There are many reasons mysteries are so satisfying. Mysteries are puzzles and we like not only having them solved but trying to solve them ourselves along the way; we enjoy getting to know characters in a series and seeing what happens to them over time; and we know that the “bad guy” will be caught and justice will be served in a satisfying ending (usually).
Here are some new and old mystery titles the staff have been enjoying:
Series by Susan Elia MacNeal, starts with Mr. Churchill’s Secretary. Fast-paced, historical mystery with spy elements set in WWII London. Great sense of time and place.
The Case of the Missing Servant by Tarquin Hall is the first in a series featuring India’s “most private investigator.” Filled with interesting characters and humor–a good one to try if you like the #1 Detective Agency books by McCall Smith.
Susan Wittig Albert’s China Bayles series starting with Thyme of Death–former lawyer buys an herb shop in Texas and becomes involved in solving mysteries. Enjoy the stories and the recipes and information about herbs.
The Cat Who Came to Breakfast by Lillian Jackson Braun T(who died in 2011). This is sixteenth in series of 29 books. They are amusing, fun, “clean,” heart-warming mysteries with a strong sense of place. The main characters are retired reporter and amateur detective Jim Quilleran and his two Siamese cats. (Note: Cats do catlike things that are interpreted by Quill as clues in solving crimes, but they are not supernatural, magic, etc.). In this story they are investigating odd accidents plaguing a fancy resort recently built on a nearby island.
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett. A beautiful woman arrives at Spade’s office begging for help and it leads to the death of Spade’s partner, Miles Archer. It is up to Spade to try and sift through the stories of some colorful characters and put together the truth (and up to the reader to try and guess if Spade is motivated by vengeance, the law, money, or the truth). Iconic (if pointedly un-politically correct) dialogue in this classic hard-boiled mystery.
The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz is the first in character-driven series featuring a dysfunctional family who run a PI firm in San Francisco. These are light, funny reads with quirky characters who are likeable and quick-witted. Also good in audiobook format.
Talking to the Dead by Harry Bingham. This police procedural/psychological thriller features Detective Constable Fiona Griffiths, a Cambridge grad and rookie officer who doesn’t quite fit in with her co-workers.
Down the Rabbit Hole by Peter Abrahams. Thirteen-year-old thespian Ingrid loves Sherlock Holmes, so when her new-found friend, “cracked up Katie” is murdered–and Ingrid is a potential suspect–she decides to solve the case. This award-winning JH title is fast-paced with a good sense of danger. (JH ABRAHAMS)
Fans of historical fiction should try the informative and entertaining Thomas Potts mystery series by Sara Fraser. Set in early 19th century England, Fraser has thoroughly researched the customs and culture of a rough-and-tumble closed society. The first is The Reluctant Constable.
If you like Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone character try This Dog for Hire by Carol Lea Benjamin, the first in series set in Greenwich Village featuring PI Rachel Alexander and her “partner” (a pit bull).