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Customer Discussions > Mystery forum

Need mystery book/series for elderly friend

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Showing 1-25 of 47 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 24, 2012 12:44:04 PM PST
Grasshopper says:
She is in her 80s and recently widowed. I know she has time on her hands to read and would enjoy it, but having trouble finding the right book or series. I'm looking for:

1. Modern-ish. As in, published in the last 5 years or so. She's read many of the older series. The setting of the book does not have to be modern, though.

2. Safe. Not too gorey, or too dark, or too smutty. Also, not too depressing; she has had a lot of heartache lately and needs a book that is a distraction, not a downer. Fun or funny would be welcome, but not a must.

3. Intelligent. She is a sharp lady and would appreciate a book that makes her think, or has unexpected "aha!" moments; not fluff.

Thanks so much for lending your expertise!

Posted on Nov 24, 2012 1:29:14 PM PST
Does she have an ereader or are you looking for print only?

Posted on Nov 24, 2012 1:35:52 PM PST
I enjoy a lot of the older stuff, authors like Elizabeth Peters...but more recent:

Kaye C. Hill -- fun and funny without being too ridiculous
Put a Lid on it by Donald Westlake Fun, but not as "silly" as his Dortmunder series, which is pretty over the top

A little less in the Funny and just a great mystery is author Sandra West Prowell -- I think it's all out of print, but such good stories.

I think she might also like Sherban Young. His stuff is funny, but more in a British subdued humor. Kind of more wit than rollicking. Pretty complex plots too.


Posted on Nov 24, 2012 5:22:09 PM PST
Susan Solin says:
a couple suggestions: The Guilded Age Mystery series Still Life With Murder (Nell Sweeney Mystery Series, Book 1) is the first in the series and currently free.

Louise Penny's mystery series Still Life is the first.

and for humor
The Liturgical Mysteries The Alto Wore Tweed (The Liturgical Mysteries) or possibly the Meg Langslow series A Murder Hatched: Murder with Peacocks and Murder with Puffins, the First Two Books in the Meg Langslow Series (Meg Langslow Mysteries) this is the first 2 books in the series for one price.

Posted on Nov 24, 2012 6:11:20 PM PST
Cluny says:
Dorothy Cannell, Nancy Atherton, Donna Andrews are some author suggestions.

Posted on Nov 24, 2012 8:07:54 PM PST
Anne George's Southern Sisters - First is Murder on a Girls' Night Out.

Posted on Nov 24, 2012 8:23:32 PM PST
luv2read says:
If you think she might like cozies, check out There's also genre (e.g., humorous, pets) and diversity (e.g., Amish, seniors) indices on

Posted on Nov 26, 2012 1:17:24 AM PST
otrpu says:
She might like Sue Grafton's Alphabet Series. I listen to them over and over at work, graveyard shift.


Posted on Nov 26, 2012 2:14:00 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 26, 2012 2:18:30 AM PST
I haven't read this author, Frances Brody, so I don't know if her books are gory or not.

Dying in the Wool (Kate Shackleton Mysteries)

Posted on Nov 26, 2012 11:49:39 AM PST
tealadytoo says:
Perhaps she would like Claire O'Donohue's "Someday Quilts" series. The first is The Lover's Knot: A Someday Quilts Mystery. I've really enjoyed it. Traditional cozy set up but a little less fluffy than most. The protagonist is a young woman, but her grandmother is a very strong secondary character.

Posted on Nov 28, 2012 6:38:46 AM PST
mjr says:
She may enjoy the Julia Spencer-Fleming series beginning with In the Bleak Midwinter. I am currently reading Afterwards: A Novel and although it took me a chapter or two to adjust to the style of narration, the book is amazing.

Posted on Nov 28, 2012 6:41:23 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Nov 28, 2012 6:42:06 AM PST]

Posted on Nov 28, 2012 6:56:14 AM PST
Grasshopper says:
Thank you so much for all of the wonderful suggestions! It is always refreshing to find that people are willing to take a few moments to be so genuinely helpful!

I've ordered a couple of the books you've suggested. Also, what do you think of the Maisie Dobbs series? Most reviews seem favorable, but do you think it might be a fit for my friend?

Posted on Nov 28, 2012 8:15:59 AM PST
A lot of people in the Amazon cozy group speak highly of that series (I haven't read it myself).

You might ask there. We read a lot more than just cozies and I can't remember when that series was talked about, but from what I remember it should be a good fit. Some of it just depends on what your friend likes as far as hobbies or pacing. I don't know if she is on the internet, but she's (and you) are more than welcome to post there. There are also some very good Goodreads groups for mysteries.

More general mysteries:

Someone also already mentioned the site--it's awesome. Lots of mystery discussion on the blog and someone will have read just about any book you ask about. There are also monthly recommendations. Just about anything you can imagine. The books tend to be cozies or regular (not too many mentions of thrillers, but admittedly sometimes that is what I read so I'll throw that into the pot for discussions now and then). Friendly group and fun. There's a subscription via email or just stop and check it whenever the mood hits you. Friendly place.

Posted on Nov 28, 2012 10:34:19 AM PST
Jacquie says:

I think the Maisie Dobbs series would be good. I love it and at 70 am just a few years younger than your friend. The first book in the series is called MAISIE DOBBS.

I also might suggest a series by Deborah Crombie - The Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series. I started with the first book A SHARE IN DEATH and immediately read through the whole series.

Do you know about the website It gives listings of mystery series by author and in order of publication date. It's a wonderful resource. It will also give you a ton of other information.

Good luck. Your friend is lucky to have you. This is certainly a difficult time for her.

Posted on Nov 29, 2012 7:30:37 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 29, 2012 7:33:27 PM PST

I agree with the suggestion of the Maisie Dobbs series. While there is a bit of darkness there (the aftermath of WWI), it is very well written intelligent series.

Set in the same time period, and a bit lighter is a series by Suzanne Arruda. Jade del Cameron, the protagonist, is totally enjoyable. Best read in order starting with "Mark of the Lion". Actually, now that I think about it, I think I'll read "Mark of the Lion" again.

These are two series, along with the Louise Penny books, where I eagerly await the next book. I get a lot of my books from the library, and I put my name on the waiting list whenever I hear that a new one is available.


In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2012 9:52:12 AM PST
K. McNamara says:
You might also check if eyesight is an issue - some older adults prefer a kindle, nook or pad type reader because they can make the font large enough to be read easily.

I'll put in yet another recommendation for Donna Andrews Meg Langslow series (Murder with Peacocks).
I know its old, but some of my favorites are still Dorothy Gilman's Mrs. Pollifax series The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax. Worth rereading!

Posted on Dec 1, 2012 10:02:36 PM PST
otrpu says:
I rather enjoy the Sue Grafton Alphabet mystery series.


Posted on Dec 2, 2012 2:14:07 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Dec 15, 2012 6:53:52 AM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 2, 2012 2:44:23 PM PST
Dog Lover says:
Funny how your "elderly aunt" uses precisely the same wording you attribute to yourself in your other posts for this book. Related to/associated with/are the author perhaps? You like it so much but didn't write a review for this or others in the series that you are recommending?


Posted on Dec 3, 2012 12:22:25 PM PST
Cluny says:
Rita Larkin series
Getting Old Is the Best Revenge
Getting Old Can Kill You: A Mystery
Getting Old Is Murder

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 3, 2012 3:12:24 PM PST
mysterywoman says:
Hi Grasshopper,
Try Rhys Bowen's two series: the Molly Murphy and the Lady Georgie Rannoch series. Both are well written and intelligent well plotted and humorous.

Catriona McPherson series featuring Dandy Gilver
Carolyn Haines' Sarah Booth Delaney "Bones" series (All the books have the word "Bones" in the title)
Last, but certainly not least, Rhonda Pollero's Finley Anderson Tanner series.

Hope this helps!!!!!!

Posted on Dec 3, 2012 5:34:52 PM PST
Siriusly17 says:
The daisy dalrymple series are a nice choice.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 3, 2012 7:44:24 PM PST
L. Burns says:
Your friend might like the "Miss Julia" series by Anne B. Ross. The first book is Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind. I think they are considered "Southern Fiction", but each installment has a bit of a mystery plot. The humor is witty and intelligent; very entertaining.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2012 4:14:12 AM PST
Dog Lover says:
Love the Miss Julia series!

(I wish you had a wish list!)

Love that German Shepherd.

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Discussion in:  Mystery forum
Participants:  28
Total posts:  47
Initial post:  Nov 24, 2012
Latest post:  Dec 30, 2012

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