A Slew of Sleuths perhaps

I like mysteries. Sometimes I like them just as quick reads with satisfying characters and that sense of having completed a jigsaw puzzle at the end. My husband does complex puzzles on his tablet while I read on mine. But sometimes I like a mystery with deeper characters and plot, the sort of book that keeps me up in the evening while husband plays chess. And maybe that's the difference - mysteries like chess or like jigsaws.

Here are a few "chess" jigsaws, worthy of reading long and late in the day. Find some coffee and see if any of them entice you.

First is the third omnibus edition of Inspector Morse novels by Colin Dexter. Why can't I find copies of the first and second omnibi? Anyway, this third one starts with the first Morse novel, so it's very satisfying seeing him slightly younger at his first meeting with Lewis. Find some elegant, complex four-star coffee to go with these well-structured mysteries.

Still in England, my next new favorite detective is Peter Diamond in Beau Death by Peter Lovesey. The seventeenth (!!!!!) is probably a strange place to pick up a new series, but Donna Fletcher Crow mentioned the book when I was editing a novel with several scenes in Bath, Egland. I followed her recommendation and I love the blend of modern and classical, all bound up in a classic police procedural. Enjoy some more elegant complex four-star coffee with this. And please, when's the TV series coming?

And then there's Savage Moon by Chris Simms, set on Saddleworth Moor in the North of England, where the "wild things" just might be... Genuinely scary monsters, and intriguingly honest depiction of a policeman's young wife too. It's the third in a series, and I suspect this is another series that will be driven by a character growing older. Enjoy with some dark five-star coffee - it's a gruesome tale.

Crossing oceans to the mainland US, Evergreen by Howard Owen continues the author's Willie Black mysteries, a series where the protagonist grows convincingly older and wiser, and the modern world, with all its machinations always moves on with the years. Pleasingly contemporary, with great descriptions, great characters and great voice, this may well be my favorite Willie Black book to date. Enjoy with some more complex four-star coffee.

The mainland US and Puerto Rico both feature in Chris Knopf's Deep Dive, next in the author's Sam Acquillo series. Again, it's the characters that drive the plot. Sam Acquillo is loyal to his friends, uncompromising in investigation, and wise to the world's cruelties. Lyrically descriptive, honestly thought-provoking, and an enthrallingly good read, enjoy with some dark five-star coffee for some truly dark situations.

For more jigsaw like mysteries and faster reads, there's A Purrfect Murder by Nic Saint, with a cat that talks to his owner and listens in to other people's conversations - a purrfect local spy perhaps. Add a touch of romance and don't take it too seriously, best read with some lively two-star coffee.

For another light-hearted mystery with a female protagonist, try No Scone Unturned by Leighan Dobbs Nicely turning expectations on end, the baking protagonist is young and the technology users (or abusers) are older. It's a quick fun read, with a lost drone and much suspension of disbelief. Enjoy with some more lively two-star coffee.

So... English detective, American reporter, investigative carpenter (did I mention Sam Acquillo's a carpenter?), cat or cook--which detective series will you read next?


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