If you enjoy following clues, meeting shady characters in even shadier places and don’t mind tripping over a dead body or two, may I recommend some historical mysteries?
Travel to another time and place and a different way of solving crimes – before DNA. Historical mysteries can be gritty like contemporary suspense thrillers, or on the cozy side. Here are some of my favourite series that are more in the middle.
We start off on a lighter note with Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce series. Flavia, at 11 years old, knows she wants to be a chemist and has a passion for poisons and a mind for solving mysteries. In the first book, The Sweetness at the Bottom Pie, when Flavia finds a dead body she is more delighted than shocked. She uses science to solve murders and has no filter to stop her from saying or doing what she thinks is right. The balance of witty humour with the mix of Nancy Drew meets Midsomer Murders makes this one of my go-to series.
Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series has gorgeous covers, but the content inside is realistic to what men and women endured post-First World War. In the first book, Maisie Dobbs, we meet the former nurse-turned-private detective. Many of the cases in this series, including the one in this novel, centre around the social effects that men and women are going through now that the Great War has ended. Characterization can be prioritized over plot, yet by the end of the book it all ties together for a satisfying read.
Another series that excels on the witty humour is Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher series. Set in Australia during the Jazz Age, Cocaine Blues is a fun read but does handle some heavier issues such as drugs, sex and politics of the time. As the series progresses and Phryne goes on further adventures with her crew of misfits, Greenwood continues to keep the issues realistic.