Mysteries: Around the World in 80 Sleuths

I love mysteries that immerse the reader in another culture, so here is a short (won’t burden you with 80!) list of some of my favorites, all written by authors with a gift for conveying a strong sense of place. There is no Nordic noir on my list.  A dead body or two and a certain amount of violence are inevitable in all but the coziest of mysteries, but the Scandinavians tend to take it a little far for my taste. Plus I prefer that the majority of the characters in the books I read be people I would enjoy spending time with!  So make yourself a nice cup of tea and curl up with any one of these for a satisfying few hours of reading.

Tannie Maria mysteries by Sally Andrews.
Set in rural South Africa, Recipe for Love and Murder is the first in a series featuring Tannie Maria, a middle-aged widow who loves both to cook and eat and also writes a recipe and advice column for the Klein Karoo Gazette.  While assisting other people with their problems, Tannie Maria is forced to deal with her own–and with a murder to boot. Recipes included! The second novel in the series, The Satanic Mechanic, is due out at the end of March 2017.

Vish Puri, Most Private Investigator mysteries by Tarquin Hall.
Set in the colorful, crowded  metropolis of Delhi, this humorous series features the endearingly idiosyncratic detective Vish Puri (aka Chubby for reasons that will be obvious), India’s Most Private Investigator, and a boisterous cast of supporting characters including Puri’s irrepressible Mummi-ji and his operatives Tubelight, Facecream and Handbrake. Warning:  Do not read these books on an empty stomach, the descriptions of food are positively mouth-watering. No need to read in order.

Commissario Guido Brunetti mysteries by Donna Leon. 
Venice is the setting for this best-selling series, which has been running for 25 years and captures the beauty, character and seamy underbelly of  life in this glorious city.  Brunetti is a good and intelligent man working to keep crime and injustice at bay in his beloved Venice.  You read these books as much for his musings and observations about daily life, his beloved family, politics and government as you do for the mysteries. The books are also celebrated for their mouth-watering descriptions of the food,  so much so that Donna Leon co-wrote a cookbook featuring some of the fabulous Venetian recipes referenced in her novels.  For long-time fans, reading the latest Donna Leon book is like a visit with old friends. Pick up any one in the series and start reading!

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache mysteries by Louise Penny.
Set in Quebec, these books feature one of the most admirable men to ever command a police force. Or pretty much anything else.  Multilayered plots, a large and richly described cast of characters and lyrical writing characterize this series which is made even stronger by its incorporation of the complexities of bi-lingual and bi-cultural Quebec.  As one reviewer said, “few writers in any genre can match Penny’s ability to combine heartbreak and hope in the same scene.” Still Life is the first in the series of 12 books, which is best read in order.

The Highland Gazette Mystery Series by A. D. Scott.
Set in the northern Scottish Highlands in the 1950s, this series about a mystery-solving newspaper staff in a small town captures the changing world of post-war Scotland.  This series has everything I like–richly drawn characters, complicated relationships and well-developed backstories in a setting both beautiful and bleak.  Read this fine series in order–the first one is A Small Death in the Great Glen.  There are 6 books in all and the author is working on the seventh.  As a bonus, you will meet members of the Highland Travelers, an indigenous group similar to the Romani in Europe.

Bruno, Chief of Police mysteries by Martin Walker.
A small village in the Dordogne region of south-central France is the setting for this series, featuring Benoit “Bruno” Courreges, a soldier-turned-policeman who would rather tend his garden or whip up a gourmet meal than use his gun or arrest a suspect.  Part of the pleasure of these richly satisfying mysteries is the contrast between the traditional rhythms of life in a French village and the terrors of the modern world.  You may miss a few details if you read this series out of order, but it will not dampen your pleasure in the slightest.

Emily Dickinson said it best:  “There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away…”

Cozy Mysteries – March 2015


Another batch of cozy mysteries for your reading pleasure!

Horse of a Different Killer (Call of the Wilde Mystery) – Laura Morrigan

Ladle to the Grave (Soup Lover’s Mystery) – Connie Archer

How to Catch a Cat (Cats and Curios Mystery) – Rebecca M. Hale

A Healthy Homicide (A Blossom Valley Mystery) – Staci McLaughlin

Murder Ties the Knot (A Haunted Souvenir Shop Mystery) – Christy Fifield

Borrowed Crime (A Bookmobile Cat Mystery) – Laurie Cass

Dying for a Cupcake (A Devereaux’s Dime Store Mystery) – Denise Swanson

Suspendered Sentence (An Amish Mystery) – Laura Bradford

Flamenco, Flan, and Fatalities (A Happy Hoofers Mystery) – Mary McHugh

On Our Shelves: New Cozy Mysteries

Winter’s the perfect  time to curl up with a cozy mystery. Here are some of the newest additions to our collection:

Books, Cooks, and Crooks (A Novel Idea Mystery) by Lucy Arlington

A Fatal Slip (A Sweet Nothings Lingerie Mystery) by Meg London

Throw In The Trowel (A Flower Shop Mystery) by Kate Collins

Town In A Strawberry Swirl (A Candy Holliday Murder Mystery) by B.B. Haywood

Days of Wine and Roquefort (A Cheese Shop Mystery) by Avery Aames

Scandal In Skibbereen (A County Cork Mystery) by Sheila Connolly

Murder With Ganache (A Key West Food Critic Mystery) by Lucy Burdette

A Tale of Two Biddies (A League of Literary Ladies Mystery) by Kylie Logan

Beewitched (A Queen Bee Mystery) by Hannah Reed

A Tough Nut to Kill (A Nut House Mystery) by Elizabeth Lee

Poison at the PTA by Laura Alden

On Our Shelves: New Paperbacks

We’ve got three new Mysteries and three new Romances for your reading pleasure.

Poisoned Prose (A Books by the Bay Mystery) by Ellery Adams – When Olivia Limoges and other Oyster Bay patrons of the arts sponsor a retreat for famous storytellers, one of them is going to have a very unhappy ending.

Final Catcall (A Magical Cats Mystery) by Sofie Kelly – Small-town librarian Kathleen Paulson gets plenty of entertainment from her extraordinary cats, Owen and Hercules. But when a theatre troupe stumbles into more tragedy than it bargained for, it’s up to Kathleen to play detective.

Rubbed Out (A Memphis BBQ Mystery) by Riley Adams – Even Lulu Taylor—proprietress of Aunt Pat’s Barbeque Restaurant in the heart of Memphis, Tennessee—needs to get out of the kitchen now and then. But at the Rock and Ribs festival, she finds more than a taste of trouble.

Cowboy Justice (Catcher Creek) by Melissa Cutler – Transforming their parents’ rundown ranch in the small town of Catcher Creek, New Mexico, into a tourist destination is the toughest challenge the three Sorentino sisters ever faced. But now one of them has another fight on her hands – to keep from falling for the sexy town sheriff – again.

Anything But Love (A Cupcake Lovers Novel) by Beth Ciotta – For Reagan Deveraux, Sugar Creek, Vermont, and the Cupcake Lovers are a dream come true: A cozy little town where family and friends come before everything else. She’s never experienced anything like it—especially not growing up with her mother, a fickle, fame-hungry heiress. But Rae’s plan to hide out in anonymity for a year until she can claim her inheritance—and her independence—changes with one kiss from gorgeous pub owner Luke Monroe.

Blue Forever (Men in Uniform) by Nina Bruhns – Dashing and devilish Major Kiptyn Llowell is the opposite of reasonable. But when his top secret mission on exotic Hainan Island, China, goes belly up, Kip throws himself on the mercy of the eminently sensible (and irresistibly sexy) DeAnne Lovejoy to hitch a ride to his rendezvous point. But he gets far more than he bargained for.

Mystery/Thrillers Coming This Fall

book leavesThe days are getting shorter, nights longer.  Soon you’ll be looking for that perfect book to curl up with.  Here are some great mystery/thrillers to look forward to this fall.

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King – Stephen King returns to the character and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.

Sycamore Row by John Grisham – John Grisham’s A Time to Kill is one of the most popular novels of our time. Now we return to that famous courthouse in Clanton as Jake Brigance once again finds himself embroiled in a fiercely controversial trial-a trial that will expose old racial tensions and force Ford County to confront its tortured history.

The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly – Defense attorney Mickey Haller returns with a haunting case in the gripping new thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly.

The Spook Lights Affair by Marcia Muller – Fans of Marcia’s Muller’s bestselling Sharon McCone novels and Bill Pronzini’s Nameless Detective series will applaud The Spook Lights Affair and future exploits from the annals of Carpenter and Quincannon, Professional Detective Services.

The Death Trade by Jack Higgins – The master of suspense returns with a cutting-edge tale that pits his heroes Sean Dillon and Sara Gideon against the nuclear ambitions of Iran.

Ask Not by Max Allan Collins – Fifty years after JFK’s tragic death, Collins’s rigorous research for Ask Not raises new questions about the most controversial assassination of our time.

Accused by Lisa Scottolini – New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award–winning author Lisa Scottoline revolutionized crime fiction when she introduced her all-female law firm of Rosato & Associates, thrilling readers with her twisty, fast-paced plots and capturing their hearts with her cast of strong and relatable female characters. Now Bennie Rosato, Mary DiNunzio, Judy Carrier, and Anne Murphy are back with all cylinders firing in Accused.

Critical Mass by Sara Paretsky – New York Times-bestselling author Sara Paretsky’s brilliant protagonist V.I. Warshawski returns in another hard-hitting entry, combining razor-sharp plotting and compelling characters with a heady mix of timely political and social themes.

Other titles debuting this fall:  W Is For Wasted by Sue Grafton, Innocence by Dean Koontz, Hazardous Duty by W.E.B. Griffin, Police by Jo Nesbo, Going Dark by James W. Hall, The Mayan Secrets by Clive Cussler, Never Go Back by Lee Child, Second Watch by J.A. Jance. The October List by Jeffery Deaver, White Fire by Lincoln Child, Tatiana by Martin Cruz Smith, Silencing Eve by Iris Johansen