If you love a good mystery but don’t like the gory details, try one of these series that are often set in quaint villages and star an amateur sleuth.
The Meg Langslow series features a cast of whacky, eccentric characters, very likely in the form of Meg’s family. The dialogue in this mystery series has been described as “part Jane Austen and part battery acid.” This is light reading, full of fun – a great escape.
Beaton’s Hamish MacBeth keeps the law in a small, remote Highland Scottish town. MacBeth’s success in solving crimes necessitates ever more inventive ways of avoiding a promotion to higher rank and transfer from his beloved Lochdubh. Hamish’s luck with women, so far not so good, lends an extra dimension to the series.
A well-crafted plot, nicely drawn characters, and a strong sense of place can be counted on in Rhys Bowen’s Constable Evans series. Evan Evans is a young police constable who has traded in the violence of city life for idyllic Llanfair, a tiny Welsh village with lots of local color…and a hint of crime.
Cozy mysteries for animal lovers feature Florida pet sitter and part-time sleuth Dixie Hemingway. These who-dun-its contain laugh-out-loud one-liners and words of wisdom, as well as some pretty captivating critters.
Clare Cosi owns the Village Blend Coffee House in Greenwich Village, New York. As the bodies keep turning up, Clare engages in some amateur sleuthing. A bit of romantic tension, her ex-husband is co-owner of the shop, and hilarious antics make this series a winner.
Rich and witty, the Kate Fansler literary whodunits by Amanda Cross are a delight for readers who like their mysteries smart and suspenseful. Although easy to read, this series features elegant and polished dialogue with allusions to the greats of literature throughout.
Marcus Didius Falco, a private investigator in ancient Rome, will grow on you. His slightly jaundiced view of the world of Rome in the time of the Emperor Vespasian sometimes helps and sometimes hinders investigations. The tone is wry and satirical, but the historical information provided is carefully accurate.
The Crewel World needlework shop is the setting for the Needlecraft Mystery series. Shop owner and part-time sleuth Betsy Devonshire has a knack for stumbling upon dead bodies–and it’s entangled her in more than one knotty situation.
Eastport, Maine is the setting for this mystery series, where the residents have a fiercely protected independence of thought and spirit, “the Maine way.” In this series, Graves blends charming, evocative digressions about life in Eastport with an intricate plot, well-drawn characters and a wry sense of humor.
The Three Pines series features Inspector Armand Gamache, a detective who believes the seeds that lead to murder are planted in the murderer’s past. The stories, which are set in the Canadian village of Three Pines, are intricate and the plots are complex with fully developed characters.
Cadfael, the lead character in this series, is a brother in a monastery in England during the 1100s. A gardener and herbalist, his adventures are all centered in life in the Monastery, which is the center of his life, but they also show that he has not turned away completely from the world. Hints of Cadfael’s life before the monastery adds interest to his character and to the stories.