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Suggestions for a gentler whodunit.


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Initial post: Sep 5, 2011 9:51:46 AM PDT
Syl says:
I love a good whodunit, but I'm really sick of all the brutal blood and guts that has now become the norm ever since "The Silence of the Lambs". I really hate the "psychological" thrillers that have the female victims tied up and then sliced, diced and other things that are too difficult to read. Please any suggestions for a gentler whodunit will be greatly appreciated.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 5, 2011 10:06:14 AM PDT
Try these authors -

Anne George
Josephine Tey
Tim Myers
Donna Andrews
Rhys Bowen
Charlotte MacLeod/Alisa Craig
CS Challinor
Laura Childs
Jill Churchill
Aaron Elkins (alone, or with his wife Charlotte)
Jeanne M. Dams
Monica Ferris

Those should keep you reading for a while.

Posted on Sep 5, 2011 2:43:37 PM PDT
Hi Syl,

Great list from M. Francis, and here are some more:

Louise Penny's Three Pines/Inspector Gamache series (Louise Penny is my favorite mystery author writing today)
Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce series
Richard Yancey's Highly Effective Detective series
Fred Vargas's Commissaire Adamsberg series
any of Peter Lovesey's mysteries
any of Robert Barnard's mysteries
Cara Black's Aimée Leduc series
Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series
Laurie R. King's Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series

I couldn't agree with you more about disliking psychological thrillers and books with gruesome violence toward women. Luckily, there are still plenty of mystery authors who avoid that stuff.

Posted on Sep 5, 2011 3:57:57 PM PDT
Great recs. You might enjoy some older mysteries, for instance by Georgette Heyer or Charlotte Macleod. In modern stories I like Krista Davis' Diva series (sort of anti- Martha Stewart :-)). And for fun-- Sparkle Hayter.

Posted on Sep 5, 2011 4:01:21 PM PDT
L Leitner says:
Try looking up 'cozy mysteries' in the Kindle store. Lots come up.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 5, 2011 4:04:15 PM PDT
Syl says:
Thanks for the info. I will try a book of each.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 5, 2011 4:32:59 PM PDT
Kathy S. says:
I don't care for "cozies", but I do love Louise Penny's booksl they have plenty of substance without much gore.

Posted on Sep 6, 2011 7:08:48 AM PDT
Susan Solin says:
There are cozies for all interests. Like to cook, sew, quilt, knit, shop, paint gourds, travel, own an orchard, organize, decorate, etc...? There is a cozy for that! Most with a murder which usually happens off page...a kindler, gentler mystery!

Posted on Sep 6, 2011 9:24:44 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 6, 2011 1:37:06 PM PDT
Amanda Peck says:
Not very cozy, but not excessively violent either, although what I like about these guys is that the detectives are actually working at their regular jobs (especially the Evans).

Sarah Andrews (in which our heroine is oil-patch geologist Em Hansen--might want to pick up the first after another book or two. Also, with the one from Antarctica--she had way too much fun there, Hansen is only mentioned)

Mary Anna Evans (in which our heroine is an archaeologist working mostly on the Gulf Coast again you might not want to start with the first).

And there are a trio (or quartet, actually a bunch) of Western Sheriffs and others--

Steven F. Havill's Bill Gastner series (succeded after Bill retires, by his chief deputy, Estelle Reyes-Guzman--I think I like Bill better, but....)

Peter Bowen's Gabriel du Pre series set in Montana. Actually, he's a brand inspector. The earlier ones I like better (too much deus ex machina in the later one, thanks to a bored billionaire). Brand inspector (Bill Gastner becomes one after he retires), Metis (French/Indian), fiddle player--he's played at the Smithsonian, a couple of interesting kids.

Craig Johnson's Walt Longmire series. Not my favorite of those sheriffs but I may be in the minority. Wyoming.

C. J. Box's Joe Pickett--game warden.

And I can't even remember the third of the ones I originally thought of. But there's Tony Hillerman, and surely many others in that approximate genre.

edited to add cautions about the first book, and correct a misspelling.

Posted on Sep 6, 2011 10:14:27 AM PDT
tealadytoo says:
I agree with a lot of the above posts.

Anything labeled "cozy" by definition is not gory, concentrates more on the personal relationships and less on police procedures, and likely has some sort of a "background" world in which the characters operate (an interest such as a craft of some sort, or the career of the sleuth, or an unusual locale, etc.) They tend to be light stories.

For authors of somewhat weightier stories, but not drenched in gore, I strongly agree with the Louise Penney recommendation. Dick Francis stories are also very good. And Dianne Mott Davidson's Goldie Shulz stories seem to strike a middle ground between the cozy and the straight mystery, and are also excellent.

Posted on Sep 6, 2011 2:20:54 PM PDT
Susan Solin says:
A Murder Hatched: Murder with Peacocks and Murder with Puffins, the First Two Books in the Meg Langslow Series (A Meg Lanslow Mystery) is a 2 book set for $9.99. These are the first 2 books in the Meg Langslow series..you might enjoy those.

Still Life: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel (Three Pines Mysteries) and the first book in Louise Penny's series is only $2.99 right now.

Posted on Sep 6, 2011 4:22:07 PM PDT
Elizabeth Peters and every other author M. Francis suggested. :>)

I find Laurie King and Louse Penny to be a tad on the dark side (not necessarily violent. Just not what I'd call upbeat.)

Maria

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 6, 2011 4:27:37 PM PDT
Maria, you do realize the only reason I didn't list you is I don't think Sedona is really quite as "cozy" as the OP is asking about.........

And thank you for making me feel a little less lonely in not adoring Penny. My problems with the one book I read were finding the characters rather cardboard-like, and being able to figure out the big surprise waaaaaaaaaay before you're supposed to. Oh, well.

Posted on Sep 6, 2011 4:31:55 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 6, 2011 4:44:23 PM PDT
There is also a funny series started about two older ladies, one of whom has a gun named Smokeahantas!
It is by Mary Saums and there are two in the series so far.

Thistle and Twigg

There is also a Lois Meade series by Anne Purser or the Mrs. Pollifax series is a great gentler one, too with action. I also like Elizabeth Peter's Vicky Bliss series.
Borrower of the Night (Vicky Bliss) only $4.44 right now and normally over $10.

Posted on Sep 7, 2011 10:37:53 AM PDT
M. Francis, I'm a big Louise Penny fan, but if the one book you read was STILL LIFE, I can understand how you feel. I read that one and felt lukewarm about it. The only reason I read further is because I picked up the second at a book sale and finally took it off the shelf about a year later. That was the one that hooked me.

For what it's worth, I know lots of people who don't care for the Louise Penny books. We can't all like the same books, right?

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 7, 2011 10:39:28 AM PDT
And it's a good thing we don't, or just imagine how long the wait lists at the library would be!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 8, 2011 4:44:35 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Sep 9, 2011 2:56:17 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 8, 2011 5:10:35 PM PDT
Initial post: May 16, 2011 2:14:00 PM PDT
Amazon Community Team says:
(AMAZON OFFICIAL)
Amazon recently created a new community for authors. The `Meet Our Authors' community is designed to give authors a space to engage with one another and promote their latest and greatest works.

With the advent of the new community, we will no longer allow self promotional posts in other communities. Starting on Monday, May 16th, all "shameless self promotion" activity will be limited to the `Meet Our Authors' community. Promotional threads outside of these forums will be removed.

We invite authors and interested readers to come join the discussion at:

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We look forward to seeing you!

Posted on Sep 9, 2011 10:05:51 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Sep 9, 2011 10:13:37 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 9, 2011 10:10:23 AM PDT
Read the post directly above yours.

Reported.

Posted on Sep 9, 2011 10:14:03 AM PDT
Andy Kaiser says:
Yep, I didn't realize that when I posted.

I deleted my post. I apologize for the interruption.

Posted on Sep 9, 2011 10:27:28 AM PDT
Marjorie says:
I'm thinking maybe Sujata Massey's Rei Shimura series, set in Japan, might meet the criteria. Rei Shimura is a young Japanese-American woman living in Tokyo. At first she's teaching English; later in the series she becomes an antiques buyer -- Japanese antiques for the American market. I don't remember any graphic violence. I liked this series a lot. One of the attractions is the knowledge you get about various aspects of Japanese culture.

Posted on Sep 9, 2011 1:29:57 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 9, 2011 1:37:13 PM PDT
A good resource is the list of finalists and winners each year of the Agatha awards for Best Novel and Best First Novel. Named in honor of Agatha Christie, the awards are for traditional/cozy mystery novels and are given out at the annual Malice Domestic conference. You can find the lists here:
http://malicedomestic.org/agathaawards.html

Sorry! It's been a long time since I checked this discussion and I forgot about the new no-BSP rule. I deleted that paragraph, and I hope you'll leave the above one in, which is generally useful.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 9, 2011 1:31:33 PM PDT
Another one. Reported.

Initial post: May 16, 2011 2:14:00 PM PDT
Amazon Community Team says:
(AMAZON OFFICIAL)
Amazon recently created a new community for authors. The `Meet Our Authors' community is designed to give authors a space to engage with one another and promote their latest and greatest works.

With the advent of the new community, we will no longer allow self promotional posts in other communities. Starting on Monday, May 16th, all "shameless self promotion" activity will be limited to the `Meet Our Authors' community. Promotional threads outside of these forums will be removed.

We invite authors and interested readers to come join the discussion at:

http://www.amazon.com/forum/meet%20our%20authors

We look forward to seeing you!

Posted on Sep 9, 2011 1:34:43 PM PDT
Would readers like more PG or PG-13 mysteries then? If there's an audience for this stuff, I'll write it.
Just let us authors know what you want and if there's enough demand, we'll do it.
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Discussion in:  Mystery forum
Participants:  88
Total posts:  170
Initial post:  Sep 5, 2011
Latest post:  Dec 17, 2012

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