January 26, 2012


Cozy mystery novels are my favorite companions during the long winter months.  Fortunately, there are many writers in this genre, more than I have time to read, in fact. But when I find an author I especially like, I make a practice of reading through the entire series and then feel bereft when I close the book on the last.   If the author is deceased, like Agatha Christie, there is a period of mourning.

(courtesy: Carola Dunne/Minotaur Books)

If the author is still working, like Carola Dunne, impatience is my companion until the next publication. When the new book arrives, however, I race through it only to be left feeling impatient again. 

But, as I say, the number of mystery writers is many and, fortunately, I stumbled across a new list on the internet the other day. Martha Grimes was on it, of course. I’ve read most of her books but found one I’d yet to read and so I ordered it. 

I love Grimes for her sense of humor. Her prose is wonderful — sometimes bordering on literature — but it’s her humor that keeps me on the lookout for her mysteries. Writers like P.D. James or Ruth Rendell are so dry they put me to sleep as surely as if I were reading climate charts from the fourteen century. But Grimes’ characters are quirky, even the sensible ones who also happen to be insightful and compassionate. I like the fullness of her characters.

This new list taken from the Internet holds a good deal of promise. Some of the authors have created unique characters or settings. I’ve listed a few of them below. 

Peg Marber – writes interior design mysteries

Ann McMillan – writes Civil War whodunits.

Leslie Meier – provides holiday-themed plots

Fiona Mountain – her sleuth is a Genealogist in the Cotswold’s.

I hope these authors will prove good company for a dark and stormy night. Maybe they’ll even give me the shivers. I certainly hope so.