In Entertainment, Literature, Parents Recommend

Escape into Mysteries

Always have a cozy paperback mystery on hand for those times when you want to set stress and worries aside by escaping into another world where the protagonist also encounters challenges, yet ultimately arrives at a satisfactory solution. Sometimes our fictional heroes also inspire new directions.

book-sniffing-out-murdSniffing Out Murder
by Kallie E. Benjamin

Teacher and children’s book author Priscilla “Pris” Cummings and her bloodhound Bailey must sniff out who killed Whitney Kelley, the mean-girl mother of one of Pris’ students with whom Pris recently had words. This is the 1st in a new series by the author who also writes as V.M. Burns (the Mystery Bookshop series) and Valerie Burns (the Baker Street mysteries).

book-act-like-a-lady-think-like-a-lordAct Like a Lady, Think Like a Lord by Celeste Connally

In this banter-filled Regency-era series starter, independent-minded Lady Petra Forsyth announces she’ll remain unmarried after the death of her fiancé. This shocks the ton but frees Petra to look into the disappearance of a friend (whose husband seems unconcerned) and, later, find a murderer. Read-alikes: Murder in Westminster by Vanessa Riley; The Body in the Garden by Katharine Schellman.

book-gaslightGaslight by Femi Kayode

After years in the United States, investigative psychologist Dr. Philip Taiwo is settling back in in Nigeria with his wife and teenage daughter (who’s having trouble adjusting). Then his sister asks him to find the missing wife of her megachurch pastor and major trouble ensues in this 2nd in a series (which can be read as a standalone). Read-alike: Kwei Quartey’s Emma Djan novels.

book-mayors-of-new-yorkThe Mayors of New York by S.J. Rozan

The mayor of New York asks PI Bill Smith, who narrates, and his partner, Lydia Chin, to quietly find her 15-year-old son, whom she thinks has run away. As Bill and Lydia talk to the unofficial leaders of various neighborhoods, they realize there’s more going on than just a missing rebellious teen. This evocative 15th entry in an award-winning series is a must-read for fans and a good place to start for newcomers.

book-everyone-on-this-train-is-a-suspectEveryone on This Train Is a Suspect by Benjamin Stevenson

The Mystery Writers’ Society of Australia hosts a crime festival on a cross-country train trip — and there’s a murder. Festivalgoer and writer Ernest Cunningham delightfully spins the tale of what happened in this fast-paced sequel to Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone. Read-alikes: Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express; Anthony Horowitz’s Magpie Murders mysteries or his Daniel Hawthorne series.

book-daughter-of-ashesDaughter of Ashes by Ilaria Tuti

Nearing retirement, Italian police superintendent Teresa Battaglia, who’s hiding signs of dementia, agrees to speak with the serial killer she put away nearly 30 years ago…and he claims they are both in mortal danger. This 3rd series title following The Sleeping Nymph is “a standout entry in a superior series” (Publishers Weekly).

book-a-stolen-childA Stolen Child by Sarah Stewart Taylor

A new old job: Having moved to Dublin, Ireland, with her teenage daughter, former Long Island homicide detective Maggie D’Arcy has finished Garda training and once again walks a beat in uniform.

What happens: Maggie and her partner Jason are on the scene when an ex-model is found dead in her apartment…and her toddler is missing.

Series alert: Readers can start with this evocative, well-plotted 4th Maggie D’Arcy novel, but those who want to read her 1st outing should pick up The Mountains Wild

book-the-benevolent-society-of-ill-mannered-ladiesThe Benevolent Society of Ill-Mannered Ladies by Alison Goodman

Introducing: witty, brave 42-year-old spinster twins, Lady Augusta and Lady Julia Colebrook, who live in 1812 London.

Why you might like it: Three interlinked stories depict the sisters’ adventures as they solve mysteries and problems for women and girls in trouble, sometimes aided by a handsome disgraced nobleman.

Read this next: Katharine Schellman’s Lily Adler mysteries or Claudia Gray’s Mr. Darcy & Miss Tilney mysteries

book-the-bitter-pastThe Bitter Past by Bruce Borgos

What it is: a debut novel combining mystery, history, and spy thriller that’s set in Nevada’s high desert during the 1950s and the present day.

Past and present collide: Nothing much ever happens in Sheriff Porter Beck’s area until an elderly retired FBI agent is tortured to death in a complex case linked to the early days of the nuclear age.

Reviewers say: “Intelligent storytelling and well-drawn characters bode well for future series entries” (Publishers Weekly); “Riveting” (Library Journal)

book-mrs-planskys-revengeMrs. Plansky’s Revenge by Spencer Quinn

Introducing: Mrs. Loretta Plansky, a wealthy 71-year-old recent widow; and Dinu, a Romanian teen whose violent uncle has him scam elderly Americans by pretending to be their grandson.

What happens: Mrs. Plansky gets taken in by Dinu, and her life savings are gone in a night. After the FBI says there is nothing they can do, Mrs. Plansky heads to a small village in Romania to get her money back.

For fans of: senior sleuths, like those in Richard Osman’s Thursday Murder Club series, Dorothy Gilman’s Mrs. Pollifax books, or Jesse Q. Sutanto’s Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers

Thank you to San Luis Obispo Librarians for this list of cozies.

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