So . . . to mix things up a little, every Friday I will list of four things. Hope you enjoy and I would love to hear feedback.
Four AUTHORS I WISH WOULD WRITE ANOTHER on Friday
If you haven’t noticed yet, I love mysteries, especially mystery series. I get attached to characters and places and I anxiously await new novels. I get very upset when an author . . . for whatever reason . . . stops writing a series. Here are four authors who I wish would write again.
A Rather Lovely Inheritance opens with Penny Nichols receiving a phone call that her great aunt has passed away and she is the heiress. And when I say heiress, I mean heiress to a highly unusual motorcar, a vintage wardrobe, a posh London townhouse, and an elegant villa in Antibes. In addition to the material items, Penny is also left with a family secret that needs to be solved. Penny meets up with some known and some notorious relatives, not all of whom think she is deserving of the inheritance, and with the help of her dashing cousin and barrister, Jeremy, she must determine who can be trusted and who can’t. Their research and adventures take them to the Mediterranean where the gamble of a lifetime may determine both their future and their lives.
What a beautiful, fun, exciting, and touching series this is! I love the exotic locales with two characters who really are quite ordinary. Who hasn’t dreamed of a life-changing inheritance!? Penny gets one and all the complications, controversies, and comedy that come with it. The series continues with Penny and Jeremy’s adventures is A Rather Curious Engagement, A Rather Charming Invitation, and A Rather Remarkable Homecoming. Part mystery, part romance, part travel adventure, these are truly delightful reads and re-reads. I just wish there were more!
This is another book series I discovered by chance; in Learning to Swim, the protagonist is Troy Chance, a freelance photographer in Lake Placid, New York. Troy witnesses a child seemingly tumble off a ferry into the frigid Lake Champlain waters; without thinking, Troy jumps in and rescues the child. She brings him back to her home to discover that he only speaks French and no one seems to be looking of him. She soon discovers that six-year-old Paul is a missing child from Montreal. Troy is there for the reunion with Paul’s father but the mystery of his kidnapping and disappearance remain unsolved. As Troy tries to return to her own life, Paul’s mystery haunts her and she becomes entangled in a web of deceit and treachery. Troy’s relationship with Paul and his father continues into the second book, A Cold and Lonely Place, when she becomes involved in the discovery of a body frozen in ice.
Troy is a really dynamic and relatable character. She strives for independence and solitude but her conscience and sense of justice keep her in nosing in places that she should avoid. The setting of Lake Placid and the free-spirited skiing community only add to the mystique and magic of this series. The second book was published in 2013, two years after the first, so I am still hoping for another. Truly a complex and very entertaining series!
Sarah Stewart Taylor
I found Sarah Stewart Taylor’s O Artful Death at the Toadstool Bookstore in Milford, New Hampshire, and it is a true New England kind of mystery. Sweeney St. George is a Boston art history professor with a special interest in the representations of death and funerary art. It seems a bit morbid (well, death is) but actually I found it quite fascinating. Sweeney traipses through old cemeteries and studies the past through not only what was buried with the dead, but also what was kept as mementos of the deceased. Her study of the past intermingles with the present when bodies are discovered that aren’t centuries old.
The author wrote three more books – Mansions of the Dead, Judgment of the Grave, and Still as Death – each one embroiling Sweeney in mysterious deaths and reuniting her with Detective Tim Quinn. Sweeney’s own trouble family, an artist father who committed suicide and an alcoholic mother, complicate her ability to find answers and solve the mysteries of both the past and present. I really enjoyed the historical aspect of these books, along with their New England setting. The last book hints at future stories but nothing was published after 2007. Still, they are really unique and engaging stories and I highly recommend them. Incidentally, I discovered another New England author Julia Spencer-Fleming at about the same time. Her series about Russ Van Alstyne and Claire Fergusson is still active; she is just VERY slow at getting new ones out.
Annette Blair has a number of books series out and many are historical romances, but the only one I have read is her Vintage Magic series. Part mystery, part romance, part magic; these books are definitely not hard-core mysteries but I really enjoy the lighthearted plotlines and enduring, eccentric characters. Madeira Cutler is a New York clothes designer who has returned to her hometown of Mystick Falls, Connecticut. Her specialty is vintage clothes and their histories, but she has a skill that puts her above other specialists. When Maddie touches the old clothing, she becomes the original owner and experiences their memories. In subsequent stories, she returns to Mystick Falls and opens a vintage clothing store. Her store is housed in the old Underhill Funeral Chapel carriage house and is also occupied by a handsome and charming resident ghost named Dante. Maddie acquires clothing that involves her various mysteries and adventures. In addition to Dante, Maddie juggles the charms of FBI agent Nick Jaconetti and Mystick Police Detective Sergeant Lytton Warner.
This series represents fluff mysteries at its finest. They don’t require a lot of thought or attention and are perfect for reading in carpool lines, but they are fun and entertaining. I have read the summaries of some of her other mysteries and the plots just don’t seem to grab my attention. The Vintage Magic series contains six books: A Veiled Deception, Larceny and Lace, Death by Diamonds, Skirting the Grave, Cloaked in Malice, and Tulle Death Do Us Part.