16 page-turning mysteries that aren’t too dark and gloomy

16 page-turning mysteries that aren’t too dark and gloomy

I’ve always been a mood reader, picking up a book according to what sounds good in the moment rather than sticking to a strict to-be-read list. No matter which genre I’m craving, I always hope for something page-turning, whether it’s an intense plot or compelling characters.

But in times of stress, I also seek out books with a more hopeful tone. As a highly sensitive person, I tend to be wary of anything too gory or violent, but especially right now. When the world feels bleak, I need some feel-good fiction, or at least a dose of hopefulness.

Mysteries are my typical go-to for a can’t-put-it-down reading experience, but lately, many thrillers are too dark, too full of despair. And while mysteries will always contain some heart-pounding moments, some crime or murder, but a few authors handle this with a lighter touch.

Today I’m sharing a list of favorite mysteries that fall squarely within the confines of the genre, yet maintain a hopeful tone throughout. In other words, they are aren’t too dark and gloomy. The characters are, overall, good people (or at least they’re trying to be). The mysteries are puzzle-like, not overly gruesome. And the endings are satisfying.

If you’re craving a page-turning mystery to energize your reading life, I hope you find one here.

16 page-turning mysteries with a hopeful take on human nature

The Thousand Dollar Tan Line: a Veronica Mars Mystery

The Thousand Dollar Tan Line: a Veronica Mars Mystery

Author:
You don't have to be a fan of the TV show or movie to enjoy the Veronica Mars books (although I highly recommend the show to noir mystery-lovers). This book starts ten years after Veronica's high school graduation, a few months after the movie left off. Veronica is called in to investigate when a girl disappears from a Spring Break party, but it soon becomes apparent this is no ordinary missing persons case, and Veronica is quickly pulled back into Neptune's seedy underworld. This wasn't high literature or anything, but it was so much fun (and had such good narrative drive) I didn't want to stop until I knew how it ended. More info →
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Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs Mysteries Series Book 1)

Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs Mysteries Series Book 1)

If you need a completely bingeable mystery series right now, I highly recommend this one. With 15 books and counting, Maisie Dobbs remains a compelling heroine. The first book introduces Maisie as she trades wartime nursing for her own private investigation practice at the end of WWI. Her first case appears to be run-of-the-mill infidelity, but something tells her to look deeper. When she finds disturbing secrets connected to the Great War, she is forced to confront her own trauma in order to solve the case. Maisie’s strong empathy and nurse’s training make her uniquely suited to detective work, and learning more about her is just as delightful as following the mystery. The narration on this series is stellar. I highly recommend it on audio. More info →
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The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress

The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress

Author:
This historical novel is based on a real-life unsolved mystery that was huge news in its day: the disappearance of a New York Supreme Court judge in 1930. In her debut novel, Ariel Lawhon cooks up an interesting theory to explain what really happened, and unravels her tale from the point of view of the three women in his life. More info →
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A Study in Charlotte

A Study in Charlotte

This is such a fun YA spin on the classic Sherlock Holmes stories. Jamie Watson transfers to Sherringford, a fancy Connecticut prep school, on a rugby scholarship where he meets the eccentric Charlotte Holmes. Charlotte seems to have inherited her great-great-great grandfather's keen eye and unpredictable temperament, and Jamie decides to avoid her. However, when they're suspected of murdering a fellow classmate, Jamie and Charlotte must team up, much like their ancestors, and solve the case to clear their names. Clever and witty, you'll want to keep reading this series. More info →
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The Alice Network

The Alice Network

Author:
If you like your mysteries with a good dose of historical detail and secrets, this one is for you. It's 1947, and society girl Charlie St. Clair is desperate to find her beloved cousin Rose, who mysteriously vanished during the war. Her inquiries lead her to Eve, a cranky old woman, who Charlie soon discovers has intimate ties to the first female spy network, and who may have personal and professional reasons for tracking down Rose—and getting revenge in the process. More info →
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When We Were Worthy

When We Were Worthy

On a small-town Southern Friday night, after the football game, two cars driven by local teens collide, killing three cheerleaders instantly. The only survivor is the driver at fault. Whalen expertly weaves together four voices, of four women whose lives were upended by what happened that night, to reveal to the reader what really happened—and why. Gripping, timely, and hard to put down. Plus, Joshilyn Jackson narrates the audio version, which is just perfect for this Southern story! More info →
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Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions

Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions

Author:
In this light-hearted mystery, a Bavarian widow moves to Sicily and rediscovers her love of living. "On her sixtieth birthday my Auntie Poldi moved to Sicily, intending to drink herself comfortably to death with a sea view." So says Poldi's nephew Michael. But life gets in the way: when Poldi's handyman goes missing, Poldi resolves to find him—with the help of the sexy police Commissario and a host of quirky Italians. Her quest brings Poldi back to life, and all she loves about it—namely prosecco, men, and gossip. Big-hearted and funny, smart and escapist: it's like taking your own Italian vacation. A delightful surprise and I'm happy the series continues. More info →
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The Widows of Malabar Hill (A Mystery of 1920s Bombay)

The Widows of Malabar Hill (A Mystery of 1920s Bombay)

Author:
Perveen Mistry is Bombay’s first female solicitor, employed by her father’s respected firm. When her father’s Muslim client dies, he is tasked with executing the will, but the three devout widows “stay behind the veil,” and must not be seen by men. When the duo discover irregularities in the estate documents, Perveen resolves to speak with the widows, because—as a woman—she’s the only one who can. Perveen understands the cruelty women can endure under the law and vows to protect the widows. Toss in a murder investigation, and you get a tightly-crafted mystery, a vividly-drawn multicultural setting, and a plucky heroine fiercely taking on the challenges of her time. More info →
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Not That I Could Tell

Not That I Could Tell

This is the perfect domestic suspense for summer evening reading. A tight-knit group of women gather around the backyard firepit, drink a little too much wine, and stay up way too late. By morning, one of them has vanished, and so have her children. As the authorities (and the women) begin to investigate what might have happened, they find they have more questions than answers, and the husband’s suspicious behavior has them all looking over their shoulders. Did their friend simply run away, or was she harmed, and above all—why? More info →
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Never Have I Ever

Never Have I Ever

Jackson’s latest Southern story feels both exactly like the books her long-time readers know and love and like a total departure—and I loved it. Her domestic thriller (yes, really!) begins at a book club meeting in a quiet suburban neighborhood. These women live quiet lives revolving around family and sometimes work; they know each other well, and everything unfolds as usual … until a new guest arrives, one who has a score to settle based on long-buried secrets, and who won’t rest until she makes the woman pay for her crimes. But what happened back then, and why does it matter now? I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough in my quest to discover the truth for myself. An absorbing, rewarding mystery that will delight her loyal readers and entice new fans. More info →
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The Perfect Couple

The Perfect Couple

This murder mystery from Nantucket novelist Hilderbrand brings back beloved past characters but also stands on its own. Celeste and Benji’s wedding is supposed to the big event of the season … until Celeste finds her maid of honor’s body floating in the bay on her wedding day. She was up before dawn because she was sneaking away from the scene of the festivities with a packed bag. Everyone thought Celeste and Benji were the perfect couple, so what is going on? As the Nantucket police open their investigation, the timeline moves back and forth between the wedding weekend and the start of the couple’s relationship, allowing the reader to slowly put the pieces together. This easy-reading mystery features well-developed characters, a solid plot, plus the food and style readers expect from Hilderbrand. More info →
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Recursion: A Novel

Recursion: A Novel

Author:
I can count on Blake Crouch for fast-paced thrillers that also make me stop and think. In the book’s opening, an NYPD police detective is summoned to the 41st floor of a Manhattan highrise to try and talk a woman struggling with a terrifying new condition known as False Memory Syndrome down from the edge. Meanwhile, across the country, a brilliant scientist is hard at work on her passion project, a chair that will shield Alzheimer’s and dementia patients from the worst effects of the disease by reactivating their most important memories. As the detective begins to trace the line from False Memory Syndrome to the scientist—and the sinister motivations driving the project—the stakes for not just the parties involved, but the entire world, grow ever higher. Part save-the-world thriller, part police procedural, part love story, and above all, a real brain-bender. More info →
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Magpie Murders: A Novel

Magpie Murders: A Novel

Editor Susan Ryeland has worked with Alan Conway for years, putting up with his eccentricities for the sake of his bestselling detective series. Every Atticus Pünd mystery novel feels pretty much the same to Susan by now, each one set in a small English village, following an Agatha Christie-like formula. When Susan reads Conway’s latest, however, she finds there might be more to the fictional mystery at Pye Hall. The more she reads, the more she becomes convinced of a real life mystery between the pages. A tale of greed and gruesome murder prompts Susan to investigate in this clever novel-within-a-novel. More info →
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A Brush with Death

A Brush with Death

Author:
If you enjoy cozy mysteries, add this series to your list. Susie Mahl adores her job. She paints pet portraits for wealthy families, perfectly capturing the personalities of their furry family members. On site for one of her commissions, she witnesses the gruesome death of the 9th Earl of Greengrass. Her artist's eye for detail mixes with her curiousity, and soon she's an amateur sleuth on the case. A creative premise, filled with fun Downton Abbey-like characters and a fun puzzle-like mystery to solve. More info →
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The Mother-in-Law

The Mother-in-Law

Author:
In the ten years she's known her, Lucy has never felt her mother-in-law Diana approved of her—an especial disappointment because she'd hoped Diana would finally be the mother she'd never had. Yet she's distraught when the police show up to announce that Diana has died by apparent suicide—and even more so when they reveal that the evidence points to possible murder. As we get to know the family members, we discover each of them had a motive to harm Diana, and stood to benefit from her death. The story is told alternately from Lucy and Diana's points of view, so we get to understand what's going on in their minds, and how badly they misunderstand each other through the years. But is it badly enough to lead to murder? A wholly satisfying domestic mystery, perfect for Liane Moriarty fans, that kept me guessing till the end. I devoured this on audio. More info →
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A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder

Author:
Veronica Mars meets the Serial podcast in this small town YA thriller. While the whole town believes that Andie Bell was murdered by her boyfriend, Pippa Fitz-Amobi thinks otherwise. For her senior capstone project, Pippa takes on the investigation. Told through interviews and case logs, this fast-paced mystery is really fun on audio. As she gets deeper and deeper into the case, Pippa has to decide who she can trust, and how many risks she's willing to take to expose the truth. More info →
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Have you read any great mystery novels lately? Help us build our TBR lists in the comments.

PS: If you’re craving even more mysteries, check out these 20 historical mysteries featuring feisty female protagonists or get hooked on a new mystery series with these 10 addicting audiobooks.

16 page-turning mysteries that aren't too dark and gloomy

104 comments | Comment

104 comments

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  1. Wendee says:

    Thank you! I wanted a list like this very much. Just finished The Dry by Jane Harper and it could fit here nicely too.

  2. Leanne says:

    I’m finding myself turning more to contemporary romance and non fiction during this time. I tried reading a legal thriller but it was too much.

  3. stephanie says:

    I just finished the Lady Hardcastle series by T.E. Kinsey and they were the most delightful cozy mysteries set in England in the early 1900s. Highly recommend and very binge worthy!

  4. Mary says:

    The Maeve Kerrigan mysteries by Jane E. Casey are wonderful. I highly recommend them for being captivating mysteries, great writing and an interesting cast of police detectives. I recommend starting with the 3rd book in the series.

  5. April says:

    I just finished listening to Death in Avignon by Serena Kent, narrated by Antonia Beamish, was excellent. I have recently listened to the first book in this series, Death in Provence, narrated by Beamish as well, and lived it too. Penelope Kite is a very relatable character, starting her retired life in France and solving mysteries as they find their way into her life. These stories have no gore or violence and I definitely stayed up too late to find out what happened next!

  6. Jennifer Geisler says:

    Please add to your list the series by Julia Spencer Fleming. The first in the series is “In the bleak Mid-Winter”. The setting is a small town in upstate NY; the main characters are the newly hired female Episcopal priest (recently a helicopter pilot for the Army)and the Chief of Police. The characters are well drawn and the mystery “puzzle” fun to try to work out. There are 9 in the series – she can’t write the next one soon enough for my liking!
    And add Chris Ewan, who has written several books; The Good Thief’s Guide to Venice (to Paris,to Berlin, etc.) An amusing approach and fun to read.
    S.J. Rozan has a series about Lydia Chin/Bill Smith, friends who partner to solve crimes. The partner who takes the lead changes from book to book. When Lydia is in the lead, there is an interesting view into Chinese customs and dynamics in their city.
    Martin Walker – the Bruno, Chief of Police series takes place in southern France, always has an interesting mystery puzzle to solve and you’ll get to enjoy all the fabulous meals Bruno cooks for his friends!

    • Mimi says:

      Jennifer, I agree that the Julia Spencer Fleming series is wonderful. I’ve had the new one on hold at the library for quite a while.

    • Carrie Padgett says:

      Yes, I love Julia Spencer-Fleming, too! I got to read the new one early and review it! We had a long wait for it, but it was worth it.
      Margaret Maron’s Judge Deborah Knott series is excellent too. The first is Bootlegger’s Daughter.

  7. Cyndi Moskal says:

    I’m on Book #8 of the Josie Quinn series by Lisa Regan. I read the first 7 just over the past few weeks and the series has been perfect for my current reading mood – fast-paced plot, characters I like and easy reading.

  8. Jenny Hernandez says:

    I’d recommend the Walt Longmire series by Craig Johnson. His sixteenth book is due to come out in September. It can be a little gory at times but nothing beats Walt’s dry humor. As bonus, every Christmas Eve, Craig Johnson releases a short story in the life of the Absaroka County Sheriff.

    • Christine says:

      Hi Jenny!
      I agree about the Longmire series. I am working my way through the short stories that fit around many of the main novels, but I haven’t got to the Christmas stories yet.
      Did you watch the tv show? What did you think?

      • Jenny Hernandez says:

        Hi Christine!

        Of course! It was the reason why I started reading the books. He has a novella out, Wait for Signs with a bunch of his Christmas stories.

        This one is where I can say I enjoy both the books and the show. Though I do like the portrayal of Cady in the show better than in the novel.

  9. Alicia says:

    A friend recommended a Caimh McDonnell series to me and I’m loving it. The first of the trilogy is “A Man With One of Those Faces.” It’s set in Dublin, fast paced and I found it very funny. I would also really recommend the audiobook on Audible, the narration is fantastic.
    A second series that I just started is by Sallie Andrew. Set in rural South Africa, the protagonist Tannie Maria (a middle aged woman) gets caught up in solving the murder of a woman who wrote into her advice column. It definitely falls into the cozy category, with recipes included, as Tannie Maria loves to cook and relies heavily on bribery of her suspects with delicious food. I liked the setting and the sprinkling of Afrikaans that had me looking up definitions and peaked my interest in the setting and culture. The first book is called “Recipes for Love and Murder.”

  10. Dana A says:

    The Woman in Cabin 10 and The Lying Game both by Ruth Ware. She is amazing. I also love anything by Mary Higgins Clark (RIP) :(. She was the first mystery writer I ever read and have always loved her.

  11. Michelle Shaw says:

    I’ve recently discovered a mystery series by Iona Whishaw. It’s set in BC, Canada just after World War 2. The hero was a spy during the war and she’s come to Canada to find a new home. I think there are about six books at the moment ( the latest has just been released). The murders are local but they usually have ties to the war some how and there are flashbacks to her experiences during the war as well as those of the local police chief, Inspector Darling. And yes there is a little mutual attraction 🙂

    • Ruth O says:

      Yes, the Iona Whishaw ones are good! I have one or two more to go, going to have to reserve them from Overdrive, or hold on until the libraries open again.
      Added a couple to my TBR list here.

  12. Lisa Z says:

    I love a good cozy mystery! And thank you so much for now including Bookshop in your shopping links. I just heard about them and really want to support this new service for independent booksellers.

  13. Lord and Lady Hetheridge by Emma Jameson The romance and family relationships add to the enjoyment. I binge read six of them in a bit over a week and now have to wait impatiently for the seventh to be written. I wrote Jameson to thank her for the pleasure she gave me during this time of social isolation and she responded so I know the tentative title of the next volume!

  14. Ann D says:

    The Lost Man by Jane Harper is also excellent. I agree about Craig Johnson (violent, but great characters), Julia Spencer-Fleming, and Ruth Ware.
    I’d also recommend anything by Elly Griffiths (Ruth Galloway series, the Magic Men series, and her stand-alone, which just won an Edgar).

    Margaret Maron’s Sigrid Harald mysteries are old favorites, as is her Deborah Knott series.

    Thanks for a great post!

  15. Allison Woods says:

    Maisie Dobbs cannot be beat!!
    I would also recommend the newer Verity Kent series by Anna Lee Huber (I believe book #4 is coming out in September). Excellent.
    Also the Merry Folger Nantucket Mystery series by Francine Matthews is wonderful!
    But let us never forget the one who started it all, Dame Agatha Christie and her intrepid mystery solvers Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot!!!

  16. As an HSP, as well, I’ve become an Alexander McCall Smith fan…the Isabel Dalhousie books…during the pandemic. For all the same reasons Anne listed! I’ve read about one-third of the books on this list. As my library is RE-OPENING(!!!) for curbside pick-ups in a week, I’ll be adding more of these titles to my hold list!

  17. Brianna says:

    Thank you! I love mysteries for a lot of reasons, but right now, I love them because the chapters are often short, which is excellent for being able to read with my current 3-5 minute attention span.

  18. Elaine says:

    Any of the books in the series by Ann Cleeves (her Shetland series is amazing), Louise Penny, and/or Deborah Crombie, as well as the first ten or so books in Elizabeth George’s series (the name of her detective has slipped my brain) and Martha Grimes Richard Jury mysteries.

    • Sherry G says:

      Elaine, I enjoy all the authors you mentioned. I also like the Faith Martin books, for instance the Hillary Greene series

  19. Jennifer Cook says:

    Mrs. Pollifax novels by Dorothy Gilman. She is a senior citizen who becomes involved with the CIA.

  20. Betsy says:

    Even though a little darker, I love the Tana French crime/ mystery books. Her characters are relatable but flawed. Easy to get immersed in their stories!

  21. Keenon says:

    Just finished The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. It’s like Agatha Christie meets Groundhog Day! Loved it on audio too.

  22. Cheryl says:

    I don’t know easy it is to get across the pond but a perfect example of this type of mystery are the Dr Ruth Galloway series written by Elly Griffiths, the first one is called ‘The Crossing Places’. Ruth is an academic, a forensic archeologist who gets called to a crime scene on an archeological site to date some bones. The site is based on a real find ‘Seahenge’ and the story begins a series in which you come to care about the whole cast of regular characters from D.I Harry Nelson and his team to Cathbad the druid. Ruth herself is a woman after my own heart- accidentally eating that extra slice of cake and finding out she hasn’t got a clean blouse to wear. The 12th book has just been published so look forward to a real treat.

  23. I agree there is a role for novels that are diverting and not too distressing! For me that means reading books from 5th and 6th grade. I am very grateful that my book, The Widows of Malabar Hill is on your list. And that so are the novels of Jacqueline Winspear, who is a comfort read (or audiobook listen) for me. She and I are doing an author talk together on Zoom this May 20. The talk is part of the free Getaway series promoted by Soho Press.

  24. Kay says:

    I would add the Jefferson Tayte genealogical mysteries starting with In the Blood, they do have to be read in order because of the back story running through them. I literally read them one after the other. Perfect for a good read without anything getting too descriptive or upsetting. x

  25. Carol says:

    Thank you for this list. I’m finding myself without reading material and many of the recent books I’ve had recommended to me are so new that the wait list on my library’s digital site is over 8 weeks. Many of these looked interesting, and three of them were actually available to borrow immediately, so I’m happy!Carol

  26. Judy says:

    Louise Penny is my current favourite mystery writer. Her Inspector Gamache series beginning with Still Life is wonderfully written. Also a big fan of Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce series. If you love mysteries AND Jane Austen please check out Stephanie Barron’s Jane Austen mysteries.

    • Katie says:

      Oh thank you for reminding me of the Jane Austen mysteries! My grandmother had a couple for me at her house years ago when I visited and I enjoyed them, but have not read them all 🙂

    • Serene Speakman says:

      Those two are the ones I always recommend to folks, so guess I now have to try Stephanie Barro lol.

  27. Mary Louise Allen says:

    Let me recommend Julia Spencer Fleming’s series set in upstate New York. I find her books challenging without being gruesome and her writing is exquisite! Her first book is “In the Bleak Midwinter”.

  28. Terry Watts says:

    Any Jane Austen devotees? The Jane mystery series by Stephanie Barron are excellent. And I’m not a big Austen knockoff fan! The first one is Jane and The Unpleasantness At Scargrave Manor. I think there are six or seven total.

    • Jody says:

      These are new to me – and sound great! I will be looking for them.
      I might add the Number One Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith for some kind of light, comfortable, and often funny mysteries.

    • Anne says:

      A friend gave me this book and I have yet to read it! Thanks for reminding me I have a good Austen-ish mystery to look forward to.

  29. Katie says:

    My library just opened back up for placing holds and picking up curbside. This post just added several to my list! From this list I particularly loved The Mother-In-Law. I have to say ditto to several comments that recommended Flavia. For a YA rec, I love the Truly Devious series.

  30. Erika says:

    Katherine Kovacic’s Alex Clayton mysteries (with Hogarth the Irish Wolfhound).
    Okay, Hogarth is a minor character in the first 2 novels (The Portrait of Molly Dean; Painting in the Shadows), but pivotal in the latest (The Shifting Landscape)! Set in Australia’s contemporary art world, but with strong historical elements, these are well written and a satisfying read.

    • Beth says:

      Thanks! I’ve read and enjoyed most of the books on this list, but this one sounds good and is new to me. I’m going to check it out!

  31. Sarah says:

    Thank you! I am a fan of cozy crime, especially now. Many good choices here.
    I also want to give a shout out to your team. I had a question about the email list. Your team was kind and helpful, and the issue was resolved.

  32. Joan says:

    I am reading An Irish Wedding Mystery by Colleen O’Connor. There is a a lot more in this series. I skip over the foul language.
    Joan

  33. Marion says:

    If you enjoy a light mystery,try the Mrs. Jeffers Mysteries by Emma Brightwater. It is set in England.
    Marion

  34. Marilyn says:

    Rhys Bowen has several mystery series. The Molly Murphy Mysteries are set in New York. The Royal Spy series are set in England.
    Marilyn

  35. Lee Ann says:

    Ellis Peters’ Brother Cadfael mysteries are outstanding. Set in the 12th century during the war between King Stephen and Empress Maud, Cadfael is a former Crusader who is the herbalist at the Benedictine abbey in Shrewsbury. The series, starting with A Morbid Taste for Bones, is very well-written, not gory, and really interesting.

    • Joan Hoffman says:

      When I was in English many years ago, I made a daytrip to Shrewbury because of Brother Cadfael. There is a self-guided walking tour of the various sites mentioned in the novels. It was a wonderful experience, seeing the actual locations, crossing the River Severn, walking through the town, standing high up on the castle and seeing the abbey across the way. I was also aware of the actual history used in the novels. BUT!! I couldn’t find a copy of A Rare Benedictine anywhere in the local bookshops! I had to buy it back in the States. If you have the opportunity, do visit Shrewsbury.

  36. Dania Warmerdam says:

    I just thought of another one, kerry greenwood’s series Miss Phryne Fisher series set in 1920’s melbourne.

  37. Karen McLaren says:

    I recently discovered Judith Jance, and have been reading all of her Joanna Brady series and Ali Reynolds series.

  38. Phyllis Fanning says:

    Julia Spencer-Fleming, Donna Leon, Louise Penny would be excellent additions. All well written and not to dark.

  39. Melanie says:

    I love mysteries like this! Recently I stumbled upon a new series and loved it. There’s 4 so far. First one is Murder at Melrose Court. There’s humor and a great relationship between the main character Major Lennox and the chief inspector. Really good!

  40. Carolyn Miller says:

    Cozy mysteries are terrific!! Try Ellie Alexander The Bakeshop series and the brewery series. Earlene Fowler has the Benni Harper series set in the central coast of CA in a folk art museum. Lilian Jackson Braun’s Cat Who series. David Rosenfelt’s Andy Carpenter series.

  41. Erin says:

    I know it’s not modern, but I can’t think of mysteries without remembering my love of Dorothy Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey. I find her dialogue hilarious and her writing so sharp and her vocabulary and literary references always make me feel smarter when I’m done! For times when I have trouble focusing, I love her Wimsey short stories, but for full length novels I really love The Nine Tailors.

  42. Joan Hoffman says:

    I love the Aunt Dimity series by Nancy Atherton. A new book in the series is cause for celebration! They are very enjoyable reads. Oh, and no murders, but still mysteries that must be solved! The characters are well written: they feel like your friends and neighbors.
    I also recommend Janet Evanovich, with her long running Stephanie Plum series, and her newer Fox and O’Hare series. Both have lots of laughs between the more serious parts.

  43. Bg says:

    Pamela Fagan Hutchins…set in the Caribbean..Mystery

    Jayden Skye.. whole PI series in the Caribbean.. Death by engagement, marriage, etc.

  44. AN says:

    A very beautiful and interesting selection of titles.Its a shear pleasure to have a guidance like this!!!

  45. Barb says:

    The Miss Silver mysteries by Patricia Wentworth are great Christie-like mysteries. Miss Silver is an ex-governess who knits and solves mysteries with her keen intelligence and understanding of human nature. The first three were available for 1.99 from Kobo just recently and I enjoyed them so much!
    I also love the British Bill Slider series by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles. They aren’t exactly cozies but she loves a good pun and her characters are wonderful.

  46. Catherine S McGovern says:

    Auntie poldi sounds like an older mystery series I read years ago, Mrs. Polifax, by Dorothy Gilman. Very light and entertaining.

  47. K Maull says:

    This is great information. I also listen to most books and have listened to all the Maddie Day Country Store series. When I want to really unwind I listen (or read) the grandmommy of all, Lilian Jackson Braun’s “The Cat Who” series. Huge fan of Louise Penny and Jacqueline Winspear. Thank you again and everyone stay healthy and safe!

  48. Breanne Mosher says:

    I’ve read half of these and the other half sound so interesting! I’ve been a big British mystery kick lately in what I’ve been watching – Agatha Christie strikes the perfect balance of intrigue but not too graphic or unsettling.

  49. DawnJoy says:

    I love this list. I need to check out The Mother In Law. I’m biased but I really like the mystery series’ written by my MIL, Blanche Day Manos. I’m picky about mysteries and hate when I can figure them out right away; Blanche is a great writer and keeps you turning the pages because you really can’t tell “who done it” until the end.

  50. Amanda Lamb says:

    I read a bunch of similar type mysteries in March, and to the list I would add the Mr. And Mrs. Darcy Mysteries series and The Secrets of Mary’s Bookshop series. The Mary’s Bookshop series begins in June on Cape Cod, perhaps the most beautiful time of year there, so a lovely setting for this time of year. The Lady Sherlock Series by Sherry Thomas is also good.

  51. loribeth says:

    I’m happy to see more than a few mentions here of the Flavia de Luce novels by Alan Bradley. I would add any novel by Elizabeth Peters (who also wrote thrillers as Barbara Michaels)… I think someone here mentioned her Amelia Peabody books, which are wonderful and probably her best-known novels, but she also did two other great series, one featuring Vicky Bliss and another with Jacqueline Kirby (a librarian)… also several standalone books too.

  52. Dari says:

    These aren’t recent books but both came to mind when I read your article and suggested mysteries.

    “The Thirteenth Tale” by Diane Setterfield is a favorite and I’m wanting to reread it, now that I’m mentioning it. I found it moody and mysterious but not terrifying so it rates as a “light” mystery to me.

    And just for a fun, a lighthearted, giggle-inducing read, “Olivia Jules and the Overactive Imagination” by Helen Fielding. Another light mystery/spy novel that I think I’ll reread for the fun of it. I remember laughing out loud while reading it, and I could use something like that right now.

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