After a reading dearth toward the end of last year, I picked
up the pace throughout the holidays and into the new year. And so I visited a
few well known characters, at least to me. Did I reread classics? No. I read
the latest in a couple of mystery series. These series fall into the category
of “cozy”, which mean no gratuitous sex. The violence of the murder at the
center of the book tends to happen offstage. Typically there is a cast of
characters, and back stories, that span one book to another. I love reading
these books, and I write in that genre (though I am as yet unpublished). I
think that the term cozy gets a bad rap, with people expecting cats, recipes
and knitting. OK, a lot of the series I follow have those elements, but they
are also good stories with wonderful characters.
Rather than talking about books I don’t like, I will focus
on series I do like. In other words, the books I pre-order from Amazon (if they
are in paperback, I think twice about hardback books, but that’s another blog
entry.) The books I am talking about today are fairly recent series, each with at
least two books and new ones due soon.
The Booktown Series by Lorna Barrett. Book 3 (Bookplate
Special) just came out. The series takes place in a small New
Hampshire town where bookstores of various types are
the prime source of industry. The protagonist (Tricia Miles) is a divorcee who
owns a mystery bookstore. Great cast of characters, interesting plots (that have a little bit of an edge). Plus, who wouldn't want to live in a book town?
The Orchard Mystery Series by Sheila Connolly. Book 3 is due
in March. Meg Corey moves to a small town and begins rehabbing an old family
house while figuring out how to manage the orchard that goes with it. There is a subtext of romance (always nice), and Meg is a gutsy, interesting character.
The Domestic Diva Series by Krista Davis. A divorced
domestic diva solves crimes while trying to maintain what is expected of her
(fabulous food, elegant dining, etc). Book 3 is coming out in February. Sophie Winston has Martha tendencies with the verve of a 40's heroine.
The Charlie McNally series by Hank Phillippi Ryan. Book 4 is
due out in February. Charlie is a reporter trying to balance her career, crime solving and a lovelife. These books have thriller plots that twist and turn.
All four of these series are engaging, quick and interesting
reads. A perfect anecdote, in my humble opinion, to a gray winter day.