-sweet Hereafter (A Chocolate Whisperer Mystery) Colette London – While in London to lend her expertise on all things chocolate to a posh chocolaterie-patisserie, detective constable Hayden Mundy Moore stumbles upon the dead body of a sexy celebrity chef who just happens to be the ex-husband of Hayden’s client and must unwrap the clues to catch a killer with a sweet tooth.

witchThe Witch and the Dead (A Wishcraft Mystery) – Heather Blake – When she discovers a pile of old bones in her Aunt Ve’s garage under a mess of memories and forgotten possessions, wish-granting witch Darcy Merriweather must solve a cold case to keep her aunt from doing a spell in prison

by-familiarBy Familiar Means (A Witch’s Cat Mystery) – Delia James -While painting murals in a new coffee house, witch and artist Annabelle Britton is asked by the owners to evict a restless spirit before the grand opening, which leads to the discovery of hidden smugglers tunnels beneath the shop, a dead body and a killer with a score to settle.

paws-andPaws and Effect (A Magical Cats Mystery) – Sofie Kelly – When her old beau, Detective Marcus Gordon, is accused of murder, resourceful librarian Kathleen and her magical felines must paw through the clues to discover who is trying to frame him for murder.

 

seeds-ofSeeds of Deception (An Orchard Mystery) – Sheila Connolly – While honeymooning at Monticello and enjoying Thomas Jefferson’s orchards, newlyweds Meg and Seth discover that something rotten is going on at home and must cut their vacation short when the police pick Meg’s father as the killer of a handyman.

New Cozy Mysteries For Summer Reading

cozy

The latest selection of cozy mysteries are ready for your summer reading!

murder at fontMurder at Fontainebleau (An Elizabethan Mystery) – Amanda Carmack. Sent by Queen Elizabeth to the court of Mary Queen of Scots as a spy, Kate Haywood must navigate the unfamiliar French court where glittering balls and banquets disguise poisonous ambition and murder.

 

the black cat knocksThe Black Cat Knocks On Wood (A Bad Luck Cat Mystery) – Kay Finch.
When a local business owner is found dead right after a black cat was seen in her office, mystery novelist Sabrina Tate and her cat, Hitchcock, while dealing with her Aunt Rowe who has signed up for the upcoming Texas Hill Country Senior Pro Rodeo, must rope in a killer before he strikes again.

Dead End Streetdead end street (A Museum Mystery) – Sheila Connolly.
When a member of a neighborhood rescue program is killed while showing her an abandoned row house in a rundown area of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society president Nell Pratt is determined to find the truth before she herself becomes history.

 

diva servesDiva Serves High Tea (A Domestic Diva Mystery) – Krista Davis.
After the new owner of the antique store is poisoned after attending a literacy fundraiser at the new tea shop, domestic diva Sophie Winston gets into hot water when she decides to investigate the crime on her own.

 

eclairElcair And Present Danger (An Emergency Dessert Squad Murder) – Laura Bradford.
When her elderly neighbor, a widower named Bart, is found dead, smothered by a pillow, bakery owner Winnie Johnson, while comforting her frightened and grieving neighbors with baked goods, decides to stir things up to catch a killer who preys on the helpless.

calamityThe Calamity Cafe (A Down South Cafe Mystery) – Gayle Leeson.
When Lou Lou, her former employer—and bully of a boss—is found dead, Amy Flowers, who was about to purchase the restaurant from Lou Lou and open the café of her dreams, must clear her name of the crime by serving up the real killer.

 

wedding belWedding Bel Blues (A Belfast McGrath Mystery) – Maggie McConnon.
When her cousin Caleigh’s last one-night stand before her wedding plunges to his death during the reception, Belfast McGrath, thinking that this was no accident, teams up with Detective Kevin Hanson, her long-ago love, to find the truth while avoiding a cold-hearted killer.

 

premonitionA Premonition of Murder (A Dream Club Mystery) – Mary Kennedy.
When Abigail Marchand, a reclusive heiress who had come to them about a dream foretelling her death, meets her demise down a flight of stairs, the Dream Club, along with Detective Sam Stiles, must catch a killer before another victim is laid to rest.

 

grace sees redGrace Sees Red (A Manor House Mystery) – Julie Hyzy – When her assistant, Frances, is accused of murdering an elderly resident of an upscale assisted-living facility, Grace Wheaton, curator and manager of Marshfield Manor, must clear her name and find the real killer before another resident checks out before their time.

 

cracked to deathCracked to Death (A Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery) – Cheryl Hollon – When a treasure hunt leads to deadly plunder, it’s up to glass shop owner Savannah Webb and her trusty investigative posse to map out the true motives of a killer.

 

somethings'Somethings’ Knot Kosher (A Quilting Mystery) – Mary Marks – Funerals can be patchy affairs for Martha Rose and her close-knit circle of friends–especially in the case of a missing body.

 

finalFinal Fondue (A Five-Ingredient Mystery) – Maya Corrigan – Val Deniston certainly has her plate full running a café, dabbling with recipes, and helping her grandfather prepare for the town’s upcoming tri-centennial celebration, but she’s grown fond of her new life in the Chesapeake Bay town of Bayport.

engagedEngaged in Death (A Wedding Planner Mystery) – Stephanie Blackmoore –
All appears peaceful in sleepy Port Quincy, Pennsylvania–but in this small town, old grudges die hard.

 

take the monkeyTake the Monkey and Run (Call of the Wilde Mystery) – Laura Morrigan – On her first “real” case, animal telepath Grace Wilde arrives in New Orleans, where she, while attempting to communicate with her client’s cat, gets distracted by a mysterious monkey who warns her that her client isn’t what she seems, forcing her to separate fact from fiction to find the truth.

read to deathRead to Death (Read ‘Em and Eat Mystery) – Terrie Farley Moran – When driver Oscar Frieland, who is known for his colorful stories and his love of their café’s fruit tartlets, is found dead in his van after taking their book club on a day trip, best friends Sassy and Bridgy must solve this puzzling crime before one of their members gets the book thrown at her.

toastingToasting Up Trouble (A Dinner Club Mystery) – Linda Wiken – When the hotshot caterer for the Italian princess party she is organizing for the 21-year-old daughter of a high-tech millionaire is murdered—and she becomes a suspect—event planner Jennifer Tanner must turn the tables on the real killer with the help of her Culinary Capers Dinner Club.

gone with the woolGone With The Wool (A Yarn Retreat Mystery) – Betty Hechtman – During the annual butterfly festival at California’s Monterey Peninsula, Casey Feldstein, while setting up a yarn retreat, baking and helping out, must unravel the clues to catch a killer when a former butterfly queen is found with a knife in her back.

dressed to kiltDressed to Kilt (A Scottish Highlands Mystery) – Hannah Reed – When her date with Leith Cameron in Scotland takes a deadly turn, resulting in the discovery of a dead woman floating in a vat of alcohol, aspiring romance author Eden Elliott steps in as a Special Constable to help solve the case, only to discover that the killer could be connected to her own Scottish heritage.

toxicA Toxic Trousseau (A Witchcraft Mystery) – Juliet Blackwell – When rival clothier Autumn Jennings, the woman whom her potbellied pig Oscar head-butted, winds up dead, Lily searches for a way to clear her name and discovers a cursed trousseau with a treacherous past among Autumn’s recently acquired inventory.