As I am writing this blog, sheets of rain are pouring down — the perfect time to talk about or read a mystery. Read Harder 2018 challenges you to read a mystery by a person of color and/or a LGTBQ author, and I have a few to recommend. We have a more extensive list in our catalog if none of these make you want to curl up under your covers with a cup of hot tea.
If you like the mystery genre, but feel the stories are all starting to sound the same, try Rachel Howzell Hall’s “The Land of Shadows.” Hall begins this series about Detective Lou Norton, a female detective who is investigating the death of a 17-year-old girl in gritty South Los Angeles. The death of this girl strangely mirrors the disappearance of Norton’s teenage sister 25 years ago. The author really shines in the development of her characters and the community in which they live. With snappy dialogue, brisk pacing and just enough plot twists, this is a refreshing new voice in the police procedural.
Rita Mae Brown has been a prolific writer since 1973, beginning with her novel, “Rubyfruit Jungle.” She has authored three different mystery series, a series about the south, several standalone novels, short story collections and non-fiction. Whew — I am tired just thinking about it. However, if you try one of her books and like it — you will have many pleasure-filled reading days ahead of you. Her longest running collection is the Mrs. Murphy mystery series. “Wish You Were Here,” co-authored with her cat, Sneaky Pie Brown, is the first book and introduces you to Mrs. Murphy (a tiger cat) and Tucker (a Welsh Corgi) and their human companion, Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen. Harry is the postmistress of a small town in Virginia and begins her career as an amateur sleuth following the murders of several of the town’s residents. However, her animal companions must stay one step ahead of her in their own investigation to prevent Harry from being the next victim.
“Endgame” written by Canadian author, Jeffrey Round, begins with the reunion of a punk band with a haunted past on a remote island in the Pacific Northwest. They and a few other guests are there at the request of the band’s ex-manager, ostensibly to complete a long unfinished album at the behest of a wealthy new investor. You will recognize the story line from Agatha Christie’s novel, “And Then There Were None,” as members begin dying, one by one. Written with complex characters and rich internal and external narrative, “Endgame” is a suspenseful take on the satisfaction (however horrible) of justice served for a past wrong.