Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas Reading - Mystery Edition

I should preface this post by saying that the books highlighted here will probably appeal more to the female geeks in the audience than the males. I am not into hard core mysteries. I prefer the ones where the person can both solve mysteries and bake cakes at the same time! :)

If you are drawn more towards the science fiction genre, don't miss my earlier post on holiday sci-fi books!

The Sugar Cookie Murder was my introduction to Joanne Fluke's Hannah Swenson mystery series. The protagonist of these books, Hannah Swenson owns the Cookie Jar bakery, and just happens to run into dead bodies far more often then your average baker. These books are fairly lighthearted, despite the death and mayhem. I particularly enjoy Hannah's interactions with everyone in the town. It turns out fresh cookies go a long way towards loosening tongues. Hannah makes another holiday appearance in the mystery compendium Candy Cane Murder, which is also a fun read.

Keeping in the area of food, I just finished The Chocolate Snowman Murders, by JoAnna Carl. This one's also part of a series, the Chocoholic Mysteries. I have not read any of her other books, but I probably will after this one. I particularly enjoyed how the spunky main character dealt with the situations before her. (Let me say, best way ever of handling the attentions of an unwanted car passenger!) Plus reading all the talk about chocolate was almost as good as eating it!

The next book is by Janet Evanovich, the author of the Stephanie Plum series. If you've never read any of these books, you are missing out! These are by far some of the funniest books I've read. Stephanie gets herself into all sorts of mischief, yet always comes back fighting. The dynamics between the various characters are also quite amusing. The Christmas offering in this series is Visions of Sugar Plums. It is one of a handful of "Between-the-Numbers" novels, which take place amongst the other books. This one falls between the 8th and 9th books in the regular series. If you have not read the others, this one is still by far a great read. However it has a couple of spoilers in it for the from the first eight books. If you're particular about preferring to read books in order, read the first eight over the next year, and save this one for next Christmas.

A somewhat different offering is Kate Kingsbury's novel Ringing In Murder. This is Kingsbury's fourth Christmas offering in her Pennyfoot Hotel mystery series. The setting of these books is the Pennyfoot Hotel, in the Edwardian era (early 1900s). Cecily Sinclair Baxter runs the Pennyfoot Hotel, where an unfortunate number of guests don't survive their stay. These books are not quite as vivacious as the more modern holiday mysteries. They do however have their charm, and I am always excited to see the next Christmas book in the series.

This is only a sampling of the Christmas books I've read. If you want more suggestions, leave me a comment and let me know! I'm also happy to discuss particular books in the comments, both those listed here any any others I might have read. Once again, happy holiday reading! :)