MYSTERIES TO ENJOY

I made the comment last week that I read more mystery than romance. Someone suggested that I write about some of my favorite mystery authors. I will gladly do so and look forward to your comments and perhaps your own recommendations. I don’t think I could run out of reading material if I had five lifetimes, but I am always willing to try new books and authors if I like the sound of them. Sometimes I wish I didn’t like the sound of quite as many as I do!Β 

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I like a lot of British mystery authors, including many of the older ones. It is fun watching detectives and amateur sleuths solving puzzles without any of our modern resources. I am gradually (re)reading through Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple books and will get to the Hercule Poirot ones again after those. Someone mentioned Patricia Wentworth on Facebook a while ago, and I am reading my way through her books and thoroughly enjoying them. They are not unlike the Agatha Christies. The Ngaio Marsh books are waiting in the wings to be read again. And I love the Georgette Heyer mysteries almost as much as I love her Regency and Georgian romances. Lord Peter Wimsey of the Dorothy Sayers mysteries is one of my favorite characters in all literature. I love the P. D. James Adam Dalgliesh mysteries, largely because they are beautifully written, and I like what I have read of Ruth Rendell–I have much to catch up on there. The M. C. Beaton Hamish Macbeth books are lightweight but fun. Often when I am between books and don’t quite know what I want to read, I’ll search out the next of those on my list and load it into my KIndle.

I have some American favorite mystery writers though I tend to shy away from many of the grittier, more brutally violent books. I love the Lee Child books despite the question of hygiene (those of you who know them will also know what I mean). And I try to close my mind to the knowledge that–bizarrely–Tom Cruise was chosen to play Jack Reacher in the first movie. I enjoy Richard Stevenson’s Donald Strachey books and Harlan Coben’s Myron Bolitar series. Michael Connelly has been a long-time favorite, particularly because I like his characterization of Harry Bosch and, to a slightly lesser degree, of Mickey Haller. I like the Robert Parker books, and I love Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe series, mainly because of the snappy style in which they were written.

Goodness, this is getting to be a lengthy list. My most recent favorites are similar to each other in many ways. I have recently discovered Donna Leon’s Brunetti mysteries, set in Venice. I love it when I come late to a series and know that I have many hours of wonderful reading ahead of me. And I adore Louise Penny’s Gamache series, set in Quebec. The mysteries are great, but it is the characterization that makes the series outstanding. There are many recurring characters, all of them total individuals who grow and change with each book.

A few people last week suggested that I might enjoy Deanna Raybourn’s Lady Julia Grey mysteries. I had read and enjoyed another of her books, but not this series. I am currently reading the first, Silent in the Grave, and enjoying it immensely. I love the wit with which it is written and the character of Lady Jane herself. I am delighted that there is a whole series awaiting me.

I could probably go on and on, but it is your turn. Do you have any comments on any of the writers or series I have mentioned? Do you have any favorites of your own? Or are there other genres you prefer to mystery or romance? I do not, by the way, like the genre known as romantic suspense. I like a romance or a mystery. With a few exceptions, I get irritated when the two are mixed together. The romance tends to slow down the mystery, and the mystery takes the focus off the growing love story.

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Since we are headed into December, I’ll give away Christmas books this week. To one person who leaves a comment below before the end of next Friday, December 6, I’ll send signed copies of the two-in-one CHRISTMAS BEAU/CHRISTMAS BRIDE and of A CHRISTMAS PROMISE. Last week’s winner was Jadi (last name not known yet). Congratulations to her and thank you all for the really interesting comments.

139 thoughts on “MYSTERIES TO ENJOY

    • I too love the English mysteries and don’t read the scary, gory ones. My great favorites are the mysteries of Anne Perry. She has two Victorian era series that are excellent. Her first book in the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series, “The Cater Street Hangman” is one of my all-time favorites. I highly recommend this series. Another wonderful series is by Bruce Alexander. His mystery series is about a London judge loosely characterized on the 18th century magistrate Sir John Fielding half brother of Henry Fielding (Tom Jones). Oh and one last brilliantly written series, by David Dickinson of Lord Francis Powerscourt…..wonderful.

  1. I too am reading more mysteries lately. I share your liking of Lee Child, Dorothy Sayers (especially Murder Must Advertise), and the late Robert B. Parker. I have read Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler so often that the paperbacks are worn out. Of the historical mystery novelists, my favorite is Jacqueline Winspear, but I also like David Downing and James R. Benn (both WW2 set). Rose Melikan and Anna Dean have done some interesting Georgian/Regency mysteries. In the current era, I love MC Beaton’s Agatha Raisin series (it amuses me that so many people can’t stand Agatha because I find a lot to like about her) and Janet Evanovich’s first half dozen Stephanie Plum stories, before she painted herself into a corner with the Joe/Ranger/Stephanie triangle – Visions of Sugar Plums is an annual Christmas reread because it always makes me laugh.

  2. I love mysteries. I love the Peter Pascoe novels by Reginald Hill. Another favourite series is the Richard Jury books by Martha Grimes. I have read and reread those many times.

  3. love your stories, so much detail that I feel like I am transported back in time. would love to win, the perfect Christmas gift

  4. Though not strictly ‘mysteries’, I enjoy Catherine Coulter’s contemporary thrillers. They’re sort of mysteries as well, I guess? πŸ™‚ I also enjoy Mary Higgins Clark. I’m rubbish at solving the mystery, so mysteries, as a genre, are always a challenge for me, haha!

  5. I love reading the old mysteries, too…so much more reliant on instinct and those “little grey cells”!!! I enjoy some of the ones set in medieval times, too!

  6. I read almost 100% romance. Almost. I have read all of Agatha Christie’s books and I enjoyed Dick Francis. I really enjoy your books!

  7. I love the Ross McDonald’s Lew Archer novels. I was heart broken when he developed Alzheimer’s Disease and died. I am working my way through the Rizzoli and Isles books.

  8. The one mystery that I really loved was Ten Little Indians by Agatha Christie. I think I have read others, but that was the one that stuck in my brain. I mainly read historical romance. I like the little bits of history mixed in with the romance.

  9. I admit that I don’t read a lot of mysteries, but I do enjoy Agatha Christie, as old fashioned as that is. As for your OWN stories – I thoroughly enjoy reading those, especially the Christmas ones.

    And speaking of – have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

    Maggie

  10. I really enjoyed Laurie R. Kings ‘The Beekeeper’s Apprentice Series’. Mystery with a touch of Sherlock Holmes and the tiniest sweet tinge of love. Not a distracting amount, more like the chocolate on your pillow. I very highly recommend! πŸ™‚

  11. I’m an avid mystery reader. I started with Agatha Christie and never stopped. Some of my favorites set in England are Peter Robinson’s DCI Alan Banks series set in Yorkshire and Deborah Crombie’s series with Scotland Yard’s Duncan Kincaid & DI Gemma James. Historical mysteries set in England – Anne Perry’s Thomas & Charlotte Pitt and her William Monk series. On a lighter note, Susan Wittig Albert’s Beatrix Potter series and Nancy Atherton’s Aunt Dimity mysteries.
    Set in the US, I like Susan Wittig Albert’s China Bayles series set in present-day Texas and her cozy 1930’s Darling Dahlias series set in Darling, Alabama. I’m also a huge fan of Earlene Fowler’s series set in California ranching country. I could go on & on but those are probably a good representation of my top favorites.

  12. I’m a librarian in a public library, and we have a monthly mystery book club that I help run, so I read a lot of mysteries. I am a big fan of Louise Penny, Lee Child and Alexander McCall Smith (especially his No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series). Two of my favorite authors are Spencer Quinn (how can anyone not love Chet & Bernie?) and S.J. Rozan (Concourse & No Colder Place are my favorites of the series – I have a major crush on P.I. Bill Smith). I always love a little romance mixed in with anything I read, including mysteries. That’s definitely one of the appeals of the Lydia Chin/Bill Smith series – I’d really like to see these two have a happy ending, but I don’t know that Rozan agrees with me. I enjoy reading in all the genres, but what a treat it is to read a good romance, and for that, I depend primarily on you, Mary. Thank you for all the wonderful stories you’ve shared over the years.

  13. I always look forward to the Christmas stories.There is nothing better then curling up with a great book on a cold winter’s day.

  14. I find it ironic that romances and mysteries seem so intertwined. I adore both but prefer that each stay in their own. That isn’t to say I don’t like a little romance in my mystery or a little mystery in my romance. I just like the main storyline to follow one or the other because I get too involved LOL The very first mysteries I read was Nancy Drew but after one book I switched to the Hardy Boys. They had a lot more fun but I only read a few of those too. I adored “Alfred Hitchcock Presents: The Three Investigators”. I think I was 12 when I decided I needed to read Sherlock Holmes: Hounds of Baskerville. It was a little old for me but I did get it all read over that summer. Today I like Patricia Cornwell (though I am about 6 books behind), James Patterson (his Cross series, though I am also a number of books behind on him) and Agatha. Thank you so much for a nice trip πŸ™‚

  15. Have always loved your books…now, when you talk about my favourite mysteries, cannot leave out Agatha Christie or her masterpieces The Pale Horse or And Then There Were None.

  16. I love the Hamish Macbeth stories, too! Although, I agree with you that mixing romance and mystery is annoying. The last few books had too much about Hamish and his love life (or lack of!) and it detracted from the mystery story.

  17. I love reading James Patterson for mystery type books. I also discovered a few good historical romance type mysteries like the Lady Julia Grey books by Deanna Raubourne and the Francesca Cahill series by Brenda Joyce.

  18. I fell in love with your books starting with the Huxtable series. So much so, that I have turned my mother in law into a devotee of yours as well. We love the time era. I don’t read many mysteries, as I prefer fantasy or romance, but the Dresden files by Jim Butcher are pretty good. I just finished the Maze Runner series and I have to admit I was disappointed. Keep up the amazing work we all love!

  19. I have to agree with you about the Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series. How in the world could Tom Cruise be chosen to play a man who is clearly over 6ft tall is not only poor casting it’s ludicrous!!!!! Sometimes people should just leave books alone and not try to make movies out of them.

  20. I have always been an Agatha Christie fan. I enjoy the Sherlock Holmes mysteries and have gotten my son interested mysteries as well. Because I like mysteries, it was easy to switch to romance suspense books. Not only do I get the mystery aspect, but also the romance. Romance is the main portion of the majority of the books I read. Due to this, I like to read contemporary romance, romantic suspense, historical romance, paranormal romance, and fantasy romance. Some of my favorite authors for are Mary Balogh, Jayne Ann Krentz, Kay Hooper, Heather Graham, Elizabeth Hoyt, Nora Roberts, and Elizabeth Lowell.

    I tend to choose series written by an author. I enjoy seeing the carryover of the characters and it is fun to see where the characters are in different parts of different books.

  21. My favorite mystery writer was Dick Francis. I discovered Nerve in a Reader’s Digest Condensed book while babysitting as a teenager and quickly worked my way through everything the library had.

  22. I looked up the Louise Penny books because you mentioned them on your Facebook page and just finished the fourth one. I love them! You are right about the characters being so interesting in their individuality and depth. Thanks for bringing them to my attention.

  23. I too love mysteries. I think Tony Hillerman is probably my all time favorite mystery author. I also enjoy Martha Grimes, Anne Perry, and Nevada Barr.

  24. I like just a LITTLE suspense sometimes when reading romances (always like romances). Catherine Coulter (FBI series), Elizabeth Lowell, Linda Howard, and Julie Garwood are probably my favorites for this ‘style’.

    I agree though, having a ‘mystery’ along with the ‘romance’ seems to conflict with the 2 plots that have to happen to get both ‘styles’.

    My idea of a GREAT book is if I either laugh, and/or cry when reading- the story is worth re-reading again and again, and since most romances end up having a ‘happy ending’ that is the best.

  25. I have a hard time reading mystery, suspense, thriller or adventure novels, for some reason they just don’t seem to hold my attention. Historical Romances no matter the time period, setting or story line can hold my attention for hours on end however.

  26. I love the Hamish Macbeth mysteries … But Agatha Raisin mysteries are my favorites by M.C. Beaton. The first in the series is Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death. Anyone who has not tried one is in for a great delight. Agatha is quite a colorful character and the novels are laugh out loud funny. I have not read any of Georgette Heyer’s mysteries… Something to look forward too!

  27. Rereading Sherlock Holmes is always a pleasure. I have an annotated version of that, which enriches the reading experience. Alexander McCall Smith’s #1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, set in Botswana and now up to 13 books, is extremely charming, though the mysteries are rather light. Have you ever tried Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct series? He wrote more than 50 over a half-century span, and is often referred to as the master of the police procedural. He has a good mix of characters, wit, comedy and plotting. I’m not sure which is better: to read the series in order and watch him grow as an author, or to start with later books which reflect his expertise in the genre. One of the best of the early years is “Fuzz”, which was made into a film with Burt Reynolds, Yul Brynner and Raquel Welch…but the book is superior.

  28. I do not read as many mysteries as I should. I’m not sure why, but when I’m book shopping, they aren’t my first go-to…however, I do love Mary Higgins Clark quite a lot. I also quite enjoy true crime books.

  29. Love the 1s you mentioned.But I think & M. C. Beaton is a winner in 2 catagories for Agatha Raisin: good series + characters you love but wonder why

  30. I seem to read in spurts. I have several series that I am working my way through (again), but haven’t worked my way back to Agatha Christie yet. I am so enjoying revisiting J.D. Robb’s In Death series. Nora Roberts writes it, but it was so outside what she usually writes that she created a separate nom de plume for it. But I’ve also been going back through Charlaine Harris’ Sooky Stackhouse books, Anne McCaffrey’s Pern books, Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books, and the occasional Christmas book. I love shaking it up in a controlled way, yes, I know – a contradiction of terms. But when I load my kindle, I want to have some choices. I love a good book, but if it gets too intense, I may need to take a break before finishing it.

  31. I love the romance novels. However, I am not opposed to a little mystery within the romance genre. I am a retired police officer so mysteries just remind me of that. I prefer to relax. Thank you for your talent and sharing it with us. Happy Holidays to you, your family and all your loyal readers.

  32. You are one if my favorite romance writers. You inspire me! The nitty gritty of today’s literary world bothers me so does the erotica. Writing is a gift no matter what genre but to have a good old fashioned romance to read especially at Christmas makes my heart all warm and fuzzy!

  33. I enjoy the themed mystery series, although some of them get a bit thin as the series goes on. Lately, I’ve been enjoying the White House chef mystery series by Julie Hyzy. Right now, though, I’m about to observe one of personal holiday traditions–rereading my dogeared, original edition of “A Christmas Promise.” It’ll be fun to pay my annual visit to my friend, Eleanor. πŸ™‚

  34. Mary, I don’t know about you, but I get in the mood for deep mysteries like Catherine Coulter, Karin Slaughter, or Linda Howard or maybe just a quick easy mystery Karen Rose Smith. Just read what might be a thriller by Todd M. Johnson, Critical Reaction. It was excellent, about a nuclear explosion, similar to a John Grishom. If I read a romance, I don’t mind a little mystery intertwined. I just read The Arrangement and really liked it.
    Hope your holidays were wonderful.

  35. I like a general mix of Mystery thriller and romance. You and Lisa Keypas are my “favorite” romance authors, along with many ‘really like’ writers. For mystery novels, I agree Lee Child is excellent (and Tom Cruise was a really bad choice for Reacher). We have a mystery/romance novelist here in Maine I really like, (besides Tess Garrison), who is writing something a bit differently than usual. I highly recommend Julia Spencer Flemming’s books to all my friends. She just made the Times Best Seller List and am so happy for her. When I feel a bit lonely or depressed I’d rather go away to some happier place with one of your novels. I think that’s why your novels sell so well, you make readers understand that although life can be difficult there’s always the possibility of love waiting right around the corner.

  36. I’m a huge reader of mystery, suspense and thriller books but read a little of almost everything. I have not yet read any of your books (although I have friends who highly recommend them). I have been enjoying your Facebook posts though so might have to remedy that situation. I love a lot of the authors you mentioned (and whole heartedly agree that almost anyone else would have been a better choice to play Jack Reacher!!). You mentioned several authors that I have not tried yet. Thanks for the suggestions!

  37. I find I have little taste for mystery anymore. I cannot handle the suspense, the wait for the answer. I confess that I flip to the end to find “who dunnit”. So, most of the time I read romance and if there’s some mystery it better be mild and the book better be well written to keep my attention in the moment. πŸ˜‰
    Thanks for this opportunity!

  38. The first mystery/thriller books I ever read were R.L. Stine’s “Fear Street” novels. I graduated rather quickly to non young adult mystery/thriller books, but, one of the first ones I read, I figured out the mystery before I was halfway through. It was a long time before I picked up another book from that genre. I haven’t really read many others since, with the exception of the Stephanie Plum series (and even those I’m not all that excited about anymore). I prefer the romance stories, because even if I figure out how the story ends, I’m still interested in the story. Perhaps, my parents read me too many fairy tales when I was a kid.

    Happy Christmas!

  39. I was thrilled to read this blog because you mentioned several mystery authors I haven’t read, yet. Like you, I enjoy discovering new authors with entire series I haven’t yet read. I don’t think I realized Georgette Heyer wrote mysteries! I ADORE her Regency romances and would love to delve into her mysteries, too.

    Many thanks and happy reading, as well as rapid writing! LOL!

  40. I don’t read a lot of mysteries but I do enjoy them when I do read them. My comfort read/author is Mary Higgins Clark. Sometimes I know who did it fairly quickly. Other times, not so much. The other writer I enjoy is Harlan Coben. His books always leave me thinking, how did he do that? πŸ™‚

  41. If you can forget that it’s Tom Cruise, the Jack Reacher movie was actually pretty good. It took me a bit to get past the casting, too.

    I’m a Sherlock Holmes purist. Even though I adore Benedict Cumberbatch, I couldn’t watch the BBC series because it’s just……not Holmes. It pains me to admit that, because Benedict.

  42. My two favorite mystery writers are Dennis Lehane (American, writes about Boston) and Elizabeth George (American, writes the British-set mysteries featuring Thomas Lynley). I just finished George’s latest book, entitled “Just One Evil Act,” and it was a fun read, though it doesn’t really stand alone. If you’re reading Lehane you have to start with “A Drink Before the War.” I think Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro are the best PI couple ever (though I also love SJ Rozan’s Smith & Chin).

  43. I have not read many mysteries, though here lately I have been thinking about reading some. You’ve given me a nice list to start. I love to read some fantasy, but mainly stick with romance.

  44. πŸ™ I do not ready mystery or suspense or thriller. I like romance though and paranormal, paranatural and supernatural. I have read before that you usually not read romance that much as you deal with it being a romance writer. I can understand that. I have to be on the phone for my job a lot and therefore when I am home I don’t like to do that either. I like when a book takes me to other places, be they real or fantasy. Once in a while I get books I can’t put down. Murder mystery I prefer to watch though (they usually are based on books) like Midsomer Murders and Agatha Christie’s collection (mainly H. Poirot and J. Marple).

  45. The last mystery I read was P.D. James’ Death Comes to Pemberley and I have to say I was disappointed. I agree, that I write contemporary (under my Julee J. Adams pseudonym) but mostly read Regency. I am grateful they’re reissuing the Heyer books in lovely trade paperbacks to hopefully a whole new audience. Here’s hoping to many long, happy hours reading in the warmth of home!

  46. I like many of the same authors as you do. Also these: Kate Wilhelm, Kathy Reichs, John Sanford, Nevada Barr, Robert Crais and Carla Neggers.

  47. I like to read what others recommend. Recently I downloaded several of Grace Livingston Hill’s books. The Girl from Montana was one I enjoyed. Read her years ago when I first started reading for pleasure. Light and clean, even religious. I don’t like violence and crime scenes. Too much of that in the real world. I like to have a peaceful feeling after reading. I liked Kristen Heitzmann’s Diamond of the Rockies series, enjoy Lynn Austin books, Nicholas Sparks and Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I had just discovered some Lords and Ladies in my Family Tree (way back), when I found your books, so that has sparked my interest in yours. Thanks for your good books.

  48. I’v read a lot of the same authors you have – Agatha Christie was one of my first for mysteries. There’s only a few genres that I don’t read. The two extremes of inspirational and erotica. I have tried them but too many times the one is preachy and the other doesn’t have enough plot or characterization. I will read romantic suspense lol.

  49. I tend to love Josephine Tey, MM Kaye’s mysteries, Dick Francis, Diane Mott Davidson, Anne Perry, and Carolyn Hart. I’m not as big on police procedurals, although I do love National Park Ranger Anna Pigeon in Nevada Barr’s mysteries. I prefer amateur sleuths, and the Phyllis Whitney style stuff – haven’t really changed from that.

  50. Have you read The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman? If not, there’s an entire series of them beginning with that book. They center around an older lady whose husband has died and she has decided that it’s time for her to do something to serve her country – so she goes to the CIA headquarters and offers herself up as a new recruit. They don’t take her seriously, except she is exactly what they need for this one small task on this one small operation, and she couldn’t possibly be in any danger or get into any trouble… It’s an absolutely delightful, light-hearted series and the books are all fairly short.

    I don’t read much in the way of mystery – I’m more of a fantasy and romance reader – but that particular series was just a lot of fun.

  51. I have always preferred historical romance books but I like some mysteries, too. I have read all of Phyllis Whitney’s books. Catherine Coulter writes good mysteries but they are kind of “scary”. I recently discovered Rhys Bowen. Her books are wonderful. Hazel Holt’s series, Mrs. Malory Mysteries, is a good choice. Her books are quite tame as opposed to most modern books.

  52. I personally could not get into Agatha Christy. I know that there was a couple that I read that I liked. Maybe though now that I am older I may like them better. As I was extremely busy with other things for the last few years I am really behind on a lot of books that sound interesting. Right now I am “find authors by chance” as I call it. I have many books that people have read and gave to me. This is how I found you Mary. I may never forget the first book that I read of yours. I don’t mind a good mystery but my preference lies in a well written romance. When I found time to read again the first book I picked up and read was “Dark Angel” and “Lord Carew’s Bride,” I stayed up all night reading both of those. I was then hooked. I am going to take some of the Author suggestions and see if I can find one that may fit me. I think I may be in for a change of genre.

  53. Mary I have enjoyed your Books for the longest time, and can hardly wait for the next installment. Just wish that your books came out quicker. But i am and will be a fan for life. I love historical romance, it is my Favourite genre and while sitting on the top of the doubledecker bus, when i was lucky enough to visit, london, could easily see the carriages, and ladies and gentlemen doing the fashionable hour in Hyde park. The romance of it all lingers even today,

  54. You listed many of my favorites, including Lord Peter. The relationship between him and Harriet Vane is one of the best examples of love despite both protagonists’ best efforts to resist it that I have read. One series I did not see on your list of British authors is the Brother Cadfael series by Ellis Peters (Edith Pargeter). The main character/sleuth is Brother Cadfael, who has joined the order after a full life as a soldier and sailor and is skilled with herbs and medicines, and who solves murders and other mysteries in Shrewsbury in the 1130’s. The BBC did an adaptation of the series starring Derek Jacobi, but the books, as usual, are better.

  55. Thank you Mary for those authors. Although my greatest love is historical romance, it’s always nice to break it up with something different now and then. I read at night and listen at the computer during the day. I’m making up for all of those years when I had no time for reading!

  56. I’ve always been a big fan of Dick Francis novels. Horse racing and mystery, what’s not to love. My personal favorites have always been Whip Hand and Break In.

    After falling in love with the BBC series, Sherlock, I decided to revisit the original stories penned by Conan Doyle which I haven’t read since I was a child. I also like the mysteries Rick Riordan wrote prior to his Percy Jackson series and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Kathy Reich’s novels. Tami Hoag is another long time favorite of mine.

  57. Love Dorothy Sayers books , I love CS Harris Sebastian St Cyr books which are set in Regency times. I also love the Johnson, Johnson books by the late great Dorothy Dunnett about a spy / Detective who is also an artist

  58. I’m not big on romantic suspense myself. I have found, like you, that either the romance or the suspense gets short-changed. And please, don’t get me started on those that decide it is a good thing to kill off either the male or the female lead in these stories. I have gotten away from “murder, mystery, thriller, suspense” genres as my life is full of its own drama and I don’t want to spend what free time I have reading of someone’s egotistic, selfish, determined arrogance to get what they want, hide what they don’t want known, keep the power they feel they have and dominate those they feel are less then themselves. What I liked to watch when I was younger were the “Charlie Chan” movies. I miss Mr. Chan’s investigation with the help of his “number one son”. I don’t think I have seen, let alone read, any of these stories though. Enjoy the rest of the holidays.

  59. Love you book humor on Facebook. Love your books. I know when I pick one out I will settle in with new found friends and adventures.

  60. I like historic romance and time travel too. I love your books. Started with “The Slightly Series”. Thank you for all the giveaways and wonderful posts on facebook.

  61. I read as much mystery as romance and we read many of the same writers. I would add a few to your impressive list though, if you enjoy Deanna Raybourn, I’d suggest C.S. Harris. Her St. Cyr mysteries are set in the Regency period and he is a magnificent character. This series is a bit darker and more complex than most historical mystery series. If you are looking for a lighter series, I would highly recommend the Pink Carnation series by Lauren Willig. This series is set during the Napoleanic wars and features a remarkable set of English spies. Also love both of the historical series by Rhys Bowen.
    In terms of mysteries with modern settings, I love James Lee Burke, Craig Johnson, John Connelly, John Sandford, John D. MacDonald, Ruth Rendell, Martha Grimes, and the list could go on and on. I’m just getting ready to start the Louise Penny mystery series, so thanks for that recommendation. I love to hear what my favorite writers are reading.

  62. I could leave you very long lists here. There is a Theater in Chicago that has done Dorthy Sayers as plays about Lord Peter. Really good
    To name just some where interesting characters develop over time a la Loise Penny, I like Elizabeth George , Deborah Crombie and Jo Bannister all set in England, all need to be read in order. In USA try Julia Spencer Fleming who is a female Episcopal priest and she had the police chief solve stuff. very interesting characters set in New England. For a new setting, wonderful characters and crime solving read Stuart Kaminsky Inspector Rostinkov. Set in Russia and addictive. I could go on but I try to be sane. if you can stand gruesome read Karin Slaughter set in Georgia. really good and unforgettable Especially needs to be read in order. Try any Kaminsky and once hooked read in order Enjoy and Merry Christmas.

  63. My all time favorite was Phyllis A. Whitney. I joined a book club 50 years ago and I loved her books. My next favorite would be Agatha Christie. Still have Phyllis A. Whitney’s books form back then.

  64. If you want to read mysterys set in the great state of Alaska I can recommend Dana Stabenow’s Kate Shugak series and Liam Campbell….

  65. I love a great mystery, Agatha Christie and Patricia Wentworth are two of my favorites. However, Historical Romance will always be my favorite.

  66. I have always been a mystery fan – ever since Nancy Drew πŸ™‚ I really like the Lady Jane books as well. Anne Perry is a favorite of mine, as well as JD Robb (like them better than most of the Nora Roberts); Mariah Stewart’s FBI series is great (and again would put you late in the series with lots of books to read); I like the earlier Patricia Cornwalls and have recently started reading Laura Lippman.

  67. Right now, I am re-reading Joanna Fluke’ s Hannah Swenson mysteries. I love the fact that she includes recipes in her books. Ms Fluke has even published a cookbook. Another foodie mystery I enjoy is Cleo Coyle’ s coffee house mysteries. Gee, I am beginning to see a theme here.

  68. Dear Mary,

    You write some great stories (as I just recently ‘found’ you), and I hope you continue to do well in whatever specific genre you choose to write (although I hope you continue with romance, as it is my favorite genre)! Thanks for sharing your talent for story writing with the rest of us!

  69. I have never read many mystery novels although I was a fan of Nancy Drew when I was growing up. I am just to addicted to romance. I do enjoy books like Amanda Quick’s that have mysteries in with the romance.

  70. I like historical mysteries. Steve Berry has interesting books. The Romanov Conspiracy was great to read, especially since I was in Vancouver BC and discovered the Romanov Art Museum. The curator said he had permission from the family to use their name. I also learned about the Amber Room when I read the book of that name. It disappeared during WWII. He has written others that I hope to read. I enjoyed Anya Seton’s the Green Darkness. The story went back to the 1500s. It was on the NY Times best seller list for 6 months. Carol Higgins Clark I discovered because of the book cover. She introduced me to the Regan Reilly mysteries. I have read Science Fiction since the third grade. Two books I read gave me info about the auction industry and the wine industry. Both were fascinating. A writer who didn’t know he was dyslexic until his son was diagnosed wrote a book about it. He is the founder of one of the national writer’s groups. I have read romance novels that have a suspense story and enjoyed them. One book the hero was an agent for the British government and a Dandy by day.

  71. I used to read far more mysteries than I do now–Nancy Drew was the first series I ever binge-read πŸ™‚ I just read the latest in the Library Lovers Mysteries–Read It and Weep–and it was cute; definitely a cozy mystery. I love Heyer’s Regencies, so I have a few of her mysteries as well in my TBR. I did enjoy The Lincoln Lawyer–I listened to that over the summer–though I haven’t seen the movie yet. (I figured I’d let plenty of time go by so the changes they’ll inevitably make won’t make me too crazy.)

    I do tend to read mostly romance though–I’m unashamedly addicted to HEA!

  72. I enjoy many of the authors you mentioned, as well as those others have mentioned.

    Two more mystery authors for consideration:
    * Margaret Maron — her Deborah Knott mystery series started with a fairly tight focus on Deborah (a lawyer, she becomes a judge at the end of the 1st book) but has turned into a slice of life of North Carolina. The second Knott book — Southern Discomfort — is my favorite, but I enjoy most of them quite a bit. There is a long-term romance which develops over the series, plus a side romance or two.
    * Emma Lathen — this was a duo of women who starting in the 60s published a lengthy series of humorous mysteries featuring a Wall Street banker and his employees. They can easily be read out of order — my favorites include “Death Shall Overcome” and “Murder Against the Grain” but really almost all of them are a lot of fun (and all start with some kind of joke about Wall Street)

  73. I’ve never been a big reader of mysteries but I adore them in movies and TV shows – I watch all the incarnations of Sherlock Holmes (from Basil Rathbone to Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey Jr and Jonny Lee Miller in Elementary. I love the show Castle too.

    But as another commentor mentioned I would highly recommend Rhys Bowen’s Lady Georgie mysteries – I’ve read all that are out and now will move on to her other books.

  74. I love Agatha Christies and Georgette Heyer. Just recently started to read PD James’ Adam Dalgliesh mysteries. Also, recently started to read Charlotte MacLeod mysteries and love them. If you haven’t read her yet, I would recommend that you check them out.

  75. I find that more and more I am beginning to enjoy the Fantasy series, but I think that is so because they are loosely or even sometime tightly based on medieval history times, and I love to read them and try to figure out what civilizations they are borrowing from in order to create these mythical worlds and the laws that govern them. I have not really been much of a mystery fan, as I am one of those that can usually figure out “who done it”, and why they did so, and therefore I get bored and usually do not finish the end of the book.

  76. I just wanted to say thanks- I read both romance & mysteries & find it easier to get recommendations for romances than mysteries. Thanks to you I now have 2 additional mystery authors to check out. I have recently started reading MaryJane Maffini’s book & love her blend of mystery & humour. Thank you so much for the Survivors Club books – characters that are not physically perfect are rare & very welcome. Thank again

  77. I have loved all of your books. “A Matter of Class” has been my favorite so far. This is a book on my list to re-read. It ties in nicely with my passion for “Downton Abbey”. I most enjoy the historical romance category of books and period dramas in movies and television. I firmly believe in the “less is more” theory where we are left to our own imagination of how a scene progresses after a thorough set up, rather than a graphic (and often violent) account. I sincerely lament the lost art of manners and etiquette. Thank you for providing a haven in this busy and too often brutal world.

  78. I’m not into mystery at all and can’t take a romance and mystery together.
    I’m strictly romance… historical or contemporary. Lately I’ve been reading some wonderful contemporary romance novels. But still love historical romance, with Mary being my favorite in this genre!

  79. I thought everyone would have covered all of the great mystery writers before I made it to this site, but to my surprise, my favorite is not mentioned in any comments. Lisa Scottoline is among the best ever. Her characters are incredible, but perhaps i am biased because they are tough, independent ladies in an all female law firm. I could not put down her latest, Accused. I know you would enjoy them.

  80. It’s wonderful that we have so many good books written by a variety of authors. Right now I am addicted to the Historical Romance genre and am not looking to change. Just keep your wonderful stories coming Mary! Looking forward to The Escape! Would love to see some more of your older books reprinted too.

  81. I almost always read romances. I do enjoy most of Georgette Heyer’s books but like her romances best. I have read and enjoyed many of Margaret Truman’s murder mysteries. I don’t like too much suspense in my books because I read to relax and have a nice quiet time for myself. Now with movies I do like mystery as well as romance– no horror. I would guess, as with most of the people who go to your site, I are here because I love your books and like to read what interests you. I also like reading the comments from others.

  82. I missed the blog on too much graphic sex in romance novels but I’m going to answer anyway now. I don’t want a lesson in sex in my story I want a love story. What I really want to tell you about is my mother who has to listen to her books now from the Braille Institute’s library. She says listening to the sex scenes is far far worse and now she wants me to order suspense books instead. Problem is I don’t read suspense so its tough finding enjoyable stories for her now– kind of hit or miss. Thank you Mary for your terrific stories from both of us.

  83. I’m addicted to historical romance right now and love your books. Looking forward to “The Escape” and would love to see some of your older books reprinted and made available for ereaders.

  84. I’m not into mysteries right now because I’m currently addicted to Historical Romance. Isn’t it wonderful that we have so many choices from many talented authors in many different genres. Keep your great stories coming Mary!

  85. Just finished reading your comments in the News section and am anxiously awaiting the 4 books you mentioned that are to be reprinted in 2015! Looking forward to reading these and the remainder of the Survivor series.

  86. The words on your cup remind me of a sign that was once on our school library door – “So many books, so little time!” I am right there with you as to wanting to read more than I will probably ever have time for.
    Glad you are enjoying Lady Julia Grey. I second another respondent’s mention of Lauren Willig’s Pink Carnation series. Other mystery writers/series I have enjoyed are Sharon Kay Penman’s medieval mysteries starring Justin de Quincy and beginning with The Queen’s Man (the queen being Eleanor of Aquitane) – these are short and there are 4. Don’t know if you’re familiar with Penman who is more of a straight historical fiction writer – I first read her books starting with Here Be Dragons – first in a trilogy that switches back and forth between England and Wales beginning in the late 1100’s with King John on the throne and Llewelyn is a boy ( I know you were born in Wales – reading this made me want to visit one day because of the beautiful descriptions) – these books take a real commitment as they are very long, but extremely well-written and worth it. S J Parris writes mysteries involving true life monk Giordano Bruno who flees to England in 1583 and gets involved in heavy intrigue trying to unravel plots against Elizabeth I (these are very intense – first one is Heresy).

    I also like Lisa Kleypas and think her Bow Street Runner series does a good job of mixing mystery and romance. On a much lighter note, and set in modern day are mysteries by Laura Childs. I read two of her series – Tea Shop mysteries set in Charleston, S.C. (main character Theodosia Browning who has left the corporate world behind to return to her hometown and open a tea shop) and Scrapbook mysteries set in New Orleans (Carmela Bertrand is the main character here with help from her sidekick Ava Griex who owns a Voodoo shop across the way from her scrapbook store). These books are quick reads that begin with a murder in the first chapter and the main characters get involved in solving the case much to the chagrin of the local detectives. Lots of flavor/culture presented regarding these cities that seems authentic since I have been to Charleston, but not New Orleans.

    Just started my Christmas reading with A Christmas Bride – what a surpise to find out the connection to A Precious Jewel. Am only 50 pages in and really enjoying it. Would be great to win an autographed copy! Thanks, Mary, for your giveaways and interesting topics to discuss!

  87. Mary, I fully appreciate why you love mysteries, got me to thinking. don’t you think Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane’s ‘courtship’ is among the most lovely in literature. So tender and painful yet full of promise. Dorothy Sayers was clearly in love with Peter, so her readers were too. It was sad she stopped writing just to be an academic.

  88. Happy Thanksgiving! As far as writers mixing romance with mystery, I don’t like many writers that do, but I do like: J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts), Linda Garwood, and Iris Johansen. But, as for romance, I love your books. They are such a great mixture of romance and humor, and a touch of drama. I’ve gotten my mother-in-law into reading your books, too- so, we share your books, and whenever one of us finds one while out shopping, we always love ‘the find’.

  89. Don’t have much to contribute this week because I’m not into mysteries but just wanted to let you know I love your books.

  90. I read more romances than mysteries, but one of my fav romance/mystery writer is Amanda Quick… aka Jayne Ann Krentz… I wish she wrote more books under her AQ name.

  91. If I read mystery, they have to be historical mysteries – I’m too big of a wimp to read the modern, graphic thrillers! I’m only going to list my favorites that haven’t already been mentioned:

    David Dickinson’s Lord Francis Powerscourt mysteries. They’re set in Victorian London and based upon true events of the time.

    P. B. Ryan’s Nell Sweeney mysteries, set in post-Civil War Boston and featuring an Irish-born governess, Nell Sweeney. I loved these and read all six (the entire series) within a few days.

    Jennifer Ashley writing as Ashley Gardner – the Captain Lacey Regency mysteries. These are very well done and even though Jennifer Ashley is a romance writer there is very little romance in the series.

    Steven Saylor’s Roma Sub Rosa series – mysteries set in ancient Rome. I am finding this series fascinating and very much outside of my usual reading.

    Finally, I have to third (or fourth) the C. S. Harris St. Cyr recommendations.

  92. I love Michael Connelly’s books. I’d have to say that my favorite non-romance authors are Stephen King, Dean R Koontz, and John Sandford. I love a scary suspenceful book with incredible world building and characters that are good to the core and overcome great evil. Koontz and King are always incredible about these kinds of themes (The Face by Koontz and Lissie’s Story by King are two of my favorites.) I cannot get enough of Sandford’s Prey and Virgil Flowers series. Is it possible to have literary crushes? If so Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers have that honor!

  93. I’m a fan of the Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries of C.S. Harris (I liked her historicals, too πŸ™‚ Years ago, a series on PBS– Cadfael with the wonderful Derek Jacobi–led me to Ellis Peters. And–several months ago, I was browsing in a B & N store when I picked up a new paperback featuring a Regency mystery (one in a series, according to the cover.) My g/daughter caught my attention then, and I carefully placed the book back on the shelf (second from the top, fourth in from the left) determined to get it next time I was in. The next time I was in, the collections had been rearranged, the romance placed where the mysteries had been, and I was lost. I remember the exact placement on the shelves, but did I actually read the title and the author?? Apparently not, because I don’t recall what either was. Since I’ll likely never know what the mystery series was, I’m sure it was fabulous and would have become a favorite. LOL.

  94. I like romance, mystery, suspense and paranormal. They can be individual or a combination of all three together. I love reading Jayne Krentz, V. C. Andrews, Maeve Binchy, Sandra Brown, Stella Cameron, Jane Feather, Lisa Gardner, (one of three all time favorite – Julie Garwood), Johanna Lindsey, Elizabeth Lowell, Kit Martin, Fern Michaels, (2nd favorite – Debbie Macomber), Linda Lael Miller, Amanda Quick, Julia Quinn and (3rd favorite – Nora Roberts).

    To comment on too much sex in books and if readers want that, I think it depends on the reader. Majority of the readers of romance are female. Many of the females are single. If you are single and not engaged in having sex, the next best thing is reading about it. I think the more singles you have, the more sex will be requested in the books. “Those who can’t, read”

  95. I love mysteries, and will read romances to break up the intensity. I really enjoy Quinn’s Chet and Bernie series, Elizabeth George, William Kent Krueger, Perry’s Monk series, Todd’s Rutledge series, Deborah Crombie, [wow, so many] Crais’ Elvis Cole/Joe Pike series, Donna Leon, Victoria Thompson . . . too many to list. The best part, though, is discovering a new author with a long backlist to keep me occupied: MacBride’s McRae series is fun but a tad violent; Lawson’s Demarco series is entertaining; Minette Walters; Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire series has wince-worthy moments but fun. I recommend the Stop You’re Killing Me [http://www.stopyourekillingme.com/index.html] website for authors’ complete titles’ lists

  96. Romances and thrillers are my favourite reads. When not reading and rereading your romances, I love suspense/thriilers by Thomas Perry (Jane Whitefield series, sooo good!) and Jeffrey Deaver (Praying for Sleep was my first book. He is consistently good). Richard Patterson as another favourite.

    It’s a blizzard outside, Mary and it’s a lovely day to be curled up in bed (or on a cosy couch), by a fire reading and rereading your chirstmas books.

  97. I so very much regret not being able to take in your presentation at the U of R Women’s night a few weeks ago. If you could send me a few romance novels to enjoy in my time off this months, preferably before I go blind from marking final exams, I would appreciate it greatly!

  98. I highly recommend Deborah Crombie’s Duncan Kindaid/Gemma James series. She’s a native Texan but writes authentic British procedurals which are character-driven. She is a dedicated researcher and writes beautifully.
    I also love Peter Robinson’s Alan Banks series…it’s based in Northern England. Jill McGown is another British mystery writer I love but, sadly, she has passed away. If you love intricate plotting, I recommend Elizabeth George. Her novels are a bit darker than the other authors I mentioned, but she is another American who writes a great British police procedural.

  99. I like both, and find it interesting that two of the more longstanding bookshops in the benter of my city are across the road from each other and specialise in genre fiction. One is a romance book shop and the other is mystery and science fiction!

    I enjoy the Phryne Fisher mysteries by Kerry Greenwood- set in 1920’s Melbourne. There is a quasi romance in there but the heroine is not interested in settling down in any way.

  100. I started reading mysteries in second grade when I discovered Trixie Belden. I was never a romance reader until about five years ago when I picked up my first Mary Balogh book, Simply Love. Since then, I have been busy reading all your books and tracking down as many of the older ones as I can, and with trying other romance authors, all of whom have backlists of their own. That is a lot of romance to catch up on, so I haven’t had much time for anything else. One exception is author Tana French. Her mystery/police procedurals set in Dublin are just amazing. They are stand alone novels with overlapping characters. I also still read Michael Connelly. I have been meaning to read the Jack Reacher series, but just haven’t been able to tear myself away from the romance novels, although now I am motivated by wondering what the hygiene issue could be!

  101. Having enjoyed, and continuing to enjoy, your books it was nice to learn we share a love of mysteries also. You may want to try Tony Hillerman’s, Joe Leaphorn & Jim Chee Navaho police stories; Steven Havill’s about New Mexico; and Julia Spencer-Fleming writing about the sheriff, a female Episcopal priest & their small Adirondack Mtn. town. Happy holidays!

  102. No one seemed to read romance at my house as I grew up. Only now as an adult have I realized that my dad’s western books were romances along with grandma’s mystery books.

  103. I am more romance than mystery, if I read a mystery I would never sleep until I found the answers to the mystery! My mother started me on Grace Livingston Hill romance when I was about 12. When she passed away 10 years ago I took over her collection of GLH and am still gathering the missing books.

  104. Thanks for asking the question, as now I have lots of new-to-me authors to check out! I grew up reading Agatha Christie, then found Dorothy Sayers, and eagerly awaited any new P.D. James that came out. I have tried some of the authors mentioned above, but none have quite captured me the way your books have – that I have to read them as soon as they come out! Although I will still pick up one or two for a quick light read. Looking forward to new discoveries.

  105. I do not enjoy romantic suspense either. I find that usually they lack a balance between the two genres and make the story unrealistic. I enjoy your stories because although I can’t relate to the lifestyle, I can empathize with the characters and their struggles.

  106. Love that mug picture!

    Right now I definitely read more romance than any other genre..but you’ve got me thinking that my Christmas wish should be a great Historical Mystery-Romance! How wonderful would that be!

    I checked out Dorothy Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries and I’m jumping right on it, they sound intriguing. I haven’t really ventured into mystery, but I’m always looking for new genres and new authors that will capture my reading interest! – This might just be it πŸ™‚

    My first book in 2013 was your book One Night for Love – and I’m looking for just the right Balogh book to end a great year! Thanks your writing!

  107. Hi Mary!

    My favorite genre is historical romance but my husband like to read historical fiction and mystery and he got me “hooked” on the Brother Cadfael mysteries by Ellis Peters (Edith zpargeter). I love that as a former Knights Templar she always has Brother Cadfael on a quest to solve a mystery and fills her stories with the history of the time period. My favorite was Brother Cadfael’s Penance. She truly is one of the best authors of Medieval mysteries. If you’ve ever read any of the Brother Cadfael’s mysteries you know that no one can read them and finish it being unmoved!

  108. I love all your books and just finished the Christmas promise, it was a wonderful story. thanks for all the great reads!!! happy holidays to you and yours!

  109. Happy New Year wishes to my favourite romance writer, may this be a good writing year for you.
    Have you ever read anything by Helen McInnes? set in the 40’s and 50’s they’re spy stories but so well written, a real joy.
    thank you for the hours/days you have entertained me, over and over again.

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