With Joan Hess coming to the store this Saturday, February 25th, 7p with Deader Homes & Gardens, it made us think of some of the other more genteel mysteries, known as traditional or cozies, that we enjoy. Known for the violence mainly happening off page, little or no foul language, these books typically feature an amateur sleuth and many times revolve around the protagonists’ occupation or craft. Think Murder She Wrote, not Mike Hammer. Here are five authors known for looking at the lighter side of murder:
1. Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swensen has been solving murderers in her eccentric hometown when not running her bakery, since Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder. Joanne provides recipes in the book right alongside as a fun mystery. As someone who’s had her cookies and read her books, I can say she does a great job with both.
2. Maggie Sefton looks at the culture of knitters with her sleuth and avid knitter Kelly Flynn. Funny with plenty of heart, her first two books Knit One, Kill Two and Needled to Death can be found in the the omnibus Double Knit Murders.
3. Texas author Susan Wittig Albert introduced us to the world of herbs with her attorney-turned-shop owner China Bayles in Thyme Of Death. Each mystery is tied to a different herb, and highlights their various uses and the lore surrounding them.
4. Karen Olson provides a slightly edgier cozy with her Tattoo Shop Mysteries. Her high end tattoo artist, Brett Kavanaugh, travels through the stranger sides of Las Vegas solving crime. Start with The Missing Ink.
5. Janice Hamrick won the St. Martins/MWA First Mystery Prize with Death On Tour. This funny, low rent version of Death On The Nile introduces Hamrick’s divorced Austin middle school teacher Jocelyn Shore, as she deals with intrigue and murder on a discount tour through Egypt. The book has also been nominated for The Mary Higgins Clark Award.